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‘Zig-zag’ housing scheme designed by international architect dismissed on appeal

DATE: 02 Sep 2016

A planning inspector has dismissed an appeal seeking planning permission for a 253-unit housing scheme on Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) in the London Borough of Bromley.

The appellant had argued that the unusual zig-zag appearance of the 8-9 storey residential block, designed by the respected international architect, Ian Ritchie, was exemplary. When this was combined with the Borough’s alleged housing supply deficit and other matters, it was said that there were “very special circumstances” that justified allowing the “inappropriate development” in the MOL.

The inspector agreed that the Borough lacked a 5-year housing supply, but did not consider the proposal to be of “sufficient architectural quality” in terms of its scale and massing and the quality of some of the accommodation. Given the loss of openness and the harm to the character and appearance of the surroundings, the inspector was not satisfied that the proposal amounted to sustainable development. Accordingly, there were no very special circumstances which justified the grant of planning permission.

Gwion Lewis acted for the successful local planning authority, the London Borough of Bromley. The decision in full is available here.