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London Russian Ballet School appeal allowed, with full costs

DATE: 21 Mar 2017

The Planning Inspectorate has allowed an appeal by the London Russian Ballet School against the refusal of planning permission and listed building consent for a basement and above-ground extension to the School’s Grade II listed building in Clapham. Although finding that the extension would be “quite distinct and clearly modern”, the Inspector concluded that it was inspired by its local context and would deliver design excellence.  The scheme would be a world-class ballet school, with very significant community-wide public benefits.

In awarding LRBS the full costs of the 6-day inquiry, the Inspector was particularly critical of the Planning Committee’s decision to reject the officer’s recommendation without any evidence or sufficient further inquiry, of the fact that the witness who gave evidence on the loss of historic floor plan and historic fabric had “astonishingly” never visited the site, and of the members’ view that neither the provision of recreational classes for members of the public nor the provision of places to fee-paying vocational and pre-vocational students was a public benefit – a conclusion which the Inspector observed “flies in the face of all national and policy objectives to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation.”

Paul Brown QC acted for LRBS. A copy of the decision letter can be found here, and the costs decision here.