Decision to reject controversial Coventry development overturned on appeal - The Coventry Observer

Decision to reject controversial Coventry development overturned on appeal

Coventry Editorial 17th Oct, 2023   0

A CONTROVERSIAL thrown-out planning application for up to 690 flats for land off Abbotts Lane and Upper Hill Street will go through following an appeal.

An eight-day appeal was held in June after Coventry City Council refused the hybrid application by Complex Development Projects (CDP) last November.

Abbotts Lane 3
Picture by Marcus Mingins 2023007MMR3

In his decision, inspector Paul Griffiths identified five main issues campaigners had with the development.

These included the effect the proposal would have on the living conditions of those living on Upper Hill Street, particularly the visual impact the new buildings would have on the area and overlooking.

However, Mr Griffiths said while some of the plots would be visible from these properties, the separation distances meant even with the increased scale of the new buildings, the visual impact would be ‘well within reasonable bounds.’

He added the design of the accommodation meant there would be ‘little in the way of overlooking.’

Mr Griffiths also rejected the Coventry City Council planning committee’s argument the housing mix was ‘unsuitable’ with no family housing with gardens.

He said the plans optimise rather than maximise the potential of the site and added he saw ‘no difficulty’ with the housing mix proposed.

New schemes of at least 25 homes or more than one hectare are required to provide 25 per cent of homes as affordable unless robust evidence is presented.

Coventry Council’s planning committee said it was unpersuaded it was acceptable for the site to have no affordable housing.

Mr Griffiths’s report said the proposal might be implemented as a ‘Build to Rent’ scheme, but the council suggested the initial viability assessment used to justify no affordable housing ‘might not be robust’.

However, Mr Griffiths argued the ‘uncontested evidence’ produced by CDP was ‘Build to Rent’ schemes generally delivered lower returns than open market schemes and the plans were acceptable and compliant with local plan policy.

Campaigners from Transco Action Group said it held concerns about greater air pollution from increased traffic in air quality management areas.

Mr Griffiths said the site, on the edge of the city centre, was very well-connected in terms of public transport, walking, and cycling.

Campaigners also felt the proposed 239 parking spaces were ‘insufficient’, however, Mr Griffiths said the site was an ideal candidate for a ‘car-free’ development that provides the absolute minimum amount of car parking.

Calls were also made the new buildings could impact the character and appearance of the area, but Mr Griffiths said he felt the scheme was of a very high standard of design and the significance of affected heritage assets would be enhanced.

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