A Disturbance of Tranquility
(A Planning Inspectorate Appeal)
With an Uncanny Similarity to Snatchfield Meadow
In March 2015 Her Majesty’s Planning Inspectorate published an appeal decision on a site in Ilfracombe, North Devon. It is worth reading the Inspector’s Report in full, but here is a summary.
Snatchfield Meadow and the site in North Devon are both in an AONB, and both involve the demolition of a property to give access via a small quiet cul-de-sac. The main difference is the size of the site Devon site and the potential development.
The development in North Devon was for only 8 linked blocks of two-storey 1-bedroom self-contained flats, a communal/activities room, dining room and guest bedroom and a warden flat (likely to comprise 30 individual flats), on a site approximately half of a green field of rough pasture land 0.49 hectares in area.
Whereas, Snatchfields could have up to 70 dwellings on a site 4.29 hectares in area, with the only access via a small quiet cul-de-sac.
The appeal against a refusal to grant outline planning permission by North Devon District Council was dismissed in March 2016 for many reasons, including changing the nature of a small quiet cul-de-sac and disturbance to the neighbours. We have highlighted key phrases in paragraphs 39, 40 and 41 of the Planning Inspector’s Decision, as follows:
“39. Demolishing No 37 and putting in its place an access road to the proposed development, likely to comprise 30 individual flats, would clearly result in a marked proportionate increase in the levels of traffic into this cul-de-sac…..Such an increase would result in significant disturbance to the adjoining neighbours at Nos 36 and 38.
40. Even assuming the occupiers of Nos 36 and 38 would not suffer significant noise as the appellants’ evidence maintains, the introduction of a vehicular and pedestrian access route so close to their side boundaries running past their rear gardens and No 36’s side windows would undoubtedly result in significant disturbance compared with the relative peace and tranquillity that the neighbours in these houses currently enjoy.
41. For these reasons I conclude that, whilst the level of traffic generated by the development would, on balance, be unlikely to significantly increase noise levels for the occupiers of Nos 36 and 38, it would result in significant disturbance relative to the existing situation in this small quiet cul-de-sac. LP Policy DVS3 (Amenity Considerations) states that development will not be permitted where it would harm the amenities of any neighbouring uses or the character of the surrounding area. For the above reasons the proposed development would not comply with this Policy.”
We assume that Shropshire Council has an equivalent Planning Policy to North Devon which prevents development where it would harm the amenities of any neighbouring uses or the character of the surrounding area.
It is therefore difficult to imagine that a Planning Inspector would permit a development on Snatchfield Meadow -which would be a considerably larger site and development than the one rejected in North Devon- as there would be significant disturbance to the peace and tranquillity to those residing in the cul-de-sac part of Chelmick Drive.
Consequently, the “significant disturbance to the relative peace and tranquillity of the neighbourhood” judgement part of this Appeal Decision is another reason why Shropshire Council should remove Snatchfields as a Preferred Site, and consider the alternative sites that have previously been suggested. Otherwise, Shropshire Council could waste time and money changing the Planning Use of Snatchfields from Agriculture to Housing, only to find that the site cannot be developed because of the significant disturbance to residents of a small, quiet cul-de-sac which would provide the only access.
We believe that this evidence is too important to be ignored and have submitted it to the Planning Team at Shropshire Council. We are pleased to report that this evidence has been accepted, despite the 8th February deadline having past.