Plans for eight new homes on the site of a former charity headquarters in York have been refused on appeal by a government planning inspector.
Craig Smith asked the Planning Inspectorate to intervene on the grounds of non-determination by City of York Council.
The plans by Queens Staith Leisure Ltd would have seen Wilberforce House in Huntington demolished and five two-bedroom homes and three three-bedroom homes built on the land, with 12 car parking spaces.
In the initial application, the developers said it would “positively enhance the character of the immediate environment through high quality design, sustainable construction and specification in a sustainable location to meet housing needs of current and future generations.”
The council had raised several concerns – most of which the inspector backed – and was recommending that the plans were refused.
Even though the building is empty, the inspector agreed with the council that the plans would result in an unacceptable loss of a site which could be used for employment.
The applicant had not demonstrated that bats, a protected species, would not be adversely affected, the inspector added.
Parking key issue
A key issue was also parking provision and access for vehicles.
The inspector’s report said: “To conclude on this main issue, the proposal would not provide the necessary arrangements for parking and manoeuvrability within the site, particularly for
larger delivery and emergency vehicles.”
The development would also be harmful to the character and appearance of the area and would not provide suitable living conditions for people.
A nearby garage would likely “generate large amounts of noise during its hours of operation from power tools, hammering, metal work and revving of engines during services or repairs”, the inspector said.
They concluded: “I have found that the proposal would involve the loss of employment land, does not provide the necessary information and/or mitigation to ensure protected species would not be harmed, has unsuitable parking and access arrangements, would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area and would not provide suitable living conditions to prospective future occupiers.”