Plans for 60 retirement apartments in an historic part of York have been rejected on appeal by a government planning inspector.
Gladman Retirement Living lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate after councillors voted against approving their application, involving the demolition of three bungalows in Cherry Lane, Copmanthorpe, in September 2021.
Councillors said the size of the building in a prominent street corner location would harm the character and appearance of the Tadcaster Road conservation area and nearby listed buildings.
The site sits within the Tadcaster Road area of archaeological importance, close to the Roman road and within a 100 metres of a Roman cemetery.
Councillors also raised fears that noise and lighting from the apartments could disturb the stables at York Racecourse after bosses there objected to the plan.
The inspector rejected concerns about the impact on the racecourse, but backed councillors’ views on the visual impact of the proposed three-storey building.
Listed buildings in the vicinity include Dringhouses Library, 52 and 54 Tadcaster Road.
‘Out of character’
The inspector said their significance would be harmed and the development would be “overbearing” in contrast.
The inspector, identified as ML Milliken, added: “The extent to which the building would extend along Cherry Lane, would, due to its design and proximity to the CA (conservation area) boundary, detract from the character and appearance of the CA.
“Furthermore, I consider that the repeated architectural form and style of the proposed development, together with its massing, would contrast adversely with the surrounding built form and serve to alter the historic context to the detriment of the character and appearance of the CA.”
A nearby Holiday Inn “has to some extent eroded the historic character of the former settlement”, the inspector said, adding though, that “much remains and is appreciable”.
The inspector said that they accepted that 60 apartments which provided specialist care for the elderley would result in “some public benefits”.
But they added: “By virtue of its form and massing, it would, in my view, be out of character with developments within the surrounding area and would be overly prominent in the street scene, particularly in views along Tadcaster Road when approaching from the north.”