‘Bulky and overbearing’ flats refused on appeal

CONTROVERSIAL plans for 60 homes in Redland have been rejected on appeal.

A planning inspector has dismissed a bid by developers to overturn a decision by Bristol city councillors to refuse permission for two five-storey blocks on a site next to The Vincent retirement complex in Redland.

The local authority’s development control committee voted 4-3 in October 2021 to turn down the application amid concerns for the safety of elderly and disabled pedestrians.

Its decision came despite officers recommending approval and warning that the council would have a “very slim chance” of successfully defending an appeal, which the applicants Elizabeth Blackwell Properties then submitted.

But the Planning Inspectorate has now thrown that out, concluding that the buildings on land called Home Gardens, near the junction of Blackboy Hill and Redland Hill, would be overbearing on two nearby cottages down the slope in St Vincents Hill.

It did not agree that the development would have an unacceptable impact on residents at The Vincent, either during construction or long term, and awarded partial costs against the council on these grounds.

The planning inspector;’s report said one of the two proposed blocks would be “of significant bulk and height, looming above the boundaries” of numbers 7 and 9 St Vincents Hill and would “tower over the skyline and create a foreboding relationship with the simple, modest cottages”.

It said: “I find that the proposed development would create a bulky and overbearing form positioned within an intimate distance of these properties.

“This would visually dominate the outlook for both properties and create a foreboding sense of enclosure which would be harmful to occupiers both within and outside of the properties.”

The report said the developers argued that the scale and design of the scheme reflected the buildings in the wider area and that the council’s planning and transport teams had deemed the plans acceptable, but it concluded that “these matters do not mediate the harm identified”.

The inspector said: “I find that the proposed development, by nature of its scale and proximity to the occupiers of properties on St Vincents Hill, would result in a significant level of harm to the living conditions of those occupiers.”

They said residents at The Vincent had a “real perception that they would be fearful of accessing the car park during the construction phase” but that this could be dealt with by a planning condition.

The inspector added: “I find that the proposed development would not result in a level of associated vehicle movements that would be detrimental to the living conditions of the occupiers of The Vincent.”

The report said that although 20 per cent of the homes would be classed as affordable, this would not overcome the harm to neighbours at St Vincents Hill.

The plans received 52 objections during four rounds of consultation before being rejected by councillors 17 months ago.

By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service