SECOND DRAFT - PRE INQUIRY STATEMENT OF CASE

On behalf of Crest Homes (South East) Ltd. and Southgate Developments Ltd
in respect of Telephone House, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent


The Barton Willmore Planning Partnership
35 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent ME19 4BW



Appeal by
Crest Homes (South East) Ltd and Southgate Developments Ltd
against
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's refusal of consent for demolition of existing building and erection of 43 flats with basement level parking
- Site of Telephone House, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Public Inquiry to be held at the Town Hall, Tunbridge Wells, in May 2001





23 January 2001


  1. This Statement of Case has been prepared by Barton Willmore Planning Parntership on behalf of Crest Homes (South East) Ltd. and Southgate Developments Ltd. in respect of the Appeal against the decision of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to refuse to grant planning permission for the redevelopment of Telephone House so as to accommodate 43 apartments with associated basement level car parking and landscaping proposals.

  2. Evidence submitted with the appeal forms indicate that the planning application for the redevelopment of Telephone House was submitted to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council on 13 July 2000. During the course of the determination of the application amended information was submitted to the Local Planning Authority in accordance with their request for further clarification, thus leading to the application being reported to Committee on 18 October 2000 with a recommendation that subject to the applicant entering into a legal agreement to secure the payment of an agreed contribution towards youth and adult recreational open space, to secure the provision of 8 flats in Block D as affordable housing, and to pay the Council's reasonable legal costs for the preparation and completion of the agreement, the Authority would be minded to grant planning permission subject to conditions.

  3. Notwithstanding their Officer's recommendation members proceeded to refuse the application for the following reasons:

    1. "The proposal would have a significant adverse impact on the character and appearance of the Conservation Area by virtue of its scale, massing, roofscape, form, spatial characteristics, elevational treatment and building lines. It would therefore be contrary to Policies WK2, ENV15 and ENV17 of the Kent Structure Plan 1996 and Policies EN1(2), EN5 and EN6 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan Adopted 1996.

    2. The proposal would have an adverse impact on the setting of listed buildings in Church Road and would, therefore, be contrary to Policy EN19 of the Kent Structure Plan 1996 and Policy EN3 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan Adopted 1996."

  4. An Appeal was lodged against this decision on the 1 December 2000, and is proceeding upon te basis of a public Inquiry that is proposed to take place on 1-3 May 2001.

  5. This Pre-Inquiry Statement seeks to confirm the evidence the appellants propose to put at the Inquiry, the documents that will be referred to, and the witnesses to be called.

  6. In accordance with the Planning Appeals Procedures (Circular 5 2000), a statement of common ground will be compiled by the appellants in consultation with the Local Planning Authority. This will address the following issues:

    - A description of the site and surrounding area;
    - The site's planning history;
    - The details of the process of the determination of the appeal proposals; and
    - Relevant planning policies as contained in National Government Guidance (PPGs and Circulars), the Kent Structure Plan 1996, and the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan 1996.

  7. Having regard to the reasons for refusal, and the concerns raised by local residents during he consultation process, evidence will be produced on the basis of the following:

    a) Conservation Area

  8. James Thomas of Rothermel. Thomas will produce evidence that comments upon the merits of the appeal proposals having regard to the Appeal site's location within a Conservation Area, and proximity to statutory listed buildings. He will review the character and appearance of the Conservation Area and the constituent parts of the Conservation Area that contribute to that character and appearance. He will assess how the existing building sits within the character and appearance of the Conservation Area, and the associated implications of its demolition in this respect. Thereafter, he will assess the suitability of the appeal proposals in terms of their scale, massing, roofscape, form spatial characteristic, elevational treatment and building lines, and comment upon the manner in which the appeal proposal accords with the requirements of Section 72 of the Town and Country Planning Act to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of a Conservation Area. In doing so, he will also comment upon the implications the appeal proposals have on the setting of nearby listed buildings, and the requirement within Section 66 of the Act of the desirability of preserving the setting of said buildings.

  9. On the basis of this assessment, James Thomas will comment upon the suitability of the appeal proposals having regard to the requirement of PPGs 1 and 15, Policies WK2, ENV15, ENV17 and ENV19 of the Kent Structure Plan 1996, and Policies EN1 (2), EN3, EN5 and EN6 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan.

    b) Planning Policy Considerations

  10. Evidence will be presented by Paul McCreery of Barton Willmore Planning Partnership in respect of the site's former planning history, and the history behind the negotiations concerning the appeal proposals. Evidence will be produced to demonstrate how the appeal proposals reflect the aims and objectives of Governments Guidance in making the most effective use of urban land in accordance with PPGs 1 and 3, Policies H3 and S6 of the Kent Structure Plan, and Policies EN1 and H9 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan . He will also demonstrate how the proposed use is acceptable in land use terms having regard to the sequential test analysis advocated within PPG3, and the aims and objectives of National Government Guidance in seeking to promote the objectives of creating more sustainable patterns of developments.

  11. Evidence will also be presented to demonstrate how the appeal proposals accord with the requirements of Circular 6/98 (affordable housing), and policies H7 and H6 of the Kent Structure Plan and Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan respectfully; and how the appeal proposals reflect the aims and objections of policy R2 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan (provision of recreational open space);

  12. In addition, evidence will be presented to demonstrate how the appeal proposals respect the amenities of nearby residents, in particular those living in York Road, and why it is not considered appropriate to make a contribution towards educational provision in this instance.

    c) Transportation Issues

  13. Given the concerns raised by local residents during the course of the consultation period, and the nature of the conditions proposed by the Local Planning Authority in their Committee Report, evidence will be produced by Denis Wilson Partnership to demonstrate the suitability of the proposed access ing arrangements, the level of parking provision proposed, and the most appropriate means of accommodating construction access.

    Documents

  14. In addition to the application and appeal documents, the following will be referred to during the course of the Inquiry:

      
    I)   PPG1 (General Policy and principles);
    II)  PPG3 (Housing);
    III) PPG13 (Transport);
    IV) PPG15 (Planning and the Historic Environment)
    V)  Circular 11/95 - Use of Conditions;
          Circular 1/97 - Planning Obligations;
          Circular 14/97 - Planning and the Historic Environment 
          Circular 6/98 - Planning and Affordable Housing

  15. In addition, reference will also be made to RPG9 (Regional Guidance for the Southeast, as published in 1994 and the revised Consultation Draft (December 2000), Kent Design (2000) and the public consultation draft PPG13 (October 99)

  16. Reference will be made to the Kent Structure Plan 1996, Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan 1996, and Tunbridge Wells Borough 2000 Plus (Local Plan Review 2001-2011) as published in October 1998, and "By Design" Urban Design compendium 2000. Reference will be made to the site's planning history, together with the history of other developments within the immediate locality, the formal description of the listed buildings in the locality, and the Council's Conservation Area appraisal as considered at the Planning and Transportation Committee in October 2000.



The Barton Willmore Planning Partnership

23 January 2001



The Appeal - Crest Nicholson Plc / Southgate Developments versus TWBC

The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Tunbridge Wells