Planning refusal will cost four figure sum

A decision to refuse planning permission for a House of Multiple Occupation will cost Peterborough City Council a four-figure sum.

Saturday, 25th June 2016, 11:00 am
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The council’s planning committee, made up of councillors, voted against its officers’ recommendation for a six-bedroom HMO at Quinton Garth, Hartwell Court, Westwood.

The split five-four decision in October 2015 will now prove costly after an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate was upheld, resulting in the committee’s decision being overturned and costs awarded.

Councillors had rejected the application as they believed intense use of the site would result in an “unacceptable vulnerability to and fear of crime.”

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But Inspector Helen Cassini noted that the council had previously found the site acceptable for residential use and that there was no evidence the development would lead to a rise in crime.

Councillor Peter Hiller, the council’s cabinet member for housing and planning, who voted in favour of the HMO, said: “I said at the meeting I thought voting against our officers’ recommendation for this application was wrong and that the applicant had every right to appeal against it.

“Unusually it wasn’t a good decision by the then planning committee members but I hope, going forward, we now balance unqualified minority opinion correctly against sound planning policy, officers’ recommendations and common sense.”

Committee chair Cllr Chris Harper said residents were nervous about the development’s impact on their amenity in the early evening, adding: “Losing at appeal and incurring costs is highly regrettable and we will do everything possible to ensure the lessons that can be learnt from this experience are taken on board.”