Pavilion (JS Bloor (Newbury) Ltd) Lose Appeal
Article by Claire French at www.getsurrey.co.uk
“Campaign group members in Molesey are “delighted” that a developer hoping to build 76 homes on a former cricket pitch has lost its appeal again.
JS Bloor (Newbury) Ltd was given a second chance at its appeal to build on land at the Pavilion Sports and Fitness Club in Hurst Lane, East Molesey, after a decision made during the first hearing was quashed by the High Court.
However, the Planning Inspectorate again ruled on Wednesday (July 31) that the development should not proceed because it would be “contrary to the development plan and national policy”.
Sharon Bolton, chairman of the Molesey Community Action Group, said: “We are naturally delighted by the decision delivered by the Planning Inspectorate. It is a fantastic result for Molesey and we are pleased common sense has prevailed.
“The group would like to thank everybody within the community who worked so hard to resist this application.”
The campaign group was formed to oppose the developer’s plan to build 76 one, two, three and four-bedroom houses and flats, with amenity space, parking, access and landscaping on the site.
In his report, inspector Lloyd Rodgers concluded by saying: “The proposed development would not enhance the local character of the area; would fail to protect and enhance the local landscape character or the setting of St Paul’s Church and would fail to enhance the public realm and street scene.
“The development would also fail to adequately mitigate the loss of existing outdoor sports facilities. The development would thus be contrary to both the development plan and national policy.
“Having had regard to all other matters before me, including the submitted conditions and the appellant’s concerns with the council’s approach to the proposal and the inquiry, I find nothing to materially alter that planning balance. I therefore conclude that the appeal must fail.”
During the second appeal hearing, held at the Esher civic centre in March, councillors from the north area planning sub-committee were called to give evidence explaining why they had rejected the application in February 2011.
Sub-committee members were left to explain their decision because the council’s planning officers had advised them to grant permission.
Cllr Ian T Donaldson, a member of the committee, said: “From a Molesey Residents’ Association point of view, it is a good result.”
In a separate blow, JS Bloor (Newbury) Ltd’s application for Elmbridge Borough Council to pay its legal fees was also turned down.
In July, the Surrey Advertiser reported that the authority was already expecting a bill of up to £100,000 for legal costs after the Planning Inspectorate ruled it had behaved “unreasonably” in its decision regarding one of the Jolly Boatman conditions.
Although developers are permitted to ask for costs when committees go against the advice of planning officers, Mr Rodgers said: “The council’s behaviour in this matter cannot be entirely without criticism.
However, on balance, the council has been able to substantiate its decision with evidence and I do not believe the appeal could have been avoided, nor do I believe the applicant has incurred unnecessary or wasted expense in the appeal process.”
The applicant could not be contacted for comment at the time of publication.”