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Appeal Dismissed on Design Grounds

David Graham

An appeal by Zed Homes Limited against the London Borough of Harrow in respect of an application for part-4, 5 and 6-storey mixed-use development including 57 apartments, porter’s unit and commercial floorspace has been dismissed by the Secretary of State’s inspector Mr Matthew Birkinshaw in a decision dated 10 January 2018, following a five-day public inquiry.   The proposal was to create a ‘gateway building’ at the edge of the District Centre, of striking angular modern design with zinc cladding.  It was advanced on the basis that it would be consistent with the emerging London Plan’s aspirations for higher-density housing schemes in district centre locations.  The local authority had refused permission for reasons including poor design, inadequate sunlight and daylight levels for occupiers of the development or adjacent premises, and overlooking/loss of privacy.  At the inquiry, detailed evidence on the application of guidance on planning for sunlight and daylight was heard. 

The inspector found that the development would be  ‘out of place on the appeal site’ and its ‘incongrous size and scale would not be mitigated by the modern design, variations in the elevations, use of materials or landscaping’.  He found that the development would exacerbate the ‘already poor’ levels of daylight of neighbouring flats; that their ‘loss of privacy would be harmful’ and ‘[e]xpecting residents to rely on the use of net curtains does not represent an adequate approach to mitigation’.  As regards the new accommodation, he found unacceptable outlook in 5 of the new flats (obstructed by boundary features and protected trees), and that ‘60% of dwellings…would not receive adequate sunlight’.  The inspector stated, ‘“The commitment to increased housing supply in London must not be met at the expense of quality’.

David Graham represented the successful local authority.

The ceicision can be found here.