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Large Scale Office to Housing Redevelopment Scheme Refused

George Mackenzie

Following a public inquiry in July, a planning inspector has dismissed a s. 78 appeal brought by British Telecoms and Telereal Trillium against Canterbury City Council in respect of a scheme involving the comprehensive redevelopment of a part-used telephone exchange and office building in the city centre.

The Inspector found that the demolition of Becket House would be contrary to local and national policy. In particular he found that there would be “strong economic reasons” why the loss of the office space in question would be inappropriate, and accordingly the scheme did not benefit from the presumption in para. 51 of the NPPF. He agreed with the Council that the appellants had not demonstrated that it would not be viable to retain some office use of the site.

The Inspector also found that the proposed design of the principal replacement building would be materially worse than the existing building, and as a result would cause harm to two conservation areas and a number of listed buildings within them. That harm was not outweighed by the public benefits of providing housing in the area because of the economic harm that the loss of the office space would cause.

The decision can be read here.

George Mackenzie acted for Canterbury City Council.