The appeal site falls within an allocated housing site; on a brownfield site in an Opportunity Area. The Appellant’s evidence focused on the importance of optimising housing delivery on such sites and the benefits of the scheme, including its alleged high quality design and architectural treatment and the delivery of 50% affordable housing.
However, the Inspector found that the buildings would form a conspicuous mass that would be out of character with the existing and emerging areas around it, which were predominantly mid-rise with occasional accent buildings. The towers would compete with the Bromley by Bow District Centre without marking any community or civic functions; were not justified as way-markers and would disturb the logical hierarchy of places. The Inspector rejected the suggestion that the detailed architectural treatment would relieve the sense of mass, finding that the “rather dull brickwork” and subtle variations in colour, coupled with the largely unrelieved bulk and height would overwhelm any perception of delight or beauty in the detail at ground level. While the Appellant’s townscape and visual impact assessment had found no harm to the townscape, that was founded in part on the erroneous suggestion that the generally expected heights in the Local Plan and SPD were arbitrary. The Inspector concluded that the height and bulk of the development would overwhelm adjacent buildings and constitute a conspicuous and discordant element in the townscape.
He further found that the appeal scheme would also cause heritage harm; the proximity of some bedrooms to adjacent balconies would be intimidating and unacceptable; proposed areas of playspace would experience poor levels of sunlight and would be inappropriately separated from the dwellings; the servicing arrangements would give rise to the risk of conflict with pedestrians and cyclists; the use of the principal area of public realm as a public thoroughfare would negate any sense of community ownership.
A copy of the appeal decision can be found here.
Isabella Tafur acted for the London Legacy Development Corporation in resisting the appeal, instructed by Pinsent Masons.