he appeal site contained a three storey building that has been vacant since the end of 2020. The proposal would have replaced the existing industrial premises with a mixed residential and office building 10 storeys tall. The Inspector noted that, unlike housing sites which in theory can be provided anywhere, industrial sites are confined by commercial considerations and the built environment so that additional industrial capacity can only be sought on existing industrial sites. The Inspector therefore found that the proposal would have a significant adverse effect on the long-term protection and sustainable economic development of industrial employment land and attached significant weight to the policy conflicts identified. Despite the fact that the site had been actively marketed for over a year with no success, the Inspector rejected the Appellant’s arguments that industrial redevelopment could not be meaningfully and viably fulfilled at the site, with or without re-development including a residential element.
The Inspector also attached significant weight to the proposal’s conflict with design policies. Although the Appellant and the Council agreed that the quality of the townscape of the wider character area was low to very low, the Inspector considered the quality of the townscape in the immediately surroundings to be higher. At 10 storeys, the height and scale of the proposed building was found to be at odds with the surrounding area and to have a harmful effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area.
The Council did not have a 5YHLS, and the Inspector agreed with the Appellant that the proposal would not have an adverse effect on the future development and operation of the LSIS due to existing residential uses nearby. Nonetheless, the Inspector concluded that the adverse impacts of the proposal would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the NPPF as a whole, including policies to help create a strong and competitive economy and to achieve well-designed places.
A copy of the appeal decision can be found here.
Kate Olley acted for the London Borough of Ealing.