Bell Cornwell has successfully overturned the refusal of planning permission for the erection of a new self-storage unit in Southend-on-Sea for Lok ‘n Store Limited.
The application site is situated on a main route into Southend, within an Employment Area adjacent to the recently demolished Ekco industrial premises (formerly the home of Access and Barclaycard). The application involved the demolition of a redundant car sales & MOT premises and its replacement by a modern self-storage building with a ground floor area of 1722m² and an overall height of 14.70m.
The planning application was recommended for approval by the Planning Officers at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, but permission was refused by the Planning Committee members, principally because the site lies in the vicinity of a Scheduled Ancient Monument (Prittlewell Priory) and the burial site of a Saxon King, whose existence had been recently revealed by Channel 4’s Time Team, so was a relatively high profile location in the minds of local residents.
The two issues at the appeal were:
At the appeal hearing, Bell Cornwell was ably supported by their client, the scheme’s architect – TS Design Group of Southampton – and Wessex Archaeology, who carried out the Time Team excavation work on the burial site.
The appeal Inspector comprehensively rejected the reasons for refusal cited by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. On the visual impact issue, he concluded that the proposed self-storage building would befit this important location and as the first re-development on the larger Ekco site would accord with the aims of the Council’s adopted development plan policy for the regeneration of a designated Employment Area.
On the archaeology issue, the Inspector considered that the value of the heritage asset (the burial mound) was somewhat diminished by the noise and proximity of the main road, and in that context the erection of the new self-storage building – views of which would be filtered by existing trees and other vegetation – was not so close as to cause harm to its character or setting.