Taunton & Deane Borough Council
Bell Cornwell stepped in after a call-in inquiry had resulted in the refusal of planning permission for the ‘residential enabling development’ associated with Sandhill Park - a Grade II* listed building and parkland on the ‘Buildings at risk’ register. The project required new thinking following the Secretary of State’s intervention.
The decision letter was analysed for positives and negatives and then, before any new application was considered, Bell Cornwell ensured that discussions were held with GOSW to ascertain the important national policy that was at issue.
Having established that, a new application was formulated after first examining the alternatives for the building and site that might have made up the ‘conservation deficit’ in another way.
The scheme required planning and economic viability to move forward hand in hand. New ideas were needed to consider what public benefit could accrue from an enabling development approval on the site. Deliverability of those benefits was important and was the subject of negotiation with English Heritage lawyers based on their latest enabling development principles to be secured in a S106 agreement.
The scheme was resubmitted and taken through local committee successfully. The scheme was again sent to GOSW for possible call-in however Bell Cornwell submitted reasons why there were no more than local matters of relevance on this occasion. GOSW agreed and the scheme was not called in.
The project is now free to move forward without any further intervention necessary. The project showed the importance of covering all possible alternatives and securing public benefit if PPG15 ‘enabling development’ is to be relied upon.