Telford pub's bid to build homes refused
A Telford pub operator’s bid to build on a beer garden has been rejected by a planning inspector who called the planned homes “incongruous” and harmful to the area’s “open, spacious appearance”.
The Hare and Hounds, on Holyhead Road, Oakengates, has nearly an acre of land at the rear, and operator Punch Partnerships Ltd applied to build three detached two-storey homes there.
In a design statement, the company said the garden and play area was “over-large and poorly located” and a smaller replacement space could be provided at the front, but Telford and Wrekin Council planners refused permission last year.
Government-appointed planning inspector Rob Cooper dismissed Punch Partnerships’ appeal, upholding the authority’s decision.
In a Her Majesty’s Planning Inspectorate decision summary, Mr Cooper wrote: “The existing properties along Holyhead Road have direct access onto the street and have spacious gardens to the rear.
“The new dwellings would be positioned behind the building line and would not respect the existing linear pattern of development, appearing at odds with the surrounding properties.”
Despite being set back from the road, he said, the homes would be “prominent features” visible through the “wide spaces either side of the public house”.
He added: “Their appearance would not respect the context of the area and would appear incongruous.”
Mr Cooper wrote that the pub and nearby homes “have an open and verdant appearance attributed to the beer garden and the woodland to the rear”.
“The proposed dwellings would replace the beer garden and be positioned in front of the woodland,” he said.
“This would reduce the openness and the spacious appearance of the appeal site within the street.”
In its refusal notice, delivered in October, Telford and Wrekin Council said it opposed the development because of its effect on the character of the area. It also argued that a smaller beer garden would threaten the viability of the pub and that the planned parking provision was “unacceptable”.
While Mr Cooper backed the council on its first ground, it sides with the company on the other two.
He said there was “insufficient evidence” a smaller, relocated beer garden and play area would deter customers from visiting the pub “to such a degree that it would have a detrimental effect on its viability”.
He also noted that the existing car park provides 35 spaces and the company planned to reconfigure it and only lose six. He said there was “no evidence of existing parking issues in the area” and only one recorded accident since 2015.
“Therefore,” he wrote, “the proposal would not result in the displacement of on-street parking for adjacent residents or harm highway safety.”
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