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Planning inspector rejects Stoney Street restaurant scheme

A plan for a restaurant and nine flats in Stoney Street has been rejected because it would have "unacceptable effects on the historic environment".

Planning inspector rejects Stoney Street restaurant scheme
A developer's proposal for the last remaining portion of the Pontifex Warehouse has been vetoed by a planning inspector.

An appeal against Borough & Bankside Community Council's decision to refuse planning permission was heard last month at the Town Hall by planning inspector Tim Wood.

The Planning Inspectorate published Mr Wood's decision on Friday afternoon.

St John's Heritage Developments intended to demolish a former fruit packing warehouse and replace it with new five storey building containing a restaurant on two floors and nine flats.

The scheme was designed by Borough-based Malcolm Pawley. Opposition tof the development was led by local resident Graham Morrison of leading architectural practice Allies and Morrison.

The site, between Evans Granary and Le Pain Quotidien in Blows Yard, has frontages on both Stoney Street and Winchester Square.

The main issues at the hearing were the effects of the design and materials, the effects of servicing on the living conditions of residents and whether a restaurant would give rise to unacceptable levels of noise and disturbance.

In commenting on the double height glazing at the lower level, the inspector says: "The impression would be of alternating vertical bands of brick and glazing, rather than the 'punched hole' effect of fenestration found in the original warehouses and to some extent replicated on later additions such as the adjacent Evans Granary."

In his view the large areas of unbroken glazing were at odds with important elements of local buildings.

In turning to the Winchester Square elevation, he concludes: "I find that the same criticisms still apply."

"The proposed design of the building would fail to respect the important and positive elements of buildings within the conservation area. The proposal would fail to either preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area."

However, the inspector says that he sees "nothing of intrinsic merit in the existing building".

The inspector also found that the effects of servicing and issues of noise and disturbance could be mitigated by imposing conditions on future planning permission for the site.

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