Value House Stores, Mandeville Road, Chickerell, Weymouth
Boon Brown was instructed to secure full planning permission for residential redevelopment of this 1.8 hectare brownfield site on the edge of Weymouth. The site occupies a challenging location in planning terms, being located outside of the Development Boundary of the West Dorset Local Plan where the principle of development is not normally accepted, and a visually sensitive position within the Heritage Coast and close to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
To further complicate matters, a previous appeal decision dismissed in 2004 had judged the site to occupy an unsustainable location and that its redevelopment for residential use was harmful to local rural character.
Another substantial matter to grapple with was the loss of the existing use for employment purposes and community benefit as a retail facility.
Boon Brown embarked on a prolonged process of pre-application discussions with the Local Planning Authority over a period of 18 months, the fundamental aim of which was to demonstrate that our detailed design proposals for the site resulted in significant betterment to the landscape character of the area. This was demonstrated as the design evolved through a number of iterations and supported by a Landscape Visual Impact Assessment and verified images undertaken by external consultants under the project management of Boon Brown.
A significant amount of pre-application consultation was also undertaken with stakeholders from the local community, including the town council, district councillors, community association and local residents. However, the underlying tone from the local community was one of considerable opposition.
The formal planning submission for 37 No. dwellings was supported by a comprehensive suite of supporting documents and evidence to justify the proposals in the context of the Development Plan and other material planning considerations.
At the time of submission West Dorset District Council could not demonstrate a deliverable 5-year supply of housing land. As such, the NPPF: Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development was invoked. During the application process that followed the Local Planning Authority were convinced by the arguments put forward by the Boon Brown Planning Team, on application of the ‘planning balance’, that the considerable benefits of the scheme outweighed the disadvantages. Accordingly the Local Planning Authority ultimately recommended approval.
On consideration by West Dorset District Council Planning Committee, and in the face of many objecting members of the public, the decision to approve the application was almost unanimous. Only the Ward Member was a lone voice in dissent.