Very special circumstances apply for new 254 homes on MOL
Planning permission has been granted at appeal for the Ian Ritchie Architects designed scheme on Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) at a site adjacent to Lower Sydenham station in LB Bromley. The appeal was led by Chris Young QC on behalf of our client and supported by Chris Francis of West & Partners, Lichfields, Montagu Evans (urban design context) and Paul Finch (architecture/design) and is a timely example of where “very special circumstances” have been demonstrated for new residential development on London’s MOL.
The Inspector found the design of the appeal scheme to be of the same exceptional quality as the previously approved 151 unit scheme and determined that, collectively, the scheme’s benefits would (again) clearly outweigh the harm identified to the MOL. The site had previously been used as a sports ground for employees of the former Dylon factory located on land adjacent to the site and since developed by Crest Nicholson with 233 homes as the ‘Dylon 1’ scheme designed by Ian Ritchie Architects.
The provision of 49 First Homes, the Government’s new ‘discount market sales housing’ product, was given substantial weight. This is the first approval of ‘First Homes’ affordable housing, to our knowledge.
The inspector gave significant weight to the proposed new high quality landscaped open space for public use adjacent to the Pool River; to the approach of increasing its environmental biodiversity and its economic benefits.
The decision, according to Lichfields, is also of interest given that the appeal was determined against the policies in the recently published new London Plan, incorporating changes directed by the SoS on optimising site capacity through a design-led approach (London Plan Policy D3), tall buildings (Policy D9) and allowing for situations where VSC can be demonstrated on MOL to ensure consistency with the NPPF (Policy G3).