The North Wales housebuilder and its adviser Turley have won their appeal against the refusal of consent for 160 homes at the Liverpool site, with the lack of a five-year housing supply among the factors cited.
The proposal was refused planning permission by the city council in December 2016 due to its impact on wildlife, loss of trees and the adverse impact on the setting of the grade two-listed priory and the associated lodge building. The application had faced weighty opposition, with five petitions submitted, along with 194 objections from individuals and businesses.
The inquiry opened on 3 October last year and was closed in writing on 7 December. Two site visits were made.
Matt Grayson, Redrow spokesman, told Place North West: “We’re aware of the independent Planning Inspector’s decision. We know there will remain strong opinions, from all perspectives, regarding Allerton Priory. Our aim is to bring much-needed quality homes and jobs to the area.”
The main issues set out by Planning Inspector Olivia Spencer were the impact on the setting of the priory and lodge, both designed by noted 19th century architect Alfred Waterhouse, along with effect on the boundary wall, ecological impact, the impact on the Calderstones/Woolton ‘green wedge’ and the five-year supply of housing.
The Inspector noted that although the proposal would introduce housing, road and domestic gardens into an agricultural landscape, changing its character, “I conclude that the harmful effect on the significance of the listed buildings would be less than substantial”.
The submitted Section 106 proposal includes repair work to the boundary wall, regarded by the Inspector as a non-designated heritage asset, so that its effect on the boundary wall is considered overall to be beneficial.
Likewise, although the scheme would have an ecological impact, it was considered that the land management proposals, including the retention of mature woodland and the planting of open areas and off-site mitigation, would not adversely disrupt ecological networks. As far as the green wedge is concerned, “very little harm” would be caused by the scheme.
With delivery of housing as patchy in recent years in Liverpool as most locations, the establishment if a five-year supply is an inexact science, and the council and the appellant both agreed slippage from consented sites should be taken into account, although the rate of slippage was disputed.
Spencer’s conclusion that the “council can at best demonstrate only a 4.6 year supply of deliverable housing sites, with a reasonable likelihood that the actual supply is somewhere closer to 4 years” could have consequences for other sites.
One of the factors given considerable weight by the Inspector was Liverpool’s need for more “quality family homes” of the type proposed here, Spencer said.
She concluded: “The adverse impacts of granting permission would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in the framework as a whole. Accordingly the presumption in favour of sustainable development weighs in favour of the proposal.”
A Liverpool City Council spokesman told Place North West: “The council has been informed of the decision and is currently assessing its options.”
Sam Ryan, director at Turley, said: “This is an important appeal decision that emphasises the importance of ensuring local authorities provide a diverse mix of housing. The lack of good quality family housing has long been recognised as a significant issue in Liverpool.
“The Inspector gave substantial weight to this, and also agreed with the appellant’s case that the city is unable to demonstrate a deliverable five-year housing land supply. The benefits of the scheme, which also included the provision of a large area of public open space and improvements to an extensive boundary wall, secured the permission in the highly protected Green Wedge.”