Broads Authority suffers “disappointing” year for planning appeals

PUBLISHED: 10:02 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:31 16 May 2018

Yare House on Thorpe Road, Norwich which is home to the Broads Authority. Picture: Simon Finlay

Yare House on Thorpe Road, Norwich which is home to the Broads Authority. Picture: Simon Finlay

The Broads Authority has suffered another “disappointing” year in regard to the number of planning appeals it has lost.

An annual review revealed half of all appeals made against the authority’s planning decisions in 2017/18 were successful.

Twelve months earlier in 2016/2017, four out of seven refusals made by the authority were overturned by a planning inspector.

A report which went before the Broad Authority’s planning committee in April said: “The appeals record 2017/18 is disappointing, and follows on from a similarly disappointing record in 2016/17.”

Decisions overturned last year include the authority’s refusal to allow part of a boathouse to be converted into accommodation.

Robert King, who owns King Line Cottages in Horning, sought permission to turn the first floor of a boathouse into accommodation for his manager.

But the authority refused the application, stating it contravened policy, while also questioning why the manager could not live elsewhere.

Mr King appealed the decision, and a planning inspector overturned the refusal in October last year.

layton Williams, manager of King Line Cottages, said the authority’s initial refusal almost resulted in Mr King selling the business.

“Robert and [his wife] Judith had had enough of it all and it was stressing them out,” Mr Williams said.

“We had 97 letters of support for the application, but the authority was hell bent on disallowing it.”

Of the six appeals against authority decisions between April 2017 and March 2018, three were allowed and three were rejected.

In 2016/17, four were allowed and three were dismissed.

A Broads Authority spokesman said there had been a change in approach from the planning inspectorate in 2016/2017, resulting in some “unexpected decisions”.

The spokesman said: “In one example the planning inspector concluded that the use of modern materials such as uPVC must be analysed in the context of the surrounding area.

“It is worth noting that the use of uPVC, and other non-traditional materials, does vary significantly across the Broads and using uPVC would not always be acceptable

“As a result of the evolution, planning committee concluded that it should take a more pragmatic approach when assessing planning applications, considering carefully the materials, design and whether there was an issue of ‘harm’

“Planning performance is assessed on the basis of speed and quality of decisions, and the Broads Authority consistently exceeds Government targets, placing the it in the top quartile.”

He added the authority provides free pre-application advice to help submissions meet the “high standards” required by planning policy.

“As a result, refusals of planning permission are unusual,” the spokesman said. “The authority has not received any new appeals since August 2017.”

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