Car and cycle parking provision was a key issue. Credit: via Churchill

Churchill beats York at appeal

The retirement living provider is now preparing to start work on a 45-apartment scheme in Wigginton, and was also awarded partial costs by a Planning Inspector.

Churchill Retirement Living said that its development, at 11 The Village in Wigginton, will “bring a thriving new community to the heart of town, contributing around £350,000 a year to the local economy and supporting around 90 jobs both during and after construction”.

York refused the scheme last year. In an appeal decision notice following the May public inquiry, the government’s Planning Inspector Dr Rachel A Bust dismissed objections to the plans and awarded partial costs to Churchill against the City of York Council.

Demolition of buildings on the site can now begin. A key part of the decision was based around car and cycle parking and highway safety concerns, on which the Inspector ruled decisively in the applicant’s favour.

In the planning balance section of the Inspector’s report, it is noted that the area cannot currently demonstrate a five-year housing supply, a factor to which weight is given.

The appeal for costs was made within the course of the public inquiry, which was held in May. Churchill contended that in refusing consent, the council had behaved unreasonably, resulting in unnecessary expenditure, a point opposed by the local authority.

Agreeing that the evidence put forward by York on highways and transport issues as a reason for refusal was flawed, the Inspector ruled that the council should pay Churchill’s costs relating to that area.

In the appeal decision notice, Bust stated: “There is a range of benefits arising from the appeal scheme including: the provision of 45 units of specialist housing for older persons for which there is a critical need, and the proposal would make more effective use of land within a settlement with good accessibility to services and facilities.

“In addition, future occupiers would have the opportunity to support these services and facilities which is good for the economy and society as well as their own well-being.”

Facilities will include a communal owners’ lounge, a guest suite, a lodge manager, and a 24- hour emergency call alarm service.

Stuart Goodwill, managing director of Churchill’s planning consultancy Planning Issues,  said: “This is a very positive result and we will now look forward to starting work on this new development in Wigginton.

“Retirement housing is shown to be the most effective form of residential development for generating local economic growth, supporting local jobs, and increasing high street spend.

“The new apartments will also help improve the health and wellbeing of those who live there, and meet the housing needs of many older people in Wigginton and the surrounding area.”

The Section 106 agreement calls for various contributions to be madfe by the developer, chief among them £250,000 to off-site affordable housing, given the lack of such within the proposed scheme.

In her conclusion, Bust summed up: “I recognise that this outcome will be disappointing to those opposing the development. However, the views of local people, very important though they are, must be balanced against other considerations.”

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