Victory for campaigners as appeal for Patcham homes is dismissed
Campaigners are celebrating after a controversial plan for 44 assisted living apartments in Patcham was turned down at appeal.
The planning inspector Kate Child published the decision on Monday, and said she was refusing permission for McCarthy and Stone’s proposed development because of its impact on the character and appearance of the area.
The developer sought to demolish five homes off Old London Road and replace them with a three storey building. McCarthy and Stone launched an appeal after the council did not determine the planning application in time - although its planning committee later voted to oppose the application.
Protect Patcham, a residents’ group which rallied against the plan, had concerns about flood risks, as well as the effect on the area. The group came out in force at the public inquiry in June.
The planning inspector concluded that the proposals were ‘acceptable in terms of flood risk and drainage, but there would be material harm to the character and appearance of the area’.
Alistair Elliott, the lead campaigner for Protect Patcham, said: “It is fantastic that the Patcham we know and love has been saved by this decision. We all moved to Patcham attracted by its special character and community atmosphere. I have learnt first hand over the past 18 months how strong that community spirit is, and how deeply people love and care about Patcham, sometimes to the point of tears.
"It has been very humbling for those of us living next door to the development that people living further afield in Patcham and beyond cared enough to write and object, and to come to the public inquiry. I did not have to persuade anyone to object to the plans - people were angry enough to object off their own backs, all I did was remind people of the address and the deadlines.”
Geoffrey Theobald, the Conservative ward councillor for Patcham, said: “This is a victory for common sense and a victory for the residents of Patcham. Everybody has fought hard over the years to prevent this development that would have completely ruined the essence of the village. I can’t thank the campaigners and residents enough for their effort and contribution in achieving this outcome.”
Lee Wares, also a Conservative ward councillor for Patcham and a member of the planning committee, said: “I’m delighted that the inspector concurred with the committee that unanimously voted against the proposal.
"I’m delighted for residents who have had the worry of this development for years and I hope that McCarthy and Stone now call it a day. I can’t think of a worse location for the development that simply had no sympathetic thought given to the character and way of life in Patcham Village.”