St Neots flat scheme given green light after appeal
08:55 22 January 2013
PLANS to turn offices into flats has been given the go ahead on appeal.
D Davey and Sons Ltd’s proposal to turn four office suites in St Neots Road, Eaton Ford, into two one-bedroom and two two-bedroom flats was turned down by Huntingdonshire District Council last July on the grounds that it could not support the loss of employment premises and that parking arrangements would result in an unsatisfactory living environment.
Barford and Co, acting on behalf of D Davey and Sons, appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, which on January 7, decided to overturn the decision and ordered HDC to pay costs.
John Felgate, planning inspector, said: “The council’s concern relates to the loss of employment capacity in the appeal building and the possible consequences on the local economy. However, from the evidence available, it appears that there is a substantial amount of vacant office space in the district.”
A spokesman for HDC said: “The council is committed to the delivery of opportunities for employment, as well as new housing, and is disappointed with the inspector’s conclusions. Available employment sites are essential if the local economy is to prosper.
“The policy at the centre of the appeal sought to safeguard existing employment sites outside industrial estates, which often provide opportunities for smaller and new enterprises.
“The inspector’s view was that national planning policy does not give any protection to sites such as these. Regrettably, this decision is likely to lead to a reduction in the number and variety of employment premises in the district in the future.”