Council overruled as homes can be built on old pub car park

The Eagle Inn's former car park on Newport Road Eccleshall
The Eagle Inn's former car park on Newport Road Eccleshall -Credit:Google Street View

Proposals for two new homes on an Eccleshall pub's former car park have been approved by a planning inspector eight months after being rejected by Stafford Borough Council. Outline planning permission was given for the development on the land at Newport Road in 2020, but Stafford Borough Council turned down a reserved matters application last year after concerns were raised about its effect on neighbours.

Members voted to refuse permission because of fears the new properties would result in loss of daylight, shadowing and privacy issues for existing residents. A neighbour who spoke out on behalf of Spring Hollow residents against the detailed plans at the August meeting said they were objecting "because of the sheer scale and mass of these two houses in relation to our homes".

The site was previously used as a car park for the nearby Eagle Inn on Gaol Butts. The pub itself could also be converted into a house if a separate application, which came forward earlier this year, is approved.

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A report to the latest Stafford Borough Council planning committee meeting, which took place on Wednesday (May 1), included the decision notice for the appeal against members' refusal to grant permission for the detailed plans for the homes on the former car park. Planning inspector Paul Cooper allowed the appeal.

His decision notice stated: "I have noted the comments of third parties with regard to the scheme and find that the vast majority of the objections were dealt with at application stage, and no material harms were found with the exception of what eventually became the reason for refusal. I have no reason to question the judgement of the council on these other issues.

"Following that refusal, the appellant has commissioned a Daylight and Sunlight Report, which confirms that windows on the west elevation of (a neighbouring home) are non-habitable and therefore are not subject to assessment as per the council’s own design Supplementary Planning Document (the SPD) and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) guide Site Layout and planning for daylight and sunlight: a guide to good practice, which is recommended for use by the SPD.

"The rear garden of (the neighbouring property) is south facing, and the key plot, which is plot 2, is located on the north side of this rear garden. The properties were amended by negotiation in terms of height and width during the application process and the scheme passes the BRE “time in sun” test.

"Based on this evidence, the application plans and my site visit, I can find no conflict with policy."

Councillor Gareth Jones said: "I remember this application coming to the planning committee. There was quite a bit of local feeling against this development

"It was recommended for approval and after quite a considerable debate it was refused. I presume the inspector's judgement overrules that and it can go ahead, irrespective of local feeling."

Committee chairman Brendan McKeown said: "To some extent, the decision of the committee to refuse is vindicated a little bit in the report by the inspector. But he came down eventually on the side of the appellant."

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