GSP was initially instructed to address the planning committee and promote the case for a detached dwelling on garden land in a designated priority area for development.

After Councillors agreed with an officer recommendation of refusal, GSP was then instructed to challenge that decision at appeal.

The Inspector completely disagreed with the Council’s views on harm to the character of the area, noting that the house would be 27m from the street, discretely sited, obscured by 3 two-storey dwellings and in keeping. Dartford also unsuccessfully argued that this was not a suitable windfall site due to it being greenfield with poor accessibility. The Inspector noted it was within a built up area with 16 houses under construction almost adjoining the site that were deemed in accordance with the same development plan.

Regarding the vehicular access that would end up serving 4 dwellings, Kent County Council Highways argued that 43m by 2m sightlines were required. The Inspector said such requirements were associated with road junctions only. Kent County Council Highways also suggested that adjacent traffic calming would not slow speeds, which the Inspector labelled as an implausible proposition. They also failed to give weight to the proposed on-site turning and provided no evidence that the intensified existing access would adversely affect highway safety.

For these reasons costs were awarded against Kent County Council, whilst the Inspector also awarded costs against Dartford Council for inconsistent decision making.

The appeal was allowed and the client benefitted from a £100,000 uplift in the value of the land.

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