Council to pay costs over Harrogate office block conversion appeal
Nov 14, 2023
Simpson House off Clarence Drive in Harrogate.
Simpson House off Clarence Drive in Harrogate.

A developer has been awarded costs after successfully appealing a decision to convert a former Harrogate office block into flats.

Bramhope Property and Investments Limited tabled the proposal to North Yorkshire Council to convert the former office block off Clarence Drive known as Simpson House into 12 two-bedroom flats.

It would have seen the ground, first and second floors converted.

However, the authority rejected the plan in May this year on the grounds that the flats would not have enough natural light.

The developer took the decision to the government’s Planning Inspectorate, which deals with planning disputes.

As a result, government planning inspector, N Teasdale, approved the plans after finding “no substantive evidence to demonstrate that the rear of the building would be in near constant shade/stygian gloom”.

The inspector also awarded costs against the council in a decision notice published this month.

Mr Teasdale said:

“It is not unreasonable for the council to raise concerns about the management of the trees through the prior approval process and the impact of the trees on the proposed development which informed its decision given the close proximity of the trees.

“It is also not unreasonable for the council to raise concern regarding the contents of a technical study. However, the council’s officer report fails to provide justification for this particularly taking into account the overall methodology used and findings of the study. 

“No technical critique has been made of the submitted assessment to support their concerns and inaccurate assertions about the proposals impact were therefore made.”

The inspector found that “unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense” was demonstrated and awarded costs against the council.

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