TKP is pleased to have been successful at appeal for a new church and community building for St Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Church in Bristol. The appeal site is on the edge of Siston Common, an area of common land which is located to the west of Bristol Ring Road in South Gloucestershire local authority area. The appeal centred around the issue of the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area. The appeal site is a former farmhouse and yard, which are both currently vacant and unkempt.
The planning application had received local opposition and was refused by South Gloucestershire Council for failing to respect, reflect and be in-keeping with its proposed surroundings given the sensitive nature of the site on the edge of common land.
The proposal sought to retain the existing farmhouse, to demolish the existing commercial buildings to the rear and replace these with a new church and community building. Through the course of the application the appellant offered to dig down into the site by 2 metres to ensure that the ridge lines of the new building would not dominate the site. The Inspector welcomed this proposal.
TKP was instructed by the appellant following refusal of the application. Jonathan Adams, Senior Director at TKP recommended that Alex Fraser of AFLA produce a supporting Landscape Visual Impact Assessment to accompany the appeal to demonstrate that there would be no harm to visual amenity. The Inspector agreed that the impact would not harm the character and appearance of the area, stating:
“Though of a greater height and more visible than the buildings to be removed, the proposed building would be set into the ground. This would considerably reduce the visual prominence and bulk of the building as experienced from outside of the site. The building would not be seen in isolation but in close proximity to the farmhouse and also in the wider context of occasional development within the Common.”
The benefits that the church and community building would bring to the area and the alterations to the proposal as highlighted through TKP’s statement sought to ensure that the Inspector was assured that the appeal proposal would be acceptable.
Jonathan Adams said: “I am delighted that the church which serves the local community will have its own building.” Rachel Coles worked on the appeal and said “I am very pleased that the Inspector recognised the work that had been done to demonstrate that the building would be appropriate in this location.”.