A report on the potential use of the site was commissioned from
Dr Malcolm Bell of MB Planning & PROWS Ltd
His conclusion is that the land seems an
ideal site for an “outstanding” house, of exceptional quality or innovative nature.
The fact that the site is both in the Green Belt and the floodplain in his opinion makes it ideal for such development as they constitute the very special circumstances necessary to permit development on the site
Executive Summary (Extract from Planning Report March 2015)
E1. This is a unique site in the pressured south east of the country that is vacant, unused and degraded, and which should be brought into beneficial use.
E2. Having reviewed the range of uses, the site seems an ideal potential location for an “Outstanding House.” The full wording of the policy rule is given in paragraph 5.2 below but the principle is to encourage houses of “exceptional quality or innovative nature”.
E3. Given both recent cases in the law courts and examples of “Outstanding Houses” which I review below, the tests to be applied are established. I find this site to be one which contributes little to the Green Belt, one where the impact on the Green Belt would be limited and equally, one where the enhancement would be manifest. I can readily perceive that a skilled architect would be able to provide a design for an “Outstanding House” specific to the riverside setting which could constitute the “very special circumstances” necessary to permit such development on this site.
E4. One of the “very special circumstances” that the site offers is the possibility of a high quality home of “exceptional quality or innovative nature” to be built as an example of a construction designed specifically for the floodplain. This proposed development could be truly innovative by illustrating how a development can give rise to improvements in flood defence and control (see Annex E below).