An appeal against the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s refusal to allow offices at Stangate House , Stanwell Road, Penarth to be converted into residential accommodation has failed.
The scheme sought permission to convert the first and second floors of Nos 1-3 Stangate House, Stanwell Road Penarth, into 4 luxury apartments.
Stangate House is a 1980s office building and charity-shop complex and was built on the site of one of Penarth’s most spectacular churches – Christchurch United Reform Church.
The 1st and 2nd floors of the modern yellow-brick Stangate development – which was built on the site of Christchurch – currently comprise office suites. Under the rejected plans they would have been converted into 4 self-contained apartments. Off-road parking would be provided for 6 vehicles at the rear of the site.luxury
On the ground floor is a row of publicly subsidised charity shops which would remain in situ. These charity shops receive substantial discounts on their business rates although none of them produce any benefit to the economy of Penarth.
Penarth Town Council had originally made no objection to the proposed apartment conversion, but when the scheme was referred to the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning department it was turned down. One of the reasons for the refusal was that the proposed scheme to convert the upper floors to apartments failed to make “adequate provision of usable and private amenity space to serve the proposed conversion”
The second major reason the Vale Council gave for refusal is that turning the offices into apartments would result in “the loss of office accommodation, an existing employment premises without appropriate justification as to why this is no longer a viable or suitable proposition for office accommodation. ” The Vale Council said “The principle of the development is therefore considered unacceptable and detrimental to the provision of employment premises”
The developers appealed to the Planning Inspectorate in an effort to get the decision overturned – but they failed.
The inspector upheld the council’s views and stressed that the premises would not be suitable for accommodating families. He said “Many people who choose town and city centres to live do so as a lifestyle choice and are happy to forgo a garden for what they see as the benefits of urban living. In this case these two and three bedroom flats would be able to accommodate families and I consider that it is important for families with children to be able to enjoy a private and safe outdoor amenity space.
The inspector said “The Council’s Amenity Standards Supplementary Planning Guidance requires an area of 400m² to serve the proposed flats. As stated above, none would be provided. I consider that, as a consequence, prospective residents would not enjoy satisfactory living conditions with regard to private amenity space”