Appeal to demolish Homebase and build a care home is rejected
- Credit: Archant
An appeal to demolish Homebase in Saffron Walden and redevelop the site to provide a care home has been rejected by the Planning Inspectorate, a decision welcomed by the town council.
The original planning application by Charterhouse Property Group Ltd, which bought the land for £1.8m in 2018, had been previously rejected by Uttlesford District Council.
A petition to keep the Elizabeth Way store raised almost 5,000 signatures and residents sent in around 800 letters of objection.
The appeal looked at whether the scheme would be an appropriate use of the site and the effect a care home would have on Elizabeth Close occupiers relating to outlook and privacy.
The Inspector said that while there would be social and economic benefits, they would be outweighed.
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The Inspector said the proposal was also in confict with the development plan as a whole.
Paul Gadd, leader of Saffron walden Town Council, was one of those who attended the appeal hearing and spoke for Homebase to be retained.
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He said: “I’m delighted by this news, and the fact that Homebase can remain in Saffron Walden.
“The Homebase site is unique in providing a relatively large retail and employment site close to the town centre and within easy walking distance for many people, and many residents have said how much they value Homebase.
“Saffron Walden Town Council has opposed this development since it was first proposed, and we have made detailed submissions in support of retaining the Homebase store, and the local employment it provides, when it was first considered by Uttlesford District Council and then by the Government Planning Inspector.
“Because of Covid, the appeal hearing was held online, and so we had our first experience of giving evidence and being cross-examined by video link.”
Councillor Gadd added: “Our congratulations go to both Uttlesford District Council and to Homebase for successfully defending the original planning decision to maintain the site for employment purposes, and to retain Homebase in Saffron Walden.”
The appeal decision paperwork said an application for costs against Charterhouse will be the subject of a separate decision.