SOLIHULL council has been forced to pay costs to a couple who won an appeal over permission refused for three new homes.
Mr and Mrs Doogood submitted a planning application in April 2019, for three bungalows on the site of a detached house in Shirley.
After members of the Solihull planning committee rejected their outline application for the development at 19 Nebsworth Close last year, Mr and Mrs Doogood appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.
An inspector’s review found Solihull Council had been ‘unreasonable’ in its decision – officers had said the plan ‘failed to conserve and enhance local character,’ and was in an ‘unsustainable location.’
The borough now stands to reimburse the applicants for money lost in the appeal.
Informing committee members of the appeal loss at a meeting on Tuesday (July 22), council development manager Kim Allen said: “This application provides a significant decision the council needs to take note of.
“It was a proposal submitted in outline, seeking access as the only unreserved matter. The development sought the principle for three bungalows on the site.
“It was refused for two reasons, firstly for being in conflict with a policy which deals with accessibility, and second for being in conflict with a policy which deals with design.
“The council lost both decisions as in terms of access it had been incorrectly added, because there was only a net increase of two units where the policy states clearly it refers to three.
“Secondly the design reasons would have been reserved and would have come back to members to consider through reserved matters.
“We lost the appeal and the inspector has given the applicant full costs, which we are currently negotiating.”
In their appeal, Mr and Mrs Doogood and their agent Fisher German claimed the council had relied on ‘an incorrect interpretation’ of policy in finding that the proposal was in an unsustainable location.
They also said opposition to the bungalow’s design went beyond the scope of an outline application.
A spokeswoman for Fisher German told the Observer: “We are pleased with the outcome of the appeal. The proposals for the property accorded with local and national planning policy and the reasons the planning committee offered for the initial refusal would have been addressed through the reserved matters application.
“As such we see it as the right result and the property can now be sold as a very attractive development site for the creation of no more than three houses.