WETHERSPOON’S LOSE GRAPE AND GRAIN APPEAL
Pub chain Wetherspoon’s have lost their appeal against a Bromley council planning committee decision to refuse permission for a single storey extension to the front elevation of the Grape and Grain public house at the top of Anerley Hill.
The report of the inspector who turned down the appeal says the main issue is the effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the host building and on the Crystal Palace Park Conservation Area in which the pub stands.
The bulk of the CA comprises the park itself as well as parts of the surrounding roads including Anerley Hill. The council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) for the CA divides it into four broad character areas: the park, the National Sports Centre, the Palace and the parkside Residences.
The latter includes a group of residential and commercial buildings on Anerley Hill, of a mid 19th Century date. The character and appearance of the area, including the CA, immediately surrounding the appeal site is mixed with differing building styles and materials.
The appeal building is a part two storey, part single storey public house located in a prominent roadside position close to a busy junction.
It has a pitched roof behind a raised parapet. It is flat fronted with the exception of two porches, one of which is located centrally within the two storey section of the building and contains three large, Georgian style sash windows at first floor.
The building adjoins and is set back from another, slightly lower commercial building with a similar roof form.
There is some speculation as to the age and origin of the appeal building and whether it incorporates elements of a former hotel on the site.
Irrespective of its origins and notwithstanding that it is not specifically mentioned within the Council’s SPG, it is an attractive building with a traditional appearance which in my view makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the CA.
Despite some low level boundary screening the building is visible from various vantage points in the immediate surrounding area.
“I note that the appeal site is in an accessible location within a district centre and that the extended public house would provide enhanced social and community facilities as well as short and long term employment opportunities.
“Additionally the proposed redevelopment of the public house would bring investment into the area.
“The appellant (Wetherspoon’s) also contends that the proposal would encourage linked trips and would enhance the vitality and viability of the district centre.
“Whilst I have had regard to the public benefits of the proposal, I do not consider that they are sufficient to outweigh the harm identified, particularly given that the site is already in use as a public house.
“I conclude that the proposal fails to preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area and that it is contrary to policies BE1 and BE11 of the London Borough of Bromley Unitary Development Plan, the Crystal Palace Park conservation area supplementary planning guidance and to relevant paragraphs of the framework.”
A Wetherspoon’s spokesman told News From Crystal Palace they were in the process of reviewing the appeal decision.