Planners press developer to include lift in Verwood scheme
A RESPECTED developer has been accused of 'spoiling the ship for haporth of tar' and advised that it should be ashamed of itself for proposing a three story block of flats with no lift or acceptable disabled access.
Amended plans for the development in Peel Close, Verwood, by BDW Southampton (Barratt Homes) of the 29 flats east of a larger flat scheme known as 'The Herons' came before East Dorset District Council's planning committee on Tuesday, where members were told that construction had already started on the site in accordance with the original planning permission granted on appeal some years ago.
They were also told that the absence of a lift in the revised scheme was not grounds for refusal.
Development control manager Neil Lancaster said: A number of objections have been raised by local residents who consider that this is a retrograde step; officers concur with this view. But whilst officers might consider the loss of a lift a retrograde step, there is no requirement under the Building Regulations to provide a lift."
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Members agreed they were minded to refuse because of diminished overall design quality, but also agreed to defer their decision in the light of their concerns for discussions between the applicants and planning officers in a bid to improve the scheme.
Councillor Toni Coombs said: "It is a very prominent site and needs a quality design. This is a dumbed down scheme, and The Herons will be a constant reminder of how it has been dumbed down."
Councillor Robin Cooke said: "I find it very hard that a developer of this standing would want to leave out a lift. It is spoiling the ship for a ha'porth of tar."
Councillor Spencer Flower said: "I don't like the redesign, and I understand we are constrained, but the company claims to be a five star house builder and should be ashamed of themselves in excluding certain parts of our community from the opportunity to purchase a property.
"The inadequate provision for the disabled is very short-sighted of them.
"We should defer to see if they will do the decent thing by including a lift and improving the design."
The committee had been warned that refusal of the application and issuing a stop notice on the works already begun could result in high cost to the council if it were approved on appeal.