A bird in the hand?

“In reaching my conclusion against the main issue I have taken into account that the proposal would create jobs, provide income and support a business.”

In a Manchester case (DCS Number 400-009-861) an inspector denied permission for a car showroom on a principal route into the city because it would harm the character and appearance of the area and prejudice the objectives of a regeneration masterplan. The site comprised two parcels of land adjacent to a hand car wash occupying a former petrol filling station. In the vicinity there was a mix of commercial uses, railway infrastructure and advertisement hoardings. Permission was sought for two years. Even in the context of a varied urban environment, the inspector decided, the layout of the site would lead to a poor quality form of development that would detract from the route to and from the city centre. Moreover, the site was bounded by a masterplan area which sought to deliver a programme of new housing, community facilities, highway improvements, landscaping, open space and infrastructure.

Presumably the appellants weren’t proposing to display Porsches but even so, the site was on a busy main road in a commercial area, it wasn’t in the regeneration area but next to it, and it was only a temporary permission that was being sought. The DCS team does wonder whether the bird in the hand really wasn’t worth the two in the bush that the regeneration plan might bring in this case. Perhaps there is an argument for saying that development might only be considered to prejudice a regeneration scheme when it is actually within the plan area.

The following DCP chapter is relevant: 4.1311

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