Every cloud….

….has a silver lining. We are aware that, following the retirement of a number of senior inspectors, PINS’ statistics have not been looking that great recently, particularly with regard to inquiries and hearings. However, whilst it might now take an age to get an appeal decided the upside is that the new, young and hip Inspectorate appears to have a somewhat more modern outlook, as evidenced by a recent appeal decision in Bedford (DCS Number 400-016-143).

In this case an inspector sanctioned the retention of two Blues Brothers statues on a bar in the town’s conservation area, determining that there should always be a place for the unexpected provided it does not cause harm to its surroundings. He acknowledged that Paragraph 67 of the NPPF makes it clear that poorly placed advertisements can have a negative impact on the appearance of the built and natural environment. He held, however, that the statues were not disproportionately large and would not unacceptably clutter the building. They had been positioned symmetrically in a way that corresponded with the ground floor windows and, along with their neutral colouring, this helped to reduce their visual presence, he judged.

The inspector accepted that the statues were unusual, perhaps quirky features. He also accepted that the Blues Brothers, as far as he was aware, have no historical association with Bedford. Nonetheless, he found a tenuous connection given the premises appeared to be a popular music and entertainment venue. He considered that the statues did not meaningfully obstruct views of the host building or fetter one’s appreciation of the wider conservation area or the setting of nearby listed buildings. He concluded that they should be allowed to stay.

The following DCP section is relevant: 30.0332

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