The original plans, submitted and initially dismissed in 2015, proposed the demolition of Imperial House, a vacant former retail showroom with office space above, and construction of three towers of various heights – 16, seven and three storeys – in its place to house 81 flats and 815 square metres of office space.
After the proposal was dismissed a subsequent application, altered to lower the tallest tower's proposed height to 14 storeys, was accepted by the council. The appeal in question was therefore for permission to go ahead with the original 16-storey plan.
Inspector Elaine Worthington noted in her report that according to the London Plan, the appeal site falls within the Edgware Road ‘Corridor of Change’, where tall buildings (those of eight storeys and above) are likely to be allowed. The disagreement between the parties is not whether a tall building is suitable, but whether an extra two storeys on the highest tower would harm the appearance of the area or the living conditions of existing residents. Worthington observed that considering the proportion of the three towers to each other, adding two extra storeys would not diminish the “step-down” design of the development as a whole. A taller building would in fact integrate better with surrounding buildings of similar heights, therefore “respecting the local context”. The development's high-quality design would in fact increase the visual amenity of the area, in accordance with NPPF policy.
On the impact on living conditions of nearby residents, Worthington again noted the proportionally minor increase in height that two extra storeys would add compared with the already-approved 14 storeys, which “would not appear excessively dominant”. She also noted the formal agreement to include affordable housing provision within the appeal. Seeing no reason to refuse the plans, Worthington allowed the appeal.
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