Planning matters

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Leeds General Infirmary - a suitable case for treatment?
Redeveloping one of the UK’s most renowned hospital sites was always going to be challenging, especially when the entirety of the historic core, including subsequent monstrosities from the 1960s, are all Grade I listed. But this was the task which faced Lichfields when Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust asked us to advise on the redevelopment scheme for Leeds General Infirmary. Leeds General Infirmary was first listed at Grade I on 8 October 1970 - and rightly so. The original hospital was constructed on Great George Street in 1864-8 to designs by the prolific and celebrated architect George Gilbert Scott and was one of the earliest large-scale ‘pavilion plan’ hospitals in the UK. Modelled on the Lariboisière Hospital in Paris, Florence Nightingale, amongst others, is cited as having contributed to its design. South elevation of Leeds General Infirmary showing pavilion wings by George Gilbert Scott and George Corson A common issue with buildings that were listed a long time ago, such as the Infirmary, is that what exactly is and is not listed can be difficult to determine. Early list entries are not accompanied by a map showing the boundary of the listed building and often the descriptions are very brief. Legally there are further complications to add to the mix. According to the relevant legislation all buildings and structures that are attached to the listed building or any detached buildings within the curtilage (a complex idea which has generated many legal bills) that pre-date 1948 are covered by the listing. What this meant for Leeds General Infirmary was that, regardless of its architectural or historic interest, every building or extension within the historic core could be seen and treated as though it were Grade I listed. This is a designation which is wildly inappropriate for the majority of the site and would severely stifle any opportunities for demolition or alteration. Just think of all the listed building consent applications we would need to produce! But why shouldn’t all of it be listed? - As with most hospital buildings, the Infirmary has been extended and altered incrementally over the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries to meet the growing and changing demands of the city. Scott’s original hospital features a palatial Gothic Revival style exterior and innovative form which reflected the latest medical theory and practice at that time: its five long ward wings connected via a central core allowed for cross ventilation and inhibited the airborne spread of infectious diseases. George Corson facilitated the hospital’s first phase of expansion, adding a sixth pavilion wing, grand Outpatients’ Hall and mortuary (1892) which closely imitated Scott’s ornate Gothic Revival style. Later additions saw the introduction of the King Edward VII Memorial Building (1918), the Brotherton Wing (1940) and Wellcome and Martin Wings (1961), as well as various Nurses’ Homes, to name a few. In recent years the historic core has seen even more subdivision and infill and what we see today is an agglomeration of buildings and extensions that are unattractive and conceal many parts of Scott’s and Corson’s early designs. In order to address this issue, Lichfields advised the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to apply for a Listing Enhancement through Historic England’s Enhanced Advisory Service. This was recently introduced following the 2013 amendment to Section 1(5) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 which has allowed new list entries to determine the full extent of protection through listing (removing the issue of curtilage and attachment) and to identify on a statutory basis, features of a listed building which do not contribute to its special interest. Following this advice, we put together the application which included our own Heritage Assessment of the Leeds General Infirmary site, identifying how it has changed and developed over time, the significance of its various constitutive parts and how they contribute to the significance of the complex as a whole. Our submission included a detailed phasing plan and a plan illustrating what we believed should be the extent of the Grade I designation, as well as areas that we considered should be designated at lower grades: and it’s fair to say we gave it a serious nip and tuck! – focussing the designation around the most notable 19th century elements of the Infirmary and excluding all of the remaining buildings within the historic core. Plan illustrating the main architectural phases of the Infirmary’s historic core The outcome was enormously successful. Historic England endorsed our assessment and the list entry has been updated accordingly. The Grade I designation now focuses solely on George Gilbert Scott’s original Infirmary and George Corson’s additional pavilion wing. Corson's Outpatients' Department is listed under a separate designation at Grade II and the remainder of the site is unlisted. This has given the Trust the much-needed clarification that they were hoping for, smoothing the path to redevelopment of the hospital and its historic core. With these revised listings, discussions regarding heritage impact can be far more focused and there is now a much clearer opportunity for exploring redevelopment approaches which are both flexible and sensitive to the historic buildings. The video below shows the current redevelopment scheme brought to life. This illustrates the level of transformation that Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS can hope to achieve and, more broadly, the positive outcome of engaging with heritage professionals as early in the design process as possible. Lichfields is delighted to be part of this exciting and important scheme, one that will help to achieve a transformation of patient healthcare within Leeds, as well as regenerating such an important historic site in the city centre. More information on future redevelopment at Leeds General Infirmary can be found on the Trust’s website.

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Catesby Estates Ltd vs Steer

Catesby Estates Ltd vs Steer

George Fennell 02 Nov 2018
This summer’s legal highlight: confirmation of the best practice approach to assessing the effects of development on the setting of heritage assets This summer, as planning professionals in England were holding their breath for the publication of the final version of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), a high-profile decision with implications for planners, heritage consultants and developers was handed down. Catesby Estates Ltd v. Steer [2018] confirmed the established approach to assessing the effect of proposed development on the setting of heritage assets, providing useful guidelines for practitioners to be applied in similar cases, and bringing to an end a lengthy and complex legal challenge that involved three rounds of appeals and legal challenge in the courts. Here is a summary of the key stages that led to the final outcome. The site and heritage assets The appeal site in question comprises farmland located 1.7km to the south-east of the Grade I listed Kedleston Hall and about 550m from the Grade I listed Kedleston Hall Registered Park and Garden and the Kedleston Conservation Area. Kedleston Hall is a Neo-classical, Georgian country house which features Robert Adam interiors. The site formed part of the land owned by Sir Nathaniel Curzon, the first Lord Scarsdale who began rebuilding the manor house and laying out the park in 1761. Originally, the site had views of the park, and the park had views of Kedleston House and also of Derby. However, a screen of trees (the ‘Derby Screen’) was planted in the 1960s to block views from the house towards Derby, as the city expanded to the north-west. Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire (credit: Hans A. Roshbach; Wikimedia) The original application and first appeal under Section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Catesby Estates Ltd applied for planning permission in 2015 for a development comprising up to 400 new homes and a convenience store on a farmland site. Objectors to the original application held that the appeal site was within the setting of Kedleston Hall and Kedleston Park, due to the historic connections between the two and the farmland within the estate. The application was refused by Amber Valley Borough Council, for a series of reasons including: A presumption against planning permission being granted due to less than substantial harm to heritage assets with the highest level of protection; Development resulting in ‘significant detrimental changes to the landscape character and setting, visitor and visual experience across the largely unaltered historical estate’s farmland landscape’ and the application site being particularly sensitive ‘in landscape and historic environment terms due to it being located within an area of primary and secondary multiple environmental sensitivity’; and The development causing ‘less than substantial irreversible and irreplaceable harm’ to the significance of the Grade I Registered Park and Garden and Grade I Kedleston Hall, as well as the Kedleston Conservation Area, as a result of the setting impacts, which was contrary to national planning policy; this harm was not outweighed by the public benefits of the proposal. Catesby Estates lodged an appeal, officially starting the three-year long challenge of the decision. An Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State allowed the planning appeal (August 2016), concluding that the proposed development would not cause harm to the significance of Kedleston Hall, and would cause ‘only very modest harm to the significance of the Registered Park and the Conservation Area’. The Inspector concluded that ‘even if the Derby Screen were removed or opened out, the harm to the significance of the Hall would be very limited indeed and the harm to the Park still no more than modest’. The appeal was allowed in August 2016. Kedleston Hall, the ‘Derby Screen’, and the site of the proposed development off Kedleston Road in red (credits: Google maps) The second appeal: the legal challenge of the appeal decision in the High Court Local resident and member of the Kedleston Voice campaign group Peter Steer challenged this decision in the High Court in 2016; Historic England, the National Trust and the Gardens Trust were also among the appeal objectors. In June 2017, Lang J. upheld Steer’s challenge, as she considered that the Inspector had failed to focus on the ‘historic social and economic connections’ between the listed building and the development site. Accordingly, Lang J. concluded that the Inspector had used an unlawfully narrow definition of setting in his decision, as he had only focused on the visual connection between the site and the building. She quashed the planning permission. The third (and final) appeal: the High Court ruling is challenged in the Court of Appeal, the planning appeal decision is reinstated and permission is granted Now, back to summer 2018. Lang J’s judgment was overturned by the Court of Appeal in July this year, re-instating the Inspector’s decision from August 2016. Specifically, Lindblom L.J. concluded that the Inspector had not erred in law when making his decision, and had not ‘adopted a narrow interpretation of setting’, as he had properly considered both visual effects as well as the historic, social and economic relationship between the site and Kedleston Hall. The outcome: implications for practitioners The Court of Appeal ruling sets out three general principles that practitioners, planners, and affected stakeholders should bear in mind when considering the setting of a listed building: The decision-maker must understand the setting of a listed building, even if ‘…its extent is difficult or impossible to delineate exactly…’, in order to make a measured judgment on whether a development will affect it; Each case should be taken on its own individual merits and qualities: ‘None of the relevant policy, guidance and advice prescribes for all cases a single approach… nor could it […] It may be that the site of the proposed development, though physically close to a listed building, has no real relationship with it and falls outside its setting, while another site, much further away, nevertheless has an important relationship with the listed building and is within its setting…’; and All decisions on setting are matters for the decision-maker, not the courts, unless there has been a clear error of law. Within this principle and referencing previous case law, Lindblom L.J. also specified that the preservation of heritage assets is still of utmost importance; ‘… “considerable importance and weight” must be given to the desirability of preserving the setting of a heritage asset’. The assessment of the effect on setting has once again been firmly placed with the decision-maker; it is also confirmed that the consideration of what the setting of a heritage asset is (and therefore the potential for a development to affect it) should be based on a case-by-case assessment, where visual effects are considered alongside other factors, such as historic association (where relevant). This is already best-practice, which this latest Court of Appeal judgement has confirmed. [1] Outline application for the erection of up to 400 dwellings (Use Class C3), convenience store (Use Class A1 up to 500 sqm floorspace) with associated access, earthworks and other ancillary and enabling works. All other matters (appearance, landscaping, layout and scale) reserved [Amber Valley BC – Ref AVA/2014/0928][2] July 2016 Planning Appeal Decision [Ref. APP/M1005/W/15/3132791][3] June 2017 High Court Decision [[2017] EWHC 1456][4] July 2018 Court of Appeal Decision [[2018] EWCA Civ 1697]

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