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Plan for clifftop block of flats at Warncliffe Road, Highcliffe, rejected by BCP Council

CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish two clifftop houses and replace them with a four-storey block of flats have been thrown out by BCP Council.

The proposal for the Highcliffe site, which attracted more than 250 letters of objection, was also the subject of a heated public meeting held in the village in April, which was attended by over 100 people.

A public meeting about the development was attended by more than 100 people
A public meeting about the development was attended by more than 100 people

Objectors argued that the plan – by Wareham based Burry & Knight Ltd – was “wholly unacceptable” branding it “ugly and oversized” and saying it would “completely ruin the clifftop area”.

Highcliffe and Walkford Parish Council was also against the development, which comprised seven one-bed, eight two-bed and eight three-bed apartments along with a basement car park for 44 vehicles.

The flats would have been built on 31-33 Wharncliffe Road near the car park beside the Cliffhanger restaurant.

Images of how the scheme could look showed a modern glazed-fronted block, with two three-bedroom penthouses on top.

A CGI of the proposal
A CGI of the proposal

Last week BCP Council rejected the application on the grounds of scale, height and layout, with a planning officer saying it would result in a “visually intrusive and dominant form of development which would have an adverse impact on the character of the area”.

They also said the block would be “too large for the site” and was “much taller and larger” than nearby properties, detracting from “existing spacious and sylvan character and appearance of the area”.

Balconies planned for some of the flats would allow views into neighbouring properties, and some of the apartments themselves provided an “unacceptable poor quality of living accommodation”, the council said, due to the fact that south-facing flats would suffer from being too hot, while north-facing homes would have too little daylight.

It was also refused on the grounds that two trees subject to protection orders would have to be felled, with potential damage caused to a third.

To make it “viable” according to the planning policy, the officer added, the development should have included 40% affordable housing.

There had been “no provision” for any off-site either.

The council said Burry & Knight had also failed to show mitigation for the impact on local wildlife.

Apart from residents’ objections, the plan had also attracted criticism from BCP’s Urban Design team which said the height, bulk and mass was “excessive”.

Highcliffe and Walkford Parish Council said the proposal, if allowed, would be a “damaging precedent” for the village.

It added it would “dwarf” existing blocks of flats in the road and it was also concerned about the lack of affordable housing and the impact on the environment in the area.

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