A GOVERNMENT planning inspector has dismissed an appeal lodged after Dudley planners turned down a proposal for a block of flats to be built next to Mary Stevens Park.

Nash Estates Ltd submitted a plan to build eight one-bed apartments in a three-storey block next to One Stop shop at the top of Norton Road in October 2020, but Dudley Council planning officers rejected the scheme in March 2021, saying it would be overly prominent and out of character for the area.

An appeal was lodged, by Rockford Estates Limited, with the Government’s Planning Inspectorate at Bristol but it has now been thrown out.

Cerda Planning Limited prepared the appeal, saying the “untidy and derelict” site had been vacant for at least 30 years and that redevelopment was “long overdue”.

Their appeal statement said due to the constrained shape and size of the plot, development options were limited but the proposal to create eight one-bed flats with a kitchen/diner-living area plus bathroom and storeroom each would bring investment to the area and improve the site’s appearance.

Planning inspector Helen Smith, however, dismissed the appeal saying the development would appear “unduly cramped in its plot and have an unsympathetic, overbearing impact on the area”.

She added: “This would result in unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding area.”

In her appeal decision notice, published on April 19. she said the development “would not represent high quality design that would integrate effectively with its surroundings” and although the plan would re-use previously developed land and potentially tidy up a vacant site it would “cause demonstrable planning harm”.

Rejecting the appeal after visiting the site on March 22 - the inspector said the proposal would deliver new housing for the area but, given the number of units proposed, only moderate weight was ascribed to this.