A DECISION to block plans to redevelop a closed down pub into an “overbearing” apartment building has been overturned by a planning inspectorate.

In July 2020, Slough councillors on the planning committee decided to rebel against the officer’s recommendations and refuse a scheme to demolish the former Willow Tree pub at 62 Station Road, Langley, for new apartments.

The plans include an up to five-storey apartment block comprising one studio, 15 two-beds and 25 one-bedroom flats, as well as 28 car parking spaces.

The vote was evenly split so the chair of the committee at the time, Cllr Haqeeq Dar, had the final say, refusing the application on the grounds the building is out of character compared to the existing homes, was an overdevelopment, and would impact on neighbours in terms of parking and loss of privacy.

Royal Borough Observer: Drawings of the 41 flat plan in LangleyDrawings of the 41 flat plan in Langley

Some of the committee members described the scheme as “overbearing”, “overkill”, and said the design looked like an “office block”.

The applicant, SN Langley Ltd, decided to appeal the councillors’ decision and a virtual hearing took place on August 5.

The inspector found that overall, the development would not harm the character and appearance of the area but noted it would urbanise the site and alter its character.

But the “gradual stepping up” of the building was considered to result in a “sensible transition” between the suburban character of neighbouring Alderbury Road and the commercial character of Station Road.

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They also found the 41 flats would contribute to Slough’s housing supply and is in a sustainable location, close to public transport links and local services and facilities.

However, they did accept there would be a loss of privacy to neighbours when using their rear gardens, but it would be at a “low level” and could be mitigated if the applicant includes low-level obscure glazing and tree planting along the boundary.

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As a result, the planning inspector overturned the committee’s decision not to allow the development.

A statement read: “The inspector found the adverse impacts of the development would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in the Local Development Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework taken as a whole and tilted in favour of the supply of housing.”