APPEAL REF: APP/N4720/W/20/3250249
SITE: DEMOLITION OF  EXISTING DWELLINGS AND ERECTION OF 70 DWELLINGS - WORDSWORTH CLOSE & SUGAR HILL CLOSE, OULTON, LEEDS, LS26
The Planning Inspector has confirmed at the preliminary part of Day 1 of this appeal inquiry that no objections have been raised with regards to us ("Judicial Domicide") live tweeting the Planning Inspectorate Appeal Inquiry. We, ("Judicial Domicide") must state that this is not intended to be an official, accurate, nor verbatim transcript, but it is recorded here by us to serve the purpose as a true record of the inquiry hearing(s) as we observed and recorded. We have compiled the below from live tweets and our fast notes taken during the observation of the hearing. There are also areas where we did not observe and/or we had connection issues which resulted in the loss of being able to observe.
This is Day 1 of the Appeal inquiry of Pemberstone v. @SaveOurHomeLS26. We will use this as the thread to tweet anything we feel is substantial. We will do our best to cover the main points but must clarify we have not *(at the time of writing 6th October 2020) been provided with any documentary material or timetable of events. We are somewhat blind therefore of the format of these proceedings and how it will take place.
For the Appellant (Pemberstone) is Sasha White QC who will be calling 6 witnesses.
For the Respondent: represented by Jenny Wigley and she intends to call 6 witnesses. Which will include 1. John Lynch (Planning Consultant) 2. Chris Kitchen (National Union of Miners re Heritage) 3. Tyrone Lawton 4. Joe Rogers 5. Cindy Redman (current resident) and 6. Karen Bruce
For Leeds City Council Represented by Constanze Bell who will be calling 3 witnesses. 1. Jerry Tinsdale 2. Mark Teesdale (effect on community) and 3. John Brooks (planning matters)
71 New Dwellings - Amended to 70 dwellings by County Council. Subsequently there have been amended versions J and G submitted to address objections of garden sizes. Views canvassed and there are no further objections noted.
Inspector: Received copies of notification letters that council sent out to interested parties. Received a notice from @SaveOurHomeLS26 re Rule 6 status. @SaveOurHomeLS26 do have Rule 6 status. Not aware of any other organisation that has Rule 6 status in this matter.
Final versions of some documents have not been submitted. 1 document agreed would be completed before Friday, another document would be agreed by close of proceedings today.
Mr White: no further evidential documents to submit.
Ms Bell: circulated on Friday a document re emergency lettings from a Ms Bradshaw appeals team. This document is re emergency lettings policy no more than 4 pages.
Inspector: confirmed council specifically requested this document as additional appendix and was given number A2
Ms Wigley: she appears to be missing the two recent appendices including A2 and she requests them to be circulated to her outside of the inquiry.
Inspector: 4 Main issues as he sees it: 1. Effect on local community of the loss of existing homes on appeal site. 2. Effect on (inaudible) heritage 3. Inaudible 4. Effect on any other consideration on overall planning balance
Inspector: 8 days allotted for this enquiry. 3 sessions of 1.5 hours each. From tomorrow all proceedings should start at 0930am.
Inspector: recap advice. 1. Connection issues. Mr Alford tells me connection issues on the whole can be resolved by leaving and rejoining. In event of major disruption we will adjourn proceedings and resume.
Inspector (contd) 2. Despite what is said if documents do need to be sent they should be sent to Mr Alford who will ensure I have them.
Inspector (contd) 3. The chat facility must not be used and it will not be monitored. It also affected the recording and no participants should use chat facility.
Inspector (contd) 4. Do not leave or log out during adjournments. Please only log out at the end of the day.
Mr White: asked about agenda for roundtables and Inspector conformed there was no detailed agenda for roundtables on this occasion.
Ms Wigley: raises point that the latest version of timetable that mentions site visit has not been seen by her. Ms Bell confirmed she had also no seen sight of the latest timetable (version 3)
Inspector: there is nothing to surprise on the latest version and that it is broadly the same document with the exception of a caveat added on page 2 re session times.
Inquiry will adjourn and resume at 11:20AM
Inquiry has resumed.
Inspector: the recording of this session by HM Planning Inspectorate will be used strictly for internal purposes and will not be made available for any parties that request it.
Mr White (Counsel for the Appellant - Opening Statement)
Mr White: (Para 2 of my opening statement): My clients seeks to build on its own land 70 residential dwellings. That would replace existing construction homes that were designed to be temporary this is not done in anger or greed but out of necessity.
Mr White (contd): Do nothing option: This is not an option
Problem will worsen.Pressing need for cheap and quick housing. Planning framework is overarching on the grounds of consent. Only application reliance on a policy that was never relied upon as a developmental planning.
Mr White (contd): LPA - section 149 of the equality act. Note on the effect on the community on the loss of their existing houses. Thrust of LPA case that in particular those with protected characteristics. Clear concern of the council is those with protected characteristics.
Mr White (contd): 18 households that hold Protected Characteristics, 7 of 18 have regulated or secure tenure. Some households have AST which can be terminated at any time by giving the appropriate notice irrespective of the decision of this inquiry.
Mr White (contd): Process is undertaken and due regard is to be had. Due regard to that action and its consequences. You can grant the appeal whilst still meeting the regard you need to have.Balance between rights of private landlords and their tenants.
Mr White (contd): The freeholder my client has received advice that the structural nature of these properties are compromised and tenants completely understandably have concerns over losing their homes.
Mr White (contd): Private sector tenants all but 11 households have limited security of tenure. All but the 11 could be given notice to leave.
Mr White (contd): Level of work required to be left in situation whilst work can be refurbished. We say it can not be done. It would not be commercially viable. No evidence of viable refurbishments
Mr White (contd): Vacant possession is required and can be obtained through effective notice requirements regardless of the outcome of this inquiry. These are private sector tenants - it is unfortunate that they will lose their homes but...
Mr White (contd): ...they will lose them simply because they are private sector tenants and the law permits that and there is no reason for it to be weighted into the planning decision.
Mr White (contd): These properties are airy construction method a method that was designated as defective by design. As a result it is not possible to secure commercial mortgage for properties of this type.
Mr White (contd): 4 Areas of law that are highly relevant: 1. s.38(6) application requires material considerations - which we all agree there are. The matter of weight given to each case is a matter for you as decided in Bolton Case of 1991. Presumption in favour of development
Mr White (contd): plan. That presumption is rebuttable as per Stratford?? case. Law requires you to consider all points. Development plans may pull in different directions. Good exposition in recent Cornwall development case. Doesn't change statutory status.
Mr White (contd): Alternative proposals: 1. Do nothing 2. Refurbishment and 3. Sale of the site. harm does not outweigh benefits. only exceptional circumstances would it be acceptable for alternative proposals to be had regard to.
Mr White (contd): They should not be given sufficient weight to defeat our application.
Mr White (contd): Legal Protections: Entirely unaffected by grounds of planning refusal or consent. Cole v Suffolk County Council reiterates the principles.
Mr White (contd): Proposal complies with
H5 - 15% requirement is met by 11.
- Accessible standards complied with
- Design is complied with
- EN1 is complied with
- EN2 is complied with
- EN8 electric charging of vehicles complied with
- SP1 - complied with
Mr White (contd): - Affordable housing is complied with
- Residential amenity is accepted
- Fully compliant with internal or external space
- 68/70 of the properties needs structural work
Mr White (contd): 11 Propositions:
1. Site is developed sustainable housing site
2. Site needs urgent solution as nature of existing state of houses do nothing is not an option
Mr White (contd): 3. Refurbishment option is not commercially viable and would not ensure that tenants would necessarily remain in their existing homes
4. Proposed redevelopment is compliant
5. Proposal benefit 11 affordable housing units
6. Reuse of previously developed land
Mr White (contd): 7. Accesible by all forms of transport
8. Reduce carbon emissions for running costs of future residents
9. Health benefits from improved housing stock
Mr White: (contd): 10. those 11 who have protected characteristics will be re-housed in better accommodation than what they have currently.
We apologise for 1. Our inability to keep up with live events and 2. The inaccuracies of our notes as we tried to keep up with fast paced advocates.
Ms Bell (Counsel for Leeds City Council - Opening Statement)
Ms Bell: (opening statement on behalf of Leeds City Council) Pemberstone seeks the demolition of existing dwellings occupied by tenants on the open market. 11 have protected characteristics (PC). 45 short let. 14 are vacant.
Ms Bell (contd): our refusal at para 3 and para 4.
Para 4 relating to garden sizes has been withdrawn as a new plan has satisfied the issues previously raised.
Ms Bell (contd): Displaced residents and community dissipated. Will harm all residents and those with Protected Characteristics. Culture of this community will we say be dismantled if granted.
Ms Bell (contd): Airy homes - psycho-social harms arising from development are such that they are not sustainable housing considerations. LPA due regard should be had on existing residents protected characteristics
Harm to local community and particular to those with PC
Ms Bell (contd): 141 residents living within the appeal site.
14% or 11 residents would be rehoused 121 would have to be rehoused or rehomed elsewhere.
Ms Bell (contd): All 39 children would be permanently displaced. 16 disabled residents (66%) of disabled residents would be displaced.
Ms Bell (contd) In terms of affordable housing to be offered on site. If a local lettings prioritised Protected Characteristics it would still not be possible to house everyone of a protected characteristic. There simply wouldn’t be enough homes to meet the number of households.
Ms Bell (contd): Equality Duties 2010 - integral and important mechanisms of anti age and discrimination. Section 149 as appendix and core document 0706. I don’t propose to read out that section.
Ms Bell (contd): Para 21. Where I turn to matters of case law
1. Quality duties are important and integral part
2. Steps seeking to seek to comply with statute.
Ms Bell (contd): 4. Assess risk and assess impact and a way of which risks should be mitigated case of Brown. Due regard to relevant matters. Duty must be fulfilled before and after time considered. With Rigour and Open Mind and not a case of ticking boxes...
Ms Bell (contd)...Duty cannot be delegated and it is a continuing duty. Good practice to keep records of that continuing duty.
Ms Bell (contd): Officials advising must not merely tell decision maker what they want them to hear.
Due regard, proper and conscientious regard for all matters and reconcile them in the balance and it is for the decision maker to decide what weight he is to give them.
Ms Bell (contd): UN Rights of a Child
LPA given number of children on site adverse impact on them children and legal duty arises because must have regard to the best interests of the children and the best interests interests of the children are clearly with their parents.
Ms Bell: (contd): Parents and Carers are opposed to this appeal. Consideration weighs heavily against proposal.
Human Rights Act (HRA) s.1, unlawful for a public body to act in a way that contravenes a convention & includes UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
Ms Bell (contd) HRA Article 8 rights to respect for private and family life are to be engaged as this is application is regarding domestic planning contact.
Ms Bell (contd) re Justice Higginbottom: art 8 doesn’t give a right to a home or a right to a home in a particular place. Where someone has a home it may be engaged if they are required to move. Where they are in play in planning decision they must be taken account of...
Ms Bell: (contd) ...and be balanced accordingly. (Discussion of deference and margin of discretion legal points) Cases where court will interfere is likely to be few. LPA does not accept this view.
Ms Bell (contd) Where they are engaged they are a material consideration and need to be considered as such.
MS Bell (contd): To contribute to sustainable development it must meet the Social objectives to social, health and cultural wellbeing. The planning balance indicates that this application should be refused.
Mr White: Not happy HRA Art. 8 point has been introduced, he says, for the first time. Not made aware by LPA of this in case statement. First time in opening and was without notice that it was being made. Frankly it has significant implications. Mr White is Distinctly Unhappy.
Ms Bell: It has always been engaged.
Ms Wigley (Counsel for SaveOurHomesLS26 - Opening Statement)
I represent @SaveOurHomeLS26 My submissions are: This application will have a devastating effect on Sugar Hill Close and Wordsworth Drive. The schedule is demolition of all existing homes and has impact to their health, social and economic wellbeing
Ms Wigley (contd): Appellants intend to move them elsewhere during the move which would be not one but two moves. Community is diverse in age and has long standing tenants.
Ms Wigley (contd): Medical practitioners and care providers work closely with the residents & especially important for elderly residents. The houses that are to be lost are highly valued by the existing tenants.
Ms Wigley (contd): The tenants see them as spacious laid out homes with good gardens and access to countryside. Original ethos has survived over decades. The loss of these homes would cut across the planning framework?
Ms Wigley (contd): Important in planning not only talking but listening to what the community, what it actually needs. Development acknowledged for benefits it may bring but this must be looked at through prism of the loss of 59 genuinely affordable homes.
Ms Wigley (contd): The waiting list in the area is currently very long. There is hardship in trying to find affordable homes. The on mass eviction would put extra pressure on already stretched resources of local council as it trys to meet the demands of mass eviction of residents
Ms Wigley (contd): The carbon footprint for demolition and rebuilding would take over 20 years to be balanced with the low carbon homes being offered by Pemberstone.
Ms Wigley (contd): Everyone has a right to a decent home that they can afford. A rational approach would be to renovate the properties whilst the tenants can simultaneously be able to live there. We will hear in evidence from a company that has experience with refurbishing airy
Ms Wigley: @SaveOurHomeLS26 reject that the notion that refurbishment is not an option.
Resume from Lunch at 13:45
Inspector: Is it that Policy P11 is relevant for this application?
Matthew Shepard: Yes that is relevant. N14-N17 are listed buildings are are not in play. Conservation area not relevant as not in conservation area. P11 is relevant.
Inspector: P11 doesn't just deal with undesignated assets but also deals with locally significant assets?
Matthew Shepphard: Yes I think that's fair they are of local significance only and dealt with in our evidence as that.
Matthew Shepphard: General Agreement on dealing with Non Designated Heritage Asset and start with NPPF para 197 and we start here. It says when weighing up applications that directly or indirectly affect those have to apply balanced judgement when weighing up scale of harm
Matthew Shepphard (contd): or loss. NPPF para 199 talks about recording. Suggested a condition on preservation and recording of historical/heritage significance.
Matthew Shepphard (contd): purposes of para 199, LPA ask dev to record advanced understanding of the significance of assets to be lost (wholly or in part) in manner proportionate to their importance and to the impact.
Matthew Shepphard (contd): and to make that evidence publicly accessible. There is a condition that proposes to deal with that if planning permission is granted.
Matthew Sheppard (contd): Core Strategy Policy P11- relatively long policy can be found at core document 03.01 its p.131 of 213 in the pdf, but in the printed copy pagination is 108.
Dr Ramona Usher (Heritage Witness for Appellant Pemberstone)
Mr John Kitchen: (Witness for SaveOurHomesLS26)
Dr Ramona Usher: Registered Park and Garden Coloured Purple - 104103 - National Heritage List.
Oulton Hall. Farmhouse listed 130024 listed farmhouse on top of periphery. Not actually registered inside the park. Grade II listed building.
Inspector: Is there anything to suggest the appeal site is within the setting of those assets?
Dr Ramona Usher: I would disagree, its adjacent but it doesn't necessarily fall that it is meaningful.
Mr Kitchen: I agree the LA are relatively neutral on the point.
Mr Lynch: I agree also.
Inspector: Page 44- extract from ordnance survey - appeal site outlined in red to the north of that is another development. I take it that is the full extent of the original housing estate at Oulton drive.
Dr Ramona Usher: Original housing estate was laid out by Garden City movement. came about after first world war. open space and gardens were seen to be quite rewarding to health. loosely based on those principles.
Dr Ramona Usher: We only have a remanent of the original estate. To the north and north east a very late part has been redeveloped.
Inspector: Mr Lynch & Mr Kitchen or @SaveOurHomeLS26 do you wish to say anything about the original extent & form of estate at Oulton.
Mr Kitchen: Original layout there was 3 distinct parts of which community cohesion was designed to foster community spirit and to keep mining heritage of mining workers. 3 distinct sections. The largest has been redeveloped but it does not take away the whole of the design
to foster community.
Dr Usher: Sir, there is a stream and the divide is geographical sub division and to infer anything else its absurd to my mind.
Mr Kitchen: Original developement as a whole was if you like 3 separate communities in a whole but there was no designations between officials and surface workers. The Whole idea was equal opportunities for all
Mr Kitchen: The houses were built to equal standard to be same as or better than what was provided by local authority. That was all laid out in the 1950s vision for rehousing of mine workers from areas where there was closure of mines to areas where there was a shortage of
mine workers, which was the reason for this [original] development.
Inspector: Rationale for this area of development are you saying it was shortage of labour and need to bring people into the Leeds area?
Mr Kitchen: Yes, LA could not accommodate the influx of workers required for the mines in Oulton where production was increasing. Although Coal board preferred view was LA to provide housing where that wasn't available the Coal board under persuasion of the gov't of the time...
...put in 80 million pounds to do their own developments of which the Oulton estate is one of those done by the Coal Board to facilitate relocation of miners from NE and Scotland on mines that were closing to longer term in Yorkshire to man up as shortage of man power.
Inspector: Is there association with this development and Rothwell mine?
Mr Kitchen: It was to the north and to the north west, well north north west on the map.
Dr Ramona Usher: with all due respect, we do not dispute the local heritage significance. We don't by any means. In evidence I've acknowledged them as non-designated heritage assets. The issue is not in dispute.
Dr Ramona Usher: (contd): beyond heritage issues these buildings I'm afraid are a threat to human life and that's outside of my scope in terms of 1985 act. People could die if these fell down, but its outside of my heritage scope.
Dr Ramona Usher: (contd): an order to refurbish these properties you would end up in the loss of the architectural aesthetic value.
Mr Kitchen: I take umbrage with Dr Usher saying these are a danger to life. I was brought up in a Pitt estate? where the houses were a danger to life, insulated with compressed straw. Someone smoking in bed and two people died and that estate was demolished.
Mr Kitchen: (contd) this is not the case with these houses. These houses are not a danger to life and it should not be said.
Inspector: I wish to move onto the reasons of why they consider the houses on the estate to be of local significance.
Mr Kitchen: Within our industrial heritage the mining community part of the heritage was the provision of social housing. It was social housing. It was designed to be socially inclusive, designed not just to house workers, like old mining cottages it was designed specifically...
...to foster community. You had to have community as you had to work together and you had to get on. coal board put a lot of money, time and effort into social recreation and wellbeing facilities into these communities.
Mr Kitchen: Unfortunately it's a bit like beauty "its in the eye of the beholder" everyone will recognise Selby Abbey as a great architecture that needs to be preserved or houses of parliament unfortunately in my mind these houses, not the actual dwellings, and the look of them
Mr Kitchen (contd): but the social history of why they were built and where they were built to house the miners that were asked to relocate. The way they were built to re-enforce a community, in my mind, that is something that does require protection. It is industrial heritage.
Mr Kitchen: (contd): The Oulton estate does show that that works. We have got a community there. We have a collection of houses.
Mr Kitchen: (contd): Part of the estate was given up for redevelopment but given up on the understanding that we would retain Sugar Hill and Wordsworth Drive going forward.
Mr Kitchen (contd): As with traditional constructed houses, you need to repair and you need to update. A house built in 1960s would not have today's standards of bathroom or fitted kitchens and they do require updating. They may require a roof change or windows in pvc
Mr Kitchen (contd) but to my mind, when you take it as a whole. Its an important part. Not just the individual dwellings, the houses, airy houses, the airy company being based in Leeds, yes that's important but the reason why they were built and where they were built,...
Mr Kitchen (contd): ...the way the houses were laid out. The fact it had to be equal or better standard than local authority houses, they had to have decent sized gardens where families could meet. Unfortunately events have overtaken us, with the coronavirus pandemic,
Mr Kitchen (contd)... it's even more important to have an open space where you can meet socially but be socially distanced. These were ahead of the times they were built with gardens. You didn't have bedsits or flats. They were proper homes with decent facilities and gardens.
Mr Kitchen (contd): and that's what I believe will be lost. They were there for people who didn't aspire to go up the property ladder. It wasn't an issue that they couldn't get a mortgage on them, as it was never intended that they would be privately owned.
Mr Kitchen (contd)... They were built for the community, for the mining industry for the people who didn't want to saddle themselves with a mortgage. They didn't aspire to own their own property...
...They were quite happy to have a decent affordable house that they could bring their families up in. And that's what we will be losing at Oulton, because we will not be replacing them for like for like.
Mr Kitchen (contd): We will be shifting what will be seen by some to be a lower type of class citizen out of an affluent area. It is well positioned as Dr Usher shown in her figure 1. There's a country park and the Oulton estate nearby.
Mr Kitchen (contd): good access to motorway for commuting into Wakefield and Leeds. Its an ideal development but it was never put there for that purpose and it should be retained for social housing.
Inspector: One of the things important to you is the reason it took place and its association with the mining community. Is there anything in form of construction and appearance of the properties that you regard as important?
Mr Kitchen: Former Construction was dictated by the need to build them quickly, because of the other mines shutting down. I was brought up on estate that was genuinely defective not designated defective to access funds to improve them. They were dangerous houses to live in.
Mr Kitchen (contd)... For that reason they were demolished they were not sold on to developers. The estate was flattened. I do believe there is value in retaining the houses for what they are. I don't see it as intrinsic that they have to remain looking the same.
Mr Kitchen (contd): construction was prefab for speed. Dr Usher goes back to I think 1800s in her evidence about construction moved away from prefab but actually government are going back to prefab housing. They are built in a factory and then put up on site.
Inspector: Thank you. Dr Usher I come to you now. Same point I put to Mr Kitchen - I'd like to understand why you accept that the airy houses are of local significance as a heritage asset. What is it about them that you regard as being of importance?
Dr Usher: They are of local interest, there method of construction is locally unique. They are prefab. They have concrete panels that are attached to goalposts then inside they are plastered (smirking visually) there is absolutely no insulation inside them.
Dr Usher (contd) ...I've inspected several as part of this appeal. Theres a rural airy house type which is what we have on our site and then there is urban type with flat roof. I do not dispute that these assets are non designated heritage assets whatsoever.
Dr Usher (contd) In order to bring them up to standard with 1985 act the recladding of these buildings removes their heritage significance.
Inspector: Your going onto something we will come to later. I want to clearly understand why you regard them of significance. Is it physical appearance and the form of construction? Is that why or are there other factors as well?
Dr Usher: They do have communal value as well, in terms of the coal mining industry and the original occupants who occupied them. Unfortunately two thirds were lost to redevelopment so we do recognise the communal value but its diminished by the redevelopment.
Dr Usher: Only 11 of the properties out of 70 we have left have communal value in terms of the coal mining industry. 11 out of 210 houses so we've lost that communal value.
Inspector: Why only 11 when there are 70?
Dr Usher: I will defer to planning colleagues in terms of their protected status of those occupants. Im not a planning expert, I am a heritage expert.
unknown? So that's a reference to their historic tenancy.
Inspector: There are 70 dwellings of that form Dr Usher?
Dr Usher: There are 70 dwellings of that form but they are very altered. In my professional opinion these dwellings will not be listed, included in conservation area, they have lost historic windows, lost their doors, the streetscape, they've lost the original paving around them.
Dr Usher (contd): Appreciate that the form of the buildings still stands there but it's actually quite disturbing that we would want to retain dwellings that are a threat to human life. They are historic building stock.Its only that, that has survived.
Inspector: You said alterations about doors and windows. I've seen some of that for myself. You also said streetscape. What do you mean when you say the streetscape has altered?
Dr Usher: we've lost two thirds of the estate by redevelopment.
Inspector: I'm only interested in the appeal site.
Dr Usher: There is no evidence of original street pavings or original pavements in that area. We have one third of the estate. We have lost that garden city decoration.
Inspector: Is that original form something of value?
Dr Usher: Its of local value, which is why we recognise it as a non designated heritage asset. It's not of national significance. These buildings are not going to be listed or part of a conservation area. We recognise they are non designated heritage assets we don't dispute that.
Dr Usher (contd) there are rules, there is no threshold of significance within non designated heritage assets such as substantial harm or less than substantial harm with regard to NPPF.
Dr Usher (contd) : we are looking at a non designated heritage asset and we don't dispute that designation.
Inspector: OK, can we move Dr Usher to the consequence of works to the 70 houses. If scheme was put in place to retain and refurbished, and there is more than one way put forward. What would be the impact on their significance?
Dr Usher: The architectural and aesthetic significance lies in their external appearance. In order to refurbish and bring them upto a remortgagable standard they have to be entirely reclad. Draw attention Plate 8 and Plate 9 of page 52 of proof of evidence.
Dr Usher (contd): same semi detached house in both photographs. local architecture significance is of that original construction. When that's been re-clad. It's lost its aesthetic and architectural significance. This is the conundrum with this case. They lose their significance.
Inspector: I understand forms of cladding offer a range available. If there was a form of cladding more closely resembling what was there at moment would that address the point you have made?
Dr Usher: I would say we would look to our structural colleagues but I cannot see some form of cladding that can replicate something like that. I do not see how it can be replicated in terms of modern building standards.
Inspector: Refurbishment then would alter the houses in the way you describe. Would it result in a total loss of significance? Or would there still be some significance in a group of 70 houses in any event?
Dr Usher: The significance has been massively diminished by the reduction of the number of houses when it was redeveloped. From 210 to 70 Airey houses. The estate is a remnant of these airey houses. we recognise them as non designated heritage assets but there are elements lost.
Mr Kitchen: If you look at plate 8 and plate 9 why we are talking about the porches. It has got a porch on it. 4 uprights and shield above door if you look at photograph.
Inspector: I think point was that the porch on modified house was less appropriate than one on original house.
Mr Kitchen: I think the point I was making was that you could put identical porch on original one on the other.
Inspector: I see
Mr Kitchen: The modernisation was that that was the desired porch which people wanted at the time of the upgrade.
Inspector: Mr Kitchen can you tell me your view on what you consider will be the effect of refurbishment that would be on the historical significance of these dwellings.
Mr Kitchen: I don't put as much importance on it as Dr Usher to be honest. The fact is the philosophy behind the building of the estate was to give decent affordable homes to people to live in and if we have to change the look of it, it will still be a pre-fab house.
Mr Kitchen (contd): The core will still be there. The main significance for me is not so much in the dwelling itself. They were designed to be modernised and to be lived in. It's more the reason why they were built, the way, the where and the use of the house.
Inspector: If altered by significant refurbishment Mr Kitchen would it affect the appreciation for the way in which they were built?
Mr Kitchen: 212 originally. Majority were given over to redevelopment. My understanding from the councillors involved in that planning at that time was that reason didn't give permission so that whole estate was redeveloped at that time was because they wanted to preserve it.
Mr Kitchen (contd): I agree that by allowing redevelopment we have diminished that and maybe that was a mistake at the time but we can't change history. But doesn't mean that its diminished to such extent that what we have left isn't worth preserving for social heritage.
Mr White: If point is being made. I ask my learned friend to substantiate that point as we haven't seen anything to support that. There would be committee reports at the time.
Mr Lynch: Alterations to appearance and how might affect heritage value. Everyone agrees that the heritage value relies on the social historic community interest and importance of the connections with the mining industry. It has evolved into a contemporary modern day community.
Mr Lynch (contd) which still to this day carries on the same original values. The aesthetics point its common ground I think not to put to much importance. Common ground, building type and appearance and social importance . Refer to Panel report of May...
Mr Lynch (contd) ...para ref 10.28 of that report. Councils conservation officer said "The importance of these houses comes not from their appearance but rather from their construction methods" my view is that if the houses could be retained with their community value intact...
My Lynch (contd): ...rather than being a transported museum piece in the North of England. I would think that the survival of the community value and retention of the basic structure of the houses is still an acceptable way of preserving such heritage.
Mr Lynch (contd) If there are to be external changes to the appearance baring in mind we are talking about non designated heritage assets not listed buildings. I think that is acceptable. I would say yes the heritage value still remains.
Mr Lynch: without pre-empting the discussions I think will take place tomorrow.
Dr Usher: Mr Lynch said heritage value is not from appearance but from construction method. Im flabbergasted at that. The construction method is inherently flawed. They are designated defective in 1985 act.
Dr Usher (contd): So if heritage interest is coming from constructive methods there construction methods are inherently flawed.
Mr Lynch: I wasn't making the point on my own behalf I was quoting the councils conservation officer. The houses that were designated defective some 40+ years ago are still there.
Dr Usher: I have to say, any houses, any homes, any buildings as a historic buildings professional with 20 years experience under her belt. anything that survives or just survives because its survives, honestly, ...
if you think everything of significance is a building that survives you are wrong. Its just because we have conserved it. There are a lot of buildings that have been lost over hundreds of years. Their construction method is the problem. I will not be deviated from that point.
Dr Usher: (contd) it does not mean that every single building should be retained as we can preserve them by record.
Mr Kitchen: I don't know the technicalities of the designated defective.
Dr Usher: (Loud Rude sigh)
Mr Kitchen: Well I'm sorry I'm not an expert like you.
Inspector: Dr Usher - please let Mr Kitchen express things in his own words.
Mr Kitchen: I'm a coal miners son that was brought up on estate and knows the value of community. I did 25 years service underground working in the coal mines. I'm not up on the planning permissions and stuff like that. My understanding from the area I live in there are council
Mr Kitchen (contd): houses that people couldn't get mortgages for when put up for sale so the council provided the mortgages. Those house were designated defective over 50 years ago and you couldn't get a mortgage on them but people bought them under the right to buy scheme.
Mr Kitchen (contd) and they are still lived in now, some of them with the original design still in tact with the tin roofs. I don't understand the importance of designated defective if it was done to access funding for local authorities or private landlords to improve houses at
Mr Kitchen (contd) a cheaper cost. I don't see it as a hazard to life and that we must be shipping people out because they are going to fall on their heads. Sorry its just a point.
Mr Shepphard: Re the aforementioned Conservation Officers comments I thought we should direct you to the original comments in core documents. 06.20 and then document 06.27 that follows the revised heritage report. It concludes that if granted we should keep a record.
Mr Shepphard: view of council was preservation by record was the way to go given their new understanding of the importance. Core document 07.02 talks through heritage value and significance.
Mr Lynch: I think Dr Usher attributed things to me which I have not made I wanted to make that point.
Ms Wigley: Conservation response 6.27 in first para of comments there conclusion rests in the communal and historical value. Dr Ushers proof hinted at in her evidence herself. 4.12 and 5.9 and evidential and historical and communal value. She is not solely focusing on aesthetics
Dr Usher: I do not dispute those they are evidently in the proof of evidence. We recognise communal and social values. We also recognise these are non designated heritage assets and they are not subjected to any legislative protections we are looking only in terms of NPF para 197
Inspector: NPPF Para 199. Recording of the heritage assets. I would like to hear views of the parties on that and the extend of how that could mitigate.
Dr Usher: I've undertaken several recorded methods in many years. Preservation by record. Terminology relates more to archaeology. It has been transferred to historic recording. Level 4 is highest level and requires very robust investigation.
Inspector: In the cases where you have levels 1-4 when excercise undertaken what typically does a record comprise.
Dr Usher: It comprises a very comprehensive investigation of the buildings, it also comprises photographic and measured surveys. It gets recorded and gets recorded in its called Oasis. Its a local archaeology system.
Inspector: What exactly would you be accessing after that's been done is it a series of photographs?
Dr Usher: You would access the entire report. You would get everything, you would be standing on the shoulders of giants and its a very comprehensive record.
Inspector: I think you said Level 4 is highest level. What is the differences between the levels 1 and 4?
Dr Usher: Level 1 is just taking photographs almost like what was provided in my proof of evidence. Level 2 is more detailed producing floor plans. Level 3 is getting a bit more comprehensive with more research. Level 4 is recorded survey and spending time in archives.
Mr White: Proposed condition 18 in statement of common ground and at 7.48 Leeds have agreed "a complete historic event" to be produced prior to any construction work taking place.
Mr Shepphard: Condition 18:- condition control. Some of information Mr Kitchen has provided could be relevant information to be included in that record.
Ms Wigley: Mr Kitchen could be provided with opportunity to comment on appropriateness / extent to which this would meet his concerns of heritage value in locally non designated heritage asset.
Mr Kitchen: Obviously Dr Usher has a lot more experience in recording development and prior to development of non-designated heritage housing. I can see the point, photographs, floor plans, history about how it came into being and why and the reason for it...
Mr Kitchen (contd)...What I really struggle with is difference between what Mr Shepphard said between demolishing and rebuilding and renovating. I can't get my head around how you could record the loss of a community that is the big thing really.
Mr Kitchen (contd) refurbishment the community is still there and is still together and supporting each other through the redevelopment. I don't see how you could record the community spirit and I don't know how you would recreate it in a new development.
Mr Kitchen: Everything else floor plans, sample of one of the panels, but why would you want to record something before destroying it, if you felt it was worthy of preservation?
Inspector: Would you see value in the recording of what Dr Usher suggests, floor plans, written history, photographs and so on.
Mr Kitchen: I wouldn't see as much value in that as you've destroyed the community in order to preserve the aesethics of these were Airey houses, these were where they were built. You don't get a feel for the community and that's what I think we will lose...
Mr Kitchen (contd) ...and I don't see how you can accurately record that.
Dr Usher: So much empathy for what Mr Kitchen just said. We preserved 5 houses back to backs. One criticism levelled at me were how dare I try to say something about them. This is dissonant heritage and you cannot preserve everything that's nostalgic to you.
Inspector: references to Airey houses elsewhere.
Dr Usher: 26,000 Airey houses were constructed. They were not unique to Leeds. Heritage Status Document Version 2. They were not just in one area prevalent across the country.
Inspector: Do you have any knowledge of how many remain?
Dr Usher: No, Im afraid I don't Sir. We have some acknowledgement of some of the Airey houses that remain. Regardless whether you have a state of 1 or 100 that survive. They are designated defective. Its as simple as that.
Inspector: Do you have any knowledge of any others or if any in Leeds remain for instance?
Mr Kitchen: ...Its unique in that it was Airey houses built by the coal board for the miners. 70 left out of 214. If we allow it to go smaller we lose the social cohesion of that community. People can go and see Airey houses for years to come.
Mr Kitchen (contd) Its the community we are going to lose and the social history of why it was built, why it was fostered as a community. Fact we have discussions today is evidence that over remaining 70 demonstrates that community spirit still exists today and as strong today
Mr Kitchen (contd)... if not stronger. Social experiment that has worked, My concern is we are going to destroy that.
Mr Shepphard: Core Document 07.02 panel report October 19. Looks at surviving examples of Airey houses. 10 examples that do exist and its not comprehensive there could well be more.
Dr Usher: Concerned about the iteration of rarity of Airey Houses. They are not designated, not listed, not located in conservation areas, reiterate that in terms of their significance in the case law that I've investigated. We all accept the non designation. Para 197 applies.
Ms Wigley: Dr Usher referred to Heritage Statement CD8.44 at end has photographic evidence of other Airey houses. Most are much smaller and not in mining areas. Mr Kitchen could maybe comment on the significance of that.
Mr Kitchen: In far as its uniqueness goes taken collectively I don't know of any surviving estates provided for and built by the coal board that surviving as social affordable rented estate that still exists. Definitely not in Leeds or the Yorkshire area to my mind.
Inspector: has anyone left to make comment on heritage. Dr Usher you have hand up is it a new point or -
Dr Usher: Yes, you know heritage value is very subjective. When anything gets threatened with harm or demolition heritage values come to the floor? Heritage values haven't been there and sat there for years and then all of a sudden they all come out to the floor.
Dr Usher: (contd): Heritage values are subjective and nobody valued these properties before this planning application. I didn't see anybody value these properties before the application. So that's my point made.
Mr Kitchen: The residents valued the properties to them they are not historic or non designated. They are part of a community that they live in and they are proud to be part of. It might not be where everyone aspires or where I want to live but I've been round the community.
Mr Kitchen: (contd) I've spoken to them. They've always cared about their estate, been proud of it and they've always looked after it.
Ms Wigley: One point I don't think its controversial he was a local man Mr Airey was a Leeds man.
Dr Usher: Right, on that note, I want to make some points of law. The airey houses are not subject to statutory protection they fall under 197.
Inspector: Dr Usher, you have made the point several times now
Dr Usher: I need to reiterate it.
Inspector: No, I've noted it you do not need to keep re-iteraing it Dr Usher.
Dr Usher: Right, we acknowledge that the Airey houses are non designated heritage assets
Inspector : It's common ground.
Dr Usher: Absolutely.
Mr White: Dr Usher, I will make the legal submissions in my closing speech. Thank you.
Dr Usher: I feel its important to re-iterate these points.
Inspector: Mr Kitchen in terms of appendices attached to your proof. There was two letters from two universities. Northumbria and Wolverhampton university. What prompted the letters?
Mr Kitchen: One of professors was doing some work in Warwick / Wolverhampton unversity and he was talking to a colleague at Newcastle and sent in their support. They obviously felt they wanted to send in their support.
Dr Usher: Can I speak?
Inspector: Im just dealing with these series of points and I will come back to you in any event if you wish to respond to anything further. Mr Kitchen reference p.142 looks like extract from a book I just wonder the source.
Mr Kitchen, I will just get it up on the computer, it should be listed in the appendix.
Inspector: If you haven't got it to hand you can find it later but I would like the source document. Mr Kitchen advised he will provide.
Mr Kitchen: yes it relates to appendix F.
Inspector: Page 20, Para 4.29 Dr Usher
Dr Usher: subject of this appeal holds no statutory designations is that correct?
Inspector: It is indeed. You make reference in that paragraph to three appeal decisions. Do I have them somewhere?
Dr Usher: No you don't but you have the reference numbers for them.
Inspector: I hope you don't mind me saying but if I simply have one line from an appeal decision I have absolutely no context for it.
Mr White: What we will do is provide those copies overnight to the parties because they are in the proof.
Inspector: I would expect them to be provided in the appendix.
Mr White: It's a fair point sir.
Dr Usher: Absolutely Sir and we will ensure you have those. To add to your point it is where the buildings are capable of having a viable use in the future. Whether justified in local and national policies. all relates to non designated assets
Dr Usher (contd): As my QC said we can have those sent to you, but they were included in the proof so you would have had opportunity to access them.
Inspector: I don't research documents, it's for the parties to provide the documents they need.
Dr Usher: Fair enough we can provide them.
Inspector: Next Paragraph 4.30 you are here to present evidence on Heritage matters. We will hear tomorrow from structural conditions of the buildings. What is the basis for conclusion at para 4.30 that buildings present a danger to life. Is that within your remit?
Dr Usher: (rude sigh) It's not within my remit, it's under the legislation. under 1985 act. These buildings are structurally unsound. Its not within my remit. I'm historic buildings expert I am not a structural engineer, but in terms of 1985 act it tells me they are a danger to
Dr Usher (contd)... life its as simple as that. Designated defective and I cannot deviate from that. I work in terms of trying to preserve historical integrity of buildings but when building regulations or an act comes along and tells me they are designated defective...
Dr Usher (contd) ... what am I supposed to do. I follow the legislation. Its as simple as that. If its a danger to life I do not deviate from that.
Inspector: Is that the evidence of the appellants structural engineer. They are now currently a danger to life?
Dr Usher: Its legislation.
Inspector: That was not my question.
Mr White: I think its an unfair question. Can you ask Mr Askew that. It is not for this witness to give evidence
Inspector: I will ask Mr Askew
Mr White: It's not for this witness to give evidence.
Inspector: she has done.
Mr White: Sorry Sir.
Inspector: She has done Mr White. If she hadn't done it I wouldn't have asked her the question.
Mr White: I know she has done. She has made clear she is our witness on heritage
Inspector: So long as then she is restricting her evidence to heritage?
Mr White: Absolutely.
Dr Usher: Yes,
Mr White: Dr Usher please keep to the tram lines of Heritage as Mr Askew will deal with that.
Dr Usher: I know, in relation to the act I had to cite that. Im just going by legislation. Its as simple as that. Im not straying outside of my grounds whatsoever.
Inspector: Ok I think you have made the point now. One final question for you. Reference para 5.14 of your proof. Point about designated defective. Does the fact of them being designated defective. Do you consider that diminishes their significance?
Dr Usher: Being designated defective is actually part of their heritage status. Its all part of the narrative. They are a designated defective type of their significance. We can record it with level 1, 2 or 3 surveys and its part of the history.
Inspector: Concludes today session. We adjourn for today and will resume tomorrow at 09:30am.