A developer has won an appeal to convert two Hove mews properties into homes in a conservation area.
The properties are at 4 and 6 Eaton Grove and include a ground floor workshop and offices with flats above.
Brighton and Hove City Council refused planning permission to convert the properties into a three-bedroom home and a four-bedroom home, with extensions into the roof space, in December last year.
Planning officers said that the proposed dormer windows and the planned changes to the front first-floor windows would “harm the character” of the buildings and the Willett Estate Conservation Area.
A second application was refused on the same grounds in April this year.
The developer, JL Faynam Limited, appealed. The company, run by David Moyle, 70 and Jordan Moyle, 32, said that there were 10 dormer windows in the buildings directly opposite.
The applicant submitted a planning and heritage statement which said: “The existing dormers do not detract from the special qualities of the mews, nor are they detrimental to its character.
“The addition of dormer windows to 4 and 6 would copy the existing roofscape of the mews, therefore preserving the character and appearance of this part of the Willett Estate Conservation Area.”
Planning inspector Elani Randle allowed the appeal on Tuesday 5 September, saying that the council had not objected to the change to housing in principle.
After visiting the site, she said: “I note that the council contend that there is limited/no planning history for the presence of these non-original features.
“However, I have no evidence before me to confirm, for example, that such features could be subject to enforcement action or that the council are indeed considering such action which could result in their removal or alteration, which could then change the basis for my assessment.
“Overall, when taking Eaton Grove as a whole, I find that dormer windows are not an uncharacteristic feature in the vicinity of the appeal site.”
Jordan Moyle described the result as a “hollow victory” because the 11-month delay has left his building work five months behind.
He has complained to the council about the way that his application was processed.
Mr Moyle said: “Now we have what must be one of the most damning appeal decisions from a government-appointed planning inspector and I have no recourse for costs, let alone even an apology or statement on the matter.
“The system is utterly broken and the council should have to answer for such obstructive behaviour.”
Lewis and Co director Luke Carter said: “It is unusual for there to be such a discord between the view of the council officers and those of the applicant and we will always try to negotiate with the council to find an acceptable scheme.
“In this instance, we feel that the council took an unnecessarily obstructive stance, which was ultimately not agreed or supported by the government inspector, and her report and decision to grant planning permission is welcomed.”