WINCHESTER planners have lost another appeal.

An inspector has overturned a city council decision on a house in Texas Drive, Oliver’s Battery.

Councillors on the planning committee had spurned their officers’ recommendation and rejected the scheme, arguing it would harm the character and appearance of the locality.

This was despite an earlier plan for a new house in a slightly different position on the same plot being approved by planners.

Later, in January 2018, an enforcement notice was served as building work had already started. Developer Mark Oakley was ordered to remove the foundations, rubble and return the site to how it was.

Mr Oakley appealed against the enforcement notice and now inspector Sandra Prail has supported his stance.

Mr Oakley’s plan was controversial and attracted opposition from local people, parish council and councillors on the planning committee.

In her report Ms Prail stated: “I recognise that some local residents, parish council and members of the planning committee object strongly to the proposed development and I have carefully considered all relevant objections.

“But on the facts I cannot agree that the repositioning of the dwelling by four metres and the modest changes in the levels create demonstrable harm to the character and appearance of the area.”

This defeat is embarrassing as it comes after the council recently lost regarding a plan for student accommodation on Greenhill Road, Fulflood. That decision was also made by councillors against officers’ advice.

Ian Tait, now a planning consultant, who was on the committee at the time and voted to approve the scheme, told the Chronicle: “I feel the committee made a very bad decision to refuse the application and failed to judge the scheme on its planning merits and allowed the circumstances and background of the applicant to cloud their judgement.

“Architecturally it’s a great scheme and will look incredible when completed and I feel that it will be a building which could win awards for its design and styling.”

The council in a statement said: "Across 2016, 2017 and 2018 a total of 8,604 planning decisions were taken on behalf of Winchester City Council and South Downs National Park Authority.

"Of these, just 1.9% went to appeal and of these appeals 60% were dismissed.

"All Members have regular training and are aware of their statutory obligations in reaching planning judgements.

"The nature of planning means matters for and against permission can be finely balanced and every application is determined on its own merits."