Smart Planning are delighted to have secured planning permission at appeal for a residential development of 8 two-bedroom low carbon maisonettes by ZED PODS at a site in Grays within the borough of Thurrock, Essex.

The original application was refused by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) in February 2020, with two reasons for refusal given. The first stated that the proposal would likely be an incongruous development which would appear out of character with the appearance of the area as a consequence of its siting, mass, appearance, design and materials. The second was in relation the provision of rear garden amenity space for the proposed dwellings.

Consequently, an appeal against the decision was submitted by Smart Planning to the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the appellant, ZED PODS Ltd.

The appointed Inspector, Sarah Colebourne, acknowledged the objections received from the Council and local residents on a neighbouring estate. However, she goes on to state that “the existing dwellings are unexceptional in their character and appearance and I see no need to replicate or reflect their design. Furthermore, the sloping topography of the site, its setting behind tall trees and its significant degree of separation from nearby dwellings by the intervening open space distinguishes it from the estate and requires a different approach.

Consequently, the Inspector concluded that the proposed development would not harm the character or appearance of the area, in response to the first reason for refusal.

In respect of the private garden space provided by the proposed development, the Inspector acknowledges that despite their relatively small size, they would “provide a private space for outdoor use such as sitting out and drying washing”. Furthermore, the close proximity of the appeal site to informal open space and a recreation ground means that “future occupiers would have very good access to areas for play and exercise”. The Inspector concludes that this significant material consideration “outweighs the conflict with the Council’s policies in this respect”.

Taking all the foregoing into consideration, the Inspector found in favour of the scheme, overturning the LPA’s decision and granting planning permission subject to conditions.

Tom Northway, Chairman ZED PODS Ltd, said “Our innovative, zero carbon modular homes are ideally suited for constrained residential development sites. These sites would otherwise be difficult to build using traditional construction methodologies. We are delighted with the outcome and would like thank Smart Planning for their assistance.

For more information on ZED PODS and their involvement with this project click here.

Notes to the editors:

ZED PODS are multi award winning low-carbon, affordable, high-quality modular homes built in a fraction of the time of traditionally built conventional housing. This modular solution can be demountable or permanent, decouples land and building costs by building affordable living spaces above existing carparks, garages, infills and hard-standing areas. Built in the UK, these high-performance units come with latest low-carbon technologies ensuring ultra-low energy consumption and cheaper running cost. Zed Pods offer a full turnkey service from design to completion and has a strong pipeline of over 200 residential units from both public and private sector clients. For more information, please visit

Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @ZEDPODS
Linked-In: @ZED PODS Limited

21 January 2021