Proposed single storey rear extension.Retrospective permission for outbuilding to provide ancillary accommodation and Jacuzzi shelter.
Refuse against officer recommendation
The Chairman, Mrs Purnell stood down for this item due to declaring an interest, and this item was therefore was chaired by the Vice-Chairman Rev. Bowden. Mrs Johnson also stood down for this item due to declaring an interest.
Mr Mew presented the item to Members and drew attention to information provided in the Agenda Update Sheet regarding a further third party comment citing the application would constitute an overdevelopment of the site. Mr Mew also gave a verbal update explaining that a letter had been received from the applicant’s agent providing some justification in terms of comments regarding over development, stating that the overall floor space increase in relation to the extension and outbuildings with reference to the 50% increase which would typically applied to permitted development, was 105 square metres less. The applicant has also provided photographs of the site which were incorporated into the presentation.
The Committee received the following speakers:
Peter Gibbs – Objector (statement read)
Glenda Baum – Objector
Donna Johnson – Objector
Tim Johnson – Ward Councillor (statement read)
Officers responded to Members’ comments and questions.
Mr Mew explained that the Permitted Development Rights had been withdrawn when planning permission for the development was originally granted to provide the Council with future control. With regards to further construction/building without prior planning permission being granted, Mr Mew advised that each case was considered on its own merits. Mr Mew confirmed that on the matter of the land levelling which had taken place, the Council’s drainage officer was content. Mr Mew explained that the 25 degree rule regarding loss of light as cited in some representations, was not part of the adopted planning policy. Officers usually made a subjective assessment of loss of light based on the impact of the proposal in terms of effect on outlook and day light. In this case, taking a 25 degree line from the horizontal point of the neighbouring windows, and the fence line, the proposed extension would comply with the 25 degree guidance, and could be increased by a metre and continue to comply. Mr Mew added that the rule usually only applied to properties which were due south and this property was north east. Mr Mew also advised that the boundary treatment had a limited impact and caused insufficient harm to warrant refusal.
With regards to the hedgerow Mr Whitty explained that as a planning authority it may control hedges from a minimum of two metres in height, but it was a matter of judgement if a complaint was received and officers effectively were required to act as arbiters to determine the impact on neighbouring properties and conclude what the height of a hedge should be.
Mr Whitty also responded to the matter of the permitted development removal and explained that this did not have any bearing on the decision. The removal had taken place by appeal decision and Inspectors were not required to give reasons for such a decision. Mr Whitty suggested that removal was likely to have been due to the close proximity of the properties and that the land may have originally been the rear gardens of the two properties, so it had seemed reasonable to remove permitted development rights to provide the planning authority with control.
With regards to overdevelopment Mr Whitty explained that the proposed development would not be visible from the road, three buildings within a garden was not unusual and the Committee was required to considered what was the harm on the street scene.
Mr Mew also confirmed that there were two hard-standing spaces for vehicle parking at the front of the building and that the applicant was seeking permission for the outbuilding to be used as sleeping accommodation, as ancillary to the main house and not as a separate dwelling.
In a vote Members refused the application against officer recommendation.
The Vice-Chairman requested proposals for reason for refusal, and Miss Golding advised that Members could alternatively request a deferral for further information or for a site visit. Mr Whitty confirmed that officers could investigate how a site visit could be conducted during the current Covid-19 restrictions.
Members suggested that reasons for refusal could include over-development of the site, that the development could be considered as ‘unneighbourly’ and that there would be a negative impact on the street scene when viewed between other properties. Mr Whitty responded that over-development could provide a reason for refusal as having an impact on the public realm, although very little of the proposed development would be seen from the street. ‘Unneighbourly’ may provide greater scope for argument although officers considered this was not an issue. Mr Whitty also responded that the loss of light may also be concluded as a reason, as the development could be considered as over-bearing within the limited space. Mr Plowman proposed that the two reasons were in relation to the over-bearing nature of the development due to size and bulk, and that this issue resulted in an unneighbourly development, which was seconded by Mr Barrett.
In a vote Members agreed the proposed reasons for the refusal of the application.