The Development Manager referred to the report and slide handout previously supplied to the Committee.
Councillor Mrs L Withington, local Member, referred to the concerns expressed by Sheringham Town Council and local residents regarding the growing number of this type of residential home in this locality. Dalmeny House was one of four care homes with specialism in residents with complex mental health illness which were located in a small and compact area of the town centre. A satellite building nearby housed 5 residents who used the facilities of the main house and for whom the rear garden area of Dalmeny House was their only amenity space. She considered that further development of the amenity space would detract from its secluded character. She referred to concerns that had been raised with regard to disturbance and light pollution, including the impact on bed and breakfast businesses adjacent to the rear of the property, and the number of crimes at the home itself or in the town. She expressed concern at the growing concentration of this type of home in an area which served as the main tourist route to the beach and housed many of the town’s bed and breakfast establishments. She considered that approval of this application could set a precedent for similar developments, and the associated crime and social issues would further damage the character of this important route in a town which was predominately dependent on tourism. She considered that the proposal would increase the density of housing in the area and questioned whether it would enhance the traditional characteristics of this part of the Conservation Area. She requested the Committee to consider refusal due to concerns regarding the changing character of a premier road in the town, failure to enhance the Conservation Area and the extra pressure that would be placed on mental health services.
Councillor G Mancini-Boyle stated that an adjacent property would look out onto the site. He considered that the site was already crowded and questioned the need for the development.
The Head of Planning advised the Committee that the material planning issues related to the character of the building and its potential impact on local amenity. He stated that there was a principle in planning law which related to the “Perception of Fear”. The home continued to be licensed, and whilst he understood the concerns relating to crime, the “Perception of Fear” was balanced through the licensing process which was governed by different legislation.
The Chairman referred to a previous application for an existing pod at the site, when there has been discussion as to whether or not it was an annexe due to its distance from the house, but she could not recall any concerns being raised regarding noise and disturbance. She considered that the pods were not very attractive but they were tucked down behind a wall and provided an important step-down facility to help people get back into the community.
Councillor P Heinrich supported the Chairman’s comments. He considered that the proposed pod related well to the other units on the site. He proposed that the Head of Planning be directed to approve this application as recommended.
Councillor A Varley seconded the proposal.
It was agreed unanimously that the view of the Committee was that the Head of Planning should approve this application in accordance with his recommendation.