Agenda item

HOVETON - PF/20/1811 - Construction of three bay car port with room within roofspace to front of dwelling; Holmwood, Tunstead Road for Mr and Mrs Williams


Conditional approval.


The Planning Officer presented the report by remote link.  He recommended approval of this application as set out in the report, to include a restriction to ancillary use to the main dwelling.  A copy of the visual presentation had previously been forwarded to the Committee. 


A statement by Councillor N Dixon, local Member, was read verbatim to the Committee by the Assistant Director for Planning.  In summary, Councillor Dixon considered that the enclosure of the staircase and minor changes to the dimensions had confused or convinced the Planning Officers that the reasons for the refusal of application PF/20/1171 were no longer applicable.  He considered that the reduction in volume and dimensions were marginal and fell far short of the reductions needed to satisfy the previous reasons for refusal.  The proposal would establish a precedent for allowing residential development above a garage, cart lodge or car port in the front garden of dwellings along Tunstead Road, and there was strong local opposition to changing the character of the area in that way.  The proposed building would be much more visible from the road as the applicant had recently removed much of the vegetation that would help to shield the majority of the building from view.  He considered that the building would be an inappropriate and out of character form of residential development because of its size, scale and massing, easily visible from the roadside, and result in an unacceptable level of overlooking and loss of privacy to the neighbours.  He requested that the Committee refuse this application on grounds that it fails to comply with Policy EN4.


Councillor N Pearce considered that loss of privacy needed careful consideration.  He stated that the proposal would radically alter the unified appearance of the road and the heritage aspect of the area.  He considered that the reduction in massing and alterations to the staircase did not satisfy the previous reasons for refusal.


Councillor G Mancini-Boyle, local Member, stated that the dwellings were well established and nicely set back, with some of the dwellings hardly being altered, if at all, since they were built.  The main issue was the office development in the roof space that extended the roofline.  He considered that the building as proposed would be out of character and ruin the area.


Councillor J Rest asked what the policy was regarding the fitting of doors to cartshed-type buildings after construction.


The Assistant Director for Planning stated that there was no clear policy, but the extent of physical change to a building would determine whether or not planning permission was required.  The Government was keen to relax planning requirements for residential developments and case law was evolving in line with the Government’s wishes.


Councillor Rest explained that he was aware that some cartshed buildings had doors fitted and were being used for accommodation.  He considered that the same could be the case with this building.  He agreed with Councillor Mancini-Boyle with regard to the development at first floor level.


The Assistant Director for Planning explained that the use of a building within the curtilage of a dwelling for accommodation ancillary to the use of the main dwelling might not require further planning permission.  The recommendation included a condition to require the building to remain ancillary to the main dwelling and there were no facilities in the building.  The Enforcement Team would investigate any concerns regarding breaches of condition.


In response to a question by Councillor Mrs L Withington, the Planning Officer clarified the roof height of the building, its comparison with neighbouring buildings and the volume of the building as calculated by the applicant’s agent in comparison with the previously refused scheme.


Councillor N Lloyd considered that the building was well shielded from the road and other properties, and noted that the size of the neighbour’s garage was significant and in a similar location in relation to their dwelling.  He proposed approval of this application as recommended by the Officer.


Councillor R Kershaw seconded the proposal.


Councillor A Brown stated that he was not entirely sure that the previous objection had been overcome by scaling down the proposed structure by 26%, and in his view it remained imposing.  He accepted that the issue relating to tree protection had been satisfied.  He considered that a garage in the proposed location would be more consistent with the historical context of the existing properties and the introduction of office space in the loft was a new type of development. 


Councillor P Heinrich stated that he could understand the reasons for the objections, but there was a large garage next door and he considered that the proposed building was of a better design in terms of its relationship.  The proposed building would be well screened, and overlooking would be addressed by the use of obscured glazing.  He stated that there was increasing demand for home office structures.  On balance, he supported the application.


The Chairman drew attention to the Officer’s report in respect of the acceptability of ancillary home office use given the increase in homeworking since the pandemic, and also in respect of the relationship with the neighbouring garage and the submission of a tree protection plan.


The Principal Lawyer advised that the erection of the structure would not, of itself, change or sub-divide the planning unit, which would remain in residential use.  As a matter of law, ancillary residential use of the structure would not amount to development requiring planning permission.


RESOLVED by 7 votes to 5


That this application be approved in accordance with the recommendation of the Head of Planning, to include the restriction to ancillary use to the main dwelling.

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