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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 16/10/2001
Local Plan Special Interest Group: Responses to Representations on Proposed Modifications to Replacement Local Plan


Objections 013/1M (Mr R Stubbs) and 030/02M (Robert Shaw and Partners)
Measurement of total dwelling floor area (Policy H4).

1. A number of objections were received in respect of Policy H4 (Density and Size of Dwellings). In order to avoid arguments of interpretation, the Local Plan Inspector recommended that a figure of 150 square metres maximum be stated in the policy as the maximum size of dwellings. He therefore recommended that Policy H4 be reworded to include:-

"no more than 20% of all dwelling units in any proposal shall exceed 150 square metres in total gross floor area measured internally, excluding garaging".

2. The Council considered that this criterion was ambiguous as it is normal practice to measure gross floor area externally. The Council therefore resolved to modify the plan by quoting 150 square metres as a figure to be measured externally.

3. Two objections were received in respect of this Modification, on the basis that if the figure is to be measured externally, it should be increased by between 25 and 30 square metres to allow for internal and external walls.

4. Clarification was therefore sought from the Planning Inspectorate. The response had not been received at the time the Special Interest Group met and the SIG agreed the following:-

“It is established practice to measure gross floor area externally. If the Inspector meant for the measurements to be made internally, it is more likely that he would have referred to net floor area which would take account of other factors such as internal partition walls. To do this would be unrealistic and impractical. In addition, to measure floorspace internally is inconsistent with policies RD2 and RD2A dealing with the extension and replacement of dwellings in the countryside, where floorspace is measured externally. On the basis that the report contains a mistake, and that the word ‘internally’ should have read ‘externally’ there is no need to make an adjustment to the figure of 150 square metres.”

5. A response has now been received from the Inspectorate as follows:-

"The response from the Inspector is that he does not consider that a mistake has been made. The measurement referred to can be taken internally or externally and he does not agree that the reference to "gross" automatically means it must be an internal measurement. The word gross means to include all internal uses within the calculations, including non-habitable rooms etc. It is not correct to assume there was a mistake, the word gross is used to avoid any argument about what rooms should be included."

6. The Inspectorate's response is somewhat confusing. However, it is clear that there had been no mistake made in the original wording of the Inspector's report and the Inspector meant to include all the space within the external walls in his calculation.

7. In order to be consistent with other policies in the Plan, an external measurement should be used, however, in order to meet the objections it would be appropriate to make an allowance for using external measurements.

8. A dwelling measuring 150 square metres (15 metres by 10 metres) internally, would, if the external walls were included, measure 15.6 metres by 10.6 metres. This equates to just over 165 square metres (a 10% increase).

9. Having regard to the Inspectorate’s response it would be reasonable to state the gross floor area, to be measured externally, as being 165 square metres.

It is therefore Recommended that the Plan be modified as follows:-