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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Development Control Committee held on 08/04/2003

PART I - Reports containing recommendations for decision by the Committee


Your Sub-Committee has considered applications for planning permission, as listed in the agenda for a meeting held on 12th March 2003, and has dealt with these in accordance with the approved Scheme of Delegation. The following application is referred to this Committee for consideration. The Director of Planning and Development has some supplementary information relating to this item, which will be sent ‘To follow’.

Belevedere Smith Properties
Erection of a part three/part four-storey building to provide 50 flats with underground parking, together with associated surface parking, landscaping and other works on land at Woolsack Way, Godalming (as amended by plans received 07.02.03)
Grid Reference:E: 497492 N: 143954
Ward:Godalming South East
Development Plan:Godalming Key Site
Highway Authority:Recommend conditions
Drainage Authority:Referred to Environment Agency – Object, pending the satisfactory protection of the culverted watercourse that crosses the site. Officer to report further at the meeting.
Town Council:Object, the proposed buildings are too high, there are too many for this relatively small site and they are too near the road.
Consultations:Environmental Pollution Control Officer – Recommends conditions.
National Trust – The application site forms part of the old Godalming Wharf and is very much part of the historic setting of the Godalming Navigation. The surrounding buildings are predominantly low rise of either one or two floors under pitched roofs. The proposed development involves the construction of a part three storey part four-storey residential building under a ridged roof. The building will be at its highest on the corner facing the Navigation. This part of the building will include a large roof height glazed entrance, while it is proposed to construct the rest of the building of brick.
The Trust believes the proposed development will be out of character, not only with the surrounding buildings but also with the architectural and historic character of the Navigation, which is a Conservation Area. It is believed that the proposed building will be visually overbearing and too dominant and that he setting of the Conservation Area will be damaged.
Representations:Five letters of objection:-
      1. key site should be developed as a whole;
      2. access must be two way;
      3. detrimental effect to important views;
      4. overdevelopment;
      5. building line too close to Woolsack Way;
      6. massive bulk and towering perspective;
      7. overdominant and intrusive;
      8. additional traffic into Catteshall Lane residential area;
      9. area is generally open with single storey development;
      10. building far too high.

Relevant History

WA77/1352Use of part of Council Depot as a car park for 45 vehicles
WA93/1601Consultation under Regulation 3 – Change of use from depot and storage yard to recycling centre and storage
Deemed Consent
WA93/1602Consultation under Regulation 3 – Erection of an acoustic boundary fence 2.5 metres to 3.5 metres high
Deemed Consent
WA96/0221Consultation under Regulation 3 – Variation of Condition 2 of WA93/1601 (restricted hours) to allow overnight and weekend use for the parking of two waste recycling vehicles
Deemed Consent

Description of Site/Background

The site is approximately 0.5 hectares and is located within the north-eastern part of central Godalming. It is bounded by Woolsack Way to its north and east, by the Post Office Sorting Depot to the south and by the Surrey County Council nursery school to the west.

The site is open character, enclosed by a 1.8 metre brick wall along the majority of its highway boundary, a run of single-storey yellow brick buildings within the north-western corner of the site and by fencing to the other boundaries. The site is currently used for staff car parking for the Council and has a tarmacadam surface. There are no significant trees or vegetation within the site.

The most significant views out of the site are towards the River Wey Navigation to the north-east and the Lammas Lands that form the flood plan to the river, which are used for cattle grazing.

The Proposal

This application forms the first phase of a comprehensive redevelopment of the Godalming Key Site. The proposal is for the development of an “L” shaped building to provide 50 residential units, car parking, landscaping and associated highway improvements. The development will provide 33 x two-bedroomed and 17 x three-bedroomed units. 71 car parking spaces are to be provided, including 53 underground spaces and cycle storage.

The building follows the highway boundary of the site. It is principally of three storeys, rising to a fourth storey at the north -eastern corner of the site, opposite the roundabout junction. It would have a maximum ridge height of 15.9 metres, with low pitched roof over eaves 11.3 metres in height for the four storey section, reducing to a ridge height of 13.2 metres and eaves height of 8 metres in the three storey sections of the building.

The street elevations are broken up into regular projecting bays to provide a vertical orientation to the building. Within the projecting bays the glazing is grouped so as to create the appearance of openings of an industrial scale, with single segmental brick arches capping each group of glazing. A full height glazed entrance atrium will be provided on the corner of the site.

It is proposed to use traditional materials, including facing bricks to the external walls and slates to the roof. To the rear of the building, it is proposed to provide a landscape amenity area for the residents. Most of the units would also have small balconies or roof gardens.

The existing car park access on Woolsack Way adjoining the postal sorting office would be re-used to serve the development.

Submissions in Support

The proposed building will make a visual statement on this prominent corner site and provide enclosure to a street scene that is currently formless and lacking in containment.

The building will re-establish the traditional urban morphology of continuous frontages and provide enclosure to the street for the benefit and enjoyment of the pedestrian environment.

The design of the building will reflect the architectural heritage of the former wharf and employ materials which are vernacular to the area, thereby continuing the tradition established by the Homebase and Waitrose developments.

Amenities of residents in Victoria Road will not be adversely affected.

That the entire Key Site, once completed, will benefit from an attractive and secure environment for the benefit of all its occupiers.

Trees of appropriate size and species will be planted within the informal space and between the street and building, to provide an attractive environment and to soften the appearance of the surrounding buildings and highway.

Relevant Policies

Surrey Structure Plan 1994 - Policies PE10 (The protection of Urban Character), MT6 (Minimising the Impact of Traffic) and DP10 (Safeguarding existing Industrial and Commercial Land)

Surrey Structure Plan (Deposit Draft) 2002 – Policies LO9 (Employment Land), SE4 (Design and Quality of Development), DN9 (Cycle and Pedestrian Routes), DN10 (Housing Type and Need) and DN11 (Affordable Housing)

Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002 – Policies D1 (Environmental Implications of Development), D4 (Design and Layout), H4 (Density and Size of dwellings), H5 (Subsidised Affordable Housing within Settlements), IC2 (Safeguarding suitably located industrial and commercial land), TC6 (Godalming Key Site), M4 (Provision for Pedestrians) and M5 (Provision for Cyclists)

Also of relevance is the Development Framework for the Key Site approved by the Council in March 2001.

Main Planning Issues

Key Site issues

PolicyTC6 of the adopted Local Plan brings together the Structure and Local Plan policies and requires a co-ordinated approach to the development of the Key Site with a mixture of uses appropriate to an edge-of-town location. The policy requires (inter alia):-

development which is of a high-quality design;

provides adequate vehicular access, improved pedestrian and cycle links and appropriate facilities for public transport; and

protects the amenities of residents in Victoria Road.

In addition, the policy requires detailed investigations into ground contamination and foul and surface water.

The supporting text indicates that the preferred uses for the Key Site include:-

a replacement police station;

replacement day nursery facilities;

car parking;

employment uses;


Although Policy TC6 does not list residential as one of the preferred land uses for the key site, it does acknowledge in paragraph 9.84 that a residential element could be incorporated into a mixed use scheme.

The Development Framework suggests that part of the Key Site could be used for sheltered housing and options for this part of the site include either sheltered housing or offices.

Housing mix and density

In the event of residential use being acceptable, in principle, then the proposal should comply with the requirements of Structure and Local Plan policies regarding housing. The development of this site, which extends to 0.5 hectares with 50 flats, provides a density of 100 dph and the mix of dwelling sizes accords with Government Guidance and with Local Plan Policy H4.

Affordable housing

No provision is made for affordable housing. Policy H5 requires that, on developments such as this, at least 25% of the new dwellings should be in the form of subsidised affordable housing. However, paragraph 6.42 of the local plan states that in considering the provision of affordable housing, the Council will take account of a range of factors including, inter alia, extraordinary costs associated with the development of a site; and any other planning objectives for the site that need to be given priority.

The supporting statement refers to extraordinary costs that are likely to result to result from land contamination on the key site as a whole and on ground water pressure conditions. It is stated by the applicant that “these (costs) are likely to be considerable, particularly as the site has a low load bearing capacity. Hence the additional costs of developing the site are likely to be extraordinary which outweighs the requirement for affordable housing on the site.” This situation has been generally confirmed in a letter by consultants, Mott MacDonald. However, a more detailed report has yet to be commissioned. In addition, officers are aware of these conditions from other sources.

However, officers would remind Members that affordable housing is but one form of planning gain. In the Development Brief, a number of other benefits were identified that may accrue from the development of the Key Site, such as the widening of Flambard Way, decontamination of the former gas board land, improved pedestrian and cycle links to the town centre, etc. The developer is proposing to address these issues, partly on the site (links to the town centre) and partly on other sites within the key site (decontamination, road widening, etc.) and it is the officers’ view that the planning gains on the key site should be viewed as a whole, rather than piecemeal. It should be noted that in the terms of the sale of the land, there is a provision that in the event that the applicant does not proceed with later phases of the development, the Council will be entitled to compensation against the non-provision of social housing elsewhere on the key site.

Design and Layout

Development Framework paragraph 4.2.2 states “It is envisaged that development will not exceed three storeys anywhere in the site, and that blocks D and E should be three-storey, and designed to express their height as landmark features on Flambard Way.” The application site does not include the site of Blocks D and E.

The proposal is for a three-storey building, rising to four storeys at the corner of the “L” shape” to give architectural and townscape weight. Whilst this does not follow the recommendations set out in the Development Framework, it is the officers’ opinion that, on balance, the form of the building would provide a focal landmark in the townscape.

Consideration should also be given as to whether there is sufficient space between the pavement and the building line, particularly on the north frontage of site, to ensure that the building will not have an overbearing impact on the pedestrian environment. This forms part of an important vista down Flambard Way from the junction with Brighton Road towards the eastern Lammas Lands.

Access and transport issues

The access road shows the potential to be extended further into the site to access other phases of the Key Site, in accordance with the brief and pedestrian links are emphasised along Woolsack Way towards the town centre. Development framework paragraph 3.1.5 states “There is a need to improve linkages for pedestrians and cyclists between the Key Site and the Town Centre, and individual developments will be expected to contribute towards the achievements of any necessary highway improvements.” However, it is considered that greater opportunities for improved linkages into the town centre, particularly for pedestrians, could be achieved as provided for in the 2001 Development Framework by setting the building back slightly


It is considered that the proposed development complies with the broad aims of the Key Site Development Brief and that it would provide a high quality building that would form a landmark within the townscape. However, it remains for the lack of affordable housing on the site to be justified by the special circumstances surrounding this proposal. Officers consequently recommended that permission be GRANTED subject to the following conditions:-

(Note: the original officer recommendation was subject to the consideration of a detailed report from Mott MacDonald. However, as this had not yet been commissioned, officers made the judgement that the extra-ordinary site conditions were sufficiently known and understood to continue with their recommendation)

1. Standard levels (4.2)

2. Standard external materials (4.4)

3. Standard surfacing materials (4.5)

4. Standard fencing (5.1) - *(one) *(first occupation)

5. Standard unsuspected contamination (15.4)

6. Standard restriction on lighting (21.1) - *(site)

7. Standard landscape implementation (25.10)

8. Standard highways (HC1)

9. Standard highways (HC6) - *(a)

10. Standard highways (HC8) - *(a)(c)

11. Standard approval of disposal (7.2)


1 – 4. Standard (RC4) - *(character and amenities of the area) *(PE10) *(SE4) *(D4)

5. Standard (RC16)

6. Standard (RC4)

7. Standard (RC7) - *(character and amenities of the area) *(PE10) *(SE4) *(D4)

8 – 10. Standard (HR1)

11. Standard (RC6) - *(pollution of watercourses and ground water) *(PE10) *(SE4) *(D4)


1. Standard highways (HF7)

2. Standard highways (HF13)

3. The applicant is reminded that the Council expects other parts of the Key Site to provide the full mix of uses envisaged by Policy TC6 and the Development Framework.

Consideration by the Sub-Committee

However, after a long debate, your Sub-Committee concluded that the case for removing the requirement for affordable housing had not been adequately presented and they were not convinced that there were sufficient safeguards about the future delivery of planning benefits on the other parts of the key site. In addition, there was concern about the scale and massing of the development.

Your Sub-Committee therefore


9. permission be REFUSED for the following reasons:- 1. The development does not make provision for affordable housing in accordance with Government Guidance and Policy DN11 of the Surrey Structure Plan (Deposit Draft) 2002 and Policy H5 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002.

2. The proposed development, by virtue of its scale and massing, would be detrimental to the character and appearance of the area in conflict with Policies D1 and D4 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002.

PART II - Matters reported in detail for the information of the Committee

There are no matters falling within this category.

PART III - Brief summaries of other matters dealt with

Background Papers

B.1 Appeals Lodged

The Council has received notice of the following appeals:-

WA02/0568Erection of a new dwelling with associated garage with access off Duncombe Road together with a new garage to serve Greta Bank on land to the rear of Silvermere and Greta Bank, Tuesley Lane, Godalming
WA02/0956Erection of a detached dwelling at Swiss Cottage, Moushill Lane, Milford
WA02/2004Erection of 24 dwellings comprising 14 two-bedroomed apartments, 4 four-bedroomed houses, 3 three-bedroomed houses, 3 two-bedroomed houses with garaging, parking, etc following demolition of existing dwelling at Reris Grange, West and East, Portsmouth Road, Milford
WA02/2174Display of illuminated fascia signs at Sainsbury’s Store, Woolsack Way, Godalming
WA02/2092Formation of vehicular access and construction of hardstanding at 9 Blackburn Way, Godalming
WA02/0960Erection of a conservatory and porch at Hawthorns, Petworth Road, Milford

B.2 Appeal Decisions

WA02/0819Erection of a single-storey extension to the side and rear of the existing dwelling at 15 Busdens Lane, Milford
WA02/0886Erection of a conservatory to the west elevation of 1 Sandford Moor Cottages, Thursley Road, Elstead

WA02/0309Construction of a tarmacadam area measuring 11 m x 5 m with timber board edging to be fitted with half pipe skate ramp on land adjacent to the United Church, Bridge Road and the River Wey, Godalming

B.3 Inquiry Arrangements

Your Sub-Committee has noted information on Public Inquiry Arrangements for its planning appeals.

C. ENFORCEMENT ACTION - Current Situation

Your Sub-Committee has noted reports on the current situation regarding enforcement and related action previously authorised.

comms/development control/2002-03/068