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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Southern Area Development Control Sub Committee held on 27/08/2003
APPENDIX D - REPORT TO MEETING OF THE DEVELOPMENT CONTROL COMMITTEE ON 20TH AUGUST 2003



Central 29
APPENDIX D

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

CENTRAL AREA DEVELOPMENT CONTROL SUB-COMMITTEE
13TH AUGUST 2003

REPORT TO THE MEETING OF THE DEVELOPMENT CONTROL
COMMITTEE ON 20TH AUGUST 2003

PART I - Reports containing recommendations for decision by the Committee

A. APPLICATIONS FOR PLANNING PERMISSION

Your Sub-Committee has considered applications for planning permission, as listed in the agenda for the meetings held on 13th August 2003, and has dealt with these in accordance with the approved Scheme of Delegation. The following applications are referred to this Committee for consideration:-

(i)WA03/0150
Mr G La Costa
20.1.03
Erection of extensions and alterations at Hambledon Park (formerly Rock Hill House), Rock Hill, Hambledon (as amplified by letter dated 14.3.03 and plans received 31.3.03)
Grid Reference:E: 496751 N: 138506
Parish:Hambledon
Ward:Witley and Hambledon
Development Plan:MGB, AONB, AGLV. Outside settlement area.
Conservation Area.
Highway Authority:No requirements - Rights of Way Officer– No observations.
Drainage Authority:No requirements
Parish Council:Original Comments
“Despite the absence of any information regarding the cumulative increase, it would appear that the proposal far exceeds the permitted increase in floor space for extensions (policy RD2 Waverley Local Plan 2002). The Parish Council also objects strongly to the bulk and height of the proposal which, if allowed, will have a serious and adverse impact on the openness of the Green Belt and spoil what is presently an unobstructed view from the Greensand ridge across the Weald to the South Downs. Finally, the Parish Council queries whether what is proposed is extensions and alterations or would more accurately be described as a replacement dwelling”.
Recommend retention of the present name – Rock Hill House.

Consultations:




Representations:
Further Comments
Reiterate that the applicant’s preferred name for the property, ‘Hambledon Park’, duplicates the name of another property in the village which would cause confusion.
It is premature to make any decision at this stage before it is known whether the property will be listed.

English Heritage - requested deferral pending resolution of listing issue. English Heritage to make a recommendation to Department of Culture, Media and Sport still waiting for a response.

12 letters have been received, objecting on the following grounds :-
- The current house, designed by Lady Casson, has architectural merit. The building is unique and fits unobtrusively into the park setting. The proposals would destroy its character. Within Conservation Area, view as to whether it is worthy of listing.
- The proposed alterations are not viewed as being an improvement over the existing building. The character of the house would be lost. It would be impossible to identify the fabric of the existing building.
- Non-compliance with Policy RD2 – disproportionate in terms of bulk, massing, floor area and height. Design does not reflect the local distinctiveness of the area and would be more intrusive within the landscape.
- Concerns over the height of the first floor/roof and impact on neighbouring amenity/ loss of privacy. The proposed roof would be more visible, affecting outlook.
- Confusion resulting from re-naming of the house to “Hambledon Park” – a property of this name already exists.
- The existing property is a long standing feature predating and included within the Conservation Area.
- Other properties nearby are not in the vernacular style but are still part of the character of the area.
- The proposed height of the building is nearly three times that of the existing, the major proportion of which has a height of 4.1 m.
- It would be more intrusive within the landscape by virtue of its bulk and height.
- It is considered to breach all the provisions of the RD2 policy, and making an exception to policy on grounds of visual improvement would represent an undesirable precedent.


Relevant History

WA95/1493Erection of a carport
Permitted
28.12.95
WA96/0664Erection of an extension to existing outbuilding to provide additional cart shed
Permitted
27.6.96
WA96/1591Erection of a carport; construction of a new access and access drive
Permitted
21.2.97

Description of Site/Background

Hambledon House, formerly known as Rock Hill House, is a substantial, detached property measuring 474 sq metres in floor area and situated within extensive grounds on the east side of Hambledon Road in Hambledon village. The property, designed by Lady Casson in the 1960’s, is of a contemporary design and distinctive example of a house of that period, characterised by flat roofs and modern materials. It is unique in Hambledon, in comparison to the more traditional style of properties within the village. The house itself and part of the garden area to the west are located within the Hambledon Conservation Area while the remainder of the site is outside.

The Proposal

The proposal involves extensions and alterations to the existing house. It will include increasing the height of the property to form a two storey pitched roof design, characteristic of a traditional Surrey property. The height of the existing flat roof is 6.5 metres in comparison to the proposed new pitched roof design, which would be 7 metres to the eaves and 11.5 metres to the ridge at the highest points. The external materials will change from that of a modern type to traditional brick and tile. The footprint will not be materially altered. The total increase in floor area will be 182 sq metres, mainly as a result of the proposed first floor accommodation.

Relevant Policies

Surrey Structure Plan 1994 – Policies PE2, PE7 and PE12
Surrey Structure Plan (Deposit Draft) 2002 – Policy LO4, SE8, SE5
Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002 – Policies C1, C3, HE8 and RD2

Main Planning Issues

The site is located within the Metropolitan Green Belt, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and an Area of Great Landscape Value, outside of any settlement, wherein rural planning policies place strict restraint upon development. The site is also within the Conservation Area wherein development must preserve or enhance the character of the Conservation Area.

Due to the extent of the work proposed, it should be noted that planning permission is sought for extensions and alterations only. Following consultation with the Building Control Section, officers consider that the alterations could be carried out without demolishing the building and that the proposed scheme would be feasible in a structural capacity.


The following factors are material considerations :-

1. Compliance with the rural extension Policy RD2 of the Local Plan is a fundamental consideration;

(a) The proposal amounts to an increase of some 38% over the size of the original dwelling. Therefore, the proposal falls below the recommended upper limit of 40% increase in floor area within the Policy.

(b) However, there would be a significant change to the scale and character of the building as a result of the proposal. Visually, the proposal is dramatically different in design and size and the overall massing and height would be much greater than the original dwelling. The addition of more substantial first floor accommodation and a pitched roof increases the height by 5 metres. The height of the original flat roof at its highest point is 6.5 metres compared to 11.5 metres to the ridge of the proposed pitched roof. In view of this, the proposal would arguably appear disproportionate in size in relation to the original dwelling.

2. In the case of this particular scheme, Officers consider that there are very special circumstances which outweigh the concerns in terms of the increased bulk, scale and height. The proposed alterations would result in the removal of a non-vernacular building from the Conservation Area and the rural landscape. The scheme is considered to be of a more appropriate and traditional in design for the area, reflecting the local “Surrey” vernacular style and would be more in keeping with the character of the area.

3. The proposed scheme would be a larger building, the result of which would arguably make it appear more prominent within the landscape. However, the property is positioned on an area of lower land within a dip in the park. It is not visible from the main road and there are no public footpaths/bridleways within the site. As a result, even the increased size and height, would not make the building any more intrusive than the existing dwelling. It is arguable that the proposed extensions and alterations to the dwelling would result in an improvement over the original building The more traditional style of architecture would visually enhance the landscape of the park and, moreover, be more in keeping with the character of the landscape in this area.

4. The proposal will involve a major re-modelling of the existing building to the extent that the existing design and form would be radically changed. Concerns have been expressed that this may be an inappropriate treatment of a building of merit by a known architect. Members should be aware that the question of whether the building is listable has been considered but, to date, there has been no confirmation of this. The judgement remains as to whether this proposal satisfactorily enhances the character and appearance of the Conservation Area. It is a matter of visual judgement but the Officers’ consider that the proposal would meet the statutory test. The proposal would provide an attractive replacement of the existing building which would satisfactorily enhance the landscape and Conservation Area.

5. The Officers do not have any overriding concerns in relation to trees on the site. However, it is recommended that general tree protection measures are carried out, if permission is granted.

6. The concerns raised by neighbouring occupiers are noted. However, it is considered that there would be no material impact upon residential amenity nor upon the character of the area.

Conclusions

RECOMMENDS that

2. subject to the completion of departure procedures, permission be GRANTED subject to the following conditions :-

1. Standard approval of materials (4.4)

2. Standard larger sites where trees may or may not be affected (25.7)

3. Standard services (25.4)

4. The extended garage, hereby permitted, shall only be used for purposes of parking and domestic storage and shall not be used for habitable accommodation without the prior written approval of the Local Planning Authority.

5. The new roof area, hereby permitted, shall not be converted to habitable accommodation without the prior approval of the Local Planning Authority.

6. No new windows, including roof lights shall be inserted into the new roof without the prior written approval of the Local Planning Authority.

Reasons

1. Standard (RC12)

2&3 Standard (RC4) - *(long term health of the tree or trees concerned in order to protect visual amenity)

4–6. Standard (RC9) - *(restrictive policies which apply in this area) *(PE2 and PE7) *(HC1 and C3)


Informative

1. For the avoidance of ambiguity, the applicant is advised that the permission hereby granted relates to the erection of extensions and alterations only. This permission does not relate to the complete demolition of the existing dwelling nor the erection of a new dwelling. Such works would need to be the subject of a fresh planning application and would be unlikely to comply with the Council’s Local Plan Policy for replacement dwellings.

(ii)WA03/0399
G Steele
21.2.03
Erection of a new country house at Witley Park, Haslemere Road, Brook
Grid Reference:E: 492376 N: 139434
ParishWitley and Hambledon
Ward:Elstead and Thursley
Development Plan:MGB, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Area of Great Landscape Value
Highway Authority:No requirements
Drainage Authority:Referred to the Environment Agency – Recommend conditions
Parish Council:No objection - construction access via Lea Coach Road and estate management plan needed.
Consultations:See report
Representations:2 letters of objection on the following grounds:-
1. the original house has already been replaced by the previous owner in the early 1960’s.
2. the original site has been abandoned and there has not been a continuing intention to rebuild the original house

Description of Site/Background

Witley Park comprises a country estate of approx 196 ha to the north of Brook, on the western side of the A286. The estate includes landscaped grounds, a series of lakes and open parkland. The park was once home to Lea Park House, a Georgian villa with an “improved landscape.” Then in 1897, Witley Park was built by Whitaker Wright, with the house set in an elevated position above the main lake, at the top of a series of terraces. Much of this house was destroyed by fire in 1953, leaving only the domestic wing surviving, together with the various garden buildings, most of which are Grade II listed.

Since 1992 part of the estate has been operating as a business meeting conference venue, centred on the former stable block, to the northeast of the house.

The Proposal

It is proposed to erect a replacement house on the site of the original Victorian mansion, on a plateau above a series of terraces leading down to the lake. The house is of classical design, with a main axis and two forward projecting bays at each end. A full height portico marks the front entrance and the garden elevation includes a projecting domed semi-rotunda, centrally set in this elevation.

The dwelling would have a floor area of approx. 2,900 sq.m. and would be of two to three storeys in height. Within the lower ground floor there would be 5 bedrooms, a cinema, an indoor court and a range of domestic service rooms. The upper ground floor would contain dining room, living room, family room, kitchen billiard room, library and gallery, with a swimming pool within the south bay. The first floor would comprise 5 ensuite bedrooms and a master suite of bedroom, 2 dressing rooms and 2 bathrooms.

Submissions in Support

The park is of high quality landscape and the proposed house is of exceptional design, as befits its location
This is a landscaped park of the highest quality, which lacks a house
There would be significant benefits to the landscape of the park which has many listed features, centred around a series of lakes
The owner may be prepared to allow some limited access to the park.

Consultation responses

CABE – see planning considerations below
English Heritage – no comments
Environment Agency - No objection in principle, subject to conditions
Surrey County Council

1. Environment Building Conservation – ‘the landscape survives remarkably complete and the photographs illustrate that it is still managed despite the loss of the mansion. There would be some benefit to the setting of the listed garden buildings from the reinstatement of a mansion on the location of the original. Because I have not been able to visit the site, I cannot comment on the merit of the retention of the existing buildings and how the composite building would appear.

‘I feel that there is some clear personal benefit being obtained and some clear disbenefit to the openness of the landscape and other pure planning matters. This should in my view be offset by some form of public access to the parkland to view the park and listed buildings on, say, four days a year. These should be spread through the Spring, Summer and Autumn, but one obvious date is Heritage Open Days weekend’.

‘I would also sound a note of caution as the new Witley House of 1963 may have been allowed as an exception as a replacement to the one on the site now proposed. A much clearer understanding of the future of the whole of the estate is needed and a guarantee of future maintenance of the listed buildings.

‘In terms of design, we are advised not to worry ourselves with the matter of style so much as good design. It would be good to have a modern building on this site providing it looked like a mansion and not an office or other type of building. However, I do not have any fundamental objection to what is proposed.

2. Planning and Countryside Service – ‘Witley Park is within the Green Belt as well as the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV).

‘The proposal refers to the mansion house as being a private residence which is defined under PPG2 (Green Belts) as development not normally deemed appropriate in Green Belt. Nevertheless, as indicated under guidance contained in PPG7 (The Countryside – Environmental Quality and Economic and Social Development), a new country house may be acceptable, although the proposed building would need to be “clearly of the highest quality, truly outstanding in terms of its architecture and landscape design and would significantly enhance its immediate setting and wider surroundings”.

‘The new building coupled with a commitment to the upkeep and permanent management of the landscaped park and gardens, as proposed, may ensure a positive impact on countryside within the AONB/AGLV. Therefore, subject to the further comments of the County Historic Buildings Advisor, provided the design of the mansion is indeed in accordance with the criteria contained in PPG7, we consider that an exceptional case for development within Green Belt can be made.

‘Provided the Borough Council is satisfied that this is the case and that the future use of the new and existing buildings can be controlled, no objection in principle is raised under Replacement Draft Policies LO4 and LO5 concerning the protection of the Green Belt and countryside and Replacement Draft Policies SE8 and SE9 concerning landscape conservation. Also, subject to the further comments of the County Historic Buildings Advisor should the details of the scheme exhibit positive features in relation to building and landscape conversion, no objection is raised under Replacement Draft Policy SE5 concerning the protection of the heritage.’

The Garden History Society – do not wish to comment
Government Office For The South East – no observations at the present time. However, the application will be referred to the Government Office as a departure should the Council be minded to grant planning permission.
Thursley Parish council – no reply received

Relevant Policies

The site lies within the Green Belt, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Area of Great Landscape Value. Reference should also be made to para 3.21 of PPG7.

Main Planning Issues

The site lies within the Green Belt wherein the erection of a new dwelling is considered inappropriate development, unless very special circumstances can be shown to justify the grant of planning permission. However, guidance within PPG7 indicates that a new country house may be exceptionally acceptable, providing it is “of the highest quality, is truly outstanding in terms of its architecture and landscape design and would significantly enhance its immediate setting and wider surroundings.”

The main issues for consideration therefore are:-

a) whether the proposed dwelling would be of the highest quality and of outstanding architecture and
b) if the proposal would enhance the park.

The proposed building is of exceptional design. The application was referred to the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). They commented as follows:-

“paragraph 3.21 of PPG7 is fairly short and does not differentiate between a number of types of country house projects which we have seen put forward as a consequence of the guidance. Having now seen a number of projects which propose new country houses replacing former country houses in established parkland landscapes, we are of the view that there is in principle a very strong case in favour of projects of this kind……We now have no hesitation in commending it as a design of very high quality which we would be happy to see built.”
In respect of the enhancement of the immediate setting and wider surroundings, the landscape of Witley Park is itself exceptional. It centres around a series of lakes which are dotted with a number of historic structures, most of which are Grade II listed and which include buildings designed by Lutyens, with the remainder being more informal, mature open parkland, much of which is currently grazed. However, the loss of the original house has left a gap in the landscape, at the top of the series of terraces which lead down to the main lake. It is considered that the erection of a house of suitable design in this location will enhance the appearance of the park.

It is considered that these provisions would enhance the local environment and assist in assimilating the replacement house into its surroundings and result in a positive visual enhancement of the landscape.

It will be noted from the consultation responses, that Surrey County Council have suggested there be limited public access to the park, for example as part of the Heritage Open Day scheme which allows visitors free access to interesting properties that are either not usually open, or would normally charge an entrance fee. It is understood by officers that the owner has on previous occasions facilitated visits to the Park, including visits by school groups, and has indicated that he is willing to continue with this practice by prior arrangement and at times which are convenient
Finally, the comments of interested parties regarding the 1960’s house are noted. It may be that this dwelling was erected in replacement of the house destroyed by fire, but no records are available of the application. However, the current application has been submitted as a country house as defined in PPG7 and should be considered in its own right as a departure from policy. It must therefore also be referred to Development Control committee for resolution.

Conclusions

It is the officers’ opinion that, having regard to the exceptional quality of the proposed dwelling, it may be considered as an exceptional country house in line with the terms of para 3.21 of PPG7. However, the proposal does represent a departure from the Development Plan in that it is, by definition, inappropriate development within the Green Belt and for this reason the application must be determined by the Development Control Committee.

Your Sub-Committee

RECOMMENDS that

3. subject to consideration of the application by the Government Office for the South East, planning permission be GRANTED subject to the following conditions:-

Reasons


(iii)WA03/0734
Froggatt Investments
02.04.03
Retention and alterations to building previously approved as offices and conversion of building to provide nine flats at Empire Works, Station Road, Godalming
Grid Reference:E: 496728 N: 143882
Parish:Godalming
Ward:Godalming South East
Development Plan:Town Centre, IC2 Suitably Located Industrial and Commercial Land, Conservation Area
Highway Authority:No objections
Drainage Authority:No comments received
Town Council:No objection
Representations:3 letters received can be summarised as follows
      1. No objection in principle to any application for residential development as it would be more appropriate than an office use.
      2. Concern is to see the early completion of the development as soon as possible.
      3. Will improve the streetscene.
      4. Too many unoccupied offices in and around Godalming.

Relevant Planning History

WA90/1390Erection of building to provide offices following demolition of existing building, construction of parking area.
Appeal Decision Allowed 16/09/1991
WA90/1391Application for Conservation Area Consent for demolition of buildings.
Appeal Decision Allowed 16/09/1991
WA91/1052Erection of building to provide offices following demolition of existing building; construction of parking area (revision of WA90/1390)
Granted
Decision
27/11/1991
WA91/1053Application for Conservation Area Consent to erect building to provide offices following for the demolition of existing office building.
Granted
Decision
27/11/1991
WA96/1261Erection of building to provide offices following demolition of existing building, construction of parking area.
(Renewal of WA91/1052)
Granted 28/10/1996
WA96/1262Application for Conservation Area Consent for the demolition of existing office building.
(Renewal of WA91/1053)
Granted 28/10/1996


Description of Site/Background

The site falls within the Godalming town centre and the Godalming conservation area. The site is within an area designated by policy IC2 as suitably located for Industrial and Commercial Land. The site is known as the former Empire Works site situated on the west side of Station Road between a short terrace of two storey cottages and the car park for offices adjoining Godalming Station. The site is within the Godalming Town Centre covered by Policy TC3. The site is in close proximity of two public car parks in Station Road although remains outside the Godalming Central Shopping Area. The site was previously occupied by a light industrial building. In September 1991 an appeal was allowed for a replacement B1 building of 580sq.m. Following the decision an amended scheme for the erection of a traditional design of building was permitted with 12 car parking spaces at the rear. The building has now been constructed although not finished internally.

The Proposal Relevant Policies Main Planning Issues
(iv)WA03/0600
Brian Madge
24.3.2003
Outline application for the erection of 23 dwellings comprising 12 two bed apartments, 4 four bed houses, 5 three bed houses and 2 one bed flats with associated garages, parking and associated works following demolition of existing dwellings (revision of WA02/2004) on Land at Reris Grange, Portsmouth Road, Milford (as amended by plans received 16.7.03 and letter dated 14.7.03).
Grid Reference:E: 494532 N: 142528
Parish:Witley
Ward:Milford
Development Plan:Rural Settlement within the Green Belt
Tree Preservation Order
Highway Authority:Recommend conditions
Drainage Authority:Referred to the Environment Agency – Recommend condition and informative
Parish Council:No objection
Consultations:Surrey Bat Group – recommend an evening emergence survey
Representations:3 letters of objection on the following grounds:-
1. potential for drainage problems
2. loss of security for dwellings in George Road
3. level of illumination
4. overlooking to gardens
5. overshadowing of gardens
6. loss of privacy
7. loss of trees
8. density out of keeping with rural nature of Milford
      9. land is within Green Belt, and developing is therefore inappropriate
      10. contrary to Policy BE6 (low density residential areas)
      11. loss of natural environment
      12. loss of trees will lead to increase in noise pollution from traffic using the by-pass
      13. this is a windfall site, using land of a predominantly open area, such as large areas of garden land
      14. traffic generation will lead to greater congestion
      15. increase in noise and disturbance
      16. access is inadequate
      3 letters of support have also been received.

Relevant History

WA76/1175Erection of bungalow
Refused
22.10.76
WA78/563Erection of bungalow
Refused
7.6.78
WA80/1280Use of existing extension as separate dwelling
Permit
3.11.80
WA81/1104Erection of bungalow
Refused
18.8.81
Appeal Dismissed
15.7.82
WA97/322Erection of extensions
Permitted
10.4.97
WA02/1259Outline application for the erection of 24 dwellings comprising 12 two bed apartments, 4 four bed houses, 3 three bed houses and 5 two bed houses
Decision Date
1.1.1801
Appeal Decision:
Appeal Dismissed
Appeal Date
20.1.03
WA02/2004Outline application for the erection of 24 dwellings comprising 14 two bed apartments, 4 four bed houses, 3 three bed houses and 3 two bed houses
Refused
Decision Date
16.1.03
Appeal Decision
Appeal Dismissed
Appeal Date
3.2.03

Description of Site/Background

Reris Grange is located on the east side of the Milford by-pass, approx. 130 metres to the north of the traffic lights at the Elstead Road. It is a substantial Victorian house which was divided vertically into two units in about 1947. In 1980, permission was granted for an ancillary annex to be used independently from Reris Grange West.

The three dwellings occupy a site with a combined area of 0.59 hectares. The site is roughly rectangular, with access located centrally within the 57 metre wide frontage to the by-pass road.

The site is very well screened along its boundaries with mature hedging and trees, which have been protected by an unconfirmed tree preservation order covering the whole site. A number of trees are also individually protected by confirmed orders.

Members will note that two recent applications for similar form of development were dismissed at appeal. The current application is now also at appeal against the non-determination of the proposal.

The Proposal

The application is in outline form, with means of access and siting the only matters for consideration at this stage.

It is proposed to demolish the three existing dwellings on the site and to replace them with a small estate of 23 dwellings, comprising 12 two bed apartments, 4 four bed houses, 5 three bed houses and 2 one bed flats, with associated parking and garaging. The layout is similar to that previously proposed, but provides one less dwelling and has greater space around the boundaries, especially between unit 13 and the back gardens of houses in George Road and between units 19-23 and the Badgers Cross development.

Parking would be provided in small clusters of open parking with 6 garages provided for the occupants of the central terrace of 6 dwellings. The total provision would be 34 spaces, in line with the recommended maximum of 1.5 spaces per dwelling.

Submissions in Support

• The proposal provides a wide range of housing in a mature landscape.
• The density and mix of development is in accordance with policy.
• Affordable housing is provided in accordance with policy.
• The proposal seeks to reduce the need to travel by maximising housing provisions and reducing car dependence by being located close to facilities and public transport in Milford village centre.
• The type of housing is not dissimilar in density to adjacent development and is designed to reflect current urban design policies.
• The scheme seeks to achieve privacy and respect to neighbours.
• There would be no harm to trees that are protected.


Relevant Policies

Policies RU1, DP3, PE9, PE10 of the Surrey Structure Plan 1994
Policies LO4, SE3, SE7, DN10, DN11 and DN12 of the Surrey Structure Plan Deposit Draft 2001
Policies RD1, D1, D4, D7, H4 and H5 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002

Main Planning Issues

The site lies within the rural settlement boundary of Milford where, in principle, development may be considered acceptable, provided it is well-related in scale and location to existing development.

In dismissing the appeals earlier this year, the Inspector had regard to four main issues. These were:-

a) the effect of the development on the character and appearance of the area, with reference to trees and to the openness of the Green Belt;

b) on living conditions of the occupiers of adjoining properties with reference to outlook;

c) on wildlife of the area; and

d) on housing provision in the area.

A copy of this decision letter is attached at Annexe 1 to this agenda. From this, members will note that he found the development of the site was acceptable in terms of Policy RD1 and therefore did not comprise inappropriate development in the Green Belt (para 8), that the development would not be harmful to the character and appearance of the area (para 12), that the development would not unacceptably harm the wildlife of the area (para 15) and, in respect of the application that provided the greater amount of affordable housing, that significantly community benefit would result (para 18). However, in respect of the impact on living conditions, he found that there would be an unacceptable impact on adjoining residents in Badgers Cross (para 13).

The current application contains changes to the layout that, in the officers’ opinion, overcame the objections identified by the Inspector. Block 19-23 now contains only 5 flats with a differing mix. It now contains 2 one bed flats and 3 two bed flats. Consequently it has been reduced in size. The design would comprise a 3 storey element in the centre of the site with eaves that reduce to a height that is effectively one and a half storeys at the flank adjacent to Badgers Cross. The flank wall adjacent to that boundary has been moved to provide greater separation and is now 7m from the boundary. In terms of the relationship with No. 35 Badgers Cross – the closest unit – the flank wall of the flats would be some 16m away and this, together with the reduction in eaves height, is considered to be acceptable in amenity terms.

The second change relates to the terrace of dwellings at the rear of the site. This has been reduced from four dwellings to three, thus enabling greater separation between unit 13 and the boundary of the site. The Inspector did not consider this relationship unacceptable in the appeal proposals.

In respect of Policy H4, the mix complies with that set out in the policy. Over 50% of the units are two bedroom or less, 80% are three bedroom or less and no more than 20% are larger than 165 sq.m in size. The density requirements are also met, at 38.9 dph.

Policy H2 relates to the release of land for development and indicates that development may be premature unless otherwise acceptable and significant community benefits result. Currently, this policy is applied to sites of 0.4 ha or more, but this may change in the light of recent amendments to housing figures in the Surrey Structure Plan Deposit Draft 2002. However, it is felt that as the proposed development would provide 8 affordable units representing 35% of the total development, then there is significant community benefit to be had from the proposals, particularly in the light of the housing need in the village.

A legal agreement will be required to ensure that the units shown as affordable housing should be made permanently available as low-cost housing for occupation by local people. Legal advice has been sought on the form the agreement should take and an oral update will be made on this point.

Conclusions

The comments from local residents are noted but the officers consider that most of the issues raised by them were addressed by the Inspector in his consideration of the appeals. The one outstanding issue – that of the impact on residential amenity – is considered to have been satisfactorily addressed.

It should be noted that the applications are in outline form and that from the information submitted it is considered that the proposals accord with national and local policies to make the best use of land by achieving high quality development at the highest appropriate density. With careful consideration to the detailed submission, it is considered that the site can accommodate 23 dwellings without adversely affecting the visual character of the village nor the amenities of surrounding residents.

Finally, it should be noted that in the event that members agree with the officers’ recommendation to grant planning permission and the appeal were to be subsequently withdrawn, then it is as if there had never been notice of appeal and the application can be determined by the Local Planning Authority.

The Sub-Committee was informed that had the Council been able to determine the application and accepted the officers recommendation, the First Secretary of State had to be informed that, subject to the applicant entering into a legal agreement within 6 months (all costs, including those of the Council, to be borne by the applicant) to ensure that units 16-18 and 19-23 as shown on drawing A2821/2.3/15 remain as low cost housing for occupation by local people, permission would have been GRANTED subject to the following conditions:-

1. Standard outline (1.2) *(design, external appearance and landscaping)

2. Standard outline (1.3)

3. The buildings shown as comprising units 1-6 and 16-18 on plan No. A2821/2.3/15 shall not exceed 2 storeys in height. The building shown as comprising units 19-23 shall have an eaves height not exceeding 4 metres and a central ridge height not exceeding 10 metres. Units 7-15 shall be of two storeys with ridge heights not exceeding 9 metres.

4. The building comprising units 19-23 shall have no window openings on the north-west elevation and no windows above the ground floor on the south-west elevation, the building comprising units 1-6 shall have living room windows facing to the south west and south east only, the building comprising units 16-18 shall have no living room windows on the south west or south east elevations, other than may be agreed with the local planning authority

5. There shall be no windows or other openings formed within the roof slopes on the north-eastern elevations of units 7-12 nor within the south-eastern elevations of units 13-15

6. Standard restrictions on permitted development (11.2) *(buildings or structures) * A-H * erected

7. Standard levels outline (4.1)

8. Standard materials (4.4)

9. Standard surfacing materials (4.5)

10. Standard fencing (5.1)

11. Standard open plan estate (5.3)

12. Surface water source control measures shall be carried out in accordance with details which shall have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority before development commences

13. Standard control of environmental effects – major redevelopment (13.3)

14. Standard restriction on external lights (21.2)

15. Standard tree protection (25.2)

16. Standard levels and construction details (25.3)

17. Standard services (25.4)

18. Standard burning (25.5)

19. Standard hedging (25.8) *(boundaries) *(3m) *(10 years)

20. The existing yew hedge within plots 7-12 shall be retained at a minimum height of 2 metres for a period of 10 years. The maintenance is to include the replacement of any parts of the hedge which die, and shall ensure a good screening effect

21. Standard landscape scheme (25.9)

22. Standard landscape management (25.12)

23. Standard landscape maintenance (25.13) * (10 years)

24. Before the development hereby permitted is commenced, an evening emergence survey, by a consultant licensed by English Nature, to ensure that bats, a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and their roosts are not affected by the development, shall be carried out. The survey shall be submitted and agreed by the Local Planning Authority before development commences and any recommendations contained therein when agreed shall be followed (English Nature Tel: 01273 476595)

25. Standard highways (HC1)

26. Standard highways (HC6 a)

27. Standard highways (HC8 a-c)

Reasons

1-2 Standard (RC2)

3. Standard (RC10)

4-5 Standard (RC7) *(amenities and privacy of adjoining residents and to ensure the long-term protection of trees * - * - * (D1, D4 and D7)

6-11 Standard (RC10)

12 Standard (RC6) *(the increased risk of flooding and to improve water quality) *- *(D12)

13 Standard (RC9) *(the relationship of the site with nearby dwellings and trees *- * - *(D1)

14-23 Standard (RC10)

24 Standard (RC17)

25-27 Standard (HR1)

Informatives

1. Standard Environment Agency (F18)
2. Standard highways (HF 7)
3. Standard highways (HF 13)

Your Sub-Committee however did not agree.

It was considered that the proposed development was out of character with the area and would cause harm to the visual character of the village, which lies within the Green Belt, meriting the full weight of Green Belt policies which seek to protect the countryside. It was considered that the proposal represented an overdevelopment of the site that did not reflect the pattern of surrounding development. It would appear as an intensive form of development, squeezed in between the existing developments of Badgers Close, George Road and Hurst Farm Close.

It was also the view of the Sub-Committee that the development would appear as overbearing and dominant and therefore harmful to the amenities of the area and detrimental to the amenities of residents living in surrounding properties.

Concerns were also raised that the proposed development would harm wildlife, particularly bats, on the site and that no measures had been taken to ensure their protection, although officers pointed out that this issue could be resolved by the recommended condition.

Finally, the issue of highway safety was also raised. Members pointed to the volume of traffic along the Portsmouth Road. It was considered that the impact of the number of vehicle movements generated by 23 dwellings would have an adverse impact on highway safety, although officers pointed out that, in his consideration of the appeals, the Inspector found the proposed access and parking arrangements to be satisfactory.

The Sub-Committee was reminded that in dismissing the previous two appeals, the Inspector found only the relationship between the proposed development and the dwellings in Badgers Cross to be unacceptable and that he was satisfied with the development in all other respects. The Sub-Committee however maintained its opinion that the development should be refused.

In accordance with Part III of the Constitution (conditions of delegation), three members present at the meeting required that the matter be referred to the Development Control Committee for decision.

Your Sub-Committee accordingly

RECOMMENDS that

Background Papers (DoPD)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

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

B. PLANNING APPEALS

B.1 Appeals Lodged
B.2 Appeal Decisions
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 a report on the current situation regarding enforcement and related action previously authorised.



comms/development control/2003-04/017 37500