Agenda item

Application DM/2023/00302 - Conversion of garage and linking to main residence to form additional accommodation. 75 St Lawrence Park, Chepstow, NP16 6DQ


We considered the report of the application and late correspondence which was recommended for approval subject to the conditions outlined in the report.


The local Member for Mount Pleasant addressed the Committee via Video recording and outlined the following points:


·         The key element of the contention is reflected in paragraph 6.5.1 of the report of the application. The Committee is required to disaggregate this matter which is subject to a further application.


·         The applicant has informed the local Member that they have no intention of extending their child-minding business.  However, there is a level of scepticism from neighbours that this is the case. Therefore, several residents have objected to the application and raised concerns.


·         The local Member asked whether consideration of the application could be deferred until other matters have been resolved.


·         The local Member has been contacted by several residents post report publication highlighting what they perceive as factual inaccuracies contained within the report, namely:


-       Chepstow Town Council’s response was not formally recognised that was submitted on 15th June 2023.


-       Supporting correspondence in 5.2 of the report was not published.


-       Whether the level of direct consultation that affected neighbours was sufficient as outlined in 5.2 of the report. Neighbours had informed the local Member that they had not received formal consultation letters.


·         The local Member considered that deferral of the application should be considered if the Committee concluded that there were evidence gaps and due process had not been undertaken.


·         The report states in 6.2 that there will be an amenity impact. It was considered that the Committee needs to satisfy itself how much of a potential impact this might have and whether it is reasonable and proportionate.


·         Concerns have been raised regarding the over development of the plot and massing. The Committee needs to satisfy itself whether the amount of proposed development and its intensity is comparable with existing uses and whether the footprint is balanced, sensitive and in keeping with neighbouring properties.


·         The proposal needs to maintain reasonable levels of privacy and amenity of occupiers of neighbouring properties, does not lead to amenity infringement, loss of light and overshadowing.


·         St. Lawrence Park is a dense estate, and this cul-de-sac has limited access for vehicle circulation and parking.


·         Concerns had been raised by the Highways Department which have been maintained despite alterations to the proposals submitted.


·         There was a need to identify whether relaxing parking standards would adversely affect the safety and efficient operation of the highway system and where they would afford satisfactory provision for access circulation and parking.


Mr. P. Healy-Jones, objecting to the application, attended the meeting by invitation of the Chair and outlined the following points:


·         The project description in the report as an amendment extension to an existing residential property is considered to be fundamentally flawed.


·         The Local Planning Authority’s decision to disaggregate this application with the property being run as a fulltime nursery is a conflict of interest. This has been verified by the Enforcement Department inviting an application for change of use.


·         It was considered that if this application is legitimate in its intended purpose for residential use only, its outcome should be delayed until the change of use application is determined.


·         The size of the property does not require an additional staircase and an independent front door within 20 feet of existing doors.


·         It was considered that this was an application for a separate nursery annex apart from the main dwelling.


·         Chepstow Town Council has objected which is significant as this application is only meant to be an extension to an existing garage.


·         It was considered that the report incorrectly states that direct neighbour consultation has occurred, However, only property number 74 received written notice despite three properties being directly affected.


·         With regard to design and amenity the objector’s original comments demonstrate that the proposals are overbearing in terms of over development, plot density, streetscape and context but these have been disregarded.


·         It is unorthodox for planners to suggest that if the proposal is located on a boundary and the level of overlooking in the area is high that it is acceptable to make it worse and further reduce amenity, we would normally experience the opposite in the planning process.


·         The parking and highways response is irregular. Because parking guidelines designed to improve parking established in 2013 cannot be applied retrospectively it gives licence to approve proposals that aggravate an already inadequate provision. This approach disregards all best practice design guidelines that existed prior to 2013. The substantiation in this instance for using Future Wales aspiration and local transport is impractical. If retrospective guidelines cannot be applied to older properties neither can Future Wales. It should only be applied to new developments.


·         If the proposals did not include shared driveway access, road safety issues, increased on street parking located on a blind bend, then one space would still not be enough. However, they do and is the view of the Highways Department.


·         When considering day to day parking at property number 75 with vehicles dropping off and collecting children, nursery staff parking and parents drop off and collection, the conclusion to disregard the Highways Department and local residents is difficult to comprehend.


·         Residents consider the recommendations of the report has disregarded local concerns and put the planning process in jeopardy. 


·         The risk of potential exposure to future reviews is not insignificant if it was later demonstrated that this accommodation was being used as a nursery annex should this application and the change of use be approved.


Mr. A. Cox, the applicant’s representative, attended the meeting by invitation of the Chair and outlined the following points:


·         The application is not to expand the child-minding business but to provide additional family living space and to create a better quality of life.


·         To provide additional living space to accommodate an elderly family member.


The Development Management Area Team Manager informed the Committee:


·         Chepstow Town Council’s comments have been presented to Committee Members.


·         Direct letters were sent to third parties as well as the usual site notice being erected.


·         With regard to deferral of the application pending consideration of a separate application for change of use, the lawful use of the building is that of a single dwelling house. The extension size and scale as a domestic extension can be considered on its merits. A separate application has been received but this will go through its own planning process and may be presented to Planning Committee at a future date for consideration.


·         There is a small increase in footprint to the dwelling, linking the small gap between the dwelling and the garage. The extension has been significantly reduced and does not represent an over development of the plot.


·         Privacy issues, overbearing and energy impact have been improved via negotiation. There would be a degree of impact but not to an unacceptable level.


·         Future Wales and PPW 11 are live planning policies and are a material consideration for the determination of applications presented at today’s meeting. Current planning policy has been applied to this application. The highways issues have not been disregarded but have been carefully considered and the view is that from a highway safety perspective, there is not an unacceptable harm to wider and local highway safety.


Having considered the report of the application and the views expressed, the following points were noted:


·         A condition requiring rear first floor windows of the extension could be fixed pane obscure glazed.


·         The shared driveway is wide enough to accommodate two vehicles.


It was proposed by County Councillor F. Bromfield and seconded by County Councillor M. Powell that application DM/2023/00302 be approved subject to the conditions outlined in the report and subject to an additional condition requiring rear first floor windows of the extension to be fixed pane obscure glazed.


Upon being put to the vote, the following votes were recorded:


For approval             -           10

Against approval      -           2

Abstentions               -           1


The proposition was carried.


We resolved that application DM/2023/00302 be approved subject to the conditions outlined in the report and subject to an additional condition requiring rear first floor windows of the extension to be fixed pane obscure glazed.



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