Agenda item

Application DM/2023/00550 - Retention of and completion of proposed first floor rear extension. Celebration Cottage, Candwr Road, Ponthir, Monmouthshire, NP181HU


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 Llangybi Fawr, also a Planning Committee Member, outlined the following points:


·         The area is classed as open countryside.


·         The application does not comply with Policy H6 of the Local Development Plan (LDP).


·         Officers are satisfied that this application will not have an intrusive appearance. However, photographs in late correspondence and from the site visit indicate that the extension can be seen from the road when entering from Llandegfeth Village.


·         This will be an intrusive extension on an already very large property.


·         Although the extension is less than 30% of the dwelling, it is still a large extension that will overlook its neighbouring property.  It is only 6% less than is considered acceptable within the guidance. A degree of common sense should be applied.


·         It may be argued that this application does not comply with the wording of Policy H6 which aims to avoid over extension of existing rural dwellings and the adverse impact this has on the character and appearance of the open countryside.


·         Large scale extensions can be harmful if they result in the loss of scale and character of traditional rural dwellings.


·         The local Member does not consider the justification that the property has lost its traditionality should be applied.


·         The objective of Policy H6 is that rural dwellings do not lose their traditionality through over extension. This application conflicts with those objectives.


·         The report of the application only considers one part of policy DES 1. The justification is that the windows proposed will be for uninhabitable rooms and that there is sufficient distance between the properties.  However, it was considered that these two properties already have overlooking issues and approving this application will exacerbate this issue.


·         The local Development Plan (LDP) and Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) are for guidance. The local Member does not consider that this application is compliant with policy EP1 of the LDP.


·         The report of the application does not adequately address noise and light pollution that the neighbouring property will be affected by should this application be approved.


·         The report of the application indicates that the first-floor extension will not give rise to unacceptable noise.  However, the extension is just one part of this application. There has been no consideration regarding the car parking spaces. This is allowed under permitted development rights, but it is still part of this application, and the Committee must give consideration to the effect this will have on neighbouring properties. Additional vehicles throughout the day and night will exacerbate noise and light pollution given its proximity to the cottage.


·         Planning Policy Wales (PPW) 11 addresses noise pollution and must be complied with.  Amenity must be protected.


·         As the car parking spaces form a part of this application it is considered that this matter is not compliant with PPW 11 or EP1 of the LDP.


·         Condition 4 is welcomed. However, the condition could be stronger to ensure that there is a net biodiversity gain. A root system plan should be considered for existing established trees on the site.


·         Adequate parking provision already exists at the front of the property.


·         Approval of the application would result in overdevelopment of the site in the open countryside.


·         The local Member could not support approval of the application as it was considered not to be compliant with local and national planning policies.


The Development Management Area Team Manager responded as follows:


·         The increase in development relates to the first-floor addition and what the visual impact would be in the wider context. The extension can be seen from several public vantage points. However, the issue is whether the increase in volume of that property in its setting affects the landscape character.  The Planning Department’s view is that the additional impact created by the extension is acceptable.


·         The privacy distance is around 40 metres between properties which exceeds the general guidance.


·         Aside from this application, the applicant would be entitled to exercise permitted development rights for a greater area of hard landscaping unrestricted by some of the conditions for permitted development to hard surfacing to the front of the dwelling.  


·         In terms of noise and air pollution generated by the development, there will be an element of disruption during construction works. However, longer term, light nuisance or air pollution caused by the development would remain one dwelling house. The first-floor extension is not considered to exacerbate that use to an extent that it would cause harm.


·         The site is not located within a conservation area. None of the trees are protected by an individual group Tree Preservation Order (TPO).  The applicant is entitled to carry out hard landscaping works to the rear separately to this application.


Mr. S. Baldwin, objecting to the application, attended the meeting by invitation of the Chair and outlined the following points:


·         The objector’s family have lived here for 300 years, and he has also lived here all of his life. The objector’s house belonged to his grandfather, and he has undertaken renovation work on it during the previous four years.


·         The objector purposely kept his property to an appropriate size to the plot in which it is located and to use appropriate materials.


·         Celebration Cottage has had four extensions which have doubled the size of the property. There is an issue of common sense and of contextual over development.


·         The current size of the house in proportion to the plot and accommodating the contextual aspect, there has also been a pool house added to the site in the last 12 months.


·         It was noted that under permitted development rights the site could be covered with any material chosen by the property owner. However, this would not address their right to how they chose to use it.


·         The history of this application is not straightforward.  The previous application was subject to a judicial review which caused extreme stress and loss of work to the objector.


·         The application was put forward to a judicial review. The consent order submitted today which was not just procedurally based and Monmouthshire County Council chose not to defend that for a range of reasons.


·         The impact and character will impact the local countryside. It is not just that it can be seen from the road, but it is about the green and verdant landscape in which the objector’s family has lived for 300 years.


·         No other house in the area has been extended to this proportion and it was considered that common sense should prevail.


·         Contextual overdevelopment is key and it is hard for the objector to live closely to the site in which his grandfather had lived, causing stress to the objector over a long period of time.


·         The application will impact the objector’s amenity via noise and light pollution at various times throughout the day and night. The property already has and is able to accommodate three to four parking spaces and could already accommodate a further two more.  The marginal benefit of having three more parking spaces at the rear of the property would substantially damage the amenity of the objector.


·         The Community Council commented and objected to both applications.


·         The objector questioned the impartiality of the Planning Department regarding the two applications for this site.


Mr. P. Musker, applicant’s agent, attended the meeting by invitation of the Chair and outlined the following points:


·         This application has been the subject of extended and detailed scrutiny.


·         There are no new windows to habitable rooms within the proposal that are facing the property known as the Cottage.


·         Windows within the proposal to the first floor and facing east are at 90° to the rear of the neighbouring property and 46.43 metres distant.  These are not habitable rooms but only serve to provide light to the first-floor landing and stairwell.


·         Due to the acute angle no visual aspect can possibly be achieved in the direction of the Cottage.


·         The adopted Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) states that a minimum of 21 metres between directly facing habitable windows should be achieved.  The only habitable window facing the Cottage is within the existing ground floor of the application property and is 40.52 metres distant. This represents almost 100% increase over the minimum requirement and sits with the adopted SPG.


·         Under the criteria of Policy H6 a volume calculation is required which has been provided and concludes a percentage increase over the existing dwelling of 23.831%.


·         Policy H6 provides a target increase of 30% as a guideline rising to 50% if no harmful intrusive impact can be established and that there is an enhancement in the appearance of the existing dwelling.


·         The application has demonstrated that the proposal sits within the criteria of Policy H6 as outlined in the report of the application.


·         The Highways Department has no objection to the application. However, the application has amended the block plan and layout by reducing the spaces to three, handling the layout away from the boundary adjacent to the Cottage and agreed to plant enhancements to reduce the impact on the eastern boundary.


·         Existing trees will remain to compliment the intended enhancements that will be agreed via condition.


·         The pool house sits approximately nine metres away from the rear of the host dwelling and is the subject of an approved certificate of lawful development.


·         The amended dormer to the rear of the host dwelling is an upgrade and an amendment to an existing dormer window. A measurement assessment has been undertaken and has been deemed within the bounds of permitted development.


·         The Committee was asked to consider approval of the application as outlined in the report.


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


·         House sizes within the countryside vary.


·         The peak of the roof when completed will only be in the region of 18 inches above the hedge.


·         It was considered that any potential noise pollution from additional vehicles would be minimal.


·         The ongoing development does not look intrusive or out of character for a dwelling in the open countryside.


·         It was considered that the application meets the requirements and material considerations outlined in the report.


·         An additional condition could be considered that the three first floor windows on the eastern elevation of the first-floor extension be fixed pane and obscured glazing.


It was proposed by County Councillor M. Powell and seconded by County Councillor J. Butler that application DM/2023/00550 be approved subject to the conditions outlined in the report and subject to an additional condition that the three first floor windows on the eastern elevation of the first-floor extension be fixed pane and obscured glazing.


County Councillor McKenna was unable to vote on this application due to having technical issues with her Microsoft Teams connection and was not deemed present for the whole of the discussion on this matter. She therefore abstained from voting.


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


For approval             -           11

Against approval      -           1

Abstentions               -           2


The proposition was carried.


We resolved that application DM/2023/00550 be approved subject to the conditions outlined in the report and subject to an additional condition that the three first floor windows on the eastern elevation of the first-floor extension be fixed pane and obscured glazing.




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