The planning application was for a proposed new cottage style dwelling with a detached double garage at 55 Wisbech Road, Thorney.
The main considerations were:
· Design and impact upon the character and appearance of the surrounding area
· Landscape implications and the impact upon Thorney Conservation Area
· Neighbour amenity
· Amenity provision for future occupants
· Parking, access and highway implications
· Flood risk
· Developer contributions
It was officer’s recommendation that planning permission be granted, subject to the signing of a Legal Agreement and the conditions set out in the report.
The Head of Development and Construction provided an overview of the application and raised the following key points:
· Two previous applications had been submitted for development on this site, both of which had been refused. The most recent refusal had been on the grounds of the size, scale and positioning of the proposal, which was considered to be cramped and not in keeping with its surroundings. The proposal had an overbearing impact and provided a poor outlook.
· The loss of hedging had also been cited as a reason for refusal, however as the hedge could be removed without requiring permission, this was not considered to be a relevant reason to refuse the application.
· The current scheme was in line with the neighbouring property and had been placed further away from the site boundary. It was felt that this addressed all the previous reasons for refusal.
· No objections had been raised from the Tree Officer or the Internal Drainage Board.
· A condition was included in the recommendation to ensure that rear bathroom and en-suite windows were obscure glazed and non-opening.
· Additional representations had been received from the parish council and neighbours.
· An error had been highlighted in the report. The distance from the building and the site boundary with 55A Wisbech Road was 1.9m, not 0.9m.
Councillor Sanders, Ward Councillor, address the Committee and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:
· The proposal had attracted objections for the Parish Council and immediate neighbours.
· The development would be overbearing in size, cramped and not in keeping with the surrounding area.
· Previous applications for a bungalow on the site had been refused because of their intrusive nature. This one and a half storey development would be more invasive.
· The consultation had been incorrect and had not identified all the trees within the site. As such, those consulted were not in possession of the full facts.
The Head of Development and Construction clarified that whilst the document circulated for consultation had included the previously proposed building footprint, it did correctly identify all the relevant trees on site.
Andy Gutteridge, local resident, addressed the Committee in objection to the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:
· The current application had not overcome the reasons for refusal set out in previous applications.
· The area surrounding the site was characterised by detached dwellings with spacious curtilage. The current proposal was for too small a site.
· The loss of the hedge was a previous reason for refusal and would be an unacceptable detriment to the character of the area.
· The proposal would have a detrimental impact on the outlook for neighbouring properties and would result in a loss of daylight to key rooms in adjacent dwellings.
· The oak trees had originally been identified for retention.
· The proposal would impact on Mr Gutteridge’s privacy and enjoyment of his property.
· The removal of trees would have a detrimental effect on flooding in the area, as they assisted in removing excess water.
Keith Hutchinson, Agent, addressed the Committee in support of the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:
· The proposals had been worked through with officers in order to address the previous reasons for refusal.
· The area in question had been subject to infill developments and extension for numerous years.
· The majority of the hedgerow on the site was to be retained.
· The removal of trees had been carefully considered, and it was believe to be more appropriate to remove the oak tree to the south of the development, as the root protection zone was infringed.
· The dwelling was set back from the site boundary and resulted in no direct overlooking of neighbouring properties.
· The Internal Drainage Board had not raised any objections to the application, and conditions had been put in place to address any flood risks.
The Committee sympathised with the proposed loss of trees. It was suggested that the application continued to represent overdevelopment of the plot and impacted neighbour amenity. The Committee further considered that the proposal was not in keeping with the character of the area.
The Head of Development and Construction advised that, as the removal of trees on site had not been included in previous reasons for refusal, to include this as a reason now may make the Council vulnerable to an award of costs.
A motion was proposed and seconded to refuse permission, contrary to officer recommendation, on the grounds that the application was not appropriate for the site, did not make a positive contribution and was overbearing. The motion was carried unanimously.
RESOLVED: (unanimous) that planning permission is REFUSED.
Reasons for the decision