The planning application was for the conversion to 12 bedsitting rooms at St Theresas House, Manor House Street, Peterborough.
It was officer’s recommendation that planning permission be refused, for the reasons set out in the report. The Development Management Manager provided an overview of the application and highlighted a number of key issues within the report and update report.
Carole Aldous, resident, and Margaret Randall, resident, addressed the Committee in objection to the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:
· It was suggested that the application should be refused on the grounds of parking and highways;
· The local area had been experiencing parking problems for the past 10 years, to the point where it was believed residents would not receive parking permits;
· The survey that the applicant had undertaken did not match the plans submitted and it was believed that the plans would only work with small cars;
· The access to the parking at the rear of the development was considered to be substandard and too narrow;
· It was believed that the development was being shoehorned in and would have a detrimental effect of the area;
· Concern was raised regarding the believed increased potential for anti-social behaviour, with the proposal situation in a conservation area; and
· The issue of loss of privacy and the potential for overlooking into neighbouring gardens was raised.
Paul Sharman, agent, addressed the Committee in support of the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:
· The proposals were accepted by Planning Officers, with the exception of the parking and access;
· The area proposed for parking had been used for parking for 20 years;
· The site was close to the City Centre Core, as such it was not considered that all residents would own or use a car. Using 2001 census data, it was expected that 40% of the developments residents would own a car;
· The applicant had undertaken a traffic survey, in which it was found that only 60% of the on street parking available was utilised;
· In order to manage the access to the car park, the applicant intended to install a control system, most likely a barrier system; and
· Mr Sharman suggested that a number of points raised in objection by Simon Jackson MP, including intensification of use, insufficient parking, overlooking, poor quality development, and the detriment to the character of the street, were incorrect and could not be substantiated.
In response to questions from the Committee, the Development Management Manager advised that the previous use of the site as a funeral parlour could cater up to 35 people at a time. As such, this was considered to be the ‘fall back’ position and the proposed use would not be greater than this. Officers had considered the amenity, outlook, privacy and ambience of the proposal and had considered them acceptable. It was noted that a number of windows within the application would be obscure glazed and this would be secured by condition. When previously granting permission for a funeral parlour, the access and parking was considered acceptable, as the majority of visitors would be expected to park in the city centre.
The Principal Engineer (Highways) advised that the Highways Authority required, for a shared access, a minimum width of 5.5 meters. The access as proposed fell significantly short of this.
In response to a query regarding refuse collection the Development Management Manager clarified that it was proposed for refuse to be collected privately and that, as the current use of the site required refuse collection to be made, this would not be a new issue arising from the application.
The Committee discussed the application and it was considered the application was acceptable in terms of design and impact on amenity. Concern was expressed, however, over the proposed parking and access arrangements. The Committee noted that the proposal were contrary to the Council’s policy. In light of this, the objections raised by local residents, and the concern that allowing such a deviation from Council policy would create a precedent, it was considered that the development would be inappropriate.
A Member of the Committee raised the view that, as the development was near to the City Centre Core and in walking distance of amenities, provision of car parking facilities for each resident would probably be unnecessary. It was also noted that the proposal provided much needed low cost housing in the city centre.
A motion was proposed and seconded to agree that permission be refused, as per officer recommendation, for the reasons set out in the report. The motion was carried seven voting in favour, one voting against and one abstaining from voting.
RESOLVED: (seven voted in favour, one voted against and one abstained from voting) that planning permission is REFUSED for the reasons set out below.
Reasons for the decision
The proposal was unacceptable having been assessed in light of all material considerations, including weighing against relevant policies of the development plan and for the specific reasons set out in the report.