Agenda item

P21/S2551/FUL - Waterstone House, Burcot

Works of demolition, extension, alteration and conversion of the existing storage building to form a self-contained dwelling (19-08-2021 amended neighbour notification certificates following notification on all frontages of access road and structural survey).


The committee considered planning application P21/S2551/FUL for works of demolition, extension, alteration and conversion of the existing storage building to form a self-contained dwelling (19-08-2021 amended neighbour notification certificates following notification on all frontages of access road and structural survey) at Waterstone House, Burcot.


Consultations, representations, policy and guidance, and the site’s planning history were detailed in the officer’s report, which formed part of the agenda pack for the meeting.


The planning officer informed the committee that this was an application for the alteration and conversion of an existing building to form a 1-bedroom dwelling. The proposal would involve some demolition; a 3-metre-wide section of the western end of the building, and a 1-metre-wide section to the east. The site was within the green belt and designated as an area of archaeological interest. The building formed the southern half of a former barn, sharing a party wall to the north with the northern part of the barn, which was within the rear garden of Withywindle. A structural survey had concluded that the barn was in a reasonable structural condition for its age and past usage and could be safely converted. In respect of residential amenity and possible loss of light issues, the planning officer reported that Withywindle was the nearest dwelling to the site, which was situated 21m to the north. Neighbouring properties were at a sufficient distance away to suffer from a loss of light or privacy, particularly as the dwelling would be single storey. The council’s drainage officer had reviewed the proposed plans and raised no objection, subject to surface water drainage and foul drainage conditions.


Ms. Jo Jenkins, a local resident, of Withywindle, spoke objecting to the application.  Responding to a question from the committee regarding her reasons for objecting, Ms. Jenkins expressed concern at possible damage to her party wall.


Mr. Jake Collinge, the agent, spoke in support of the application. In response to a question from the committee regarding the proposal for apparently 5 rear doors to the conversion, Mr. Collinge replied that this was an intentional feature to replicate the existing stable design and to facilitate an open plan treatment. The committee sought further reassurance regarding the safe removal of the 7 ‘A’ frames, notwithstanding the structural survey stating that this would be a safe conversion.  Mr. Collinge replied that there would be a cantilever arrangement along the party line, which would be a supporting feature. Additionally, the cantilever would support both sides of the shared pitched roof. The applicant was keen to re-use elements of the building in the interests of good sustainability. The planning officer advised the committee that conversion was stated in the description of the development. If the building was not capable of conversion, a new planning consent would be required.


In response to a question form the committee in respect of the protection of bats, the planning officer reported that the council’s ecologist had concluded that the site was not habitable for bats but as stated in paragraph 6.31 of the report, the countryside officer had recommended, as precautionary measure, a bat protection informative, in case bats were discovered during construction.


Councillor Sam Casey-Rerhaye, the local ward councillor, spoke to the application.


The committee asked about the appropriateness of a wood burning stove in the back garden, the planning officer replied that this was a building control matter. The committee asked a question about access to the septic tank. The planning officer responded that this was in the ownership of the applicant but was not a matter for planning control. The committee also asked a question in respect of the apparent low level of amenity space. The planning officer replied that 66 sq.m of amenity space exceeded the minimum standard and accorded with local plan policy.


The committee had concerns about the safety of the conversion and its inappropriateness within an area of large properties with spacious gardens, as well as, in their view, the small amount of amenity space. It also considered that the proposal was cramped and likely to have a detrimental effect upon the amenity of neighbouring properties.


A motion moved and seconded, to grant planning permission failed on being put to the vote.


A motion moved and seconded, to refuse planning permission was declared carried on being put to the vote.


RESOLVED: to refuse planning permission for application P21/S2551/FUL subject to the following reasons;


1.    Inappropriate development within the green belt;

2.    Out of keeping with the character of existing large properties with spacious gardens;

3.    Inadequate amenity space;

4.    A cramped development, detrimental to the amenity of neighbours.


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