The report was presented by Nadia Houghton.
Referring to the large trees at the back of the site, the Chair questioned whether these would need to be removed for the proposed dwellings. He commented that trees needed to be replaced with the same type of tree. He also sought more detail on the resident complaints in regards to access and parking. Nadia Houghton answered that the trees on the south western boundary of the site would remain and those on north western boundary would be removed for development. She said that there was a landscaping scheme proposed and conditioned within the recommendation. In regards to the resident complaints, she said that the proposed dwellings were large and wide detached properties which differed to the neighbouring properties on the street. The proposals would provide affordable housing; was fully policy compliant; met all Council standards; and the density was medium. There were no concerns with overlooking as there were no main room first floor windows and no concerns in regards to the neighbour amenity impact.
Councillor Rice said that he had received complaints that highlighted that some of the gardens were smaller than those in a neighbouring road. He asked the sizes of the gardens in the proposed dwellings. He also commented that there would be five houses built into a back garden with only two parking spaces and questioned where visitors would park. He also questioned what the average size of houses and flats were. Nadia Houghton answered that the smallest garden was just under 75 square metres and the largest was 130 square metres so overall, the site provided the appropriate private amenity space. In regards to parking, she said that the proposal was policy compliant and that two parking spaces had been provided for these three bedroom properties which other established properties in the area did not have. In regards to house and flat sizes, she said that the average flat size was 55 square metres and average house size was 100 square metres and that the proposed dwellings were 110 square metre gross internal floor area.
Councillor Lawrence mentioned that she and other Members had received emails from a resident who was disabled and had lived in the house that was currently on the site which had been adapted for his needs. She queried whether this was the same property. She commented that the house was adapted and large enough to house a disabled resident and their family and that the details of the property should be considered before development occurred. Nadia Houghton said that the Planning Department was not given these type of details in an application. She said that she could assume that the approach that the Housing Team had taken was based on housing needs. She went on to say that a new build would comply with building rights that an older property such as the one currently on the site would not so a new build would have wider corridor and hallway widths. Councillor Potter said that he had spoken with local residents who confirmed that the house currently on the site had previously been occupied by the disabled resident that Councillor Lawrence had mentioned.
Councillor Sammons said that she had received emails from residents that had said that the bedroom sizes were smaller than the bedrooms in a flat. She sought clarification on this. Nadia Houghton answered that the properties were three bedroom houses with an internal floor area was 110 square metres and that the third bedroom was in the loft space.
A speaker statement in support of the application was heard from Mark Baggoley, Agent.
The Chair noted the complaints and concerns raised from residents and said that the homes would benefit families that did not live there, some of which could currently be Council tenants. He felt it would provide people with the chance to buy their own homes as these were affordable homes. He noted that the garden sizes were not big but that other properties in the area had similar sized gardens. He said that he had some concerns on parking as there were only two spaces per property but thought there could be room on the site to park. He was minded to support the application.
Councillor Rice commented that five houses on the site was an overdevelopment on the site and that the third bedroom was in the loft space which would be cramped. He said that two or three properties on the site would be better and that there was no parking on the roads and that the site was within a built up residential area. He was minded to refuse the application due to density, parking issues and the small garden sizes. The Chair pointed out that people would have the choice on whether they wanted to buy a house there and said that the houses were of a similar size to the ones that was currently in the area. He also pointed out that the site was next to a green space.
Councillor Lawrence said that the house on the site had been altered for a disabled resident who had not been let back in the property which had been left empty and was now in a bad state. She said that larger homes were needed for disabled users and would also suit big families. Councillor Byrne agreed and said that the proposal was infilling and that building five houses was not eco-friendly in comparison to the one purpose built house on the site. The Vice-Chair commented that similar applications to the current application were usually recommended for refusal and questioned why the current application was recommended for approval. He also highlighted concerns that the house on the site had been for a disabled user but the site was now proposed for developed. He questioned why this had happened and what could be done differently. Councillor Potter said that the proposed dwellings would be out of character with the other houses in the street. Councillor Shinnick said that she was aware of the disabled resident’s story. She also felt that fives houses on the site was too many and that two or three would be better. The Chair said that the five houses were affordable housing for families that needed it and that it was in a good sustainable location.
The Chair proposed the Officer’s recommendation to approve and there was no seconder.
Councillor Rice proposed to refuse the application and highlighted the reasons of overdevelopment with five houses on the site; parking issues with two spaces which was not enough as there was a lack of off street parking available; small gardens; a bedroom in the loft that took away storage spaces; and the development was out of character with the area.
Leigh Nicholson summarised Members earlier points. He said that the wording of the refusal would be agreed with the Chair. He summarised the reasons given and noted the two reasons for refusal were:
1. Overdevelopment due to the amenity space and number of units on the site.
2. The number of parking spaces wasn’t considered to be acceptable with no visitor spaces.
The Vice-Chair said that another reason for refusal was that the house on the site was a specially adapted house which the Borough did not have many of and was needed.
Councillor Rice proposed the alternative motion to refuse for the reasons stated and Councillor Byrne seconded.
FOR: (8) Councillors Mike Fletcher, Gary Byrne, Colin Churchman,
Angela Lawrence, Dave Potter, Gerard Rice, Sue Sammons and Sue Shinnick.
AGAINST: (1) Councillor Tom Kelly.