Minutes of a Meeting of the Planning Committee held on Wednesday 18th November 2020 via Zoom at 7.30pm.  

PRESENT:     Councillor Linda Mendez (Chairman)

Councillor Jackie Brennan (Vice Chairman)

Councillor Margaret Eames-Petersen

Councillor Hazel Laming

OFFICER:  Carrie Lloyd (Town Clerk)

47.            APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Richard Brisbin

48.            QUESTION TIME

There were none.

49.            MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 28TH OCTOBER 2020

The minutes of the meeting held on 28th October 2020 were agreed as an accurate record and will be signed by the Chairman at a later date.

50.            DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

There were no declarations. 

51.            WELWYN HATFIELD BOROUGH COUNCIL DRAFT COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY CHARGING SCHEDULE CONSULTATION

Members considered the draft Schedule and generally agreed with its principles, however they suggested that with the proposals in the Local Plan for new developments at Symondshyde and Lemsford Village the Schedule should be reviewed in 2 -3 years’ time when the Local Plan was adopted and significant new developments are in the pipeline.

RESOLVED that the Committee’s comments contained in the preamble to this minute be submitted as a response to the consultation.

(Action: Town Clerk)

52.            APPLICATIONS

Application Number

 

Address

Proposal

Comments

6/2020/2776/FULL

Cromer Hyde Cromer Hyde Farm Marford Road Lemsford Welwyn Garden City AL8 7XD

Change of use of land and erection of an equestrian building with ancillary equestrian storage (part retrospective)

 

 

6/2020/2845/FULL

12 Elm Drive Hatfield AL10 8NU

Erection of single storey rear extension and erection of single dwelling

MAJOR OBJECTION

Some of the descriptions in the application are incorrect, namely No. 10 is not a block of flats but a town house, net gain is one property not 2.

This attaches a new property to no. 12 (already has planning permission) and now extends No.12 by 2m wider and 2m longer than the new build property for which there is permission.

This will significantly affect the neighbours at no.10.  The building will be 80cm from their boundary with NO means of accessing the rear of the properties from the side or rear once the walls have started to be built.  The size and bulk of this extension is out of keeping and adversely affects the neighbouring property.  There is no additional parking provision within this application in an area where parking is at a premium.

6/2020/2868/HOUSE

7 Gorseway Hatfield AL10 9GS

Erection of a single storey rear extension following demolition of existing conservatory

 

 

6/2020/1839/ADV

32-36 High View Hatfield AL10 8HZ

Installation of replacement window vinyls

 

 

6/2020/2716/HOUSE

47 Mulberry Mead Hatfield AL10 9EH

Single storey rear extension and replacement of garage door with window.

 

 

6/2020/2902/HOUSE

17 Greenfield Hatfield AL9 5HW

Demolition of porch canopy, erection of single storey front and rear extensions, removal of chimney stack, first floor front and side extension and part two storey rear extension.  Part garage conversion and alterations to fenestration.

 

 

6/2020/2688/HOUSE

6 Selwyn Avenue Hatfield AL10 9NP

Erection of single storey rear extension with a two storey side extension and infill to the front elevation

 

53.            CONSIDERATION OF AMENDED PLANS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

6/2020/2269/HOUSE – 11 Cranborne Road, Hatfield, AL10 8AW

 

The Town Council had objected for the following reasons:

 

Members consider the size and bulk of the extensions create overdevelopment of site compared to the existing dwelling. They are concerned that there is insufficient parking spaces and the creation of so many rooms could lead to an HMO. The layout of the proposal does not flow naturally as a family home.

 

Following amendments to the drawings, the Town Council made further comments:

 

“Members note the amendments, however, there is still appears to be no way to walk from the kitchen to the dining room within the property. To get to the downstairs bedroom you have to walk through the piano room. There does not seem to be access to the lounge from the kitchen. The parking issue has been ignored. Even as a family home then 5 bedrooms will need more than 2 cars spaces. The whole ground floor plan does not work. The bulk of the dwelling has not been reduced.”

In response to these comments, the Case Officer requested clarification from the applicant who explained that they did intend on making some changes to the ground floorplan but thought this could be made during construction.  However, they submitted further updated drawings which the Town Council had been re-consulted on.  (Drawing No.CR37 Rev C)

 

Whilst the changes made to the internal layout did not address the concerns expressed by Members in respect to overdevelopment; parking provision; and potential use as a HMO, the Principal Development Management Officer made the following observations:

 

Overdevelopment:

This application is a re-submission following refusal of application ref: 6/2020/0819/HOUSE and pre-application advice ref: 6/2020/1285/PA.  The proposal have been reduced in scale and amended in accordance with Officer’s advice.  The existing total floor space is approximately 216m2. The previous proposal saw an increase of the total floor space to approximately 305m2, representing an increase of 41%.  The current proposal increases the total floor space of the existing floor space to approximately 280m2, representing an increase of 30%.  The reduction in floor space from the previous application demonstrates the decrease in bulk and mass of this proposal.  A larger than average rear garden would also be retained.  In addition to these figures, significant changes have been made to the design of the extensions, including removing most of the first floor side extension and redesign of the roof to reduce bulk and massing.  It is considered that the resulting extensions would not overwhelm the existing dwelling but would remain subordinate in scale to it.  For the above reasons, Officers are of the view that the proposed extension would adequately respect the existing dwelling and maintain the area’s character, in accordance with Policies D1 and D2 of the District Plan, the Council’s SDG and the NPPF

 

Parking provision:

The proposed extensions would increase the size of the dwelling from a 3-bed to a 4-bed.  The Council’s car parking standards in the SPG (now treated as guidance) states that 4-bed dwellings in this location should have provision of three cars.  The application site can accommodate the parking of three cars within the front driveway, if required.  As such, it is considered that the proposal is acceptable in parking terms.  In addition to policy complaint on-site parking provision, it is notable that the site is also within walking distance of the Town Centre, areas of employment, education facilities public transport and many other services and facilities to meet day-to-day needs.  For all these reasons, Officers cannot substantiate a refusal on the grounds of insufficient parking.

 

Potential use as a HMO:

Members will be aware that since 11th January 2012, there has been an Article 4 Direction covering the whole of Hatfield removing permitted development rights for change of use from C3 (Dwellinghouse) to C4 (Houses in Multiple Occupation).  As a result of the Direction, planning permission is required for change of use to a HMO.  If this was the intention of the applicant or future owner of the site, it would be necessary to submit a separate planning application which Hatfield Town Council would be consulted on.  This current application must be assessed as a householder extension.  Speculation cannot be given any weight in the determination of this or any other planning application – a point which Member of the Development Management Committee have discussed on previous occasions. 

 

Members RESOLVED to withdraw their Major Objection in light of the amended plan and new information.

 

 

6/2020/2711/HOUSE – 323 St Albans Road West, Hatfield, AL10 9RJ

 

The Town Council objected for the following reasons:

 

“Members do not think that the new application has overcome the reasons for refusal of application 6/2020/1808/HOUSE. The proposed first floor side extension still creates a cramped development, by reason of its size and siting. The proposed single storey rear extension is still not of the type of design Members usually see for this area such that it would detract from the character and appearance of the dwelling, and surrounding area.”

 

This application is a re-submission following refusal of application ref: 6/2020/1808/HOUSE which the Town Council did not object to.  Since refusal, the side extension has been reduced in width so that it maintains 1m separation distance from the flank site boundary as required by the Council’s Design Guidance.  The roof of the single storey rear extension has been reduced in height to address Officer’s concerns in this regard.

 

Two storey side extensions are commonplace within the vicinity of the application site, indeed both adjacent properties have been extended in a similar way. The current proposal is set back from the front elevation and set down from the ridge such that the original dwelling will be apparent and the extension will appear subordinate in scale to it.  As result of the amendments, the proposal is considered to respect the established spacing between dwellings therefore maintains the character or the area.

 

Turning to the rear extension, it is not clear from the objection what the specific issue is with the type proposed: “The proposed single storey rear extension is still not of the type of design Members usually see for this area”.  There are various types of rear extension in the surrounding area.  In particular, I would like to draw Members attention to a very similar extension to the adjacent property No.321 St Albans Rd West approved under planning ref: S6/2011/1553/FP.

 

In this case, the Principal Development Manager suggested that the drawings made the elevations appear fussier and more bulky than they otherwise would.

 

Members RESOLVED to withdraw their Major Objection in light of more details and new information.

 

6/2020/2320/HOUSE - 43 Briars Lane, Hatfield, AL10 8ES

 

Members submitted a Major Objection to the application because;

“Members cannot see any document expressing special circumstances for such a large development. They consider that the extension dwarfs the current structure and is overdevelopment of the site. They have concerns regarding lack of parking provision and lack of amenity access to the rear garden. This proposed development will in their opinion over power the current property and its neighbours.”

The purpose of this email is to kindly request that Members consider downgrading the Major Objection to an Objection which would allow the application to be determined under delegated authority.  Below I have addressed each of the points raised by the Town Council in their objection:

The Principal Development Manager advised Members that;

·        There is no requirement for an applicant to submit special circumstances for a householder extension, therefore, this cannot form a reason for refusal.

·        Whilst the footprint of the extension is significant, it is only single storey in height and largely concealed from view from public vantage points.  Only the front wall of the side extension would be clearly visible from Briars Lane and this measures just measures just 2.4m in width.  I have attached photos showing the mature screening which exists alongside the edge of the adjacent car park which serves Hatfield Community Free School.  In addition to the boundary screening, the car park is at a higher ground level which would act to further conceal the extension and mitigate its visual impact.

·        Notwithstanding the increase in footprint, the extension would not unacceptably visually dominate the host dwelling or significantly alter its character.  Indeed, the scale of the single storey extension would appear subordinate to the two storey host dwelling.  The original character of the dwelling would be clearly discernible.  Moreover, the resultant dwelling would not appear unduly large when compared to other dwellings within the surrounding area, many of which benefit from single and double storey side extensions.  For these reasons, Officers cannot support the view that a single storey extension “dwarfs the current structure”.

·        Turning to whether or not the extension would result in overdevelopment of the site, it is notable that the property benefits from much larger than average front and rear gardens.  The existing footprint of the application dwelling is approximately 55m2 and the proposed extension would increase the footprint to approximately 104m2, representing an 89% increase.  Whilst this is not an inconsiderable increase, the application dwelling is set within an ample sized plot, measuring approximately 514m2The front garden occupies approximately 88m2 and this will remain unchanged with the proposed development.  There is an existing outbuilding at the rear of the property, and when considering the proposed development with the existing outbuilding, the rear garden still remains sizeable at approximately 295m2.  Whilst the footprint of the resultant dwelling would extend across the plot width, the existing spacing around the building would be maintained at first floor level.  The deep front garden and mature boundary planting also has the effect of softening the visual impact of development.  Given the size of the plot and the space that would be retained around the building, the proposal is not considered to result in overdevelopment of the site. 

·        This application seeks to increase the number of bedrooms from three to four, together with a study.  The extension also facilitates the creation of a utility room and an open plan kitchen/living space.  The amount of accommodation proposed is not out or the ordinary but is considered to reflect modern aspirations for a family home.  Whilst it may be possible to utilise the study as a bedroom in the future, there is no reason to suggest that this is likely.  Indeed, it is apparent that millions of people have shifted to working from home due to the pandemic and many employers will allow staff to permanently work from home either full-time or part-time after the pandemic is over.

·        In terms of parking, The Council Parking Standards suggest that a dwelling with four or more bedrooms in this location should provide two spaces dwelling.  The application site already provides two spaces within the existing driveway.  There is also space to accommodate a further vehicle should this be desirable.  In addition to policy complaint on-site parking provision, it is notable that there is unrestricted on-street parking available on Briars Lane.  The site is also within walking distance of the Town Centre, areas of employment, education facilities public transport and many other services and facilities to meet day-to-day needs.  For all these reasons, Officers cannot substantiate a refusal on the grounds of insufficient parking.

·        It is acknowledged that the development would prevent direct access from the front of the property to the rear.  Whilst it is agreed that this is not ideal, there is no policy requirement to retain a side access to the rear garden and this arrangement is not an uncommon one.  This concern alone would not be sufficient justification for withholding planning permission.  As a result of there being no side access to the rear garden, it is likely that refuse and recycling containers would be stored at the front of the site which can have a harmful impact upon the visual amenity of the streetscene and the character of the area.  No details of a screened enclosure have been provided with the application, however, the large front garden provides ample space for discrete storage.  In these circumstances, it would be appropriate to condition details of a bin storage area to ensure refuse and recycling containers are screened effectively.

·        Finally, turning to neighbour amenity, the rear extension would be single storey in height and would project just 2.5m beyond the rear wall of the adjoining property at No.41 Briar Lane.  As such, neighbour amenity would not be harmed.  It is notable that no objections have been received from neighbouring residents.

For the reasons outlined above, Officers are of the opinion that the proposed development would not cause unacceptable harm to the appearance of the host property or the character of the area.  Neither would there be harm to neighbour amenity.  Policy compliant parking would be retained.  As such, the proposal would not conflict with any local or national policy and there is no justification to refuse planning permission.

Members considered the Officers’ comments however RESOLVED that;

 

The extension adds 89% extra ground floor space to the footprint of the building which is overwhelming to the existing building.  Regretfully existing planted screening can be removed or die back over time.

 

On viewing the property the existing driveway is a tarmac car park (not good for the street scene).  So nowhere to discretely put the bins and space has been created for 4 or more cars. Car parking is no longer an issue but not good for the environment.

 

It is worth noting that the statement “it is notable that there is unrestricted on-street parking available on Briars Lane. It is WRONG. Parking restrictions came into force on 20/02/20 with no parking 8am to 5pm.

 

Amenity access to the back garden is always an issue to consider for this Council. There does not appear to be access from the rear of the property either.

 

Neighbours are unlikely to object if they too are tenants and the landlords would not either as it is their interest for this extension to go ahead so they can do the same.  In that road it sets a precedent for future over development.

 

Members are also greatly concerned at such a large extension proposed at the epicentre of the chalk mine problems in 2006/07.

Members also wished to pass their thanks onto the Principal Development Management Officer for taking the time to contact them and give them further information on the applications.

(Action: Town Clerk)

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

Wednesday 2nd December 2020 at 7.30pm

 

CLOSED 8.55pm

Chairman___________________