Gardens & wildlife

This page is from the Round Hill Society archives which are available for historic interest. Please bear in mind when viewing archived pages that details may no longer be current.

Carelet 2014 minded to grant

The planning committee voted to follow the officers' advice.

Carelet's proposal BH2013/03782 approved

Planning Committee Meeting 12th March 2014
FOR: 10
It took less than 10 minutes for the planning committee to approve Carelet's most recent proposal for an increase in height on their previous permission ranging from 0.9 metres (circa 2ft 11") to 1.5 metres (circa 4ft 9").
This change in bulk and height, allowing the developer to save on escavation costs, seems to me to be a significant change. 4ft 9 inches is as high as many garden walls, but the impact of this did not seem to raise any eyebrows at the committee meeting where the mood seemed to be rather subdued on this item. Earlier members had been in far more talkative mood -  spreading their observations over 30 minutes before voting unanimously to approve a double garage.
Less  than one third of the time was given to Carelet's proposal for 5 taller three-storey houses and 1 two-storey house (taller than the the three-storey house which was permitted previously. The officers made a short presentation, there was then just one question, and then no discussion before the vote was taken.

Carelet and WTS

Please read the conclusion (penultimate paragraph) of Roger Mather's appeal decision, delivered on 21st October  2008.
The planning inspector did not feel that the proximity of The Waste Transfer Station alone provided sufficient reason to withhold approval. However, the presence of the Waste Transfer Station together with the bulk of the 2007 scheme convinced the planning inspector that the appeal should be dismissed. His other reasons for dismissing the appeal were the impact of the bulk & design on views into the conservation area and pressure on on-street parking. Since the 2008 appeal decision, the Waste Transfer Station has been started operating (2009), extended hours of operation were approved (2013) and one of the two pre-conditions for a car-free development (the existence of a CPZ) has been satisfied (2013). However, the second pre-condition for genuine car-free development in the Council's policy (HO7), is the likelihood that the scheme will remain car-free over the long-term.
The planning committee did not give time to exploring the issues of
1) living conditions for future occupants or
2) the possibiliy that benefits of paying for on-street parking would be lost if developments which cannot provide on-site parking are granted in hilly areas where most residents have and use cars.
Another application for car-free development (5 flats on freehold of 28 & 28B Crescent Road) is currently under consideration.

Concerns about the officers' recommendation

Dear planning committee members,

The appeal decision relating to a refused proposal (BH2007/04444) is quoted selectively in paragraph 8.7 of the Planning Committee List [12th March 2014] to support an application (BH2013/03782) requesting a considerable amount of extra bulk i.e. height increases ranging between 3ft 11 and 4ft 9 over six proposed properties.

It needs to be made clear that the appeal against refusal of BH2007/04444 was dismissed. The planning inspector found that because of the presence of the Waste Transfer Station an excessively bulky scheme (as he considered BH2007/04444 to be) was unacceptable in terms of the amenity and quality of outlook offered to future occupants. Since Roger Mather's appeal decision, delivered on 21st October 2008, the permitted operating hours of both The Waste Transfer Station and The Materials Recovery have been extended and noise & odour nuisaces are now well known to immediate residents.

Update from Round Hill resident: following Veolia's successful application in 2013, permitted operating hours at both The Waste Transfer Station and The Materials Recovery Facility now extend to up to 15 hours per day on 363 days in the year. For all but two days per year, there is now only a guarantee of 9 hours in the night when the delivery, processing & moving on of domestic waste and recyclables is not a potential noise nuisance. Odour nuisance is not regulated by night-time hours, but hits during periods of sunny weather (e.g. some loads are very smelly when they arrive because of late street collections), during periods of peak activity and when the wind is blowing from the industial facility towards homes and gardens - the odour particles are carried in wafts.

In the planning inspector’s judgement, future occupants (not existing residents) would have suffered unacceptably from overlooking and loss of privacy.

Future occupants & overlooking

Planning inspector, Roger Mather’s concerns (see paragraph 16 of his decision) relate to a scheme designed to adhere to back-to-back distance of 20m separations. Paragraph 8.7 of Planning Committee List for BH2013/03782 should raise added concerns: with the extra height requested, we are now looking at separations which are nearer to 18m in places.

Roger Mather's appeal decision addresses the key issues which would be helpful to your decision on BH2013/03782. 

It’s main relevance is that next Wednesday you are being asked to approve extra bulk (in the form of height to save on the cost of excavating deeper foundations).

Paragraph 8.7 in The Planning Committee List is there to support the request for extra height and to argue that its impact would be acceptable.

I do fear that you may be led in the wrong direction by the statement in paragraph 8.7 that the appeal (following the refusal of BH2007/04444) was not dismissed on the grounds of loss of amenity.

The true conclusion of Roger Mather’s appeal decision states clearly that IMPACT ON AMENITY is one of his main reasons for dismissing the appeal. Nowhere is this made clear in The Planning Committee List. Surely some consideration needs to be given to the amenity of future occupants.

The true conclusion to Roger Mather’s appeal decision is found in its penultimate paragraph:

21. Overall, while there are some factors in favour of the proposed development, I find the scheme would seriously compromise the character and appearance of the Round Hill Conservation Area, giving rise also to increased parking stress, as well as impairing the living conditions of future occupants. These considerations are of overriding importance and outweigh all others. Consequently, I further conclude that the appeal should not succeed.

I find it disappointing that paragraph 18 of the appeal decision is seized on in the Plans List without any reference to paragraph 16, which references 20m separations between existing and proposed, the loss of privacy and overlooking (from existing homes to the south) which future occupants would experience, and their poor outlook on the northern side.

Extra bulk & The Waste Transfer Station

Very relevant to BH2013/03782, is Roger Mather’s statement that the presence of The Waste Transfer Station alone would not warrant withdrawing permission. The unacceptable outlook arises through a combination of overdevelopment (i.e. too much bulk) and the presence of The Waste Transfer Station, both factors together.

Carelet and WTS

Following, this clear rejection of a three-storey and two-storey mix of houses, the applicant then (in 2009) put in for four two-storey houses and worked with the Council’s ecologist to produce a landscaping plan which would provide greater amenity for residents, while protecting the green spaces characteristics of the Round Hill conservation area as seen from views into it from the north. These conservation assets are in fact valued in paragraph 10 of Roger Mather’sappeal decision.

I do recommend that the appeal decision is read in its entirety. Paragraphs 13-15 raise doubt that a development on this site could be traffic-free. 

This page was last updated by Ted on 30-Mar-2019
(registered users can amend this page)