Officers clarified that the Application had been brought to the Planning Committee for consideration at the request of Councillor K. May, Ward Member.
Officers gave a detailed presentation and reported that the application site was located on the north-eastern side of Parish Hill, Bournheath, in the designated Green Belt, and outside of the defined village settlement boundary.
It comprised of an existing cottage set back from the highway behind a detached workshop, with a modern flat roof garage attached to the south-western elevation of the dwelling. There was a very small amenity area to the rear of the existing dwelling with the majority of the remainder of the site being a tarmac driveway.
There was a relatively steep gradient to the road with the land sloping downwards by approximately 3 metres from the south-west to north-east.
The proposal sought permission to construct a two-storey side extension, to demolish the workshop and modern garage and to remove and excavate the existing hard surface, which would be replaced with a tiered grassed green area comprising of retaining walls.
As the workshop was neither structurally viable nor retained any significant features related to its original function, in this instance its loss would be considered acceptable, subject to a condition that required an historic building record being undertaken.
Officers further highlighted that the Conservation Officer was in agreement that the nailer’s cottage was of low significance and acknowledged the low potential for restoration of the building, for the reasons as detailed on page 21 of the main agenda report.
The two-storey extension would create enlarged living space on the ground floor and two more bedrooms and a study at first floor.
Officers informed the Committee that the development of new buildings in the Green Belt was considered inappropriate, except for a number of exceptions as outlined in Policy BDP4 of the District Plan and paragraph 145 of the NPPF. Criteria 4 of Policy BDP4 sets out that extensions were permitted to existing residential dwellings either up to a maximum of 40% increase of the original dwelling, or an increase of up to a maximum total floor space of 140m2 (original dwelling plus extensions).
Officers drew Members’ attention to page 22 of the main agenda report, which highlighted the 1994 extensions floor area of 10m2 had been deducted from the floor area of the existing plans. Although the workshop was proposed to be demolished, it was still classed as an ‘original’ building in close proximity of the dwelling, therefore its floor area of 32.5m2 had been included when determining the original base figure from which to calculate the percentage increase from.
The total floor area (ground and first floor) of the proposed extension would be 85.8m2. This combined with the existing extension (of a minimum of 10m2)would still equate to an increase of 85.1%. The proposal would result in an increase in floor area on the site of 22.4m2.
Officers stated that the Applicant had put forward Very Special Circumstances as detailed on page 24 of the main agenda report.
At the invitation of the Chairman, Mr. I. Keay, the Applicants agent addressed the Committee.
The Committee then went on to consider the application which officers had recommended be refused.
Officers responded to a number of points raised by Members during the debate and in doing so reiterated that the existing non-original attached modern garage was not part of the original cottage, it was deemed to be an extension and had not been included in the calculations due to the fact that it was proposed to be removed as part of the proposal. Page 22 of the main agenda report provided detailed information on the calculations considered by officers.
Members stated that whilst fully understanding the reasons for refusal and that the proposal went against the High Quality Design SPD; the proposed dwelling would enhance the street scene by removing the unsightly roadside workshop and modern garage. However, as highlighted in the report the proposed dwelling would equate to an increase of 85.1%, exceeding the maximum 40% increase as set out in Policy BDP4 of the District Plan.
Officers responded to further questions from the Committee and in doing so, informed Members that whilst the proposed extension would be narrower than the existing detached garage, it would still have a greater footprint and floor area given that the proposal was for a two-storey side extension.
Having considered the officer’s presentation, the information provided by the speakers and clarification from officers with regard to the questions raised, Members were in agreement with officers that the Application be refused.
RESOLVED that Planning Permission be refused for the reasons as set out on pages 25 and 26 of the main agenda report.