Officers referred to the Committee Update, which Members had been given the opportunity to read and copies of which were provided to Members and published on the Council’s website prior to the commencement of the meeting.
The Application had been brought to the Planning Committee for consideration at the request of Councillor R. J. Hunter, Ward Councillor.
Officers presented the report and in doing so drew Members’ attention to the presentation slides, as detailed on pages 14 to 21 of the main agenda report.
The application was for a single side extension 5 metres wide with an additional bay window 0.6 metres deep with the proposed ridge the same height as the existing ridge, at 5 metres high, and to the full depth of the bungalow.
Forest Close was a relatively short cul-de-sac road accessed from Alcester Road. The bungalow was at the end row of four bungalows and was set at a significantly higher level than the adjacent north-south part of Forest Close.
The applicant was requested but did not provide a section through the site, however, officers referred Members to the ‘Existing front elevation with estimated profile of proposed extension’ slide, as detailed on page 20 of the main agenda report.
Officers highlighted that assessing these dimensions, it was considered that the proposed extension rather than being subordinate in scale would appear to be more dominant and prominent and would be a competing feature to the existing dwelling.
The applicant had submitted details of levels in the side garden, as shown in the diagram detailed on page 1 of the Committee Update.
The Bromsgrove District High Quality Design SPD was anchored into BDP 19 of the adopted Local Plan and set out what the Council considered was good design. Paragraph 3.3.1 stated that subornation of side extensions could be achieved where the extension was clearly set down from the ridge and set back from the principal elevation.
The applicant had referred to the need for the extension to provide additional accommodation for her mother-in-law, who was elderly and unable to live on her own due to mobility issues.
Officers drew Members’ attention to the mitigating circumstances submitted by Tyler Parks, the planning consultant commissioned by the Applicant, as detailed on pages 9 and 10 of the main agenda report.
In conclusion, officers stated that the proposed design was contrary to the thrust of the SPD and the adopted Local Plan.
Whilst officers noted that the applicant was seeking to extend the dwelling to provide additional accommodation for her mother-in-law, the personal circumstances of the applicant did not outweigh the permanent harm identified.
At the invitation of the Chairman, Mr. A. Coleman (via Microsoft Teams), the Applicants planning consultant addressed the Committee. Councillor R. J. Hunter, Ward Councillor, also addressed the Committee in support of the application.
Members then considered the application, which officers had recommended be refused.
In response to questions from the Committee, officers clarified that they had visited the application site. Officers further commented that if there was a need for a level floor extension, that the applicant could apply for planning permission for an enlargement at the rear of the property or a wraparound extension in order to achieve a lower height. Officers further commented that whatever planning permission was granted, would be visible and that this proposed extension would have an imposing side gable for the lifetime of the dwelling.
Some Members commented that they had visited the site and were in agreement with the officer’s recommendation, and their concerns and reasons for refusal.
Officers further clarified that Policy BDP10 related to new dwellings and as such was not applicable given that the proposed scheme did not relate to the provision of a new dwelling for the elderly.
Councillor J. E. King firmly stated that she was in favour of the application. It was a very small bungalow and the applicant had indicated that her mother-in-law used a wheelchair and needed to live with her. Councillor King continued and further stated that it was not, in her opinion, a huge extension but a modest build to fill a useful need. Therefore, she did not consider that it was subordinate. The rear garden was well cared for and if applicant extended at the rear of the property, surely this would push back to Number 10. Furthermore, no one had objected to the application. It was a little extension and should be built.
Councillor P. M. McDonald also stated that whilst he understood the concerns of officers, he had houses in his ward area with huge extensions, so there appeared to be no consistency and Members wanted consistency. He had no opposition to the application.
Officers clarified that each application was considered on its own merits and Members needed to consider the application before them.
Councillor J. E. King proposed an alternative recommendation that planning permission be granted, on the grounds that the proposed extension was a modest build and not subordinate and fulfilled the needs of the owner for her elderly mother-in-law. Officers clarified what Conditions would need to be applied.
On being put to the vote, the Committee did not vote for the alternative recommendation and the Chairman went back to the original recommendation.
RESOLVED that planning permission be refused for the reasons as detailed on page 10 of the main agenda report.