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Agenda item

18/01796/FUL 61 Whaddon Road

Minutes:

 

Application Number:

18/01796/FUL

Location:

61 Whaddon Road

Proposal:

Demolition of existing bungalow and erection of 6 no. apartments

View:

Yes

Officer Recommendation:

Permit

Committee Decision:

Permit

Letters of Rep:

3

Update Report:

None

 

Councillor Hay left the member seating area for the duration of this item

 

Officer introduction

JS introduced the application as above, at Committee at the request of Councillor Hay.  The officer recommendation is to permit, in line with the reasons set out in the report.

 

Mr Deeley, of the applicant, in support

In response to the ward member’s comments and those of some of the neighbours, is highlighting a couple of points re. building heights.  There are a number of three-storey residential properties on Whaddon Road - Thames House, 49 Whaddon Road, and the neighbouring 16-apartment complex. Since the officer report, has re-surveyed the building heights, confirming the proposal is 2.2m shorter than neighbouring apartments, and will therefore not appear overly dominant in the streetscene.  It is also set a further 4.5m back in the site, which will further diminish its visibility.

 

The design of the scheme mirrors 49 Whaddon Road, and the applicants have worked closely with officers at both pre-app and application stages to deliver a scheme that maximised its contribution to sustainable development.  The scheme represents a positive investment to this part of Cheltenham and is a significant improvement on the dilapidated bungalow currently on the site.   

There are concerns about the bin store and emptying the bins, but the proposed store is adjacent to the bin store for Robins Close – these bins are removed without issue, so does not imagine any problems with emptying the proposed bins.

 

Residents are also concerned with parking, but one space will be provided for each flat, which is better than the existing arrangements; the existing two-bedroomed property has no private off-street parking, thus requiring residents to park on the street – which this proposal will remove.  The officer proposes a condition requiring parking to be installed prior to occupation, to ensure no on-streetparking as a result of this development.  By locating the apartments one mile from the town centre and providing bike storage for each apartment, it is hoped that future occupants will use sustainable transport.  In addition, there are local shops and a bus stop opposite.

 

Ultimately, the hope is to regenerate this brownfield site and bring it back into a beneficial use.

 

 

 

Councillor Hay, in objection

Originally asked for this application to come to Committee, and although several revisions made since have addressed concerns regarding trees and lights, there are still some concerns remaining.  Firstly, the accessibility of the bin store for UBICO vans and workers – there is a maximum distance they will walk to collect the bins.  Access for two of the car-parking spaces is through Robins Close, which is owned by a housing association – will permission be given for the new residents to use this private road to reach their parking spaces?  Who will be responsible for the maintenance of the road?  The three-storey building is out of keeping; Thames House on the corner creates a solid mass, which stands out in the streetscene.  Four flats over two storeys would fit in better.  The Cat and Fiddle was sympathetically done, and 49 Whaddon Road is a bigger site, which stands alone in open space – this site is more prominent.  

 

The Civic Society is not supportive, and notes that neighbours have valid concerns.  Six one-bedroomed flats could mean 12 occupants; a 2006 application for four flats and a bungalow was refused, as the site was not considered sufficient size for buildings and a car park.  The same number of bedrooms is now proposed as was previously refused.

 

Welcomes more housing – but this is overdevelopment, and not in keeping with the grain of the street.

 

 

Member debate

 

BF:  has a couple of questions for officers:  firstly, regarding the location of the bin store, do we have a protocol as to how far from the main highway this can be, and does this proposal comply?  Secondly, the size of the apartments – cannot recall if building regulations require a standard minimum size, but if so, do these comply?  They look very small.

 

SW:  shares BF’s concern over access via Robins Close.  Is it a private road or simply not adopted?  Six car-parking spaces are provided, but is this sufficient?  Two of these will be accessed via Robins Close, so drivers will have to reach them via a road that doesn’t belong to them – there could be objections, or could they even be banned from using their parking spaces?   Also shudders at the size of these one-bedroomed flats.  Realises we need units like this, but it gives some cause for concern.

 

DB:  has the impression that these are very small but knows we are in desperate need of more housing and some people would appreciate them.  Would welcome clarification about the accessibility of the bin store, and also whether the Robins Close car parking spaces will be accessible.

 

MC:  echoes DB’s concerns about accessibility, and feels there is uncertainty about who is responsible for the road.  Considers six one-bedded units a good thing, as is the resolution of the trees issue, but looking at the drawings, at the bottom left corner, there appears to be a bin store but there is nothing there apart from concrete paving – this is where the bins for Robins Close are stored.  It is not a true reflection of what is on site.  Is unclear about how the bins will be taken out onto Robins Close to be emptied.

 

JS, in response:

-          Bromford Housing are the managers of the Robins Close properties, and if the scheme is permitted, residents will be able to access the two parking spaces – the applicant will purchase these from Bromford;

-          To MC, the bin store shown on the plan is indicative, and shows where the bin store on Robins Close would be.  The concrete slabs area is quite wide; some of the space will be used for two parking spaces, with the residual area as a bin store for Robins Close;

-          Regarding the status of Robins Close, the main entrance to the site off Whaddon Road is not adopted; Robins Close is an unclassified highway, but part of the network.  Residents would have right of access across it to the parking spaces

-          Regarding the size of the flats, this is covered at paragraph 6.10 of the report.  They are 45 sq. metres, which is 8 sq. metres larger then the minimum size.

 

SC:  is still confused about the bin store and car parking area – it appears space for two parked cars will be taken from the housing association, and if so, how will the bin store be accessed.  If cars are parked in the spaces, UBICO won’t be able to access the bin store.  This doesn’t seem very practical.  They could go down the side of the house, but this is a long way to go and won’t happen – which could lead to difficulties on a long-term basis.

 

JS, in response:

-          Their access isn’t confined to the red line parking spaces; it’s possible to walk between the bin store for Robins Close and the flats.  The bin store shown is where it could be situated for Robins Close, but not part of the proposal. 

 

SC:  so there will be no wall between the bin store at the back of the flats?

 

GB:  what will happen if Bromford don’t agree to the sale of the land?

 

JS, in response:

-          To SC yes, and t GB in planning terms it will be what is known as a ransom strip, and make the application unviable.  But the scheme is still acceptable, in planning terms.

 

CL, in response:

-          There is a planning condition providing that the new dwellings are not to be occupied until the vehicular parking is provided.   

 

 

Vote on officer recommendation to permit

11 in support

1 in objection

0 abstention

PERMIT

 

Supporting documents: