Agenda item

19/01237/FUL 1 Hamilton Street


6c.  19/01237/FUL 1 Hamilton Street

MP introduced the application for a new single-storey, one-bedroomed  dwelling at 1 Hamilton Street, situated just outside but adjacent to the conservation area and opposite a GII-listed building.   It is sustainably located in the area.  The application is at Planning Committee because of parish council objection, and a number of objections from local residents.  These have been taken into account, but when considered against local and national planning policy, the recommendation to permit.

Public Speaking

Mr Munro, on behalf of neighbours, in objection

Neighbours are strongly opposed to the splitting of this site for any kind of dwelling.  Members will have read their letters and visited the site, and the key points can be summarised as follows:  the sole purpose of the application is to build a house and sell it as a separate dwelling, and as such it will become part of the conservation area and should be treated as such; the site is too obtrusive and constrained for a new dwelling – it was designed as a garden, to protect Cudnall Street and match the open plan of the junction.  Building here will breach the building line which has been retained by architects and planners for all infill development in Cudnall Street until now, protecting the unique period mix that defines the area and merits its conservation area status.  Its poor design will not enhance Cudnall Street or Hamilton Street – it looks like a shipping container and could not be in less sympathy with the period properties around it; it will disrupt the views of one of the finest Elizabethan houses in Cheltenham as well as other period properties in Cudnall Street.  All these objections are fully supported by the Parish Council, which has unanimously rejected all three proposals at this site.  In addition to the above, the proposal does not conform with relevant planning frameworks and serves no wider social purpose.  Urges Members to reject the proposal.

Member debate

CM:  looking at the design of the building, and the requirement that new building makes a positive contribution to an area, considers this to be the wrong design for the area and completely out of character.  Will not support the application.

PB:  has serious concerns about the application.  Looked at it again today to refresh his memory of the frontages, noting that no houses currently stick out – all respect building line, and if a precedent is set, there could be opportunities for similar proposals along Cudnall Street.  Struggles to see why this site is outside the Cudnall Street conservation area when it is so very near and development on the site will impact significantly.  The architects say that the site is a mess now and this proposal will tidy it up – but they don’t need to build this house to make it acceptable.  Cannot support the design or location, and it is wrong to say it has the support and endorsement of the Civic Society and Architects’ Panel.  Members need to look at grounds for refusal, and for the impact on the conservation area would suggest would suggest NPPF Paragraph 105c and JCS SD8.  Will move to refuse if no-one else does. 

BF:  the application is on Hamilton Street, not Cudnall Street.  Its front door is on Hamilton Street, and although it is visible from Cudnall street, it is sunk down, with a very low profile.  The existing wall there will be replaced.  Opposite in Cudnall Street is a very interesting house, possibly a Tudor building, with leaded windows etc, but there is no set pattern of architecture - Hamilton Street is largely 70s semis, of no great architectural value.  This design won’t win prizes, but it’s not that bad – it will a good home for someone, small but useful.  Will vote in support.  

RW:  takes a different view.  There has been a lot of discussion about the site being on the edge of the conservation area, but the design so poor and will have such an impact on the street scene, would object wherever it is.  It wouldn’t be that difficult to come up with a better-looking design with the same footprint.  Is all for using small sites for much-needed housing, but this not good enough.  Will support PB’s move to refuse. 

PM:  Understands that the principle of developing this site was agreed, though there has been no outline planning permission granted, where the suitability of the site for a new dwelling could be considered.  Bearing in mind the earlier discussion about the chapel and house opposite, was not so bothered about that proposal as it is a mirror image of the one next door; would have objected if it was like a shipping container.  Cudnall Street has evolved over the years but not to the point of needing to install a shipping container as a house.  Looked again at the site today – the building line and flow through to the development, from the 1970s dwellings to the shipping container.  The proposed dwelling is larger than a shipping container – it is 52 sq metres; looked a minimum space standards on the internet which suggests a one-bed dwelling for two people should be a minimum  50 sq metres.  This proposal at 52 sq metres is trying to get the maximum building possible into a very small plot.  One of the core principles of the NPPF is high-quality design, providing a good standard of amenity for occupants. This proposal is small and over-development of plot – there is not much dwelling within it.  Is very supportive of comments about Cudnall Street, the conservation area, building line – coming from Cirencester Road, this shipping container is right in the eye-line.  Supports PB, and suggests local policies CP7 and CP3 may be included as refusal reasons.

BF:  PM talks about size and height, but this proposal does comply. The application is in Hamilton Street, not Cudnall Street, and car parking space needn’t have been provided at all at this location.  The proposal could have been for two shipping containers, one on top of the other, with the profile lowered so little or none of it could be seen from Cudnall Street. Is not a fan of pastiche, and this is a modern design for the 21st century.  People are making fun of shipping containers, but this may be the size of house people will be happy to have in future.  We can’t keep building on greenbelt or in the AONB; people need homes like this, somewhere to start life.

MP, in response:

-       this is an application for a new house, and without a 5-year supply at the moment, paragraph 11 of the NPPF states that new development must be approved without delay unless the impact outweighs the benefit;

-       officers don’t feel the dwelling will have adverse effects, and the conservation officer has no concerns.  Regarding the design approach, it is not to everyone’s taste, but there is a diverse mix of buildings in the area, and this proposal actually acknowledges the variety of buildings to add to the special interest of the conservation area.  Where there is variety, the garden land SPD identifies there is scope for creativity.  This is the work of a well-known and respected architect, and members need to be certain that the harm is significant if they vote to refuse;

-       to PM, regarding space standards, as an authority CBC has no minimum space standards that the developer needs to adhere to.

PM:  been in the Chamber during the week at enquiry for 69 houses at Oakhurst Rise, where the opening statements talked about the 5-year housing supply and that development tipping the balance; this is one house and therefore doesn’t feel too much consideration needs to be given to that argument regarding this. 

Vote on recommendation to permit

3 in support

9 in objection


GB:  Members now need to propose specific reasons to refuse the application.

PB:  the application site may be in Hamilton Street but there is no question that it will impact more on Cudnall Street.  Members need to take a view on the pressure from government to build more houses: this proposal represents just one more dwelling towards our supply; this area cannot support it - the location is not appropriate.  There is a mix of dwellings in the area, but Cudnall Street is traditional old houses all through.  Suggests JCS SD8 paragraph 2,  NPPF paragraph 16c, and local plan policies CP3c and CP7c.  Some members would like to refuse on design, but this is subjective, so wouldn’t want to include that specifically.


RW:  would suggest the design would be detrimental to the street scene, but defers to PB as to whether relevant or not.

PB:  is streetscene covered by NPPF 16c?

DO, in response:

-       Chapter 16 of NPPF paragraphs 184-202 relate to historical environment, with paragraph  192 talking about the desirability for new development to make a contribution to an area.  Would urge caution here – the paragraph refers to proposals affecting heritage asset, which could be the listed building opposite or the conservation area as a whole, and Members need to consider is it both or just one of those heritage assets;

-       they should bear in mind that the NPPF talks about how to weigh up harm – if they consider the proposal will cause significant and substantial harm, they should refuse on those grounds.  If they consider the harm to be less than substantial, this must be weighed against public benefit;

-       comments from the conservation officers are included in the officer report, and their   conclusion is that it won’t detract from the setting and that the significance of the heritage assets is not harmed. This is their expert advice.

PM:  the NPPF requires that new development is always high-quality design with a good standard of amenity, and how this translates to policy is that this plot is not big enough to sustain a dwelling which will provide good standard of amenity for future occupants.  Would also beg to differ with the conservation officer – it is a matter of opinion.

GB:  understands that Members may disagree but this would be a consideration at any future appeal.  If refused, it would be beneficial to use reasons we can establish at appeal which won’t be countermanded by officer recommendations.

PB:  it is difficult when Members disagree with officers, but planning is subjective and it is a question of how policies are interpreted.    This proposal is a carbuncle on a valued, prominent conservation area and doesn’t feel right.  Paragraph 192 refers to heritage assets – local character and distinctiveness – and would therefore like to keep this as a refusal reason.  The local community doesn’t like it and there is strong feeling against it in the Chamber.  It may be necessary for the Chair and Vice to work later with officers for defendable refusal reasons.

DO, in response: 

-       understands that Members are concerned with two main issues – heritage and design. Regarding design, two policies have been mentioned: CP7 and SD4.  CP7 requires that development is high standard, reflects the principles of urban design and complements the character of the locality;

-       regarding heritage, this has been talked about, and the conservation officer found no harm;

-       these are two distinct matters, and it may be better if Members focus their minds on design – this is the crux - rather than heritage.


PB:  would like to continue with heritage – the applicant will keep coming back with different designs.  The bigger issue is impact on the conservation area and heritage asset opposite.

GB:  if Members choose to use this as a refusal reason, which officers have advised is a weak one, it could cause issues, but if they are adamant, will put it to the vote.

NJ, in response: 

-       as the conservation officer has no objection, there would be a risk of costs against the council at appeal.

GB:  is always reluctant to allow this possibility to affect voting, but it is an issue that affects us.  Is PB happy to go continue down that route?

PB:  it wouldn’t be the first time Members have gone against officer recommendation and won.  At an appeal, CBC would need a consultant conservation officer to support Members’ opinion.  Sometimes the principle is at stake; this is important, and will therefore move to refuse on grounds as before.

GB:  is just making sure that all are clear about what they are voting for.

SC:  is it possible to vote on the refusal reasons separately?  Regarding design, thinks the proposal looks like static caravan. 

GB:  on advice from NJ, Members can vote on design and heritage separately.

VOTE in favour of design as a refusal reason

9 in support

1 in objection

2 abstentions


VOTE on heritage impact as a refusal reason

6 in support

1 against

5 abstentions


Vote on PB’s move to refuse on design and heritage

8 in support

2 in objection

2 abstentions




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