Agenda item

19/01296/FUL 3 Wendover Gardens


Councillor Mason left the Chamber.


6d.  19/01296/FUL 3 Wendover Gardens

MP introduced the application for a replacement dwelling, situated in Wendover Gardens, a cul-de-sac off Christ Church Road, in the central conservation area.  Planning permission for remodelling and extension of the existing house was granted in 2016 – this is extant and a material consideration.  During the course of the application, revised plans have been submitted, including a  reduction of the first-floor balcony.  The application at Committee at the request of Councillor Mason, on behalf of local residents.  The recommendation is to permit, subject to conditions. 

Public Speaking

Mr Ireland, neighbour, in objection
Represents seven neighbours, all of whom consider the proposal is too large a building for the plot  These concerns are shared by the Civic Society. Neighbours welcome the planning officer report  - the reduction in the size of the balcony, and the conditions, should the application be permitted.  Neighbours have three main worries:  the proposal will reduce the distance between the dwelling and the boundary fence, bringing it right up to the fence, 2.5m closer than previously.  It will be 3m high, so clearly visible above the garden fence, dominating the neighbours’ view and changing the character of their garden – the owners are very upset.

The first floor windows are higher than those previously approved though this was not initially clear The applicant says they are 60cm higher, which might not seem much but will allow a less obstructed view into gardens, as well as making people inside more visible.  These are two bathroom windows and  loss of privacy is a concern.

The bedroom balcony has a sightline directly into the main bedroom of the neighbours, and these residents are worried about overlooking. 

Neighbours are very worried about these three aspects, all of which could be addressed in ways that won’t affect amenity:  the rear corner edge of new dwelling could be maintained, the height of the first floor windows reduced – as in the previous plans profile – and the main bedroom balcony reduced to a Juliet balcony or taken away altogether.  These minor changes will help maintain current levels of privacy and amenity.

Member debate

PM:  just a quick question on the subject of windows – has floor of bedrooms gone up or are windows getting taller?

SC:  the difficulty with this is that the red outline of the previously accepted plan shows that the elevation and footprint is not much different. Considers the building to be too large for the plot but it is not hugely different from what is already approved.  In the report, there is a comment about a covenant requiring that development should be agreed by all neighbours.  Has sympathy with this, but there is no basis for it in planning law and it can’t be taken into consideration.

DB:  hadn’t realised all neighbour concerns about overlooking – can officers confirm that is has been considered?

MP, in response: 

-       to PM, floor levels and sill height are the same as approved previously; the windows are taller and there is an increased eaves height.  They will not allow more view out, although the windows may seem bigger;

-       SC is  correct – a covenant is not a planning issue;

-       to DB, overlooking has been considered, as it always is – it is covered at paragraph 6.2 in the officer report – and the view taken that this proposal will have no greater impact on amenity than the approved scheme.

SW:  on the overlooking business, has concerns about the balcony – can’t see how it won’t affect neighbours, though there is no issue from officer point of view. The siting of the balcony and the view from it in respect of neighbours is disconcerting – it will raise people to a greater height from which they can look down.

BF:  the design is acceptable though not very good - not 21st century,  but not replacing something of great design.  People buy an address now, not a house, because of the lack of land to build new houses; this design doesn’t reflect our time - there will be a minimum of building regs and nothing to improve carbon footprint, but can’t vote against it. It is a pleasant house in a pleasant area.

MP, in response: 

-       regarding the balcony, there is an approved balcony in the same location on extant scheme, where it was considered that, given its access is via the master bedroom only and doesn’t extend beyond the doors, its use will be limited – the residents are unlikely to hold parties or invite guests to use it. It is not directed towards the boundary and is a similar footprint and size, and there were no objections to the previous scheme from neighbours.

Vote on officer recommendation to permit

10 in support

1 abstention


Supporting documents: