Agenda item

20/02138/FUL 14 Gratton Street, Cheltenham GL50 2AS


The Planning Officer presented the report relating to a single storey rear extension and front basement extension to a mid-terraced property at 14 Gratton Street.  The application was at committee at the request of the ward councillor who wished members to consider the impact of the proposed rear extension on No13 Gratton Street.

Members asked the Officer several questions, so the Officer shared the plans again and outlined the proposed new extension and the location of the neighbour’s garden.  The Officer confirmed it was a single storey extension with a pitched roof.

The Officer confirmed:-

·         The depth of the extension was still the same as the original application but the position of the wall had moved in from the shared boundary by 1.8metres but all other measurements were the same.

·         The proposal had not failed any light tests to any habitable rooms, but Officers had felt the impact on the neighbours small courtyard was unacceptable in the first application, so the solution was to pull away from the shared boundary to reduce the overbearing impact.  The Officer also pointed out that there were steps down from the neighbour’s property into the courtyard, which added to the overbearing impact.

·         With regard to the front basement extension, there were stairs going down to a courtyard at the front and the applicant proposed to infill that to create the extension but to still retain a light well.

·         The garden of No.13 was much less in length than the applicant’s garden, it did not run the full length of No.14’s garden.

·         The courtyard was south facing.

·         A member questioned the impact in planning terms on a garden space versus a living space, the Officer stated that originally the impact was too much but by moving the wall in 1.8m this was acceptable.

·         The depth of the step from the ground floor of the neighbour’s property to the courtyard floor was probably around 400mm.  The Officer did not have an exact measurement but said it was not a huge difference. 

Members stressed how difficult it was to visualise and understand the site and situation without site visits and as members were finding it difficult to envisage the site the Officer showed the photos again and explained the layout of the neighbour’s courtyard garden.  Members remarked site visits were vital. 

A member suggested viewing the location on Google Earth which the Officer did and this clarified the position to members.

During member debate the following points were made:-

·         Appreciate that the applicant had made an effort to move the boundary, but as the extension was going to be the  whole length of neighbours garden and the height was still the same, it will still have an overbearing impact on the neighbour’s small courtyard with loss of outlook.

·         Difficulty in envisaging applications properly when unable to do site visits.

·         The rear extension of No 13 has a similar impact on the courtyard of its neighbour but that already built a long time ago.

·         Architects had tried to come up with a compromise – was there any room for a further compromise, such as a lower flat roof.

·         If considering the garden plot at No.14 in isolation then it was not overdeveloped, think what proposed was reasonable although not ideal.  No.13 had put a building in half their garden space, if they hadn’t they would have had more garden.  A flat roof would also be more ideal.

·         Not applicant’s fault that neighbour has a small garden.

·         Photos on Google Oarth were much better than anything else for illustratration purposes when site visits could not be done.  Request to include such images in the papers in future.

·         Not having seen it find it difficult to endorse – it is the entire length of the neighbour’s garden and will have an impact on their amenity and outdoor space.

In response to member’s subsequent questions the Officer hoped that they would be able to include Google Earth images in presentations if members so wished but also suggested Members could look themselves prior to committee.  He was also not sure if a flat roof would be better or lower because of the existing lean to roof.

There being no further questions or comments, the Chair moved to vote on the substantive motion to permit as per the Officer’s recommendation.

For : 6
Against : 5
Abstain : 0


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