Agenda item

22/00708/FUL 37 Market Street


The case officer introduced the proposal for first-floor side and single-storey rear extensions to a terraced property in Market Street.  A previous similar scheme was refused for lack of sanitary facilities only; it was not refused on design grounds or for the impact on neighbouring amenity.  The current proposal is exactly the same at ground floor, but includes an additional shower room between Bedrooms 3 and 4 on the first floor, thus overcoming the previous refusal reason.  The recommendation is to grant planning permission. 

Public Speaking

The planning agent, speaking in support, thanked the officer for her clear report, and referred back to the previous scheme which was refused due to concern about lack of sanitary facilities.  He acknowledged that the internal layout of the house was unusual, and had empathy with that opinion, but the solution was straightforward and the bedrooms had been slightly reduced in size to accommodate an upstairs bathroom.  This fully addressed the only refusal reason; in all other aspects the scheme was exactly the same as the previous proposal, which complied with Policy SD14 and was considered acceptable.  He asked Members to support the officer recommendation and grant planning permission.

Speaking on behalf of local residents, a neighbour said that discussion of the previous application had focussed largely on lack of facilities, but also noted that 37 Market Street was described as a residential dwelling whereas all neighbours are aware of the reality that this property is owned and let as a house of multiple occupancy (HMO).  The plans are misleading in showing the ground floor rooms as living rooms where these are in fact rented as bedrooms.  The revised plans have done the bare minimum to address the Committee’s concerns, but to increase the rental opportunity of the dwelling to six bedrooms.  She urged Members to consider a site visit before making a final decision, to see the impact of this on neighbours.  The extensions will result in over-development of the property, which is already extended, resulting in a disproportionally large dwelling.  It will mean loss of light to neighbouring properties, in particular the side extension will reduce the gap and therefore the natural light to the kitchen and bathroom of No. 39; it will also result in a loss of privacy to No. 35.  She asked that Members consider the council’s responsibility under the Human Rights Act which grants people the right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes. 

On behalf of his constituents, Councillor Willingham, suggested there were clear planning grounds to refuse this scheme, but if Members were minded to permit, he asked that several conditions should be added.  He said the proposal represented over-development, making the dwelling excessively large for the site, contrary to NPPF Paragraph 124c, d and e, and potentially resulting in an 8-person dwelling with only two parking permits.   He suggested that the extended property would change the character of the area, was not well designed, and would not be attractive or healthy.  It was not a high-quality building, compliant with NPPF Paragraph 126, and the plans show that as much of the floor space as possible is taken up by bedrooms, with no consideration for the living space of future residents and bedrooms too small to be considered liveable, in conflict with JCS Policy SD14 and resulting in health inequality – the number of people and bedrooms being crammed in, with limited bathroom and kitchen space failed to meet requirements.  The plan shows eight bedrooms – this would result in low-quality living conditions, with residents having to cook and eat in shifts, and no storage space in the bedrooms, in effect creating a modern-day slum.  This was not acceptable to him, his constituents, or anybody who cares about the least well-off in the town. 

If Members were still minded to permit, he asked that two conditions be attached – one for detailed refuse and recycling arrangements to be agreed before the start – green boxes and bins on terraced streets need to be managed - and cycle parking provision, in view of the limited number of parking permits per dwelling.  Both these conditions would be necessary, reasonable and proportionate to protect the amenity of the local area, but having heard his own and his constituent’s objection, he hoped Members would agree that there were clear planning reasons in the NPPF and JCS to refuse the proposal.

Member questions

In response to Members’ questions, officers confirmed that:

-          the new facility would comprise a shower, toilet and basin;

-          if people are living at the property, it is classed as a residential property, regardless of whether it is a family home or an HMO;  as an HMO, it should be registered and is subject to different rules and regulations, mostly related to environmental health, and residents with concerns should contact the environmental health team who will take relevant action; 

-          the application must be determined on the basis of the plans presented – as an extension to a residential dwelling;

-          as the application was only refused on one ground last time – lack of sanitation –  if Members are looking to add additional grounds, they will need good reasons to how the situation has changed since the last time it was considered – an appeal inspector would require such evidence, and there would be a risk of costs against the council without it;

The Head of Planning confirmed that up to six unrelated people could occupy the house without the need for planning permission, and an application to use it as an HMO would only be needed for seven or more residents.  A licence would also be required for this through a separate process, which would control matters regarding the adequacy of facilities, sanitary facilities, bedroom size etc.  All Members were being asked to consider was whether the previous refusal reason – lack of sanitation – had been overcome.  They clearly had concerns about amenity, impact on local residents etc, but if there were no clear planning grounds for refusal, a subsequent appeal would probably succeed. 

Member debate

Councillor Barnes noted the concern about this proposal, but also that the Committee was limited in what it could approve or reject.  The house wasn’t visited on Planning View for various reasons, and viewing it in context would have been helpful.  He suggested deferring a decision until Members had the opportunity to visit the site and understand the context of the building.  The Chair pointed out that this revised application only made internal changes, and arguments about over-development couldn’t be resurrected.

In the absence of any further comment, the Chair moved to the vote.

Vote on officer recommendation to permit

2 in support

7 in objection

1 abstention


A Member said by voting to refuse, Members had put themselves in a difficult position, and denied themselves the opportunity to visit the site.  He was uncomfortable with this, as he could not see that there were any reasons to refuse the application at present.   The Chair noted that all Members seemed to have concerns about the proposal, and many of them were new to Planning Committee, not present when the previous application was decided.  He suggested revoking the refusal, and proposed deferral to allow Members to visit the site.

Vote on Cllr Baker’s move to defer, pending site visit

9 in support

1 abstention


The Chair confirmed that a site visit would be organised, and a request to view the site from the neighbouring property was noted.



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