Agenda item

22/00749/FUL Hayloft, The Reddings, Cheltenham, GL51 6RL


5e. 22/00749/FUL Hayloft, The Reddings, Cheltenham, GL51 6RL

The Planning Officer (Emma Pickernell) presented the report, which related to the conversion of the existing dwelling house into nine self-contained apartments, and associated works. It was before the committee at the request of Cllr. Collins because of the long history connected to the site, the various applications which had been submitted in the past and the high level of local interest.


Public speakers

The objector made the following points:

-       There has been misleading and intimidating behaviour from the applicant.

-       The developers plan appears to be incorrect with respect to the car parking – it is not suitable for 10 cars.

-       There is not sufficient space allowed for bicycles for the properties in the proposed cycle shed.

-       The property is not in keeping with the area at all.


The agent on behalf of the applicant made the following points:

-       The applicants previous business partner is no longer involved in the project.

-       As the proposed building is not being extended there is no impact on the green belt.

-       They are aware of the concerns surrounding parking and traffic however there has been no objections from Gloucestershire Highways.

-       There will be as many sustainable qualities as possible incorporated into the property.


Councillor Collins then spoke on objection and made the following points:

-       There is disappointment that yet another application has been submitted..

-       He believes that this is the application that the developer always intended.

-       The application is for a 9 unit monstrosity not a single dwelling

-       There are several policy reasons that the committee can use to refuse the application.

-       This application does not respect the fact that the property is in a green belt area.

-       The developer has never shown any respect to the community.

-       The application for a single property was granted on appeal and that is sufficient as the property that has been built is three times the size of the original cottage.

Member questions

One Member asked whether the building works were completed, and whether the four bedrooms had been occupied since then. The Planning Officer responded that the building works had largely been completed, and one family was living in part of the house referred to as Flat 1, so the other bedrooms were not occupied.

One Member asked whether the field owned by the developer adjacent to the site was part of this application. The Planning Officer confirmed that it was not.

One Member asked for clarification of what exactly the applicant had been granted in the past. The Planning Officer responded that the various consents granted in the past had now expired, so the only material consideration was the most recently granted one.

One Member asked why no enforcement action had been taken when the existing house was demolished far in excess of what was granted to the applicant. The Planning Officer responded that a number of consents had been granted for various extensions. Queries were made in order to tidy up this situation, but enforcement action was not pursued.

One Member asked whether the ten parking spaces had an electric charging point each, or four as suggested in the report. The Planning Officer responded there were four, though they had requested one per dwelling.

One Member asked whether the Planning Inspectorate’s ruling in favour of a single occupancy dwelling set a precedent against the applicant coming back to request a change of use. The Planning Officer confirmed that there was nothing stopping them coming back to request an alternative scheme.

One Member asked about a possible supply of gas to the building. The Planning Officer responded that there were no proposals for this.

One Member asked whether a light test had been carried out in a number of the flats. The Planning Officer responded that this was not a routine part of the process, but every room had a window and met the basic livability standards.

One Member asked whether the electric supply would be sufficient if ten vehicles were to turn up and each use an electric car charging point. The Planning Officer responded that this was a technical process which would be handled by building regulations rather than Planning.


Member debate

One Member suggested that the applicant’s previous successful appeal to the Planning Inspectorate had been granted on the basis that it was a single dwelling rather than multiple use, making it irrelevant to the application at hand.

One Member suggested that the applicant had repeatedly failed to comply with what the committee had permitted in the past, and was concerned the same would happen again. They suggested that the applicant be required to sign a S106 agreement ensuring full occupancy at the end of the development.

One Member noted that they had been told that much of the development could have been built under permitted development, but this did not apply after the original properties were torn down. In their view, there was a strong argument to refuse due to it being on the green belt, in addition to the ugliness of the property. The Planning Inspectorate gave permission for a single dwelling, but now the application was for nine.

One Member suggested that while they felt it was a grotesque building that the committee was right to reject previously, there were no clear planning grounds to reject it now.


Vote on officer recommendation to permit

FOR: 2






Members discussed possible reasons for refusal and the possibility of deferral.

One Member asked whether it was within the gift of the committee to require a S106 agreement that could not be appealed. The Head of Planning explained that a S106 agreement could be used in certain scenarios, but would have to meet the necessary legal tests. There would need to be a clear reason to use one rather than attaching conditions as was standard. There was additional land outside the site plan, but if this were to be developed then a separate application would be required.

The Member suggested that the applicant’s track record of failing to do what the committee had agreed was a clear reason. In their view, the nine flats agreed in principle could very easily become nine houses. A S106 agreement would cost relatively little and provide genuine assurance that this would not be the case.

The Head of Planning cautioned that there would not be any outer planning harm if, for example, only five of nine flats were completed. The Member suggested that if granted, nine flats could become nine houses, as happened at Cromwell Court. The Head of Planning emphasised that the application needed to be considered on its own merits rather than as a hypothetical. If there was another application in the future extending the site, then wider considerations regarding visual impact and the green belt would come into play. He noted that while there were clear concerns from Members about the application, they needed to agree on a reason for refusal.

One Member suggested that the green belt factor was key. The Planning Officer clarified that the NPPF included changes of use under ‘developments considered to be appropriate in the green belt’. There was no fundamental incompatibility between the application and the green belt – this tended to only apply when a development increased the size of a site.

One Member suggested that the comments from the neighbours indicated that JCS SD14 and Cheltenham Plan SL1, regarding unacceptable harm to the amenity of neighbours, would be appropriate reasons for refusal. The cumulative effect of effectively building a block of flats where there had previously been a single occupant would have a clear adverse impact on neighbouring amenity.

One Member noted that while the site was not changing from a Planning point of view, they would also effectively be building a car park. With this in mind, JCS SD5 (impact on green belt), as suggested in Cllr. Britter’s letter, was an appropriate reason for refusal. Another Member agreed that the impact on the green belt would be significant.

The Head of Planning advised that any refusal would likely have to be based on the impact on neighbour amenity rather than the openness impact on the green belt. The Chair agreed that Cheltenham Plan SL1 and JCS SD14 were the most suitable reasons for refusal, due to the harm to the amenity of adjoining land users caused by going from one dwelling to nine.


Vote on refusal on grounds of Cheltenham Plan SL1 and Joint Core Strategy SD14

FOR: 7





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