23/00345/FUL Glencairn, Greenway Lane, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham GL52 6LB
The case officer introduced the application as set out in the papers, for a revised scheme, following the grant of three planning permissions in 2022. The proposal is very similar to the most recently permitted scheme, with the front now rendered, porch reduced in size, and detached home office removed. In addition, clear-glazed bedroom and landing windows are proposed, with the works partly carried out. The recommendation is to grant permission, with conditions.
Neighbour, in objection
Speaking on behalf of three neighbours, all of whom share a boundary with application site, the neighbour thanked Members for the opportunity to share their concerns, at the end of a long and drawn-out process, and said he appreciated their site visits. To summarise, he said that as a previous single-storey dwelling, it was always going to be a challenge to maintain privacy for all concerned when adding a storey, but the applicant had previously managed to achieve this, with the previously approved scheme. This new request to change the glass in the rear dual aspect dormer window from obscure to clear glass will impact the privacy of all three neighbours, with direct views into bedrooms, lounges and bathrooms, as well as gardens. Neighbours had hoped the issue was resolved six months ago, when the applicant agreed that the glazing should be obscure to maintain privacy. He appealed to Members to imagine how they would feel in this situation, and asked them to vote to protect the neighbours’ private spaces.
Applicant, in support
The applicant said he had worked with planning officers, architects and building control from start to finish when modernising this dilapidated 1960s bungalow, and that the clear glass in the new rear dormers not only complies with and exceeds all planning guidelines, but is in keeping with other properties in the neighbourhood. The angle of his house gave no clear site-line to neighbours’ properties. Under permitted development, the dormer extension could be fitted with a wall of glass, which would have a far greater impact on neighbours; the request for two modest, clear windows was therefore reasonable. None of the many windows, French doors and skylights on properties visible from Glencairn are currently obscure-glazed, and all three of the objectors have windows and doors with views into neighbouring gardens. His request is in character with the area and complies with planning guidelines.
In response to Member questions, the case officer confirmed that:
- the application is part-retrospective; the majority of the work is complete;
- the bedroom window is currently obscure-glazed, the landing window is already clear-glazed, so the proposal only concerns a change to the bedroom glazing;
- an extension very similar in size, with clear-glazed windows all along the dormer, could be carried out under permitted development;
- the only reason why this proposal isn’t classed as permitted development is because the proposed materials do not match the existing roof; there are no limits to the size of windows.
In debate, Members made the following points:
- the applicant should have complied with the permitted scheme, as previously agreed with neighbours. The revised proposals change the palette and materials, and to say this work could be carried out under permitted development is a red herring;
- converting a single-storey house to a multi-storey one is always going to result in some overlooking, but clear views into neighbouring lounges and bedrooms is not acceptable and represents loss of amenity. If obscure-glazed windows solve the problem, this is the right way to go;
- on Planning View, it was clear that the clear-glazed windows allowed views straight into neighbouring houses; obscure glass would be a compromise and should be retained;
- although overlooking may be an issue here and Members feel sympathy for the neighbours, all policies point towards permitting the proposal;
- regardless of what has previously been permitted, the applicant is entitled to come back with a different scheme, proposing a re-alignment of the lay-out and change of materials;
- although there is no question that some overlooking will result from the proposed changes, there are many hundreds of houses in Cheltenham which overlook each other. This is inevitable with new houses in backland development, and it is unreasonable to expect bedroom windows to be obscure-glazed;
- the difference is that those houses were built like that, but in this case, a situation which has existed for a number of years is being drastically altered. Obscure glazing would make the neighbours happy, and the applicant should be prepared to stick with his original proposal.
The Chair reminded Members that the proposal complies with local and national planning guidelines, and the distances between the windows are significant; clear reasons will be needed to refuse the application to avoid the risk of costs at appeal. He drew their attention to a recent appeal which was lost, with costs awarded against the council, where the Inspector considered their objections on the basis of overlooking were unreasonable. The case officer reminded Members that in all three previous applications, inly the landing window was conditioned to be obscure-glazed; the bedroom window was not.
Vote on officer recommendation to permit
7 in support
4 in objection
- 23 00345 FUL Officer Report, item 7. PDF 223 KB
- Representations 23 00345FUL Glencairn Greenway Lane, item 7. PDF 19 KB
- Officer report 22 00874FUL, item 7. PDF 154 KB
- Officers report 22 00060FUL, item 7. PDF 262 KB
- Officers report 22 01581FUL, item 7. PDF 120 KB
- Glencairn 23-00345, item 7. PDF 3 MB