Agenda and minutes
Venue: Town Hall
Contact: Ian Smith Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Conduct of the meeting
The committee will take items in the following order:
1. All items where people wish to speak and have registered with Democratic Services.
2. Any remaining items the committee agrees can be determined without further debate.
3. Those applications which the committee wishes to discuss in detail.
Apologies for absence
Apologies had been received from Councillor Williams. There was also one vacancy on the committee.
Disclosure of interests
There were no disclosures of interest.
The minutes of the meeting held on 14 April 2021 to be submitted and signed. Additionally all the minutes from previous virtual meetings which have been approved, to be signed.
The minutes from the meeting on 15 March 2021 were approved and would be signed at the conclusion of the meeting, along with all other unsigned minutes from the lengthy period where minutes had not been signed because meetings were virtual.
The Development Management Manager delivered his report.
The Chair then invited Mr Damien Sharkey of Chess Wilkinson to address the committee.
Mr Sharkey commented that the site had already been approved for development as three generous dwellings and had been lawfully implemented as confirmed by a lawful development certificate. The new scheme increased the scheme to four houses. The reduced size of these better suited the scale of the surrounding dwellings and kept to the same massing as the original.
He went on to describe the design of the proposed dwellings as being a contemporary reflection of the design threads in the local area. Mr Sharkey noted that the statutory consultees such as Thames Water and Highways had not objected to the proposed development.
He concluded by stating that the scheme brought much needed housing to the Borough.
The Chair thanked Mr Sharkey and invited Councillor Karen Clarke-Taylor, a Ward Councillor for Oxhey, to address the committee.
Councillor Clarke-Taylor emphasised the number and strength of the objections to the development. She pointed out that some years ago a proposal was rejected as an overdevelopment, with the three house option being a compromise. She expressed the view of the residents that to approve the four house option would be seen as backtracking.
The Councillor went on to say that the homes were not in keeping with the conservation area. She pointed out that residents were not allowed to make amendments to their homes, yet this build might be approved.
The proposed houses were narrower and offered inadequate accommodation for families. Further concerns were the height of the homes, with an associated negative impact on the streetscene and light levels for nearby properties.
Garden areas were below the minimum size of 65 square metres. This was offset by the community garden area. The present application had gardens as small as 48 square metres and a significant reduction in the area of communal amenity space. This could set a precedent for sub-standard garden sizes.
The councillor highlighted the increase in parking spaces and that the location of these meant there was a possibility of increased light and noise pollution. She pointed out the potential issue with access for emergency vehicles and general access problems due to the narrow access road.
The councillor moved on to highlight the ecological and environmental concerns, including water run-off and the potential for flooding.
The conduct of the developers was mentioned as this had upset a number of residents. The site had been stripped for development, but then left as an eyesore for three years. Residents felt that the applicants were requesting increasing levels of development to enhance profits with little regard for them.
The councillor concluded with a request for limits on timings for deliveries to the site, together with a strict prohibition on the size of vehicles and requested the application be rejected.
The Chair asked the Development Management Manager to address some of the points raised by Councillor Clarke-Taylor.
The Development Management Manager explained that ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
This application was withdrawn by the applicant prior to the committee meeting.
The committee received the report of the Development Management Manager.
The Chair then invited Mrs Susan Wilkins to address the committee.
Mrs Wilkins opened by describing the parking situation at Lych Gate as horrendous and this had escalated since the closure of the parking bay in 2008. She expressed her concern over the loss of more parking spaces and garages, estimating that if this proposal was approved, it would result in 20 additional vehicles.
Mrs Wilkins explained that the parking was impacting nearby roads and had been exacerbated when the freeholder had removed access to the parking bays. She added that access to the garage block would also be harmed as people would have to park in front of their garages. She added a variety of concerns:
· Access difficulties for emergency and refuse vehicles. bullying
· The freeholder failing to maintain the block and general mistreatment of the residents.
· Compromised privacy for nearby properties.
· Loss of light and outlook compromised.
· Reduced road safety.
At the request of the Chair, the Development Management Manager commented on the privacy and daylight issues, stating that it was considered there would be no loss of privacy or daylight to nearby properties. Indeed the proposal would replicate the position of dwellings on the opposite side of the street.
The Chair thanked Mrs Wilkins and noted that Wakelin Associates had provided a written submission, as they were unable to be present at the meeting. This would be appended to the minutes as Appendix 1.
Councillor Saffery, the Ward Councillor for Woodside, then addressed the committee, noting that there was an ongoing issue with parking across the Borough, but that it was particularly acute in the area. He added that some years ago a “grasscrete” bay had been installed, but this had only been a temporary solution and it was now overwhelmed by demand.
Councillor Saffery challenged the assertion in the parking survey that removal of the three informal spaces would not see supply outstrip demand, citing aerial images and local experience that clearly showed that parking was at a premium. He commented that since the garages and associated hard standing were clearly constructed with car parking in mind, it was inappropriate to demolish them.
He pointed out that whilst the planning framework might tie the hands of the committee, local residents were vehemently opposed to the application. He asked that if the committee were minded to grant the application, they impose conditions to mitigate the impact on parking and to increase the parking provision. He urged the committee to heed the concerns of the residents.
The committee discussed the application and expressed their sympathy with the residents’ position. However, the consensus was that this application was policy compliant and had the appropriate parking included.
Councillor Bell suggested that Councillor Saffery might lobby the relevant County Councillor over the parking issues, but that could not affect the decision before the committee.
The Chair moved the officer’s recommendation that planning permission be granted, subject to conditions as ... view the full minutes text for item 6.