Agenda item

Application No.200893 - 15 The Drive, Earley, RG6 1EG

Recommendation: Conditional approval


Carl Doran declared a prejudicial interest in this item and therefore took no part in the discussion or voting


Proposal:Householder application for the proposed first floor side and rear extension to existing dwelling and single storey rear extension (part-retrospective)


Applicant: Mrs Noor Khan


The Committee received and reviewed a report, set out in agenda pages 31 to 54.


The Committee were advised that the Members’ Update included a correction to page 31 of the officer report to state that the site was within the Bulmershe and Whitegates Ward.


In line with the given deadlines, two public written submissions were received for this item. These submissions were circulated to Members in advance, and noted on the evening. The submissions as provided can be found below.


ACER Residents’ Association provided the following statement in objection to the application:


1.    “– ACER’s is concerned to maintain the character of Whitegates which is predominantly separated semi-detached houses with sloping hip-end roofs.


  1. To build houses too close to each other and omit the sloping roofs causes a terracing effect


  1. Whitegates streets are characterised by green frontages.  Removal of all greenery in front gardens changes the character of a street


  1. To build the side extension less than the minimum distance to the boundary is unacceptable as it contributes to a terracing effect. 


  1. The side extension adjacent to the house shows a vertical gable end construction.  This vertical end would give rise to a terracing effect which is unacceptable.


  1. It should be noted that if the pitched roof of the main extension was continued all the way along its length, then the main house would end up with a hip end roof, which would be in keeping with the character of the area. Please see marked up drawing TDE:007.


  1. The Borough Design Guide states that the rhythm of buildings and the gaps between them are important to the character of the area, which is valued by the residents.


  1. Similar roof conversions have been rejected when applied for under local Planning procedures as they were not in character, including 192998 at 5 Byron Road


  1. Should the Committee be inclined to Approve, the following conditions are requested:

i)     The gap to the boundary should be a minimum of 1 metre. There is no reason given as to why it should be less. 


ii)    The pitched roof profile of the extension should extend along the full length of the property.  This has no effect on the internal accommodation but has the benefit of returning the main property to a hip end. 


iii)    Reinstate soft landscapingin the front garden which is tall enough to be seen when travelling down The Drive.  This would maintain the character of the area in line with CP3 and assist with the green environmental emergency measures declared by WBC.”


Shirley Boyt, Ward Member, provided to following statement in objection to the application:


There are 58 dwellings in The Drive.


All are 1930s semi-detached except for three newly built detached and one pair of semis which has a new dwelling attached making a terrace of three.


The convention in this road is for hipped roof joints not gable ends.


The houses stand on generous plots with ample room for side and rear extensions and the majority of houses have taken advantage of this. However, with the exception of only 3 dwellings (13, 15 and 27), all have maintained the hipped roof joint.  Even the newly built properties have kept to this convention. Numbers 13 and 27 have no side extensions but have gable ends to the original house; in the case of no. 27, this is barely visible due to mature trees and shrubs in the front garden.


On the current application I have three points to make:

a) What the Officer’s report does not make clear is that no. 15 and its neighbour, no. 13 are already at odds with the rest of the street scene as both have gable ends to the main house roof. Adding a side extension with another gable end will only exacerbate the problem whereas an extension with a hipped joint would go some way towards correcting this anomaly.

b) The distance from the boundary should be 1 metre not 90cm. This might be seen as nit-picking and indeed the Officer’s report treats this as being inconsequential, so I would ask the Committee to consider this – do we now have a 10% tolerance in this regard? Is 90cm the new normal?

c) WBC has declared a climate emergency. The planning process should be encouraging the retention or re-instatement of trees and shrubs at every opportunity to balance the needs of the motor car with the needs of the planet.


I note also that number 13 has just been sold and it is extremely likely that the new owners will at some point wish to extend. If you allow a gable on this extension, you will have set a precedent for number 13 to follow suit.


I therefore request that if the Committee is mindful to approve this application, please make such approval conditional on items a, b and c above.”


Members were asked in turn for any comments or queries on this application. Specific comments or queries are summarised below.


Simon Weeks sought clarification that the dormer on the second floor rear roof had been completed under permitted development rights. Stefan Fludger, case officer, confirmed this to be correct. Simon noted that house number 17 (an immediate neighbour, had written in support of this application, whilst house number 13 (the other immediate neighbour) had written in to state that they had no objections to this application. Simon added that the nearest objection had come from the occupants of 6 Chiltern Crescent, who had the view of the rear extension.


Stephen Conway commented that in his view, the proposals were perilously close to overdevelopment.


Simon Weeks asked for confirmation that the front extension was seen as subservient to the host dwelling. Stephan Fludger confirmed this to be correct.


Andrew Mickleburgh queried how previous extensions were taken into consideration when assessing whether an extension was subservient, whether a hipped roof could lessen any potential terracing effect, why it was deemed acceptable to allow a 900mm separation distance, and why the potential loss of light in a neighbouring garden was deemed minimal. Stefan Fludger stated that officers did look at extensions as a whole when assessing whether a further extension would be subservient to the host dwelling, which was deemed to be the case for this application. Stefan added that the existing dwelling had a gabled roof, built under permitted development rights. The gabled roof was a common feature within the street scene, and it was the officer’s view that forcing a hipped roof on the side extension would be discordant with the existing permitted development roof. In relation to separation distance, Stefan stated that officers looked for ways to ensure that there was a sufficient mitigation of any potential terracing effect, and in this instance 900mm was deemed sufficient. Stefan added that the 1000mm separation distance was a guideline rather than a strict policy. Stefan stated that there was to be a marginal loss of light in the 45 degree line towards the neighbouring conservatory. However, the reality of the infringement was deemed minimal as the light was available to the conservatory from all sides including the roof, and the conservatory was deemed as a lesser quality habitable space compared to a room such as a lounge as it was not typically used year round.


Simon Weeks commented that there had been no objections received from the owner of the conservatory, and there was currently a driveway between the neighbouring property whereby the 900mm separation gap to the boundary was proposed.


RESOLVED That application number 200893 be approved, subject to conditions and informatives as set out in agenda pages 31 to 32.

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