Recommendation: Conditional approval
Proposal: Full application for the proposed change of use from dwellinghouse (C3) to non-residential institution (F1). Erection of two single storey extensions to the south-west and north-west of the property, and demolition of the existing garage.
Applicant: Wokingham Borough Council (WBC).
The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 53 to 78.
The Committee were advised that the Members’ Update included an amendment to condition 9.
Adam Davies, on behalf of the applicant, spoke in support of the application. Adam stated that last year it became apparent that the existing contact resource centre would be located within a new road system, and therefore the centre needed to move locations. Adam added that the contact centre formed a central part of the care plan in place for these children, and the contact was facilitated by supervisors. Some contact could be challenging, and it was essential that children enjoyed a positive experience within a safe and homely environment. The proposed location was ideal due to a good level of privacy, in a quiet setting. Adam stated that the centre would operate between 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, with the busier times being after school. It was not intended to operate the facility at the weekends, and 4 contacts could be made at any one time. Adam added that the facility would include a reception and kitchen area, in addition to private rooms for contact to take place.
Malcolm Richards queried where parents would park when they had an appointment to have a contact session, asked whether sprinklers should be included in the plans if the facility was akin to an educational facility, queried whether any residential management staff would be present within the facility overnight, and asked whether it was possible to retain any of the trees on site that were proposed to be felled. Adam Davies clarified that children could be dropped off between 9am and 6pm by a carer, and parents would be expected to park locally and walk to the facility. Adam added that the facility was not an educational resource, and operational management would be present on site however not overnight. Adriana Gonzalez, case officer, stated that there were no trees of importance or quality on site, and a suitable landscaping condition was in place to ensure replacement planting, especially in the context of the nearby conservation area. Adriana confirmed that the facility was not considered as an educational facility.
Angus Ross queried whether there was any potential harm to the property north of the proposed development site in terms of overlooking or separation distances. Adriana Gonzalez stated that separation distances between the proposed extension and the existing dwelling conformed to standards, and obscure glazing would be implemented to retain privacy.
Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey proposed an informative, asking that sprinkler provision be accommodated during other construction works on the building. This informative was unanimously agreed and added to the list of informatives.
Gary Cowan queried whether a ground penetration radar survey could be carried out, as had been requested for a recent application involving a mature tree. Connor Corrigan, Service Manager – Strategic Development Locations and Planning Delivery, stated that a ground penetration radar survey was only carried out when the tree in question was a very significant tree. Connor added that there were not category A or B trees on site, parking could be accommodated without harming the trees, and only the extension could impact on the roots of the tree however this was unlikely to have much of an impact. Gary added that he was happy if officers were confident that the roots would be protected, as the tree had a positive impact on the street scene.
Simon Weeks commented that the proposed location was away from noise and excess traffic, and would provide a calm environment for children to receive contact sessions. The proposed new location was better than the current facility’s location by a busy junction, as it was located back from the road, and associated traffic noise and pollution.
RESOLVED That application number 202270 be approved, subject to conditions and informatives as set out in agenda pages 54 to 56, amended condition 9 as set out in the Members’ Update, and additional informative regarding sprinkler provision as resolved by the Committee.