Agenda item

Application No.203514 - 34 Hilltop Road, Earley

Recommendation: Conditional approval


Andrew Mickleburgh declared a prejudicial interest in this item and therefore took no part.


Proposal: Full planning application for the proposed conversion of bungalow to form two self-contained dwellings comprising 1 x 3 bed apartment at ground floor and 1 x 1 bed apartment at first floor. (Following recent construction of extensions permitted by application 191411) and installation of four roof lights (part retrospective)


Applicant: Mr J Singh


The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 83 to 106.


The Committee were advised that the Members’ Update included additional conditions 7, 8, 9, and an additional informative.


Brenda Cutler, resident, spoke in objection to the application. Brenda stated that the area was already overdeveloped, with parking already being an issue. Brenda added that the proposals would create 6 properties in the space of the original single dwelling. Brenda stated that the flats would be out of keeping with the character of the area, and would add to parking issues. Brenda concluded that residents were upset with the proposals, and cited that number 30 Hilltop Road had been divided into two dwellings which had created issues including additional traffic.


Tim Marsh, on behalf of the ACER residents’ association, spoke in objection to the application. Tim asked that a glazed window be provided on the proposed roof light, as it was only 1 metre in height rather than the standard height of at least 1.7 metres. Tim added that the parking standards related to new developments, rather than within existing housing stock. Tim stated that development of rental properties within existing housing stock generally resulted in more vehicles within an already busy residential area. Tim was of the opinion that the proposals were out of keeping with the character of the area whilst being an example of overdevelopment. Tim asked that the application be refused.


Shirley Boyt, Ward Member, spoke in objection to the application. Shirley stated that a previous application on this site granted permission to turn habitable rooms into bedrooms, and this application followed up by turning a single property into an 8 bedroom dual property. Shirley was of the opinion that there was potential for the site to house 8 permanent residents, with only 4 car parking spaces. Shirley stated that the new dropped kerb was not present on the site drawings, and there would be no access to the front of the site for vehicles to park. Shirley added that soft landscaping was recommended for this scheme, however implementation was a different matter in this area.


Carl Doran queried 4 parking spaces met parking requirements, queried where the conditioned soft landscaping would go if the proposed car parking spaces went ahead, queried how the upper floor flat would use the rear amenity space, and queried why the roof light at 1 metre height was not considered as overlooking. Roger Johnson, Senior Assistant Engineer – Highways, stated that the parking requirements were met via the provision of 4 car parking spaces. Natalie Jarman, case officer, stated that 4 car parking spaces already had planning permission with no landscaping condition attached, and should this application be approved than landscaping would be conditioned which would provide betterment to the street scene. Regarding access to the amenity space, Natalie Jarman stated that the plans showed that both proposed properties would have access to the amenity space and refuse storage via gated access. Simon Weeks stated that he had sympathy regarding the concerns with the roof light, and suggested that the Committee may wish to condition the window to be fix shut and obscure glazed. Carl Doran stated that he would second this proposal should the Committee be minded to approve.


Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey queried where the landscaping would fit in amongst the driveway. Justin Turvey, Operational Manager – Development Management, stated that landscaping could be placed to the right hand side of the driveway, and in front of the bay window.


AdbulLoyes queried how policy CP3 applied to this application. Natalie Jarman stated that this application was starting at a point where planning permission had already been granted for the extensions. There could be some introduction of residential paraphernalia, however the only physical change would be the introduction of the roof lights. Based on this, officers felt that it was acceptable in terms of the character of the area.


Pauline Jorgensen queried whether there was a risk that a future application could convert the garage to a dwelling with side access. Simon Weeks clarified that the garage would provide storage for residents, and access needed to be maintained. Simon added that the Committee could not place a condition on a possible future application.


Stephen Conway stated that the Committee was being asked to judge the proposed change from two dwellings to one. Stephen felt that it was imperative to have obscure glazing on the roof light window. Stephen queried that as the rear window of the first floor dwelling would overlook the rear garden, whether this was acceptable in this specific instance. Natalie Jarman stated that on balance, the rear gardens would provide some form of private amenity space. In many instances, flats would have a solely communal outdoor amenity space.


Malcolm Richards queried how 4 vehicles would could safely get in and out of the driveway. Natalie Jarman stated that the photo presented to the Committee was taken before the works, and it was proposed to extend the dropped kerb to allow the vehicles to reverse or drive straight on to the driveway.


Simon Weeks proposed that the roof light window on the flank of the property be conditioned to be obscure glazed and fixed shut. This was seconded by Carl Doran and carried by the Committee.


Carl Doran queried whether the issue of a window overlooking a neighbouring private garden went against the Borough Design Guide. Justin Turvey stated that it was standard for maisonettes to overlook rear amenity space from the upper floors.


RESOLVED That application number 203514 be approved, subject to conditions and informative as set out in agenda pages 84 to 85, amended condition requiring the roof light to be obscure glazed and fixed shut as agreed by the Committee, additional conditions 7, 8, 9 and additional informative as set out in the Members’ Update.

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