Agenda item

Application no - 163115 - The Firs, Parkcorner Lane, Carters Hill, Arborfield, RG2 9JJ

Recommendation:  Refusal


Proposal:  Householder application for the proposed replacement of existing roof lights with dormer window extensions and the erection of a raised terrace to the south- west corner of the building at first floor level


Applicant:  Mr & Mrs M Yardley


Councillor John Kaiser declared a personal interest and did not take part in the discussion or vote on this item.


The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in Agenda pages 89 to 110.


Members had visited the site on Friday 27 January 2017.


Patrick Haran, Planning Agent, spoke in favour of the application, citing CP11 as the relevant policy, which supported small scale extensions to buildings in the countryside.  He stated that the proposed extension would result in a 12.5% increase to the footprint but no increase in overall height, and that the current use for the 1st floor was as accommodation so that no change of use was involved.  The expectation was that the flat would revert to an elderly relative and the installation of dormer windows and a terrace would increase manoeuvrability, with the impact limited by the substantial boundary screening.  He stated that there was no objection from either the Parish Council or neighbours.


Councillor Gary Cowan, Ward Member, spoke in favour of the application, indicating that the property was on an un-adopted road and did not overlook anyone.  He stated that alterations to other properties in the area had been approved.  In relation to the citing of CP11, he suggested that the build would not cause harm and that the terrace sat comfortably within the Council’s own guidelines.  The Council recognised the need for families to support elderly relatives and this build would fit with that need.


The Case Officer cited CP11, stating that the proposal was an example of excessive encroachment, that it was inappropriate in scale and appearance and that, as such, it would cause significant harm.  The information about the proposed occupancy by an elderly relative had not been cited in the application in justification.


In answer to Members’ questions relating to the likelihood of an appeal if refused, the Case Officer pointed out that, as a detached outbuilding, the application site does not benefit from permitted development rights for further extensions and additions and therefore planning permission is required for the proposed alterations.  Whilst there was some leniency for properties in the countryside, the proposed extension would in effect convert an outbuilding into a home.  She also stated that a plan did not have to take into account who was living there.


The Committee were reminded that, just because a building could not be seen, there was still a need to be mindful of the impact of a building.


The recommendation put to the Committee to refuse the application, when put to the vote, was not supported.  As a result, an alternative proposal was received from Councillor Wayne Smith to approve the application for the reason that the planned extension would not cause significant harm and that the increase in scale would not be inappropriate.  This was seconded by Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey


The following conditions were attached:


·       The development should begin no later than three years from the date of the decision;

·       The development would be carried out in accordance with the plans in Agenda pages 95 to 108;

·       Materials used in the construction of the external surfaces would match those in the existing building, and

·       The extended building would not be occupied at any time other than as ancillary to the residential use of the dwelling known as the Firs, Parkcorner Lane.


Resolved: That Application no 163115 be approved subject to the conditions set out above.

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