(Director of Governance) To consider the attached report for the retrospective application for the retention of the existing 3-bedroom bungalow dwelling.
The Principal Planning Officer (Development Management) presented a report for the retention of the existing three-bedroomed bungalow on the site, which had been built without prior planning permission being obtained. This application had been considered by Area Planning Sub-Committee East on 6 September 2017, where planning permission had been granted; however, four Members of that Sub-Committee then invoked the Minority Reference rules within the Constitution to refer the application to this Committee for a final decision.
The Principal Planning Officer stated that the site was one of 30 plots in this area, on which stood predominantly single-storey buildings used as dwellings. These lots were close to the eastern boundary of the District in an isolated and discreet rural location to the east of Stapleford Abbotts. These buildings were within the Metropolitan Green Belt, but they were not listed and nor did they lie within a conservation area. Originally, timber leisure chalets had been built on these plots for leisure and recreational uses during the summer months. However, over several decades, these chalets had come to be used as permanent dwellings and many were rebuilt for all year round occupation. Consequently, this section of Curtis Mill Lane was now characterised by bungalow dwellings occupied on a permanent basis.
The Principal Planning Officer reported that a timber chalet had existed on this particular site, but had been demolished to make way for the new bungalow. The new bungalow had been 80% built, but following enforcement action, works had ceased pending the outcome of this planning application. It was estimated that the new building was some 60-70% larger than the timber chalet that it had replaced. However, as it formed part of a built-up enclave, its impact on the openness of the Green Belt was reduced.
The Principal Planning Officer informed the Committee that Planning Officers had concluded this, and the other bungalows in the locality, provided a more affordable form of home than could generally be found elsewhere in the District. And while the erection of this replacement dwelling without planning permission could not be condoned, the proposal was considered acceptable. Therefore, it had been recommended that planning permission be granted, subject to conditions including the submission of details of the materials to be used on the external surfaces and details of a new front boundary enclosure, as well as the removal of permitted development rights.
The Committee noted the summary of representations received in respect of this application, including an objection from the Parish Council on the grounds that the new dwelling was not in character with the buildings in the vicinity, and a letter in support from the neighbour stating that the local rat problem had resolved itself since the old building was demolished. There were no speakers registered for this application so the Committee proceeded to debate the application.
Cllr Brady expressed her concerns about the timber chalet which was previously in situ being replaced by a large bungalow, and that construction was started without seeking planning permission first; this was a rural location surrounded by countryside. Cllr Brady conceded that the Council could not probably do much to prevent the construction, and the removal of the local rat problem once the previous building was demolished was a positive aspect, but the Councillor was worried that this could set a precedent whereby buildings were constructed in the District without first seeking planning permission. Cllr Philip also stated his distaste for retrospective applications, but highlighted that this could not be taken account of as part of the decision making process. The Councillor could not perceive any good planning reasons for refusal, and there were several other buildings of a similar size at the location, so the application would be, reluctantly, supported.
The Principal Planning Officer reminded the Committee that, if an application had been received prior to construction, Officers would have most likely still recommended approval despite the bungalow being 60% bigger than the previous chalet on site. Cllr Morgan also reminded the Committee that the vote to approve the application at Area Planning Sub-Committee East had been overwhelmingly in favour, and that this was a permanent residence for living in and not a holiday home. The Chairman stated that he also disliked retrospective applications, but there was not much to dislike about this application.
(1) That planning application EPF/1216/17 at 15 Curtis Mill Lane in Stapleford Abbotts be granted permission, subject to the following conditions:
1. Details of the following shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority, in writing, within four months of the date of this decision and, once approved, these details shall be fully implemented on site within a six-month period:
(a) the types and colours of the external finishes to be used on the new bungalow; and
(b) a new front boundary enclosure.
2. Notwithstanding the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 as amended (or any other Order revoking, further amending or re-enacting that Order) no development generally permitted by virtue of Classes A, B or E of Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Order shall be undertaken without the prior written permission of the Local Planning Authority.
3. The development hereby permitted will be completed strictly in accordance with the four approved drawings numbered 2087.1, 2087.2, 2087.3 and 2087.4.