Agenda item

Planning Application EPF/0869/19 - Clasper House, Epping

(Service Director - Planning Services) To consider the attached report for the erection of 2 dormer roof windows to the front elevation and 3 dormer roof windows to the rear elevation; this application was referred from Area Planning Sub-Committee East on 7 August 2019 (EPF/0869/19).


The Service Director (Planning Services) presented a report on the proposed erection of two dormer roof windows to the front elevation and three dormer roof windows to the rear elevation at Clasper House in Hemnall Street, Epping. The Committee was informed that this application had been referred from Area Plans Sub-Committee East on 7 August 2019 via a minority reference after the Officer recommendation to grant planning permission had been lost.


The Service Director stated that the site contained a two-storey commercial building, which was located to the east of Hemnall Street within the town of Epping. The building on the site was not listed, and neither was the site within the Metropolitan Green Belt although it was within the Epping Conservation Area. The proposal was to install two dormer roof windows to the front of the existing roof slope and three dormer windows to the rear of the existing roof slope.


Planning Officers had originally concluded that the design was acceptable, would not cause significant harm to the living conditions of neighbours, and therefore the proposal was recommended for approval. However, the Sub-Committee had felt that the proposed dormer windows would be out of keeping in this locality and out of character to the detriment of the Conservation Area, as well as resulting in a loss of privacy caused by the overlooking of other residential properties in Hemnall Street. Consequently, the Officer recommendation to grant planning permission had been lost.


The Service Director informed the Committee that revised plans for this proposal had been submitted since the application was considered by Area Plans Sub-Committee East, which swapped the obscured glazing from the rear dormer windows to the front dormer windows. This effectively dealt with the loss of privacy issue as there would now be no overlooking from the front dormer windows if they were obscured.


The Committee noted the summary of representations received in respect of this application, including two objections from neighbouring properties and a strong objection from Epping Town Council. The Committee heard from an Objector and the Applicant’s Agent before proceeding to debate the application.


There were some Councillors who expressed reservations about the application. Councillor H Brady reminded the Committee that the application site was in the Conservation Area with a smaller two-storey building behind along with a terrace of small Victorian houses. If five dormer roof windows were built then Clasper House would become a large, unattractive three-storey building which would be very noticeable. The Councillor felt that the vote at Area Plans Sub-Committee East to refuse the application was correct. Councillor J H Whitehouse added that any development in the Conservation Area should enhance the surroundings, but the construction of the dormer roof windows would add bulk to the building, and therefore he expected to vote against the application. Councillor Kauffman felt that the proposed development would be overbearing and of no real benefit to the area.


However, Councillor Mohindra stated that he had attended the site visit, noticed that several neighbouring buildings had had extensions built and was not against the application. Councillor Dorrell felt that Clasper House was not visible from the High Street, and only obliquely from Hemnall Street. The Councillor felt that the dormer roof windows would make the building look more attractive and therefore was broadly in favour of the application.


Councillor Philip opined that the concerns expressed at the previous Sub-Committee meeting about the lack of obscured glazing facing Hemnall Street had been addressed in the revised application. The building was in the Conservation Area but it was obscured well from most sides, therefore the Councillor felt that there was not sufficient harm to vote against the application and would vote in favour.


The Chairman accepted that the dormer windows on the front elevation would overlook some neighbouring gardens, but if these dormer windows were obscured then it would prevent the privacy issues. At the site visit, the Chairman was surprised at the relative unattractiveness of the surrounding area, despite it being in the Conservation Area, and did not believe that the dormer roof windows would make the building look any larger. Consequently, the Chairman would support the application.


Councillor Philip put forward a motion, seconded by Councillor Morgan, to grant planning permission for the application, subject to the planning conditions previously offered and amended to account for the obscured glazing for the front dormer windows. The Committee voted to grant planning permission.




            (1)        That planning application EPF/0869/19 at Clasper House in Hemnall             Street, Epping be granted permission, subject to the following conditions:


                        1.         The development hereby permitted, must be begun not later                         than the expiration of three years, beginning with the date of this notice.


                        2.         The development hereby permitted will be completed strictly in                         accordance with the approved drawings nos: 10-001, 10-002, 11-                        001/Rev3, 11-002/Rev3, 11-003/Rev3, 11-004/Rev3, Location Plan.


                        3.         Details of the types and colours of the external finishes shall be                         submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority, in writing,                 prior to their use on site. The development shall be implemented in                        accordance with such approved details. For the purposes of this                            condition, the samples shall only be made available for inspection by                     the Local Planning Authority at the planning application site itself.


                        4.         The dormer roof windows in the south-east facing front elevation                         shall be entirely fitted with obscured glass with a minimum Level 3             obscurity and have fixed frames to a height of 1.7 metres above the                       floor  of  the  room  in  which  the  window  is installed and shall be                         permanently retained in that condition.


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