22/1282- 7 &7A Sidmouth Road, London, NW2 5HH
Granted planning permission subject to the conditions and informatives set out in the Committee report and supplementary report. and an additional condition to ensure that the development is carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the ecology survey.
Proposed erection new two-storey dwellinghouse with basement level, works including associated off road cycle and car parking, private amenity, waste storage, landscaping and boundary treatment.
That the Committee resolve to GRANT planning permission subject to:
(1) That the Head of Planning be delegated authority to issue the planning permission and impose conditions and informatives as detailed in the report.
(2) That the Head of Planning be delegated to make changes to the wording of the committee’s decision (such as to delete, vary or add conditions, informatives, planning obligations or reasons for the decision) prior to the decision being actioned, provided that the Head of Planning is satisfied that any such changes could not reasonably be regarded as deviating from the overall principle of the decision reached by the committee nor that such change(s) could reasonably have led to a different decision having been reached by the committee.
Damian Manhertz, Team Leader, South Area, Development Planning Team introduced the report and set out the key issues. In introducing the report members were advised that the current site comprised the rear garden of 7 Sidmouth Road, adjoining 60 Milverton Road on the side and 9 Sidmouth Road at the rear. The site location did not fall within a Conservation area as designated in Brent’s Local Plan. The application proposed the erection of a new two-storey dwellinghouse with basement level, works including associated off road cycle and car parking, private amenity, waste storage, landscaping and boundary treatment.
The Committee’s attention was drawn to the supplementary agenda that provided additional information regarding the addition of a condition to ensure that the development was carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the ecology survey.
Before moving the meeting on to hear from registered speakers on the application, the Chair sought clarification from officers as to what was different about the application before the Committee on this occasion, given that there had been various proposals on the same site that had been refused historically.
Officers confirmed that the primary reason for refusal of prior applications had related to the proposed design being in conflict with the character and appearance of the local area. Officers advised that the scheme brought to the Committee on this occasion was therefore significantly different from previously dismissed schemes.
As no further Committee questions were raised at this point, the Chair invited the first speaker, Suzanne Scott (objector) to address the Committee (in person) in relation to the application, who drew the Committee’s attention to the following key points:
· Ms Scott introduced herself as a planning consultant who was present to represent the objectors of the application, notably close neighbours who would be directly affected if planning permission was granted by the Committee.
· The site had been the subject of five planning applications and two planning appeals over the last two years, with the proposals for the site having been a long term source of stress for neighbours. This had recently been exacerbated by the revised application that included a number of last minute changes to the design and layout that were submitted on 4th November 2022.
· It was felt that the description of development had therefore changed and the plans had changed, with concern raised about the lack of public or statutory re-consultation.
· The proposals would cause an unacceptable degree of harm to the character and appearance of the area. Objectors felt this was due to the site, with its narrow depth and the constraints of the Milverton Road building line not being able to adequately accommodate a dwelling that was equitable in size, scale, height and mass to the existing grand interwar homes of the area. It was felt that the proposal was diminutive in comparison with its neighbours, therefore it was felt that the proposed dwelling would look odd and out of place when viewed from the public realm.
· In closing her comments Ms Scott urged the Committee to listen to the points that Councillor Hack would go on to raise and to be mindful of the potential for a legal challenge to any grant of planning permission, given the lack of any re-consultation on the amendments submitted.
The Chair thanked Ms Scott for making her representation and invited Committee members to raise any queries or clarify points they may have. asked. In response details were sought on what type of development objectors would deem as acceptable. In response Ms Scott replied that this had been discussed amongst the objectors and they agreed that a single storey property potentially with a basement would be more in keeping with the local character and not as discernible from the public realm.
As no further Committee questions were raised at this point, the Chair invited Councillor Hack in his capacity as local ward councillor, to address the Committee (in person) in relation to the application. In addressing the Committee Councillor Hack highlighted the following key points for consideration:
· The need for additional housing in Brent was acknowledged, however Councillor Hack highlighted the need to be mindful of the long term impact on current residents of any new proposed developments.
· It was felt that the proposed dwelling would be too tall at 2 storeys above ground level, plus the basement, this design was not considered to be in keeping with the local street scene.
· Councillor Hack queried how much consideration had been given to the mental impact felt by residents who would feel closed in by what neighbours felt would be an overbearing development due to its height.
· Concern was shared that the proposed property did not respect the existing building lines due to its step forward.
· Additionally, concerns were raised regarding the loss of trees to accommodate the construction of the proposed dwelling, and the harm to the biodiversity of the site. It was felt the applicant had not gone far enough in their efforts to mitigate the loss of biodiversity.
· It was queried whether the removal of trees could create subsidence issues for neighbours.
· It was felt that the plot was being overdeveloped contrary to planning policies as the site was not in an identified growth area. On the basis of the concerns shared Councillor Hack urged the Committee to consider refusing the application.
As the Committee had no questions for Councillor Hack, the Chair invited the final speaker, Max Kyte (agent) to address the Committee (in person) in relation to the application, supported by Dimitros Dakos (in person) and architects from Gpad available online. Mr Kyte drew the Committee’s attention to the following key points in support of the application:
· Mr Kyte explained that the application made was a joint venture from Kyte Property and their partner Coeus Design Studio, with GPAD as their architects. Collectively they had delivered a number of successful developments in the Brent. It was highlighted that their positive working relationship with Brent supported working together to ensure the right type of developments were achieved that would support the area and its residents. It was felt this was evidenced by the number of adaptations made to plans since the original submission of plans on the Sidmouth Road site.
· The application shared with the Committee on this occasion was felt to provide a well designed and generously proportioned home with ample, well landscaped amenity space that had considered all neighbouring houses in its design approach.
· Obscure glazing had been included to prevent overlooking of neighbours and the siting and mass of the house had been designed to accord with Brent’s policies that prevented over development.
· The high quality materials would weather well and last to ensure a long lasting carbon spend.
· The existing large frontage wall had been significantly reduced to create a welcoming, more active frontage.
· Mr Kyte advised the Committee that the application before the Committee, had addressed all guidance within the London Plan, NPPF and Brent’s Local Plan and Design Guide and was therefore a policy compliant proposal.
The Chair thanked Mr Kyte for making his representation and invited Committee members to raise any queries or clarify points they may have. In response members sought clarity on privacy issues with regard to the windows on the side of the property and if consideration had been given to reducing the size of the building to allow side access, the basement and tree planting. The following responses were provided:
· It was confirmed that the windows serving the side of the building would be obscured. A CGI was then shown to provide context to the side of the building that demonstrated that there was a side access gate and path alongside the building, this also added to the boundary between neighbouring properties.
· The Committee were reassured that a basement impact assessment had been submitted as the construction would include building on the boundary of a party wall, the assessment also served to explore any other potential issues that could arise with the developers liable to rectify any issues, should they be identified.
· Mr Kyte confirmed that although trees would need to be removed to allow for the construction of the dwelling, replacement shrubs, plant and three replacement trees would be provided to mitigate the loss of biodiversity onsite and meet the required urban greening factor.
Ahead of moving the meeting on to allow Committee members to ask any questions or points of clarification, the Chair sought clarity from Saira Tamboo, Senior Planning Lawyer in respect of the duty to undertake a further period of consultation due to changes made to the plans. It was confirmed that as the changes on the plan had been assessed as minor, it had not been necessary to undertake a re-consultation process.
The Chair then moved the meeting on and invited members to ask officers any questions or points of clarification they may have in relation to the application. The Committee raised queries in relation to drainage, biodiversity, transport considerations and the character of the proposed property, with the following responses provided:
· In response to concerns raised with regard to how flooding and drainage issues would be managed as a result of the removal of trees and soft landscaping on site, the Committee were advised that the site was in a low flood risk area and due to the clay under the site there were limited options in using a range of sustainable drainage measures. It was acknowledged that there may be an increase in water run off however due to the scale of the development it was not considered to be a significant risk.
· Mitigations that would be introduced to support the drainage strategy were the addition of an attenuation tank on the grounds to slow down water run off and the use of green roofing.
· The Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment indicated a net loss of habitat units and acknowledged there was no biodiversity net gain, however it was also highlighted that given the nature of the site and the proposed development it would be extremely difficult to add to the biodiversity of the site. On balance it was felt that the benefit of an additional family sized home outweighed the lack of compliance with Brent Local Plan Policy BG1. It was also noted that replacement trees and shrubbery would be replanted to partly mitigate the loss of biodiversity in line with the revised ecological conditions.
· The site achieved an urban greening factor score of 0.415, in compliance with Brent Local Plan Policy BH4.
· In response to a query regarding the impact of the development on local transport and parking, officers confirmed that the surrounding roads were not heavily parked therefore the development was unlikely to have a negative impact in this respect.
· Public transport access to the site was rated as good, with a PTAL rating of 3/4. The London Plan Car Parking Standards set out that 3 bed dwellings in a PTAL rating area of 4 were permitted up to 0.5-0.75 spaces per dwelling, whereas three bed dwelling in a PTAL rating area of 3 were permitted up to one space per dwelling. Given that the property was on the cusp, the provision of one off street parking space was not considered to exceed the maximum allowance.
· Officers confirmed that as the proposal was for one dwelling there was no requirement for an electric vehicle charging point to be installed.
· In response to Committee concerns regarding the proposed development harming the character and appearance of the local area, officers advised that the applicant had worked with architects to overcome this as a concern raised, evidenced in the revised contemporary design.
· It was felt that the proposal was compliant with Local Plan Policy BD1 that sought the highest quality of architectural and urban design, including innovative contemporary design that respected and complemented historic character.
· The proposed developments slight stepped forward front building line was felt to be minimal and sufficiently respected the predominant building lines.
· Officers felt that the impact on character of the area, as a result of the proposed development would therefore be limited and would be offset by the creation of a family sized dwelling that would appear contemporary, creating a transitional contrasting element between the two neighbouring properties.
As there were no further issues raised and having established that all members had followed the discussions the Chair asked members to vote on the recommendations.
DECISION: Granted planning permission subject to the conditions and informatives set out in the Committee report and supplementary report. and an additional condition to ensure that the development is carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the ecology survey.
(Voting on the recommendation was as follows: For 5 & Against 2)