The Committee considered the above-mentioned full application for demolition of the existing property and erection of 8 dwellings with a new access provided onto Beech Close.
Prior to consideration of the application, the following persons addressed the Committee in accordance with Public Speaking Procedure Rules 3(b):
· Councillor Ian Symes (Chairman of Effingham Parish Council) (to object) and;
· Mr Tom Grimshaw (Applicant) (In Support)
The Committee received a presentation from Team Leader, Gemma Fitzpatrick. The Committee noted that the proposed development was located on a site known as Orchard Walls which was comprised of a detached house currently in Beech Avenue. The development was for 3 detached dwellings that would back onto Beech Avenue with a further detached chalet style dwelling known as plot 8 at the rear of the site. There would also be four two-bedroom chalet style dwellings in two pairs on plots 4, 5, 6 and 7. In October 2021, a previous application on this site was granted for six dwellings. The changes between the extant permission and this application related to plots 4 and 5 which were for detached bungalows and had now been subdivided. Plot 4 becomes plots 4 and 5 and plot 5 becomes plots 6 and 7. The principle of development on this site for residential use was accepted and had been allocated for up to six homes in the Effingham Neighbourhood Plan. Plot 1 was a detached traditional house adopting the Surrey vernacular style. Plots 2 and 3 were detached and the previous bungalows had been replaced by chalet style houses. The previous bungalows had been replaced by chalet style homes on plots 4 and 7. Plot 8 had been replicated from the previous scheme.
A new access was proposed off Beech Close, created between two large trees and would replace the existing access which was off Beech Avenue. The current access would be closed in and infilled with new planting of the Beech hedge which was an important characteristic of the site. The boundary wall was locally listed and had been conditioned to be retained forming part of the boundary wall to the development.
In response to comments made by public speakers, the Head of Place, Dan Ledger confirmed that the eight dwellings as proposed onsite as opposed to six dwellings, as recommended by the Effingham Neighbourhood Plan was not a reason of itself to refuse the application. The harm caused by the proposed development had to rather be demonstrated. In addition, the Committee noted that condition 19 was currently being updated to reflect the wording of the condition given on the earlier permission which related to the retention of the locally listed wall. This had been omitted from the supplementary late sheets.
The Committee discussed the application and noted sympathy with the Parish Council’s objection to the application as well as local residents who believed that this scheme was denser than the previously approved one. Claims that the previously approved scheme was no longer financially viable was totally irrelevant and the Committee had to look at the application based upon its merits. Whilst the Committee acknowledged that the scheme was for two more dwellings, the six given in the Neighbourhood Plan was not an absolute cap. It was noted that the footprint of the built form onsite between the extant and existing scheme was almost identical. The main difference was that two of the three blocks were 1.5 metres higher than the approved scheme and was not considered a sufficient enough reason to refuse the application on those grounds. The Committee also welcomed the fact that the scheme delivered 50% two-bedroom market homes which was consistent with Effingham Neighbourhood Plan. Condition 19 would also ensure to maintain the listed or locally listed wall which would provide a boundary to the Conservation Area and retain the hedge. There was also plenty of parking onsite including visitor parking bays.
A motion was moved and seconded to approve the application which was carried.
In conclusion, having taken account of the representations received in relation to this application, the Committee
RESOLVED to approve application 21/P/02246 subject to the conditions and reasons as detailed in the report as well as the updated condition 19 to ensure the retention of the boundary wall.