NEIGHBOUR LETTERS SENT:- The Occupier 15, 22, 24 & 26A Forge Road; 2 Forge Lane; 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 & 11 Goepel Court; 48, 56, 56A, 58, 77, 79, 81 North Road. REPLIES RECEIVED:- 144 objections received on the following grounds; Character and appearance • Impact on the character of the neighbourhood and North Road • Proposal would be too close to the footway • Proposal would ruin the skyline and views from North Road • Proposal would be too large and out of character with the road/lanes and woodland setting. • Too many flat developments already. • Too many properties in the area already. • Object to external appearance and design. • Objection to the materials. • No details re lighting. • Existing dwellings on site have character and are well used. • Balance of properties needed in the community. • Lack of open space. • Inappropriate in terms of location, scale, height, massing, density and character. • Flat roof out of character. • Too big and too close to the road. • Layout would not support a reasonable width of screening vegetation. • A smaller scale development should be submitted. Highways and access • Too little provision for car parking. • No visitor parking shown or secure motorbike parking. • Some airport users leave cars for weeks in the surrounding street. • Will result in overflow car parking on street • Parking restrictions will be required which will exacerbate on street parking problems. • North Road is already reduced to single lane traffic and bikes are forced to use the pavement. • Road is already obstructed and the pavement. • More congestion when the children come out of school. • Parking is a serious problem in North Road. • Area already suffers from congestion. • No detail on the type or areas covered by the proposed parking restrictions. • Mini roundabout would be needed. • Cars already speed in the area. • Highway safety, traffic and parking concerns. • Large parking footprint, possibly concrete. Loss of light and overshadowing • Objection in respect of the impact on light and overshadowing. Other matters • The proposal would destroy the community. • Drain local resources/amenities • Too much social housing • Impact on slow worms and bats • Loss of privacy to Goepel Court • Concern regarding noise from the flats and proposed access. THE APPLICATION SITE:- This application relates to Nos. 56A, 58 and 60 North Road located at the junction of Forge Road and North Road in Three Bridges. The site contains 3 detached bungalows fronting North Road with 30-40m rear gardens. The properties have splayed frontages set back on average some 10m from the boundary, although this is staggered. The surrounding area is characterised by its residential mix of house types. These include; detached bungalows; terraced, semi-detached and detached two-storey houses; three-storey townhouses with the third-storey within a mansard roof; a three- storey flatted development opposite the Forge Road frontage known as Goepel Court; and a two storey development to the south east, Brownjohn Court. THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT:- The proposal to be considered is the demolition of 3 dwellings and erection of a residential development of 24 flats and 5 dwellings. The units would be arranged around North Road and Forge Road, with 3 terrace dwellings in the rear. Parking and access would also be located to the rear of the site and accessed off Forge Road. Along North Road, two dwellings would be located alongside the chalet bungalow to the south side. These dwellings would have a maximum height of 6m. The development would then step up to 9m in height to the 3 storey apartments, which would then wrap around the corner of North Road/ Forge Road. The proposal would be set back some 3.6m from the road frontage at its closest point. 27 Parking spaces would be provided to the rear of the site, with two parking spaces fronting onto North Road from the dwellings proposed. The accommodation mix would comprise 14 x 1 bed apartments, 10 x 2 bed apartments, 4 x 2 bed houses and 1 x 3 bed house. PLANNING HISTORY:- CR/2005/0254/OUT – Demolition of existing houses and erection of 16x1 bed, 4 x 2bed, 1 x 3 bed apartments, 2 x 3 bed semis, 3 x 2 bed terrace with associated access. – Permitted subject to conditions, and restriction to 2 ½ storeys in height. 26 Units granted in total. The proposal was to be set back from the road by some 8m. 34 Parking spaces were provided in the layout. A previous application on 56/60 North Road, made under planning reference CR/2004/0040/FUL for the “Demolition of the existing properties and erection of 23x two bed flats and 9x one bed flats with associated access and parking”, was refused by the Development Control Council. The reasons for refusal related to; the dominance of the main apartment block in the streetscene; the proposal’s impact on the amenities of the adjoining occupiers by means of loss of sunlight, privacy, outlook, noise and disturbance; the inadequate amount of outdoor amenity space; and the lack of provision for affordable housing. PLANNING POLICY:- The site lies within the built-up area, where infilling and redevelopment are acceptable in principle. The site is currently occupied by 3 dwellings and therefore constitutes previously developed land. In respect of the Core Strategy policies, the following policies are relevant; H3 seeks to ensure proposals for residential development will be located within sustainable locations, as part of an existing neighbourhood and which can be served by existing infrastructure, Policy H4, seeks to secure densities which maximise the efficient use of land is also relevant, as is policy H5 which seeks to secure affordable housing of 40% on sites of 15 dwellings or more, with a mix of tenure to be provided within the affordable housing requirement. Policy H6 seeks to ensure a relevant mix of dwelling type and size. Policy EN4 ensures landscape proposals should be integral to development proposals. Policy EN5 makes it clear that all new development should be based on a thorough understanding of the context of the site and the surrounding area and be of a high quality. In respect of car parking, policy T3 is relevant which seeks to ensure that new development takes into account the Council’s agreed maximum parking standards and the need to maximise the potential for public transport use. Policy ICS2 of the Crawley Borough Local Development Framework is also relevant and seeks to ensure that development contributions meet the justifiable needs created by new development, including open space. The development is subject to the requirements of the following saved Crawley Borough Local Plan 2000 Policies, GD1 on design and impact, GD2 regarding townscape and character of the area and GD3 operational requirements including parking. Policies GD5 and GD6 are relevant and seek to ensure developments retain trees whilst affording them sufficient room to thrive, SPG 6 – Trees is also considered to be relevant. Policies H20, H22, SPG3 and SPG4 require development of a good size and standard of dwelling with adequate outdoor space for future occupiers. National planning guidance PPS3 ‘Housing’ seeks to secure a high standard of house design incorporating a mix of dwelling types and sizes whilst making the most efficient use of urban land. PPS1 and PPG13 are also relevant as are the Council’s supplementary planning guidance, (SPG17) Higher Density Housing and SPD Planning Obligations and S106 Agreements. PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS:- The main issues to be considered in determining this application relate to: • Layout and Density of the development, • Impact on street scene/character of the area, • Impact on neighbour amenity, • Adequacy of parking provision/impact on highway, • Adequacy of housing mix in meeting local housing need, • Acceptability of dwellings for proposed residential use, and • Impact on existing trees/landscaping Layout and Density The density of the proposed development would equate to 98 dwellings per hectare, which would exceed the 30 dwellings a hectare minimum, recommended in PPS3. The site is smaller than that considered under CR/2005/0254/OUT but the current application now proposes 3 additional dwellings above that already approved on the site. Revised PPS3 – (Nov 06) does not include upper density limits and states that 30 dwellings per hectare net should be used as a national indicative minimum to guide policy development and decision-making, until local density policies are in place. Whilst PPS1 and PPS 3 seek to make efficient use of urban land, it should not be at the expense of the street scene and the surrounding environment. Most of the dwellings to the south of the site are set back a clear 10m from the boundary with North Road. The development proposed would be set back 3.6m at its closest point (which does actually utilise some of the highway verge to achieve this 3.6m set back), the previous outline application was granted with a set back of 8m to enable a setting to the building, reducing the impact on the street scene and enabling the proper establishment of landscaping to the front of the development. Given the scale and appearance of the proposal on this prominent corner plot, it is considered that the proposal would be overly dominant and detrimental to the open residential character of this part of North Road. The layout would fail to provide an adequate setting to the building, and adequate space for the growth and maturity of any planting to reduce the impact of the proposal on North Road and Forge Road, contrary to policies GD1, GD2, GD5 and GD6 of the Crawley Borough Local Plan 2000 and contrary to policies EN4 and EN5 of the Crawley Borough LDF. As will be discussed in further detail below, the layout would fail to provide any visitor car parking, there would be limited refuse storage, limited outdoor open space and the separation distances between the proposed terrace houses and the proposed dwellings on North Road would be less than the 21m recommended in SPG 4. It is considered that the layout is indicative of a cramped form of development, excessive to the scale of the site and number of dwellings proposed. The proposal would fail to accord with policy H4 of the Crawley Borough LDF Core Strategy, which seeks to secure densities of development which maximise use of land to the extent that is compatible with the need to secure a mix of housing and maintain the character of the different parts of the town. The proposal would be detrimental to this part of Three Bridges. Impact on the street scene and character of the area In respect of the impact on the character and appearance of the street scene and the surrounding area, the ‘mansard’ roof would be steep and whilst it would keep the height down, whilst achieving 3 storeys, the roof would give the appearance of a large expanse of flat roof. The proposal would give the appearance of a 3 storey block, not two storey. The mansard roof would affect the perception of the height and scale of the building by creating a visually heavy second floor rather than a sense of space in a roof. The proposal would not be in keeping with the site and the surrounding area. It is considered that the block form would lack sympathy to the character of the surrounding area, which the previously permitted scheme had demonstrated. The Urban Design officer has been consulted and comments that the proposed buildings would sit well forward of the established building lines of adjacent development and the building itself would be of a much greater size and scale than that found in the vicinity. The reference to how close existing development lies at is closest point to the back edge of the footway is not a useful gauge of impact on the street scene and fails to acknowledge that the buildings stagger back from the road currently. The proposal would take a significantly larger building forward of the stagger and forward of the building lines and would fail to leave sufficient spacing on the corner of the junction. The Urban Design officer further comments that the corner of the building would not positively address the junction. The fact that previous development has failed to do so does not override the need to address this and highlights the importance of a positive response. Furthermore, the junction between the front façades and the three storey rear facades would be awkward, in attempting to prevent the wrapping round of the mansard roof. The design, bulk, scale and siting of the proposed buildings are not considered to be in keeping with the character and appearance of the site and the surrounding area, to the detriment of the street scene. The proposal would therefore be contrary to policies EN5 of the Crawley Borough LDF Core Strategy, GD1 and GD2 of the adopted Crawley Borough Local Plan 2000 and Planning Policy Guidance 1, Planning Policy Statement 3 - Housing and Supplementary Planning Guidance 17 - Higher Density Housing. Impact on neighbouring amenity In respect of impact on neighbouring amenity, the proposal would not result in an unacceptable loss of light to adjoining occupiers due to the orientation of the proposed buildings to surrounding neighbouring occupiers. The proposed buildings are adjacent to Forge Road to the north and North Road to the east and the separation distances would not result in an unacceptable loss of privacy to the east. The new dwellings would overlook a public area. Whilst there is only 20.4m between the east elevation of the proposed apartments and the dwellings to the east on Forge Road, the separation is just under the 21m required, the proposed buildings would face side on and the area between is public road and therefore the relationship is considered acceptable, on balance. To the north a separation of 21.2m can be achieved. Again, the buildings would be separated by a road. However, at 3 storeys, the normal separation distance would be 30m and due to the design and proximity of the proposed building to the boundary, there could be perceived overlooking in comparison to the scheme approved under CR/2005/0254/OUT. Under the previously approved scheme, the building was set back further into the site and would have hipped dormer windows at third floor and not a full 3 storey height. Whilst it is not considered that this would be a reason for refusal in its own right, it is considered that the lack of separation and perceived overlooking is indicative of the cramped form of development and layout. The separation distances between the new houses to the south of the site and number 56 North Road are only achieved because some of the garden space of 56 has been sold. However, as the land has been sold by the occupier, it is not considered that this relationship is grounds for refusal in its own right. However, the separation distances between the newly proposed houses to the south side and the new dwellings attached to the apartment block would only achieve 19m. The separation would not be sufficient or accord SPG4 guidance and would result in a detrimental impact on the amenities of the new dwellings and is considered to be contrary to policy GD1 of the Crawley Borough Local Plan 2000. To the west, the proposed apartment block would have bathroom and kitchen windows on this elevation. Again, 30m separation would not be achieved, but 28m. However the dwellings to the west are 2 storey. There may be a perception of being overlooked, however the windows could be conditioned to be obscure glazed with no further windows. This relationship is considered acceptable. Within the site, the rear of the apartment block is separated from the proposed dwellings to the south of the site by 21.2m which is considered to be acceptable. On the south side, one window is proposed at ground floor to a WC which would face 56 North Road, this window could be conditioned to be obscure glazed. In respect of the proposed lighting, no details have been submitted, however, such details could be secured by condition and it is not considered that the proposal would be detrimental to neighbouring amenity in respect of light spill. The separation distances between the proposal and neighbouring dwellings is considered to be indicative of a cramped form of development and the distance between the proposed houses and the rear of the southern block of the apartments is considered to be unacceptable and detrimental to the amenity of future occupiers of the site. Adequacy of the parking provision/highway matters Highways have been consulted and comment that the stopping up of the existing accesses and provision of one single access to Forge Road does not differ significantly in principle, except the removal of the direct vehicular access onto North Road, consequently there are no safety or capacity grounds to resist the application. The visibility splays proposed would meet the guidelines within Manual For Streets. In respect of the car parking provision, 29 new parking spaces are proposed for the dwellings. Under WSCC parking standards, a maximum of 65 parking spaces would be allowed. The provision of 29 spaces is considered to be within the maximum allowance. Highways have confirmed that it is not anticipated that this parking provision would result in any highway safety issues. 49 cycle spaces are proposed which amounts to 2 per dwelling, WSCC request a condition to be placed on any approval to secure the details through condition. The site is sustainably located with several high frequency bus routes within close walking distance. Three Bridges station is approximately 600m south. The location of the site should promote and encourage the use of sustainable transport in accordance with Structure and Local Plan policy. The site falls within the Three Bridges parking zone, as set out in Crawley Borough Council’s Planning Obligations and S106 Agreements SPD. The parking standards are maximum standards, not minimum, and at the standards set out in the SPD, between 32.8 – 38 parking spaces would be required. 29 parking spaces are proposed, with no visitor parking, a ratio of 1:1. Parking restrictions are proposed to provide adequate visibility and at the time of the site visit, the on-street parking is already well utilised. The 29 spaces for 29 units would be less than the 34 spaces granted for 26 units under CR/2005/0254/OUT. The level of parking provision on the site is considered unacceptable in this location, notwithstanding the sites position within the Three Bridges area. Whilst WSCC have accepted the ratio of 1:1, the proposal would fail to accord with the Crawley Borough Council adopted policy, no visitor parking would be provided. Where ratios of 1:1 have been previously accepted, they have been on 100% affordable housing and where there has been an element of visitor/on-street parking or in town centre locations. The proposal is considered contrary to SPD guidance and policy T3 of the Crawley Borough LDF Core Strategy. In respect of the impact on highway safety and car parking, WSCC Highways raise no objection to the scheme, however whilst the parking provision allows for 1 space per unit, no provision is made for visitor parking. The parking provision on the site is considered to be inadequate and indicative of a cramped layout. Adequacy of the housing mix to meet local need The scheme makes provision for 1 and 2 bed apartments and 2 and 3 bed houses. The scheme provides a mix of dwelling type and size and would make a contribution towards the one and two bedroom dwellings which are needed in the Borough, as identified in the Council’s Housing Supply and Demand Study. The applicants have indicated that 38% (11) of the dwellings would be affordable. Policy H5 of the Crawley Borough LDF Core Strategy seeks 40% and therefore 11.6 (or 12 units) should be affordable. It is considered reasonable to request the additional affordable unit in order to achieve the 40% target. Subject to the provision of 40% affordable housing, the proposal is considered to accord with local plan policy in the respect of housing mix and meeting local need. Acceptability of the dwellings for the proposed use The dwellings proposed largely meet the internal space standards set out SPG 3. Whilst a few of the units would be just under the space standards, such as unit 17 which would be 71.41 sqm not 72 sq.m for a 4 bedspace unit, most of the units exceed the recommended floor areas. In this respect, on balance, the internal space standards are considered acceptable, however, this is another indication that the overall development/layout is cramped. In respect of external space standards for the proposed terrace dwellings, all five of the gardens would fail to achieve the external space standards set out in SPG 4, 3 being between 1.16 sqm-3.32 sqm short of usable rear garden space to units 28 and 29 which would be 34.12 sqm and 10.83 sq. m short of external space respectively. Furthermore , the depth of the gardens would be below the 10.5m deep gardens recommended in SPG 4. To the rear, a small courtyard along with car parking which the applicants consider, can be “shared surface” suitable for older children to play on, would not make full provision in terms of open space. The “shared” car parking/open space would not be an acceptable approach. No provision has been made for an open space contribution which would amount to 39.2 persons occupancy rate x £514 = £20, 149. The applicants have stated that as the scheme is for 29 dwellings only, it is not proposed that Open Space, sport and recreation facilities be provided on the site. However, the Supplementary Planning Document seeks contributions for all sites of 10 or more dwellings and should be applied on this site. The separation distances between the proposed houses and the southern block of apartments would be too short and is likely to result in overlooking of the future occupiers and would be unacceptable in this respect. The proposal would fail to provide adequate external space and depth of garden for the proposed terrace houses and would fail to make a contribution to open space as set out in Supplementary Planning Document Planning Obligations and S106 Agreements. The proposal is likely to result in overlooking internally within the site and there would be limited refuse storage – to be located some distance from a number of the proposed dwellings. The proposal would fail to provide an adequate level of accommodation to adopted standards. Impact on trees and landscaping No comments have been received from the Arboricultural Officer, however, on the site visit undertaken, there did not appear to be any significant trees on the site worthy of protection. It is not considered that there would be any direct implications for the existing trees on the site as a result of the development. In respect of landscaping, insufficient space has been left to the front of the site to enable planting and growth of any future landscaping scheme. The proposal would not therefore be in accordance with policies GD5 and GD6 of the Crawley Borough Local Plan 2000. Other matters, West Sussex County Council have advised that the following contributions would be sought. Whilst the applicant has been advised of the contributions, a S106 has not been negotiated as the scheme is considered to be contrary to planning policy in other respects. Summary of Contributions S106 type Monies Due Education - Primary £3,432 Education - Secondary £3,694 Education - 6th Form £865 Libraries £1,575 Waste No contribution required Fire & Rescue £1,739 No. of Hydrants No hydrants required TAD £23,920 Total Contribution £35,226 One letter of objection raises the potential impact on bats and slow worms. A habitat survey was undertaken and the desk study did not identify any records of notable species within the development site. 21 species with statutory protection were identified within the local area. A field visit was undertaken. The report concludes that there are no habitats on the site that are valuable at a national, regional or county scale. There has been some evidence that the survey area provides suitable habitat for reptiles and rooting bats and a fox den was recorded. Recommendations are made in the report for in respect of flora and fauna. CONCLUSIONS:- The bulk, scale, siting and design of the proposal is not considered to be in keeping with the site and the surrounding area. The proposal does not make provision for sufficient car parking, with no allowance for visitors, limited refuse storage, outdoor open space, reduced separation distances between the site and neighbouring buildings and within the site and a lack of setting the building back are indicative of a cramped form of development of an excessive scale for the site. The lack of setting the building back would fail to provide a setting to the building and would result in a lack of space for landscaping to mature. The proposal is considered to be contrary to local plan policy and supplementary planning guidance, Structure Plan policy and National Guidance. Refusal is therefore recommended.
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