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APPLICATION NO

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APPLICATION NO

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									Page 36

APPLICATION NO            07/01724/FUL                          DC_MP

DATE REGISTERED           15th March 2008

PROPOSAL                  Construction of 5no. dwellings at 136 & 138 London Road following
                          demolition of existing dwellings (revised scheme)

LOCATION                  136 London Road Cheltenham GLOS
APPLICANT                 Cape Homes Limited

EXPIRY                    10th May 2008

RECOMMENDATION            Refuse


REPRESENTATIONS

No. of Letters Sent Out   67
No. of Letters Received   53




REPORT

1. The proposal

1.1    The application is for the erection of a modern terrace of five dwellings with integral garages
       following the demolition of two existing properties, 136 and 138 London Road.

1.2    The application site is located on the northeast side of London Road almost opposite Sandford Mill
       Road; the site is adjacent to the central conservation area and a number of Grade II listed buildings.

1.3    The application is before planning committee as it involves a net gain in residential units on what is
       currently garden land.

2. History

2.1
         Case Ref         Description                                    Decision       Date

         07/0015/FUL      Demolition of existing detached house (136     Withdrawn      16.07.2007
                          London Road) and erection of two semi-
                          detached properties



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Page 36

3. Policies and guidance

3.1     Adopted Local Plan Policies
        CP1 Sustainable development
        CP3 Sustainable environment
        CP4 Safe and sustainable living
        CP7 Design
        HS1 Housing development
        RC6 Play space in residential development
        UI1 Development in flood zones
        UI3 Sustainable drainage systems
        TP1 Development and highway safety
        TP6 Parking provision in development

3.2     Supplementary Planning Guidance/Documents
        Play space in residential development (2003)

3.3     Planning Policy Guidance/Statements
        PPS1: Delivering Sustainable Development
        PPS3: Housing
        PPG13: Transport
        PPG15: Planning and the Historic Environment

4. Consultation responses

4.1 Heritage and Conservation: 136 London Road has been significantly altered and features such as the
    windows, roofing material and facing render have been replaced with modern materials. The front porch
    is also a later addition to the property. Although the form of the building and plot layout has been
    retained, alterations to the exterior of the building significantly harm its architectural integrity and value.
    138 London Road has retained architectural features such as the fanlight and front door with stone
    surround; and the building form and plot layout has also been retained. The two buildings are positive
    features along London Road and the open character of these sites enhances the setting of the adjacent
    conservation area.
    The two sites have retained their historic building form and plot layout; the repetition of these elements
    (i.e. space, building, space, building etc...) creates a rhythm on the street frontage which enhances one
    of the main approaches into Cheltenham.
    Although these buildings have a positive impact on the street scene, the significant loss of features has
    devalued their architectural integrity; it is therefore regrettable, that the demolition of these buildings can
    not be resisted under current planning legislation.
    The existing buildings on the site are examples of good urban design and the proposed replacement
    must retain elements such as the fluency and rhythm of the buildings in open space.
    The design of the proposed dwellings is such that there are contained gardens to the front of the
    property with parking space. The gardens are contained by a hedge which will enhance and soften the
    development on the street frontage.
    The existing trees on the site are positive features which soften the setting and should be retained in
    situ.
    The yew tree, which has a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on it, must be left in situ. The tree softens the
    street frontage and the retention of this tree would also retain the open space within the site.
    The erection of two separate dwellings on the site would be acceptable; the yew tree must be retained in
    situ and will soften the development. Retention of the tree will also create open space within the site
    which and will enhance the street frontage and the setting of the adjacent conservation area and
    adjacent listed buildings.

4.2 Trees Officer: The revised plans for this site still show the removal of the TPO'd yew and holly. The
    applicant’s own arboricultural survey showed the yew tree to be classed as B1 and as such has been
    suggested that it has a moderate quality which is likely to last more than 20 years. As such it should be
    retained under local plan policy GE6. I believe that the holly and the box should also be classified under
    this category.
    These three trees (together with other evergreen trees currently existing on the site) as well as other
    deciduous trees make a substantial amenity contribution to this part of London Road. I do not believe
    that their suggestions of Sorbus aucuparia (rowan trees) would be of sufficient crown density, form or


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    size that they would act as a suitable replacement for these TPO'd trees. I am not sure how well that
    any newly planted trees would respond to growing in such a harsh environment - they usually have
    sensitive growing requirements. Whilst they have also recommended dense planting of yew, box and
    holly these are to be topiarised and as such are likely to be kept at a modest size thereby limiting visual
    amenity.
    As such I do not support this application.

    Further comments: I have now had further correspondence from Clive Petch Architects who have
    submitted a scheme which still involves the removal of the yew tree in the middle of the site. As such I
    do not support the application.

4.3 Civic Society: Some may lament the loss of the existing dwellings. However, towns have always
    renewed themselves and provided the proposals are worthy successors, this should not be resisted.
    However, though we feel that the introduction of a terraced form is appropriate, the detail is poor.
    Window patterns could be better arranged and the height of the block should be greater, in line with no.
    134, offering more elegant proportions. We cannot recommend approval at this time.

    Further comments: Revisions to the scheme were generally felt to be an improvement. However, some
    suggest that consideration should be given to the possibility of spot-listing the more interesting of the two
    properties before approval is given.

4.4 Architects’ Panel: The concept of a terrace is acceptable although stepping the whole plan seems over
    complicated. The terrace could be taller to be more in scale with wider context.
    The frontage needs a proper landscaped proposal for hard and soft treatments or it could become just a
    car park.

4.5 Highways Officer: Although London Road is a busy main road, I would still consider it to be a street (as
    defined by Manual for Streets). Whilst the HA’s standard requirement is for turning areas where access
    is off a classified street, in this instance, given the urban environment and nature of the street, I can
    confirm that if amended plans were submitted indicating separate accesses for each unit without turning
    facilities, the HA would not object.

    Further comments: I recommend that no highway objection be raised subject to the following condition(s)
    being attached to any permission granted:-.

    Prior to occupation of the proposed dwellings the proposed vehicular accesses shall be laid out and
    constructed in accordance with the submitted details and thereafter similarly maintained.
    REASON: To ensure a satisfactory means of access is provided and maintained in the interests of
    highway safety.

    Prior to the commencement of any site construction works vehicle wheel cleaning facilities shall be
    provided on site in accordance with details to be submitted to and approved by the Local Planning
    Authority, and thereafter be maintained for the duration of the siteworks.
    REASON: To ensure that mud and earth deposits are not brought onto the public highway in the
    interests of highway safety.

    No siteworks shall commence until such time as a temporary car parking area for site operatives and
    construction traffic has been laid out and constructed within the site in accordance with details to be
    submitted to and agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority and that area shall be retained
    available for that purpose for the duration of building operations.
    REASON: To ensure that the access roads in the vicinity of the site are kept free from construction traffic
    in the interests of highway safety.

    The proposed dwellings shall not be occupied until car parking has been provided in accordance with
    the submitted plan and that area shall not thereafter be used for any purpose other than the parking of
    vehicles.
    REASON: To ensure that adequate off-road parking is provided.

    Prior to occupation of the proposed dwellings the proposed plinth and railings to the front boundary
    shall be laid out and constructed in accordance with the submitted details and thereafter similarly
    maintained.
    REASON: To ensure a satisfactory means of access is provided and maintained in the interests of
    highway safety.


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NOTE: The proposed development will involve works on the highway and the developer is required to obtain
the permission of Gloucestershire Highways on 08000 514 514 before commencing those works.

5. Publicity and representations

5.1 27 letters of notification were sent out regarding this application, and 25 letters of objection were
    received. Following receipt of revised plans, 41 letters of notification were sent out, and a further 29
    letters of objection have been received to date, albeit this figure includes multiple letters from some
    individuals. A petition against the proposal, with 93 signatures, has also been received.

5.2     The issues raised are as follows:
        Negative impact on adjacent conservation area
        Overdevelopment, out of keeping
        May set a precedent
        Loss of trees
        Inadequate parking, impact on highway safety
        Overlooking, loss of privacy
        Unjustified demolition of existing houses
        Inaccuracies in application
        Loss of outlook
        Increased noise

5.3     One letter of support has also been received.

6. Officer Comments
6.1     Determining Issues
6.1.1   The main issues when determining this application are the principle of development, the design and
        siting of the proposed dwellings, the impact upon neighbouring amenity and highway safety, and the
        impact on trees within the site.

6.2     Principle of development

6.2.1   Contrary to the Design and Access Statement which suggests that the existing dwellings date f
        rom the early part of the 1900’s, the buildings are both shown on Merrett’s map of 1834.

6.2.2   136 London Road has been significantly altered and although the form of the building and plot layout
        has been retained, the alterations to the exterior of the building have significantly harmed its
        architectural integrity and value.

6.2.3   138 London Road has retained more of its original features such as the fanlight and front door with
        stone surround, and again the building form and plot layout has been retained.

6.2.4   However, whilst objection has been raised to the loss of the existing dwellings by local residents, the
        buildings are located outside of the conservation area and are not listed. Therefore, the demolition
        of these buildings cannot be resisted under current planning legislation. It should be noted that the
        Heritage and Conservation Officer, the Civic Society and the Architects’ Panel do not raise objection
        to the demolition.
6.3     The site and its context

6.3.1   The application site measures 0.11 hectares and is currently occupied by two detached dwellings in
        plots of a greater width than those either site of the development site. The existing houses are not
        overly prominent within the streetscene.

6.3.2   The site backs onto the Motor Club and some residential dwellings in Upper Park Street; there is a
        two metre difference in ground levels between the site and Upper Park Street with properties on
        Upper Park Street being at the higher level.

6.3.3   Alongside the northwest boundary to the site, is a public right of way which provides pedestrian
        access from the London Road to Upper Park Street.

6.3.4   There are a number of mature trees within the development site that will require felling.


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6.4     Design
6.4.1   Local Plan Policy CP7 requires development to be of a high standard of architectural design.
6.4.2   Whilst the proposed terrace will stand alongside a group of Grade II listed buildings, PPG15
        suggests that new buildings do not have to copy their older neighbours in detail, and that some of
        the most interesting streets in our towns include a variety of building styles, materials, and forms of
        construction, from different periods.

6.4.3   This part of the London Road has a wide variety of dwellings which vary in size and architectural
        style. There is no clear building line and plot sizes also vary; therefore, there is no clear theme for
        the proposal to respond to.

6.4.4   Following revisions, the height of the terrace has been amended to address the buildings on either
        side of the development site. As the Design and Access Statement suggests, the adjustments
        introduced provide a more appropriate transition between the tall/raised two and three storey
        dwellings to the northwest and the two storey property to the southeast.

6.4.5   The overall height of the building decreases from 8.5 metres to 7.8 metres.

6.4.6   The elevations of the building are rendered with simple fenestration; the top floor which is recessed
        will be clad. Details of the proposed cladding have not been submitted at this time.

6.4.7   The site will have an active, open frontage with contained gardens and parking spaces which will
        enhance and soften the development within the street scene.

6.5     Layout

6.5.1   The layout has been revised and the terrace is now stepped to address the buildings on either side
        of the development site.

6.5.2   The scheme has also been revised to provide individual accesses to all five dwellings rather than a
        shared access. This arrangement has the approval of the Highways Authority and will allow the
        provision of planting areas to the front of the site which will enhance and soften the development on
        the street frontage.

6.6     Impact on neighbouring property
6.6.1   Local Plan Policy CP4 requires development to protect the existing amenity of neighbouring land
        users and the locality.

6.6.2   Windows to habitable rooms are proposed to the front and rear elevation at all levels.

6.6.3   The Motor Club has no windows in the rear elevation and therefore privacy will not be affected.

6.6.4   Nos. 63, 64 and 65 Upper Park Street which are directly adjacent to the development site have
        windows in the rear elevations.

6.6.5   Given the difference in ground levels at the rear of the site; the second floor windows in the rear
        elevation of the proposed development can be considered as first floor windows when determining
        privacy for these residents.

6.6.6   The distance between these rear windows and the adjacent properties is approximately 18 metres.

6.6.7   Whilst the proposal does not meet policy guidelines which requires a minimum distance of 21 metres
        between windows with clear glazing, this could be easily overcome by revisions to the internal layout
        resulting in obscure windows to the rear elevation at second floor.

6.6.8   The distance between windows at the front of the property and the dwellings opposite exceeds 30
        metres.

6.6.8   Balconies are proposed to the front elevation at second floor. Whilst local residents have suggested
        that there are discrepancies in the drawings and that the balcony to the end dwelling at the
        southeast of the site will extend along the side of the building, this is untrue. The floor plan and
        elevations correspond, and the floor plan clearly shows that external access will not be provided to
        this elevation from the balcony.


                                                       5
6.6.9   It is officer opinion that the proposed development will not have a detrimental impact on
        neighbouring amenity.
6.7     Parking and Highway safety

6.7.7   Local Plan Policy TP1 advises that development will not be permitted where it would endanger
        highway safety.

6.7.8   Each of the proposed dwellings will have an individual access without turning facilities. The
        Highways Authority has raised no objection.

6.7.9   Local Plan Policy TP6 advises that residential development outside the Core Commercial Area will
        be permitted where it makes provision for an average of 1.5 off-street parking spaces per dwelling.

6.7.10 The development proposes an integral garage at each dwelling with a further parking space provided
       to the front of each unit.

6.7.11 The development is in a sustainable location in close proximity to a neighbourhood centre, with the
       town centre and Sixways neighbourhood centre easily accessible by bus, cycle and foot.

6.7.12 The proposal is therefore considered to be acceptable in terms of parking provision and highway
       safety.

6.8     Sustainability
6.8.1   Local Plan Policy CP1 advises that development will be permitted only where it considers the
        principles of sustainable development.

6.8.2   In this instance, the proposal makes little reference to these principles; however, officers consider
        that the matter can be satisfactorily addressed by way of a condition requiring the scheme to reach a
        25% reduction in carbon emissions, thereby achieving Code 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes,
        should permission be granted.

6.9     Loss of trees

6.9.1   Local Plan Policy GE6 advises that development which would cause permanent damage to trees of
        high value will not be permitted.

6.9.2   ‘High value’ means a sound and healthy tree with at least 5 years of life remaining which makes a
        significant contribution to the character or appearance of a site or locality.

6.9.3   There are three trees within the development site that are the subject of a Tree Preservation Order;
        a yew tree, a holly and box.

6.9.4   The proposed landscaping scheme has been revised and now only requires the removal of the yew
        tree which is located in the middle of the site between to the two existing dwellings.

6.9.5   This yew tree has been allocated retention category B1 in the applicants own arboricultural survey
        because it is well shaped and has some public amenity value.

6.9.6   It is officer opinion that the TPO’d yew tree should be retained. This could result in a development of
        two pairs of semi-detached dwellings which, it should be noted,would also accord with
        recommendations received by the Heritage and Conservation Officer.
7. Conclusion and recommendation

7.1     Whilst the principle of developing the site is not disputed by Officers, the current scheme requires the
        removal of a high value tree which is covered by a TPO.

7.2     This tree together with other trees currently existing on site makes a substantial contribution to the
        visual amenity of this part of London Road.

7.3     Therefore, the recommendation is to refuse this application for the following reason:




                                                       6
RECOMMENDATION

Refuse


1        There are three trees within the application site which are covered by a TPO. The proposed
         development would require the removal of one of these high value trees which together with other
         trees currently existing on site makes a substantial contribution to the visual amenity of this part of
         London Road. The proposed replanting scheme will have limited visual amenity and is therefore
         contrary to local plan policy GE6 of the adopted Cheltenham Borough Local Plan.




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