Document Sample
Application No:  2008/1464

Ward/Area:             DORRIDGE & HOCK


Date Registered:       01/08/2008

Applicant:             SANDSTONE GROUP C/O

                       ACCOMMODATE 80 BEDROOMS. (MEANS OF ACCESS,
                       BE DETERMINED AT THIS STAGE).


This application seeks outline planning permission for the demolition of the
existing public house, known as The Nags Head and the erection of a three
and a half and four storey care home for the elderly to accommodate 80
bedrooms. Approval is sought for all matters (access, appearance, layout and
scale) apart from landscaping. Of the 80 units, 78 would be for single
occupancy and 2 doubles. In addition, the building would house communal
living rooms and associated dining rooms, together with kitchen, laundry
room, plant, offices and staff facilities.

The building is arranged in one block, wrapping around the corner addressing
both Aylesbury Road and Stratford Road frontages.

To the Aylesbury Road frontage, a two-storey gable end stairwell lies adjacent
to neighbouring property, no. 18, at 8.2m height and set 1.75m from the
boundary with this property. Two further gables lie adjacent and are stepped
in height, rising to 13m at three and a half storeys. A central gable feature is
incorporated to the three and a half storey element. Adjacent to these, a flat
roof recessed element at 11.5m in height links the main four storey central
body of the building. The main part of the building addresses both road
frontages and has a hipped roof, 14m in total height above ground level, with
further gable features to the Aylesbury Road frontage. Along Stratford Road,
there is a further flat roof link before stepping back up in height to three and a
half storeys (13.1m) with gable feature and down to 11m in height and three
storeys adjacent to the neighbouring property, No. 2571 Stratford Road. The
building is separated from No.2571 by a 13.5m gap. The existing vehicular
access, plus bins and cycle storage area are found within this gap.

                                                                        Page 1
The building is set back approximately 13m from the footpath on Aylesbury
Road and between 1.5m and 3m from the footpath on Stratford Road. It
spans a total of 76m across both frontages and at the centre of the building, is
17m depth, reducing to 14m at each side.

The main parking area is set to the rear of the building, providing 15 spaces
inclusive of disabled parking. Five further spaces are found off the existing
access point on Aylesbury Road, at the front of the proposed building. An
area of communal amenity space is set around the rear car parking area,
bound by the neighbouring residential properties to the north, east and south.

Supporting information has been submitted alongside the application and
includes a design and access statement, supporting statement, a statement of
community involvement, a transport assessment, a sustainability appraisal, a
foul sewerage and utilities assessment, a bat survey, an extended phase 1
habitat survey and a tree survey.

A number of trees would be removed from the site although these are
identified as being class C2 within the submitted tree survey as being of low
quality landscape value, being less than 10 years old, or having a diameter of
less than 150mm.


Highway Engineer                        : No objection, subject to conditions.

Severn Trent Water                      : No objection, subject to condition

Landscape Architect                     : Comments awaited

Ecology Officer                         : No objection, subject to conditions

Forward Planning Officer                : No objection to loss of pub and restaurant

Warwickshire County Council             : No objection, subject to conditions

Urban Design Consultant                 : Objection raised

West Midlands Fire Service              : No objection

Hockley Heath Parish Council            : Views awaited

Neighbours Notified                     : 5/8/08

West Midlands Fire Service              : No objection

Press Notice                            : 13/08/08

                                                                       Page 2
Site Notice                              : 8/8/08


40 letters and emails of objection have been received to the proposal,
including an objection from Hockley Heath Residents Association and Cllr Ian
Courts. 1 email of support has also been received and 4 letters/emails of

Objections are summarised as follows:

      More traffic and pollution.
      Loss of privacy.
      Village downgraded.
      Outsiders may create trouble.
      Building too big and out of keeping with look of village.
      Additional visitor traffic will create parking problems and congestion.
       Site close to a school and vehicle speeds will increase.
      Insufficient off street parking.
      Services insufficient to cope with additional demand.
      Loss of valuable community facility. Other pubs are a significant
       distance from the village.
      Local businesses would be affected.
      Ruin appearance of village and take heart out of it.
      Scheme near a busy and noisy road, not in keeping with elderly
       residents needs.
      Scheme would block out sunlight and obscure view.

Points of support are summarised as follows:

      Proposal will be an improvement to the rubbish tip that currently exists.
      Practical and well thought out application.
      Height appears in keeping with neighbouring properties.

Comments are summarised as follows:

      Developer should pay to provide parking adjacent to bungalows on
       Aylesbury Road.


RPG11 – Regional Planning Guidance for the West Midlands (2004)

CF3 – Levels and Distribution of housing development
CF4 – The reuse of land and buildings for housing
QE3 – Creating a high quality built environment for all

Solihull UDP 2006

                                                                        Page 3
H1 – Provision of Housing Land
H3 – Type of Dwellings
H5 – Density, Design and Quality of Development
ENV2 – Urban Design
ENV3 – Crime Prevention
ENV11 – Conservation of Biodiversity
ENV13 – Wildlife Species
ENV14 – Trees and Woodlands
ENV22 – Energy Conservation
T13 – Car Parking Provision
S8 - Village services and facilities

Government Guidance

PPS1 - Delivering Sustainable Development
PPS9 – Biodiversity and Geological Conservation
PPS3 - Housing
PPG13 - Transport


New Housing in Context
Affordable Housing
Vehicle Parking Guidelines


As well as various applications for advertisement consent associated with the
existing pub, the following planning history is relevant to the application site:

1996/289 (07/03/1996) [full plans approval] Extension, external alterations,
hard landscaping and external features including water mill, pergola, terrace
seating and lychgate

1986/872 (12/05/1986) [full plans approval] Erection of a garage

1984/2289 (14/01/1985) [full plans approval] Extension to ground floor kitchen
area to licensed premises

1984/469 (12/03/1984) [full plans approval] Formation of carvery restaurant
and lounge bar in existing premises.


The application site extends to approximately 0.4 hectares and is located
within the local centre of Hockley Heath at the prominent Stratford
Road/Aylesbury road Junction.

                                                                        Page 4
The site forms the public house and restaurant known as The Nags Head.
The facility has 80 parking spaces to the rear which can be accessed off both
Aylesbury Road and Stratford Road. The public house is two/two and a half
storeys, with flat roofed extensions to the rear. The northern boundary with
Aylesbury Road is partially screened by medium sized silver birch trees.
Along Stratford Road, pitched roofed dormers are found within the roofspace.

The site shares common boundaries with residential properties on Stratford
road, Aylesbury Road, Shelfield Close and Meadow Close. These boundaries
comprise approximately 2m high fencing and brick walls, with vegetation. To
the south lies the northern gable and garden of commercial property, No.2571
Stratford Road, with the dwellings and rear gardens of Shelfield Close lying to
the south east. The rear gardens of 15 and 17 Meadow Close lie to the east;
to the north east, the house and garden to No.18 Aylesbury Road.


      Principle of Development
      Impact on Streetscene
      Impact on neighbouring amenity
      Landscape Considerations
      Ecology Considerations
      Highway Issues
      Loss of village facility
      Need for the development


Principle of Development

The site is situated in the centre of Hockley Heath at the Junction between
Stratford Road and Aylesbury Road. The area is largely residential although
there is currently a small local hub with three shops adjacent and a servicing
motor vehicle garage opposite. The site is close to public transport links, albeit
on a relatively infrequent basis. It could provide a more efficient use of land,
which itself is classified as previously developed land.

Guidance included within the Council’s UDP supports the aims of PPS3 in
achieving appropriate densities without compromising the quality and
character of the environment. Policy H5 of the Solihull Unitary Development
Plan supports new windfall development, but permission for development will
only be granted if the proposal pays due regard to the scale, density and
design quality of adjoining residential areas and ensure they do not have an
adverse effect in terms of environmental quality. This policy is further
endorsed by policy ENV2 which amongst other criteria expects new
development to enhance the quality and attractiveness of the Borough and
that it should contribute to a sense of local identity.

In this respect SPG ‘New Housing in Context’ has been adopted and provides
greater clarity regarding what constitutes appropriate infill development. This

                                                                        Page 5
indicates that all new development in existing residential areas will be
required to respect, maintain or enhance local distinctiveness and character.
The guidance identifies a number of key characteristics and common
elements that lead to local distinctiveness and character, all of which should
be taken into account in the determination of applications. The guidance also
recognises that its methodology does not require proposals to be a copy or
pastiche of existing styles & development. Furthermore development not in
harmony with its context will exceptionally be allowed but only where it is of
outstanding individual quality and where it is appropriately located.

The application site occupies a frontage, corner location. Given the
characteristics of this previously developed land, the principle for development
is therefore established subject to compliance with other relevant
development plan policies as discussed below.

Impact on Streetscene

The application proposal presents a building that is largely four storeys in
height, reaching 14m at its central point. The existing building is two and a
half storeys, while neighbouring surrounding dwellings are two storeys.
Despite requests by officers, no street scene or rear elevations have been
submitted with the application to justify the design in its context. Nevertheless,
from the information that has been provided, it is clear that the scale and
massing proposed is wholly out of character with the surrounding residential
area. The building appears not only overly tall with strong vertical emphasis
which exacerbates the height, but also overly large in terms of footprint, depth
and prominent forward positioning. The roofscape appears bulky and
excessive, while the attempted gaps between the blocks are unconvincing.
The width of the units fail to reflect the rhythm and character of the street. The
unit has an urban appearance, paying little regard to the surrounding
character of the area, instead appearing commercial and institutional in
nature, especially with the double height windows at ground floor which would
appear more suitable for an urban or town centre location rather than a village
such as Hockley Heath.

For these reasons, your officers and urban design consultants find the
proposal non compliant to Policies H4 and ENV2 of the UDP or to provisions
within SPG ‘New Housing in Context’ and PPS1 Delivering Sustainable

Impact on neighbouring amenity

Neighbouring residential development surrounds the application site. To the
immediate south, the gable wall and garden of the commercial property, No.
2571 Stratford Road lies adjacent to the proposed access road. Given that the
existing pub takes access to its car park from the same position as that
proposed, it is not considered that any loss of amenity through noise and
disturbance would occur as a result of the proposal. While there is a first floor
window within the side facing wall to an extension at this property, given its
commercial nature, it is not considered that the proposal would be

                                                                         Page 6
overbearing, nor would it result in loss of light or increased overlooking,
especially as the built form does not extend beyond the front or rear
elevations of this neighbouring property.

With regard to properties to the south east, on Shelfield Close, the closest
property is No.27, facing side on to the car park boundary. This is an existing
situation which would remain unchanged, and the separation distance of 28m
between the rear of the proposed buildings and the side boundary is
considered to be sufficient to avoid unacceptable overlooking from the
building. Properties on Meadow Close currently look out onto the car parking
area serving the pub and this would be replaced with an area of communal
amenity space. This is considered to improve the existing situation with regard
to impact on neighbouring residents. Despite the increased height of the
building to 14m the rear to rear elevation distances of between 38m and 67m
are considered sufficient to avoid the building appearing unduly overbearing.

No.18 Aylesbury Road lies adjacent to a further existing access road into the
site and therefore there should be no material increase in disturbance
generated from the use of this part of the site for car parking to serve 5
vehicles. Despite the building being closer than the existing pub and
extending further into the site at the rear, a 7m distance separates the building
from the main rear elevation of this neighbour and the 45 degree line of vision
would not be infringed. The windows within the side of No.18 do not appear to
be principal windows serving habitable rooms and therefore, is not considered
that the impact on the amenities of this property would be unduly
compromised by the proposal.

At the front corner, the building looks out onto open space, while at least 22m
is retained to the side facing elevation of No.1 Blacksmiths Lane. This is
considered sufficient, given the separation afforded by the busy highway
forming Stratford Road, to avoid any intrusive effect from the proposed

In terms of future residents, the proposal provides for a reasonable amount of
amenity space to the rear of the site, accessed directly from the building itself,
although it is disappointing that the majority of this amenity space is relatively
cut off from direct use given the intrusion of the car park towards the middle of
this area. On balance, however, it is considered that the amenity space is
reasonable to serve the type of development proposed where usage is likely
to be relatively infrequent.

For the reasons stated, I am content that the proposal complies with Policies
ENV2 and to SPG New Housing in Context.

Landscape Considerations

Matters of future landscaping of the site are reserved for future consideration.
However, there is no clear indication within the application submission which
trees would be lost as a result of the proposal. The submitted tree survey
recommends felling of a small number of trees as they are in poor condition or

                                                                         Page 7
of minor significance in terms of visual amenities from the wider public area.
Other trees on the site are indicated as being as category C, that is, of minor
amenity value. Your landscape architects views on the proposal are awaited
and an update will be provided. Subject to there being no objection, the
proposal is acceptable in accordance with Policy ENV14 of the Solihull UDP.


A bat survey has been undertaken and its findings submitted in support of this
latest application. Your ecology officer has assessed this survey and is
satisfied that, with appropriate conditions, the proposal would be acceptable
and in compliance with Policies ENV11, ENV13 and that within PPS9
‘Biodiversity and Geological Conservation’.

Therefore issues of ecology are satisfied.

Highway Issues

The applicants have submitted a transport assessment with the application
which compares the trip rates of vehicles to and from other locations with
similar development to determine the resultant trips to be generated by the
proposed 80 bed nursing home. The assessment concludes that the resultant
trips are modest when compared with anticipated baseline traffic on the
surrounding highway network and it is envisaged that the peak hours for the
development traffic will not coincide with traditional AM and PM peak hours.
The assessment goes on to state that the nearest bus stops are within 400m
of the site and that the site is close to local amenities.

Your highway engineers have assessed the above information and note that
the site lies in close proximity to a range of local services; a dentists, post
office and food store within 1km of the site and a doctors surgery within
3.5km. There are also good quality, well lit footways surrounding the site
providing walking routes from all areas of Hockley Heath. Whilst the bus
services are not highly frequent there are services linking the site with Shirley
and Dorridge, providing a link to other residential areas outside Hockley

Your highway engineers are therefore content that existing public transport
services provide a realistic alternative to the private car for staff and visitors.
However, given that the current bus stop facilities o the A3400 Stratford Road
are relatively poor, a financial contribution of £40,000 would be required to
provide improvements to existing bus stop facilities in the area, should
members be minded to approve the scheme.

In terms of highway safety, the development proposes a total of 20 car
parking spaces for an 80-bed care home, thus equating to a parking provision
of 25%. The submitted Transport Statement indicates that the level of parking
provision accords with developments previously approved in the Borough,
however, officers note that the previously approved developments referred to
are located in highly sustainable areas. Notwithstanding this, it is considered

                                                                          Page 8
that the proposed level of parking will accommodate the majority of staff and
visitor parking with some displaced on-street parking at certain busy periods.
Whilst on-street parking would be acceptable on B4101 Aylesbury Road, it is
important that vehicles do not park on either on A3400 Stratford Road or in
close proximity to the junction of A3400 Stratford Road and B4101 Aylesbury
Road. Consequently, a condition would be required as part of any approval,
requesting provision of Traffic Regulation Orders to prevent inconsiderate on-
street parking.

It is not considered that the development would have negligible impact on the
highway in terms of delays and, for the reasons outlined, your highway
engineers raise no objection to the proposal, subject to conditions. .

Loss of village facility

The proposal would result in the loss of a community facility - the public house
and restaurant. Therefore, consideration should be given to policy S8 of the
adopted UDP. The current pub is one of the facilities that Hockley Heath has,
although there is another public house nearby. Policy S8 states that the loss
of important existing facilities of community value through change of use or
redevelopment will be considered, against a number of criteria including
whether the existing service or facility is no longer needed or commercially
viable; whether the new development will contribute to the life and vitality of
the village; whether the new development will support sustainable
development principles; and whether the scale and design of the proposal is
appropriate having regard to the character of the locality of the village.

The applicants have submitted a supporting statement to demonstrate that the
loss of the existing pub and restaurant would not harm the viability or vitality of
Hockley Heath village. It is not considered that the submitted statement
demonstrates that the current facility is either no longer needed or is
commercially unviable. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, it is
considered that this criteria has not been met. However I am mindful of at
least 2 other public houses serving the settlement and the loss of one such
establishment would not mean that the service is no longer provided.

The new development would be a private care home facility for exclusive use
by residents. It is not therefore, considered that the proposal would
necessarily contribute to the life and vitality of the village.

A sustainability appraisal has been submitted with the proposal. It suggests
that the site is readily accessible by a range of means of transport, including
public transport and would make more efficient use of land. While the latter
point is not disputed by officers, the former point is more questionable, given
the relatively infrequent bus services that are present and the proximity of rail
transport which is not within reasonable walking distance of the site.
Internally, other than the use of water efficient methods of conservation, little
else is offered in justification for the proposed development. Officers consider
that the development fails to demonstrate that the proposal would be
significantly more sustainable.

                                                                         Page 9
As evidenced within the character and appearance section of this report,
officers do not consideration the four storey, intensive nature of development
is complementary to the more domestic, two storey level of predominantly
residential development of the surrounding context. The proposal therefore
fails to satisfy this element of the criteria.

The proposal is not in conflict with policy C2 Green belts.

Although the proposal fails to meet all of the tests of Policy S8, I am not
convinced that the settlements ability to serve the economic and social needs
of its community would be so undermined as to warrant refusal on these

Need for the development

Within their supporting statement, the applicants cite need for the type of
facility proposed as being an important consideration within the Borough of
Solihull to provide sufficient levels of care for elderly people. Officers note the
PPS3 Housing requirement for the provision of a mix of housing types,
including care home facilities. However, this does not in itself absolve the
applicant from demonstrating that the development meets other important
local and national planning policy objectives, namely good design. Given that
the proposal is considered to harm the character and appearance of the area,
officers do not consider that there are any exceptional circumstances or
justification to allow development while overriding national and local planning


The proposed development would not cause undue overlooking or loss of
privacy to existing neighbours because ample distances are retained between
the building and adjoining neighbours, or harm to ecological species. The
proposal would not undermine the vitality or viability of Hockley Heath as a
result of the loss of the pub and restaurant and the proposal would not give
rise to concerns regarding sustainability of the use or its impact on highway

However, the design of the building causes concern to officers. The proposed
building is largely four storeys in height and its resultant bulk, massing and
depth is considered to be wholly out of keeping with the more domestic scale
of neighbouring predominately 2 storey residential development and the
settlement in general. For this reason, the proposal is contrary to policies
ENV2, H5 and to SPG New Housing in Context as well as guidance contained
within PPS1 Delivering sustainable development.


For the reasons outlined above I recommend the application be refused.

                                                                          Page 10
(1) The proposed development, by reason of its excessive height, mass, bulk
and prominent forward positioning would be out of scale and would therefore
be an incongruous addition to the streetscene, overpowering and unduly
dominant in its context. The proposal is therefore contrary to Policies ENV2
and H5 of the Solihull UDP 2006 and to SPG New Housing in Context and to
provisions of good design as advocated within PPS1 'Delivering Sustainable
NOTE: For the avoidance of doubt this decision refers to the plans as follows:
Plan Number(s):Location Plan; 5665.02A; 5665.03; 5665.04; 5665.10;
5665.11A; 5665.12A; 5665.13

                                                         Page 11

Shared By: