NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUM UPDATE 34
13 JANUARY 2018
Welcome to your regular Update on planning issues.
The first part of this Update on general planning matters is shorter than usual. The main point of general interest is that West Byfleet Neighbourhood Plan passed the referendum stage (albeit with a relatively disappointing 22.4% turnout), and was adopted by Woking Borough Council in December. This is the third Neighbourhood Plan in the Borough, the other one being for Pyrford. Brookwood and Brindley Neighbourhood Forum held their AGM in September but seem some way away from completing a plan.
In mid-December the Council issued a statement concerning the Green Belt Review. Because of the number of representations it is taking longer than anticipated to review all the information and issue an updated draft Development Plan Document. A timetable for the next stages is currently being prepared.
In England as a whole there were four neighbourhood plans that passed referendum in August, fifteen in September, seventeen in October and twenty- five in November.
As usual, the second part of the Update summarises planning applications specific to Hook Heath, starting with the two big ones just outside the Neighbourhood Area:
The Star / Co-op
Conversion of The Star to a Co-op went quickly once work started. From a planning perspective, the store blends in well with its surroundings, and the opportunity has been taken to clean/paint the building so it no longer looks dingy. I’ve heard a couple of comments from people who don’t like the dark grey windows but I’m not sure what would be better.
The store seems to be popular though I’ve only once seen the car park full. However, the Christmas period is abnormal, and we won’t get a good idea of how many people are using it until later in January.
Planning application 2017/1148 has been submitted to put up the new advertising signs but has not yet been determined; however all the new signs appear to have been installed, though the old ‘Star’ sign on the other side of the road has not been removed.
Hoe Valley School
Work continues to get the new school ready for 2018. Only two more terms to go in the temporary buildings.
Local Planning Applications in the Neighbourhood Area
There has been no progress on the new care home since the last Update and the MHA aren’t issuing any information.
Five applications reported in the last Update have been approved by the Council.
Proposed two storey side extension following demolition of the existing side extensions, single storey rear, front and side extensions to provide garage and new roof structure over building with rooms in roof space at Fermo, Blackbridge Road.
We had objected to the original plans which appeared impracticable. New plans were submitted and approved without public comment.
Proposed replacement front porch, new porch to side elevation and replacement of pitched roof to flat roof on garage along with garage conversion at Newlands View, Hook Heath Road.
Our only concern was whether cars could be turned round in the forecourt to avoid reversing onto Hook Heath Road.
Erection of two storey front, side and rear extension, front porch extension, insertion of front dormer window, insertion of first floor side-facing windows, alterations to fenestration and external finishes and erection of a detached double garage to the frontage at Cedarwood, Hook Heath Road.
Erection of two storey rear extension, front porch extension, re-roofing house with cedar shingles, re-cladding of external elevations and replacement of windows and doors at Foxwood, Mile Path.
Variation of condition 2 (approved plans) and informative 3 of PLAN/2014/1317 dated 08.05.2015 for new dwelling following the demolition of the existing dwelling at Greenlea, Cedar Road.
New plans were submitted and there were what appeared to be legitimate objections on the basis that these were not a variation but required a complete new planning application. Since then the house has apparently been sold and further revised plans submitted as a variation; these contain fewer changes from the original. There was a further objection.
Three applications reported in the last Update were refused.
Erection of a two storey replacement dwelling (7x bed) with accommodation in the roof space and a basement level following demolition of existing dwelling and erection of a detached double garage with first floor accommodation and external staircase at Holywell House, Hook Hill Lane.
This application was reviewed by the Planning Committee; it was refused on the basis that the proposed building would adversely affect the outlook and visual amenity enjoyed by adjoining residential properties. The discussion was wide ranging but the key issues seemed to be noise and loss of privacy from the proposed independent residential accommodation above the detached garage close to one boundary, and the proximity of the large northern wing of the house to another boundary.
Erection of 2x detached two storey dwellings (4x bed) with associated detached garage, landscaping and access works at Skye Cottage, Hook Heath Road.
Skye Cottage is a relatively small dwelling on a reasonably sized plot reached by a narrow access road.
This has been one of the more contentious applications, not least because the developer apparently made an error in the position of the boundary in the original submission. He also proposed to cut down trees belonging to a neighbour.
The plans were revised but in the end the Planning Officer refused the application for two reasons:
i.the proposed plot subdivision would result in plot sizes that are out of character with the area – i.e. they are too small, and
ii.the proposal failed to demonstrate adequate provision for the collection of waste and recycling – there’s nowhere to put the bins where they can be emptied.
Perhaps the developer had planned to create a space for bins where the trees are, but the issue with plot size should have been obvious before design work started.
During the determination of the proposal there was considerable debate about the inability of a fire engine to approach the proposed houses because the access lane is so narrow.
Proposed garage conversion and first floor side extension at 3, Fernhill Close.
Although amended plans were submitted, this was refused as the first floor side extension was deemed to have an unacceptable impact on the character and
appearance of the street scene – i.e. it was too large and out of character with the other properties.
There were no letters of objection.
Six planning applications have been submitted and approved since the last Update.
Non-material amendments to PLAN/2018/0900 (already approved) at 3 Blenheim Gardens.
Erection of a brick, timber and double glazed garden room at Uplands, Pond Road.
Rear roof dormer window over stairwell serving loft room at Honeypots, Hook Heath Road.
Proposed two storey front, side and rear extension. Single storey rear extensions and attached car port to side at The Little White House, Golf Club Road.
Proposed first floor side extension, single storey side extension and internal alterations at Pentowan, 3 Mount Close.
Proposed single storey rear and side extension and first floor side extension at Court Green, Hook Heath Road.
One has been submitted and refused.
Proposed first floor side extension, front porch and rear roof terrace at Hill House, Hook Heath Road.
The Planning Officer considered that the proposed extension could be used as a separate annex, and that the roof terrace would create an unacceptable overlooking issue towards a neighbouring property. See also applications 2017/0810 and 2017/1208 below for applications for certificates of proposed lawful development.
Two planning applications listed in the last Update are still undecided.
PLAN/2017/0449 Proposed two storey side and rear extension and a single storey front and rear extension following the demolition of existing single garage at 4, Orchard Mains.
This application was submitted following dismissal on appeal ofPLAN/2016/0838.
We objected to this new application on the basis that the extension is still too large for the original house, and that as there is no garage proposed, parking three cars in the front would harm the street scene. There have been no developments in the public domain since the last Update.
Erection of a two-storey detached dwelling (3x bed) on land south of Little Ponds and associated vehicular access and landscaping at Little Ponds, Mount Road.
We wrote to object on the basis that the plot sizes were not in compliance with policy BE1 of the Neighbourhood Plan. Surrey County Council has questioned whether visibility from the site entrance is adequate, and also whether there is sufficient room to turn a vehicle round on site. In addition, the Drainage and Flood Risk team have expressed concerns about the drainage of the site. There have been no developments in the public domain since the last Update.
There are six new planning applications which are currently undecided.
Proposed two storey front and side extensions with internal layout alterations at Key Lodge, Hook Heath Road.
This proposal was discussed at the AGM. Only one part of the application is contentious and this should have been a simple trade-off between the benefits of fewer windows in the extension resulting in greater privacy for the neighbour and the loss of amenity due to an extension less than 20m from the adjacent property. The planning officer considered that the gain in privacy was sufficient for him to recommend approval of the extension. However the applicant submitted plans which show his house nearly a metre from the boundary whereas on the ground the house appears to be actually on the boundary. The application was deferred from one planning committee meeting for the planning officer to resolve the issue, and then went to a subsequent meeting with the boundary issue still unresolved. A further deferral was agreed in order to get the issue sorted out.
It had been suggested from a pure planning perspective that the position of the boundary is irrelevant as far as the extension is concerned, but of course if the house is on the boundary then the extension cannot be built as the eaves would be in the adjacent property. Apparently in another case, Woking Borough Council gave planning permission to an extension on a boundary eight years ago which is still not built. In a third case a planning officer told an applicant during 5 pre-application advice that, in the case of a simple householder application, the Council would not approve an extension on the boundary.
Further non-material amendments to PLAN/2018/0900 (already approved) at 3 Blenheim Gardens.
Removal of hedge and fence and replacement with new hedge and fence at Sheldons House, Holly Bank Road.
The existing conifer hedge has apparently been killed by honey fungus and the proposal is to replace it with laurel.
Variation of condition 2 of PLAN/2016/0347 for removal of two velux windows to the side of the elevation and add a tile-hung dormer with two velux roof lights to the flat roof dormer at Park House, Fernhill Park.
The original application was originally refused by the Council but allowed at appeal. There have been two objections to the variation.
Proposed first floor side extension, conversion of the existing garage and erection of a new detached garage at 16 Orchard Mains.
Given the refusal of the first application at 4, Orchard Mains and the refusal for the application at 3 Fernhill Close, this would also appear to be too large and we have written to object.
We have also pointed out that the boundary of the plot is different in the plan for the proposal from the plan of the existing. While not a problem in itself, if the applicant is proposing to buy the land, the application form would appear to have been filled in incorrectly.
Erection of a detached garage at Limburg, The Drive.
Certificates of Proposed Lawful Development
An application listed in the last Update has been approved:
An application for a triple garage at Hill House, Hook Heath Road. 6 There have been three further applications for Certificates of Proposed Lawful Development:
An application for a single storey outbuilding at Hill House, Hook Heath Road. This has been refused because it had not been demonstrated that an outbuilding of the size proposed (footprint 225 sq m) was required to accommodate the proposed uses.
An application for a loft conversion at The Rosery, Mile Path. This has been approved.
An application for an orangery to replace an existing conservatory at Ravenstor, Court Green Heights.
This is currently undecided.
In summary there has been quite a lot of activity since the AGM while two controversial applications have been outstanding for six months. A point of note is that there have been three boundary issues; in one the boundary was apparently drawn incorrectly and was subsequently altered, in the second there is a dispute as to the position of the house vs the position of the boundary, and in the third most recent application, the position of the boundary moves between the plans of the existing and the proposal. It will be interesting to see how the two later ones play out.
Now for another subject – there have been three reports of burglaries in Hook Heath around the time of the Christmas holidays. Keep an eye out for strangers, especially those in white vans, and if you see anything suspicious, note the vehicle registration number if possible and tell the police by phoning 101 (or 999 if it’s an emergency). The Residents’ Association will be putting any new information on their website.
Many thanks for your interest and support.
Mike Cooke, Chairman
On behalf of the Hook Heath Neighbourhood Forum Management Committee