To consider the report of the Chief Planning Officer on an application for the alteration and extension of existing dwelling including two storey extension to front, single storey extension to side and raising of roof height to create new pitched roof with dormer to front; two storey extension to side to create new living accommodation, parking garage and roof terrace; erection of new timber boundary fence; new landscaping and parking areas including erection of parking impact barrier and creation of vehicle passing area at The Bungalow, Wharfedale Street, Meanwood, Leeds, LS7 2LF.
The report of the Chief Planning Officer presented an application regarding alteration and extension of existing dwelling including two storey extension to front, single storey extension to side and raising of roof height to create new pitched roof with dormer to front; two storey extension to side to create new living accommodation, parking garage and roof terrace; erection of new timber boundary fence; new landscaping and parking areas including erection of parking impact barrier and creation of vehicle passing area at The Bungalow, Wharfedale Street, Meanwood, Leeds, LS7 2LF.
Members of the Panel had attended a site visit earlier in the day. Slides and photographs were shown throughout the presentation.
Members were provided with the following information:
· The application has been brought to the Panel at the request of Councillor J Dowson, with expressed support from Councillor A Garthwaite due to Councillor Dowson expressing her concerns over the impact on the ward, wild green areas, and Woodhouse Ridge. Concerns also related to alleged actions of the applicant in relation to land outside of his ownership falling within designated public greenspace.
· The site is adjacent to Wharfdale Street and accessed via Ridge Road to the east. It was noted that the road is quite narrow and privately owned in part.
· The surroundings include industrial, commercial, and residential units. To the west and north of the site lies terraced properties. To the east of the site there are properties also served by the access road.
· The applicant seeks the proposals to serve his longstanding hobby of collecting and restoring vintage cars. The living accommodation will be in the form of the main dwelling and an ancillary annex with shared spaces within the building. The new parking garage and workshop area will be used by both the applicant and his son in pursuant of their hobby. It was confirmed that the applicant only intends to have a maximum of 12 cars on-site at any one time.
· The proposed roof terrace will be situated to the south of a site most recently in use as a children’s nursery to the north, but the separation distance retained to that site of 6.5m is considered to be appropriate given the nature of the neighbouring land use.
· The trees and hedges in the application site are retained as part of the proposals.
· The proposals will allow for the formal and informal parking of 16 parked cars on the application site, which will allow for vehicles to manoeuvrer within the site.
· Representations have been received from former Councillor Walshaw on behalf of all Headingley and Hyde Park ward members and Woodhouse Ridge Action Group, as well as 4 members of the public. There have been 2 representations submitted not referred to in the officer report – one a letter of support and a second which is neutral on the development but expressing support for the concerns raised from previous objectors.
· It is un-clear whether the passing place falls within the ownership of the applicant or the Council’s Climate, Energy and Green Spaces service. This raises a number of issues in terms of identifying the ownership of the land, the likely need to serve a notice through the planning process which would delay the application for an additional 21 days, and whether the passing place could be delivered. There are currently no fundamental concerns at present, but further negotiations and discussions need to be undertaken.
In summarising the planning officer explained:
· That matters in relation to the alleged actions by the appellant outside of the site boundary were being pursued by the relevant Council service under relevant enforcement powers and were not a matter to which weight could be attached in considering the planning application.
· In addition to the above, that Plans Panel does not serve as a public forum for discussing or resolving such matters.
· The site has an arguably unkempt, un-tidy appearance.
· The applicant’s hobby is long standing and the proposal will improve the living accommodation and outdoor space for the applicant to carry out his hobby.
· The proposal will assist in addressing existing noise and disturbance issues through moving activities relating to the hobby indoors
· The site will benefit from additional landscaping and improvements in biodiversity, which will also bring benefits in terms of the wider functions of the site and surrounding land.
· The site can comfortably accommodate the and it is considered that there will be no design issues, with the development site being well screened from neighbouring properties.
· The proposed planning conditions would allow for the appropriate management of issues at the site.
· The applicant has also agreed to install a parking barrier, further to concerns received from the neighbour to the north of the application site.
· Whilst it was acknowledged that the passing place will allow for vehicles to manoeuvre which would be of benefit, it is not essential within the context of the overall planning balance.
· That in light of the issues arising in respect of wider ownership matters that officers were advising that the recommendation should be amended so that the application should be deferred and delegated to the Chief Planning Officer to approve the application, including to seek to secure the vehicle passing place in the first instance. However, if the vehicle passing place cannot be secured that officers would go on to approve the application under delegated powers in the absence of the passing place subject to the other conditions listed in the report.
Mr Lees attended the meeting as an objector to the application and provided the Panel with the following concerns:
· Mr Lees has been part of a local group for 15 years to revitalise Woodhouse Ridge and has undertaken task days and been involved with volunteers on the site.
· Mr Lees referred to the applicant and a number of allegations regarding activities on the site that have been referred to the Council’s enforcement team and the Council’s Climate, Energy and Green Spaces. The applicant hasn’t received much luck in terms of receiving a response from the teams, and in un-sure on the position of such allegations.
· Mr Lees was of the opinion that public amenity has not been protected.
· Further comments and allegations referred to the applicant depositing Japanese Knotweed outside of the application site from his site.
Further to concerns raised by the objector, the Panel sympathised with his concerns and explained that the allegations referred to is not a matter for the planning committee, due to the activities taking place beyond the red line boundary of the application site. The objector was encouraged to attend other forms of forums to air his views, such as an upcoming Inner North West Community Committee.
Further to questions to officers, the following was confirmed:
· Relevant officers have been made aware of the allegation regarding Japanese Knotweed. It was noted that the allegation falls outside the scope of any planning considerations. It was confirmed that the Council’s Climate, Energy and Green Spaces service are not aware of any evidence relating to substantiate this allegation but that this would be a matter for that service outside of the Panel meeting.
· Officers will take back comments regarding untidiness of the site to the Planning Enforcement team on the basis that amenity is being harmed.
· Further to a suggestion that the standard time limit is decreased to 1 year, officers advised that such an approach would go against the grain of national government advice in relation to such matters and could result in difficulties in delivering the development due to the likely need to undertake preparatory works. However, officers confirmed that the applicant has shown a willingness to proceed with the proposals in a timely manner and hoped that this offered confidence that the development would be implemented in the near future.
Panel Members made the following comments:
· Whether the proposed conditions are enforceable enough long-term in terms of activities on the site and the number of cars allowed on the site at any one time.
· Concern that members wouldn’t see any additional landscaping proposals made through the defer and delegate to officers process.
· Concern regarding the number of items needing to be removed from the site and its untidiness.
· Whether outside working hours can be conditioned as part of the application.
A motion was put forward to move an amendment to the officer recommendation, to defer and delegate approval to the Chief Planning Officer in order to seek to secure the vehicle passing place in the first instance, but, if this proved not to be possible, to go on to approve the application subject to the other conditions listed in the officer report. This motion was moved and seconded, and therefore it was unanimously:
RESOLVED – To defer and delegate approval to the Chief Planning Officer subject to the conditions as outlined in the report, with the exception of the vehicle passing place if this could not be secured as a result of land ownership or related issues.