Planning Committee – 12th September 2013

This post summarises my participation in September’s planning committee meeting on Thursday 12th September. The list of applications we were considering and the various reports can be found here.

Before the official business started, we received a briefing on a proposal for development at Dukes Wharf, which is the former Eastern Electricity offices next to the river on Duke Street. I asked about the potential of overshadowing to neighbours and to the river. The response was that there would be not a significant amount more overshadowing than at present, due to the height increases being stepped back from the existing.

The first application on the agenda was one to approve the extension and alteration of water tower and other works at Hellesdon House.  As a listed building, this had both a full and listed building application. I asked for why a new house was within the same application as the extension on a listed building.  The justification was that it is enabling work to ensure the viability of the project.  It’s impact is minimal, and the works to the listed building appear positive, so I voted to approve. The applications were approved.

The next application was for a temporary change of use of buildings at Bluebell Road (application 13/00852/U). There were significant objections to this, as it would set a precedent for development in the river valley.  There were also concerns about the increased traffic that the change of use might bring. In the end, I felt I was not familiar enough with the area to be able to make a reasonable judgement, and abstained from voting. It was approved 6:4.

An application for a rear garden development in a conservation area (no. 13/01122/O) was contentious and attracted a large number of objections. My main concern was with access and I asked several questions about whether the access was satisfactory, and what effect it would have on neighbouring properties.  I also pointed out that, since this property has no frontage on the road apart from the access route, bins would either end up blocking their driveway, or would be placed in front of neighbouring properties which would inconvenience them.  I voted against this application. It was approved 8:3.

The most significant application on this day was for student accommodation at All Saints Green, near Queen’s Road (13/00970/F).  There were concerns from the Victorian Society about the loss of 52 and 54 All Saints Green.  I asked whether there were any plans in place to retain features from those buildings, where they had architectural significance.  I got a non-committal answer, but decided to trust the developers that they would be responsible, given their plans to restore the most architecturally significant building, which is 50 All Saints Green.  The developer had obviously put a lot of work into ensuring that the main block of student housing satisfied the needs of the universities, and well-serviced by bike racks and a communal garden.  They were also considering a combined heat and power system, which would be energy efficient.  Although the architectural style was not to my taste, this was not grounds for refusing this application.  I voted for this application and it was approved.

In an application for window replacement in a conservation area, I commented that there were no drawings which gave an indication as to the visual impact of these windows.  In the end, I was willing to follow the conservation officer’s recommendation, and voted to approve this application.

I voted for application 13/01002/F to erect a timber store in rear garden.


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