Planning Committee – 10th October 2013

This post summarises my participation in October’s planning committee meeting on Thursday 10th.  The list of applications we were considering is available here and the various reports here.

The meeting was preceded by a pre-application briefing on a revised proposal for development of the Castle Mall’s White Lion  Street entrance.  During a previous planning meeting, I had moved to refuse a previous application which had proposed a monolithic glass façade and the application was refused.  I will not dwell on the content of the new proposal here (which may be the subject of a future post), but I did ask the question as to whether the Norwich Society had seen the new proposals (which they had), and what they thought of them, to which the response was that they had had a “positive” meeting. I also got the impression the Michael Innes, the Castle Mall’s original architect, was critical of the new plans.

The first planning application on the agenda was 13/01232/F, which was a recommendation to refuse a planning application for an extension in Bowthorpe.  There were obviously concerns from the officers that the design extended into the existing streetscape too much and this was overwhelming, but as the representations in favour pointed out, there had been no objections, and the land as it had been previously was in a condition that had more of a detrimental impact on the streetscape.  I therefore moved to approve the application for those reasons.  I included within my motion to add a condition that it should be subject to landscaping, to soften the impact of the gable to the street and I also commented that the architect should consider matching the corbelled gable end of the existing house rather than bargeboard as shown. The application was unanimously approved.

Then came a series of applications for City Council land (garages).  These would normally be too small to come to planning committee, but because it was on Council land, we had to approve it before going ahead.  They were all positive applications, replacing dreary and often vandalised council garages with new housing (we were reassured that alternative garages were found for any remaining tenants). I voted to approve them all and they were approved unanimously.

There were then two planning applications for replacement windows in the Heigham Grove conservation area.  I was the only person to ask a question, as I wanted to be sure that the appearance of the new windows would be almost identical to the existing.  The conservation officer reassured me that various lengths had been gone to to ensure that the appearance would be maintained, including that they would be sash windows set back behind the brickwork, have run-in horns and have matching glazing bars (that would be external to the glass).  Although it would have been preferable to see timber replacement windows, I was satisfied that the appearance of the streetscape would not be unduly affected by these replacements and voted to approve.  The applications were approved.

The final item was an enforcement action against an unauthorised installation of uPVC casement windows on Neville Street (within the Heigham Grove conservation area).  These windows were inappropriate, having none of the features previously mentioned above.  There were also other changes which were against the Article 4 direction – a new door and demolition of their front garden wall.  These are all specifically mentioned in the Article 4 direction as features of these houses that should be retained.  I therefore voted for enforcement action to be taken. The action was approved.

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