When a developer had planning permission refused for the conversion of an HMO in Bracknell into two family homes, they sought out the advice and support of ET Planning who are local specialists in planning appeal cases.
The site, which is within the Easthampstead Conservation Area and within 5km of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA), currently hosts a six bedroom HMO. The proposal was to divide the existing house into two self-contained family units, along with a two storey side and rear extension.
Bracknell Forest Council refused these plans at Committee in December 2018 for three reasons. Firstly, they believed that the proposed extensions would detract from the character and appearance of the area. The second that there would likely be increased traffic to the site resulting in significant impact on access and highway safety. And lastly, that the increased occupancy of the site would put pressure on the Thames Basin Heaths SPA.
ET Planning reviewed the case and the reasons given by the council for the refusal. The case clearly demonstrated in the appeal, where the planning committee had not given proper consideration to the proposals.
In response to the first claim that the proposed development would impact the character and appearance of the area, ET Planning noted the side extension had been purposely designed to remain subservient, set back and not appear readily noticeable from the street. They also made key reference to the advice and recommendations given by the Council’s Planning Officer and Historic Buildings Adviser. The Officer’s report stated that “It is not considered that the side extension would result in an unacceptable impact on the streetscene”, and “it is not considered that the proposed extensions would appear out of keeping with the character of the existing dwelling in terms of their size and design”.
The second claim was found to be in contrast with Paragraph 109 of the NPPF which makes it clear that development should only be refused on transport grounds if there would be an unacceptable impact on the highway network, or if the residual cumulative impacts on the road network would be severe. ET Planning noted in the appeal application that the Council’s Highways Officer had raised no objections to the proposal and had, in fact, recommended the approval of the application.
And lastly, in response to the third claim of a higher occupancy impacting the SPA, the appellants were happy to sign a legal agreement to make necessary contributions towards SANG and SAMM mitigation.
This appeal case showed that the Planning Committee’s decision went against the advice of their officers and specialist advisers. The decision did not give proper consideration to the NPPF or local policy and represented an unreasonable refusal of planning consent in this instance. And it was due to the refusal that the appellant incurred further costs in order to undertake the appeals process.
ET Planning are pleased to announce that not only was the appeal successful, but that a partial awards for costs was granted to the appellant.
ET Planning understands that receiving an unjustified planning refusal is both frustrating and unnerving – not knowing whether to take a case forward for appeal or not. As experienced planning consultants, ET Planning work with clients and their architects, providing advice and taking on the appeals process where necessary. If you have received a planning refusal and want to know what your options are, give ET Planning a call today on 01344 508048.