Planning Report and Presentation – The Head of Planning Services submitted a report in respect of application PLA48/22 23 Belvedere Terrace, Church Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells and this was summarised at the meeting by Ms Kirsty Minney, Planning Officer and illustrated by means of a visual presentation.
Updates and additional representation – None.
Registered Speakers – There were 4 speakers that registered in accordance with the Council’s Constitution (Planning Committee Procedure Rules)
· Mr Dan Newman, a local resident.
· Ms Camilla Davison, a local resident.
· Mr Tim Jebb, a local resident.
· Mr Rod Boorman, the applicant.
Matters of Clarification by Officers and Committee Members’ Questions to Officers included:
i. On the matter of enforcement, it was stated that the Council had a duty to investigate alleged breaches of planning control and in this case an investigation was carried out, a breach was identified and the retrospective application had been submitted and brought before Planning Committee for consideration.
ii. The key aspect of the raised parapet was something the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) Conservation Officer was unable to support therefore it had been removed and taken away from consideration on the application.
iii. The TWBC Conservation Officer gave her assessment on the merits and the impact of the extension on the terrace.
iv. It was confirmed that the materials for the external finishes were outlined on the planning permission conditions and additional requirements in terms of the joinery details on the listed building consent application that were required for submission. It was considered that they provided adequate and suitable protection.
v. Members were advised that if they were minded to refuse the application there needed to be sound planning grounds on which the refusal was based, this was difficult given that the TWBC Conservation Officer had raised no objections and there were no valid planning reasons for refusal.
Committee Member debate and Officer clarification included:
i. A number of concerns were raised about maintaining the heritage of the grade 2 listed property.
ii. The concerns raised by members of the public were understood.
iii. The TWBC Legal Officer reiterated the point made that the application was to be assessed on it’s own merits and the outcome if Members were minded to refuse the application with no solid planning reasons.
iv. The policies and considerations were the same whether an application was proposed or retrospective, based on the local policies and material considerations which included guidance from the NPPF.
v. It was stated that the breach consisted of new fabric added to the property and not removed and that was why it was considered acceptable and not as severe.
vi. Building regulations procedures checked foundations and walls and were different to planning regulations.
vii. It was stated that it was not possible to monitor every application given that the Planning department received over 4,000 applications a year.
viii. The Planning Enforcement Team reacted to a complaint made, a breach was identified, discussions were had with the TWBC Conservation Officer who deemed the change was not of a level of harm that was unacceptable and a retrospective application was invited to Committee to regularise it.
ix. Frustration was felt that the Committees options were limited to address something that went wrong.
Decision/voting – On the basis that members were satisfied that all relevant planning considerations had been covered within the report, a motion was proposed by Councillor Warne, seconded by Councillor Poile and a vote was taken to approve the application in line with the officer recommendation.
RESOLVED – That application PLA48/22 be granted subject to the plans, conditions and informatives as set out in the agenda report.