Monday, 17 October 2011

Neighbours hit out at "garden grabbing" plans

NEIGHBOURS have hit out at two plans to build homes in Dorridge gardens.

Click the headline or link below to read the rest of this story.

Councillors will be asked to make a decision on the schemes for Hansell Drive and Ernsford Close on Wednesday.

A planning officer has recommended planning committee members accept both plans.

The Hansell Drive plan would build a detached house in the side and rear garden of number 35 with a new vehicle access off the road.

Some eight letters of objection from neighbours oppose the plan, with concerns it will “overcrowd” the road and “open character” of the estate.

There are also concerns about loss of privacy and green space.

But the planning officer says “the design and layout of the proposed scheme would not intrude unduly into the streetscene or appear out of character with the area”.

They say: “The proposal will not impact upon the amenity of adjacent residents, and the scheme is appropriate in highway and landscape terms.”

There would be no impact on privacy, daylight or outlook, they say.

The Ernsford Close plan proposes a three-bedroom chalet style bungalow in part of the rear gardens of 25 and 27 Westfield Close.

Some 14 letters and email opposed the plan with concerns over the impact of an oak tree in the garden, which is subject to a tree preservation order.

There were also concerns the home will be out of character for the area and is too large for the plot. It goes against Government moves to scale back “garden grabbing” another adds.

The council officer’s report says the plan is “almost identical” to one refused by the council in 2007 and latter on appeal to The Planning Inspectorate.

The council then say the home would be “squeezed into the end of the cul de sac and out of keeping with the surrounding character”.

Yet the officer’s report says much publicised Government moves against garden grabbing do not apply.

Ministers took gardens out of the definition of previously developed land, which is usually easier to get permission to develop.

But the report says the Government has demanded only 60 per cent of new housing should go on this type of land.

And it is “anticipated” that Government policy will demand homes should now go on non-previously developed land like at Ernsdord Close, it adds.

It says: “Therefore no weight should be attached to this point.”

It says the Planning Inspectorate’s concerns about its visual impact have been overcome by changes to the car port, replaced with a garage, and windows.

It would not be “unduly detrimental” to neighbours and preserve the impact on the preserved tree, it says.

Some four of 16 trees would be removed “for reasons of sound arboricultural management” and nine for the development. No objections had been made to this, it says.

The committee will meet at 4.30pm at the council's offices in the town centre. Click here for details.

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