#EXEStThomas – Planning Application 16/15/15/03 [CA]

Exeter City Council’s weekly planning list contains an application affecting the character/appearance of a conservation area.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-06-12-40 screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-06-13-33

Planning application 16/1515/03 [CA] seeks a variation of a planning condition placed on the First & Last , 90 Cowick Street by an earlier planning application 14/4821/03.

I was keen for the re-development of the First & Last to be “car-free” for a variety of reasons – one of which  was the congestion caused by the bad layout of the yellow box junction – and made a submission to that effect.

The application received approval without the need to deliver a “car-free” development.

Despite this set-back, I was pleased as the architect [James Barnfield of Hilton Barnfield] sought to mitigate the presence of the busy – often congested – junction by suggesting that “the entire blank south gable elevation will be planted, creating a vertical garden” [Design Statement 2.06: Landscaping]


I was quite excited by this feature, as it would go some way to addressing air pollution issues at this location – part of  ECC’s Air Quality Management Area [AQMA] due to exceedences of the annual mean nitrogen dioxide (NO2) objective limit.

And it seemed to find favour with ECC’s Planning Department. Condition 2 of the [delegated] planning approval stated:  “The development hereby permitted shall not be carried out otherwise than in strict accordance with the submitted details received by the Local Planning Authority on 16 December 2014 (Dwg Nos 0084_FIR_PL1.9; 2.0 (Rev B); 2.1; 2.2; 3.0; 3.1; 3.2; 4.0; 4.1), as modified by other conditions of this consent.  REASON: In order to ensure compliance with the approved drawings”.

Drawing 0084_FIR_PL_3.2 [Proposed South Elevation] is quite clear – the legend states “Proposed sedum planted gable wall”.


But was this sedum wall delivered? Well, no. At first, we saw a series of felt pockets:



Then. without any warning, the felt pockets were removed and replaced with facsimile plastic *flowers*.



I’m not sure how the developers managed to convince the Planning Department of these changes: Condition 3 of the of the [delegated] planning approval stated:  “Notwithstanding condition 2, details of all external materials to be used in the proposed new dwelling shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority and the development shall not be started before their approval is obtained in writing and the materials used in the construction of the development shall correspond with the approved details in all respects. Reason: To ensure that the materials conform with the visual amenity requirements of the area.”

Now I’m sure that the original architect and developer were suggesting a sedum wall just to give the drivers and bus passengers a splash of green on their journeys along Cowick Lane. Of course not, it’s on a south-facing wall. They wanted this green wall to be a living environment there, something to address the air quality.

I went back to James, who told me that his brief from the developer was to deliver a plan to gain planning approval. Since gaining that permission, the original developer sold the site with approval to another developer, who has since delivered the 4 new dwellings.

And it is that new developer who has put in the new planning application [16/1515/03] for the variation of condition 2 of Planning Application 14/4821/03 for revised plans showing removal of planted gable wall and replace with rendered finish, to match render used on refurbished building.

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-05-19-18So why do the new developers want to vary  the condition? According to their application form, the reason is “reviewed maintenance of planted gable wall following installation.”


But why has this new application came forward now? Maybe it has something to do with me making  enquiries about enforcement of Condition 2 attached to the original planning application?

I’m already working on my set of objections to this new planning application.

Further reading:
Read the article on the E&E website

Read the article on the E&E Facebook timeline

My Storify feed on the subject: 12/12/16 | First & Last in #EXEStThomas


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