Tonight, Exeter City Council’s Planning Committee considered 2 applications relating to existing 2-storey, semi-detached dwellings which are owned and let by ECC.
Also considered – under agenda item 13: List of of decisions made and withdrawn – was 94 Newman Road, Exeter EX4 1PJ [16/0461/16] – Officer’s Report [Approved under delegated powers: 13 October 2016].
Each of the proposals were for demolition of the original dwelling and reconstruction to a similar plan and footprint, but with a 2-storey extension to the rear.
The current applications are one of a series of applications to demolish and rebuild the Council’s 17 remaining Laing Easiform houses, and has been made as the property has been deemed structurally unsound – and the new properties would feature better insulation and be more energy efficient. 3 other properties were retro-fitted in a different scheme Although award-winning, the retro-fitting did little to extend the life expectancy of the homes and it is now thought that it is more cost effective to demolish and rebuild the whole of the property
The 2 application were referred to the Planning Committee for determination due to the receipt of an objection from each of the adjoining properties – as was an application for 39 Merrivale Road [approved at Planning Committee on 14 March 2016[ see Minute 22 where Cllr Hannah Packham spoke].
Principal planning material considerations raised were:
- Loss of light as a consequence of the proposed rear extension.
- Overlooking and loss of privacy.
I addressed the meeting under Standing Order 44:
As many members will be aware, I’ve long called for the Laing Easiform properties in the ownership of Exeter City Council to be renovated to increase thermal insulation – with the aim of getting them back into the Council’s housing stock as soon as possible and thence to house families on our waiting list.
In the past, this has been achieved by retrofitting…but this application proposed the complete demolition of the property and erecting a new-build in its place.
As Richard Short has already pointed out, both these properties are semi-detached. So I believe the demolition process will cause significant concern for the owner-occupiers in the adjoining properties – not least, causing them considerable disruption over the anticipated 6 month rebuild period.
With that in mind, I would like to suggest an alteration to recommendation 3, so that it would read:
No construction/demolition work shall take place outside the following times: 9am to 5pm (Mondays to Fridays), nor at any time on Saturdays, Sundays, Bank or Public Holidays.
Reason: In the interests of residential amenity
The Committee agreed my change to recommendation 3 for 102 Merrivale Road, and agreed to defer the application on 02 Oak Road to allow for further discussions with the owner-occupiers of the adjoining property.
Objections to 102 Merrivale Road:
- The house backs on to a park, where an abandoned youth service building has become the target of local youths. The lack of play opportunity, and the availability of derelict buildings generally causes a social unrest. This social unrest is likely to escalate with a further abandoned building next door. This is likely to mean that both 102 and 100 Merrivale Road are likely to become the target of vandalism, and damage.
- 102 Merrivale Road has been built and modified since the 1930’s and is therefore likely rife with asbestos. Asbestos when not having force exposed is not dangerous. Demolishing the house could (without proper testing, auditing, and follow through) result in airborne asbestos affecting my family.
- My garden contains slow worms and hedgehogs. Which are lovely, and my children love them. As I’m sure you are aware slow worms are a protected species, and aren’t too bothered by the journey between the 2 properties.
- I am worried that the garden will be overlooked by the new development and remove my ability to use my garden with privacy
- The similar characteristics of the properties on the street means that they fit in. The new development will not be in a similar style, and will be really incongruous. Especially when attached to a house in similar style to all the other houses on the street
- There is no drop curb outside 102 merrivale road; it will not be possible for plant machinery to access the property without causing damage to the roadway, road.
- Access of heavy vehicles will put at risk the users of the nearby (less that 80 metres) nursery school, and the people, and pets using the neighbouring parkland.
- There will be serious effects to parking on the street should the proposed development go ahead. When the road is busy; the street can become impassable. This will be exacerbated by machinery, or waste being stored on the street, or changing the access to the street.
Objections to 2 Oak Road:
- We share the chimney, walls, guttering, downpipes, fence and retaining back wall
- A 2m 2-stoery extension will massively reduce light to to rear of our house
- Our property will be hugely devalued
- My partner Jane is a Registered Nurse and works at night 4 nights a week – with the noise and the disruption it is likely that she will have to move out if construction begins. it would be impossible to sleep during the day. This will cause stress and impact on her ability to perform at work
- We will be unable to use our garden for our 2 dogs, rabbit and ourselves due to lack of privacy
- We will be unable to hang out washing so use more electricity to dry cloths
- Scaffolding will inevitably come into our property
- With the inevitable removal of the fence, our trees and shrubs will be damaged