Agenda and minutes

Estate Management Appeals Panel
Wednesday 5th December 2018 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE

Contact: Helen Johnson 

Items
No. Item

20.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2018 (previously circulated).

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2018 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

21.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST BY MEMBERS

To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on this Agenda.

Minutes:

The Panel noted that Councillor M. Cowan had a non-pecuniary interest in respect of item 8 on the agenda, 44 Beechfield Road.  He took no part in the discussion on this item.

22.

27 GREAT GANETT WELWYN GARDEN CITY AL7 3DB - 6/2018/1478/EM - REPLACEMENT AND EXTENSION OF EXISTING HARDSTANDING TO COVER FRONT GARDEN pdf icon PDF 678 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) sets out an appeal against the refusal of Estate Management Consent for the replacement and extension of existing hardstanding to cover the front garden. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance), which set out an appeal against the refusal of Estate Management Consent for a replacement and extension of existing hardstanding to cover the front garden.  The application (reference: 6/2018/1478/EM) was refused on the 13 August 2018 for the following reason:

 

‘The proposal involved the removal of the hedgerow and installation of an inappropriate proportion of hardstanding which would harm the amenities and values of the street scene.  Accordingly, the proposed development is contrary to the Policy EM3 and EM4 of the Estate Management Scheme’.

 

The proposal was for the installation of a hard surface to the front of the dwelling measuring 6.0m in depth and 5.75m wide, totalling to 34.5sqm.  Alongside the creation of vehicular access, the applicant sought to remove the hedgerow on the eastern boundary line, which measures 5.7m in length, including the removal of the hedgerow on the southern boundary line (adjacent the highway), which measured 3.3m in length.

 

The key issue in the determination of this appeal case was the impact of an inappropriate proportion of hardstanding the loss of soft landscaping exacerbating the harm upon the visual amenities and values of the Garden City.  The assessment concluded the development would not result in adverse harm upon residential amenity of adjoining occupiers.

 

The appellant was in attendance and reiterated the points made in their letter of appeal, and in addition stated that:

 

·         The vehicles parked inappropriately at night potentially could cause an accident.

·         During the daytime, when Council Officers have visited the area the problem is not excessive but the number of vans/cars parked up at night/weekends on either road side and on the grass verges causes issues.

·         The number of properties that have 100% hardstanding areas without hedges had been brought to the Council’s attention, unfortunately addresses had not been provided so no action could be taken.  Officers requested that the appellant forward the address to the Planning Officer.

 

The Panel requested that a member of the enforcement team visit Great Ganett to assess those properties which had been highlighted to having excessive and unauthorised hardstanding and that these properties then be approached to seek a resolution to the issue.

 

Members were pleased that the appellant had come to the meeting to put his case forward.  It was noted that no additional evidence or information had been provided by the appellant which would add to or would alter Officer’s recommendation.  The Officers advised that the proposal failed to reflect the character and appearance of the terrace properties to which it was located and the streetscene of Great Ganett.

 

Members commented on keeping the Garden City ethos and providing parking bays to help ease the parking situation.  Further consideration was given to creating bays by removing grass verges.  Clarification was sought from Officers in respect of the property being a Council property in the past and the effects of being a leasehold or a freehold property.   

 

The Panel agreed that the parking issues highlighted would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

22 HOMESTEAD LANE, WELWYN GARDEN CITY, AL7 4LU - 6/2018/0039/EM - RETENTION OF SINGLE STOREY SIDE EXTENSION TO REAR GARDEN OUTBUILDING pdf icon PDF 452 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) sets out an appeal against the refusal of Estate Management Consent for the retention of single storey side extension to rear garden outbuilding.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) set out an appeal against the refusal of Estate Management Consent for the ‘retention of single storey side extension to rear garden outbuilding’.  The site comprises a two-storey semi-detached house and its front and rear gardens on the west side of Homestead Lane.  The house had been extended to the side and rear at two storeys.  The rear garden contained a pergola and outbuildings. The application at 22 Homestead Lane was retrospective so this matter would need to be taken forward by the Enforcement Team.

 

Representations received from the neighbour at 43 The Hyde; who objected to people standing on the flat roof which had caused a great deal of apprehension.

 

A comment had been received from Rt Hon G. Shapps, requesting that it be taken into account that the owner had outlined in his email the points summarised in the report.

 

The key issues in the determination of this appeal were the impact of the proposed development upon the amenities and values of the Garden City. The concerns with the impact on the residential amenities of neighbouring properties was withdrawn by officers given the planning appeal that, although was dismissed at appeal, did not consider that the building would impact detrimentally on neighbouring properties.  This was a material consideration given the similarities for assessing neighbour amenity. 

 

The appellant and his agent were in attendance and the agent read out the appeal letter, which was circulated to the Panel. The appellant had submitted the following evidence in support of their appeal:

 

·         The flat roofed side extension.

·         The extension being lower than the summerhouse and original greenhouse that it replaces.

·         The extension was over 13m from the rear windows of 41 and 43 Hyde Valley.

 

Overall the appellant’s supporting evidence was not considered to overcome the identified harm of the proposal and it was concluded that the proposal was contrary to Policy EM2 of the Estate Management Scheme. The Development Management Service Manager advised the Certificate of Lawfulness applied to permitted development and not the Estate Management application. 

 

The report noted that the extended outbuildings doubled the footprint of the original greenhouse and covered the spaces that were along each side of it.  The footprint of the amalgamated outbuilding measured 52sqm in footprint.  The structure also had a porch overhanging facing into the site and a cover over the 1m wide passage to the side abutting the garden of No 24 Homestead Lane, which extended the building across the width of the garden.  Both of these structures appeared bulky for outbuildings.  Overall the proposal constituted a disproportionately large and oversized structure and resulted in a cramped appearance to the site.

 

A number of points were raised by the Panel and whilst the original decision was upheld, Officers advised that only the reason related to visual impact on the wider area could be sustained and the main aim related to dominance and the overbearing impact on neighbours should be removed.  This  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

UPDATE ON OUTSTANDING ENFORCEMENT CASES AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ENFORCEMENT ACTION UNDER THE TERMS OF THE MANAGEMENT SCHEME FOR WELWYN GARDEN CITY FOR BREACHES OF THAT SCHEME pdf icon PDF 6 MB

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) to update Members with outstanding arbitration cases that were put before the Panel, up to and including 12 November 2018.

Minutes:

The report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance), which updated Members with regard to outstanding arbitration cases that were put before the Panel, up to and including, on 18 October 2018.  The following cases were noted:

 

72 Chequers

 

Removal of front hedge and creation of hardstanding.  The case has been referred to the President of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the date of the arbitration hearing was yet to be confirmed.  It was noted that there should be less than 50% of hardstanding area and appropriate softer landscaping. 

 

A discussion ensued on the cost of arbitration; being between £1k to £1.5k and the £400 initial fee to RICS.  It was noted that the £400 was none refundable.  It was suggested that in the event that 72 Chequers did not go to arbitration then another two cases to be considered for arbitration; equally it was agreed that tax payer’s money should not be misused.  Officers explained that before any other case was considered for arbitration the Council would like to analyse the outcome of the first arbitration case.

 

The Panel requested information on the costs of referring cases to arbitration and the amount spent to date, which will be reported to the Panel at the next time.

 

3 Digswell House Mews

 

Application for a roof light on the front roof slop had been refused.

 

Members noted that an application had been made to the President of the RISC but no date had been offered.  It was requested that this case be resolved by the end of the municipal year.

 

251 Knightsfield

 

Erection of a single storey rear extension without EM consent; commenced June 2013.

 

On 12 September 2018 a retrospective EM application had been submitted along with a planning application to try and remedy the breaches of EM scheme and planning control. Both application were currently being determined.

 

19 Fearnley Road

 

Extension to the driveway to form 70% hardstanding in front garden and the removal of front boundary hedge; reported in April 2016.

 

As there are two cases currently at arbitration, it was felt that this case should be held back so that regard can be given to the Arbitrator’s ruling and reasons for the other two cases.  This would provide greater certainty on the likely outcome of this case.

 

11 The Moors

 

Erection of single storey rear extension; reported in August 2016.

 

The Certificate of L to awfulness application was with a Planning Officer pending determination.  In regard to the appealing the EM decision; there was no deadline in which to appeal the decision.  However, authority had already been approved at the EMAP meeting October 2017 to commence the arbitrations process.  Once a decision has been reached on the application, the arbitration letter would be re-issued to the owner inviting him to participate in the arbitration process.

 

88 Pentley Park

 

New raised beds, steps and walls and hardstand to the front of the property.  Complaint was received on 11 April 2016.

 

The owner has  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.