Agenda item - BH019/02589 -Land adjacent to 44 Hythe Road, Brighton- Full Planning

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Agenda item

BH019/02589 -Land adjacent to 44 Hythe Road, Brighton- Full Planning


Erection of 5no bedroom small house in multiple occupation (C4)


              Officer Presentation


(1)          The Principal Planning Officer, Matthew Gest, introduced the application by reference to photographs, plans, site plans and floor plans indicating the differences between the previous scheme and that for which approval was now sought. It was noted that during the course of the application the design of the rear elevation had been amended and the rear balconies removed and amendments made to provide cycle provision. Hythe Road was residential in character and featured dwellings of differing scales, type and detailing although the majority were terraced with extensive roof extensions. The main considerations in determining this application related to the principle of the change of use, impact on neighbouring amenity, the standard of accommodation proposed and transport issues.


(2)       The new dwelling would be positioned between no. 44 Hythe Road and 48 Hythe Road and would be built on a similar building line to both neighbouring properties. The rear building line would be shallower than no. 44 to the west and as such no impact is envisaged to the windows serving the rear rooms of this property in terms of loss of light or outlook. The rear building line would project beyond the rear building line of numbers 48 and 50 to the east; the projection would be at basement level as the main body of the house would be in line with numbers 48 and 50. No. 48 had been subdivided into flats; at basement level the fenestration closest to the application site is a window and door. There would be no change to the existing rear boundary treatment and therefore no loss of amenity would result. Views to the rear would be similar to the existing arrangement from neighbouring properties and although the erection of a five-bedroom house in multiple occupation would result in more intensive use of the site it was not considered that it would be such that it would cause demonstrable harm to neighbouring amenity and would warrant refusal of planning permission. In view of the size of the rooms which equated to five double bedrooms it was proposed that a condition be included in any planning permission granted to restrict the number of occupants to 6 and to remove permitted development rights to avoid any adverse impact on the surrounding area or neighbouring amenity. On that basis approval was recommended.


              Public Speakers


(3)          Councillor Hugh-Jones spoke in her capacity as a Local Ward Councillor setting out her objections and those of local residents in respect of the proposed scheme. There were concerns that there was an application for change of use before the house for which permission had been sought had even been built, which appeared highly unusual. The plot was extremely small for the 5-bedroom property proposed and it was considered that it would have a detrimental impact on neighbouring amenity. There were also concerns that the existing dropped kerb could be used in future to create additional parking spaces.


(4)          Mr Loveridge spoke on behalf of the applicants in support of their application. He explained that the needs of the applicants who were a young married couple had changed since the original permission for which they had applied, although they might occupy it as a dwelling house in the future. The development which would not be used as student accommodation had been sensitively designed and would have rental prices which would attract young single professional people.


              Questions of Officers


5)           Councillor Littman sought further clarification of the differences between the previously approved scheme and that for which permission was now requested, especially in relation to the internal layout and any potential increase in impact on neighbouring amenity.


(6)          Councillor Theobald referred to the large number of objections received and enquiring whether they were from local residents, also as to proposed use of the roof space which appeared to be unusual as well. It was explained that use of the roof dormers was a feature of dwellings in the local street scene and followed the existing roof slope, the building would be of the same width as its neighbours.


(7)          Councillor Shanks enquired whether it was proposed to soundproof the party walls. It was confirmed that this had not been requested.


(8)          Councillor Childs enquired regarding the location of the proposed cycle storage and rubbish/recycling bins and it was confirmed that these would be located in the front courtyard.


(9)          Councillor Bagaeen asked whether there were any other student houses located in the immediate vicinity. It was explained that the mapping exercise had not been carried out in that way, any property managed directly by any of the university’s would not be included. Three other properties had been identified within a 50m radius of the application site which equated to 4%, below 10%, and therefore in accordance with policy CP21.


(10)       Councillor Bagaeen also referred to the need to require the highest possible standards in view of the fact that this site represented a blank canvas in that it had yet to be built. The urban grain at that location was dense and there was an identified need for family homes. He did not see how the proposed specification would meet that. The Chair, Councillor Hill, considered that the comments made whilst noted, Members needed to focus on the application before them and to add conditions if that was considered appropriate. The Planning Manager, Paul Vidler stated that it was important for Members to consider the application before them on its merits, it was separate from the previously approved scheme.


(11)       Councillor Bagaeen also enquired regarding the dimensions of the proposed bedrooms and it was confirmed that they all met or were above minimum standards.


(12)       In answer to questions of Councillor Littman it was confirmed that the shared kitchen/diner was the only shared communal living space.


              Debate and Decision Making Process


(13)       Councillor Bagaeen stated that he was unable to envisage the scheme from the available plans or the quality of the resulting accommodation. His preference would have been for a 4-bedroom family home as originally agreed constructed to a higher standard. Councillor Yates stated that the communal space was substantially bigger than in a number of other HMOs for which permission had been granted.


(14)       Councillor Littman stated that his preference would also have been for a family home, although he recognised that it would fit in within the prevailing street scene and that the number of residents would be restricted by condition. He noted that the amenity space to be provided would be very limited. The Chair, Councillor Hill, disagreed and read out the reference in the report which indicated that in fact it was quite generous


(15)       Councillor Theobald stated that there had been an unusually high number of objections to this application. She did not consider that a 5-bedroom HMO was acceptable in place of the 4-bedroom family home previously proposed, it represented overdevelopment of a small site.


(16)       Councillor Yates stated that it was necessary to consider the scheme before them on its planning merits. The number of people who could live there would be restricted by condition and the size of the bedroom units and the number of en-suites to be provided was greater than at a number of other properties where permission had been granted. Whilst not necessarily the preferred option, this scheme was acceptable in his view.


(17)       Councillor Janio concurred, noting that the resulting property would be capable of conversion back into a family dwelling house in future should a subsequent applicant wish to do so. Whilst the requirement for student accommodation appeared to be reducing there was still clearly a need for some HMO accommodation.


(18)       Councillor Childs considered that the erection of another HMO was regrettable, such schemes added little to the city’s housing offer, he considered that the scheme was acceptable, noting that the rooms would accommodate no more than 6 unconnected adults living together, they would not necessarily be students.


(19)       A vote was taken and on a vote of 7 to 2 with 1 abstention planning permission was granted.


65.4       RESOLVED – That the Committee has taken into consideration and agrees with the reasons for the recommendation set out in the report and resolves to GRANT planning permission subject to the Conditions and Informatives also set out in the report.

Supporting documents:


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