Agenda item

Application 22/01053/FUL - Former Berwick Arms, 250 Bath Road, Worcester

The Corporate Director - Planning and Governance recommends that the Planning Committee grants planning permission, pursuant to Regulation 3 of The Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992 (as amended), subject to the conditions set out in section 9 of this report.

Minutes:

Introduction

 

The Committee considered an application for the change of use from a dwellinghouse (Use Class C3) to a 3-bedroom House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) (Use Class C4) at the former Berwick Arms, 250 Bath Road.

 

During the course of the application, the submitted proposals had been revised along with amended plans submitted changing the proposals from an originally proposed 8-bedroom HMO to a 3-bedroom HMO.  The revised plans were submitted by the Agent following concerns raised by officers with the original 8-bedroom HMO, these related to overdevelopment, impact on parking and highway safety and the level of amenity for future occupiers.

 

Reason Why Being Considered by Planning Committee

 

The application was originally referred to Planning Committee at the request of Councillor Denham on the grounds as set out in paragraph 1.2 of the report.

 

Report/Background/Late Papers

 

The report set out the background to the proposal, the site and surrounding area, the proposal itself, relevant policies, planning history and representation and consultations where applicable. 

 

The Committee’s attention was drawn to the late paper which related to the correction of the recommendation in the report, which should read as follows:

 

The Corporate Director – Planning and Governance recommends that the Planning Committee approves the planning application, subject to the conditions as set out in section 9 of the report.

 

Officer Presentation

 

The information was presented as set out by the Corporate Director – Planning and Governance, in conjunction with a powerpoint presentation for the item.

 

Public Representations

 

There had been no one registered to speak on the application.

 

Key Points of Debate

 

·        Reference was made to paragraph 7.43 of the report and it was asked what will happen to the remaining rooms and how this will, be enforced if they become HMO rooms.  The Service Manager – Development Management referred Committee Members to condition 3 which limits the number of bedrooms.  As part of the housing process, they will need a licence and this will tie up with the planning permission and was satisfied that this would be enforceable and clarified what that would be.

 

·        The size of the outdoor garden space was questioned and whether it was adequate.  The Service Manager referred Committee Members to paragraph 7.22 of the report which identified that there would be a satisfactory level of amenity space for future occupiers of the HMO.  Paragraph 7.23 of the report also highlighted that there was a condition removing permitted development rights.

 

·        Committee Members did raise concerns about the future use of the storage rooms and also car parking if these rooms were occupied.  The Local Highways Authority representative stated that there were concerns originally, but this proposal requires 2 parking spaces which are provided, there are no grounds for refusal.  The Service Manager clarified the storage space for the benefit of Members.

 

·        In referring to condition 9 it was asked why the landscaping scheme could not be in perpetuity rather than 5 years.  The Service Manager stated that the 5-year maintenance was established in case law and was set out in government guidance.  If Members felt this was important then a condition for a maintenance plan can be included.

 

·        It was asked on what basis had parking been decided.  The Local Highway Authority representative stated that the assessment had been carried out on a 3 bed HMO, the storage rooms are not classed as bedrooms.  For the benefit of Member’s the Service Manager referred to paragraph 7.17 of the report which related to the floor plans.

 

·        Clarification was requested on the numbers related to occupiers of the property in paragraphs 7.44 and 7.45 of the report.  The Service Manager explained for clarity.

 

·        It was proposed that condition 9, as previously alluded to, could be amended to include maintenance of future years. This was agreed.

 

A proposal to approve the application had been made and this was seconded, subject to the amendment of condition 9. There being no further points made the Chair requested the voting of each Member of the Committee who were eligible to vote.  Following the recording of the votes the proposal to approve was lost as follows.

 

For – 4

Against – 6

Abstentions – 0

 

·        On the basis of the vote the Chair asked Committee Members for their reasons for refusal.  These were insufficient parking in terms of layout and locality and highway safety as the road is very narrow.  There were also concerns that the storage rooms would become occupied, but the Service Manager stated that Members cannot speculate what might happen and in any event this would require a further application if it happened, in terms of parking and space it was acceptable.  The Local Highway Authority representative also reiterated their assessment of the parking which meets the standard for this location.

 

·        Committee Members continued to debate the proposal as far as car parking was concerned and it was proposed by the Service Manager that Members may wish to defer the application to visit the site and a visit within the property to look at in more detail in terms of the layout.  The Chair also agreed that a deferral would allow the agent to attend the meeting as they were unable to do so today.

 

·        Following further discussions, the Service Manager stated that any refusal reasons needed to be evidenced and a deferral may help Members reach this.  

 

·        Some Committee Members were not content with a deferral and that a decision had been made to refuse the application.  Although the Chair and Vice Chair of the Committee can agree the final wording of the decision notice, the Service Manager stated that Members need to agree the specific reasons.  He went on to say that the Streetscape Design Guide outlined the parking spaces for HMOs and Members would need to demonstrate why this location needs great number of parking spaces than the parking standards require.

 

·        The Local Highway Authority representative explained to Members that when making a recommendation, paragraph 111 of the National Planning Policy Framework needs to be taken into account, paragraph 7.28 of the report refers.  She stated that in the refusal reasons this would need to be clarified.

 

·        The Head of Planning stated that Committee Members concerns were understandable and that it would be difficult to substantiate refusal on the grounds so far, an appeal could be allowed, and costs awarded.  Deferral may be prudent so the applicant can be asked to provide additional information, particularly around the rooms to be used as storage.

 

·        Several Committee Members were very familiar with the area and the parking issues and raised concerns over highway safety.

 

·        In terms of the debate the Service Manager read out reasons for refusal.  The Head of Planning stated that the officer’s recommendation still stands and this wording is what the officers are suggesting but it will be up to Members.

 

A proposal to defer the application had been made and this was seconded.  There being no further points made the Chair requested the voting of each Member of the Committee who were eligible to vote.  Following the recording of the votes the proposal to defer was lost as follows.

 

For – 3

Against – 6

Abstentions – 1

 

On the basis of the voting the Chair stated that another motion needed to be established and a proposal was made to refuse the application.  As a reminder the Service Manager read out the reasons for refusal.  The motion was seconded.  There being no further points made the Chair requested the voting of each Member of the Committee who were eligible to vote.  Following the recording of the votes the proposal to refuse was lost as follows.

 

For – 5

Against – 5

Abstentions – 0

 

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, as there were equal number of votes for and against, the Chair used her casting vote.  The Chair voting against refusal of the proposal.

 

For – 5

Against – 6

Abstentions – 0

 

The chair stated that the Committee needed to get to a decision therefore another motion was needed.

 

The Service Manager outlined the options available to Committee Members which would be to reconsider one of the previous motions i.e. defer for a site visit and allowing the applicant to provide more information; refuse the application and review the reasons for refusal; or consider a motion to approve the application with additional conditions.

 

It was suggested that if permission was granted then an additional condition for a residential Car Parking Management Plan could be requested.  Although those Committee Members who were familiar with this area stated that this would not be of any use and asked officers to show the relevant slide of Stanley Street for clarification.

 

The Head of Planning stated that as useful as the slides are, if a planning inspector found that a site visit was made it would make the Committee’s decision before the inspector easier.

 

A proposal to defer the application had been made and this was seconded.  There being no further points made the Chair requested the voting of each Member of the Committee who were eligible to vote.  Following the recording of the votes the proposal to defer was lost as follows.

 

For – 4

Against – 5

Abstentions – 1

 

The Service Manager referred to the additional condition put forward for a Car Parking Management Plan and this was for Members to decide if they wished to proceed with this.

 

A proposal to approve the application was made and this was seconded, subject to the additional condition relating a Car Parking Management Plan.  There being no further points made the Chair requested the voting of each Member of the Committee who were eligible to vote.  Following the recording of the votes the proposal to approve, with the additional condition, was lost as follows.

 

For – 3

Against – 6

Abstentions – 1

 

It was then proposed that the application be deferred, pending the receipt of the Car Parking Management Plan, plus a site visit.  This was seconded.  There being no further points made the Chair requested the voting of each Member of the Committee who were eligible to vote.  Following the recording of the votes the proposal to defer the application for the reasons given was agreed as follows.

 

For – 6

Against – 3

Abstentions – 1

 

RESOLVED:  That the Committee defer the application in order for a Car Parking Management Plan to be submitted and a site visit carried out.

 

 

Supporting documents: