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22/00926/FUL | Conversion and extension of an existing building to use as an annex in association with the existing dwelling at Paynes Cottage | Proposed Annexe Paynes Cottage Walden House Road Great Totham Essex
  • Total Consulted: 1
  • Comments Received: 1
  • Objections: 1
  • Supporting: 0

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Mrs Senay Caplan (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 11 Oct 2022

The application of conversion and extension of an outbuilding to use as an annex in association with Paynes Cottage is objected to on the following grounds:

Non-compliance with the Specialist Needs Housing SPD.

1. The Specialist Needs Housing SPD, which was adopted in September 2018, states that proposals for annex accommodation will not only be required to meet the criteria in policy H4 but also the criteria within the SPD which is as follows:

1) Be subservient/subordinate to the main dwelling;
2) Have a functional link with the main dwelling (i.e. the occupants' dependant relative(s) or be employed at the main dwelling);
3) Be in the same ownership as the main dwelling;
4) Be within the curtilage of the main dwelling and share its vehicular access;
5) Be designed in such a manner to enable the annex to be used at a later date as an integral part of the main dwelling;
6) Have no separate boundary or sub-division of garden areas between the annex and the main dwelling; and
7) Have adequate parking and amenity facilities to meet the needs of those living in the annex and the main dwelling.

2. We believe the proposal to contravene this criteria in several respects;

i) The proposed development, including the existing outbuilding, is said to have a footprint that is approximately 289sqm. This would result in a large and dominant building that whilst being smaller than the main dwelling, would not appear subservient in nature.

ii) The existing outbuilding/proposed annex would be sited around 9.5m away from Paynes Cottage at the shortest point. As a result of its physical and visual separation, the building would have little in the way of association with the main house and would appear as a separate residential building. This is exacerbated by the residential appearance of the proposed extension/conversion and its overall scale, bulk and size.

iii) There is no link between Paynes Cottage and the outbuilding/proposed annex and there is the potential for a very limited relationship between the proposed annexe and Paynes Cottage in functional terms. The proposal does not allow the annex to be used, at its outset or at a later date, as an integral part of Paynes Cottage.

iv) The proposed annex is a 2 bed property. and would facilitate a full suite of activities for day to day living. It is, in effect, a self-contained unit of proposed accommodation detached from Paynes Cottage, without any degree of dependency and a limited, if any, requirement to interact with Paynes Cottage. The proposal does not amount to residential annex accommodation ancillary to Paynes Cottage.

v) Paragraph 3.1 of the Planning Statement refers to the annex being for occupation by relatives of the dwelling at Paynes Cottage. However, the planning statement does not say who will occupy the annex and therefore it is not possible to establish a functional link with Paynes Cottage. Further, Paynes Cottage is a substantial 4 bed property that is occupied by one adult, the applicant.

vi) The application does not take into account that a sizeable extension was made to Paynes Cottage (application 04/01369) which is made up of basement and ground level accommodation and which has its own bathroom and kitchen facilities. There is no explanation in the application or statement as to why that part of Paynes Cottage cannot be used as annex accommodation if such accommodation is required.

vii) The application should be assessed for the lifetime of the development; in so assessing, it is important to note that the level of accommodation proposed goes far beyond satisfying the functional needs of a future occupier and would easily remove the need for the building to be used ancillary to Paynes Cottage.

viii) The location plan shows subdivision of the area of garden to the southern side of Paynes Cottage, together with an area of garden to the front and right hand side of the proposed annex. This would result in it easily being subdivided to form an area of separate private amenity space for the occupiers of the annex, which would remove the need to share any amenity space with the occupiers of Paynes Cottage. This exacerbates the concerns regarding the lack of a functional link between the proposed annex and the main dwelling. If no subdivision of the curtilage of the existing dwelling is proposed, there is an area of garden to front and southern side of the proposed annex such that could be easily subdivided so as to reduce further any functional link between the proposed annex and Paynes Cottage.

ix) Whilst it is noted that the annexe would be located within the residential curtilage of the site, and the access and car parking are proposed to remain the same, the siting of the proposed annex to the side of Paynes Cottage and courtyard suggests a subdivision of the site could occur. The fact that the buildings would share an access route would be expected with an access and site of this scale so the fact that they share access does not mean that subdivision could not or would not take place.

Failure to comply with Policy S8 of the Maldon District Approved Local Development Plan 2014-2029

3. The proposed development does not comply with Policy S8 because:

i) The site is not within a designated Settlement Boundary.

ii) The proposed development does not comprise annex accommodation within the meaning of the Specialist Needs Housing SPD.

iii) The proposed conversion/extension does not lead to an enhancement to the immediate setting. The existing outbuilding is a two storey red brick building and does not constitute an eyesore or the appearance of a redundant or disused building.

iv) The proposed annex substantially extends and alters the appearance of the existing outbuilding. Due to the elevated position of the site, the current outbuilding and proposed annex are highly visible from Walden House Road as approaching from the east and the proposed development cannot be considered to be an enhancement of the immediate setting.

Overbearing and unneighbourly form of development

4. The current outbuilding is not, to our understanding, attached to Walden House, as suggested in the planning statement but was a former outbuilding. It has never had permission to be used as accommodation and does not have sanitation, water or utilities.

5. It is not accepted that the proposed extension would have a low overall height that would reduce its visual impact when viewed from Walden House.

i) Based on the scale on the drawings for the proposed annex/conversion of the outbuilding the 5.89m elevation extension would be 1m away from the boundary with Walden House and the 5.89m elevation extension would extend to 6m length alongside and very close to the boundary with Walden House.

ii) The 5.89m elevation comes adjacent to the midway point of the existing windows of the existing outbuilding that face onto the garden of Walden House. Taking into account the difference in height between Walden House and the proposed site, the 6 metre extension running 1m from the boundary would be at a height of 5 metres to the east of Walden House. This would be overbearing.

iii) The eastern facing sitting room of Walden House is positioned 5.5m from the boundary and has double glazed doors facing onto the boundary. The proposed annex would have significant visual impact when viewed from Walden House.

6. The basis of policy D1 of the approved LDP seeks to ensure that development will protect the amenity of its surrounding areas taking into account privacy, overlooking, outlook, noise, smell, light, visual impact, pollution, daylight and sunlight. This is supported by section C07 of the Maldon District Design Guide (2017). The proposed annex/conversion is in contravention of that for the following reasons:

Loss of sunlight/daylight

7. The sun rises from the east and that room and other rooms leading off that room are substantially serviced by the sunlight/daylight from the east side of Walden House.

8. The statement proposes that the proposed development would not appear overbearing or result in loss of outlook or light but this is clearly not correct and would be immediately apparent on inspection by the planning officer if such an inspection would assist.

Privacy and overlooking

9. The two upper storey windows of the current outbuilding are at a height of 4m and directly overlook approximately one third of Walden House's rear garden including the bbq area, the patio, the summer house and the lower east side of the rear garden. The proposal to fit frosted glass in the 2 windows overlooking does not obviate the substantial privacy and overlooking issues as much will depend on the type of frosting utilised and would not reduce privacy concerns when a window is opened.

10. The proposed conversion/extension would represent an unneighbourly form of development and would give rise to overlooking, overshadowing and development of an overbearing nature detrimental to the amenities of occupiers of Walden House, particularly by reason of the overbearing effect.

Noise and disturbance

11. The downstairs of the current outbuilding is made up of 3 walls and floor to ceiling wooden doors which have been removed. The exterior wall of Walden House is visible from inside the western part of the outbuilding and there is a small gap between the buildings. There are no exposed foundations for the western side of the conversion and there are substantial concerns as to the noise coming from within the outbuilding if it were to be converted in particular because there is no existing wall or soundproofing properties on the western edge of the outbuilding which is only inches from Walden House.

12. Paragraph 4.7 of the statement refers to the fact that the proposed annex is intended to be used for relatives of the occupants of the main dwelling for a significant period of time, but states that the building could be used by occupants of the main dwelling for various incidental activities, such as games/play room, home office or studio space. This does not support the proposed annex being an annex within the SPD and the concerns about noise and disturbance is exacerbated by the applicant's potential to use the proposed annex for various incidental activities.

13. It also gives rise to concerns that if permission were to be granted for this proposed conversion/extension, that the proposed annex would be rented out to business users as there would be no significant degree of separation from the proposed annex and Walden House.

Out of character

14. The proposed development lies in an area which is characterised by loose-knit development in an informal layout. Dwellings are set within spacious plots and are served by generous private amenity spaces. To east of and further beyond to the south of the application site are open agricultural fields.

15. The proposal would seek to convert the outbuilding to an annex and extensively extend the existing building. This would mean that the spacious, loose-knit nature of properties in this area, which are served by generous amenity spaces, and are not built very close together, would be eroded by the proposed layout of the plot 1m from the boundary with Walden House. The introduction of an annex at the site, with associated domestic paraphernalia, would mean that residential development in this location would be intensified, in a more urban layout which would be totally out of keeping with the urban grain of this location, in the open countryside.

Low Housing Supply

16. In response to paragraphs 4.10-4.15 of the statement, it is submitted that;

i) It is a proposed annex which forms part of this application and in these circumstances would not provide a boost to the supply of housing land;

ii) Due to the nature and limited scope of the proposed development the social benefits of the development are negligible;

iii) The area is not enhanced by the proposed development and intensifies the site and has the potential to add another dwelling very close to the immediate neighbour, Walden House, and has a detrimental impact on the countryside, the character of properties in the area and would have a significant effect on the level of amenity enjoyed by occupants of Walden House.

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