[NOTE: The Planning Officer updated the Committee that since the report had been published the agent had provided an amended plan of the outbuilding. This had not been considered fully by Officers, but it was unlikely to alter the Officer recommendation to refuse. The agent had also provided further ecological information, however the Planning Officer advised that this did not alter their recommendation.]
The Committee agreed to consider the following two applications together.
The Committee considered the application PLAN/2022/0289 which proposed the erection of single storey side and rear extensions, erection of outbuilding to rear and works to restore and repair listed building.
The Committee considered application PLAN/2022/0290 which proposed listed Building Consent was sought for the erection of single storey side and rear extensions and internal and external works to restore and repair the listed building.
The Chairman queried why an ecological report was required for this application when similar extensions that had been built in the area had not required one. The Planning Officer explained that this was due to the history of the site; a previous application for the site proposed the current dwelling be demolished and two dwellings be built in place had required an Ecological Survey to be carried out which had shown evidence of bats. Since the existence of bats had been discovered, this requirement had now been carried through any subsequent applications for the site.
The Committee questioned why the application had been called in to the Committee by Councillor M Ali, who was not present at the meeting. The Chairman advised that she had contacted the Councillor who had explained that it was due to the lack of consistency regarding the Ecological Survey. The Planning Officer had now addressed this point as detailed above.
Some Members of the Committee acknowledged residents’ frustration regarding the building as it had remained empty for a long time and in its current state it attracted antisocial behaviour. If approved, the application would set a precedent in the area. Members of the Committee had been contacted by many residents in support of the application, however comments were made by some Councillors regarding the importance the NPPF placed on the special character of listed buildings and some members thought that the mass and dominating effect did not respect the scale of the listed building.
Following a comment from a Member regarding removal of trees from the site, it was confirmed that the Aboricultural Officer had not made any objections.
Some Members commented that the application was not perfect, however it would be better than the current situation. Councillor T Aziz agreed with viewpoint and commented that the proposed application would be better than the current situation and that the listed building features would be retained. He agreed that the proposed outbuilding was too large but was interested to see the amended plan that had been submitted since the report had been published. Councillor T Aziz proposed, and it was duly seconded by Councillor S Dorsett, that the application be deferred to the next meeting so that the Committee could receive an updated Ecological Report and view the amended plan for the outbuilding.
The Planning Officer advised that to date the additional ecological information consisted of two emails from an Ecologist that stated no bats were found. This was not sufficient, and a formal Ecological Report would need to be submitted in an acceptable format. The Committee queried whether the Planning Officers would be confident that this could be brought back to the next meeting on 8 November 2022. Thomas James commented that following receipt of an Ecological Survey, a re-consultation process with Surrey Wildlife Trust would also need to be factored in, which would mean this would not come back to the meeting on 8 November 2022.
Planning Officers commented that the amended outbuilding plans received only proposed a 10% reduction in mass, which they considered to still be unacceptable.
That the applications be deferred to a future meeting, for the reasons detailed in the minutes.