INFORMATION ON PLANNING APPLICATIONS AND REGULATIONS THAT IMPACT US ALL
This bulletin reports on the outcome of various proposals and also highlights some worrying trends.
2020/0691 and 2020/3223 – 8/14 Oatlands Drive Following refusal by Elmbridge and huge local objection to these two schemes to demolish four bungalows and replace with 51 flats in four blocks, the applicant opted to appeal. Regrettably the Appeals Inspector sided with the developer and granted permission. This outcome is most disappointing for the many local residents that objected and also for the impact such a large-scale development will have on the character of this area at the Walton Bridge end of Oatlands Drive.
2020/0832 Homebase, New Zealand Avenue, Walton Although not in Weybridge, this application is included here due to its impact on the area in general. There was huge local objection to this proposal which was duly refused consent by EBC. Again, the Appeal Inspector has allowed the Appeal thereby granting consent for a huge 222 unit care facility in a series of buildings, some 8 storeys high, including communal facilities, all grouped around landscaped areas.
2020/1560 1 Cranmer Close Following refusal by EBC for this scheme to demolish a small bungalow and erect a four-storey building for six flats, the subsequent Appeal has also been dismissed with the Inspector concluding that ‘the proposed development would be a step too far in terms of its impact on character and appearance’ adding that ‘new development needs to demonstrate how it responds and is sensitive to the character and quality of the area’.
2020/3052 1 Cranmer Close A subsequent application reducing the number of dwellings from six flats to four flats and one townhouse was also refused.
A further two schemes have since submitted:
1. 2021/1202 A Lawful Development Certificate for the continuous use of the building as a house of multiple occupancy with a total of 6 bedrooms with shared kitchen, bathroom and living accommodation was refused as it could not be established that the proposal would not adversely affect the integrity of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area of which this site is part.
2. 2021/1203 A Lawful Development Certificate for the conversion of the garage into living space was granted.
2021/0864 Oak House, 19 Queens Road The Society objected to this application to replace the existing care home with a block of 10 flats – this scheme has recently been withdrawn.
2021/0395 TWO OAKS, CASTLEVIEW ROAD/MONUMENT HILL Prior Approval to add a further two storeys to create an additional 12 flats with zero parking provision was granted in May. Despite some 30 objections, decisions on these Prior Approval schemes have to be determined within strict time frames and are therefore determined under delegated authority (ie by Planning Officers) without reference to the Planning Committee (ie our elected representatives).
IMPLICATIONS OF PLANNING RULE CHANGES
A change to planning rules means that consent is no longer required for a Change of Use from Office use to any number of other uses including Day Nurseries.
Local residents may be aware that the locally listed Salisbury House on Queens Road is to become a Day Nursery.
In addition, the latest in a long line of applications for 85 Queens Road, permission was granted for a rear extension to the former Café Rouge building with further consent given to enclose the land to the rear with a tall fence – this to surround a garden area for a Nursery with access from South Road – see 2021/0008 & 2021/1289.
2021/1879 Queensgate House, South Road A ‘Variation of Condition’ application seeks to remove a Restrictive Covenant imposed in 1991 on this office building in South Road in order to facilitate alternative use as a Day Nursery. This is currently being considered by the planners.
BROOKLANDS BUSINESS AREA – Change of Use from Office to Residential Accommodation
Planning restrictions have recently been eased enabling the conversion of offices into residential accommodation simply by seeking a Prior Approval consent. Coupled with new work patterns, it is feared that the applications for the Brooklands area are just a precursor of what seems to be a worrying trend.
2021/2040, 2021/2041, 2021/2042 and 2021/2043 – these are just the latest!
The member of our planning panel who concentrates on the St George’s Hill ward, has recently compiled an invaluable document listing all the somewhat confusing ‘Prior Approval’ schemes which have consent as well as further schemes under consideration for the buildings known collectively as Benchmark House on Brooklands Road/Locke King Road. These multiple applications, many for the same buildings, relate to ‘Change of Use’ from office accommodation to residential accommodation which, if all schemes for these 3 buildings were to come to fruition, could potentially create an additional 134 flats.
In addition to the above Benchmark House schemes, the following applications either have consent or are being considered:
The JTI Building on Members Hill (2020/3345) has Prior Approval for a total of 57 flats
Abbey House on the corner of Brooklands Road and Wellington Way, also has multiple confusing applications, the latest (2021/2479) seeks Prior Approval for a total of 34 flats – a reduction on that previously consented.
2021/2032 – 6 The Heights A Prior Approval application to convert the Hawker Building formally occupied by Proctor & Gamble into 40 dwellings.
While The Society accepts the need for more affordable housing, it is concerned that such a significant increase in the number of small dwellings concentrated in this one area of Weybridge will adversely impact the character of the town as a whole.