Report by Head of Planning and Regulatory Services
At its meeting on 21 December 2011, the Committee agreed to continue consideration of this application to the January PPSL Committee meeting. The Principal Planning Officer spoke to the terms of supplementary report number 5 which advised on the discussions which took place with the Applicant at the pre-application stage. He also spoke to the terms of supplementary report number 6 tabled at the meeting which advised and commented on an email circulated to Members by the Applicant. The Principal Planning Officer then discussed in detail various slides showing the location of the site, access to the site, the trees to be removed from the site and the extent of the woodland Tree Preservation Order. He confirmed receipt of 13 letters of objection and 10 letters of support. He recommended to Members that they refuse the application for the reasons set out in supplementary planning report number 1.
The site is located in the rear, unmaintained, overgrown garden area of 7 Laggary Park and is of a size which can easily accommodate the proposed dwelling. The removal of the invasive shrubbery on the site and replacement with specimen planting and blossoming trees will in my opinion enhance the conservation area at this particular point. The site predominantly faces Pier Road and the new dwelling would access on to this road and there is precedent for a monobloc access from the road 20 metres from the application site with the access into Laggary Cottage. With effective screening, governed by condition, it would not be possible to see the dwelling from Laggary House as Laggary House could not be seen from this site and therefore the proposed dwelling would have no impact on the Laggary estate. There are no issues with design of the proposed dwelling, in fact there is a similar recently built home some 400 metres from the site which has been built in a sub-divided plot. The application site is currently overgrown bounded by a semi-derelict wall which will be rebuilt in stone, governed by condition. The provision of this dwelling house would provide an overall upgrading of the wider streetscene on Pier Road and is consistent with the mixed housing on the street evidenced by a locality survey which confirms that directly opposite the site are 34 RSL homes and a modern estate, further along the road there is a period house, Laggary Lodge, which is flanked on two sides by modern houses, to the north and adjacent to the proposed site is Laggary Cottage which sits directly opposite the modern estate on Glebefield Road and next to that is the Coach House which is directly opposite a modern detached house within integral garage (Glebe Cottage) followed by the modern houses of Torr Crescent. In my opinion the eclectic mix of dwellings in the immediate vicinity of the application site means that the proposed dwelling will not be visually intrusive or discordant within the locale. Given that the development is well designed and the form, location and scale respects the character and appearance of the neighbourhood and is compatible with the mixed streetscene within a semi-rural settlement, it is consistent with Policy LP ENV 14 and STRAT DC 1 of the Structure Plan. The development is consistent with the established settlement pattern in that Laggary Park, adjacent to the site, is set back from the main road. It adds a quality dwelling into the housing mix, addresses issues of unsightly, overgrown and neglected land and infrastructure and thereby improves the amenity, integrity and sustainability of the neighbourhood within the wider Conservation Area of Rhu. In so doing the proposed development protects, restores and enhances the original character of the area and is consistent with Policies LP ENV 1, LP ENV 14, LP ENV 19 and Appendix A of the Local Plan.
The proposed dwelling house will be set in a small part of a larger wooded area which is covered by Tree Preservation Order number 27 dated March 13th 1972. The development will cause the loss of only two Category B trees and five Category C trees. The loss of the two Category B trees which are the only ones described as in good condition, although each is showing evidence of decay and cavities, can be mitigated by the requirement to replant more appropriate, younger and healthy trees which will reinvigorate the woodland in this area. The loss of seven trees could in the overall scale of this particular woodland TPO be considered to be de minimus. The TPO allows for the felling of any tree within the plan if, “it is immediately required for the purpose of carrying out development authorised by a planning permission granted on an application” . The TPO also allows for the felling of trees in “the interests of safety” and it is obvious from a site visit and the submitted professional tree survey report that many trees on the application site have been felled for such a reason in the past and many of them will require to be felled in the future for safety reasons as many of them are showing signs of weaknesses indicated by signs of age and decay such as bifurcation, trifurcation, forked and wounded stems, suppressed canopies, cavities and damaged bark. The extant TPO does not specify single trees or groups of trees and is therefore a woodland TPO. Under these circumstances Section 167, paragraph B, of the current Planning Act exempts trees removed, uprooted or destroyed at a time authorised by Section 160 (6)(a) (where immediately required to be removed in the interests of safety). Therefore, given the condition of the seven trees to be removed and that the applicant can be compelled to replant as a condition of consent, it is in the interests of amenity and conservation that permission should be granted as this would ensure the viability and integrity of the extant woodland Tree Preservation Order by ensuring a replanting schedule by condition. This is consistent with Policy LP ENV7 in that the development only has minor consequences for the overall woodland TPO.
Given all of these points and consistency with current policy, I move that consent be granted, subject to conditions in respect of the boundary wall and planting schedule, which will require seven trees to be replaced, to be agreed by the Chair and Vice Chair of the PPSL.
Moved by Councillor Vivien Dance, seconded by Councillor Rory Colville.
To agree the Planner’s recommendation to refuse the application for the reasons stated in supplementary planning report number 1.
Moved by Councillor Al Reay, seconded by Councillor Gordon Chalmers.
The vote was taken by a show of hands. On there being an equality of votes, the Chair gave his casting vote for the Amendment and the Committee resolved accordingly.
That planning permission be refused for the following reasons:-
The site is located in the rear garden area of 7 Laggary Park. The
existing character of
(Reference: Report by Head of Planning and Regulatory Services dated 2 September 2011, Supplementary Report 1 dated 19 September 2011, Supplementary Report 2 dated 3 October 2011, Supplementary Report 3 dated 3 October 2011, Supplementary Report 4 dated 7 December 2011, Supplementary Report 5 dated 7 December 2011, submitted and Supplementary Report 6 dated 16 January 2012, tabled)