Planning and Development

Appeal against HMO refusal dismissed

An appeal against a refusal by Ashford Borough Council (ABC) to issue a Lawful Development Certificate for the existing use of a house in Bond Road as a large House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) has been dismissed.

The Planning Inspector has agreed with ABC that the applicant has failed to provide sufficient evidence that the house in question has been used as a large HMO continuously for ten years.

The request for a Lawful Development Certificate followed an earlier application for planning permission for change of use of the property to a Large HMO. That application was refused because “The proposed change of use, due to insufficient onsite parking, would result in an unacceptable impact in on-street parking to the detriment of existing nearby residents and the surrounding road network. Further, any vehicles attempting to park at the front would result in vehicles overhanging the footpath to the detriment of pedestrian safety.” contrary to Policy HOU11 of the Ashford Local Plan.

Under the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 the Local Planning Authority (LPA) cannot take enforcement action against a breach of planning control after defined time limits. In the case of a change of use to an HMO the limit is ten years; after which the use becomes lawful.

Consultation on planning system reforms

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is consulting on two sets of reforms to the planning system.

The first, Changes to the current planning system, includes:

  • changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need
  • securing of First Homes through developer contributions
  • temporarily lifting the small sites threshold
  • extending the current Permission in Principle to major development

This is likely to increase the assessed need for housing in Ashford.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-current-planning-system

The second, Planning for the future, relates to the wider changes that have been announced by the government. The Government press release states that the proposals include:

  • plans to overhaul outdated planning system and reform the way the country builds
  • Plans to streamline process, cut red tape and harness technology to deliver homes faster
  • Valued green spaces protected for future generations, with more building on brownfield land
  • Building beautiful homes with communities at heart of new planning system
  • 30% discount through First Homes, with an emphasis on key workers

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/launch-of-planning-for-the-future-consultation-to-reform-the-planning-system

East Stour Park appeal

image of development

The developer of the proposed East Stour Park development at junction of Romney Marsh Road and north of, Norman Road has appealed the decision by Ashford Borough Council to refuse the application.

The Council’s planning committee voted to refuse the application against officer recommendations following representations from South Ashford Community and a local resident. The Ward Councillor also spoke against granting permission. The reasons given for refusal rested primarily on the site’s location in Ashford’s Green Corridor.

The developer has asked for the appeal to be considered at a hearing rather than by submitted representations, citing a complex mix of considerations and claiming that Ashford Borough Council no longer have a five year housing land supply.

Homeplus development amendments

A revised set of plans has been posted on the Ashford Borough Council planning website for the redevelopment of the Homeplus site.

A decision on the planning application was deferred by the Planning Committee when the application was considered on 17th June 2020: for Officers to seek clarification and scheme amendments as necessary from the applicant to deal with Improvements to the overall quality of design across the whole site based on Members’ comments on design issues.

The amendments to the scheme include a reduction by one storey of the Beaver Road block and changes to the roof line, which to an extent addresses comments by South Ashford Community Forum. Materials have been changed across the design and heights have been adjusted in other parts of the proposal.

The changes result in a reduction of seven in the number of flats proposed.

Addressing another comment made by SACF, the amended documents include an Energy Strategy that shows an improvement on Building Regulations maximum carbon emissions of 22% compared with 5% for the previous scheme.

A revised Financial Viability Assessment asserts that the developer would be unable to pay the S106 contributions requested by the Council (valued at £1.3m).

ABC Planning case ref: 19/01597/AS

Homeplus decision deferred

Homeplus proposals elevation

Yesterday evening (17 June 2020), Ashford Borough Council’s Planning Committee deferred a decision on the proposal by A Better Choice for Property for the redevelopment of the Homeplus site on the corner of Beaver Road and Avenue Jacques Faucheux. The reasons sited were quality of design and massing of the proposals. The vote to defer was taken after a motion to Refuse the application failed. A motion to Permit was not seconded.

The meeting papers and a link to view the recording of the meeting are at: 
https://ashford.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=139&MId=3821
The application is at:
https://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=113996

East Stour Park decision

Riverside view of proposed development

The decision notice for the East Stour Park development has been published by Ashford Borough Council.

The reason given or refusal is:

The proposal would be contrary to Policies SP1 and ENV2 of the Ashford Local Plan (ALP) 2030, the Green Corridor Action Plan 2017 supporting the ALP and policies in the NPPF and would be harmful to interests of acknowledged planning importance for the following reasons;

  1. the application site is located within the designated Ashford Green Corridor and the proposed residential development is not compatible with, or ancillary to, the principal role and current use of the application site and would be harmful to the existing visual function of this part of the Green Corridor through the loss of an important undeveloped open space ‘buffer’ located between the existing built-up area to the west and the A2042 located to the east,
  2. as a consequence of (a) above, the proposal would result in a detrimental change to the landscape character and visual amenity of this part of the Green Corridor,
  3. the proposal would give rise to a detrimental change in the ability of the site to continue to function as a wide undeveloped corridor supporting varied wildlife habitat, wildlife connectivity and biodiversity,
  4. the proposal would result in unjustified residential development on land which is flood zone 3, and
  5. the site is not a brownfield site and the proposal would not provide overriding planning benefits sufficient to outweigh the significant harms identified above.