07 January 2015

Planning Applciation: 26 Inglemere Road

An application has been made to convert a building to the rear of 26 Inglemere Road to a one bedroom dwelling. The application can be viewed on Lewisham website.

The Forest Hill Society has written to the council to express our concerns regarding this application:

1. Inaccurate and inadequate documentation
1.1  I am surprised the application was validated as the documents contradict each other.  The application and Design & Access Statement refer to a 1-bedroom, single storey building, yet the the Proposed Plans clearly show a staircase and area for a potential lift, and a Basement plan has also been submitted.  Why was this application validated if the submitted papers were inaccurate?

1.2 There are no photos of the existing building, only photos of an empty site.  Has an 'existing building' actually been constructed?  Aerial maps currently on Google and Bing do not show a building on this site.  If it has been built, has it ever been used for its original purpose for storage?  Without photos of the existing building how can anyone judge the Planning, design and access statement's claim that "the appearance ... is similar to its existing relationship"?

1.3 The Parking Study in the Design & Access Statement doesn't include the position of the proposed building.  Judging from drawings that do show the building and using its position in relation to 26 Inglemere Road to estimate where the proposed building is sited, it appears that the space required for turning a car would overlap with the building itself.  And if the plans in the Design & Access Statement are correct, there will be a below-ground-level patio on the western side of the house which will further reduce the area for a car to turn.

2. Lifetime Homes: poor provision for wheelchair access

There is an external ramp down to the front door but the area in front of the door doesn't seem large enough to allow a wheelchair to turn into the building.  And is the hallway large enough for a wheelchair user to get through the front door and manoeuvre around?

3. Circumvention of planning policies

The Decision Notice (dated October 2012) granting the application for the original outbuilding (DC/12/80972/X | The construction of a single storey outbuilding in the rear garden of 26 Inglemere Road SE23) imposed an additional condition that the building should not be used as residential accommodation:

"Additional Condition

The outbuilding hereby approved must only be used for storage and purposes incidental to the enjoyment of flat 1, 26 Inglemere Road and not as residential accommodation or for any commercial activities.

Reason for the imposition of the Additional Condition
The use of the outbuilding as a separate commercial or residential unit would not comply with the local planning authority's normal policies in respect of such schemes, with particular regard to the protection of residential amenity, in accordance with policy 15 High quality design for Lewisham in the adopted Core Strategy (June 2011) and saved policies URB 3 Urban Design, URB 6 Alterations and Extensions and HSG 4 Residential Amenity of the adopted Unitary Development Plan (July 2004)"
I see no reason why this condition should not be enforced and the current application refused.  I am concerned to see the Application Form states that pre-application advice has indicated that the application is acceptable in principle.  Residential use was not acceptable in 2012 so why is it acceptable now?  If this application is granted it will appear that the applicant has successfully circumvented planning policies by a method of incremental planning applications.

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