“So, Asbo’s next door neighbour submits a Planning application for house extensions that might overlook his property, might reduce his privacy and might place his house and gardens in a shadow.
Incredibly, according to the report of the Planning Officer, he doesn’t take up his legal right to comment, never mind object!
Slow down…… is this the Asbo we know? Is it Asbo Akhtar
Read on, because the neighbours Application was rejected anyway on June 24th 2013
The planning application got short shrift from the Officers.
“Discussions during the determination of the application have identified that it is not possible to support a scheme of this nature nor would any amendments make it acceptable” they wrote.
For Planners this is dramatic stuff offering no hope for Asbo’s neighbour. No amendments can make it acceptable, so get lost and don’t come back.
However reading the Planners assessment and recommendations I have concerns.
The officers identify the criteria by which it should be assessed as its impact upon:
1) the character and appearance of the host property
2) impact on the streetscene; and
3) the amenity of neighbouring residents
On point 1 there is a statement that
“In respect of the extensions hereby proposed and the requirements of the aforementioned policy guidance, it is considered that ……the designs of the extensions are in accordance with the requirements of the aforementioned policies and guidance”.
No problem there then.
On point 2 there is a statement that Streetscene has no objections save for the materials used in a boundary wall (not affecting Asbo) where it feels that the wood proposed will not blend well with the brick of an adjacent wall. A minor point on only a minor part of the application. Such would normally be discussed and a compromise easily and cheaply reached.
No real prolem there then,
On point 3) the amenity of neighbouring residents – here we go… It should be pointed that the property cannot be seen from the rear and the property on one side is owned by the same people proposing the extension.
The only other property affected is that owned by Asbo, who remember either doesn’t know of the application or has rejected his legal right to oppose the application.
Here the report states that the proposed extension might have a negative impact in the form shadow or loss of privacy, presumably to number 57.
However while it refers to dimensions it actually fails to specify how other than in general terms. It uses what some call “Planner guff”; meaning reference to policies and plans that are too general to give clear guidance including some excuses for their rejection appearing to ignore the spirit of the government’s 2012 planning regulation changes
One such piece of guff adds another twist:
Amenity is a planners generic term to cover things like the privacy of your home and your desire not to be overlooked and the amount of sunshine that can hit ones garden. Loss of such because of a newdevelopment would once have been pertinent to consideration of an application, however it would never have automatically led to a rejection.
The officers report states that it’s duty to protect a neighbours “Amenity” and thereby reject the application is covered i the Rotherham Unitary Development Plan 1999. It also refers to “Emerging Supplementary Planning Guidance” as covering the issue of Amenity. Remember that Emerging in this case means unapproved and there at best optional and potentially irrelevant.
They are cited as the key legal justifications of the proposed extension application.
In fact such would probably never have led to an automatic and so total a rejection of an application. Walls can be built, windows repositioned etc.
However. 3 years ago a professional colleague o mine attended a Planning Committee Meeting and heard a Planner state that loss of Amenity in the form of natural light, house or garden privacy were no longer consider relevant and their loss irrelevant to adjudication of planning applications in Rotherham.
This was re stated in conversations he had with the Planners as it impacted upon one of his own projects. In other words at that time they were either no longer applying or interpreting Amenity according to the 1999 Guidance.
Yet it is cited by the Planner in this case as the sole justification for an absolute rejection.
This situation generates some interesting questions.”
But incredibly Asbo didn’t say a dickie bird.