Pre-planning formal advice
Well the verdict is in, and the short answer, after the investment of our time and money, is ‘NO’.
I have waited a week to write this to ensure the emotion of the moment had passed and didn’t spill over into what I wrote! I think the overriding feeling is frustration more than the disappointment of the council’s answer.
Frustration that we had a meeting with the council where we repeatedly asked for any issues they had, only to find, in their final formal advice letter, that they identified a new reason for not being happy with our proposal, that was not bought up in our meeting. We now do not have the opportunity to discuss or address this point.
Here is the truly priceless paragraph from the letter: ‘However the Councils amenity space requirement for houses of two bedrooms is 40 square metres and although this standard is met, the size of the house relative to the available plot would result in a cramped and isolated form of development. Therefore it is considered that the proposal would be an overdevelopment of the site and therefore the design of the proposal would result in a building that is out of character with the area in general and would result in an unacceptable form of development’
I am not sure I even understand what that means? So we have met all the requirements but it is still not acceptable…? Why is there the minimum standard then?
You do get the feeling though that the argument of ‘overdevelopment of the site’ seems to be a catch all statement when they are just generally not that excited about the proposal and don’t have a specific policy to link it to.
If we then look at the positives, these 2 statements do follow in the letter:
‘….I am of the opinion that the construction of a detached dwellinghouse is acceptable in principle….’
‘……the site is only likely to be able to accommodate a smaller 1-bedroomed dwelling…….’
Which means that there may still be potential with the site but I do find myself starting to question the demand for a 1 bed house in the area, and unfortunately it won’t suit our needs.
So, after looking at all the possibilities the 2 options seem to be:
1. Apply for permission for the 1 bed
2. Apply for a 2 bed, knowing that it will be refused, but based on what is outlined in the letter, with a view that we would have a pretty strong case on appeal
The second option obviously involves more time and money but if successful would give you land and an end product worth far more than option 1 and also it is suitable for our needs!
The thought that we have had, however, is that we pursue the 1 bed, hopefully the path of least resistance, as we are complying with everything the council has asked of us!
This would hopefully give us something positive in a shorter space of time, if planning is approved.
We may then decide to also lodge a second application for our ideal 2 bed option, which may then hopefully be a smaller change for the council in that it is just a slight increase on what is then already granted (1 bed), rather than going from nothing to a 2 bed in first instance.
We can make that decision at the point where hopefully we have something a bit more solid behind us or at that point make the decision to simply proceed with the 1 bed, in the spirit of time.