Well the sailors return from their first trip at sea. Were they victorious? Well perhaps not but we are certainly feeling positive after the meeting!
As when you meet anyone for the first meeting the air is a little uneasy, the response a little cold but by the end of our time with the council there were smiles and even a few laughs.
My initial feeling was that we had not got our moneys worth from the meeting but on reflection I think what is potentially worth more is the fact we were able to sit in front of someone, put a face to a name and that there is now someone within the council who knows who you are and what you are about.
The initial impression of the council was one of a distinct lack of preparation, which we were to find out was apparently to do with some confusion over the actual site address.
Further I believe that what appeared to be the distinct lack of any major points of concern was hopefully that; simply there were not many!
Given we were expecting to have to address multiple issues the distinct lack of conversation topics has to be considered a good thing!
After talking around the issue itself, it seems that when our 2 new friends had discussed our site with their senior managers there was some concern, which was regarding amenity space, in the form of:
a.) Could a plot of this size actually accommodate a house
b.) Sufficient ‘useable’ amenity space…whatever that means.
I don’t think they were overly keen on the small amounts of space all around the house and would rather see a larger chunk of amenity space in one area.
Despite us asking the question (albeit it slightly differently) several times this seemed to be the number 1 (and only) issue or concern.
What I must give them credit for is that even though our 2 hour meeting only lasted 45 minutes they have offered to review alterations to our drawings, based on the discussions we had. 2 more alternative schemes we present to them will be discussed with management prior to them providing us detailed feedback in the form of a letter. (One of these is a part 1, part 2 storey house.)
Perhaps they felt this was needed given the slight lack of preparation on their part but they did actually seem willing to thrash out another couple of ideas with us, based on the above, to give us the best possible chance.
So by the time we do get that detailed advice letter and have had the chance to table, in total, 3 proposals and discuss them will we have had our monies worth? Yep, I think so, absolutely!
Although they actually acknowledged that they should be giving more consideration/giving more credit to more ‘eco-friendly’ proposals (when clearly they are not) it seems this factor may give us, at best, a ‘point of difference’ which perhaps assists as a counter argument to an objection.
They did like the green roof however – that was the one positive confirmation they did give, so that’s not bad I guess, we’ll take that!
The last question on my mind was what position that letter puts us in once received – I tried to ask this question direct to determine: ‘…will this letter state that if we address ‘x, y, & z’, and then if a planning application is made it will be supported?’ The answer: Yes.
So we now have 2 faces, names and email addresses. I would say that is a pretty good outcome…. Hopefully the work done on the new proposals gets us even closer…