Ashdene Manor seen from Bridgeman Road – with the steel shuitters in place
Members of Penarth Town Council’s planning committee seemed to be less than fully-briefed when they discussed a new planning application for the development of one of Penarth’s treasured sea-front mansions “Ashdene Manor “ on Bridgeman Road – within the Penarth Conservation Area.
The new application follows the deferment in March 2017 [by the then Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan planning committee] – of the previous, very similar Ashdene Manor planning application for “further officer consultation”.
An impression of the ORIGINAL 2017 Steve Smith planning application for Ashdene which was DEFERRED (Image courtesy John Wotton architects Architects) ,
The council’s foot-dragging provoked the developer – Steve Simpson – to lodge a Planning Inspectorate appeal against the Vale Council.
Mr G Powys Jones – acting for Mr Simpson – said his client “understandably, is aggrieved with this inexcusable delay, and accordingly has decided to appeal on the grounds of non-determination.” On behalf of Mr Simpson, Mr Jones noted that the Vale Council planning officers also stated that “a level of affordable housing would need to be provided on the site, together with other financial contributions.” – and had gone on make a (subsequently contested) claim that Mr Simpson had “agreed to these matters”
In adjudicating – and rejecting – Mr Simpson’s appeal last year the Planning Inspector said the issue was whether the scheme made “adequate provision for affordable housing and public open space, having particular regard to the viability of the development.”
Now Steve Simpson has submitted a second application for Ashdene Manor which is about the same size as the original (deferred) design but has reduced the size of the upper windows following points made in the Vale Planning committee back in March 2017.
The new 2018 revised design for Ashdene Manor – as it would look facing Bridgeman Road
Like the 2017 design, the 2018 design involves the “conversion of existing house [ i.e. Ashdene itself ] into 3 apartments. Extensions to property to provide a further 6 apartments” in two new wings either side of the main mansion . [ i.e. a grand total of 9 apartments]
PENARTH COUNCIL PLANNING COMMITTEE
The members of the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council planning committee seemed largely unaware of the detailed background when they came consider the new 2018 application.
The chairman of the committee Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines ) misleadingly advised councillors that “This application considerably increases the size to 3 flats in the house and 9 apartments. [ PDN Note: The actual number apartments is NOT 3+9 =12 . It is actually (as before) 3+6 = 9.]
Cllr Angela Thomas (Labour Plymouth Ward )
Cllr Angela Thomas (Labour Plymouth Ward) – in whose constituency the site is located – seemed to be unfamiliar with the property and its location .
She said “I was just looking at it on my phone and where it was on Bridgeman Road and whether it’s the same property that’s been an eyesore for a very long time. It is in need of development – that site. It’s been stood there, delapidating, for a very long time . Even though I do think the plans do seem quite monstrous to me, we are in need of more housing. It does mean that the site will be developed. I just think that it’s slightly dangerous – the plans overdevelop the plot. ” She said something “a bit more in keeping with the area” was required.
Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative St Augustines)
Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) referred to the site plan and said “Quite clearly you can see the original building there . You can see the two wings which have been built-on which really emphasise the building and it’s now a filled plot”.[PDN Note: For clarity, no building work has yet taken place on the site]
Cllr Turner said “most of the houses in that particular part of Penarth are in their own grounds. Now this is going to be filling the site – as the previous application was “ . He added that he was not quite sure what the difference was between the new application and the previous application. [ PDN Note: The major difference is that the new plans have smaller top-floor windows on the wings than did the earlier design.]
Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council
Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines), who is deputy planning chairman, inaccurately recalled that “There was certainly one application with one side and another one with both sides ” . [ PDN Note: There was an earlier 7 apartment proposal with two wings – not one]
Cllr Turner had said that the proposals meant not quite building to the boundaries of the plot, but not far off them.
Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines)
Cllr Humphrey, in the chair, said the application would change the nature of the Ashdene and the nature of the conservation area
Cllr Cuddy said the developers should be “subtracting” [from the size of each wing] rather than adding to them.
Cllr Turner said if the proposed wings on either side were smaller, the development might be more aethetically pleasing – but it was not the job of the committee to make recommendations to the architect.
Cllr Jon Luxton (Labour Stanwell)
Cllr Jon Luxton (Labour Stanwell) said that if one looked “next door” – [ at the wrecked mansion Normandy] he feared for the possible knock-on effects of development being delayed.
Cllr Humphrey brought his experience of the French planning system to bear – saying that in France, development plans were required to include the relation of the proposed development to existing buildings on either side . None of the Ashdene development drawings did that he said.
Cllr Turner said “I think it’s continued overdevelopment of the area and it’s not in keeping with the Conservation Area”.
It was this observation which was recorded as the collective opinion of the Penarth planning committee and which will now be passed,as a recommendation, to the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Planning Committee which will make the final decision.
[PDN Note: The Penarth planning committee failed to comment on the issue of affordable housing, seemed unaware that 2018 Ashdene design is of the same size and scale as the previous 2017 design and perhaps had not seen last year’s Planning Inspectorate adjudication which said “It is common ground between the main parties that the size, design and impact of the development on the existing dwelling and the wider Conservation Area would be acceptable.” ]