Another major property renovation is being carried out in architecturally sensitive Penarth Conservation Area – without planning permission .
The latest such scheme involves the installation of front, side and rear dormer-extensions (together with rooflights) on a substantial Victorian stone-built semi-detached villa called “Monkton House” – situated on the corner of Marine Parade and Holmesdale Place (opposite “Gardenhurst“).
Work was started on the property on November 11th 2015 without planning permission having been obtained.
A retrospective planning application was submitted a month later by Steve Simpson in association with John Wotton Architects – the parties who are also involved in the development of the Gardenhurst property across the way .
The proposed rear dormer is 3m wide X 2.8m deep and created by extending the existing roof line rearwards. Roof-lights have also been installed in the rear roof.
The front dormer is 2.2m wide X 2.5m deep and positioned centrally in main front roof elevation (overlooking Marine Parade).
The ridge of the dormer would be 0.5 metres below the existing roof ridge.
Several “roof-lights” would also be installed along with a “pyramid skylight” behind the front roof .
Planning committee chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) reminded members they should have already seen a letter of objection received from a neighbour.
In response to Cllr Martin Turner, Cllr Thomas confirmed that the committee had previously said that it did not want retrospective applications because it “kind of feels like you having your arm put behind your back.” But, he added “What we said was we would look at them as if they were new applications – on their merits – and forget the fact that they are already there” .
Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) said “I think a number of people think they will get away with it by putting up [a development] and having a retrospective [ planning application] but I think somebody has learned quite a hard lesson the other way in an area not too far away from here.” He thought that what had happened with the Vale of Glamorgan Council in that instance would “probably discourage” people in future from attempting to do so.
Cllr Roberts said he found the Monkton House application “difficult to visualise” because of the number “bits and pieces” – particularly the proposed “pyramid roof light” which he said “ I don’t quite understand”. If the plan was as it appeared to him, he thought it was “completely inappropriate” and there appeared to be “higgledy-piggledy Velux-type windows ” . Cllr Roberts said “I think our comment should be to the Vale that we do have concerns, particularly over the balance of the extension” – and the council should ask the Vale planning officers to “look at it carefully“.
Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said he did not entirely agree with Cllr Roberts . When the council was looking at a retrospective application it had a duty to comment on it and not “let it go by default” . He said the building in question formed a part of what is known as “three pediments”. Two of these pediments fronted Marine Parade and the third fronted Holmesdale Place .
Cllr Ernest said the dormer windows (which were already now in place) “completely destroyed the design-concept of this elegant and prominent Victorian building”. He said the dormer facing Marine Parade “adversely affects the symmetry of the roofline – as there is no dormer on the adjoining house”. Cllr Ernest said the dormer on the Western side of the building “overwhelms the north-facing pediment” – which would be evident to anyone approaching the property from Plymouth Road .
Cllr Ernest said that Monkton House and its neighbouring property formed “a gateway into a significant part of the Conservation area.” . He said “I feel this development has gone ahead without the benefit of planning consent , in a Conservation Area and I believe that breaks all the rules “.
Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said if this scheme had come to the committee as a normal fresh application [ prior to any work being started ] he would have been against it . In this case however , the application had come in retrospectively – and he was “certainly against it now“. It would be wrong to accept a plan as a retrospective application if that same plan would have been rejected had it been submitted as a fresh application. It was giving developers an advantage by “not putting in a planning application”.
The final decision on the Monkton House application had been due to be made by on a “delegated” basis by a Vale of Glamorgan planning officer. However Cllr Williams (who is also a member of the planning committee of the Vale of Glamorgan Council) confirmed that he would be “calling in” the Monkton House application for consideration by the full Vale of Glamorgan planning committee.
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Cornerswell) said he thought Cllr Ernest had “made some very good points”. In a Conservation Area, Cllr Wilson said, “people have to got to stick to the rules”. He said “I am constantly amazed by the people who do this sort of thing ” and said he was surprised that developers did not consult the Vale of Glamorgan Council first – before embarking on such work given there was “a lot of money” involved in such developments. Cllr Wilson – who as a Vale planning member himself said he would be looking at the matter afresh in that committee – said “I am slightly aghast why people go through all this process” .
Cllr Neil Thomas – in the chair – agreed . He said the number of people who thought they could just go ahead and were “gaming the system“ was staggering. The Vale Council had taken action in respect of another recent case in Penarth and hopefully would do so in this case.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts said he was not of the view that retrospective applications did not matter. It was “clearly insulting and presumptive” on the part of developers – but, he reminded members, the planning committee still had “a duty to consider it on its merits – not on the fact that the cheeky bugger tried to do it on their own.” Cllr Roberts added “People obviously feel stronger about it than I do . I just think you can’t get a grip on what it is and that’s why I wanted to express concerns and ask the [Vale planning] officer to look at it”.
Cllr Clive Williams said he could not understand why the homeowner had not consulted the neighbours .Cllr Thomas said a number of the neighbours in the area were “incandescent“ about the development .
It will now come before the full Vale of Glamorgan Planning Committee unless rejected by the Vale Council’s planning officers beforehand.
Monkton House was reported by Rightmove last year to have been sold subject to contract for a total of £945,000 .