Work on developing the Victorian villa Monkton House went ahead without planning permission having been obtained first

Work on developing the Victorian villa Monkton House (on the corner of Marine Marade and Holmesdale Place) went ahead without planning permission having been obtained first

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“).

Rear Window: The new unauthorised rear dormer which overlooks neighbours' homes

Rear Window: The new unauthorised rear dormer which overlooks neighbours’ homes

The proposed and actually-built) new rear dormer window was singled-out for criticism by councillors

The proposed (and actually-built) new rear dormer window was singled-out for criticism by councillors

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 illegally-built new front dormer Monkton House is in the centre of the picture

The illegally-built new front dormer at Monkton House is in the centre of the picture

The proposed new frotn dormer window on Monkton House would - and in fact does - overlook Marine Parade.

The  new front dormer window on Monkton House  overlooks Marine Parade.

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.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) chairman of the planning committee has had its recommendation overturned.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) chairman of the planning committee

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)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

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)

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

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 saidI 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)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

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 Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

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 thingand 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”.

Many of the "Velux copnservation area rooflights" are already in place

Many of the “Velux conservation area rooflights” are already in place

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 .

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  1. Tom says:

    What complete arrogance. Who do people think they are to ignore planning laws and assume the council will roll over? I find it completely unacceptable that work on a property such as this – in a prominent position on a flagship road in the conservation area – has been allowed to continue. Others must apply for planning permission, why do those laws not apply here? It’s not supposed to be the wild West.

  2. anne says:

    Impossible to believe this was an oversight by the applicant. Penarth conservation areas must be preserved and unacceptable developments stopped or many will try and get away with destroying our heritage.

  3. Tom says:

    The dormer’s look extremely larger than in the plans..

  4. Louise C says:

    Is the council able to issue a fine for starting work without planning permission? A hefty financial penalty, regardless of whether permission is granted retrospectively, might deter people in future.

    • AK says:

      Sadly Councils can only do what is specifically permitted in legislation, and I’m fairly sure they have no such power.

      They do however have the power (after lengthy procedures) to order the householder to knock down the illegal development.

  5. jtr69 says:

    This is nothing less than architectural thuggery. This has been done by someone with zero taste. So disappointing to see someone with the audacity to put up a white UPVC facia on such a beautiful Victorian gem and permanently damage the beautiful symmetry of the building. John Wooton architects should be reported to the RIBA for this example of crass, thoughtless design? What a shame. I hope that the planners have the courage to do the right thing and have this carbuncle removed.

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