The next-door neighbours of a house in Knowbury Avenue – which the owners want to turn from a 2-bedroomed dwelling into a 5-bedroom house – last night attended Penarth Town Council’s planning committee meeting in person to convince councillors to oppose the scheme.
Councillors were considering an application by the owner of 10 Knowbury Avenue to build a two-storey side and rear extension to the existing two-bedroomed dwelling, plus an entrance porch , new raised deck, and various other features.
The Town Clerk Emma Boyden reported to councillors that the scheme involved extending the property right up to its boundary with the house next door – No 8 Knowbury Avenue, which is the home of Mr and Mrs Jarvis, the couple who had asked for permission to address the planning committee.
Planning Committee chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) noted that the “the proposed extension is considerably bigger than the original property” and invited Mr and Mrs Jarvis to address the committee.
Mrs Jarvis said the objections that she and her husband had to their neighbour’s proposed extension were that it was “unsympathetic in appearance to adjacent properties, it is visually oppressive and overbearing, and it shows a total disregard of construction requirements”.
Mrs Jarvis told the committee that there were 24 houses in Knowbury Avenue, many of which had been extended – but in most cases this had been done at the rear of the properties. The width of the original frontages had been left unchanged .
She said if the plan went ahead her home would be uniquely affected by having a large two-storey side extension and a large two-storey rear extension erected in very close proximity to it .
Mrs Jarvis also pointed out that as No.10 was on a higher ground level than No.8 and therefore the proposed extensions would “present an oppressive and overbearing structure”.
Also, because the Jarvis’s dining room window faces south, the proposed extension would also “involve a significant loss of natural light”. She said she and her husband would be “the neighbours most negatively affected by the current application”.
In the ensuing discussion Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said “From a planning point of view I always get upset when people build right up to the boundary”. He said the development was “crazy” . Knowbury Avenue was “a row of detached houses and they should stay like that” .
Cllr Neil Thomas said the applicants would be “more than doubling the footprint of their property”.
Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said that “as the ward councillor – at this moment anyway “ [an allusion to his controversial “deselection” as Vale Councillor by the Penarth Conservative Association]. Cllr Williams said he had looked at this property with neighbours and considered that the proposed front porch, replacement windows and the rear extension were acceptable but that the “two storey extensions at the side would leave a tall wall which would be extremely close to No.8 and would be extremely offensive”. Cllr Williams said that he would “bite the bullet straight away” , would recommend refusal and that he intended to “call in” the application for consideration by the full Vale of Glamorgan planning committee.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) noted that the extension of No.10 Knowbury Avenue would be directly south of No.8 – meaning that “for a large part of the year [No 8] would be in permanent shade”. He said the committee should not support the application because of the interruption to natural light .
Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said the application would be “a gross overdevelopment – the built structure would be doubled in size” . He said the practice of building up to the boundary wall “causes untold problems”. He seconded Cllr Williams’s motion to recommend refusal of the application.
Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) said he hoped the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning officer would take due note of the research which had been done on “substrates” because the development “could render the existing structures unsafe and could put both buildings at risk” .
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said one of the elements discussed had been the “right to light” which was what he described as a “tort of nuisance”. There was a 25-year time limit on that and it was a matter of civil law and not planning. Cllr Wilson also raised the other issue – whether or not the proposed development was “neighbourly” – and said he did not think that it was and he would recommend opposing the application on the grounds that “it’s a unneighbourly development and it’s not consistent with the street scene” .
Winding up the discussion Cllr Neil Thomas said the committee would recommend refusal of the application. The final decision will be made by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.