A classic clash between next-door neighbours in Penarth came before the Vale of Glamorgan planning committee last night as two householders argued their case for and against a proposed home-extension scheme at No 10 Knowbury Avenue.
The planning application had already come before Penarth Town council’s planning committee which had recommended rejection of the scheme – but what was said to be a modified proposal was then submitted – and had been “called-in” by Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) to be considered by the full Vale planning committee.
The plan involves building a two storey side and rear extension, applying timber cladding to the front gable, installing a “raised deck area” above existing ground level on the rear lawn with a 1.6 metre high “privacy screen” either end of the raised deck.
Planning chief Marcus Goldsworthy said the original plans (which had been recommended for refusal by Penarth Town Council) had been “amended following some discussions between the planning officer and the applicant to ensure that the impact on the neighbouring property was reduced”
However the neighbours at No.8 Knowbury Avenue , Mr and Mrs Michael Jarvis, also objected to the amended scheme [as had Penarth Town Council] and elected to present their case in person to the Vale planning committee .
Mrs Jarvis said she and her husband were the neighbours most directly and most negatively affected by the proposed extension. She described the amended scheme as an “overbearing and oppressive development – completely disproportionate in scale in relation to the area of the original house “ and claimed that the “widthways extension would be detrimental to the pleasing street scene in Knowbury Avenue”.
Mr Jarvis said his dining room window faced Southwards toward the planned extension and would suffer a “significant loss of natural light” . He conceded that the revised plans represented some improvement on the original scheme – but his main objections were still relevant
Speaking for the development was Mrs Katie Smart who was speaking on behalf of herself, her husband and her daughters as the owners of 10 Knowbury Avenue.
She said she had been disappointed to hear of the objections of her neighbours as “we simply want to renovate the tired and uninhabitable and delapidated house into a lovely family home for our children to grow up in.” Mrs Smart said “It was never our intention to cause any worry or distress to our neighbour as we intend to live here for the rest of our lives.” . To meet the concerns their architect had scaled down the plans – losing two rooms in the process and had “brought in” the proposed boundary wall by a metre . She said that the proposed building would be “less overbearing than most other properties in the street. “
Mrs Smart said she and her family felt the objections to the amended plan were “unreasonable and not proportionate to the building work and the final product we are proposing”. Mrs Smart said “We are not a large developer – just an average family wanting to build a modest home”.
Cllr Jeffrey James (Conservative Rhoose) asked whether the wooden cladding proposed was consistent with the street scene?. Mrs Smart said no other property in the street had wooden cladding but 8 others nearby did. Planning chief Marcus Goldsworthy re-iterated that his officers now considered the scheme acceptable . Cllr James said he was prepared to move approval but felt the cladding was not in keeping with neighbouring properties – [additional restrictions were imposed on it].
It was Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) who encapsulated the essence of the issue by saying “We’ve got an established base of older people in Penarth who are living in properties that they’re satisfied with – and we’ve got a group of residents who wish to buy and put their own stamp on these homes with major alterations. We’ve had a classic case here tonight .”
Cllr Williams said the recommendations made by Penarth Town Council should carry far more weight than they do with the [Vale Council] officers because Penarth Council represented the views of the elected representatives – who knew what they wanted for their area. The Vale Council should, he said, give more weight to the views of Penarth Council .
Speaking of the “party-wall” issue Cllr Williams said he was sad that two neighbours had not been able to resolve their differences before coming to planning committee. A planning decision would always leave one party dissatisfied. He said his policy as a councillor had been to try to negotiate or mediate such matters “so that both parties could be happy”.
The vote was unanimously in favour of the development – with restrictions on cladding – except for Cllr Clive Williams who abstained.