The days when well-to-do homes in Penarth had their own “coach-houses” and – what’s more – actually kept coaches in them, are long gone – but Penarth Town Council’s planning committee has been considering a planning application to build a brand-new one.
The proposed scheme – which is within the architecturally-sensitive Penarth Conservation Area – involves the demolition of an existing flat-roofed garage, and building a new two-storey “garage/coach-house” at the rear of a Grade II listed home – No. 24 Archer Road Penarth.
The applicant says the new pitched-roof garage/coach-house building is to be “in keeping with others built at the rear of the property” . The new coach-house would comprise a ground floor garage with an external staircase leading up to what is described as a “first floor workshop”.
Planning committee chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour St Augustines) said “This is a back-lane development “
Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) said “My concern is that we allow it to go through and then lo-and-behold it will suddenly become a habitable dwelling. “ She said she was quite concerned about “a future back-yard development”.
Cllr Thomas said “ It was something which raised my antennae a bit when I read this. It’s not going to be prominent in the area. It is in a back lane – in a big garden. Access to it will be through the lane” – a lane which he said he knew very well .
Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustine’s) said he was looking at the fenestration of the top storeys . It did not appear to him that it would be suitable for a habitable building – the windows would be too small. That tended to support the “coach house idea” and the applicants might be “actually applying for a coach house”.
Cllr Birch asked why it would be necessary to have an external staircase if the ground floor was going to be “your garage” and the top floor “your own workshop”. Cllr Cuddy speculated it might be in order to leave enough room “to get the coach in, I suppose” .
Cllr Birch pointed out that traditionally coach-houses had people living in them – “over the coach”.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) suggested that the planning committee should ask the Vale of Glamorgan Council – which will make the final decision on the application to impose a condition that the new building is “not to be used as living accommodation in any form”.
Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said the development was very much in the heart of that part of the Penarth Conservation Area. It was an area with “very fine houses” – some with “6 or 7 bedrooms or more” . He said he was concerned about the “residential aspect” and also with regard to the roofs which he said would be “out of context with the design of the principal property”.
He supported the points made by other members and suggested the application should be raised with the Conservation Officer of the Vale of Glamorgan Council. Cllr Ernest said that if a precedent was created for a back-garden development then “there are many other properties along there which could develop similar ideas”.
The concerns expressed by the council will now be communicated to the Vale of Glamorgan Council – which will make the final decision – and its Conservation Officer .