Penarth Town Council’s planning committee has been cogitating over a proposal install new windows and glass-fronted balustrade on the frontage of 7 John Batchelor Way, Penarth Marina – one of a pair of semi-detached homes fronting Cardiff Bay.
The council’s freelance planning consultant – Emma Langmaid of Prospero Planning Ltd – guided the councillors through the application which she said “fronts directly onto the Marina” .[PDN Note: In fact the house doesn’t front onto the Marina – it fronts onto Cardiff Bay. It’s the back of the house,- which is not the subject of a planning application, that overlooks the Marina – 180 degrees in the opposite direction .]
Ms Langmaid explained that the proposal is a garage conversion, but that the scheme includes altering the windows at first floor level and also extending the existing first floor balcony.
Ms Langmaid told the committee that other similar applications in the past had been refused on the basis of “making too many changes” as the property was “quite a key frontage in the marina”. Her concern was that the next-door property had a different type of balcony to that proposed in the application.
The Town Clerk Emma Boylan [who, until the appointment of Ms Langmaid, used to vet planning applications in Penarth] said ” I have refused on the basis of symmetry in the past” – and observed that her recommendation had subsequently been endorsed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council .
Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) asked how long ago the houses had been built?
Cllr Ian Buckley (Labour, Cornerswell Ward) said he thought they had been built about 25 years ago . Cllr Turner he did not think there would be any legislation to prevent a change.
Cllr Buckley asked whether the application would be “alright” if the proposed new balcony was the same as the one on the other house of the pair. Ms Langmaid said that the houses appear as if they were 2 but were “actually 4 with 2 smaller units at the side” and there was now a “mixture” of balconies in the street .
Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) who is deputy chairman of the planning committee said “This is an example of Barratt’s trying to move into a more sophisticated design regime I think. It would be a shame to destroy what symmetry they did manage to provide at the time ” [PDN Note: In fact the houses were built by Crest Nicholson – not Barratts] .
Cllr Turner asked whether it was “the aesthetics that we don’t like” .
Planning chairman Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines) noted that the houses were not in the Penarth Conservation Area and people should have the liberty to change their properties “even if it does not agree with our taste”. He wondered if the committee was coming to view that it should make “no comment” on the proposal.
As the committee wrestled with the application, Cllr Ian Buckley (Labour Cornerswell) said “Personally if that was my house I would like to have that balcony with those opening doors” . He said he would have no objection to the scheme himself – but would be “swayed” by the experts .
The planning committee eventually came to the conclusion that it would make “no objection” to the proposals. The final decision will be made by the Vale of Glamorgan Council planning office.