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Contact: Claudette Minott
Councillor Curran declared a personal, prejudicial interest as a Director of the Baring Trust, a heritage conservation organisation that operates in Grove Park.
Councillor Elliott speaking under Standing Orders representing his Ward, declared a personal interest that his wife is a Minister of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Southwark.
The minutes of the last meeting were amended as follows:
- reference to Sydenham Society Chair as ‘Abigail McLaren’, be corrected to read as ‘Annabel McLaren’.
- Apologies sent by Councillor Amrani to Chair before meeting, but Chair did not receive it until after the meeting.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of Planning Committee A held on 3 October 2019 be confirmed and signed as a true record, subject to the above amendments.
The DMTL gave an illustrative presentation to the report, recommending the refusal of planning permission for the demolition of church hall and construction of replacement part one/part two storey church hall and community space to the side and rear and entrance lobby to the front at St Mildred’s Church, St Mildred’s Road, SE12, together with 27 parking spaces, 3 motorcycle spaces, cycle storage and associated works.
The committee noted the report and that the main issues were:
· Principle of Development
· Heritage and Design
· Impact on Adjoining Properties
· Trees and Landscaping
Following members’ enquiries relating to the Church’s stained glass windows, listing status, and existing building structure, the Conservation Officer advised that the proposed development would not obscure the stained glass windows. The Officer also advised the Committee that the church was of moderate significance overall, and of high significance in its own right as a non-designated heritage asset. The elevations onto St Mildred’s Road were also considered to be of significance, and the loss of the green buffer to the front of the building was considered to harm the setting of the building and the streetscape. The Officer stated the development would clutter and obscure some of the principal architectural features.
Following a member enquiry regarding variances of substantial harm, the DMTL advised the Committee that balanced judgement was required regarding the scale of any harm, or loss, and that officers considered the benefits of the proposal had been outweighed by the harm identified. The DMTL also clarified that pre-application advice was not material to the decision regarding the application.
The applicant addressed the meeting, with a suggestion to the Committee to approve the proposal in the report, with emphasis on there being no cost to the public for the site development, the services provided by the Church, and community support received. The applicant described the extensive pre-planning application advice taken, which they claimed was adhered to. The applicant also stated their proposal fully complied with planning policy. The applicant advised the Committee it believed that the Officers recommendation for refusal was unsubstantiated, and unreasonable.
In response to questions raised relating to: structural changes, outlook, alternative solutions to the proposal, site space, and operational times, the applicant stated there would be no structural change to the stained glass window, and the development would be constructed sensitively around the Church. The applicant confirmed there would be structural changes to the Church building, in the form of a roof light installed to allow light into the upper window of the existing structure, and a tilt and turn window installed to allow access to the roof.
The applicant suggested it was not possible to create the proposal using less space, as this would make the proposal an unacceptable 4 storey build instead of the 2 storey proposed. The applicant clarified that the space proposed was for services currently provided, and a survey conducted, concluded there would be more use of services on site, but no intensification in the number of users.