The presenting officer (MR) outlined the facts of the case for the retrospective application for the demolition of existing buildings at Wastdale Mews, Wastdale
Road SE23 and the part-retrospective construction of a part one/part two storey
building to provide studio's/workshop's (B1/B8 use). MR mentioned the objections received regarding privacy, parking, noise and operating hours, stating that these can be conditioned to make the scheme acceptable.
AS asked the presenting officer how the previous layout of the building was determined given that demolition works had already begun, and queried the presenting officer regarding the requirement for a demolition method statement.
MR advised that the previous layout of the building was taken from the applicant plans provided as there was no planning history available. MR also stated that a demolition method statement was not within remit.
Councillors discussed the retrospective nature of the application with the presenting officer and it was clarified that the principle of a retrospective application is acceptable by KC.
SP asked the presenting officer to clarify the location of the site and also queried the sites previous use. MR responded by confirming the site location and advising that the previous use is thought to be a mechanics.
The presenting officer then presented addendums to the committee report. These were amending paragraph 7.13 to reference part 12 of the NPPF, amending paragraph 9.1 as only the first 2 bullet points are applicable, amending paragraph 9.4 to state it is a new building instead of a residential extension, removing DM32 from condition 10, removing condition 11, and amending conditions 5, 7, 10 and 11 to reference paragraph 180 of the NPPF.
KC advised the reason for these changes regarding the NPPF were due to the NPPF being updated in July 2018. MR stated that these changes do not affect the officer’s recommendation.
SP wanted clarification on what the site could be used for within use class B2/B8. MR advised light industrial / storage / workshops.
The applicant James McDonnel was invited to speak by the chair.
James McDonnel stated that the application was to reinstate the original building to provide 13 artist studios and that the new building would remove some external features such as staircases and doors but would retain the same internal layout.
AS asked the applicant if any of the studios would be rented out at affordable rental prices. James McDonnel advised that a similar workshop charges around £260pcm for a studio which he feels is affordable.
SP asked about the opening hours of 6 – 11pm. The applicant stated that the studio spaces were of non-commercial size and would be used as secondary workspaces for creative people to work on projects after office hours and on weekends. The presenting officer then clarified that the proposed use is actually B1 / B8 which is light industrial and office space.
Objectors were then invited to come forward.
Henry Mulligan and Karen Thomlin sat at the table along with Councillor Bill Barnham who would speak later under standing orders.
Mr Mulligan advised that he has lived at the site since 1975 and felt that the proposal would have a detrimental impact on the amenity of all the neighbouring properties, citing noise, hours of operation and vehicular access as concerns. Mr Mulligan stated that the proposed windows would be overlooking his property and reduce privacy and was concerned about the disturbance from noise when the passageway which passes through his property is used, citing the hours of operation as a further concern for this. Mr Mulligan also argued that the number of units has been increased from the previous building. He stated that he wanted the application to be refused or heavily restricted.
OO then invited the members to ask questions to the objectors.
SS asked the objectors for some clarification regarding their noise concerns. Mr Mulligan stated that the built form of the site means that noise is amplified giving a ‘vortex’ effect. Mr Mulligan stated that he wasn’t sure of the lettings pattern but stated that he felt users of the site would not be considerate of the neighbouring residential properties with regard to noise.
Councillor Bill Barnham (BB) was then invited to speak under standing orders.
BB opened by stating that, although not a planning concern, the project history has led to tensions between the residents and the applicant, particularly because the project was started and demolition commenced without prior permission being sought by the applicant; this led to an enforcement case against the applicant and a loss of confidence in the applicant from the residents. BB stated that the building has not been operational for a number of years and that there was no evidence of the former use being B1 / B8. BB noted the changes made to the proposal and conditions but stated he was still not sure this was acceptable, mentioning the right of access to the site which passes under the living quarters of the objector, and queried if there was vehicular access proposed. He concluded by stating favour of more restrictions to vehicular access and hours of operation.
AS queried the hours of construction, and stated that the right of access was a civil matter. MR stated that this was a civil matter but that there were conditions in place regarding construction hours.
Members queried whether the number of vehicles could be restricted but MR stated that this was not enforceable as a condition.
SP asked the presenting officer if the hours of use for the site could be restricted by condition. MR advised that it could.
AS asked if the noise level could be conditioned and MR advised that is to be conditioned at under 5db.
KC referred the members to conditions 3 and 14 for operational noise and hours of construction.
SP asked the objector if he was a resident next to the access passageway and Mr Mulligan responded stating he lived above and beside the passageway. Mr Mulligan advised members that other similar workspaces had been used as spaces for musicians to perform and record music, stating that he did not want this to happen at this site.
MR stated that the use class means that the studios could be used for this purpose, but advised that there are 2 conditions regarding noise.
OO asked the members if they had any further questions.
AG questioned how a breach of the noise condition would be enforced. MR advised that an objection raised with environmental health would lead to the case being assessed and noise levels monitored and that a recorded breach would lead to enforcement action.
AG queried how the residents would know that the noise level was above 5db in order to raise an objection. MH stated he was not fully familiar with the process, but knows that other councils have smart phone applications which can measure sound levels.
LK asked for clarification regarding the issue of overlooking which was raised by the objector. MR stated that the distance between the windows and neighbouring properties have been assessed and that restrictions have been conditioned to prevent overlooking from the roofspace. MR went on to state that a further condition could be added to obscure glaze windows.
Members requested to look at the elevations and the presenting officer showed them on the projector. Members discussed the windows and doors and location of the terrace. AS stated that he felt the windows should be obscure glazed, and asked the presenting officer for clarification as to how the windows related to the internal layout.
MR advised that one of the windows was for a corridor and only 2 of the studios would have windows. AS stated that obscuring should not be an issue and LK agreed.
SP called up the objector to the table to confirm his concerns regarding the windows.
Mr Mulligan advised that what were 3 doors on the previous building would be windows on the proposed building. Mr Mulligan returned to his seat.
HM questioned the number of units proposed. MR stated that the number of units on the plans are 12 and that this would be the number of units if approved as there would be an approved drawings list conditioned.
AS asked if the windows could be conditioned to be obscure glazed. MR stated that this would have to be decided by members.
AS proposed a motion to obscure glaze the new first floor windows to be installed in the building and all members voted in favour.
SS referred back to objectors concerns regarding access, and asked if vehicles could be restricted altogether. KC stated that the test for a planning condition means that it must be enforceable, reasonable and relevant.
AS asked the applicant if the studio was being managed by the applicant or it this would be leased to a studio company. The applicant James McDonnel stated that the site would be leased to ‘World Art Space’ and stated they have a proven record for business.
The members discussed the parking situation with the presenting officer. MR stated that there was no space for parking. AS argued that driving is more of an issue than parking.
SP stated that due to the residential proximity, the hours of operation should be reduced. AG suggested a vote on this. MR stated that some further restrictions may be possible, but that if these were too strict, it could make the proposal inviable due to the nature of the workspaces and their potential occupants. AS suggested reviewing the operational hours after a set period and seeing if they are a nuisance, at which point they could be revised. MR stated this cannot be done as it would invoke a temporary permission.
Members discussed the possibility of reducing hours. AG argued that reducing hours would affect the potential for creative and artistic individuals to be productive.
The applicant was invited back to the table to discuss opening hours.
James McDonnel advised that the hours of operation were necessary for the use to be viable. He stated that it was just as important for recording musicians to keep out external noises as it was for them to prevent internal noise from escaping. He stated that parking would not be required. He stated that obscure glazing was acceptable from his perspective and that, although he could not confirm the exact nature of the occupants or their activities within the use class, that any noise issues would be responded to by environmental health. He clarified that there were only 12 units proposed and stated he was mistaken when he mentioned 13 units earlier.
Councillor Smith stated that the still felt the hours of operation were too long and proposed a motion to condition the opening hours to be reduced to 6pm – 10pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.
Councillor Penfold seconded.
Members voted as follows:
For: Councillors Ogunbadwa (Chair), Smith, Penfold (Vice Chair), Mallory, Sheikh, Krupski, and Moore.
Against: Councillor Gallagher
Councillor Smith moved to accept the officer’s recommendation and approve planning permission.
Councillor Gallagher seconded.
Members voted as follows:
For: Councillors Ogunbadwa (Chair), Penfold (Vice Chair), Smith, Mallory, Sheikh, Krupski, Gallagher and Moore.
RESOLVED: Vote to accept officer’s recommendation to grant planning
permission with added conditions for DC/17/105072.