Local developments

16/P3135 - Parkgate House


The first application (16/P 0233) - which was approved -  was to convert this office building into 19 flats. 

The second application (16/P3135) was to add a mansard-type roof providing an additional 6 flats. This application was Refused by the Planning Committee and the applicant submitted an Appeal. The Inspectorate decided to deal with this by an 'Exchange of Letters' which nevertheless requires a Site Visit. 

The Inspector agreed with the Planning Committee and Refused the Appeal. It is clear to me from reading her decision letter that she took her time over the site visit and gave the matter very careful consideration. 

Main Concerns

The main concerns of the Inspector’s decision were the effect of the proposed addition on the character and appearance of the surrounding area, and the effect on the living conditions of nearby residents in particular the relevance to privacy and outlook'. 

The Inspector found there was conflict with Section 7 of the National Policy Planning Framework which seeks to ensure that new development should add to the visual quality of the area; to Section 7.4 and 7.6 of the GLA London Plan and Policy CS 14 of Merton’s Core Strategy. These policies require that new development should aim to reinforce local distinctiveness and respect and enhance the character of the wider area. 

The Inspector noted that the existing office building appears bulky and at odds with the local shopping parade. The building appears to have an "uneasy relationship" with the local street scene and also struck her as having a "visually jarring" impact in the local context.  She concluded that the proposed addition would appear as a bulky, overly dominant and overbearing form that would fail to have respect for the scale of the (mainly two storey) local shopping parade. She felt this would result in material harm to the character and appearance of the local area. 

Living Conditions

The Inspector noted that the proposed addition would introduce additional windows at the third-floor level which she felt called for a greater 'separation distance' from facing buildings than would be the normal 25m requirement. She felt there would be a "perception of overlooking" into the gardens of Marina Avenue and therefore concluded that the proposed addition to provide 6 extra flats would have an overbearing impact on nearby residents resulting in material harm to the living conditions of nearby residents in terms of "loss of privacy and visual impact “. 

David Freeman

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