“Estate Agents” Office Approved in Established Residential Area

April 20, 2013 by  


Summary extracted from Council Officers Report

The sales building would occupy that part of the site shown in the re-development scheme for a pair of three-bedroomed semi- detached houses to plots 78 and 79 in Thorpe Road. The proposed sales building can be compared with an estate agency office. Whilst this type of office use to visiting members of the public is normally located within town centres, it is, however, common practice for larger housing developments to include a sales presence often making use of the show homes or other buildings forming the development.The sales building will give rise to visiting customers looking to view the show homes and often outside the working hours of the site in the evening and at weekends. No hours restrictions are therefore put forward in this application as the sales activity would not fit with the construction activity on the site and it would be expected that sales would open at weekends and bank holidays when buyers are able to view.In this case the applicant is requesting a period of two years. It may be that if sales are slower than expected, that period could be increased.

There was NO objection from Hawkwell Parish Council. There were NO objections from any resident of Thorpe Road on any adjoining Road. There was no objection from Hawkwell Residents Association, The Christmas Tree Farm Development Action Group and Hawkwell Action Group.

As Ward Members we had concerns on behalf of residents and we objected as follows in a speech at Committee.

A Show House is one thing but the plot is zoned residential and this is a proposal for commercial use in a well established residential area and not on the new estate.

I intend to vote against The Recommendation for Approval.

I would like to explain why.

  • In my opinion the more common arrangement is for a Show House on the new estate to be used.
  • However the phasing from the Developer already shows a proposed build rate of over 3 years and 3 years is not a temporary situation in my view.
  • As a commercial building this would be visually intrusive per se to the street scene as will the commercial hustle and bustle that it creates
  • The proposed advertising and sign boarding on and around the building is unacceptable in a residential area
  • If a resident were to apply for such use then such application would very likely be refused. So what is the very special case here?
  • A commercial use in a residential area will be detrimental and damaging to residential amenity
  • The restrictions put forward by the applicant in the approved planning application was for No Sunday Working which implied that the additional traffic down Thorpe Road would be almost none relating to the development on Sundays.
  • This proposed commercial use will increase the traffic and diminish the benefit of an amenity of quiet enjoyment.
  • Residents already have disruption from the building which will continue for years rather than months and the proposed Sales Office will eliminate the small respite they are expecting in the evenings and Sundays.
  • Of major concern is that there are no proposed restrictions on days and hours of use each day will be 10 till 6; this is unacceptable.



Stop Press……………..Extensions without Planning Permission

Home extension plans amended

Government plans to ease planning rules in England for three years have been amended to give neighbours the right to be consulted on building work. It comes after 26 coalition MPs voted against the Government on Tuesday. The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has written to MPs setting out a “light-touch neighbours’ consultation scheme”. He said he wants to tackle concerns about the effects the plans would have on “neighbours’ amenity” head on. Under the revised scheme homeowners wishing to build extensions under the new powers would notify their council with the details and the local authority would then inform the adjoining neighbours. If the neighbours do not object, the development can proceed, but if they do raise concerns the council will have to consider whether it had an “unacceptable impact on neighbours’ amenity”. The Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith – a leading critic of the Government’s proposed changes – welcomed the watering down of the plans, calling it a “sensible approach”. He added: “The red line for me was maintaining a neighbour’s right to object. The Government has taken on board what we said, they’ve definitely listened.” Meanwhile, Tim Harford writes in the FT that perhaps we should scrap planning permission altogether. He says another more reasonable solution, would be to allow councils to reap the financial benefits of granting planning permission.

Financial Times, Page: 4    Financial Times, Page: 12     The Times, Page: 4    The Daily Telegraph, Page: 12   Daily Mail, Page: 6    Independent I, Page: 9    The Sun, Page: 2   BBC News




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