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Agenda item

22/00136/FUL - Home Farm Cottage, Stockwell Lane, Woodmancote

PROPOSAL: Variation of Condition 4 (building use) of application 15/00556/FUL to allow for short-term holiday let.

 

OFFICER RECOMMENDATION: Permit.

Minutes:

14.48        This application was for variation of condition 4 (building use) of application 15/00556/FUL to allow for short-term holiday let.

14.49        The Planning Officer advised that planning permission had been granted in 2015 for the demolition of an existing prefabricated building to be replaced by a new single storey studio/garden room which had since been converted to a short-term holiday let.  The current application proposed to vary the wording of condition 4 to include the wording “or as a short-term holiday let” and, if approved, an additional condition would be included to restrict the occupancy.  No objections had been received from the Council’s Conservation and Environmental Health Officers nor from County Highways.  As set out in the Committee report, three letters of objection had been received in relation to the proposal; notwithstanding this overall, it was considered that the inclusion of the holiday let use would not result in a detrimental impact on the residential amenity of neighbouring occupiers.  Issues had been raised regarding use of the driveway by occupiers of the holiday let and a covenant that restricted the use of any Home Cottage buildings to that of a private dwelling house; however, that was not a planning matter and was a private issue to be resolved by the respective parties involved.  As such, the Officer recommendation was to permit.

14.50         The Chair invited a local resident speaking in objection to the application to address the Committee.  The local resident explained that, if the change of use was permitted, it would have a significant impact on his privacy and, therefore, his residential amenity.  The local resident drew attention to Page No. 243, Paragraph 7.9 of the Committee report which stated that any development must cause no harm to local amenity including that of neighbouring occupants.  In coming to their conclusion, Planning Officers had failed to take into account the significant impact on Home Farm residents due to the special arrangements between Home Farm and Home Farm Cottage which arose because Home Farm Cottage had no access to the street so users shared a drive with access via Home Farm Lane.  The local resident indicated that anyone walking or driving up the shared drive could see into his property and the land to the west of house; they could see into the west garden despite having erected slatted screening as they could see through both lattice gates.  The local resident also pointed out that they would walk right past his garage block which was used as a workshop, gym and for storage – as he liked to keep the doors open whilst in use, they would be able to see into the garage and could clearly see the land behind it which was used as an outside work area and for storage and parking that was not screened from the shared drive.  The local resident asked Members to imagine themselves in his position; currently there were only familiar people – one family and their occasional visitors – using that drive and being able to see him and his family on their land or in their house or garage.  If this application was approved, there would be a range of strangers driving and walking up the drive, looking at them in their house, garden, garage and land behind – something which had already happened when the neighbours had operated the annex illegally as an AirBnB with the resultant loss of privacy causing significant distress.  The local resident felt that the change would also create a security concern because the garage doors and land behind could not be viewed from his house and he would not be able to recognise who was going up the drive.  In his opinion, the change of use was not minor and would result in significant, permanent harm to his privacy and residential amenity so, on that basis, he felt it should be refused.

14.51         The Chair invited the applicant to address the Committee. The applicant indicated that she and her husband had bought Home Cottage in 2020 with an annex in the garden that was being rented on occasion as an AirBnB.  They had not begun letting the annex initially as the country had locked down due to COVID-19 but, when it became clear the house needed more work than anticipated, they felt renting it occasionally would be a help financially.  The annex was very small – suitable for single people and couples – and they had been lucky to have some lovely guests including relatives of another local resident.  As they had a young family, they were very careful about their guests and had never had any problems or complaints about noise or disturbance – she pointed out that one local resident had written a letter of support in relation to the application.  The applicant stressed that they did not want to let the annex all of the time as that would be a significant undertaking in terms of administration, cleaning etc.  They had been very shocked and saddened when their neighbours’ had contacted the Council to object to the application as, as far as they were concerned, it had already been in existence for many years without complaints - before they had bought it, one of the objectors had even used the annex for a relative to isolate in during the pandemic.  The applicant clarified they had stopped renting it when they had been asked to by the Council last year and had followed all procedures and been fully compliant.  They had taken specialist planning advice which concurred with the view of Planning Officers’ and she respectfully requested that the application be granted in accordance with the Officer recommendation.

14.52         The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be permitted in accordance with the Officer recommendation.  The proposer of the motion indicated that, unfortunately, the issues which had been referenced by the public speakers were not planning considerations.  Another Member indicated that he was unable to support the motion to permit the application.

14.53         Upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be PERMITTED in accordance with the Officer recommendation.

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