Agenda item

Planning application - MC/19/2404 - Avenue Tennis Club, Glebe Road, Gillingham, Medway



Construction of seven 4-bedroomed dwellings with associated parking and access road.




In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman chaired the meeting for this planning application.


The Planning Manager outlined the planning application in detail along with the planning history for the site and in particular referred to the dismissal of an appeal against refusal of planning application MC/18/3114.


The Planning Manager informed the Committee of the changes that had been made to the proposed development under the current application to address the concerns of the Planning Inspector with particular reference to the widening of the access and provision of a pedestrian footpath to the site, the reduction in number of proposed dwellings from 8 to 7, the reduction in the height of the proposed dwellings to be two-storey to alleviate overlooking and the revised layout of the site.


The Planning Manager advised that following re-consultation on the revised plans, 18 further letters of objection (including two from one household) had been received and a summary of the objections were set out on the supplementary agenda advice sheet. In addition, Natural England had drawn attention to previous comments and advised that the proposed amendments to the original application would be unlikely to have significantly different impacts on the natural environment compared to the original proposal.


With the agreement of the Committee Councillor Purdy addressed the Committee as Ward Councillor and outlined the following summarised concerns:


·         The proposed dwellings would constitute overlooking into the gardens of adjoining properties.

·         The proposed gardens of the new dwellings will be small.

·         The existing footprint of two existing houses will be destroyed to make way for access to this site.

·         Access into and out of the site will be difficult owing to parked vehicles in Second Avenue.

·         Lorries and large vehicles will not be able to access the site from Second Avenue during construction.

·         This area is prone to flooding and no mention has been made of drainage or sewage.

·         The development dismissed at appeal has only been reduced by one dwelling.

·         The applicant has caused additional distress for residents by telling them that Planning officers had helped him with the application and therefore it is likely to be approved.


With the agreement of the Committee and, in the absence of Councillor Chrissy Stamp through illness, the Head of Planning read out a statement provided by Councillor Stamp setting out additional objections as Ward Councillor summarised as follows:


·         The application constitutes back-land development as it involves part-demolition of an existing residential property with inadequate access and egress from the site and is in breach of Policy H9 of the Local Plan.

·         The proposed development constitutes an over-development of the site, is cramped and overbearing and the garden sizes are very small.

·         The development will cause overlooking to the properties on Second Avenue and Glebe Road. This is in breach of Policy BNE2 of the Local Plan. Furthermore, plot 6 runs down the side of the garden of one of these houses and this will cause loss of daylight.

·         There is inadequate parking provision. On street parking in Second Avenue and the surrounding area is already at a premium and this development will exacerbate the problem as 4 bedroom family homes are likely to result in more than 2 vehicles per property.

·         Second Avenue is an increasingly busy residential street and is used as a 'rat-run'. Cars are parked on both sides of the road, leaving a single lane thoroughfare for vehicles despite it being a two-way street.

·         There is poor visibility for vehicles turning into and out of the existing junctions with Keeley Mews, Portree Mews, Ashburn Mews and Glebe Road. The new access to the proposed development will have no clear sight lines into Second Avenue. This will also make it extremely difficult for the emergency services (particularly the fire service) and refuse collection lorries to access the development. It is also unclear whether the access will be wide enough for 2 way traffic. If it is only wide enough to comfortably accommodate one vehicle width, vehicles may have to reverse back onto Second Avenue.

·         The proposed development will result in the unacceptable loss of trees and green space which will be detrimental to both the visual amenity of the area and to local wildlife and the application does not provide sufficient reassurance that the necessary ecological and reptile surveys have been conducted.

·         Plot 1 is even more visible to residents on Second Avenue under the revised application as the trees which were in the original plan are no longer in the revised plan.

·         The application states that the “side extension” of number 26 is to be knocked down so a footpath can be provided but this is not an extension but part of the original property. 


The Committee discussed the planning application having regard to the previous application submitted under MC/18/3114, the reasons why this application was dismissed at appeal, the revisions to the proposed development to address the concerns of the Planning Inspector and the concerns outlined by the Ward Councillors.


The Committee expressed support for the concerns raised by Ward Councillors but with regard to parking, the Principal Transport Planner informed the Committee that the proposed development met the Council’s Parking Standards and Road Safety officers had not raised concerns about the road safety resulting from this planning application.


It was suggested that the Committee consider undertaking a site visit to view the site and the potential impact upon adjoining residential properties but this was not supported by the Committee.


In considering the comment by the Ward Councillor that the applicant had given the impression to local residents that the application would be approved due to help he had received from Planning officers, the Head of Planning was requested to discuss this with the Council’s legal officers and taken any action necessary to ensure that developers understand that any assistance and advice they receive from Council officers is impartial and does not guarantee that a planning application would be successful.




a)            Refused on the following grounds:


1.    The revised application has not gone far enough to address the concerns outlined for planning application MC/18/3114 insofar as they relate to:


i)             Cramped/overdevelopment of the site

ii)            Overlooking of adjoining residential properties

iii)           Impact on amenity

iv)           Out of character for the area.


b)            The Head of Planning be granted delegated authority to approve the wording of the refusal grounds with the Vice Chairman and Opposition Spokesperson outside of the meeting.

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