Update on shop and new houses
Rationale for the PC decision on shop housing
The Parish Council and Tristan Phillimore took away from the meeting the following concerns of the village, with which the council agreed:
- There had to be a guarantee to preserve both the shop and the post office into the future.
- Plans to put extra accommodation into the shop would cause additional parking requirements, for which there would not be enough space.
- The garden area for two homes within the shop/Post Office would be inadequate.
- The position of the new houses caused an uneven division of garden between the two units.
- No decision should be taken until a plan of the intended changes for the shop and post office had been submitted, so that both applications could be considered together.
Once we heard back from the applicant and saw the revised plan for the shop, most councillors felt their concerns and those of the village had been met. The Estate made clear:
- It was of prime importance that the shop and post office should be preserved.
- There would be no additional accommodation in the shop building, so no new pressure on parking or amenity space.
- The applicant was happy to try to change the boundary/position of the new houses but the required tree preservation would prevent much improvement to the division of land between them.
- As the only work to be done on the shop building would be renovation and internal improvements, there would probably be no second planning application. A diagram of the current shop position plus the new houses was supplied and put on the Parish Council website.
The Parish Council position
The original application was made on July 7, 2023 and the PC was able to consult with the village about it at the meeting on July 24. The village clearly preferred to wait until a possible application for the shop itself came in, to take an overall view. Unusually, BHPC agreed to request SODC to ‘hold' the application, which gave us time to talk through our concerns with the applicant. A revised plan, changing from detached houses to semis in a slightly altered position followed. This second plan was the focus of the October 30 PC meeting, attended by Tristan Phillimore. More detailed suggestions and comments came forward, resulting in a no-change plan for the shop building itself and no further formal planning application.
- On receipt of the shop layout, most councillors felt the main concerns of both village and council had been listened to and met (see above). We could therefore lift the ‘hold’ on any planning decision.
- SODC planners were minded to approve the houses application and had made it clear that a response from us was needed or the application would move to the Planning Committee, where it would pass without our intervention on any remaining matters.
- In recommending approval, councillors emphasised again the importance of giving unit 1 more garden space. The planning officer was clear that tree root protection would not allow much movement of the proposed houses. Additionally, both gardens fell within regulation size.
- A view that the buildings were too large would be discussed and a comment to that effect submitted later.
- Despite our concerns about Arch Hill traffic, Highways had indicated there was no problem.
- Without a new planning application, there are no detailed drawings to see. We have therefore put the information and ground plan up on the parish website. The information is also in the newsletter.
Compliance with the emerging Neighbourhood Plan
- The building plot is within the Shop Settlement.
- The architecture reflects many other 19C houses and terraces in the village. (Not many are constructed in brick-and-flint, as is the 1926 shop.)
- Trees on the site are being protected (possibly to the detriment of the best position for the houses and gardens)
- Wildlife checks will be carried out as part of the planning process.
- The building size is being checked for scale in terms of compliance with the NP Design Guide and if it is not compliant we will recommend a reduction in size.
- The Parish Council recommendation to SODC is advisory only. It carries the same weight, whether published before or after villagers’ comments. People should still voice their own opinions of the plans for the new houses, now informed by the knowledge of their future relationship with the existing shop building and also the council’s recommendation. Your views will still be taken into account by the planners, as will ours.
- Everyone is entitled to air their views on the SODC Planning website (P23/S2237/FUL, July 2023). This is particularly important if you feel that you have a concern that has not been addressed, by the Parish Council, the applicant or SODC planners. Nothing that has happened yet prevents that.
Post Office Sketch Proposal 11 2023