See report by Stephen Hissett, Planning Officer (agenda item 6) and the Addendum Report
With the permission of the Chair, Nadja Stone spoke in support of the application as the Council’s Housing Development and Partnership Manager. She advised that the development of the site would go towards the Council’s objectives for housing provision.
With regard to the consultation, Ms Stone advised that the Council had worked to a tight time frame because it was essential that the applications were submitted in January to be determined by the end of April. She acknowledged that the time constraints had been difficult, but advised that residents had also been given the opportunity to comment at drop-in events and those comments had been forwarded to the Planning Department.
In response to some of the issues raised during the consultation, Ms Stone advised that Hounslow Homes had provided a list of alternative garage sites and that additional parking evaluations had been undertaken, which had also been provided to the planning department.
With the permission of the Chair, Ms Maybury spoke in objection to the proposals. She referred to flaws in the consultation process, which had been acknowledged by officers and advised that she had not received a consultation letter, even though she lived opposite the site. She pointed out that there would be a loss of seven garages and the additional yellow lines on the street would mean that parking spaces were also removed. There was an increased difficulty in parking; the elderly and parents with shopping were unable to park near to their properties. Ms Maybury advised that she was disabled and although she did not have a car, she was dependent on friends being able to park nearby to drop in.
Ms Maybury expressed her astonishment that the parking survey had found that there was adequate access. She did not feel that the information was accurate because the survey had been taken during the day on week days and during half term. She also felt that the report was inaccurate regarding parking density and the use of spaces in the garage area. There were insufficient spaces available for the properties, some of which had more than one vehicle. The public transport accessibility level (PTAL) was low at 3 and the surrounding areas were bad or worse for parking.
Ms Maybury did not feel that a controlled parking zone (CPZ) would address the problem because there were not enough parking spaces. The garages were fully occupied and regularly used. She felt that officers had admitted that the proposals did not meet the Council’s own UDP guidelines concerning distance and felt that a development in a conservation area should enhance the area.
Councillor Wilson asked how many residents had received a notification. Ms Maybury advised that she had asked the planning officer, but had not received an answer. Councillor Wilson asked if alternative parking arrangements had been made for those losing parking spaces. Ms Maybury advised that she had not been told anything.
In response to the points raised, Cathy Gallagher, Assistant Director – Environment Department (Regulatory & Development Services), advised that 35 residents had been notified and there had also been notices on site and in the press. 28 replies had been received. There had been no objection in principle to housing.
There would be two houses on the site instead of an empty space and those houses would reflect existing properties. There was an issue about parking in the area. The site was not within a CPZ and the new properties would have two parking spaces. 11 garages were being rented out, but it had been made clear that there were 18 garages available in the area.
Councillor Jabbal noted that, since the abolition of planning area committee meetings, there was not input from local councillors and he asked why ward councillors had not been consulted.
Ms Gallagher advised that ward councillors would have been notified through the weekly list system. Only those developments above five units were reported to the area committee, so the application would not have been put to the area committee for comment. It was a Council application for housing, which was the reason it was being determined by the Sustainable Development Committee.
In response to further questions from Members, Ms Gallagher advised that there would be a condition to remove permitted development rights to ensure loft extensions could not be built on to the new properties.
Councillor Hughes asked about the off-street parking. Ms Gallagher advised that the access to the site would provide room for the parking spaces. It was not possible to gain vehicular access to the existing houses, but there would still be pedestrian access to the rear of those properties. Nick Woods pointed out on the map where the existing garages would be removed and the new parking spaces would be created. The site would still be accessed from Lateward Road and there would still be adequate access.
Councillor Jabbal noted that it had been acknowledged that parking and traffic was an issue, but felt that not much had been done to resolve it. He asked if an impact assessment would be necessary.
Nick Woods advised that the applicant’s had provided a survey. Traffic officers were familiar with the area and had consulted on a CPZ, which residents had declined. There were normally parking spaces, even if they were not directly outside the resident's house, which was a common situation in the Borough. Not all people renting the garages lived in the vicinity and would not necessarily be displaced onto roads in the area. There were garages elsewhere, which were available for use.
Councillor Bruce felt that, although there was an issue over parking, there were the same parking issues across the Borough. He felt that, on balance, housing was necessary and he could not see a reason to refuse.
Members voted on the officer's recommendation for approval, as follows:
For - Councillors Bains, Bruce, Cadbury, Curran, Dhillon, Grewal, Hughes and Sangha
Against - Councillors Fisher, Jabbal, O'Reilly and Wilson
Abstain - Councillor Barwood.
a) That planning permission for planning application 00166/G1-G11/P1 for the demolition of the existing garage blocks and the erection of two dwellings with associated parking at garage block G1-G11, Brook Road South, Brentford be approved, subject to the conditions set out in the report.
b) That conservation consent for planning application 00166/G1-G11/CA1 for the demolition of the existing garage blocks and the erection of two dwellings with associated parking at garage block G1-G11, Brook Road South, Brentford be approved, subject to the conditions set out in the report.