The Principal Planning officer provided the Committee with an overview of the application for retrospective amendments to a previously approved application.
She explained that the application was before the Committee as a Member had called in the application, by reason of visual impact and separation distance.
The Committee was advised that the changes included a marginal change in footprint, alterations to window and door openings and the inclusion of additional roof lights, which were considered acceptable. She explained that the tiered gardens were typical along that stretch of the Malone Road. She outlined that the incorporation of soft landscaping would help visually integrate the level changes and that the boundaries had been reduced to step down gradually to the rear in line with the neighbouring boundaries to ensure they were not visually dominant. The fencing proposed was double sided, which would help to reduce the potential for intervisibility and that, on balance, the scheme was considered acceptable.
The Committee was advised that, at the time of writing the report, two third party representations had been received from a neighbour who was objecting to the application. The issues raised included the loss of light, overshadowing, overlooking, out of character with the existing property, overdevelopment of the site and encroachment of land, impact on wildlife, loss of private view and value of property, removal of party hedge and fencing and access issues to conservatory/ an inaccessible void had been created.
The Committee’s attention was drawn to the Late Items Pack, where a number of further emails had been received from the same objector, Mrs. C. Rodgers. The Committee’s attention was drawn to a surveyor’s report which she had submitted, which looked at the building work which had taken place at the site in terms of the encroachment of boundary and other matters. The Principal Planning officer provided the officers’ response to the issues raised.
She reported that the retrospective amendments would have no more of an impact to neighbouring properties compared to that approved under LA04/2018/2960/F in terms of overshadowing, loss of light, dominance and overlooking and that there would be no significant impact. She explained that conditions would be imposed to ensure that the boundary fences were reduced and that the double sided fencing would be no higher than 2.5metres higher than the neighbouring ground.
The Chairperson welcomed Ms. C. Rodgers to the meeting. She advised the Committee that:
· the application centred around four enforcement orders;
· a void had been created, which animals could fall into;
· a civil case was ongoing as a result of building work on site;
· she alleged that the applicant had breached every form of planning and had encroached upon her property;
· she couldn’t get her guttering cleaned recently due to the ongoing works;
· there was no soundproofing between the properties and she required privacy for her job;
· the applicant had not applied for a licence for water; and
· she requested that the Committee defer consideration of the application and that planners carry out a site visit to examine the site.
The Divisional Solicitor cautioned Mrs. Rodgers not to make defamatory statements about the applicant and that the meeting was being broadcast live on the Council’s website.
Councillor Nicholl advised the Committee that she had previously engaged with Ms. Rodgers in relation to the application and that she understood that it was a complex case and had caused Mrs. Rodgers significant stress. She added, however, that the planning officers had dealt with all the issues raised with professionalism at all times. As she had not expressed an opinion on the matter, she explained that she was able to participate in the vote.
The officer’s recommendation to approve the application, with authority delegated to the Director of Planning and Building Control to finalise the wording of conditions, subject to no new substantive planning issues being raised by third parties, was unanimously agreed.