This article appeared in Get Surrey today: Flats plan for Victorian building turned down. One of the concerns cited was lack of parking.
OBJECTORS were celebrating after plans to demolish a large Victorian house and replace it with flats were unexpectedly turned down.
The property, 34 Kings Road in Haslemere, has been the subject of many withdrawn or invalid planning applications over the years, all seeking similar objectives.
Permission had been sought for the erection of a three-storey building containing nine flats.
Of the 52 people notified of the application’s existence, more than half lodged letters of objection – a total of 28 people. However, the planning officer’s recommendation was to grant permission.
Around a dozen members of the public attended a Waverley Borough Council planning committee meeting and one, Paul Westwood, delivered a three-minute speech outlining residents’ concerns.
The committee members rejected the plans, with some councillors abstaining from the vote.
Waverley councillor Nikki Lee, who lives in nearby Weydown Road, said: “While we cannot guarantee that the decision won’t go to appeal, we are extremely aware of the concerns that exist over the street and its surrounding area and voted accordingly.
“There are many Victorian houses along the street and there were concerns over the impact on neighbouring buildings.
“In Haslemere, there are concerns about the town as a whole but at a planning committee for specific plans, we can’t look at the overall picture.”
Haslemere Town Council had submitted a letter of objection. Sarah Nash, administrator for the council, wrote: “The committee objected to two previous applications for this site.
“It has serious concerns over the issue of parking, and the proposal of 12 parking spaces, plus two for disabled use, is not felt sufficient enough for development of this scale.
“Kings Road is a narrow road and already suffers from significant parking issues. This proposal will only exacerbate the problem.”
The town council’s letter stated that it believed the design of the project did not allow for safe access to the parking spaces.
It raised the concern that poor sight lines and a narrow access point could result in cars having to reverse onto Kings Road, which it said would pose a serious safety risk while amplifying current traffic problems.
Following the decision, a spokesman for the council said: “Haslemere Town Council is pleased with the outcome and the fact that arguments against the application were again backed up by the recently published Haslemere Design Statement, which is used by officers and the [Planning] Inspectorate alike.
“Residents seemed to be content with the decision.”
The plans included the creation of a car park and associated access works, including a vehicle bridge across a stream at the back of the site.
If approved, the block of two-bedroom flats would have been almost double the width of the Victorian building.
Worries raised in other letters of objection centred mainly on an anticipated marked increase in traffic and parking congestion in the area, plus concerns that the road and its vicinity was experiencing a threat to its heritage in general.
One stated: “Once again, we would like to highlight the loss that demolition of such a house would constitute, further diluting the character and significant local history of our street.
“The design is not aesthetically or architecturally innovative and is monolithic in comparison to the existing dwelling.”