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Planning Appraisal Group - TrustNews Sept 17

As Spring turned to Summer and now, somewhat prematurely to Autumn, our panels have been kept busy with the usual mix of applications from very minor modifications, through more extensive additions to demolition of one property and replacement by several. We continue to voice Trust objections to what seem to us to be over large “dormers” (or roof extensions) even when we know that unfortunately most of these fall within Permitted Development and thus the City Council can do little to prevent their construction even when they may be quite out of character with the house below.

l am happy to be able to report that the appeal against the City's refusal of outline planning permission for a large housing development at Vale Farm, Romsey Road, Pitt, has been withdrawn.

I can also report that the proposed development of student flats at 180 Greenhill Road was refused by the City Council Planning Committee, against the advice of its officers. This decision could be overturned if there is an appeal. The policy issue remains and was acknowledged by several councillors. It seems clear that the City Council, in conjunction with the various institutions of higher education with a presence in the city, should determine what the likely increase in student numbers might be and develop a strategy for managing their impact on housing in Winchester, which includes working out what locations might be appropriate for purpose built student accommodation. At present a number of commercial developers seem to see student accommodation as a profitable market investment since the planning rules for this kind of building are in some respects, especially with regard to provision of on-site parking, less stringent than for a similar number of residential flats. One has to wonder what would happen to these buildings were student numbers, and hence occupancy rates, to fall. PAG has seen, and objected to, a similar application for redevelopment of the site of Pine Cottage, 4 Sparkford Road with demolition of the existing building and replacement with 91 studio fats. This does include 7 parking places at the rear plus 2 disabled spaces at the front for 91 units, as opposed to the Greenhill Road's 2 for 184 students, but it has equally attracted objections from local residents who already feel the impact of student accommodation, both purpose-built and in the form of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

The PAG panel chairs, Shione and Michael Carden and l have worked to revise the PAG guidelines. A draft version should l hope be available on the Trust website, together with some draft text about the Trust‘s role in planning, by the time you receive this. If you wish to comment on these or make suggestions for improvement please contact the Trust within a week of receiving this newsletter. While you are on the website please take time to check out the monthly PAG reports to the Trust Council to see what we have been commenting on and how many applications our volunteer panels review each month.

Mary Tiles