Agenda item - BH2020/01969 - 39A Preston Park Avenue, Brighton - Full Planning

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Agenda item

BH2020/01969 - 39A Preston Park Avenue, Brighton - Full Planning


(1)              It was noted that an in depth presentation had been provided by officers in advance of the meeting and was included on the council website detailing the scheme by reference to site plans, elevational drawings and aerial photographs which showed the scheme in the context of neighbouring development.


(2)        It was explained that that the main considerations in determining the application related to whether the proposed change of use and subdivision to form two dwelling houses was acceptable, the impacts of the proposed alterations and extensions to the existing building on design and appearance, including the impact on the wider conservation area, the impacts on neighbouring amenity and transport and ecology matters. The proposal was part retrospective in nature as some of the external alterations had already taken place. Amendments to the scheme had been sought during the consultation process and subject to the conditions proposed approval was recommended.




(3)        Councillor Hugh-Jones spoke in her capacity as a Local Ward Councillor in objection to the scheme. The accuracy of the proposed access from Preston Drove was disputed, the submitted plans indicated that the entire area from Preston Drove was owned by the applicants  and this was strongly refuted by residents of the Mews via which access to one of the units would be required. Unit 2 which would have 2 car parking spaces would require regular vehicular access via the courtyard of 76 Preston Drove. Residents of the Mews regularly crossed that access to use the communal garden and play area and that gave rise to safety concerns.


(4)        Ms Cole spoke on behalf of residents of the Mews which the plans indicated would share an access from Preston Drove and explained that the plans were misleading in that the applicants did not have right of access to that part of the site which would be occupied by Unit 2. It was not in their ownership and access would be required via the gated security access to their properties from Preston Drove. There were also concerns that access to that dwelling via the same access way were inadequate in the event that was required by a fire tender or other emergency vehicle.


(4)        Mr Coomber spoke in his capacity as the applicant’s agents. He explained that the points raised by objectors in respect of rights of access and ownership from Preston Drove were strongly contested by the applicants and were the subject of a separate dispute which would be settled independently. It fell outside planning legislation as did concerns raised in respect of access by emergency services. When the site had operated as a Nunnery access to that site had been established and access arrangements from Preston Park Avenue were not disputed. These disputed matters would need to be resolved in order for the development to proceed and the proposed scheme would provide two family homes on an established site. In answer to questions, Mr Coomber sought to explain the access arrangements and configuration of the site.


            Questions of Officers


(5)        Councillors, Fishleigh and Janio stated that they found the access arrangements as described confusing and sought further clarification in respect of them; also in respect of the queries raised in relation to ownership/rights of access and to access in the event of an emergency. It was explained that officers were aware that objectors contended that site access from Preston Drove was via a privately owned courtyard to which there were limited access rights but that did not constitute a material planning consideration. That was a civil matter which needed to be resolved separately outside of the planning process, the same applied in respect of emergency access arrangements.


(6)        Councillors Fishleigh and Janio stated that they considered that notwithstanding the current pandemic a site visit (possibly virtual) would be beneficial in order to assist in determining the application and to be clear regarding access arrangements. The Chair, Councillor Littman, stated that he was familiar with the site and asked whether Members considered that they had sufficient information in order to determine the application at this stage inviting them to ask further questions of officers in order to receive clarification. Whilst some Members considered that they had sufficient information others indicated that they did not consider that they did and therefore a vote was taken regarding whether or not to hold a site visit.


(7)        A vote was taken and on a vote of 5 to 4 by the 9 Members who were present when the vote was taken it was agreed that determination of the application be deferred pending a site visit.


92.6      RESOLVED – That further consideration and determination of the above application be deferred pending arrangement of a Covid safe (virtual) site visit.


            Note: It was explained to all present that as the decision to hold a site visit had been taken after all parties had spoken in line with the agreed committee protocol no further public speaking would be permitted in respect of this application.

Supporting documents:


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