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Challenging a plan for large development next to our house

(10 Posts)
Allegrogirl Fri 24-Jun-11 14:29:03

Not sure if I'm in the right place but hoping someone can advise. We live in a Victorian terrace in a city centre. Lots of families, some flats, increasing numbers of students. There were a couple of 19th century sheds behind us with back lane access. These have been demolished and a planning application for 45 student rooms put in. Planning have recommended this goes ahead despite 35 letters from local residents and council transport department saying it's a very bad idea and they recommend it is turned down. Planning meeting is next week but it seems like a done deal.

I've contacted the local councillor who I am meeting today along with the planning officer. I've met with the local MPs researcher, not MP himself yet.

Any further suggestions. I know we should be rallying the local neighbourhood but with a 3 year old and 9 month old plus a recent return from mat leave I am run off my feet and exhausted.

You need to look at the planning conditions and regulations for your area, and find any ways in which this development contravenes them. Look at the amount of parking provided, and whether the roads are capable of taking the extra traffic involved in the development. Look at the developer, and find out if they have a record for not obeying planning restrictions.

I think there are rules about the amount of new development that can happen in a neighbourhood where most of the houses are older - but I could be wrong about that.

You could look at the insulation, particularly the noise insulation, as a multi-occupancy student block is not going to be quiet - get the council to insist on really expensive, top quality sound insulation (that might make the development uneconomic for the developer).

Dh did all this when a company wanted to build 8 two-bed flats on a site at the bottom of our garden. It was a lot of work, but we got the planning application turned down, and the developers had to change their plans and put in three town houses instead, which was much more in keeping with the neighbourhood.

This was over 3 years ago, so I can't remember much more that would help you, but I understand how stressful and worrying all this can be, and I hope you get the result you want.

Allegrogirl Fri 24-Jun-11 14:52:29

Thanks for your quick reply. There are only 5 drop of spaces provided (all the students will walk or cycle, yeah right!). The council transport department have already stated that the parking is completely inadequate and the local roads are unsuitable for the extra traffic but the planning department have decided not to take any notice. Very frustrating.

The council are dithering over local plans for multi occupancy housing as they want to keep the uni happy. It's a big issue here at the moment.

It might help if you could get together all the locals who are objecting, and all put in letters stressing the parking/transport problems. You could contact some other commercial Halls of Residence, and see if they would tell you what percentage of their students have cars - if it is more than the developers are assuming, that would give you some ammunition.

HTH

mistlethrush Fri 24-Jun-11 15:01:45

Look at the Council website, go onto 'planning' (sometimes under environment). Under that you should find links to the current policy documents. As STTG said - look at the policies and see which ones the proposed development is contrary to. There might also be a Design Guide for the area - and it sounds as though this proposal will be contrary to the guidance that is normally set out in that sort of document.

This is not the planning officer's decision, its the Planning committee member's decision. Getting your council and MP involved is good. Find out if the Local Press know about it. How many people nearby know about the proposals and will be adversely affected by them? Can you drop a note in their doors asking them to object (give addresses of local councillors as well as planning dept, and application no.) and ask them to turn up at the meeting. One person SHOULD be able to speak at the committee meeting and point out why the proposals are contrary to the development plan.

Look at Manual for Streets re parking - that doesn't say that you can just ignore parking requirements, particularly if parking is tight in the area.

Allegrogirl Fri 24-Jun-11 18:43:16

DH did a letter and dropped it to local residents which resulted in another 15 or so letters against the development. He's going to do another one. The planning officer said the fact the building is for students and the noise issue are not relevant for planning purposes and would have to be dealt with by enviro health after the development is occupied. The students will have to state they do not have a car as a condition of their lease, he had no sensible response to how this would be adhered to. It seems the proposal is in line with local plans so we're screwed.

AliceWhirled Fri 24-Jun-11 18:50:41

You could call planning aid

They used to be able to provide much more support, but of course the government have cut their funding. If you have money you can pay for a planning consultant to advise you. So of course it's all now about each for themselves depending on their ability to pay rather than a democratic accessible system for all that serves a social purpose to all citizens not that I'm bitter

Anyway, you do need to find things that are 'relevant' for planning purposes. Hundreds of letters that do not talk about things that are 'eligible' will not work. So people are right to talk about going though relevant policies etc. Planning Aid will be able to give you better direction.

Allegrogirl Fri 24-Jun-11 19:03:14

Thanks AliceWhirled really helpful (I hope) link. Unfortunately lots of the letters from local residents do talk about things that aren't relevant but your average person doesn't know what is relevant. There was a plan passed for town houses with parking but 'the developer wouldn't make enough money from that' I quote from the planning officer, my new best friend (bitter, me?).

AliceWhirled Fri 24-Jun-11 19:37:41

Therein lies the problem. Why should people not be able to talk about what matters to them rather than some prescribed list of crap? Grr bloody making money for everything.

Good luck anyway grin

mistlethrush Mon 27-Jun-11 09:50:58

Noise is relevant though - and its not just something that EH get involved in after the development is permitted - eg if you're planning a children's nursery, you sometimes need to provide a noise report with the application to demonstrate what the background noise levels are and how your nursery business won't adversely affect residential amenity. Residential amenity is a good thing to include within the objection - I'm sure that there are policies that say things can be done 'unless they adversely affect residential amenity of the surrounding area' or words to that effect.

Planning Aid - would have been ideal - but now severely restricted, although ours seems to be starting up again to do certain things.

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