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Agenda item

5, 7-11& 13 Georges Road, London, N7 8HD


The demolition of the existing buildings and structures on the site and the erection of a building comprising an Office B1 unit and five residential dwellings (4 x three-bed and 1 x one-bed), with associated landscaping, cycle parking and refuse facilities, solar panels and roof terraces.


(Planning application number: P2019/1923/FUL)


In the discussion the following points were made:

·       Members were informed that since the publication of the agenda, additional information was received from objector regarding the separation distances between their properties and the proposed scheme.

·       The Planning Officer advised that site is in close proximity to Holloway Road and although predominantly residential, there are some mixed uses. The existing buildings on site are not statutory listed but located within St Mary Magdalene Conservation Area.

·       The Planning Officer informed members that the application represents a resubmission of similar scheme which had been refused planning permission by the committee on grounds of design and scale; neighbouring amenity issues; poor quality residential accommodation and failure to provide the necessary financial contribution to affordable housing.

·       Meeting was informed that an appeal by the applicant was subsequently dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate for reasons such as poor quality outlook from the proposed ground floor level rear facing windows; insufficient provision of defensible space to the proposed front garden areas of the scheme and the resulting unacceptable harm to the living conditions of the occupants of St James House Flat no 1, overlooking from the roof top terrace of flat no 5 and an increase sense of enclosure.

·       Members were advised that the revised scheme incorporates a defensible space at the main entrance of each proposed dwelling; omits the roof terrace from proposed House No. 5 in order to overcome looking and the primary living spaces are now on the upper floor levels to address Planning Inspector’s concerns about the poor quality outlook of the units.

·       Objectors raised concerns about the use of the flat roof which has been described as ‘for maintenance only’ as a potential area for noise disturbances; overshadowing of St James School flats; loss of privacy and the need for windows to be obscure glazed to alleviate concerns about privacy and overlooking, a sense of enclosure, loss of sunlight and daylight and lack of consultation.

·       Members were reminded that although the reasons for dismissal by the Inspector did not include design/conservation issues, the applicant amended the proposals to ensure a high quality design finish is accomplished, and that all dwellings have been altered so that bedrooms are located at first floor and key living areas at second floor.

·       Members heard evidence from neighbouring residents about their concerns, which included proposal being too large and tall, out of character with the street scene, overlooking and overshadowing.

·       An objector was concerned that conditions stipulated in the report would not mitigate overlooking concerns into the first floor windows especially as the separation distance between the properties and the proposed scheme was less than 18m which is contrary to policy of DM2.1.  An objector requested that were the committee minded to grant planning permission, a condition to have glazed windows to protect privacy will be welcomed.

·       Members were advised that in addition to the revisions, after negotiations between applicants and council officers, the applicants has agreed financial contributions of £200,000 towards affordable housing and £7,500 for carbon offset if the scheme is approved.

·       In terms of the impact of the proposal on the conservation and nearby historic buildings, meeting was informed that officers having successfully negotiated amendments to the scheme, securing high quality architectural design it is considered that the scheme will demonstrably enhance the character of the St Mary Magdalene conservation area and sympathetic to the surrounding heritage assets whilst improving the living conditions of House No 5 and quality of office accommodation.

·       In response to objectors concerns raised above, the applicant indicated that the roof terrace is not intended to be used by residents, acknowledging the full height window. The agent reiterated the number of revisions to the scheme reminding members that concerns regarding the height of the scheme had been considered by the Planning inspectorate and dismissed. The Agent informed the meeting that this was a constrained site and it had to be creative in addressing the amenity concerns.

·       The Planning Officer acknowledged that consideration had been given to the impact of the scheme on overlooking and privacy to the neighbouring property at Nos 4,8 and 10 Chillingworth Road, located at a distance of between 16m to 22m away with the exception of the rear of No 6 Chillingworth Road which has a rear extension resulting in a reduced distance to windows of habitable rooms.

·       On the concerns about the outlook and sense of enclosure, the meeting was informed that given the separation distance, the height of the proposed dwellings, it is not considered to have a harmful impact on the neighbouring residential properties especially those on Chillingworth Road.

·       On the decision to depart from Council policy of 18m separation distance, the meeting was reminded that as noted in the appeal decision any overlooking or privacy concerns could be addressed with conditions relating to the windows of the new scheme.

·       With regards to overlooking concerns into windows between the scheme and neighbouring residents flat, the Planning Officer clarified that in planning terms the 18 separation distance only applies with direct overlooking and not where the angle is oblique.

·       In response to consultation concerns raised by the objectors, the applicant acknowledged that letters had been sent out and a public meeting which was convened to discuss the scheme only attracted between 7-8 people.  Councillor Ward, the ward councillor noted that the last time any consultation was carried out was in 2015.

·       In response to a suggestion on possible amendments to the scheme, to mitigate its impact on the neighbouring residents, the applicant reiterated that most of the objectors concerns had been addressed in the revised scheme. The meeting was informed that House 5 was amended to allow a larger outdoor amenity area to the rear, that all dwellings have been altered so that bedrooms are now located at first floor and key living room at second floor.

·       During deliberations members acknowledged the narrowness of the site, the revisions to the scheme, financial contributions towards affordable housing and carbon offsetting, acknowledging that in light of the Planning Inspectors comments conditions could be imposed to mitigate against the amenity concerns.

·       Members agreed that the rewording of a condition to replace the door with a window leading to the roof terrace be delegated to the Planning Officer and the Chair.

·        Members agreed that applicant to submit further details to prevent direct views of Chillingworth Road to Houses 1 and 2.

·       Councillor Graham requested that his vote against the application be recorded.



That following consideration of the case officer’s report (the assessment and recommendations therein), the presentations to Committee, submitted representations and objections provided verbally at this meeting, planning permission be granted subject to the conditions and informatives set out in Appendix 1 of the officer report and subject to the prior completion of a Deed of Planning Obligation made under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 securing the heads of terms as set out in Appendix 1 of the officer report.


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