1 Proposal : Site Address: Parish: Yeovil (Central) Ward (SSDC Member) Recommending Case Officer: Officer Report On Plan...
Officer Report On Planning Application: 10/04831/FUL
The erection of an extension to existing mosque at first floor level over existing car park and the construction of 2 No. flats at second floor level over No. 8A (GR 355514/115996) 8A Westminster Street Yeovil Somerset Site Address: Yeovil Parish: Yeovil (Central) Ward Mr J Vincent Chainey (Cllr) Mr A Kendall (Cllr) Mr P G Gubbins (Cllr) (SSDC Member) Recommending Case Simon Fox Tel: (01935) 462509 Email: Officer: [email protected]
19th January 2011 Target date : Mr Erol Sen Applicant : James Ewart Fox 55 The Park Agent: Yeovil (no agent if blank) Somerset BA20 1DF Proposal :
Application Type :
Minor Other less than 1,000 sq.m or 1ha
Reason for Referral to Committee
In agreement with the Area Chairman this application has been referred for Committee consideration due to the planning issues raised by representations received during the consultation period and the objection raised by Yeovil Town Council. Site Description and Proposal
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The application site comprises No.8A (Charcoal Grill Take-away with Mosque over) Westminster Street and the associated car park, which runs behind Westminster Street (Tamburios Café, with Hairdressing Salon and flat above, and The Westminster Public House) to adjoin Clarence Street adjacent to the Grade II listed United Reformed Church. A large supermarket is opposite this vehicular entrance. The proposal seeks to add another storey over No.8A to create two flats (use class C3) and erect a first floor over the retained car park to create an enlarged Mosque (use class D1). This would create a decorative entrance elevation on Clarence Street, which would include vehicular access to the retained car park, and a 12m high Minaret (decorative tower, used traditionally for the call to prayer). Three existing domes will be relocated to the new section of the mosque. The site is within the development area and with the exception of the car park is within the Conservation Area. The proposal has been amended by the reduction in size of one flat to move the proposed built form away from the adjoining Church. HISTORY
03/00578/COU: The change of use from office (Use Class B1) to religious meeting room (Use Class D1): Approved 05/01219/FUL: The erection of a first floor rear extension to religious meeting place: Approved POLICY
Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 repeats the duty imposed under S54A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and requires that decision must be made in accordance with relevant Development Plan Documents unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The development plan comprises the Regional Spatial Strategy (Regional Planning Guidance 10: The South West), The Somerset and Exmoor National Park Joint Structure Plan Review, and the 'saved' policies of the South Somerset Local Plan. The policies of most relevance to the proposal are: Somerset and Exmoor National Park Joint Structure Plan (adopted April 2000): STR1 - Sustainable Development STR2 - Towns STR4 - Development in Towns Policy 9 - The Built Historic Environment Policy 11 - Areas of High Archaeological Potential Policy 49 - Transport Requirements of New Development South Somerset Local Plan (adopted April 2006): ST5 - General Principles of Development ST6 - The Quality of Development EH1 - Conservation Areas EH3 - Change of Use of Listed Buildings and Alterations to Listed Buildings
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EH5 - Development Proposals Affecting the Setting of Listed Buildings TP6 - Non-Residential Car Parking TP7 - Parking in Residential Areas EP2 - Pollution and Noise Of note but not part of the adopted plan is 'Religious Meeting Places' - Chapter 11: Recreation and Community Facilities, of the South Somerset Local Plan. National Guidance PPS1 - Sustainable Development PPS5 - Planning for the Historic Environment South Somerset Sustainable Community Strategy Goals 1 and 8
Yeovil Town Council: "Objection, out of keeping with the conservation area, adverse impact on setting of listed building, overdevelopment, over intensive use within this locality, inadequate car parking and over reliance on Tesco car park". Highways Authority (Somerset CC): "The proposed development is located in the Town Centre and is therefore in close proximity to services, facilities, public transport provision and public car parks, therefore it is considered by the Highway Authority, that this type of development and its location could give rise to a sustainable development. Taking this into consideration I have no objection in principle to the proposed development. The existing use currently benefits from off street parking and turning and it should be ensured that any new development proposal does not result in a significant loss of this existing off street provision. Therefore it would be useful to receive confirmation in addition to be shown on a detailed plan the current number of parking spaces/arrangement and revised layout following the proposed extension. It doesn't appear that I have been provided with a plan showing the current parking layout, nor is there one showing the layout of the resulting parking area". No objections to additional plan showing proposed parking layout when compared to existing situation. SSDC Conservation Manager: "The issues of urban and architectural design, impact upon the setting of the adjacent listed building and Yeovil conservation area are relevant to this application. Location and setting Clarence St appears to have historically been a more minor service street providing access to the rear of the premises on the west side of Princes St and containing a range of industrial uses including at one time a foundry, a brewery and a malthouse. What is clear from historic mapping is that the street was built up with a consistent built frontage on the east side around this site, The Westminster pub etc. This being the case, the redevelopment of this site with a frontage building is both consistent with historic precedent and appropriate in urban design terms.
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Although we have no details of the buildings that formerly occupied the site, they are shown as running along the boundary with the church in a similar way to that currently proposed. Historically the present open aspect to the south and west side of the church did not exist. Moreover the present church car park on Clarence was completely occupied by the church Sunday School that formerly created the Clarence St frontage and the church therefore was closely surrounded by buildings. The Clarence St elevation of the church as it currently exists appears to be the exposed party wall from between the church and the now demolished Sunday School building. This is now a rendered elevation of no great merit and consequently I do not carry concerns that development adjacent would harm its setting as (the rear of) a listed building nor that of the unattractive parking area. My view is that development that will rebuild a frontage to this side of Clarence St. in line with historic precedent, is desirable and, subject to appropriate design, can enhance the setting of the conservation area. Context and design of the proposal The architecture of Clarence St is decidedly mixed without a consistent character The site of the proposal is outside the conservation area boundary but the building will be read with the Westminster pub which is within the area. However the addition of this proposal to the mix I do not consider to be harmful. The design with its faintly 'Moorish' overtones is cued by the building's function and provides its more unusual characteristics - the three domes 'chatris' - existing but to be relocated into a more visible location that at present - and the minaret as a feature on the front. This is unusual but turrets are not a completely alien architectural feature in Yeovil; turrets feature on the skyline in The Borough, in High St and indeed at the Baptist Church. This design is not to my mind disproportionate nor unpleasant; indeed it will add interest to a nondescript street scene. The height I do not believe is excessive; it would not be out of scale with the United Church rear gable nor the 4 storey flats to the north. The principle materials proposed of brick and stone are consistent with many typical Yeovil buildings. The gate access to the ground floor parking area is the most questionable feature. It would be desirable to hide the interior from public view. A more solid sliding gate would be preferable to the frontage". SSDC Environmental Protection Officer: No comments. Historic Environment Service-Archaeology (Somerset CC): No implications. SSDC Technical Services: No comment. REPRESENTATIONS
Two site notices were displayed, a press advert was placed and neighbours notified. In response Four letters have been received raising the following issues: Westminster House comprises a Ladies hairdressing salon and residential above, the proposal would lead to overlooking, privacy issues and loss of light. The United Reformed Church (previously the Congregational Church) built in 1878, now a Grade II listed in a conservation area, has enjoyed a virtually open aspect on its southern side since its construction. With the increased height, this proposed development would deprive the church of its principle source of light.
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The proposed development is considered to be an over development of the site, adversely affecting neighbouring properties and would result in a loss of street landscape and a view of an historic building. Access to the proposed car park via a roller shutter shows the shutter positioned close to the carriageway (Clarence St). We would question this on safety grounds as all other accesses on Clarence St are set back. "My main concern is the 12m high minaret. As far as I am aware the minaret is used for calling people to church....I am against any suggestion they might come up with regarding calling people to church, it is a noise issue".
History, Need and Policy Planning Permission was granted in 2003 to establish a religious meeting room and this was extended following permission in 2005. This application seeks a significant remodelling of, and extension to the original meeting room which following its extension in 2005 brought recognition as mosque status. The applicants' agent states, "The Muslim population has since been gradually expanding within Yeovil and surrounding towns/villages which the mosque serves. At the present rate of growth it has been estimated that in 5-10 years time the population will have doubled. On important occasions the mosque is full to capacity...". The South Somerset Local Plan (adopted 2006) does not contain a specific 'saved' policy regarding religious meeting places as such proposals are cover by wider development policies, although the supporting text in Chapter 11: Recreation and Community Facilities, which was not formally 'saved' it does indicate support for such developments within the District. It is acknowledged that Churches and other places of worship play an important part in the life of communities and often provide valuable ancillary community space in which a variety of activities can take place. The retention of existing places of worship is generally encouraged and supported by the District Council. As with all community facilities, the District Council are keen to see the development of new premises in locations which are well served by public transport and encourage walking and cycling rather than use of the private car. Assessment of Issues The application raises several site-specific issues.
- Activity Levels A place of worship has been present at this site for a number of years, and has been granted two previous consents, first for its creation as a meeting room and then its expansion to a Mosque. The use of the site and its activity levels are therefore well established in the local area. In terms of activity the increase in floor area must be assessed as to whether it is appropriate in this location, and the potential impact upon adjoining users. The comments of the Town Council are noted who suggest the proposal represents an over intensive use within this locality. However, it is observed that this part of town is a busy area with people walking along Westminster Street to the supermarket located off Westminster Street and Clarence Street and therefore the additional foot movements to the extended Mosque will not be significant given the general vibrancy of the area. The site is also adjacent to the United Reformed Church which has its own
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congregation/wardens coming and going from the rear entrance onto Clarence Street and indeed the patrons of The Westminster public house, as well as passing traffic. - Noise and Disturbance Following on from the general activity levels around the site there is also the matter of noise generated by the building. A particular concern has been raised by a member of the public concerning the potential use of the minaret for calling people to church, as their traditional usage would suggest. Clarification has been sought from the agent who confirms no such 'calling' will take place and in the interests of residential amenity it is recommended a condition be imposed restricting the use of any external audio equipment. The main activity of prayer is conducted in silence but as with any congregation of people some noise will be created. The granting of permission would also approve a D1 use and as such other community uses could create the potential for noise and disturbance through their activities. The proposal also includes the provision of new flats so there is a direct relationship here as well. It is proposed that a soundproofing condition is imposed to ensure existing and future residential neighbours and commercial users are protected. Such a condition will also ensure prayers can be undertaken in silence without disturbance from the wider area. It is proposed that the flats are available for the leaders of the mosque or general letting, hence the attention to the sound proofing issue. The flats can be accessed separately from the mosque via an entrance off Westminster Street. - Form, Scale, Design and Impact on the Character of the Conservation Area and Listed Building The comments of the Town Council are noted recommending refusal of the application due to overdevelopment, and the view that the proposal is out of keeping with the conservation area and has an adverse impact on setting of listed building. The proposal includes the building up of an elevation on Westminster Street to align with two neighbouring three-storey buildings. The design is simple and reflective of the existing architectural style. The most visual aspect of the proposal is from Clarence Street. This is adjacent to the United Reformed Church, which is Grade II Listed. The comments of the Conservation Manager are acknowledged as providing a clear assessment of the impact the proposal would have on the Listed Building, immediate street scene and wider Conservation Area. Suitable conditions will be imposed to ensure the detailing of the building is appropriate but the general materials palette is sympathetic to Clarence Street. The general area of Clarence Street, Westminster Street and Princes St is typical town centre urban grain of high density, varying heights and close relationship between buildings. It is not considered therefore that the bulk, scale and massing of the proposal represents overdevelopment. Notwithstanding this it is still perfectly clear no harm should result from development. - Physical Impact on Adjoining Properties Concerns have been raised by neighbours to the site, in particular the United Reformed Church and the hairdressing salon with flat above on Westminster Street. In the case of the church concerns centre around the potential loss of light. The church is orientated on an east-west axis and the southern elevation contains windows at ground level and at an upper level, serving the double height central nave of the church. The main impact would be from the additional storey to the existing mosque but upon assessment the impact will be slight and the proposal as been amended to keep adequate distance between the
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church and the development by cutting back the size of Flat 1. The new part of the mosque over the retained car park is orientated in such a way that will not affect natural light levels to an appreciable degree. The main concerns raised by the owner of the hairdressing salon and flat above is loss of privacy and light. The properties face south and their northern aspects looks out onto the existing mosque and car park thereto with the United Reformed Church behind. The rear elevation of the salon, which contains one window to a staff room/kitchen/utility area, is distant from the existing wall of the mosque and although this will increase in height it is not considered harm would result. There is a small outdoor seating area linked to the salon but again given the nature of the commercial premises it is not considered as valuable as in a residential setting. The flat above has a kitchen window in the rear elevation facing the development, but as it is higher will not be affected by the development, by overshadowing or physical dominance. There are no windows proposed in the facing elevation of the mosque so no opportunity for overlooking will be created. The same considerations apply to the rear of the public house which has a small rear yard area. - Highways and Parking The comments of the Town Council are noted recommending refusal of the application due to the inadequate car parking and over reliance on Tesco car park. Representations made by members of the community also raise issues over the access to the site, and reporting parking/obstruction on Clarence Street. The current mosque benefits from four parking spaces, but no turning. The vehicular access is gained from Clarence Street through locked gates located close to the carriageway edge. The proposal seeks to retain the car park and its four spaces, albeit in a difference layout, there will still be no parking but the new roller shutter gate will be recessed 1.5m off the carriageway edge and could be controlled by remote. This is seen as a benefit over the existing situation. Double yellow lines are evident along Clarence Street and the tight bend does raise concerns when vehicles do not obey this parking regulation, however this comes down to parking enforcement rather than a planning reason to refuse the application. The representations raising highway issues are acknowledged but the Highways Officer has raised no objections. With regards to the parking situation it is not possible or necessary to provide commensurate on-site parking for this use. The four available spaces will be used predominately by the church leaders and the occupants of the two flats. The main benefit of this site is that being in the Town Centre it is served by public transport and encourages walking and cycling rather than use of the private car. In addition town centre uses such as retail and leisure rely on large public car parks for their customers/staff/attendees who do drive. This use is no different. There is an informal agreement with the manager of the adjacent supermarket to use that car park on a Friday for the main congregation, but notwithstanding this it is considered parking is not an issue. On review of the evident issues, representations received and receipt of amended plans the proposal is considered to be acceptable. RECOMMENDATION
Grant permission for the following reason:
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01. The proposal, by reason of its size, scale and materials, respects the character of the area, and causes no demonstrable harm to the amenity of adjacent occupiers. It also preserves the character and appearance of the Conservation Area and setting of the Listed Building in accordance with the aims and objectives of PPS1 and PPS5; policies STR1, STR2, STR4, 9, 11 and 49 of the Somerset and Exmoor National Park Joint Structure Plan (adopted April 2000) and policies ST5, ST6, EH1, EH3, EH5, TP6, EP2 of the South Somerset Local Plan (adopted April 2006). SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING:
The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission. Reason: To accord with the provisions of section 91(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the following approved plans and documents: a. Location Plan (1:1250) received 24th November 2010 b. Block Plan (1:500) received 24th November 2010 c. Design Proposals 3549.1A received 14th January 2011 d. Design Proposals 3549.02A received 14th January 2011 e. Design Proposals 3449.03A received 14th January 2011 Reason: For the avoidance of doubt and in the interests of proper planning.
No works shall be carried out until particulars of following have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority: A) Specific details of materials (including the provision of samples where appropriate) to be used for external walls and roofs; B) Material and external finish to be used for all windows and doors; C) Typical sections to illustrate the mock-window detail and ventilators on the north elevation and to illustrate the reveal and sill detail of the first floor windows on the west elevation; D) Typical section of the parapet detail and stringcourse; E) Typical sections and materials of the minaret; and F) Details of the vehicular entrance gate (this should be a solid gate). Reason: To safeguard the character and appearance of the conservation area to accord with policies ST5, ST6, EH1 and EH5 of the South Somerset Local Plan (Adopted April 2006).
No works shall be carried out until a sample panel of the local natural stonework, indicating colour, texture, coursing and bonding, has been provided on site for inspection and agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Reason: To safeguard the character and appearance of the conservation area to accord with policies ST5, ST6, EH1 and EH5 of the South Somerset Local Plan (Adopted April 2006).
Notwithstanding the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (or any order revoking and re-enacting that Order with or without modification), no additional windows, including dormer
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windows, or other openings (including doors) shall be formed in the building, or other external alteration made without the prior express grant of planning permission. Reason: In the interests of residential amenity and the amenity of adjoining commercial premises to accord with policy ST6 of the South Somerset Local Plan (adopted April 2006). 06.
Prior to the occupation of the flats or first use of the extended area of the mosque hereby approved a scheme of soundproofing shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The agreed scheme shall thereafter be installed and retained as such. Reason: In the interests of residential amenity and the amenity of adjoining commercial premises to accord with policy ST6 and EP2 of the South Somerset Local Plan (adopted April 2006).
No external system of public address, loudspeaker, amplifier, relay or other audio equipment shall be operated on any part of the subject land, so as to imply external audibility or broadcast. Reason: In the interests of residential amenity and the amenity of adjoining commercial premises to accord with policy ST6 and EP2 of the South Somerset Local Plan (adopted April 2006).
The parking shown on drawing SK.MO-02 received 6th January 2011 shall be kept clear of obstruction and shall not be used other than for the parking of vehicles in connection with the development hereby approved. Reason: To ensure the available on-site parking is kept free and available for the uses approved to accord with policies TP6 and TP7 of the South Somerset Local Plan (adopted April 2006).
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