There are three planning applications, to all of which we recommend refusal:

  • 233 Gloucester Road - for 4 flats 
  • 81 Sommerville Road - a nursery school in an existing house
  • 10, Longmead Avenue - for 3 houses.

233 GLOUCESTER ROAD 11/02989/P
This application is for 4 two bedroom flats on two storeys on a small backland site with no off-street parking and in close proximity to adjacent properties.
Any proposal on such a restricted site should take full account of the level and proximity of adjacent properties with a view to creating the minimum impact. In this case the two storey nursing home is only 8.5m from the eastern boundary and sits approx 2m lower than the site. The proposed flats are only 9.5m from the home at the closest point and have their eaves level one whole storey higher than the nursing home. In our opinion the proposed flats are far too high and dominate adjacent properties. In fact, on scrutinising the elevations and the Design and Access Statement we see that the roofscape of the proposed flats is steep and complicated with the intention of creating a ‘loft apartment’ character. Loft apartments are normally one vast space, whereas the space standards of the proposed flats are very tight and far below the new Bristol Residential Space Standards (which state that a 2 bedroom flat should be 57 – 67m2 if one bedroom is a double and the other a single and 67 – 75m2 if both bedrooms are doubles). In this case the internal area is stated as 57m2 and both bedrooms are shown as 9 -9.5m2 which is halfway between a single and a double bedroom. These flats are pretending to be 4 person units but at highly reduced space standards. The elevations show extremely high windows following the slope of the roof. This is not appropriate in dwellings with such small rooms. The proposal might be improved by the use of a flat roof, ideally with a grass finish.
In conclusion, the proposals are too high, too close to the boundary, have no provision for parking, dominate adjacent properties, are below required space standards and represent overdevelopment of this small backland site.

We recommend refusal.
Due to its restricted nature we would suggest that the ideal proposal for this site would be for a single high quality 3-4 bedroom courtyard house. It should be mostly single storey, especially where it abuts the boundary, perhaps with a small element at first floor level. The house would have its own private south facing courtyard garden and parking provision. This type of development would have minimum impact on adjacent properties and would enhance the neighbourhood.

Application for a nursery school in an existing house.
We are concerned about this application largely on the grounds of Health and Safety. The property is fronting onto Somerville Road which is an extremely busy traffic route. We are concerned about the further increase in traffic and congestion morning and evening which would result from the parents dropping their children off at the nursery school. Most importantly we are concerned about the safety of the children.

We recommend refusal.

Although the number of houses proposed has been reduced from 4 to 3, we still have strong reservations about this application.
Firstly, the drawings do not match up. The Sections still indicate the roof terrace from the previous scheme, whereas this has been omitted and the whole top floor has been given over to one huge bedroom. This bedroom is shown as having a straight frontage (behind the mansard roof), whereas in fact the front wall of the house below sets back. Even if it were feasible, we would question why the main bedroom needs to be 27m2, which is the size of a bedsit flat.
However, from the visual point of view, the main problem with the design is its poor relationship with neighbouring properties, particularly at roof level. The junction with no.8 Longmead Ave next door has been fudged on the Elevations and does not work. The mansard roof sits very uncomfortably alongside the raised gable of no.8. The design could be improved with the following changes:
1. The first house could be moved away from no.8 approx 1m to create an access to the rear garden and to separate the two properties.
2. The mansard roof to each of the houses should actually follow the outline of the building below stepping back with hips. Furthermore, the mansard roof could continue to hip around the blunt gable end of each house.        In this way the three houses could have some design integrity and could sit more comfortably alongside the adjacent properties.
But overall we would question whether this narrow site, which backs onto the wall of the prison, could be made to provide a satisfactory environment for family living. One possible solution might be to have just two houses on the site; one alongside no.8 of a similar profile to no.8 and a second at the other end of the site. These two houses could then share the space between them as gardens. In this way the new houses could have a more harmonious relationship with their neighbours as well as suitable outdoor amenity space.

We recommend refusal.

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