The latest (and good) news on this application is that it has been refused by the planning Department - March 17th 2014. See below for the previous comments by the Society explaining why this application was such a bad one:

29 SEYMOUR ROAD    14/00146/F   The Bishopston Society's reply to the Planning department regarding the latest planning application for 29, Seymour Road:

Following the refusal of the earlier planning application 13/03067/F, the Bishopston Society continues to be concerned about the current application for the site. The revised design is still square and boxy and has no satisfactory relationship with its context.  The planning submission goes to some length to specifically omit any drawings or photographs of adjacent properties or the relationship between the proposals and their surroundings, particularly the existing villa.

The Design and Access Statement has not one single photograph of no.29.

Here are our photos of this unusual old house - No 29 (below)

The Proposed Site Section shows the rear extensions to the houses directly behind the proposals in Dongola Road as a very faint outline which gives the false impression that there is more separation between the buildings than is the case. In fact, the new houses come as close as 16 metres from the existing houses behind, with the bedroom windows overlooking each other and the garden areas each side. The size of the proposed rear gardens is extremely small, with that of house 05 only 5.5m deep and 30m2 in area.  We consider that the proposed houses are overbearing to the rear of the houses in Dongola Road behind.  There are also overlooking first floor windows at a distance of 12m between no.29 and house 01.

The starting point for the design of any building within the grounds of a large historic property should be that it relates to but is subservient to that building.  In this case, the Design and Access Statement describes the proposals as a mews, whereas the proposed layout shows a staggered block of full 2 storey houses which does not have a convincingly mews-like character.  The root of the problem is that there are too many houses on the site.  The houses should be 1½ storeys high with low eaves and wide rather than narrow frontage, so that they could be pulled away from the rear boundary and given more adequately sized gardens. 

The vehicle access through the site is long and tortuous and would detract from the amenity of adjacent properties by reason of noise and disturbance.  Furthermore, the parking provision at 1 space per house would prove inadequate and, along with the difficulties of access and manoeuvring on site, would lead to on going problems.  There are no facilities for storing refuse and recycling within the stipulated 30m of the highway. The furthest house has its refuse store 50m from the highway. The Design and access statement refers to 29 Seymour Road as having parking within the curtilage but none is shown on the site layout.

We attach an alternative proposal (see below)

which demonstrates how the site can be developed in an attractive and suitable way with a straight terrace of 3 wide frontage houses.  The advantages of the alternative layout are as follows:

  •          Houses pulled away from the rear boundary by 1m, 3m and 4m respectively.
  •          Height of eaves of houses reduced by 1.1m.
  •          Size of proposed rear gardens increased.
  •          Distance between houses increased to a minimum of 19m.
  •          Parking spaces for no.29 and one visitor provided within the courtyard.
  •          Proposed boundary wall to no.29 lined up with the house to create a    reasonable size of garden which relates to the width of the house.
  •          3 parking spaces at far end of parking area moved down to reduce extent of hardstanding and increase planted area.
  •         4 small trees added to the boundary to soften and screen the new houses from adjoining properties.
  •         Character and style of new houses designed to relate, but be subservient, to the villa no.29.
  •         New houses not overbearing to houses in Dongola Road behind.

 It is a planning requirement that all drawings must have scale bars.  In this case none of the drawings has a scale bar and it is very difficult to ascertain the size or scale of the proposals accurately.

To conclude, we consider that the proposal is overdevelopment with an unacceptable design and inadequate parking provision which will have a detrimental impact on local amenity and character of the area.  We recommend refusal.

NOTE: the articles shown above are merely the most recent 10 in our Planning section. There's lots more as you'll see by clicking through to the sub-sections Commentary, Architecture, Licensing and Policies.