Phase 2 - appeals

I hope it isn't necessary (fairly confident that this stands a good chance next week, despite the planning officer's recommendation) but here is the decision of an appeal for 33 Grays Lane. The appeal was upheld, note that the inspector looked at whether any impact was "unacceptable" and concluded it was not.

Appeal Ref: APP/C3620/A/06/2029702
33 Grays Lane, Ashtead, Surrey KT21 1BZ
• The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a
refusal to grant planning permission.
• The appeal is made by Mr and Mrs M Carlile against the decision of the Mole Valley
District Council.
• The application (Ref: MO/2006/1150/PLA), dated 2 August 2006, was refused by notice
dated 22 September 2006.
• The development proposed is the demolition of the existing bungalow and the erection of a
five-bedroom detached dwelling.
1. I allow the appeal and grant planning permission for the demolition of the existing
bungalow and the erection of a five-bedroom detached dwelling on land at 33 Grays
Lane, Ashtead, Surrey KT21 1BZ, in accordance with the terms of the application (Ref
No:- MO/2006/1150/PLA), dated 2 August 2006, and the plans submitted therewith (as
amended), subject to the following conditions:
(1) The development hereby permitted shall begin before the expiration of three years
from the date of this decision.
(2) No development shall take place until details and/or samples of the materials to be
used in the construction of the external surfaces of the dwelling hereby permitted
have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority.
The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.
(3) No development shall take place until details of the existing ground levels of the
site and the proposed finished levels of the ground and the ground floor slab of the
building (and their relationship with the existing levels of the immediately adjoining
land and buildings) have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local
planning authority. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the
approved details.
(4) No development shall take place until details of the hard surfacing materials to be
used within the site have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local
planning authority. All hard surfacing shall be carried in accordance with the
approved details and completed prior to the occupation of the dwelling hereby
Appeal Decision APP/C3620/A/06/2029702
(5) No development shall be undertaken in connection with this planning permission
until a Method of Construction Statement, to include details of the loading and
unloading of plant and materials and their means of storage, has been submitted to
and approved in writing by the local planning authority. Thereafter the development
shall be undertaken in accordance therewith.
Procedural Matter
2. For the avoidance of doubt, the amended drawings that I have seen and considered (and
to which this decision relates) are those dated 21 September 2006, endorsed with the
words ‘Rear balcony removed’. These comprise Drawing Nos:- 06/10/01C, 06/10/03A,
06/10/04A and 06/10/02C. In addition, the original site plan and ‘typical section’ plan
(Drawing Nos:- 06/10/06 and 06/10/05) were not amended and formed a part of the
application which is the subject of this appeal.
Reasons for the Decision
3. The appeal site is occupied by a detached chalet-bungalow with an attached garage and
a car port located on the north-east side of Grays Road, close to its junction with
Ralliwood Road. The existing dwelling is set back into the plot on rising ground, on a
building line of about 22-metres from the road frontage. The proposal is to replace that
building with a substantial 5-bedroom house with an integral garage. Various measures
have been incorporated within the design and details of the proposed dwelling to
minimise any undue visual impact in the streetscene, such as by excavating the ground
slightly to sink the slab level, thus reducing the overall height of the building.
4. The overwhelming majority of the many dwellings facing the length of Grays Lane are,
as a general point, large and imposing detached buildings set on deep building lines in
substantial grounds with an abundance of mature trees on their boundaries. From my
site visit, it is clear that many of them have been altered or extended over the years and
there are several examples of apparent ‘re-builds’ where more modestly-proportioned
buildings have been replaced by much larger houses, comparable in size and character to
that proposed in this appeal.
5. Whilst I acknowledge that the character of the area alters slightly at a point close to the
appeal site where Grays Lane ends and Ralliwood Road begins, the change is subtle,
despite the higher ground level of the dwellings to the east. The overall character and
appearance of the area remains one dominated by the presence of substantial two-storey
houses spaciously laid out on wide plots in a variety of architectural styles.
6. There are several examples of large two-storey houses facing the road to the north and
east of the appeal site of a size, height and scale of similar proportions to the building
proposed for the appeal site. In this context, the existing chalet-bungalow and that
adjoining it are atypical of the prevailing form of the buildings in the area. As far as the
location of the appeal site is concerned, I identify it as a being integral to and a part of
the development pattern to Grays Lane, rather than to Ralliwood Road.
Appeal Decision APP/C3620/A/06/2029702
7. I acknowledge the point made by the Council that the chalet-bungalow present on the
appeal site, together with the dwelling adjoining it to the south-east, are different in
character by virtue of their more modest proportions to many of the buildings nearby.
However, they are not, in my conclusion, situated in a particularly sensitive location or
at a transitional point where any readily discernible change in the character of the area is
evident. In my conclusion the predominant character and appearance of the streetscene
in Grays Lane is very similar to that comprising the ‘stub’ of development in Ralliwood
Road leading into Grays Lane, and in other locations nearby.
8. The design, mass and scale of the proposed house are not dissimilar to many nearby
properties. Whilst the increase in the footprint size of the building over and above that
covered now by the existing dwelling is significant, it is only at its rear that any change
in the size of the building in terms of its greater ground coverage would be obvious. The
overall height of the proposed house would be marginally more than that of the building
present on the site now. The depth of the proposed building line is only slightly less than
that of the existing building and the new dwelling would not be obtrusive in this regard.
Further, the differences in the distances of the proposed and existing buildings from the
two side boundaries are insignificant.
9. Whereas I acknowledge that the development of the site in the manner proposed would
introduce a readily noticeable and significant change in the appearance of this part of the
streetscene in Grays Lane, I do not consider that this would be unduly harmful in terms
of the prevailing level of visual amenity neither would it be likely to create any
unacceptable impact to the residents of the immediately adjoining dwellings. In all these
circumstances I conclude that the development is acceptable and in compliance with
Policies ENV22, ENV23 and ENV24 of the adopted Local Plan.
10. I have taken into account all the other matters raised but nothing is of sufficient weight
for me to reach any other conclusion in this case. In the revised submission the rear
balcony has been omitted from the scheme thus overcoming an objection raised by the
Council to the original drawings. As to conditions, I have considered those suggested by
the Council and I have imposed them with slight modifications. All are necessary and
reasonable in the circumstances of the case. I do not see any need to impose
landscaping conditions as there is no reason to suppose that the existing trees and
vegetation on the site should not be substantially retained.
There was another successful appeal for 5-6 Park Lane. Demolish 1 house, put up 3. The applicant was clearly desperate to cash in on the site, submitting a number of unsuccessful applications and appeals (including one for a small block of flats) before getting permission in the end. Just goes to show that the Planning Inspectorate are less precious than the locals, and less nervous than the planning officers!

It's crazy that all this is for a mere change of use! Decision
Quick thought on this.

My cynicism sensor is warning me that there's a chance that the MVDC councillors will reject on the basis, not of fact, but of convenience. If SSAFA decide not to appeal, then the matter is settled for them and if they DO appeal, then it's out of their hands.

Win / win for them on a rejection .

Having said that, if SSAFA were to appeal and the Committee found to have done their job badly, I believe there are cost and general bad press repercussions for the Council.

Given that the real planning issues have already been effectively demolished by their own planning officer, would it be worth SSAFA stating, or at least hining heavily, that an appeal would happen if it's refused? That would remove a big part of the councillors' safety net if they hope it might all just go away?
I thought that there was a time contraint, given an appeal could take 6 months with no guarantee of success. Would SSAFA cut their losses and look for a new property?
looking into it at the moment, FB, although MrPVRd may already know?
DozyBint said:
I thought that there was a time contraint, given an appeal could take 6 months with no guarantee of success. Would SSAFA cut their losses and look for a new property?
Exactly what red team may be hoping, Dozy. And sympathetic councillors may do the same. Even if SSAFA were to change their minds after nexy week, a suggestion now that they'd take it to appeal might rattle them somewhat.
The appeal has to be made within 6 months of the decision date, no fee needs paid but there will be expenses (such as the planning consultant's fees :twisted: ). Also, on whether it is a written representation, hearing or inquiry. The process would take months, 9 weeks to get to the stage of considering the submissions. Obviously an inquiry takes a long time. I'll do some digging for examples. It does not seem a complex planning issue, so a quick decision would probably be expected (but the planning inspectorate are usually snowed under).

The SSAFA planning consultant should be advising their client on this. Note that only the applicant can appeal, not third parties (ie us or "them").
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