Response to 49 High Street Planning Application

8 Southdown Road
Westbury on Trym
21 July 2023

Dear Planning Oficer

Planning Application 23/02169/F: 49 High Street

The Society notes that, as with the application for houses to the rear of 47 High Street, there have been numerous objections to this application from local residents for reasons that the Society supports and the Society would like to put its own objections to the council.

As with application 23/01974/F, this site is in the Westbury on Trym conservation area. It is also very close to adjoining residential development and sited immediately behind the former Police Station, which is identified as an unlisted building of merit and is a local landmark. The proposals should also be seen in the context of the proposals for 47 High Street.

The Society disagrees with the applicants assertion that the site has limited visibility. The proposed houses will be seen in the context of the attractive stone front and side elevations of the former Police Station, which has a steeply pitched roof. On page 40 of the Conservation Area Character Appraisal, the document states ‘the character and special interest of Westbury-on Trym can be preserved or enhanced through ensuring that new buildings complement their neighbours in scale, style and use of materials’.

The design of the new buildings reflects nothing of the character of the townscape nearby but introduces a building with a mansard roof and brick elevations, the colour of which the applicant asserts will sit well with the stone of the Police Station and the stone boundary wall, which being of different types will be almost impossible to achieve. The frontage is simply modern, no attempt has been made to respond to the conservation area setting at all. We conclude that this development will lead to substantial harm to the character of the conservation area and the unlisted heritage asset, the former Police Station.

The other issue to address is the relationship between the new houses proposed here and those on the adjoining site. There are two quite contrasting designs, neither of which, in the Society’s view responds to the conservation area.

Given its size and location, the three houses involves overdevelopment and significant detriment to the amenities of the occupiers of the adjoining property on Fraley Road through the overlooking and loss of privacy caused by the rear balconies.

The development contravenes policies DM26, DM29 and DM30.

Car Parking

As set out in response to 23/01974/F, anyone familiar with Westbury on Trym will be aware of the parking stress that occurs due to the large number of dwellings in the conservation area that have no off street parking and narrow frontages to the street and the adverse impact this has on the character of the area. During the day the streets are fully parked with shoppers and business vehicles. When these have gone in the evening the streets are parked by local residents. The parking on this site provides a valuable role in providing secure off street parking for businesses. The loss of this may not be controllable, but the creation of a development that can provide for its own parking needs is paramount.

The centre of Westbury has in recent years been the subject of several planning permissions for housing with no or very little on plot parking. Recent examples are planning permissions for 1no. 2 bed, 2 no. 2 bed and 1 no. 3 bed dwellings at 1-3 Stoke Lane (17/06744/F), as amended by 19/03823/F, for 2no. 3 bed flats above 51 Westbury Hill (19/05300/F), and two 3 bedroom houses on the adjoining site (20/05326/F) and two 2 bed houses at 16 Canford Lane (18/01807/F) all where no off street parking is being provided. At 48 Stoke Lane, permission was granted under 17/01620/F for 2no. 4 bed houses and a 3 bed bungalow with 1 only off street parking space. As a result of this incremental residential development which relies on on-street parking, and due to other factors, the availability of on-street parking near the centre of the village has become very scarce. There are no plans for the council to extend the residents parking zones to Westbury on Trym.

The application of parking policies using the ‘maximum provision’ was countermanded by the government’s 2015 Planning Update which advised that the ‘imposition of maximum parking standards under the last administration lead to blocked and congested streets and pavement parking. Arbitrarily restricting new off-street parking spaces does not reduce car use, it just leads to parking misery. It is for this reason that the government abolished national maximum parking standards in 2011’.

The larger houses are 4 bedroom houses, although the applicant disguises this by describing the 4th bedroom as a ‘study room’. The smaller house is a 3 bedroom unit. Three parking spaces are proposed, quite insufficient for such a development and the size and positioning of the spaces will make access and egress extremely difficult. Parking space 1 has a tree grid intruding into it and we can see that manoeuvring in and out of space 3 will be difficult and likely involve encroaching on house 1.

This application is being considered alongside the adjoining application and having two access points side by side and this one also being to a poor standard cannot provide for safe access.

We trust the council will refuse this application and subsequently discuss a reduced level of development with the site owner.

Yours sincerely
A C Renshaw MRTPI
On behalf of the Westbury on Trym Society