Item 13 - 48 Westwood Park Avenue

Parish: Leek
Case Officer: Miss. L. Goldstraw
Registration: 22/05/2012
Grid Reference: 9690 5651
Planning permission is sought for the formation of a roof terrace above an existing
flat roof rear extension at 48 Westwood Park Avenue, Leek. The roof terrace would
have internal access only through a patio door currently in situ and serving a first
floor bedroom. The development would include the provision of sound proofed timber
screens, 3 screens at a height of between 1.850m and 1.950m and a 4th at 1.2m
high. An obscured glass balustrade (including stainless steel posts and handrails)
would also be provided and would measure approximately 1.2m high. Each of the
timber screens would project at right angles away from the rear wall of the dwelling.
The applicant desires the roof terrace to take advantage of the open views to the
This scheme has been referred to the Planning Application Committee at the request
of Cllr Fisher.
The application site, 48 Westwood Park Avenue Leek, is a previously extended
semi-detached dwelling sited within, but on the edge of, the Leek Town Development
Boundary. Other than the nearby Westwood College, the surrounding area consists
mainly of residential properties. To the front of the dwelling there are a number of off
road parking spaces, whilst to the rear the occupants benefit from a good sized
garden and patio area. Boundary treatments include hedgerows/vegetation and
wooden panel fencing. The application site and the attached dwelling have relatively
level land levels; the attached property also has a ground floor flat roof rear
extension. Beyond the rear boundary of the application site are the playing fields of
Westwood College; this land has a Green Belt and Special Landscape Area
Proposed formation of roof terrace on existing flat roof at rear.
Extension to form dining area. Approved.
Expiry of:Neighbour Notification – 2nd July 2012.
Parish Council: Awaited.
Environmental Health: Do not anticipate any major increase in noise above and
beyond what would be expected from a normal back garden. If noise issues did arise
then they could be dealt with under statutory nuisance.
Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan (Saved Policies)
Built Environment
Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Structure Plan (Saved Policies)
The Design and Environmental Quality of Development
Core Strategy (Revised Submission Document December 2011)
Design Considerations
National Planning Policy Framework
Chapter 7
Requiring Good Design
1. The issues to consider are design and the impact the development would have
upon neighbour amenity (including overlooking and noise). The application site is
located within the Leek Town Development Boundary, does not contain any Listed
Buildings and is not within a designated a Conservation Area.
2. Whilst there is a presumption in favour of development within residential areas
such as this it must not be at the expense of other material planning considerations
such as, in this case, neighbour amenity and design. Saved policy B13 of the
Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan stipulates that development proposals should
demonstrate a good quality of design which takes account of matters such as, but
not limited to, scale, character, siting, design, colour and materials of their
surroundings. Developments must also provide for satisfactory standards of amenity
for existing and proposed users of buildings. The need to secure well designed
developments has been continued through more recent planning policy such as
those within the Core Strategy and the National Planning Policy Framework. In
particular policy DC1 of the Core Strategy states that all development must ‘protect
the amenity of the area, including residential amenity, in terms of satisfactory
daylight, sunlight, outlook and privacy.’
3. The proposed development causes concern by reason of the adverse overlooking
impact it would have upon the amenity of the current and any future occupant of
number 46 Westwood Park Avenue and the design of the development. Members
will see on site that the applicant has already undertaken some work on top of the
flat roof extension, however it is understood that the wooden panels and guardrails
are for illustrative purposes only, simply outlining the size of the balcony and how
some of the neighbour’s land would be screened from view.
4. Members are advised that an application for the formation of a roof terrace was
previously withdrawn by the applicant following officer’s concerns about overlooking
and neighbour amenity. The applicant was again advised that the second attempt
application also caused concerns, as a result the applicant decided to further amend
the drawings to include another timber screen to aid in reducing overlooking. It is
recognised that since the first application the applicant has taken steps to reduce the
size of the roof terrace and has introduced high level screening features to reduce
the extent of overlooking into the rear windows and garden area of number 46
Westwood Park Avenue. The presence of the temporary guardrails and screens is
useful to fully understand the extent of overlooking in the direction of number 46. If
planning permission was obtained, the existing wooden panels and fencing would be
replaced by the soundproofed timber screens and the glass balustrade in
accordance with the submitted drawings.
5. Whilst the timber panels do, to some extent, assist in screening the patio area
and rear windows of number 46 the fact remains that in order for the applicant to
benefit from the open views to the north then overlooking of the neighbour would
occur. The introduction of a further timber screen does now ensure that when in a
seated position very little, if any, of the neighbours garden would be seen however
the fact remains that within certain parts of the terrace it would still be possible to
overlook the neighbours garden when in a standing position. The terrace is
formalising a seating area where one would not be expected so close to a shared
boundary, the presence of people sitting outside at this height is unacceptable. The
times of day in which the terrace could be used could not be controlled by condition.
Whilst the very nature of a semi-detached dwelling means that there are upper floor
windows overlooking adjacent properties they do not provide formal seating areas,
encouraging comings and goings and frequent views into surrounding properties.
There is also the matter of the sense of being overlooked that also causes concern,
that there is the potential at any time for someone to stand and overlook whilst
resting on the balustrade. Windows do allow for fleeting glances and, unlike roof
terraces, are not realistically used for vantage points for long periods of time.
6. The intention of the applicant to introduce high level timber screens to assist in
screening has a knock on effect in that it results in a development which is poorly
designed. Fence panels of almost 2m in height would be fixed to a roof (and upper
floor rear wall) in an attempt to overcome officer’s concerns but are generally not
features which are expected to be found within residential areas. This is a modest
semi detached dwelling and timber screens at an elevated level are clearly not
appropriate or in any visual or functional harmony with the property.
7. Consideration has been given to potential noise disruption. Environmental Health
officers advise that no major increase in noise levels are likely to occur but if it was to
become a problem then it could be dealt with under statutory nuisance regulations.
8. There are no issues with number 50 Westwood Park Avenue due to the presence
of 2 substantially sized pitched roof garages which screen the rear garden, 1 belongs
to the applicant and 1 is within the curtilage of number 50.
Parish Council Views
Representations awaited.
Public Views
No representations received.
Planning Permission be refused for the following reason:
1. The creation of an upper floor, external seating area so close to the shared
boundary with the adjoining property, number 46 Westwood Park Avenue, is
unacceptable in that it would result in an unacceptable degree of formalised
overlooking into the rear garden area of the aforementioned dwelling. The
overlooking relationship would compromise the level of privacy that a neighbour
could reasonably expect to enjoy. The use of high level timber screens on the
existing roof is an inappropriate and incongruous feature, lacking any visual and
functional harmony with the modest semi detached dwelling. Planning policies are
clear in that development proposals should be of a good design whilst protecting
residential amenity and privacy and preventing unacceptable overlooking
relationships. The application is therefore contrary to Saved policy B13 of the
Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan, Saved policy D2 of the Staffordshire and Stokeon-Trent Structure Plan, policy DC1 of the Core Strategy (Revised Submission
Document December 2011) and the National Planning Policy Framework including
Chapter 7 ‘Requiring Good Design.’