Agenda item

Agenda item

Planning Application No. CB/17/04643/FULL (Dunstable Icknield)


Address:       109 Jeans Way, Dunstable, LU5 4PR


Demolition of the existing and replacement of the Scout Hut with a new Scout Hut building.


Applicant:     The Scout Association Trust Corporation





The Committee had before it a report regarding Planning Application No. CB/17/04643/FULL for the demolition of the existing hut and replacement of the Scout Hut with a new Scout Hut building at 109 Jeans Way, Dunstable, LU5 4PR.


In advance of consideration of the application the Committee’s attention was drawn to amended conditions as set out in the Late Sheet.


In advance of consideration of the application the Committee received a representation from an objector to the application.  Prior to the representation the Chairman referred to an email and attached document which had been sent to him by the objector with a request that the document be considered.  He advised that the planning officer had circulated the document to all Members of the Committee.


A Member sought clarification from the objector regarding her comment that the applicant had refused to engage in discussions with her regarding her concerns.  In response the objector stated that she had emailed a Scout Association representative who had been defensive in his response because, she felt, of her attempts to generate wider interest in the application.  She was aware that other residents had made complaints about the existing Scout building with regard to parking and other issues.  However, only certain properties had been consulted by the Council on the current application and no-one else appeared to be aware of it.  She herself had not received an invitation to a public meeting organised by the Scout Association on the application.  The objector stated that she had attempted further communications with the Scout Association representative setting out her concerns with a request to discuss them but she had not received any response.


Another Member referred to the objector’s reference to security in her document and her comment during her representation that she did not wish to discuss the matter in public.  The Member stated that without additional information being provided it was difficult to consider the issue further.  In response the objector stated that she felt unable to provide any information on the basis that, if the application was approved, the potential security issue could be exploited.  She also commented that other people who had seen the application plans had instinctively seen the issue to which she was referring and could not understand why it was not also apparent to the Member and to those who had attended the site inspection.   In response the Member, who had attended the site inspection, stated that the security issue to which she referred was still not apparent to him.


In response to a query by the Chairman the objector advised that the security issue did not exist with the current Scout building.  Another Member asked what aspects of the proposed building caused the security concerns.  The objector replied that if she did so she would, in effect, state what the issue was.  She further stated that she had offered (when giving her representation) to discuss the issues privately.  The Chairman informed her that the offer to discuss matters privately caused difficulties for Members and suggested, as an alternative, that she speak to her ward Members to establish whether they shared her concerns.  He added that neither had indicated, to date, that they did so.


A Member sought clarification from the objector as to why she had requested that the proposed gable pitched roof be replaced by a hipped roof.  He added that if a hipped roof would help solve the objector’s problems then it was something which could be easily implemented by the applicant.  In response the objector explained that she had discussed the impact of the proposed building with designers who had a greater knowledge of building design and how buildings worked.  Given the point of the sunrise and its direction of travel, if the proposed gable pitched roof was directly flat against her house the roof would block the sunlight.  However, if the roof was hipped it would allow some light through to the living room window.  She stated that the window had been in the property since it was built and she and her family had always enjoyed the light through the window.  She expressed concern that they would have to use artificial light despite the fact that it was possible for the proposed building design to be amended.


The Chairman stated that the application had been called in by one of the ward Members.  Unfortunately, he was on holiday and therefore unable to attend the meeting and speak on the application.  The other ward Member was also unable to attend due to a prior commitment.  However, he had supplied the Chairman with a statement setting out his reasons for opposing the application and Chairman read this out to the Committee.


The planning officer responded to the issues raised as follows:


·         With regard to the ‘right to light’ he referred Members to paragraph 3.5 of the report.  He stated that  he had visited the objector’s property and observed that there was a second window to the front of the property which served the same room which appeared to be a joint living room diner.  His assessment was that the light entering in by the front window was adequate to serve the room.  Further the side window was obscure glazed.  He did not believe the loss of light would impact negatively on residential amenity.

·         On the matter of privacy he referred to the proposed rear elevation of the new building which would face the objector’s property and pointed out that there were no windows proposed on that elevation.  There was also a recommended condition which would remove any permitted development rights so that an application to the Council would be required if a window was sought.  The planning officer stated that in view of these points, it was not considered that there would be a loss of privacy or overlooking to the objector’s dwelling or to 107 or 111 Jeans Way.

·         On the point that the gap between the rear of the proposed building and the side elevation of the objector’s property would be two metres and would block the light the planning officer responded that, whilst the distance was limited, the side of the objector’s property only had the one window and the view taken was that there would not be a harmful loss of light through that window.


The Committee considered the application and in summary discussed the following:


·         A Member worked through the outstanding objections within the report before commenting on the benefits arising from the provision of such facilities.  He referred to the unease and concern generated by young people gathering in groups on the street and how Scout buildings provided them with an alternative place to meet.  He felt that such buildings should be encouraged in residential areas as this was the area where young people would be found. He expressed his high regard for the work undertaken by the Scout Association and the contribution that it made in the community.  He added that he understood why the architect had chosen the building design as it maximised the space available whilst maintaining parking provision to the front.  Whilst he still had reservations about the loss of light the impact had not been as detrimental as suggested and he could not find a reason to object.  He moved the recommended approval of the application.

·         The Chairman reminded the meeting that the objector had not suggested that the proposed building should be elsewhere although others had.  With regard to the objector’s request that the design could be changed to ameliorate the difficulties she had referred to, the Chairman reminded the meeting that the Committee was required to consider the application as presented and could not amend it.

·         A Member referred to the security issue and, whilst only able to speculate on its nature, commented on the prevention of access by the side passages to the rear of the proposed building.  The planning officer stated that a gate was shown on the front elevation drawing and the Member stated that this would be an improvement over the arrangement for the current Scout hut which had no access prevention. 

·         The Member then commented that had the Scout Association been willing to discuss the local objector’s concerns the rear elevation and roof could have been redesigned to take account of any issues.

·         In response to a query by the Chairman the planning officer stated that, on the drawing of the proposed front elevation, there was a fence and wall shown with a gate on the right hand side.

·         Another Member stated that he thought the building horrible and that the applicant should have spoken to the objector in order to remedy the issues.  The application could then have been dealt with under delegated authority.  He added that a hipped roof could have easily been incorporated into the design if that would have satisfied the objector.  He indicated that he would not vote for approval and that if the opportunity arose he would vote to refuse on the grounds of loss of amenity .

·         A Member expressed uncertainty as to whether the inclusion of a gate on the submitted drawing meant that one would actually be installed and queried whether it would be necessary to impose a condition or informative to secure this.  In response the planning officer stated that for the avoidance of doubt he saw no reason to prevent putting such a condition on the consent.

·         A Member was of the opinion that the facilities within the proposed building would be compromised if a hipped roof was adopted.  He also queried the requirement to install a gate and fence as the Committee would not do so for a residential dwelling.  He added that they would provide somewhere for intruders to hide behind.

·         A Member commented that the Committee would normally take its information from the document accompanying the planning submission rather than just the plan so if a gate and fence were shown on the plan then it also applied to the descriptive document.  He stated that he had no strong views on the need for the gate, acknowledged the previous Member’s comments and felt there were points both for and against.  He also commented on the need to avoid affecting disability rights.  The Member stated that he was against the use of a condition to ensure a gate was provided as he did not know what the implications would be.  He confirmed that he moved the approval only as set out in the officer’s report and Late Sheet.


On being put to the vote 4 Members voted to approve the application, 6 voted against and 2 abstained.


It was then moved and seconded that the application be refused on the grounds of loss of amenity.  On being put to the vote 6 Members voted to refuse the application, 4 voted against and 2 abstained.




that Planning Application No. CB/17/04643/FULL relating to 109 Jeans Way, Dunstable, LU5 4PR be refused as set out in the Schedule attached to these minutes.




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