Agenda item

Agenda item

Planning Application No. CB/18/02831/LB (Ampthill)


Address:       55 Woburn Street, Ampthill, Bedford, MK45 2HX


Erection of two storey rear extension.


Applicant:    Ms Whitehead




The Committee had before it a report regarding the erection of a two storey rear extension at 55 Woburn Street, Ampthill, Bedford, MK45 2HX.


There were no additional consultation/publicity responses, comments or additional/amended conditions reported in the Late Sheet.


In advance of consideration of the application the Committee received a representation from the applicant, Mrs Jennifer Whitehead.  The applicant responded to a request for clarification on the award of a Court Order to fund the provision of a bedroom and other personal space for her daughter due to the latter’s medical conditions.


(Note: Following comments by Members, and in accordance with paragraph 13.2 of Part 4G of the Constitution, the Chairman allowed the applicant’s agent to speak on the application).


In advance of consideration of the application the Committee received a representation from the applicant’s agent, Mr Francis Caldwell.


The ward Member, who had called in the application, referred briefly to the information already provided by the applicant.  He then advised of the reasons why the applicant had bought the property she and her family occupied, including the need to be in close proximity to her daughter’s school in case of a medical emergency.  The ward Member explained the applicant’s aim was to provide a suitable type and standard of accommodation for her daughter given the latter’s need for constant care.  To this end the design of the extension was of a suitable style and size whilst leaving sufficient garden space for the daughter to enjoy.  The ward Member explained that the extension could not be sold as an individual dwelling as the site as a whole was Grade II Listed.  He explained how the application was compliant with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), would not cause significant harm to the Conservation Area, be of benefit to the family as whole, enable the applicant to undertake the care and support her daughter required during periods of trauma and allow the daughter to experience sustainable independent living when possible.  The ward Member briefly outlined the reasons the NHS supported the application.


The planning officer responded to the points raised as follows:


·         The conservation officer had identified less than substantial harm (as defined in the NPPF) to the fabric and historical significance of the building arising from the application and so had raised an objection to it.

·         No public benefits had been identified to outweigh the level of harm that would be caused.


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


·         The Planning Policy Guidance support for the comments made by the applicant’s agent, although the Guidance had not been updated to reflect the latest NPPF.

·         That the Guidance stated that it was a matter of judgement for the decision taker as to whether a proposal would cause substantial harm (i.e. the level of harm above that claimed by the conservation officer) having regard to the circumstances of the case.

·         That the Committee’s site inspection had revealed that the application would not cause significant harm to the significance, character and setting of the listed building or to the group of listed buildings.

·         There was limited harm to the front of the building because of the restricted view of the proposed extension and the view from the rear garden was of two modern buildings.

·         Paragraph 196 of the current NPPF, the reference to the need for public benefit to outweigh the less than substantial harm and the wider interpretation of public benefit to include the applicant and her daughter.

·         The absence in paragraph 196 of the current NPPF of a requirement for, and definition of, exceptional circumstances to outweigh the less than substantial harm.

·         That the context of the application before Members could be interpreted as exceptional circumstances and that what constituted exceptional circumstances was left to individuals to determine.

·         The existing building’s optimal viable use was defined as a dwelling place.

·         The extensions to neighbouring properties existed and, notwithstanding the planning context in which they were erected, should be given due weight given they impacted on the setting.


Note: At this point in the debate, and contrary to the officer recommendation, it was moved and seconded that the application be approved.


·         A ward Member, who was also a member of the Committee, stated that he had been severely conflicted on the application and expressed disappointment on the paucity of the information from the conservation officer as supplied in the officer report, in particular with regard to the reasons for refusal.

·         The absence of a conservation officer from the meeting and the quality and type of advice which had been provided to the applicant.

·         The need for an assessment of the merits of the application.

·         The detrimental impact of the application on the integrity and appearance of the Listed Building, the harm to the neighbouring dwellings and the visibility of the extension once constructed.


The reasons given for the motion to approve the application were as follows:


Public benefit would arise in the context of benefits to the applicant’s daughter being accommodated within her existing home’s location.

The level of harm arising from the application to the existing dwelling was, in the Committee’s view, at the lower end of less than substantial and so the impact was not as great as that set out within the officer report.


On being put to the vote 9 Members voted to approve the application, 2 voted against approval and 1 abstained.




that Planning Application No. CB/18/02831/LB relating to 55 Woburn Street, Ampthill, Bedford, MK45 2HX be approved as set out in the Schedule attached to these minutes.




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