Saturday, December 9, 2023
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Lawns ‘departure’


Having read your article in Village News (April) concerning The Lawns’ planning victory, I offer the following comments:

I objected to the proposal on three main grounds. Firstly, such a development will undoubtedly increase the flow of traffic and the associated danger for pedestrians in School Lane – a concern already expressed many times by residents.

Secondly, it represents commercial development of business premises within a wholly residential area.

Thirdly, and most importantly, it fails to comply with several of the conservation measures set by the District Plan and designed to protect the nature of the area.

For example Policies S7 and S10:
“Limit the number of new dwellings to 10 per hectare.” The Lawns (one dwelling?) stands in half a hectare which at most could accommodate a maximum of four or more – not the 11 independent dwellings planned.

“Require that new development does not significantly change the character and cubic content of the existing building and that overall, the building’s total footprint should not exceed 20 per cent of the land.” The 60 sq m conservatory and two additional buildings comprising 11 self-contained “flats” will do both.

“Require new development to have no adverse effect on existing amenities enjoyed by adjacent occupants.” It will in fact destroy the ambience of the whole area.

I am obliged to point out that it was not only the “professional” Planning Department which recommended rejection of the proposals. Aside from objections by numerous local residents, rejection was also supported by the council’s own Conservation Officer, English Heritage and the Victorian Society.

What particularly concerns me is that where development proposals do not accord with the Development Plan, Local Authorities are required to defer matters to the Secretary of State under “Departure Procedures”.

There can be no doubt but that these proposals are not in accord with the Plan yet the elected councillors on the Planning Committee resolved not to pursue this course.

Since these various protective measures were very firmly applied to other recent residential developments in the area, I can only wonder why they are now being ignored for a commercial undertaking.

Finally, The Lawns in its present form has, for many years, proved a viable and successful undertaking.

Bearing in mind that there are other like establishments in the area, might I ask Councillors Hollingworth and Luck precisely what are the “much-needed facilities” this proposal will bring to the village, since I suspect the cost of residence would be beyond the pockets of most villagers – including mine!

Harry England