Agenda item

Planning Application CR/2023/0252/FUL - 9 Mill Road, Three Bridges, Crawley

To consider report PES/435bof the Head of Economy and Planning.





The Committee considered report PES/435b of the Head of Economy and Planning which proposed as follows:


Erection of two storey side and rear extension and single storey rear extension (re-submission of application CR/2020/0054/FUL)


Councillors Ali, Bounds, Charatan, Jaggard, Nawaz, and Pritchard declared they had visited the site.


The Principal Planning Officer (VC) provided a verbal summation of the application, which sought permission for an extension to a house on Mill Road in Three Bridges.  The application was identical to a previous application which was considered and permitted by the Committee in June 2020; the permission had since expired and so the application had been re-submitted.  The Officer then gave details of the various relevant planning considerations as set out in the report.


Elena Andrei, a neighbour of the site, spoke in objection to the application.  Matters raised included:

·       The application had been submitted while a separate but similar application at the site was being determined under appeal by the Planning Inspectorate.  There were concerns about the process and the applicant’s intentions.

·       Mill Road was very narrow with no pavements and there were concerns about the impact of the proposed development on parking and highway safety.  It was not understood why West Sussex County Council (as highways authority) had not issued any objections to the application.

·       The development proposed to increase the number of bedrooms in the property which implied an increase in occupancy, so it was unclear how the application was concluded to be water neutral.


The Committee then considered the application and in doing so requested that officers provide further detail about the layout and floorplan of the proposed development.  Committee members raised concerns about the plans – including the addition of two bedrooms, more living space, and an additional front door – which they suggested alluded to the potential for the dwelling to be misused by being split into two separate residences.  Officers confirmed that the application as submitted was for an extension and not for a separate dwelling and that permission, if granted, would be only for this use.  If the LPA became aware that the property was subdivided and/or occupied as two separate dwellings in the future, or was otherwise not in accordance with the approved plans, this would be a breach of planning control and enforcement action could be taken.


Committee members discussed water usage at the site.  As the proposed extension would increase the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the property, queries were raised as to the reasons why the development was considered to be water neutral.  Officers explained that the LPA had previously undertaken a screening assessment which had concluded that, on the whole, household extensions did not result in an increase in occupancy nor an increase in water usage. Natural England had agreed with the LPA’s conclusions and this proposal was therefore considered to be water neutral.


A query was raised regarding the proposed nine metre separation distance between the extension and the existing properties on the opposite side of Mill Road.  Officers clarified that the Urban Design SPD advised a minimum of 21 metres between rear windows but there was no minimum requirement in this case, and the relationship was deemed to be similar to those between existing neighbouring properties.  Committee members remained concerned about the separation distance in this instance, particularly as it related to a front bedroom to front bedroom relationship, which was considered to have a significant impact on neighbouring amenity.  The Committee felt that this was exacerbated by the overbearing size and mass of the extension which was not subservient to the existing dwelling.  Officers clarified that the design, size and scale of the extension was the same as previously approved.


Throughout the debate Committee members raised significant concerns regarding parking provision, as the application proposed to remove two existing off-street parking spaces.  The Committee believed that the loss of two spaces would have a significant impact on parking availability in the area, in which it was already difficult to park on-street, by displacing two vehicles.  It was also suggested that the addition of two bedrooms to the property could lead to more vehicles being owned by the householders, increasing demand by a further one or two spaces, causing a total potential deficit of four spaces.  The report set out that assessments had shown mixed levels of parking space availability in the area, with only one or two spaces free on Mill Road at any given time.  Complaints from residents referred to a lack of parking in the area.


The Committee also raised queries relating to the flood risk at the site and access by construction vehicles.


During the discussion a Committee member proposed a motion that the application be refused, which was moved and seconded.  The Committee discussed the reasons for the motion to refuse and in doing so revisited key points from its discussion.  It was agreed that the most significant concern about the application was the loss of parking provision and the effect on the already pressured parking availability in the local area, which was not considered to be policy compliant.  The Committee also had significant concerns about overlooking and the minimal window to window distance between the proposed development and the neighbouring houses, particularly given the narrow nature of Mill Road.


The Head of Governance, People & Performance advised on Committee procedure and on the possible outcomes if the Committee voted to refuse the application.


A vote was taken on the motion to refuse the application which was passed unanimously.




Refuse for the following reasons:


1.     The development by reason of its lack of parking would not meet the operational needs of the proposed resultant house and would result in an adverse impact on the on-street parking in the area, increasing the hazards to users of the highway contrary to policies CH3 and IN4 of the Crawley Borough Local Plan 2015-30 and the guidance in the adopted Urban Design Supplementary Document.


2.     The proposed extension, by reason of its proximity to No. 12 Mill Road and the limited window to window distance, would cause a detrimental impact on neighbouring amenity contrary to Policy CH3 of the Crawley Borough Local Plan 2015-2030.


Supporting documents: