Agenda item

St Johns School - 10795/APP/2021/1036

Subdivision of gatehouse to form two 1-bedroom maisonettes.


Recommendation: Approval



Officers introduced the report noting that the building formed part of the school and is therefore unusual for a residential dwelling; officers determined that this was used as part of the school and therefore fell within use class F rather than use class C3. Officers highlighted condition 7 which set out that the units created should be used solely in connection with, and ancillary to, the wide school use of the site.


A petition objecting to the development had been received and the lead petitioner had submitted a written statement that was read out for the Committee ahead of the debate. Key points raised in the statement included:


  • Concerns were raised that the development would provide sub-standard accommodation for occupiers and it was noted that the flats created would be smaller than the government recommended size for flats.


  • The changes brought about by the development would degrade the features of what is a locally listed building.


  • The Gatehill Farm Estate had been designated an area of special local character and previous applications for conversions of properties into flats had been refused on the grounds that the Estate maintains a policy of single family per plot occupancy. It was highlighted that the application was not in keeping with this.


  • Concerns were raised as to the appropriate address for the residence as it was listed on Potter Street Hill however access was gained from Wieland Road.


  • Further concerns were raised as to a separate planning application from the school relating to alterations to parking arrangements on the school site; this was seen as closely related to the current application and therefore deemed a piecemeal application.


The applicant was in attendance and addressed the Committee. Key points raised included:


  • With this application the school was investing significant funds in refurbishing a locally listed building.


  • The conversion of the property into flats allowed the school to recruit and retain members of staff, particularly young members of staff who may encounter difficulties when accessing the local housing market due to cost.


  • The proposed additional condition to restrict use of the development to be ancillary to the school was understood and accepted. This had already been the case for a number of years, and it was emphasised that the property was not for commercial letting.


  • Plans were amended following concerns from the conservation officer to ensure that the only visible change to the building was the new entrance door within the arch, this would match the existing door.


  • The applicant also confirmed that there was currently no one living in the property.


Officers addressed the petitioner’s concerns that this would be substandard accommodation; it was highlighted that both of the proposed 1-bedroom flats would be above 50 square metres and would comply fully with national standards. What wouldn’t comply with standards was that the property overall was under 120 square metres, it was highlighted that this was a local policy and the reasons why the application was recommended for approval were set out in the report. On the issue of the separate planning application made by the school, this was deemed to have no bearing on the application in front of Members.


Clarifications were made that, although the application was unorthodox, it was seen as a one-off development and would therefore be a one-off decision to sub-divide a property in the Gatehill Farm Estate. To ensure that no future applications for sub-divisions in the area could reference this application, it was suggested that an informative be added to clarify this. Further to this, it was noted that the informative wouldn’t preclude the attached 3-bedroom property, also within school grounds, from applying for a similar form of development in the future.


The officer’s recommendation, including the additional informative agreed by the Committee, was moved, seconded, and when put to a vote, unanimously agreed.




1)    That the application be approved;


2)    That the Head of Planning be delegated authority to word an additional informative notifying that this is a once-only manner of development for the Gatehill Farm Estate.

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