Agenda item

Land to the south of Greenend, 17 Dene Road - 73243/APP/2022/2535

Erection of 6 dwellings with new access to Foxdell and erection of 3 dwellings with new access to Dene Road with associated landscaping and parking.


Recommendation: Approval with s106 legal agreement


RESOLVED: That the application be approved.


Erection of 6 dwellings with new access to Foxdell and erection of 3 dwellings with new access to Dene Road with associated landscaping and parking.


Officers presented the application and drew Members’ attention to the addendum, which noted that there were some revised drawings. There was also a minor alteration to include the proposed crossover, and a Heads of Term for managing the implementation of the legal agreement. There was also some amended wording to the construction management plan.


Officers highlighted some verbal updates. Since the publication of the addendum report, officers had received two additional representations. The first was from David Simmonds CBE MP, who noted that residents had raised issues with existing construction works taking place near the site which had rendered Dene Road inaccessible by residents and minivans collecting students from the nearby RNIB Sunshine House School. Concerns had also been raised with the proposed access from Foxdell given the sighting of the tree. The MP would like these matters taken into consideration.


A second representation had been received from a neighbouring resident which identified minor inconsistencies and labelling between the proposed site plan and the floor and elevation plans for the proposed terrace dwellings of No. 7-9. It also raised concerns with the loss of light to the downstairs hall at No. 1 Foxdell. Neighbouring amenity was addressed within the committee report. As this was not a habitable room, any impact would be acceptable. On the inconsistencies in the plans, it was confirmed that the first-floor windows on the side elevation that faced No. 1 Foxdell would be obscured glazed as per the condition.


Two petitions had been received in objection to the application.


The first lead petitioner addressed the Committee and made the following points:

  • This petition reflected the concerns of many residents in the Dene Road area, over 30 of whom signed the petition in a matter of days, showing the strong objections to this application.
  • This statement was fully supported by the Northwood and Dene Road Residents Associations, representing 120 households.
  • This was an impact statement from long-term and permanent residents.
  • Since 2022, the application had changed little in its character and impact on neighbouring homes.
  • The two single dwellings were substantially larger than the plots for the multiple dwellings and existing houses, calling into question future intentions of remaining single dwellings.
  • The affordable housing contribution of £136,750 was inadequate if meant to be equivalent to 35% of homes as per regulations.
  • It was not clear why any form of access via Foxdell was required due to there being several hundred yards of frontage both along Dene Road and within the single property plot.
  • The property within 17 Dene Road was set well back from the fence with a long driveway to reach the front door. There were large double gates already in place in the plot that could be used for access for all nine developments and ample land to create a comfortable building site base and safe access route via Dene Road without adversely impacting the listed building or causing heritage issues.
  • This application was also not viable given that a substantial street tree stood in the middle.
  • The access was narrow and hazardous, posing a danger for large and emergency vehicles and pedestrians. The Council required this access to be provided to an adoptable standard under Section 278 of the Highways Act. With the presence of the tree, this was not possible.
  • There was risk of damage to the tree and its surrounding roots from the proposed works which could have unforeseen adverse consequences for the surrounding land including subsidence.
  • Any removal or cutting back of that tree would also have a material impact on privacy between No. 3-5 Foxdell.
  • The proposal placed the new buildings as far as possible away from the applicant’s property and as close as possible to the boundaries, this diverted traffic via Foxdell solely to protect the applicant’s property to the detriment of so many neighbours. It was not equitable to do everything to protect the applicant's property by causing so much harm to neighbours.
  • When access to Foxdell on the opposite side was granted for the Firs Walk development, a key argument supported by the Council was that access via Firs Walk would be hazardous for large vehicles. A consistent approach must therefore be applied.
  • Foxdell was previously a small cul-de-sac. Recent and ongoing development had already expanded the road from the other side with several houses and more to come.
  • This proposal would result in a material, not marginal, uplift in traffic through Foxdell.
  • The development would result in significant destruction of greenery, resulting in loss of amenity as well as an adverse environmental impact. The proposal sought to destroy over 20 trees on top of the substantial clearance of bushes and trees just prior to the original application being published.
  • What appeared to be root cutting machinery had been seen in active use near the fence to Foxdell. There was a clear need for tree protection orders to be sought and granted to prevent even more environmental destruction and there was no reference to this.
  • Overall, the objections highlighted clear and valid concerns about the development’s impact on residents’ quality of life, environmental destruction and potential safety hazards which appear to have been dismissed, while overstating the impact of the largely unaffected listed building.
  • Petitioners urged the Council not to grant planning consent for this application.


Members asked if the petitioners wanted the existing tree to stay or be removed. The petitioner noted that they wanted the tree to remain where it was.


Members asked and the petitioner clarified that, in terms of access points, there was a lot of frontage along Dene Road and an existing double gate to the existing property.


A written representation from the second lead petitioner was read out:

  • This was a written representation on behalf of the 110 residents who had petitioned and were asking the Planning Committee to refuse the application for the backland development at the garden of listed building Greenend in Dene Road.
  • The reasons why the vast majority of the residents in the Dene Road Area of Special Local Character had petitioned against this backland development were that it was a further loss of the amenity which was the main feature of the Dene Road Area of Special Local Character (ASLC).
  • The special characteristics of the ASLC were detached houses set back from the street with large gardens, trees and planting with verdant appearance throughout and mature trees in profusion. The existing garden of listed Greenend was typical of this description.  
  • In the Hillingdon Local Plan Part 2, under Heritage HE1;5,17 it stated that the Council wished to conserve Areas of Special Local Character, of which Dene Road is one, and it did need protection.
  • The Heritage & Cultural Report stated it was backland development of the garden of a Grade 2 Listed building. This would seem to be contrary to Hillingdon Policy DMH6.
  • Furthermore, in Hillingdon’s HE1, Strategic Objective SO8 it stated “protect and enhance biodiversity, to support the necessary changes to adapt to climate change. Where possible to encourage the development of wildlife corridors”. 
  • Dene Road was already such a wildlife corridor. Foxes, badgers and muntjac deer visit: on a summers evening bats fly at dusk. Birds were in abundance, but this particular development reduces their habitat. The Arboriculture report stated that 26 trees needed to be eliminated and replaced by roads and car parking spaces. Even the overworked Planning Department would have noticed the accelerating effects of climate change with the urgent need to stop chipping away at the declining environment. This development certainly did not comply with HE1: 5,17 and would lead to a significant loss of habitat and of gardens which were the feature of the Dene Road Area of Special Local Character. 
  • The plan was to build two large, detached houses, which at least conform with the characteristics of the Area of Special Local Character but also a block of 3 two-bedroom flats plus a one-bedroom unit which certainly does not fit into the ASLC and a terrace with 3 two-bedroom town houses which will be significantly out of place in a street scene of large, detached house with large gardens. The siting of these 3 terraced houses was within 5 metres of the existing detached house at No. 1 Foxdell. It’s 5 windows, incorrectly identified as on RH Elevation North (it is actually West), will look directly into and take the natural light away from No. 1’s Hall window. This must surely be contrary to all of Hillingdon’s planning guidelines. 
  • At the very least the Planning Committee should ask the developers to move this 3 two-bedroom terraced town house block to the other side of the site and a detached house would better respect the Dene Road Street scene.
  • The 4 flat block of 3 two-bedroom and a one-bedroom flat (units 3-6) was also out of place in Dene Road and would be more in character with the ASCL if it too was replaced by a detached house.
  • Climate change and the need to protect the environment emphasised the need to retain the trees and gardens which were the signature feature of the Dene Road Area of Special Local Character. If this backland development was allowed to go ahead, it does indicate that Hillingdon does not wish to protect this Areas of Special Local Character.
  • 110 local residents, almost everyone in the Dene Road Area of Special Local Character had signed this petition against the Greenend backland development and they hope the Planning Committee will listen and be “Putting Local Residents First”.


The agent attended and addressed the Committee:

  • The agent thanked officers and Historic England for their constructive approach in developing the application which commenced in 2017, providing pre-application advice meetings on site and allowing amendments to the site plan to reflect neighbours’ concerns.
  • The applicant's family had owned Greenend since 1948 and had carefully preserved it since.
  • Land to the west of Greenend, which was the subject to this application, was in a separate title and separated from Greenend by a pre-existing mature tree belt following the Old Farm track to Green Lane which ran to the immediate west of Greenend, giving the application site a very different character than the grounds of the listed building.
  • The officer’s report and Heritage report note that when Greenend was remodelled by the Arts and Crafts architect CE Townsend in 1893, the western facade was left blank without windows as future development was expected on the land to the west of Greenend, and it was this land where the applicant had applied for residential dwellings.
  • Historic England commented that the proposed houses were designed in a well detailed arts and crafts inspired style and that the concentration and spacing of the development handled nine residential units without excessive loss of open space or vegetation.
  • The Council's conservation and urban design officers commented that there was no principle to an objection to the development of the western side of the plot, given the evidence that it was planned for development in the late 19th century.
  • The host house would retain a very large and spacious plot of half a hectare. The row of three coach houses, units 7-9, were rotated during the application by 90 degrees to reflect the petitioners’ comments. These modest dwellings were accessed by Dene Road and as No. 1 Foxdell was positioned at a higher ground level, the finished floor level of the muse houses would be about 1 meter below that of No. 1 Foxdell, ensuring no impact on their private amenity.
  • A block of flats, No. 3-6, were designed to appear as a single dwelling.
  • A tree belt of 14m tall pine and beach trees provided a dense screen to No. 3 Foxdell which was set at an elevated level.
  • The proposed building had a separation of 7.5m to the western boundary and presented a cat slide roof to No. 3 Foxdell, ensuring the development would have no impact on the neighbouring dwelling.
  • The two arts and crafts style dwellings that were proposed at the southern end of the site, were designed and articulated with subservient roofs.
  • No. 5 Foxdell was constructed at much higher ground level and was supported by retaining walls with a flank-to-flank separation of nearly 12m, and the floor level 1m below No. 5. The proposed development would have no impact.
  • Units 1-6 would be served by a new access to Foxdell.
  • The officer's report noted that the extension to the western end of Foxdale had previously been allowed at appeal.
  • This application was supported by a highways statement and sweat path analysis demonstrating that a fire appliance can access the site and there was also a tree report and tree survey showing how an access can be built without impacting on the roots of the tree. The tree was already surrounded by hard standing.
  • When Foxdell was built by the parents of the current owner of the property and the application site, the turning head was deliberately positioned to allow Foxdell to be extended at a later to date.
  • A number of trees had been removed recently due to an insurance claim from No. 1 Foxdell due to subsidence.
  • In summary, this was a highly sustainable application, and walking distance to Northwood Station. It was proposed to build the houses in a highly efficient way with high insulation valves, air source, heat pumps, and all units would be enabled with EV charging points.
  • The agent thanked the planning team for their well written and detailed report.


It was clarified that the family of the applicant had constructed Foxdell as part of the land being reduced in size. The land that the application was proposing to build on was to the west of this.


Members asked about access points from Dene Road. It was noted that the original proposal was for access to the flats from Dene Road. The planning team and conservation officer considered that there would be less impact on trees and the character of the area if the amount of hard surfacing was reduced. There were some mature trees between the property and the application site.


The Chair noted that Councillor Richard Lewis (Ward Councillor) had sent in an objection to the application.


Officers clarified that any future sub-division of the site would require a future planning application.


It was clarified that 26 Category C trees would be removed and 85 new trees planted. Conditions 11 and 12 sought to protect the trees on site.


Condition 3 related to access and included the requirement to submit details of the phasing of the development in addition to details of traffic management and access arrangements.


It was clarified that the Committee needed to consider the application before them. The planning process took some time and considerable thought was given to the original proposal of two accesses. Throughout negotiations the scheme had been amended so that more of the properties would be accessed from the Foxdell entrance. This allowed a change to the layout so additional landscaping and trees could be retained, and the amount of hard surfacing could be reduced.


It was reiterated that there was some additional wording in the addendum relating to details to be submitted, which are required to demonstrate that the access arrangements and parking provision should seek to minimise the impacts on the adjoining highway and neighbouring amenities.


Officers’ recommendations were moved, seconded and, when put to a vote, agreed.


RESOLVED: That the application be approved, subject to conditions, as per officer’s recommendations.


Supporting documents: