A planning application was submitted with a view to sanction a garage “as built” and use same for the parking of coaches. The premises are located in a residential area, thus regulated by policy SMHO 02. Eventually, the request was turned down by the Environment and Planning Commission on a number of grounds. In its decision, the Commission made express reference to Structure Plan policy BEN 1 which, in turn, seeks to protect the amenity of existing and planned uses in the area.
Furthermore, the Commission referred to policy 6.15 of Development Control Policy & Design Guidance 2007 which limits the internal height of domestic garages to 4.3 metres. In this case, the height of the garage was evidently not compliant with the policy. Moreover, it was observed that the proposed development would remove the existing parking space for the overlying dwelling. Concluding on a different note, the Commission said that the proposal was deemed objectionable from a sanitary point of view since the backyard was roofed over by a glazed cover.
Following the above decision, the applicant lodged an appeal before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal. In his submissions, the applicant contended that the garage in question was constructed in the mid 1980s with a clear intention to accommodate commercial vehicles. On this point, the appellant argued that the garage was “built on more courses than a garage intended for the parking of private cars would have.”
Furthermore, it was highlighted that “the said coaches are Euro V coaches having low emissions and the noise they produce when in action is very low.” As to the envisaged parking loss, the appellant contended that the garage and the overlying tenement pertain to different owners. With regard to the backyard, the appellant noted that the alleged irregularities were removed
For his part, the case officer submitted that no evidence was forthcoming to show that the illegalities in the backyard were removed as contended. More so, the officer reiterated that the proposal runs counter to Structure Plan policy BEN 1 and Local Plan policy SMHO 02. In conclusion, it was highlighted that “the appellant’s premise that the garage was always built to accommodate large vehicles does not afford a vested right since the garage was constructed illegally in the first place”.
In its assessment, the Tribunal confirmed that the garage is located in a residential area. Subsequently, it held that the proposed use (parking of coaches) is not specifically included in the list of acceptable uses within residential areas and went on to confirm the decision.