One of the planning applications up for discussion tonight was one at 247 London Road Rayleigh.
This was to demolish the car sales premises on the corner of Little Wheatley Chase and Louis Drive West, and build a 50-bed nursing home there.
It was refused overwhelmingly by councillors. One of the ward members, Joan Mockford, was the first councillor called to speak, and she proposed refusal on the grounds of the bulk of the building, loss of privacy and lack of sufficient parking spaces (the plan included 15 spaces). The privacy reason was later dropped on the advice of Cllr Simon Smith as it wasn’t really valid.
Jackie Dillnutt spoke next and seconded the refusal. She went into great detail:
As we saw on our site visit the garage located at 247, London Road isn?t one of the most attractive features in Rayleigh especially standing as it does in a prominent location on one of the main routes into Rayleigh and redevelopment would provide us with an opportunity to correct this situation.
In addition, with our aging population there is an increasing need for establishments that provide high quality, modern residences for the elderly locally.
The right development, of the appropriate scale, well designed and with thought given to the impact on local residents could potentially be a welcome improvement. Unfortunately I don?t believe we have that in this application.
I am still concerned at the impact of the proposal on Numbers 1 and 3 in Little Wheatley Chase. Officers appear to agree quote ?This elevation lacks a visually appealing appearance with large expanses of plain wall?. The report confirms that this will be visible from London Road but will be partially obscured because the lucky owners of numbers 1 and 3 will be in the way and therefore have the best view of it.
In addition they will be in close proximity to commercial kitchens serving a 50 room building. If they choose to open the kitchen door the noise will be about a metre away from the boundary to a small private garden. Not, I would suggest, and great design choice for their neighbours.
The plans are for parking against the boundary to the back gardens of numbers 5 and 7 LWC in the area currently in the back garden of the bungalow at 131 Louis Drive East. This is rough grass at present and not used by the garage for parking cars. These proposals are the same as they were in the failed proposal for flats in 2008 which was upheld by an Inspector. In fact the parking was of sufficient concern to the Inspector when considering the appeal that it featured as one of his reasons for upholding the decision. His view was that ?the proposed parking arrangements would have an adverse impact on the living conditions of adjoining occupiers? and this would conflict with LP Policy HP11.
It is not reasonable to argue that as elderly residents the traffic movements would be less than to flats. On the contrary, staff will be coming and going throughout the day, family, friends and professional visitors not to mention services will all have an impact both on weekdays and weekends.
In conclusion I don?t believe this application has provided the local community with a good enough solution and I propose refusal on the following grounds;
The parking layout and location would have an adverse effect on the adjoining residential properties The scale and poor design of the development in a prominent location within Rayleigh
Jackie’s point about the parking layout and location was something that the council officers especially couldn’t refute and was included in the reasons for refusal.