A COUNCIL’S top officer for the past two decades is to have his home extension plan scrutinised by councillors after a group which describes itself as a guardian of the area’s architectural heritage claimed it could affect a conservation area.
A special meeting of Richmondshire District Council’s planning committee will convene next week to consider a single planning application to increase the roof height of part of a bungalow in Brompton on Swale, to create two bedrooms and an en-suite bathroom in the loft space.
Such small-scale domestic plans would usually be decided by planning officers under delegated powers, but as it was submitted by the authority’s chief executive, Tony Clark, and after Richmond and District Civic Society objected to the proposal.
In such a situation, planning applications must be considered by elected members to avoid accusations of bias.
Ahead of the meeting, the planning committee’s chairman Councillor John Amsden said: “Tony Clark won’t be having any favours shown, the proposal will be treated just like that of anybody else.
“Just because he is chief executive he will not be getting any special privileges.”
An officer’s report to the planning committee states the property is in the village’s conservation area and national policy dictates “great weight should be given to a heritage asset’s conservation” when making planning decisions.
The civic society, which has monitored planning applications in such heritage areas for more than 50 years, initially raised concerns about the scale of the dormer, and asked for details of the plans and materials.
However, the society has since maintained its objection over the scale of the proposed dormer, particularly when considered alongside the increase in the pitch of the roof of the property, and “the increase in the height and bulk of the building such that it overpowers its surroundings”.
The officer’s report states the dormer extension would be seen, at a distance, from the public footpath alongside the River Swale.
Nevertheless, the officers report concludes that the proposals “relate well to the form and appearance of the existing modern bungalow”, without having a harmful impact on the character and appearance of the conservation area.
Recommending the proposal is approved, it states the roof extension would preserve the significance of the heritage asset.
It adds: “The proposals provide sufficient parking within the property to avoid indiscriminate parking on the highway to the detriment of highway safety.
“The proposals have no significant adverse impact on the amenities and privacy of the occupants of neighbouring properties.”