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Land at Johnson Court Faversham Kent ME13 7RG

Comments for Planning Application 23/503547/FULL

Application Summary Application Number: 23/503547/FULL

Address: Land at Johnson Court Faversham Kent ME13 7RG

Proposal: Erection of 1no. one bedroom bungalow with associated access, parking, landscaping, and amenity space.

Case Officer: Claire Attaway

Introduction

The expansion of Faversham in the 60s and 70s is remarkable for the pleasant layout of streets and closes of varying size and shapes. A particularly happy feature is the provision of open green spaces which give these areas of the town a particularly spacious aspect. Also, mature trees have grown which enhance the landscape and provide refuge and sustenance to wildlife.

Johnson Close is carefully laid out so that there are houses on three sides of the rectangle with a green space offset to maximise its area while providing adequate road area for driving and parking.

All houses on the three sides have open front gardens adding to the spacious aspect.

This proposed development destroys the unity the layout and all the attractive site lines. The sense of a square is lost and fencing becomes a feature that was totally absent.

The remaining green area will be reduced and disfigured by a parking space built on it which will give the remaining path a constricted aspect. The parking area will ruin views from all angles.

The proposed bungalow is a very small building of no architectural interest and would hardly provide a satisfactory dwelling.

It would however set a lamentable precedent resulting in infill developments that would destroy the remarkable townscape of the post-war expansion.

Errors and omissions in application

- Trees and tree survey

The application includes the statement: “Are there trees hedges on the proposed development site?” The response “No” is wrong.

There are three trees on the green space which form the site area which will be divided into two parts: on one part there will be the fenced bungalow; and on the car parking space.

A site visit and viewing of google mapswill show that these are not in the positions shown in the site plans. They are also considerably broader.

Given the existence of the tree on the bungalow site an independent tree survey is clearly required. This should not only report on the condition of the tree but also identify on a plan the relocation site, and comment on the impact that the works will have on the retained trees.  A method statement for any relocation should accompany this. Any decision in the absence of a tree report would be irrational.

- Right of way

The Application replies to the question “Are there any new public rights of way to be provided within or adjacent to the site,” No. The before and after maps on pages 2 and 8 on the Design and Access Statement show a path dividing the bungalow from the parking area. This is path is already in existence.

- Waste and recycling

The question “Have arrangements been made for the separate storage and collection of recyclable waste” is No. Faversham. This is not acceptable. There is no external space for waste and recycling in the available plans.

Local and historic amenity

- Historic design and aspect

The June 1966 Developers Sale Brochure stated "the Developers are anxious to create a picturesque residential area and a tree planting scheme to enhance the completed estate is envisaged" as a garden estate with an open green area in the cul-de-sacs.

The three mature trees were planted nearly 50 years ago on the initiative of Mayor of Faversham and Swale, Councillor Burbidge, to enhance the open spaces on the estate.

- Loss of amenity and character

The Design and Access Statement says: “The urban grain of the surrounding area remains relatively consistent, which creates an opportunity to improve the character and appearance of the site, whilst maintaining the streetscape and urban fabric.” This sentence is meaningless and cannot be seen as supporting the application. Anyway, the “streetscape and urban fabric” is manifestly changed by putting a fenced area and a car parking space into an open green area.

Also: “The proposal will maximise the site’s potential and result in inefficient and viable use of the existing site.” This sentence, although partly accurate (“inefficient”), is contradictory and unsupported.

Further: “It complements the neigboring properties and does not have a detrimental impact on the surrounding context.” This is unsupported and contrary to strongly expressed local views.

The proposal contravenes Policy FAV2: Housing Development in the emerging Faversham Neighbourhood Plan resulting in loss of public amenity space, including grassed areas, trees and paths.

Residents are largely retired and the open character of the area enhances well-being and mutual support.

Impact on adjacent properties and neighbourhood

- General impact

The proposed development would have a detrimental impact on the surrounding context.

Site lines from properties across the central green space would be severely restricted. Properties 1 and 2 would be largely hidden.

- Impact of proposed fencing

-- General

The proposed fencing is an utterly alien feature to Johnson Close and would ruin its open aspect.

-- Property 1 and 2

Property 1 and 2 would have a fence close to front windows where there is currently green space.

-- “Soft-scaping”

Proposed “soft-scaping would not be visible due to the fences.

-- Fencing

Currently the cul-de-sac has an open aspect which means neighbours, many of whom are elderly can see what is going and give mutual support. The intrusion of a new building and fences would detract from the safety of the area.

Impact on wildlife

The development including the fenced bungalow and the parking area would significantly reduce the green area. The three trees on the current green area are important for birds and other wildlife.

Trees

The proposed site area has three trees. These are not shown in the correct location in the site plans. It is proposed to move the Swedish Whitebeam (native to Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Finland, and Poland) to the green area on the other side of the pathway to the bungalow where the car parking space would be built. (The fruit is eaten by thrushes and waxwings, which spread the seeds.)

There is not space to move this tree in the proposed new area because the two existing trees are in a much more central location than shown in the site plans.

If it were moved the three trees would be uncomfortably close together and would block rather than enhance views. This is particularly so as the moved Swedish Whitebeam tree would have to be placed away from the path so as to avoid encroaching on it as the branches go down to ground level.

Removing trees is contrary to every environmental imperative.

There is no independent tree report outlining the problems of moving a large mature tree. It is generally viewed as both uneconomic and unlikely to succeed. If, as expected, it failed it would be too late.

The viability of the two existing trees would also be compromised.

Pathways and fencing

If the pedestrian walkway is fenced on both sides this will create a dark path.

Building line

The proposed bungalow is across the building line set by Properties 1 and 2.

Utilities

- General

There are water electricity, water and gas pipes.

- Gas

Last year gas mains were re-laid and would have to be rerouted.

- Sewage

Connection of foul water to the mains would be complex as the main sewers are behind the existing properties.

Parking and traffic

- Parking pressure

There is limited parking in the cul-de-sac and the addition of a parking area on the existing green space would reduce the area of road available.

There is no guarantee that any new residents might have more than one car.

- Delivery

There would be reduced parking areas for deliveries and carers.

Availability of new build in Faversham

There is already a great deal of new build in Faversham. The addition of a tiny bungalow that compromises a successful development is hardly required.

September 18, 2023

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