Conwy outbuilding refused retrospective planning permission branded a ‘monstrosity’
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
A council officer was refused retrospective planning permission for an outbuilding labelled ‘a monstrosity’ by councillors.
Neighbours complained an existing outbuilding at 1 Top Llan Road, Glan Conwy, that didn’t have planning consent was ‘inescapably dominant and unpleasantly encroaching’.
Applicant Mr Richard Evans applied for retrospective permission to install decking and erect the outbuilding on the grounds of his property for the purpose of an office.
The office is situated on a sloping terraced area alongside the property’s southeast corner, adjoining 14 Tan y Maes to the south and the school playing field to the northeast.
The building has been constructed from a wooden frame with a flat roof with a projecting canopy at the front and a wooden cladding finish stained light grey to match the rear boundary fencing and decking.
Officers recommended that councillors granted permission, despite concerns about the office’s mass, scale, and height.
But almost all the councillors on the committee sympathised with Mr Evans’ neighbours, who complained the building was intrusive.
Several councillors said the building was too tall and questioned whether the land’s topography had been heightened before construction.
Neighbour Alison Sewall spoke at the planning committee meeting, pleading with councillors to reject the plans.
“We were then totally horrified in July when a massive structure was erected next door as close as possible to our living area without planning consent,” she said.
“When the application was made, the applicant initially failed to declare his employment within Conwy County Council.
“It is inescapably dominant and unpleasantly encroaching. This is a constant intrusion into our lives.
“We’ve suffered now with this for over a year. The emotional and physical toll has been horrendous. When we moved, we were in good health, looking forward to retirement. The reality is now we are both suffering from stress, anxiety, and insomnia. We are both on anti-depressants and prescribed medication.”
She added: “Sadly my retirement dream of returning home to North Wales has been turned into a living nightmare.”
The council received 12 letters from residents objecting to the plans, most stating the building was too tall and out of character for the area.
Speaking on behalf of the applicant, agent Jamie Bradshaw commented: “This application is for partially retrospective consent for the erection of an outbuilding and decking at my client’s property who is Richard Evans, your corporate occupational health and safety manager.
“The applicant is seeking consent as he wishes to retain what he has built so far to finish construction by cladding the building, adding handrails to the decking, staining the wood to a neutral shade, adding planting, and other minor work.
“The site as it stands is unfinished, as he stopped work immediately when he was advised that permission was advised for what was built, with the mistake being entirely inadvertent as he had assumed the work would be a permitted development.
“The question of permitted development is important as an altered version of the scheme could be retained on the site without the requirement for any planning consent.
“This provides a clear and easily achievable fallback that would have an identical impact to the proposals you are considering today, which is a key material consideration that you must weigh in the balance; indeed, your officers have done so in reaching their recommendation today.”
But councillors slammed the building.
Cllr Nigel Smith called the building ‘a monstrosity’.
“This gentleman has made this building so tall, and it is right out of character and detrimental to the amenity of the neighbourhood, both visually and for the neighbours behind as a monstrosity, you may say, facing their property,” he said.
“Totally unnecessary, and it could be reduced by at least a third in height quite easily.”
Cllr Andrew Wood said: “I find it quite unbelievable that the officer (applicant) didn’t realise this was not a permitted development.”
Cllr Ifor Lloyd added: “The building doesn’t look in context to where it lives.”
Cllr Stephen Price said: “I think the office or shed is excessively too high.”
Cllr Dave Jones added: “I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. No regard for the neighbours. It’s really ugly looking.”
Cllr Ifor Loyd proposed the application was rejected, and this was seconded by Cllr Stephen Price, and councillors voted nine votes to one in favour of rejecting the proposals with one abstention.
A spokeswoman for Conwy County Council said the building could be taken down.
“Following refusal the Local Planning Authority would consider the most appropriate course of action at that time, which may include enforcement action,” she said.
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