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The officer said that Cllr Jeff Green had requested the decision be made by the Planning Committee (and not by officers) and that there was a qualifying petition of twenty-nine against it as well as five letters of objection. The application was in a conservation area and was for a two storey house. The officer said that the property had not been occupied for the last two years and that the application was recommended for approval.
The petitioner, David James said he lived next to Corbiere and that he was a member of the Caldy Society and spoke with their full support. He asked why they would agree to demolish part of Caldy’s heritage that fitted perfectly in the conservation area? The petitioner said that the current building could be economically restored. Mr. James said that the footprint of the new building would be greater than the footprint of the original house and that it looked like a “huge office block” and would be a “carbuncle”.
The applicant handed out handouts to the Planning Committee and introduced himself as Stuart Wilson, of 10 The Willow, Lea Park, Meols Drive, Hoylake, Wirral. He said that they had spent eight months discussing the application with planning officers and that Conservation Area officers past and present had said they had worked within the guidelines.
The property was an unoccupied family home, which they had bought in a dilapidated state, it was dangerous in certain parts due to a bodged extension. He felt that its character had been lost beyond economic redemption. Part of the building would be underground which increased the cost and he disputed claims about loss of privacy due to the balcony. The balcony he explained was a service balcony and the windows referred to would be made of opaque glass.
Cllr Watt was next to address the Planning Committee. He said that in the press that Thorsway was one of the highest priced roads in Merseyside and one of the highest points in the Caldy Conservation Area. Although much of the application would be hidden behind screening, he asked the Planning Committee to ask to see the artist’s impression of the new building. Cllr Watt referred to the concerns of the petitioners and asked the Planning Committee to find reasons to refuse the application.
Cllr Elderton asked if they needed permission in a conservation area to demolish and how much influence the Conservation Area officer had had on the application? Cllr Moutney asked for the plans to be displayed.
Matthew Davies replied that there was a conservation area consent application for demolition of the existing building, but it wouldn’t be granted unless there was an acceptable scheme for a replacement dwelling. Therefore it wouldn’t be decided until the application was decided. If the application was approved, then consent for demolition would be granted.
In terms of the input that Conservation Area officers had had, it had been subject to considerable pre-application advice and advice from the urban design officer.
Cllr Elderton said he’d like to see the elevations and artist’s impressions to compare with the previous design. Matthew Davies showed the footprints of the existing building as well as replacement. He also showed the elevations and artists impressions.
Cllr Elderton described it as a out of character for the conservation area and a “1930s office block”. He thought it was unsuitable and wanted to move refusal. Cllr Hayes asked why the conditions only required the trees to stay in place for one year and whether it could be extended?
Matthew Davies replied that they were trying to retain the existing vegetation, but that condition 18 required a full landscaping scheme to be submitted which would detail any replacement trees. Condition 17 sought to retain the existing vegetation while new vegetation was planted.
Cllr Elderton moved refusal of the application on the basis that it was contrary to policy CH11. This was seconded by Cllr Eddie Boult.
The following councillors voted for refusal, Cllr Stuart Kelly, Cllr Les Rowlands, Cllr Simon Moutney, Cllr Paul Hayes, Cllr Eddie Boult, Cllr David Elderton and Cllr Irene Williams (7)
Labour councillors (apart from Cllr Irene Williams) voted against (6)
The application was therefore refused.