Another officer said he wouldn’t like to comment on which impression is more accurate. He referred to one of the elevations and showed them the elevation that the painting was painted from.
The Chair, Cllr Mitchell said it’d been a very interesting site visit. He referred to the comments and questions of Cllr Johnston and Cllr Johnson. He talked about the hours. The petitioners interrupted the meeting and said they hadn’t spoken on six (in reference to the hours). The chair repeated that as he said at the beginning they would deal with both items five and six together and explained the procedure to them. The petitioners asked why they were only allowed five minutes for both items. The Chair responded with yes and explained he was trying to be fair and that there were other items on the agenda with petitions too.
He referred to Councillor Johnson’s amendment to 6. Cllr Johnson pointed out his amendment was to five and six. Cllr Johnson read out his amendment again, seconded by Cllr Keeley. The vote was (for item 5) three councillors voted for. There was a again a problem with the microphones. Cllr Mitchell and Cllr Realey proposed approval. The Chair was advised by the Borough Solicitor’s department not to have the order of the vote the way he wanted so it was switched round.
On five’s amendment, three councillors voted for, eight voted against. On the approval for five, eight councillors voted for with three against. Then he went onto item six. Cllr Johnson moved an amendment and was asked for reasons. After a delay he gave reasons stating the extra hour would be harmful to the wellbeing of residential properties to the NW and SE.
Cllr Mitchell moved approval, seconded by Cllr Realey. On 6’s amendment, three voted for with eight against. On 6’s approval, eight voted for with three against. It was pointed out that approving six transfers conditions to item 5.
So therefore, both items 5 and 6 were approved, so the Committee moved on to item 4.
Cllr Johnson referred to the Inspector’s report which mentioned limitations on the balcony to be used by patrons to prevent overlooking to residential properties. He moved onto item 6 regarding the extended hours. The Inspector considered conditions. He said the Inspector had considered it necessary to protect the living conditions, neighbours and character of the area through a condition. He also mentioned a reimposed condition to control noise which was modified to comply with the 11/95 circular. He said the view of the Inspector was that the extra hours shouldn’t be approved and there were enough grounds to refuse item 6.
He referred to the artistic drawing and said it had artistic licence as it’d take twenty years for the ivy to grow. He said they were not supposed to be commercial in the Greenbelt and said it should be refused as it was out of character and harmful to the appearance and character of the Greenbelt (policy GB2 of the Unitary Development Plan) and that the proposed alterations would give the appearance of a commercial use on the shore contrary to GB2 also. Cllr Keeley seconded this.
Cllr Mark Johnston asked how many car parking space there were? He also asked which was more accurate (or which was more misleading) the artist’s drawing or the less complimentary picture? He asked as the restaurant had the later opening hours, was this just to bring the extension into line?
The Chair asked the officers to answer the points.
The answers given to how many car parking spaces was that it was “quite a large car park”. He said he wouldn’t expect a significant impact on the highway and parking. One of the petitioners heckled from the audience “We do though”.
The Chair asked the planning officers to address the points made by the petitioners, which they had seem examples of at the site visit. Matthew Rushton replied that the footprint would be increased by the proposal and that the report was slightly inaccurate. However the envelope would not be enlarged. He then explained using a plan on the overhead.
Cllr Johnson (who throughout the meeting had problems with his microphone) said it was a bit of mixup with the two together, but he asked how far around the corner the balcony wrapped to the slip road to the beach? He also asked if the public would be able to look out. The answer given (after a long delay in which many pieces of paper were unfolded and refolded in what initially looked like an mime artist doing origami) was that the area would be restricted with reference made to the terrace and flat roof.
The Chair asked for dimensions, the answer given was 9m. Cllr Johnson talked without his microphone on and couldn’t be heard. He then turned his microphone on and said there had been a fiasco at the appeal as Wirral Council had been using two different sets of plans as the plans had been revised. The revised plans had been found and used. He said there had been no time to study the revised plans, however council officers “rolled over” and altered their decision.
Someone representing the applicant called Neil from Chester then addressed the committee. He said it was relevant to highlight the objections relate to the existing building and the applicant had the benefit of two live consents.
Regarding the material amendments to the plans, the sole reason was to comply with their statutory duty under the Equality Act and Health & Safety legislation following a risk assessment. The plans would allow for a second preparation kitchen which would help with cross-contamination. He considered the new design to be superior as the existing consent was ad hoc. He commented on the first floor aspect regarding massing and the ridge line. He said there had been a noise reduction scheme and that the construction was sufficient to control noise. He felt it was inappropriate for Wirral Council to impose a further noise reduction scheme. He mentioned an email he had written to members of the Planning Committee prior to the meeting.
Commenting on the second application, he referred to the lawful development certificate has been issued regarding ten years to 2007. From 2007 it operated by the hours granted by the certificate. He said it was to reflect the historic opening hours for thirty years. He disputed an adverse impact on local residents. With the additional information submitted today by email, he felt the applicant had addressed all the points of concern raised and he called for approval.
The committee then went on to receive a verbal report from an officer about items 5&6 (which were taken together). A previous refused application had gone to the Planning Inspector who had overturned the decision. The application was for improving the circulation of people within the restaurant, increasing its capacity and to simplify the design. The second application was for varying the hours, which would affect the extension too. This would lead to an hour later opening until midnight and on New Years Eve until 2am. Reference was made to the lawful development certificate.
A petitioner addressed the committee who was against the application. They introduced themselves as Steve Fitzsimmons, the Chair of the local Residents Association who lived behind the restaurant. He referred them to the written report specifically the section on Appearance and Ameneties. He disputed the fact stated there that the footprint of the building wouldn’t be extended. He mentioned the Greenbelt and that thirty two out of the forty local households had signed the petition.
He mentioned the road (Banks Road) and how traffic was causing problems for dog walkers and birdwatchers and also mentioned a blind spot and near accidents. He then went onto mention parking and the local public car park and the effect on residents on nights of private parties. He also mentioned illegal parking and disturbance. He said nearly two hundred people leaving tend to disturb residents.
He carried on talking about noise disturbance. He went into the history of applications and how the new design wouldn’t fit in with the existing properties. Overlooking and privacy issues were also mentioned including blocking of light. He then went onto talk about the Equality Act/Disability Discrimination aspects of the application and said it shouldn’t be used as a special circumstance. He said the existing toilet could be improved and was inappropriate in the Green Belt/Coastal Area. He referred to the Planning Inspector’s decision.