Homes allowed on St John's Lane car plot

Published on: 29 Sep 2017

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 32-38 St John's Lane proposed frontage32-38 St John's Lane proposed frontage from Monmouth Street

Pictured: The former car sales operation; the new houses facing St John's Lane; and the houses facing Monmouth Street

THE OLD car sales site on St John’s Lane will be rebuilt as nine three-storey houses – three with four bedrooms and five with three bedrooms, planners have decided.

However, the developer will first have to show that it can safely remove the underground fuel tanks on the site, which was a petrol station until the 1980s.

Proposals have been made for housing on the site for some years. Permission was given for seven two-bedroom homes and two two-bedroom flats in 2014. These buildings were of two storeys, like virtually all the houses in the immediate neighbourhood.

A new application in November 2016 added an extra storey to the plans, requesting four four-bedroom houses and five three-bedroom houses. This was withdrawn, and replaced with a similar plan which removed the third floor from the house on the corner of Monmouth Street.

None of the homes have a parking space, though each will get a cycle store.

There were nine objections to the plans on the grounds that there is not enough street parking  nearby, that neighbours will be overlooked and robbed of sunlight, and the development is high-density and out of character with the area. 

Monmouth Street and its neighbours are rows of very similar, two-storey Victorian terraces, built around the 1890s for railway workers and other working families.

Planners said the developer’s survey of available parking spaces was flawed, because it showed cars parked on a nearby bus stop. But their report said “there is sufficient parking availability within the vicinity to accommodate a development of this size.”

The report added: “This view is supported by the 'low-car' sustainable credentials of the site” – presumably a reference to the cycle stores at each of the new houses. There is nothing to stop any of the new occupants having a car, however.

Planners said the level of overlooking created by the third storey windows “is acceptable in this urban environment where overlooking is already found along the fronts of buildings”.

The appearance of the area wouldn’t be changed too much, they said, because the new top floors are all set back. This setting-back creates a small outside space on the third floor of the Monmouth Street homes, but residents won’t be allowed to use this space.

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