Mr T Kitchener spoke upon the application as an objector. A copy of the objector’s representations is filed together with this minute at Appendix 1.
Mrs K Rees spoke upon the application as an objector. A copy of the objector’s representations is filed together with this minute at Appendix 2.
The Committee gave consideration to the report (as set out at pages 11 - 22 of the agenda pack) which asked it to determine a planning application for a change of use from a snooker hall (Use Class D2) to 12 residential units (Use Class C3) with partial demolition of the existing building to create a car park and associated works.
A debate thereon was had whereby most Members accepted that, upon the advice of Officers, there were insubstantial material planning grounds upon which a refusal of permission could be framed. This was because the provision of 12-dwellings, being in such a central and accessible location, was deemed to significantly contribute to the Borough’s evidence-based local housing supply and that the proposal, on balance, was considered beneficial to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area by providing a viable and sustainable economic future to the existing building.
In reaching its decision, the Committee was advised that any refusal of permission in order to retain the Winchester Snooker Club was not a material consideration, and would otherwise be procedurally unsound and arguably unlawful. Member were also advised that any prospective appeal on highways grounds could not be successfully defended given the Local Highways Authority’s assessment that, in its view, the residual cumulative impacts of the development could be mitigated and were not considered “severe” (in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework).
Notwithstanding the above, Members were unanimous in their reluctance to support the grant of planning permission due to shared concerns with local residents regarding the proposed scheme’s impact upon highway and pedestrian safety along the entire lengh of Central Avenue due to increased vehicular movements and the impact of inadequate on-site parking provision. A Member also stated the report did not provide sufficient information regarding the commercial viability of the proposed scheme which, in that Member’s opinion, amounted to a material consideration.
It was moved by the Chair, seconded by the Vice-Chair and
The application be GRANTED planning permission in accordance with the submitted documents and plans, subject to the prescribed conditions.
Votes For 8
Votes Against 2
Councillor D A Gamble left the Chamber.