In recent events, Romsey Town Council has expressed reservations about the construction of two residences in a garden situated at the rear of The Yews, 167 Botley Road. The application, put forth by Blue Leaf Projects Ltd and Venture Management Ltd, has sparked controversy, with concerns ranging from its impact on the visual landscape to potential risks for pedestrians.
During a meeting convened on Thursday, January 5, the council deliberated on the matter, underscoring the perceived compactness of the plan when compared to a similar application that secured approval next door.
A representative from the council conveyed concerns, stating, “The application is somewhat tighter than the one adjacent. Residents wouldn’t just witness two houses; instead, it forms a row of four, which is visually intrusive. I’m apprehensive that, despite a precedent at 169, the site at 167 is smaller, and thus, the new dwellings encroach more on the amenity of neighbouring properties. Access is also a matter causing concern.”
Residents residing on Botley Road actively voiced their objections, focusing on worries regarding the size of the entrance from Botley Road. They argued that it was insufficient for the expected traffic volume and too narrow to accommodate four properties, posing a potential hazard for pedestrians, especially school children commuting to nearby schools.
The residents further highlighted their unease regarding the potential noise impact stemming from vehicle movements in close proximity to habitable rooms. They pointed out that the proposed back land overdevelopment raised significant concerns, particularly when comparing garden sizes to the approved bungalows behind 169 Botley Road. The cramped layout and insufficient parking for visitors and delivery vehicles were cited as additional issues, with the potential overwhelming presence of the new dwelling affecting their boundary and limiting light in their garden.
Responding to these concerns, the planning statement accompanying the application argued, “The council is aware that it recently granted planning permission for a similar development pattern on land at the rear of 169 Botley Road, Romsey. The current proposal seeks to utilize the access granted by virtue of that permission, aiming to achieve a comparable development pattern on the land at the rear of 167 Botley Road, Romsey.”
The statement proceeded to describe the property at 167 Botley Road as a detached bungalow surrounded by substantial mature gardens, with the application site positioned solely to the south of the existing dwelling. It stressed that the proposed development comprised two three-bedroom detached chalet bungalows with detached timber carports and separate secure cycle storage.
“The proposals envision each residential dwelling being endowed with a well-proportioned garden amenity space, suitable to meet the day-to-day needs of residents and provide opportunities for entertaining and recreation,” the statement added.
The controversy surrounding this application prompts questions about the consistency of planning decisions within the council. Although the approval of a similar development nearby sets a precedent, the concerns raised by residents and council members suggest a nuanced assessment of each case based on individual circumstances.
The size of the entrance and potential traffic issues on Botley Road raise genuine safety concerns, particularly for the residents and school children in the vicinity. The impact on the visual landscape and the perceived overdevelopment of back land areas also necessitate careful consideration to preserve the overall aesthetic and environmental balance.
As Romsey Town Council grapples with these objections, the manner in which planning authorities navigate the delicate balance between development and the preservation of local amenities and safety standards remains to be seen. The residents’ voices and the council’s deliberations will undoubtedly play a crucial role in determining the outcome of this contentious proposal.