Property entrepreneur Ian Shepherd won consent to turn an integral garage into a bedroom after a Government planning inspector threw doubt on whether it was ever big enough for a car.
Mr Shepherd, through his company Belongian Limited, was refused permission by Huntingdonshire District Council last August for the conversion that had already taken place.
“The appeal is allowed and planning permission is granted to convert an integral garage to bedroom at 34 Squires Court, Eaton Socon,” ruled the inspector D J Barnes.
“From what was observed during the site visit, the practicable concerns raised by the appellant about the ability to use the former garage for parking are reasonable,” said Mr Barnes.
“The width of the opening and the internal width of the former garage would have made both access into the claimed internal parking space and the ability of drivers to enter or exit their parked vehicle difficult.”
He said the garage did not accord with the minimum sizes identified in planning guidelines “and was not large enough to be used to park a car comfortably”.
Mr Barnes added that had been “no loss of a realistic off-street parking space but it may have been suitable for a small vehicle”.
He describes the conversion as the replacement of a garage door by black horizontal boarding with a window to create an additional bedroom within an end of terrace 3-storey dwelling.
Other homes within the terrace have retained their integral garages.
“When viewed from Squires Court, the appeal scheme is not so conspicuous so as to result in an incongruous form of development which fails to respond positively to the context, character and appearance of the street scene or the wider residential area,” said Mr Barnes.
“Matters of highway safety are assessed separately but any additional vehicles parked on-street, if this occurred, would not materially alter the character and appearance of the street scene.
“There are already parked vehicles along the roads and in parking areas visible from these roads.
“It is concluded that the development does not cause unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the host property and the street scene.”
He added: “The use of the property as a House in Multiple Occupation has been raised as a concern by local residents but it is not a matter which is the subject of this appeal.”
St Neots Town Council had not opposed the conversion.
“We consider that the proposal would assimilate itself to the existing part of the town,” it told the district council. “Makes efficient use of its site.”
One neighbour complained about the number of people living in the house.
“House share for 5 adults and one bathroom,” he told the district council.
“Our street already has issues with parking. I am already very often having to park away from my property with two young children and often shopping, this is difficult.
“You can imagine my thoughts on potentially 5 or more vehicles parking down the road is going to cause a lot of issues. We have had problems in the past with emergency services trying to get down our road with the parking situation already.”
He added: “The work has already been completed in March 2022 before this letter has been sent out. The work had been completed without planning permission.”
In ruling against the garage conversion, Huntingdon council felt that “the proposed garage conversion, by virtue of its location, inappropriate materials and position of the window would appear as an incongruous feature within the street scene and would fail to respect the predominant form and character of the area.
“As such, the development would result in significant and demonstrable harm to the character and appearance of the area”.
It added: “The proposed garage conversion would result in the loss of on-site parking provision, impacting on the character and safety of the local area through increased off-site parking demand in an area where there is limited on-street space available.
“As such, the development would result in significant and demonstrable harm to the area, contrary to the Huntingdonshire Local Plan.”
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