Homes plan for Watermore Primary School site approved despite objections
PLANS for five homes alongside Watermore Primary School in Frampton Cotterell have been approved.
The parish council, two Liberal Democrat ward councillors and 18 residents objected, arguing that the detached houses’ metal roofs and Juliet balconies (pictured above) were out of character with the area, pupils’ safety would be at risk from vehicles and the proposals would cause parking and flooding issues.
They said South Gloucestershire Council officers had “given no weight whatsoever to the Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath Village Design Statement that was painstakingly produced by local residents, with the support and encouragement of the parish council”.
But development control committee members agreed with the recommendation to grant permission after hearing the unique homes had a “wow factor” and would improve the area.
The committee gave outline consent for the houses in Lower Stone Close in August 2018 as part of a larger scheme that saw a new Watermore Primary School building for 420 pupils built at the same junior school site, with another 16 homes planned for the former infants’ site in Woodend Road.
Councillors approved the detailed design and layout of the five new five-bedroom homes to be built on the junior school site, whose previous buildings have been demolished (below), at a remote meeting last Thursday.
A report to members said: “The proposed development is acceptable in principle, as outline planning permission for the proposed development has been granted.”
But ward councillor Tristan Clarke told the committee: “Although access was determined at the previous planning stage, we still have strong concerns about the drive-on parking spaces, because there is no turning space and it would involve vehicles going over the pavement.
“That section of Lower Stone Close is one of the principal pedestrian routes for pupils going to and from the school.”
He said the parish council and neighbours opposed the homes’ design because of the metal roofs and that having a fifth bedroom in the loft space would create townhouses in an area with two-storey houses and bungalows.
“Most of Frampton Cotterell has red-tiled roofs, so the metal roofs are going to be extremely discordant with the rest of the residential environment,” Cllr Clarke said.
“It clearly contradicts the village design statement.
“It is quite clear residents feel angry when they go through the trouble of entering into consultations like the village design statement and then they are disregarded.”
Lib Dem committee member James Arrowsmith said: “Although the new school has a metal roof, it services a much different purpose in terms of design.
“The proposal does not match the village plan which has been adopted by South Gloucestershire Council, so I will be voting against the officers’ recommendation.”
But Conservative councillor Judy Adams said: “The dwellings will look different because of their metal coverings, windows and sandstone colour, but they will look different in a good way.
“They will enhance the area and there is ample parking and ample amenity space.”
Labour’s Katie Cooper said: “I like this. This is an attractive proposal.”
Tory Brian Hopkinson said Frampton Cotterell had a diverse range of homes.
“This is going to be making that area a little bit smarter and hopefully some of the other properties will take the lead from this and smarten themselves up,” he said.
“I am really looking forward to seeing this. It has got a wow factor.”
Lib Dem Jayne Stansfield said: “That particular corner of Frampton Cotterell is actually quite diverse in the nature of the buildings that are there anyway, so there is nothing really that sets a pattern there to go against, so I would be in favour of it.”
A council planning officer told the committee the metal roofs (below) were similar to those on the new school building.
She said: “While officers are mindful of the village design statement, officers are satisfied that, given the surrounding built form – predominantly the redevelopment of the Watermore School site – the proposal is acceptable.
“Officers do not consider that it goes against the village design statement.
“There are parts of that statement that could be interpreted to actually support this innovative design, such as ‘standard designs in an urban street plan should be avoided’.
“You can read extracts in light of what you want, but officers do not consider it to be contrary to the village design statement.”
She said affordable housing would be provided in the other part of the overall application, for the nearby former infants’ school.
Members approved the application from LP Housing by 7-1 votes.
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Pictures of proposed development courtesy of Nash Partnership/South Gloucestershire Council