LYME Regis could suffer another major landslide if controversial plans to demolish a seafront bungalow and replace it with a three-storey house go ahead.
A planning application, submitted by Mr David Ross, the owner of Cobb Gate, a holiday home built in the 1920s, has already been passed by West Dorset District Council, without going to the planning committee, much to the annoyance of Lyme Regis Town Council who recommended refusal of the application.
The application was recommended for approval by district planning officer Darren Rogers and approved under delegated powers by the chairman of WDDC planning committee, Councillor Fred Horseman, his vice-chairman Councillor Nigel Bunday and Lyme Regis ward member, Daryl Turner.
Town councillors have condemned the application because of fears that the removal of hundreds of tons of spoil to bring the house down to Marine Parade street level will endanger of the properties behind Cobb Gate, with one councillor warning that it could cause a landslip that would take the bottom of Broad Street with it.
Town councillors are also angry about the limited details they have ben given, especially connected wit the stability of the site, and have great reservations about how quickly the planning application was approved.
From page one Town councillors are also angry about the limited details they have been given, especially concerning the stability of the site, and have great reservations about how quickly the planning application was approved.
The application was discussed by the town council planning committee last week when chairman Brian Larcombe explained that the plans were sent to them outside their normal cycle of meetings . However, he had discussed the application with all members of the committee and informed WDDC planners of the town council’s opposition.
After doing so Councillor Larcombe issued the following statement: “Lyme Regis Town Council recommended refusal of the application and, in doing so, we expressed our concerns for the land stability at the rear of the proposed demolition and new build.
“The town council, and no doubt residents, are very aware of land stability issues in Lyme. There was an absence of any survey data and plans for the retaining construction that would be necessary given the new depth and degree of cut back into the ground at the rear (which backs onto the rear of properties in Broad Street).
“We also had concerns about the duration of the build (we were told it could be up to a year) and the impact on the Marine Parade and Cart Road during this period.
“There is the potential for public access issues on both of these and no details were provided of the degree of ingress onto them. We had nothing of the plans for removing the huge amounts of spoil from the site or the intended storage of equipment and materials, all of which is likely to impact on the immediate area, adjoining businesses, and access routes to the site.
“We also had concerns about the building design that proposes bedrooms to the front at ground level, immediately abutting the parade with bedroom windows at eye level, at the very narrowest point of the parade’s length. While some of these concerns may be regarded as not being grounds for refusal of planning permission, we do believe they are highly important and the absence of the details needed to address these and other serious concerns led to our recommended refusal.”
At the town council planning meeting last week when the issue was discussed, Councillor Cheryl Reynolds answered criticism from the floor of Lyme’s district council representatives, of which she is one.
Councillor Reynolds said she had sent an email to Councillor Horsington stating: “Following my conversation with both yourself and Cllr Bundy and following my holiday, I would be grateful if you could record my dismay at this item NOT being sent to committee.
“Lyme Regis Town Council and myself are worried about the depth of the foundations and the bulk dig to reduce the site to the level of the Marine Parade.
“The council also wish to know how the houses on the southern side of Broad Street will be kept safe when doing this excavation and how the works can be achieved without disruption of the Marine Parade and the Cart Road, as it appears from the drawings the whole site is going to be developed and the disruption to the two businesses on either side will be considerable.”
In reply, planning officer Darren Rogers pointed out that there there will need to be a Building Regulations application made which is separate from the planning permission and that will also cover similar ground issues, but the issue that LRTC raised and others – i.e. detail of the land retaining works on the boundaries of the site proposed –will be civil matters.
Councillors were united in their opposition to the development at the town planning meeting at which Councillor Derek Hallet warned that the removal from so much spoil from the site could cause another major landslide and affect houses at the bottom of Broad Street.
Planning approval was granted by WDDC subject to a number of conditions, in the interests of stability, which include details of the method of demolition and subsequent foundation design and provision of a construction management plan and details of hours of use for construction activity, any dust suppression measures, and parking for construction site operatives (conditions 5 and 6).