Planning permission has been granted for change of use of the ground floor of a former social club in Hertfordshire for residential conversion for Blakeney Estates Ltd.

Permission had previously granted for residential conversion of the upper floors and these are now occupied.

The local planning authority initially had concerns relating to poor outlook from the flats facing the rear & side, insufficient amenity space, poor internal layout due to number of flats and loss of a community asset.

Amended plans prepared by JRT Architectural Design Ltd addressed the issues by demolition of a single storey rear extension and revised fenestration and internal layouts together provide an improved outlook for future occupiers together with reduction in the number of flats.

A subsequent marketability report concluded that there was no market for a social club and the property was unviable for such a use. Accordingly, there was no loss of a ‘community facility’.

The planning authority concluded that as a Five Year Housing Land Supply could not be demonstrated permission should be granted for additional housing. The principle of the proposed residential change of use, the demolition of the existing rear extension and the alteration to openings on the elevations of the building was acceptable and the proposed development will preserve the interest of this Locally Listed Building, the setting of this building and other nearby listed and locally listed buildings and the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.

They also concluded that the development will not result in significant harm to the occupants of neighbouring dwellings and proposes an appropriate level of amenity for future residential occupiers. The scheme is acceptable in relation to car parking requirements, amenity space, residential standards, highways, and refuse and waste considerations. It was considered that the loss of the community facility is justified and furthermore significant weight was given to the benefit of providing four additional housing units within the District. The benefit of this additional housing is considered to outweigh any harm arising in this case. Accordingly  planning permission was granted subject to relevant conditions.

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