Department Legal and Regulatory Services
|NORTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL|
|Agenda Item 1|
7 February 2005
Isle of Arran
04/01044/PP and 04/01045/LBC
21st October 2004
21st December 2005
Isle of Arran: Margie Currie
|Recommendation||Grant with Conditions contained in Appendices 1A and 1B|
|Location||St George's Church|
Isle of Arran
|Applicant||Mr J McCourtney|
c/o CRGP Architects & Surveyors
26 Herbert Street
Glasgow G20 6NB
|Proposal||Change of use and conversion of Church to form 8 no flats and erection of extension to rear of Church to form 6 no flats with associated parking|
This application seeks planning permission and listed building consent for the change of use and extension of a vacant category B listed church to form a total of 14 flatted residential properties. Twelve of the flats would have two bedrooms and two would have one bedroom. A dedicated parking area for 14 cars is proposed to the front of the church, and the ground to the rear would accommodate a 3 storey extension and an area of communal garden ground for the use of the residents.
The proposal can be split into three distinct physical elements. Firstly, the existing blonde sandstone church, which features a 25 metre high steeple rising from a square base on a corner of the front elevation, is an impressive landmark building within Lamlash. It is proposed that this building would be restored through its conversion to flats. The only part of the external fabric to be permanently removed would be the slated roof of a small single storey meeting room to the rear. Internally, the building will require complete renewal as part of the proposed conversion (due to rot). It will accommodate 8 flats. Windows and doors will be of timber.
The second element is a proposed glazed link between the existing church and the rear extension. As noted above, the roof of a small single storey meeting room to the rear of the church will be removed. This would be replaced and extended upwards into a much higher glazed link which would accommodate the staircase serving the common entry. The height of the glazed roof has been determined by an existing 2 storey section of the church which protrudes from the rear elevation. This will create continuity between the old and the new.
The third and final element is the proposed extension which would accommodate the remaining 6 flats over three storeys. The extension is a simple, contemporary design which adopts various elements and themes from the original building eg. both its height and roof pitch would match those of the church. Its gables would be at right angles to those of the church. A square tower topped with a gently sloping zinc mono-pitch roof is proposed to the rear - this would be considerably lower in height than the main roof and would not compete with the church steeple. External finishes would comprise a combination of rendering, reconstituted stone and slate, with small areas of timber cladding around the side facing windows. Fenestration is proposed on three elevations ie. to both sides and to the rear.
The remainder of the site would consist of the parking area at the front, all to be finished in block paving of colours and textures to be agreed; and the residents' garden area to the rear. The existing boundary wall to the front of the site would be retained, the opening widened as necessary to allow the safe movement of vehicles into and out of the site. The applicant has also agreed to extend the public footway from where it presently terminates opposite the Marine House Hotel to the front of the site, a distance of 123 metres or thereby.
The application site comprises a category B Listed vacant church building within its own grounds, facing onto Lamlash Bay and the Holy Isle. The building is in a deteriorating condition due to lack of maintenance, and the ground around it is overgrown and unmaintained. There are residential properties to either side of the site, and an area of agricultural land to the rear (which is within the settlement boundary and has been allocated for residential use through the Local Plan). St George's is a prominent building within the village of Lamlash and its spire makes it a readily identifiable landmark throughout the local area.
The site is located with the settlement boundary for Lamlash defined within both the Adopted and Finalised Local Plans. The proposal needs to be assessed against the requirements of Policies HOU3 in the Adopted Local Plan.
Policy HOU3 states housing development will be given favourable consideration within the settlement boundary of Lamlash, except within protected areas delineated on the settlement maps, and provided:
(a) the Council is satisfied that the proposed development is acceptable in terms of siting and design and does not constitute over-development of the site;
(b) the proposed development conforms to the design guidance in Part II and any development brief prepared by the Council;
(c) the proposed road access is to the satisfaction of the Council's Roads Servicet and the Council;
(d) a connection can be made to a public sewer or where no public sewerage facilities are available foul drainage is discharged to a private treatment plant designed and built in accordance with British Standard Specification to the satisfaction of Scottish Water and SEPA; and
(e) a public water supply is available.
In terms of the Isle of Arran Finalised Local Plan, the site is located within an area given a residential land use. Policy RES1 of the Finalised Local Plan states that residential development within the settlement boundary of Lamlash is acceptable in principle. Policies BE 4 and BE 5 are also of relevance.
Policy BE 4 advises that:
Proposals for development of a listed building or for development which would have an adverse impact on the setting of a listed building shall not accord with the Local Plan. Proposals for alterations or extensions should pay particular attention to the existing architecture and building materials of the listed building.
Policy BE 5, Listed Building Restoration, states the following:
To facilitate the restoration of an exceptional listed building, limited new build enabling development shall accord with the Local Plan subject to the following criteria:
(a) the submission of a detailed business plan for the overall development showing how funds raised from the sale of the enabling development are to be channelled into the conservation of the building to which the development relates to secure its ongoing reuse;
(b) the proposed restoration has the support of Historic Scotland;
(c) the new build element does not result in the division and fragmentation of the building and its grounds in terms of management of the area;
(d) the developer can demonstrate that sufficient financial assistance is not available from any other source;
(e) the extent of any new build is restricted to the minimum necessary to facilitate the restoration and reuse of the listed building;
(f) the enabling development is located and designed to have minimum impact on the listed building; and
(g) the design of the enabling development reflects and complements the style and design of the listed building.
Any permitted enabling development will be subject to an appropriate Section 75 Agreement regarding the phasing of construction and other design and layout matters.
The Development Control Statement also applies - this contains a range of criteria against which all development proposals should be assessed.
In support of the application, the applicant's agent has submitted a cost and financial appraisal for the proposed development. This highlights the requirement for an enabling development to make the project financially viable.
Planning permission and listed building consent was granted on 12th July 2000 for the change of use and conversion of the church to form six housing units. This consent has not been implemented and is due to lapse this year.
2. Consultations and Representations
The applicant’s agent has certified that the neighbour notification has been undertaken in accordance with statutory procedures.
Three letters of objection were received from:
1. The owners/occupiers of 'Miramar',
2. Sarah Thomson of 'The Old Manse',
3. Mr and Mrs V B Shaw, 'Monawilline',
Whilst the proposed restoration of the church was welcomed, the following points of objection were raised:
1. Overdevelopment - 14 dwellings on 0.2095 ha of ground seems excessive. No other development in Lamlash, or the island, has anything like this density. This, combined with the development of 15 houses on the adjacent field, would see an alarming rise in population and traffic in a small area.
Response: The proposal would result in 8 flats within the church and 6 in the proposed extension. There is sufficient space within the existing building and on the site to accommodate a flatted development, which is an efficient type of land use with only modest land take involved. The applicant has costed the restoration and conversion of the church and finds that, without the additional housing units in the extension, the proposal would not be financially viable. This situation is not directly comparable to a new build development, such as that envisaged for the field to the rear. Moreover, the relative scarcity of housing land on the island suggests that higher density development is not unreasonable in certain exceptional circumstances. It is considered that the restoration of St George's Church is indeed exceptional.
2. Height of extension - all residential buildings in the area are either bungalows or 1½ storeys. The proposed extension will be 3 storeys. Although the church roof is of this height, it is traditionally pitched and slated as opposed to the rectangular block of the extension. This would overshadow and dominate the surrounding area.
Response: The proposed extension will be of similar height to the church, although it would have higher eaves. The extension roof would be finished in slate. The glazed link between the old and new will reduce the massing of the extended building, since this will be of lesser height than the church and the proposed extension. Furthermore, with the gables turned to the sides of the site, only kitchen windows will face into the rear gardens of the properties to either side. It should also be noted that the houses to the north and south of the application site have rear gardens of over 35 metres in length. The existing church building will currently cause shadowing on part of the garden to the north during certain times of the day, particularly in winter months when the sun is low in the sky. The increase in shadow brought about by the rear extension will be limited to the rear part of one or two gardens to the north, and will be much less pronounced during summer (because of the height of the sun and longer daylight hours). Sunlight/daylight levels to the nearby houses are unlikely to be affected by the proposed extension. No design changes are required as a result of these concerns.
3. Actual style and use of materials - the design of the extension is out of keeping with surrounding architecture. No sympathy has been shown to the design of church or materials. It is more suited to an urban site.
Response: The proposed extension and its glazed link are indeed contrasting styles when compared with the church, but they are contemporary additions to the building and should be understood as such. The use of a glazed link is an effective device which creates a separation between the old church and new extension, which keeps them apart and enables each to be appreciated more clearly. It is not agreed that no sympathy has been shown to the architecture of the church - a slated roof of similar height and pitch is a clear indication of an attempt to harmonise the basic building blocks. However, the use of different external materials and detailing illustrates clearly that the extension is of the twenty first century whereas the church is from the nineteenth. This is preferred to an attempt to mimic the details and design of the old building which would, it is feared, fail to capture its character and result in a adverse effects on amenity.
4. Restriction of surrounding area: there would be minimal garden area for 14 families to the rear of the extension. There would be no front garden as this is to consist almost entirely of 14 parking spaces - realistically this is just a car park. Furthermore, only one car parking space has been allocated to each flat. No allowance has been made for two car households or visitors, which would result in parking in the Council office car park or along the shore. This could cause problems for hospital traffic, particularly emergency vehicles. It would also be unsightly in a tourist village.
Response: The rear garden depth of the application site (taking into account the proposed extension) would be 25 metres. This is considered acceptable for a flatted development of this scale, particularly given its location adjacent to the seafront where there are opportunities for informal recreation such as walking and cycling. It is contended that one of the main attractions of this site is its seafront location - a "front garden" is not necessary (nor typical of many flatted developments) but the car parking area can be sensitively landscaped around its edges to enhance the setting of the listed building. This can be covered by a planning condition. The parking arrangements are to the satisfaction of Roads Services, who have not required any additional spaces. Moreover, it is difficult to see where additional parking spaces could be provided on the site without adversely affecting the setting of the listed building. It is considered unlikely that emergency vehicles would be adversely affected, particularly as there is an alternative route between the hospital and the A841 via Bungalow (or Millhill) Road. It is not agreed that some parking on the seafront road would adversely affect the character of the area.
A letter of representation was received from the Lamlash Improvements Association, c/o Carol Mitchell, 'Tigh Na Cuile', Lamlash. The Association have no objections to the proposed development, but expressed concern about car parking. They have requested that a planning condition be used to provide additional parking spaces along the shore front, should this prove necessary. Otherwise, they are of the opinion that maintaining the steeple, front, and side aspects of the building is essential to the picturesque nature of the village that has been part of its heritage for around 100 years. They would be against the loss of the building.
Response: Both points are noted. Roads Services have no objection to the proposal (see below).
Development Plans: The proposed development is located within the settlement of Lamlash as identified in the Finalised Local Plan and is considered acceptable subject to meeting the terms of policies BE 4 and BE 5. This category B listed building has been vacant for a long number of years and its conversion and extension for flatted development is therefore welcomed in principle. The former Church building occupies a prominent position in Lamlash, and particular care is required to ensure that the extension pays due regard to the existing architecture and building materials of the listed property.
Response: As stated above, the proposed extension, with its contemporary design, is the only area of significant change to the building. However, as this will be to the rear, the visual impact on the listed building will be minimised, particularly in respect of the main views towards it from the Shore Road and around the bay. A more detailed assessment against policies BE 4 and BE 5 will follow in the Analysis section below.
Flooding, Coast Protection and Quality Co-ordinator, Roads Services: There are no specific historical records of flooding of the site. However, the Lamlash frontage has been known to suffer from coastal flooding. Given the ground level of the site (4.6 m AOD) and in view of its proximity to the shore, consideration must be given to the risk of coastal flooding. Accordingly, in order to ensure that the proposed development is not at risk from such flooding, finished floor levels should be above the existing floor level of the church or 5.0m AOD, whichever is the greater.
Response: This information has been passed onto the applicant's agent who states that these comments will be taken into account, and a condition to this effect can be attached.
Historic Scotland: The Historic Buildings Inspectorate is pleased to see a proposal that might bring this building back into use. No adverse comments have been made by them in respect of the proposals, and the Inspectorate acknowledges the difficulty in replicating the design of a listed building in any extension. When such an extension would cause an unacceptable imbalance to the character of the original work, a well designed modern structure may be better as it will not read as part of the original building and may not affect its appearance so radically.
Response: See Analysis.
Roads Services: No objections, subject to various conditions. These include the following:
Ian T Mackay
Assistant Chief Executive