OBJECTIONS TO THE NEW ARTICLE 4 DIRECTION & RESPONSES

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OBJECTION

I wish to register my objection to the new Article 4 Direction for the Ethelburt Avenue Conservation Area.

Whereas it would seem right and proper to preserve the appearance and general character of conservation areas, some of proposals appear to be excessive and unnecessarily oppressive.

The paragraphs a, b, c, h, j and l, all relate to the front and side elevations of the properties and all of which would affect the general appearance of the estate. But why paragraphs e, and f?

It would seem that I couldn’t have a so much as a greenhouse or garden shed without having ask the Council first. Nor, apparently could I have a garden path or patio according to paragraph f.

Anything to the rear of any property, and not in view should not be subject to such oppressive measures. These could result in the properties being less desirable if prospective buyers thought they couldn’t even lay a path to the clothesline!

Take out paragraphs e) and f). They don’t affect the appearance of the estate but do affect how we might enjoy our back gardens.





OBJECTION

Dear Ms Laroussi

I am writing in opposition to the new Ethelbert Avenue Conservation Area Article 4 Direction. 

My husband and I have lived in the Conservation Area for four years and have made a home and life here, having moved from London. When we bought our house we were aware of the restrictive covenants and accepted them because we loved the house and the area. In fact, our property had windows which were in an extremely poor condition and despite knowing that we were unable to change them we continued to buy the house. We were fortunate enough to be able to make some alterations to the property and we refurbished our windows and painted them to match those of the Herbert Collins originals. 

We accept that, as owners of the historical Herbert Collins properties we have a duty to protect their appearance and we have been faithful to this view. However, the new Article 4 effectively erodes our rights as homeowners to be able to make even minor changes to our properties. Specifically, changes which do not affect the aesthetic appearance of the house or local area. To be unable to lay a patio or erect a shed in our back garden without seeking planning permission is removing the rights of homeowners to the right to enjoy their properties. 

I kindly request that the Council considers our views and does not confirm this Direction but prepares one which ensures the rights of sympathetic Herbert Collins homeowners are respected. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

With kind regards,





OBJECTION

Dear Aicha Laroussi – 

I am contacting you in response to the proposed Article 4 Direction for the Ethelburt Avenue Conservation Area, with a request – a plea – for it not to be confirmed. 

While I fully support the principles of controlled development in the conservation area, as far as it affects the external appearance of it, the new Direction in my view goes far beyond what is reasonable. In particular, the scope now extends beyond the front and side of a property also to cover the rear of a property, an area out of sight to all but its occupiers. I do not understand the rationale for this.

To give some examples, the proposed direction would prohibit (without permission) the laying of a garden path or addition of a small wooden garden shed. 

If the Direction is confirmed, it would place unreasonable restrictions on residents in the Conservation Area and potentially have an adverse impact on the desirability of houses in the area.

I request that the Direction not be confirmed and that a further effort is made to make one fit for purpose as briefly described above.





OBJECTION

Dear Aicha Laroussi,

We wish to register objection to the new Article 4 Direction for the Ethelburt Avenue Conservation Area. 

While we certainly see the need to protect the nature of the front and sides of these buildings, the proposal as it stands seems quite drastic. It is unnecessarily strict, missing the fact that people’s needs change from what was standard almost 90 years ago. I believe the spirit of the community, as Collins envisaged, was to live with latest technology and design, and this is how people want and need to live today as well. The new Article 4 Direction also imposes unreasonable inhibition on the steady replenishment of owners necessary to a living community, where buying and selling is concerned.
While there is no financial support by the Council to fulfill the conservation requirement for the fronts and sides of the building there should be at least some ease to work in our way on the back of the buildings.

I am asking the Council please, to rethink and to come up with a direction which is more fit for purpose.

Please acknowledge receipt of this objection.

Yours (not with much expectation),





OBJECTION

PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE ARTICLE 4 DIRECTION FOR THE ETHELBURT AVENUE CONSERVATION AREA

Dear Ms Laroussi,

As this concerns excessive removal of rights from some Southampton citizens and a question of Council policy, I am also emailing a copy to Simon Letts, Council Leader, Mike Denness, Chair of the Planning and Rights of Way Panel, Samuel Fox, Planning and Development Manager.

I ask that the Article 4 Direction be not confirmed, because it removes all development rights under classes D, E*, F and G (* except container used for domestic heating purposes.)
and for the other defects in this Direction noted below.

I suggest this makes no sense because other development rights are only removed on the front and side elevations of the dwellinghouse. This has been so since 1992 when the first Article 4 Direction was made.

Article 4 Directions in Southampton in recent years have been made under the previous Permitted Development Order of 1995 and were restricted to removing development rights for developments that “fronts a highway, waterway or open space”.

In Historic England’s Advice Note “Conservation Area Designation, Appraisal
and Management” they say “It is only appropriate to remove permitted development rights where there is a real and specific threat.”

Paragraph (f) In the case of Class F (Hard Surfaces) the threat is people turning their front gardens into car parks, which has already happened quite a lot. There is no public concern about what is hidden in their back gardens.

Paragraph (e) For Class E (Building or enclosure etc) the wording in the 1992 Article 4 Direction is the whole class, but this must be read with the letter to the Council on behalf of the Secretary of State which says that the direction may be approved as it relates to development rights applying in this class in so far as they relate to either the front or side elevation of a building. It is most important that people retain their rights as far as possible for developments incidental to the enjoyment of a dwellinghouse. It is to be noted that in the General Permitted Development Order in the case of article 2(3) land (this includes land within a conservation area), development is not permitted if it is on land between a wall forming a side elevation of the dwellinghouse and the boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse. This restriction may already be sufficient by itself.

Paragraph (d) For Class D (Porches) our 1992 Article 4 Direction removes development rights on the front and side elevation. There can be no justification for extending this to the rear elevation. I am not aware of people putting porches on their back doors, nor have we had any complaint about this. Nor are we likely to have any interest.

Paragraph (g) For Class G (Chimneys etc) restriction of the Article 4 Direction to the front and side elevation should meet public concern.

Paragraph (i) I suggest this should include fences and walls nearer to a highway than the wall forming the principle elevation of the dwellinghouse.

Paragraphs (j) and(k). I suggest these be redrafted after some careful thought about what mischief one is trying to prevent.

I suggest that the 1992 Article 4 Direction should be explicitly cancelled under Article 6 in accordance with sub-paragraphs 13 and 14 of paragraph 1 in Schedule 3.

I note that Article 5 would appear to be irrelevant to this Article 4 Direction.

I reiterate my request that the Article 4 Direction be not confirmed. I realise that starting the procedure again will incur more expense. The Residents’ Association my be prepared to meet the cost of sending out consultation papers on a more acceptable Article 4 Direction.

Yours sincerely,


RESPONSE
Thank you for your e-mail regarding the proposed changes to the Article 4 Direction.

Regarding d), g) and f) there is an error in drafting. It was not intended that these should apply to the whole curtilage, and these will be amended to include on the front and side elevations.

Part e) replicates the wording of part (d) of the existing Article 4 Direction, except that it clarifies that it is development within Class E of Part 1 of Schedule 2. There is otherwise no change, either to the wording or to the intent, The Council do not seek (for example) to restrict the ability of householders to erect a garden shed (unless the structure would require planning permission due to its size or proximity to a boundary), and this still applies.

I’m not entirely clear what your concerns is regarding part i)? The wording makes it clear that it relates to gates, fences, walls etc. erected or constructed adjacent to a highway used by vehicular traffic, waterway or public open space. The key word is adjacent, and can’t imagine that these will be further away from the highway than the principle elevation.

Regarding j) and k), these rights are already removed under (a) of the existing Article 4 Direction. This revision has the advantage of making the situation clear, both for planners and, more importantly for residents.

As you are aware, the purpose of revising the article 4 Direction is to align it more closely with the General Permitted Development Order, and providing greater clarity on which Rights are removed. The error in drafting of d), g) and f) notwithstanding, I believe that this is what the revisions achieve.





OBJECTION
Our first thoughts were of dread as we understand we will need to apply for Planning Permission to paint , maintain or change a gate, erect a shed or a patio etc in the back garden.

Currently, Article 4 has jurisdiction over what happens at the front and side of the property as those are the elevations which are “listed”. Why will it be necessity to apply for Planning Permission to build, erect or change anything in the back garden, out of public view?

We absolutely object to having the back of our houses and the gardens coming under the jurisdiction of Article 4 as well! This is not only going to be costly for the homeowner but may be a deterrent to prospective purchasers buying a Collins House as this is just becoming TOO RESTRICTIVE.

The front and side elevations currently listed under Article 4 do not currently include the back of the house or the rear garden and we don’t want them to!

As a Collins house-owner I understand the need to keep the front and side elevations looking as original as possible but we are having enough problems with rusty old 2mm glazed windows without having to now apply for permission to do something in our rear garden which is totally not as important as our windows!

Will we have to apply for permission to sunbathe on a sunlounger in our rear gardens maybe?? What next??

This is getting ridiculous and there is no real explanation or reason why they are adding the rear gardens onto the already restrictive rules for the houses themselves – they cannot be seen from the road!!

What should be of more concern to the Council are the inadequate and rusty windows that we have to contend with.

We have more important issues to sort out with the powers to be in our houses which I have mentioned above.

Erecting a shed or a patio in our rear gardens will NOT directly affect the uniformity of the Collins houses from the front and side and we therefore strongly object to having further restrictions on our rear gardens which cannot be seen from the road.

I hope many other people send emails to you to present to the Council as we need an overwhelming response to this to make the Cabinet sit up and take notice!

Yours sincerely,


RESPONSE

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the proposed changes to the Article 4 Direction.

There has been some confusion about the extent of the changes from the existing Article 4, which I have attached for your information. Restrictions on erecting structures within the curtilage of properties in the conservation area already exist (please see part (d) of the attachment). However, unfortunately parts d) and f) of the proposed revised Article 4 have unfortunately omitted to restrict the Article 4 to the front and side elevations only, which is an error on my part – it has never been our intention to request planning applications for alterations to garden paths in rear gardens, and I intend to amend parts d) and f) accordingly.

Regarding garden sheds (which is I assume a reference to part e) of the proposed revision), if you wanted to put up a garden shed it would require planning permission (regardless of where you live) if

· it was 2.5m high (or above) and within 2m of any boundary, or

· more than 2m from a boundary and 4m high (or above) with a dual pitched roof, or 3m high (or above) in any other case

· if the eaves exceed 2.5m in height

· if it covers more than 50% of the curtilage.

Anyone wishing to erect a shed which fell outside of these restriction would not be required to apply for planning permission, and I do not believe that I have ever requested a planning application for a normal shed. In the same way I would not request a planning application for a garden pond, which would be classed as a ‘swimming or other pool’.

I hope that this clarifies some issues for you. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions





Dear Aicha,

Thank you for your letter enclosing the new proposed article 4 direction. Unfortunately as a resident, I am opposed to the direction going into force.

As residents of a conservation area, we are all already very mindful of the appearance of our properties and ensuring any alterations are in keeping with the attractive area we live in.

We still have original single wooden windows with single glazing which we are already restricted from changing, despite some of our neighbours having done so before the article which prevented it. Whilst this restriction we are happy to live with, I often wonder whether there is much point, given that the properties already do not match as some have been able to do it. I feel this article will result in similar scenarios.

I completely accept that alterations to front or side elevation should be restricted, however the clauses in particular I take issue with are ‘e’ and ‘f’. surely it is not necessary, or appropriate to restrict what one does in ones back garden, where they should enjoy their right to privacy peacefully. I cannot see what reason there would be for me to need to seek planning permission for a patio in my back garden, which would not affect the look of the property.

These provisions seem to me to confer greater control than is necessary and I would hope that the Council could recognise their inappropriateness.

Regards





OBJECTION

Good Afternoon Aicha,

Thank you for the opportunity to make a representation concerning this Direction.

I attach a letter from the Chairman of the Herbert Collins Estates Residents Association urging the Residents to look at its implications with some circumspection.

I have owned and lived in this property since 1973, quite happily and followed the planning directives over the years, generated by the needs of the Conservation Area in the maintenance and extension of the building. However, I am rather disturbed by the implications of the wording of the Direction set out in your letter of 27 October. At worst, the word ‘draconian’ comes to mind, and at best ‘disproportionate’.

In particular, I draw your attention to the following articles in the First Schedule:

Articles (b) and (c) The wording ‘alteration‘ needs to be clarified in that it should exclude work to maintain the existing roof in water tight condition.

Article (f) The maintenance of an existing hard surface should be excluded and stated accordingly. It cannot be argued or deemed appropriate that the provision of hard surfaces out of sight from public view, should require planning permission. This should be reflected in the Direction.

Article (g) It should be stated that the installation, alteration or replacement for the purposes of maintenance of existing chimneys, flues and pipes in usable condition is permitted without planning permission. Further, those out of sight from public view should also be excluded from the need for planning permission.

Article (i) Surely the Council does not seriously contemplate forcing residents to seek planning permission to maintain existing gates, fences and other enclosures. It would lose the confidence of residents if it did. The word ‘maintenance’ must be removed.

Article (j) Surely the Council does not seriously contemplate forcing residents to seek planning permission to maintain existing paint work, be it on any elevation. The maintenance of existing paint work must be excluded. If planning permission was enforced on this issue, residents again would lose confidence in the Council and the Direction itself.

Some of the wording in this Direction is sloppy and has not been thought through; nor is it in the spirit of Historic England’s Advice Note ‘It is only appropriate to remove permitted development rights where there is a real and specific threat’. The Council needs to look at it again, especially if it wants to take present and future Conservation Area Residents with it.

Many thanks


RESPONSE

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the proposed changes to the Article 4 Direction.

Parts b) and c) replicate the wording of the parts (a) and (b) of the existing Direction (please see attached). The wording is amended to reflect the current General Permitted Development Order, and I can assure you that no additional restrictions will apply to the conservation area.

Part f) is only intended to cover the front and side elevations of properties. I agree that the wording is unhelpful, and it will be amended to make the extent of the restrictions clear.

Part g). The Article 4 Direction forms part of the revised Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan. The section on Management Policies contains (as part of the introduction) the following sentence:

Note that works that constitute like-for-like repairs or maintenance do not require planning permission. However, for the avoidance of doubt it is recommended that householders obtain written confirmation from the City Council before proceeding with works.

The Article 4 Direction and the Management Policies are intended to be read together. A proposal to demolish a chimney in a conservation area will always require planning permission, whether it is on a front or rear elevation, and a decision on whether or not such proposals can be supported is taken on a case-by-case basis, balancing the potential impact of the proposals against the duty placed on Local Planning Authorities to ensure that proposals either preserve or enhance the character and appearance of conservation areas.

Part i). Maintenance is included in this section to ensure that appropriate materials are used (such as lime mortar for pointing). Where this is demonstrably the case planning permission is not required, and proposals are generally agreed by exchange of e-mail.

Part j). The section is designed to control the painting of previously unpainted brickwork, or re-painting of redered finishes where the proposal is to alter the approved colours. Without this section we are unable to control what could be major changes to the character and appearance of the conservation area that would be harmful.

It is my intention to alter the wording of Parts d) and f) to ensure that they specifically relate only to the front and side elevations. By making these changes I believe that we comply both with the Historic England guidance, the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) act 1990 (which is the guiding legislation), and the National Planning Policy Framework.

I hope that this clarifies matters for you. Please feel free to contact me if you require further clarification.





OBJECTION

Aicha Laroussi

I am writing in response to your letter dated 27 October 2016 regarding the Council’s consultation on a new Article 4 Direction for the Ethelburt Avenue conservation area.

I support the principles of the conservation area and understand that the Article 4 direction requires updating to reflect modern living – for example, to incorporate developments and alterations such as solar panels, which are not currently considered in the existing Article 4 direction. However, I strongly object to the proposed wording of the new Article 4 direction. I feel the wording currently proposed goes beyond protecting the heritage of the area and is unnecessarily over precautionary and excessively restrictive on residents wishing to maintain their properties.

Government guidance states that local authorities should consider making Article 4 directions only in those exceptional circumstances where the exercise of permitted development rights would harm local amenity, the historic environment or the proper planning of the area. I do not accept that activities such as replacing a patio in a rear garden not visible from the road or repainting a gate in like for like off-white colour of the accepted design can be considered a threat to the local amenity or historic environment of the area.

The new Article 4 direction, as currently proposed, will make it excessively bureaucratic for residents to maintain their properties and therefore risks properties falling into gradual disrepair as residents are put off undertaking simple maintenance activities. Ultimately, an overly restrictive Article 4 direction could have the unintended consequence that the character of the conservation area may actually suffer rather than be protected.

Equally I cannot believe that, in the current climate of austerity and resource constraints, the Council’s own planning department would wish to see such an increase in planning applications as will be generated by the over-precautionary proposed new Article 4 direction. Surely it would be more beneficial for both the Council and residents for minor maintenance works to be covered by standing advice, based on the design guidance, rather than to be included in a draconian version of the Article 4 direction?

As such, I believe the proposed new Article 4 direction does not follow Government guidance and is not in the best interest of the conservation area and the Council should re-consider its wording. I would be happy to support a new Article 4 direction that finds a balance between protection of the conservation area and ensuring that residents can maintain their properties in good order to the benefit of the designated area. However, the current proposed Article 4 direction does not achieve this balance.

I urge the Council not to proceed with confirming the current proposed version, but instead to work with the residents of the conservation area to develop a new Article 4 direction that works to the benefit of all.

Kind regards





OBJECTION

Dear Aicha Laroussi

I live in the Ethelburt Avenue Conservation Area.

If I am interpreting the changes to the Article 4 Direction correctly:

1. As before you have to seek planning permission for any development to the front and side elevation of the building and roof. This would allow alterations to the back of the building or roof (subject to the agreement of the leaseholder) without planning permission.

2. You will now need planning permission for erecting a shed, fencing, or swimming pool within your property boundary, even if this is in your back garden, and cannot be seen. This also applies to building a patio.
Any painting on the front and side elevations needs planning permission.

3. I see no reason why laying a patio or putting up a garden shed in my back garden, unseen by neighbours should require planning permission. Neither to I see painting as needing formal permission.

We wouldn’t live in a Collins house if we didn’t enjoy the character of the estate, and I am happy that the restrictions apply to the front and side elevations, but if I have read this right the proposed changes seem unduly restrictive to me, and I wish to lodge my formal objection to these.

Yours sincerely


RESPONSE
Please see the attached existing Article 4 Direction for Ethelburt Avenue. This has been in place since 1992. Since that time the Government have introduced the National Planning Policy Framework, Chapter 12 of which deals with conserving and enhancing the historic environment. In brief, if a proposal does not cause harm (in this case to the character and appearance of the conservation area), then it should be allowed.

You are essentially correct in your point 1, however if you refer to part (d) of the attached document you will see that certain rights are already withdrawn. This situation has not changed with the proposed revisions. Although technically this provision already removes Permitted Development Rights for maintenance, provided that it is like-for-like (such as repainting windows in the approved Collins colours), planning permission is not required or requested.

You will not need permission to erect a shed in your garden unless:

· it was 2.5m high (or above) and within 2m of any boundary, or

· more than 2m from a boundary and 4m high (or above) with a dual pitched roof, or 3m high (or above) in any other case

· if the eaves exceed 2.5m in height

· if it covers more than 50% of the curtilage.

A shed of these dimension requires planning permission wherever one lives – it is not specific to conservation areas.

You will note that the existing Direction requires planning permission for a ‘swimming or other pool’. This has always been interpreted reasonably, in that we do not require planning application for garden ponds or for temporary pools put up by many people over the summer, nor have we ever requested a planning application for replacement fences at the rear of the property unless they are of a size that would require permission anyway (essentially this is the same situation as with sheds).

If you were to paint either the front or side elevation (i.e. paint the brickwork) that would, and always has required planning permission. If you were to re-paint your windows and doors in the same colour as existing, which would be maintenance of your property and no permission is required.

I hope that this helps to clarify matters. Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or have any other concerns,

Kind regards.





OBJECTION

Re Article 4 Directive for Ethelburt Ave.

I wish to make representation that this new Article 4 Directive should not be confirmed.

It goes significantly further in its restrictions than the previous Directive. Restricting activities such as hard standing for the whole curtilage of the dwelling, rather than the front and side of the dwelling. This seems unnecessary for maintaining the look of the Estate.

I understand the need for an update to include Solar panels etc but it should not be a step backwards.

The directive should be re written and issued for consultation again.


RESPONSE

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the proposed changes to the Article 4 Direction. I attach a copy of the existing Direction for your information.

There are no proposals to restrict hardstanding for the rear of properties within the conservation area. Please see Part (d) of the existing Direction for reference. The proposals under f) of the revised Article 4 is designed to refer only to the front and side elevations, not the rear. I agree that this requires clarification, and I will ensure that Part f) is amended to make it clear that only the front and side elevations are affected.

I hope that this will deal with your issue. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further concerns.

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