Design and Development Control Guidelines
3 RESIDENTIAL CONVERSIONS
3.1.1 Conversions to create flats or other residential accommodation help meet the demand for smaller housing units. The Council supports this contribution to the housing stock subject to Policies H10 and H11 in the UDP and these Design and Development Control Guidelines.
3.2 Vehicle parking
3.2.1 Wherever possible, parking should not be placed in the rear garden where this would be detrimental to the amenity of neighbours and cause significant loss of amenity space for future occupants.
3.2.2 Satisfactory vehicle crossovers, access and egress arrangements must be provided for parking spaces. Where more than two converted units are to be created a vehicle turning facility may be sought.
3.2.3 Parking areas should have appropriate landscape screening, and boundary treatment to protect the amenity of the adjoining area. The pedestrian route between the expected parking place and the exterior door serving the dwelling(s) should be designed and, where appropriate, lit with residents safety in mind.
3.2.4 Where access is to be obtained to a garage or parking space other than directly from the public highway the occupiers of the premises should enjoy the right of access and the access way should be adequate. Access to parking will not normally be acceptable along rear access ways less than 4.2 metres wide. Parking spaces should be positioned to permit vehicles to satisfactorily turn onto and off the access way.
3.2.5 Parking in the front garden should only be included where the garden is large enough to maintain a proper boundary enclosure to the site with planting and soft landscaping to screen the parking. Normally only single width crossovers of minimum width 2.4m and maximum width 3.0m should be provided. Individual crossovers should not normally be closer than 5.0m apart between their central points.
3.2.6 Residential conversions should, in addition, have regard for the highway considerations contained in Design and Development Control Guideline No.5.
3.3 Conservation Areas
3.3.1 Conversions in and adjoining Conservation Areas should preserve or enhance the Conservation Area. External alterations to buildings should not adversely affect their character or design. The careful selection of appropriate compatible and matching materials will be particularly important in respect of works in Conservation Areas and on historic buildings. The use of UPVC and other modern materials for replacement windows, doors or cladding is unlikely to be suitable in such cases.
3.3.2 Vehicle parking in Conservation Areas should not detract from the front garden layout and boundary enclosure of the site.
3.3.3 The location of bin stores in the front gardens may be inappropriate in Conservation Areas.
3.4 Dwelling size and room size and internal arrangements
3.4.3 Rooms should function comfortably and efficiently for their intended purpose. Size, shape, design, position of doors and windows, natural lighting and ventilation will be taken into account in assessing applications. Separate advice can be obtained from the Councils Development Control Section on room sizes that the Council considers appropriate in residential conversions.
3.4.4 Corridors should be at least 900 millimetres wide. Entrance lobbies should be adequate for occupiers to circulate freely. Impediments to safe movement around a dwelling caused by steep, narrow and winding staircases and ill-defined changes in level must be avoided.
3.4.5 Rooms should in general lead off a lobby or hallway. For example, sanitary areas, apart from en suite bathrooms, should be accessible off a common area and not solely through a bedroom.
3.4.6 Each flat should be self-contained with a separate lockable entrance.
3.4.7 Conversions should provide storage for portable items such as bicycles, prams and lawn-mowers.
3.4.8 Dwellings created should be free from any feature which prohibits the safe or unhampered passage of the occupants of the dwelling e.g. narrow steep or winding staircases, absence of handrails, inadequate landings outside of bedrooms, ill defined changes in floor level.
3.4.9 Where a building is to be adapted as a space for living and creative activity, for instance with a commercial or retail element in addition to residential space, the Council may be willing to show some flexibility, particularly in a recognised town or Neighbourhood Centre or Secondary Employment Area, provided that the safety of future occupants or the amenities of nearby residents is not put at risk.
3.5 Extensions and external alterations
3.5.1 These are subject to UDP Policy H9 and the Design and Development Control Guideline No.2 for house extensions.
3.6 Refuse storage
3.6.1 Bin enclosure to accommodate at least one dustbin per flat should be provided in a convenient location for collection. This should be designed and sited so that enclosures do not dominate the front garden and where possible should be screened by planting. The provisions of BS5906:1980 and of Part H4 of the Building Regulations should be followed, as regards siting and carrying distances.
3.7 Landscaping and external amenity space
3.7.1 Existing trees, hedges and front boundary walls, railings, fences should be retained and where necessary repaired.
3.7.2 Appropriate landscape screening, boundary treatment and pedestrian access should be provided. The safety and ease with which the access routes including shared stairways or passages can be used during the hours of darkness must be considered. Boundary treatments should be designed to relate well to the established street scene, to be maintained with ease and to offer some security and privacy to the future residents of a development.
3.7.3 External amenity space should be provided for all units within a conversion. Where it is not possible for the garden to be sub-divided, a communal amenity area must be provided for all of the units of accommodation.
3.8 Sound insulation and noise
3.8.1 In considering whether a conversion proposal could lead to its residents experiencing a noise nuisance, Planning Officers will be guided by the advice of the Environmental Health Section. The following general principles will apply:
- Dwellings should be designed so that living rooms in one dwelling are not created next to (vertically or horizontally) bedrooms in another dwelling (derivation BS8233). Vertical ducts should comply with the current standards within Part E of the Building Regulations.
- Walls and floors separating dwellings in converted properties must achieve adequate insulation from impact, airborne and flanking sound, so as to satisfy the current standards set by Part E of the Building Regulations.
3.9 Conversions for special needs groups
3.9.1 The conversion of a house to provide an annex for a dependent or flats for people with special needs must be assessed for the long term impact of a change of use as well as the short term needs of the applicant. If the development is acceptable in principle, Section 106 obligations and conditions will be necessary to prevent over-development of a site, and to ensure that if circumstances change and the use ceases then the subsequent use is in accordance with current planning standards.