Posted: Sat 6th Apr 2024

Final Decision Pending on Rhondda Children’s Home Planning Permission Application

news.wales / newyddion.cymru

A final decision is due on whether a planned Rhondda children’s home would involve a material change of use and therefore need planning permission.
An application for a certificate of lawfulness in relation to a planned change of use of a house to a children’s residential home for up to two children at 142 Kenry Street in Tonypandy will go back before Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT)’s planning committee on Thursday, April 11.
The plan also includes two support staff 24 hours a day, operating in shifts, and a registered manager and was originally reported to the planning committee on March 7.
At that meeting committee members decided to refuse granting a certificate of lawfulness for a proposed use contrary to the recommendation from officers on the basis that the proposed use would represent a material change from use class C3(a) to use class C2.
As a result, it was resolved to defer determination of the application
for a further report to highlight the potential strengths and weaknesses of
taking a decision contrary to officer recommendation.
The planning assesment from officers in the planning report said that members recognised that a children’s home would fall within use class C2 and that the scope of consideration could not include the planning merits of the development.
Whether or not a certificate should be issued would rest on whether the new use would be considered to be a material or non-material change of use.
If it is judged a material change then a certificate of lawfulness would not be issued and, although the applicant has the right to an appeal, an application for planning permission would be required for a change of use.
The planning assessment said it was clear that no two proposals were the
same and what might be considered material or non-material for one
property would not be the same as another.
Councillors considered that the nature of the proposed operation would result in additional comings and goings to the property, and a level of activity and disturbance over and above that which would be considered characteristic of a house of this kind, so the change of use would be a material one.
They also decided that the development would result in additional traffic to the property, from the staff and manager employed there, at shift changeover time and by professional visitors.
Their conclusion was that this type of occupation, carers being on duty all night, the comings and goings being more numerous than usual and the patterns of life would not reflect that of other homes in this location, which would be exacerbated by the absence of any off-street parking so the new use would therefore “evidence a different character.”
Also, they raised concerns about the capacity of the property to accommodate the proposed use having two carers and a manager present during the daytime, in addition to the two children.
The planning officers’ assessment said that if committee was minded to maintain their position that the change of use would be a material one, the following reason for refusal had been recommended: “The operation of a children’s home would not be reflective of the prevailing character of the neighbouring dwellings and surrounding area and would therefore be considered to constitute a material change of use for the following reasons:
• the additional comings and goings to the property and the level and pattern of activity and disturbance would be over and above that considered characteristic of a dwelling of this kind
• the type of occupation, carers being on duty all night, the comings and goings being more numerous than usual as well as the patterns of life would be different to those of most family homes
• the additional traffic to the property from the staff and managers employed there, at shift changeover time and by professional visitors would be exacerbated by the absence of off-street parking facilities
• the capacity of the property to accommodate the proposed intensive use
“Consequently, the development would not be lawful for planning purposes,
and the local planning authority refuses to grant a certificate of lawfulness
for the proposed use and planning permission would be required.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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