Replacement gates at the entrance to a private road in Cheam, Surrey
The residents of a local Residents’ Association approached the Planning and Architecture teams to replace the gates at the boundaries of the Residents’ Association area, after planning permission had been refused multiple times in the past. The site is located in the Burton Estates Area of Special Local Character. This case was quite tricky just for the cosmetic change to gates, and so, the Planning team took it to pre-application to gain advice from the Council before submitting the planning application itself. The gates were previously of a simple, metal frame design, and had become dated and unsightly overtime. The Planning and Architecture teams worked together to deliver an updated, classical and sophisticated design more suited to the clients’ needs, that was then approved by the Council. The new gates are of a five-bar Yeoman style, which reflect the rural feel of the Area of Special Local Character.
Taking a case through the pre-application stage allows the Council to pass comments on the proposal without the ability to outright refuse it, and this can provide a chance to gain extra information about what the Council deems appropriate, and can really help a project gain approval for permission. The advice from the Council at the pre-application stage was minimal, with adjustments to the height of the gates to increase visual openness of the area. The Council expressed that the proposal of replacing the gates was very much acceptable.
Areas of Special Local Character require developments to be in-keeping with the local character of the area and thus make planning applications harder to be approved by the Local Planning Authority. The Architecture team made sure the design of the gates was visually pleasing and fitted seamlessly with the character for the area.
This proposal was applicable to both the Sutton and London Local Plans, subjecting it to more policies, which can make it much harder to gain permissions. This, as well as the Area of Special Local Character, makes it is of little surprise that the Residents’ Association was not able to gain planning permission for the replacement gates before coming to WS.