Homes approved for removal firm site

PLANS to build nine new homes on the site of a former Downend removals business have been approved.

The three-storey Ablemove/Wottons warehouse in Dial Lane can be demolished and replaced with six semi-detached and three terraced homes, after South Gloucestershire Council granted planning permission.

A next door bungalow and outbuilding containing a swimming pool can also be demolished.

Councillors on the development management committee voted unanimously in favour of the proposals on December 7, despite concerns about parking on the narrow residential street and an objection from the parish council.

Planning officers recommended approval after concluding the benefits of the new homes – five with two bedrooms, two with three and two with four bedrooms – and their 17 parking spaces “significantly outweigh the harms”.

They said it was a “very sustainable location” next to shops and open spaces.

Five people objected to the plans, citing potential loss of privacy, overshadowing existing homes, parking and potential traffic problems from an increased flow of cars.

Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council objected to the plans on several grounds, including “overdevelopment”, poor design and excessive traffic in a “small busy road”.

The application was referred to a planning committee by Frenchay & Downend ward councillor Raj Sood, who asked members to visit the site and consider the objections as well as whether there was enough “private amenity space”, such as gardens, for each home planned.

Committee member Tony Williams (Lib Dem, Severn Vale) told the meeting: “The parking in the area is very restrictive.

“I know the parking supplied meets our standards. I don’t think our standards are good enough so I would like this committee to send something forward to look into our parking standards.”

Cllr Williams also raised concerns that features such as solar panels and heat pumps in the plans could be removed after the scheme was approved.

A planning officer told him the council would consider any later application to vary the plans.

Carol Strange (Con, Longwell Green) said: “I am a little concerned about the amount of outside space that’s there.

“It is an urban area but let’s give people a bit more space. It looks very pushed together.”

Michael Bell (Lab, Staple Hill & Mangotsfield) told the meeting the previous use of the site by a removals company had itself caused problems and inconvenience, which the new homes would “alleviate”.

Cllr Sood called for restrictive covenants to be included to prevent future business use of the site but was told this was not a planning issue.

Four of the houses would front on to Dial Lane, with the others to the rear of the site.

Meeting report by Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service