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Agenda item

Erection of Timber Decking Along Rear Boundary with Associated Steps and Handrails (retrospective) - 18 Home Farm Gardens Bridge of Don - 181431


The Local Review Body then considered the second request for a review to evaluate the decision taken by an appointed officer under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation to refuse the application for the erection of timber decking along the rear boundary with associated steps and handrails retrospectively at 18 Home Farm Gardens Bridge of Don Aberdeen, 181431/DPP.


The Chairperson advised that the LRB would again be addressed by Mr Gavin Evans and reminded Members that although Mr Evans was employed by the planning authority he had not been involved in any way with the consideration or determination of the application under review and was present to provide factual information and guidance to the Body only.  She emphasised that the officer would not be asked to express any view on the proposed application.


In relation to the application, the LRB had before it (1) a delegated report by Sheila Robertson, Planning Technician; (2) the application dated 20 August 2018; (3) the decision notice dated 19 October 2018 (4) links to the plans showing the proposal and planning policies referred to in the delegated report;  and (5) the Notice of Review submitted by the applicant and (6) letters of objections from neighbouring properties.


The LRB was then addressed by Mr Evans who advised that the review had been submitted with all necessary information within the time limit of three months following the decision of the appointed officer.


Mr Evans then described the site advising that it was a 3 storey -mid terraced town house of recent construction.  The rear garden is level, measures 6m in width and 9.2m in length and backs onto an area of open space which occupies an elevated position relative to the application property.  The northern boundary is protected by a retaining gabion wall, a metal cage filled with stones, which is 2.6m in height and 550mm wide, and both side garden boundaries are screened by 1.8m high, vertical timber fencing.  There is also 1.8m high timber fencing above the retaining wall, to the rear of the boundary.


In terms of the Appointed Officer’s reasons for refusal, Mr Evans made reference to the following factors:-

·         a visually prominent and intrusive structure, out of character with the surrounding area that does;

·         failure to demonstrate regard for context or make a positive contribution to its surroundings – conflict with D1 (Quality Placemaking by Design);

·         height and dimensions result in adverse impact on residential amenity;

·         unacceptable loss of privacy to neighbours both to rear windows and to enclosed private gardens;

·         does not comply with Supplementary Guidance: Householder Development Guide and with Policy H1 (Residential Areas) of the Aberdeen Local Development Plan; and

·         no material planning considerations which would warrant approval of consent in this instance.






In terms of the appellant’s case, Mr Evans referred to the Notice of Review which was submitted from the applicant, and highlighted the following:-

·         considers that the application was unfairly refused;

·         highlights that the decking is entirely within the boundary of number 18;

·         complains that changes such as reducing size of deck or erecting privacy barriers were not considered prior to refusal; and

·         indicates a willingness to realign decking or erect screens and in return make decking smaller.

Mr Evans intimated that there were four letters of objections from neighbouring properties and the reasons stated included:-

·         loss of privacy, to rear windows and to gardens;

·         visual impact of the decking – it is not in character with its surroundings;

·         shadow cast into neighbouring garden;

·         safety concerns arising from the structure being affixed to the rear fence (on top of gabion);

·         potential security risk, allowing easier access to rear gardens from the north; and

·         approval could set a precedent in the area for similar structures.


Mr Evans advised that the applicant had expressed the view that a site visit be undertaken, prior to a decision being taken by the Local Review Body.

Members all indicated in turn that they each had enough information before them and therefore agreed that a site visit was not required and that the review under consideration should be determined without further procedure.


Mr Evans outlined the relevant policy considerations, making reference to the following in the Aberdeen Local Development Plan 2017:-

·         H1 – Residential Areas: Householder Development Guide.

·         D1 – Quality Placemaking by Design:


For the Supplementary Guidance, proposals should be architecturally comparable in design and scale with the original house and surrounding area.

No extension should result in a situation where amenity of neighbouring properties would be adversely affected in terms of privacy, daylight and general amenity, and earlier developments approved before this guidance was introduced will not be accepted as justification in support of proposals that otherwise fail to comply with these criteria.


In regards to decking, Mr Evans explained that:-

·         Proposals should not result in an adverse impact on the amenity of adjacent dwellings, including both internal accommodation and garden/patio/outdoor spaces; and

·         presumption against formation of decking to the front of any property, or any other prominent elevation where such works would adversely affect the visual amenity of the street scene.

·         18m distance between facing windows is recommended for residential developments.

Mr Evans advised that in determining the appeal, members should also take into consideration any material considerations they feel were relevant to the application that would point to either overturning the original decision or dismissing the review. In addition to the relevant policies from the development plan, the following would be material considerations:-


Mr Evans intimated that should members wish to overturn the decision of the appointed officer, consideration should be given to any conditions which would be appropriate in order to make the proposal acceptable. However, all conditions must meet the six tests set out by Scottish Government policy.


The Local Review Body then asked questions of Mr Evans, specifically regarding the location of the decking and impact that it had on the neighbouring properties.


Following discussion, Members unanimously agreed to uphold the decision of the appointed officer to refuse the application.


In coming to their decision, the Local Review Body had regard to the provisions of the development plan as required by Sections 25 and 37 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as amended) and other material considerations in so far as these were pertinent to the determination of the application.


More specifically, the reasons on which the Local Review Body based this decision were as follows:-

The raised deck as erected, represents a visually prominent and intrusive structure, out of character with the surrounding area that does not take into consideration its immediate context and relationship with neighbouring dwellings, and therefore makes no positive contribution to the wider residential area, contrary to Policy D1 (Quality Placemaking by Design). As a result of its height and dimensions, it has an adverse impact on residential amenity by reason of an unacceptable loss of privacy to the immediately adjacent dwelling houses, as it offers direct views into their rear windows and overlooks their private amenity spaces, as well as offering wider views over the rear gardens of several further properties within the terrace. The raised decking therefore fails to comply with the Supplementary Guidance: Householder Development Guide and with Policy H1 (Residential Areas) of the Aberdeen Local Development Plan.