A HOMEOWNER in Newport has narrowly won retrospective planning permission for a roof extension, after neighbours complained it overlooked their bathroom.
Members of the city council’s planning committee were split over whether to accept planning officers’ recommendations to allow the extension to remain.
Cllr Allan Morris had referred the matter to the committee over concerns the extension “causes an overlooking issue and loss of light” for neighbouring properties of 10A Cromwell Road.
At the meeting, one neighbour told members the “overbearing” extension “seriously impacts our privacy” in a room where people could be considered at “their most vulnerable”.
The building work had been carried out without planning permission, and the committee heard the finished extension didn’t match up with plans that were later sent to the council.
One of the committee members who opposed planning permission, Cllr John Reynolds, said he feared approving the extension would send a message that builders had “carte blanche to do whatever they want” and ignore the planning process.
Committee member Mark Howells also opposed planning permission.
He called the extension a “flagrant breach of our planning rules” and said he believed the retrospective planning application should be refused.
But planning officer Joanne Davidson told the committee it was “not an offence” for work to be done without planning permission, and that was “not a good reason to refuse planning permission”.
Commenting on the neighbour’s concerns, she said a bathroom was not considered a “habitable room” under council policy, and in the Cromwell Road case “you would have to be standing at the window peering down” in order to see into the next door bathroom.
“The likelihood of that is negligible,” Ms Davidson said, adding that officers had to judge whether proposed developments would cause “considerable harm”.
Following those comments, four of the committee’s members voted to grant planning permission for the extension, while another four voted against it.
Crucially, three councillors were absent from the meeting, meaning the deadlock had to be broken by committee chairman Mark Spencer, who ultimately agreed with the planning officers and approved the development.
Andrew Ferguson, the council’s planning manager, assured the committee that the council wouldn’t issue a formal decision “until we are satisfied the plans are correct” for the roof extension.