A Brightlingsea couple have been given permission to build a large outbuilding on land fronting Lime Street – but with a condition that it can't be lived in.
The plan for the outbuilding – which will be used to house a car and small boats – was approved by Tendring District Council's (TDC) planning committee on Tuesday night (January 18), despite Brightlingsea Town Council's (BTC) concerns over its size and the possibility that it could be used as living accommodation.
The plot of land to the rear of, but not part of, 87 and 89 Tower Street has been turned into a landscaped garden by Waterside Marina residents Tim and Tracey Clarke. Their initial plans for the garden, storage building and two large water tanks were revised to include a summer house and two more water tanks – but it was the size of the storage building that worried nearby residents.
They said that it was too tall and would overshadow their gardens, spoiling views and creating additional traffic, but Mr and Mrs Clarke said it would be constructed to a good standard, better and lower in height than comparable buildings in the unmade road.
BTC mayor and ward councillor Jayne Chapman had the plan called in for discussion by TDC, and at the planning meeting she told committee members: "Our objection is to the size of the storage building, which we feel far exceeds what most people would call a garage or shed."
Cllr Chapman said that while BTC had no objection to the garden – calling it a "great improvement" – she added: "BTC has a great fear that this is part of a future plan for it to become a residential property." She claimed that a similar building in the back garden of another house in Tower Street was being used as a dwelling and said that if the committee approved the plan, it should be on condition that residential or commercial use was forbidden. Cllr Chapman also asked for the number of water tanks to be limited, saying she couldn't understand why the garden would need four tanks – each thought to hold around 6,000 litres of water – of that size.
Council officers had recommended the plans – in which the outbuilding's size was revised down slightly from the intitial proposals – for approval. They said that its scale and form were considered acceptable and that its appearance was similar to other buildings in Lime Street.
After visiting the site on the day of the meeting, one planning committee member said the garden was "like a little tropical paradise". Though some were concerned about the height of the outbuilding, which will feature a mezzanine floor, they felt that the whole plan was acceptable, provided the condition about no residential use was "super strong".