Bungalow to be converted into four-bedroom house despite 85 neighbours objecting

A small bungalow in Cradley Heath will be converted into a two-storey house with four bedrooms, despite heavy objections from worried neighbours.

31 Timbertree Road, in Cradley Heath
31 Timbertree Road, in Cradley Heath

Up to 18 neighbours who live close to Timbertree Road, in Cradley Heath, arrived at Sandwell council’s planning committee on Thursday to raise their objections to the property.

Councillors visited Timbertree Road on Wednesday afternoon. The chair of the planning committee, Labour councillor Kay Millar, claimed councillors were lobbied by objectors, but gave no further details in her opening speech.

Susan Morgan, who spoke on behalf of residents, said 85 neighbours living at Timbertree Road signed a petition with their concerns, in addition to the original 12 objections.

The 65-year-old semi-retired dressmaking teacher said the development plans were “totally incorrect”, and claimed the development would block natural light into her property.

She said: “The two-storey elevation to the rear of the property will extend above my lounge, eliminating the current light through the roof lights in my lounge and dining area. It’s used on a daily basis.

“The same elevation will cause severe overshadowing and considerable darkness over the course of the day, including my patio area. I consider this to be unduly dominant. The rear of the two-storey elevation will extend further than properties in the same line of sight.

“The front elevation will overshadow my bathroom window. The sun comes up on the east of my property. This development will eliminate the light, and resort to a view of brickwork, which will be a constant annoyance each time I use the room.”

Ms Morgan also raised concerns over parking. Planning documents show up to three car parking spaces will be built.

She added that property plans would “encroach” on her home via boundary lines, adding there were “grave concerns” for her privacy.

“I would emphasise the new development has four to five double bedrooms, all with ensuites, so this development may have the potential to accommodate up to ten people. Three car parking spaces within the property are not sufficient enough for a possible ten people living at the property,” she added.

Ian Wilcox brought photographs of the properties affected to the meeting, and said they “speak for themselves”.

He said: “Where the sun rises in the east, in the morning, that light will be completely eliminated. There is a factual element that would result in a loss of light. I don’t believe there is any dispute about that.

“I’d emphasis my photos which have been taken on two different occasions, which shows the arc of the sun goes over the roof lights”.

The agent, whose name was not identified in the planning meeting, said: “I personally believe whatever has been applied for is within the rights, and all the points for planning are being met. My brother-in-law is intending to live there.

“The fact that it has four bathrooms, I have a bathroom close to my bedroom because we like to have our own individual bathrooms. It doesn’t demonstrate anything.

“To demonstrate cooperation, if our neighbours wish to have trees to the rear trimmed, because their conifer trees are taking more light than anything present, then we are happy to listen and comply.”

Labour councillor Ellen Fenton said: “The new building doesn’t appear to be a loft conversion, it appears to be a second floor built on top of a bungalow. So we’re not talking about a loft conversion, we’re talking about the over-development of a one-bedroom property into a detached house.

“That leaves me rather uncomfortable; that completely changes the landscape of the whole street. I’d also question the 45-degree angle. If we’ve got a bungalow that becomes into a house, how are we being measured when that doesn’t exist?”

William Stevens, principal planner for Sandwell Council, claimed there may be a small amount of loss of light, but told Ms Morgan that her bathroom would be considered a “habitual room”. “Unfortunately, we can’t take it into consideration,” he added.

Councillors voted 10 in favour and three against the application.

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