5. a) DOV/04/938 & 939 – Part conversion and part demolition of existing

building and construction of new building to form 37 flats at Prince of

Wales House, Princes Street, Dover

b) Summary of Recommendation

Conservation area consent (DOV/04/939) be given and, subject to the

satisfactory resolution of outstanding matters, planning permission

(DOV/04/938) be given, otherwise planning permission be refused.

c) Planning Policies and Guidance

Kent Structure Plan: Policies ENV15, ENV17 and ENV18

Dover District Local Plan: Policies DD1, HE1, HE2, HE6, HE7, HS9 and OS2



d) Relevant Planning History


e) Consultee and Third Party Responses

Highways comments: No objection to the relaxation of car parking standards

given proximity of site to the town centre, however would wish to see

provision of cycle parking. The adequacy of visibility at the access points

needs to be demonstrated on plan, and drainage requirements for hard

surface/parking areas needs to be clarified.

Environment Health comments: Consideration could be given to rearranging

the internal layout of the flats to comply with "acoustic zoning" principles,

whereby rooms likely to result in noise in one flat do not adjoin bedrooms in

another. Also, means of escape in the case of fire, for flats 19, 23, 24, 36 and

37 is not satisfactory as escape from inner bedrooms would be via kitchen

areas. Otherwise, no objections are raised subject to an informative advising

the applicants of their obligations under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 in

respect of work on construction sites.

Ecology comments: Views awaited.

Forward Planning comments: No objection.

Conservation comments: The retention of the main building and its

conversion to flats is preferable to a new building, in both conservation area

and townscape terms. It is a substantial historic property and although

altered and now run down, it still makes a major contribution to the special

character of the conservation area. Its loss would be detrimental to the area.

The proposed alterations to the fenestration will restore many of its lost

features and will enhance the appearance of the building.

Regarding the demolition of the hall fronting Durham Road, it is not

considered that it is of sufficient architectural or historic interest to justify

retention. The proposed new extension in its place, continues from the

existing building in the similar scale and detail to ensure that it appears as a

sympathetic addition.

In summary, supports the scheme, subject to clarification regarding the use of

single glazed windows to the front and side elevations of the development

and requests a larger scale drawing of the front door surround to the

converted building.

English Heritage: No objection

County Archaeologist: Requests that the effects of the development

proposals on any archaeological remains present, be assessed prior to the

determination of the application.

Southern Water: No objection subject to condition requiring that the details of

the proposed means of foul and surface water disposal be submitted.

Environment Agency: No objection.

Kent County Council: Intends to advise further regarding the need for

financial contributions towards education, libraries, adult education, youth and

community and social services.

Dover Town Council: Regarding DOV/04/938 objections are raised as the

application is not felt to be in keeping with the conservation area. Objections

are raised to the demolition of the unlisted building (DOV/04/0939) as it is

considered that Prince of Wales House is of historic interest.

Public Representations: Five letters have been received to the proposals. A

petition signed by members of six households in Cowgate Hill and three

letters (from residents who also signed the petition) raise objections on the

following grounds:-

• Noise, dust and disturbance caused by the demolition and erection of

new buildings in close proximity to existing dwellings will reduce the

quality of life of residents. The siting of the car park adjoining existing

back gardens will have implications for health.

• The area has limited parking and the development will only allocate

approximately one-half of all the flats with car parking space. There is

concern that residents of new flats would try and use the unrestricted

parking outside the Cowgate Hill properties. Whilst the existing public

car park can be used, this has to be paid for.

• Privacy will be reduced to Cowgate Hill properties due to windows in

the flats overlooking back gardens. Where windows are overlooking,

it is requested that frosted glass be used. Extensions proposed to the

existing Prince of Wales House are in close proximity to the back

gardens of Cowgate Hill properties and will considerably restrict light

to the back gardens of the same.

• The proposed new boundary wall within the site (between the car park

and the back of Cowgate Hill properties) needs to be high enough to

prevent disturbance by light from car headlamps entering the rear of

the existing properties. At the present time the height of the boundary

wall appears insufficient.

• In view of the close proximity of the new three storey building from the

rear of the existing properties assurance is sought that planting will be

large enough to adequately screen the buildings; this should be

evergreen and adequately maintained so that replacement is

obligatory if existing planting dies.

• The proposed development is too intensive for the site and not in

keeping with the character of the area. It will also generate a lot of

noise (both traffic and people).

• The proposed courtyard/car park will allow ease of access to the rear

of the Cowgate Hill properties. The present boundary wall is not of a

sufficient height to deter trespassers.

f) 1. The Site and the Proposal

1.1 Planning permission is sought for 37 residential units, involving the

conversion of Prince of Wales House and the erection of an extension

to the same. The extension involves the demolition of outbuildings for

which Conservation area consent is sought.

1.2 Prince of Wales House, formerly used by the YMCA, fronts Princes

Street (accessed off York Street). The premises lies a short distance

from Dover Town Centre and falls within the Western Heights

Conservation Area. The building, being three storeys in height, and

situated on rising ground, occupies a prominent position and is clearly

visible from the York Street area. The building has been vacant for

some time, but remains structurally sound. It currently has an unused

appearance (boarded windows etc).

1.3 To the front of Prince of Wales House is a hard surfaced area

(previously used for parking). This is attractively enclosed from

Princes Street by a low brick wall topped with metal railings. To the

rear and partly fronting Durham Hill is a hall, formerly used as a

school. Unlike the 19 th Century origins of the main building, this

appears to date from the early 20 th Century. Later and more minor

additions have also been added to the rear of Prince of Wales House,

none of which convey the elegance of the principal building. To the

south-west of the site (running from the rear of the main building and

backing onto the hall) is a terrace of six properties fronting Cowgate

Hill. These are effectively screened from much of the site by the 6 –

7m high end gable wall of the hall which abuts the common boundary.

Window openings to the rear elevation of Prince of Wales House face

the rear gardens of these properties. When used by the YMCA, these

would have resulted in direct overlooking. To the west of the site is

unused land forming part of an area of open space.

1.4 Land levels within the site rise (east to west) by approximately 3-4m

as measured from the front of Prince of Wales House to the rear of the


1.5 The conversion of Prince of Wales House seeks to reuse the existing

openings within the building and aims to leave the premises

essentially unaltered. The proposed new building is shown adjoining

the flank wall of Prince of Wales House facing Durham Hill. The units

are shown at three storeys and while providing for flats, have been

designed to replicate a town house style. This new development

returns along the western boundary of the site creating a courtyard

framed by the rear elevation of Prince of Wales House. Access to the

courtyard which provides 7 car parking spaces is via a covered way

(under the new development) from Durham Hill. A further 11 parking

spaces are proposed at the front of the site accessed directly from

Princes Street. The plans as originally submitted proposed 18 two

bedroom and 19 one bedroom flats.

2. Planning Policy

2.1 The relevant policies are listed at c) above. The site lies within the

urban area of Dover and has not been subject to any previous use

(such as employment) which it is considered necessary to safeguard.

No objections are therefore raised to the principle of new residential

development in this location.

2.2 Policy DD1 requires that all development be acceptable in respect of a

range of design and criteria including scale, architectural style and

privacy and amenity. Particular care is required where development

affects the setting of the conservation area (Policy HE2).

2.3 Structure Plan policies have similar requirements and objectives; in

addition, Policy H3 states that priority will be given to development

opportunities for new housing within urban areas before fresh land is

released. PPG3 (Housing) advises that Local Planning Authorities

should avoid inefficient use of land and as such requires housing

densities at between 30 and 50 dwellings per hectare. A greater

density can be justified at locations with good public transport

accessibility, such as town and local centres, or around major roads

and along good quality public transport corridors (paragraphs 57 and

58). It is suggested that Local Planning Authorities and developers

think imaginatively about designs and layouts which make more

efficient use of land without compromising the quality of the

environment (paragraph 54).

2.4 PPG3 also advises Local Planning Authorities that significantly lower

levels of off-street parking can be justified in locations such as town

centres or where family housing is not proposed and where the

development relates to provision of housing through conversion,

where parking is less likely to be successfully designed into the


2.5 Where housing is acceptable and on schemes of 25 dwellings or

more, Policy HS9 requires an element of permanent affordable

housing based on 30% of a total number of units proposed. Policy

OS2 requires (for new family housing comprising 15 units or more),

children’s play space in accordance with the Council’s adopted

standards (See Appendix 2 of Dover District Local Plan).

2.6 The application site lies within the Dover Town Centre Area of

Archaeological Importance. Paragraph 9.31 of the Dover District

Local Plan states that in this area, an archaeological assessment

should be undertaken prior to the determination of any planning

application. Policy HE7 indicates that where permanent preservation

of archaeological remains is not warranted, then provision should be

made for excavation and the recording of the remains prior to the

carrying out of the development. The views of the County

Archaeologist will be important to informing the application of policy on

a site by site basis.

3. Assessment

3.1 The main considerations in this case are considered to be:-

• The compatibility of the proposals with Government Planning

Policy objectives (PPG3);

• Impact of the development on the conservation area;

• Impact on the amenities of the existing residents;

• Other considerations including affordable housing, open

space, archaeology etc.

PPG3 Objectives

3.2 PPG3 guidance is set out at paragraph 2.3 and 2.4. In this instance,

the development for 37 flats would involve a density per hectare of

some 250 units, far in excess of the Government’s normal density

recommendations. It is relevant to consider, however, that many of

the units are small (one bedroom) and that the scale of the

development is partially predetermined by the re-use of the existing

building, which accommodates 20 of the units. In addition, PPG3

recognises that greater densities can be allowed in certain locations.

In this instance, the site adjoins the town centre and is within

comfortable walking distance of the railway station and bus services.

The relaxation of the car parking standards (it will be noted that no

highways objections are raised to the proposal), justified in part by the

location and the provision of non-family one bedroom accommodation,

enables the ratio of accommodation to other uses within the site to be

increased, thereby further increasing the density. It is not considered,

therefore, that the higher density proposed conflicts with the

objectives of Government planning policy. It is perhaps appropriate,

therefore, to consider whether the density proposed can be achieved

in a manner that safeguards environmental quality and residential


Impact on the Conservation Area

3.3 The supportive Conservation comments at e) above, including the lack

of an objection to the demolition of some of the buildings on site, will

be noted. Without prejudice to the consideration of all the relevant

planning issues, the design of the scheme has been the subject of

discussions with officers. Initial proposals from the applicant sought

the demolition of the main unlisted Prince of Wales House. Retaining

this building, however, was considered preferable and it is felt that a

sympathetic conversion has been achieved, evidenced, in part, by the

applicant’s intention to use single glazing to the front elevation, so that

this respects the original character of the building. The development

of the new flats within a "town house" style fronting Durham Hill will be

in keeping with the period of Prince of Wales House and should result

in a significant townscape enhancement to the area. It is also

intended that the front elevation of these units use single glazing. It

will be noted that English Heritage raises no objections to the

proposals. In conclusion, it is considered that the proposal will accord

with the Council’s statutory obligations under the Planning (Listed

Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to preserve or enhance

the character/appearance of the conservation area.

Impact on adjoining Residents

3.4 Concerns raised by local residents regarding the impact of the

development, particularly from overlooking, overbearing impacts and

loss of light, will be noted. As stated at 1.3, the window pattern to the

rear of Prince of Wales House is such, that windows currently face the

rear gardens to properties in Cowgate Hill. Those on the ground floor

lie at a lower level than the adjoining gardens and as such should not

result in overlooking. To the first and second floors, direct overlooking

has been avoided by a combination of the siting of bathrooms (with

obscure glazing) and a 1.6m deep first and second floor extension

which allows light to be gained to the rooms via new north facing

windows, i.e. looking away from the Cowgate Hill properties. At some

2m from the boundary of no. 2 Cowgate Hill, it is not considered that

this proposed extension, taking into account the proximity and mass of

the existing building on this boundary, will result in any harmful

overbearing or loss of light impacts sufficient to warrant the refusal of

the application.

3.5 These changes will address the most direct overlooking concerns from

the rear elevation of Prince of Wales House. It also needs to be

recognised, of course, that the re-use of the building for its lawful use

could result in a more harmful overlooking impact. Through careful

consideration of the internal layout and the extension, however, the

applicant has sought to reduce the overlooking and it is considered

that this has been done to an acceptable degree.

3.6 The rear of the new three-storey flats fronting Durham Hill will have an

outlook (from four bedrooms on the first and second floor) towards the

rear gardens and rear elevation of the Cowgate Hill properties.

Discussions with the applicant’s agent have indicated that the (on

plan) distance of these windows to the common boundary should be

no less than 12m. At present, the plans indicate a distance of some

11m which, on balance, is felt to be unacceptable. Revised plans to

accord with the above, or to show the repositioning/design of these

windows to avoid overlooking, are anticipated.

3.7 The plans show the new building returning along the western boundary

and terminating at three stories adjoining the rear gardens of the

properties on Cowgate Hill. While the end gable wall of the hall

currently adjoins this boundary (see 1.3), the scale of the proposed

end elevation at some 8m, would be greater. It would also have an

overbearing impact on residents whose rear gardens do not directly

adjoin the existing hall. In the circumstances, it is considered that this

part of the proposal would give rise to an unacceptable overbearing

impact and result in loss of light, with some potential also for

overlooking arising from new first and second floor windows adjoining

the boundary. It is anticipated, however, that revised plans will be

submitted showing the deletion of the first and second floor flats on

this boundary. This should result in an acceptable layout. The change

will also reduce the total number of units on the site to 35.

3.8 The loss of the hall on the boundary with the Cowgate Hill properties

will considerably change the living environment for the existing

residents. In order to provide some screening and to help reduce

noise impacts from the use of the site, it has been requested that a 2m

high wall be erected along the common boundary. A plan showing

this detail is expected.

3.9 It is anticipated that the revised plans will be available in time for the

Committee meeting and shall be on display.

Other Considerations

3.10 Policy HS9 requires that an element of affordable housing be provided

as part of any development scheme; Council policy requires that this

is at 30% of the total number of units. The applicant has indicated,

however, that they are only able to provide 15% (5 units based on a

35 unit scheme). When discussions were first held with the applicant,

the Council’s limit was 25%. The applicant advised at that time,

however, that this was unlikely to be met due to the additional costs

associated with taking on the conversion of Prince of Wales House.

Your offices felt that these circumstances justified a relaxation in the

policy requirement in view of the conservation benefits of the scheme.

In these circumstances, it is felt that the reduced level of affordable

housing can be accepted.

3.11 Policy OS2 requires the provision of open space, or as an alternative,

a financial payment towards an off site provision, where 15 or more

units providing family housing (being two-bedroom units and above)

are proposed. In this case, the originally submitted plan proposed 18

two-bedroom and 19 one-bedroom flats. With the deletion of two units

(see 3.7) and further internal alterations, the applicant’s agent has

indicated that the scheme may now be brought below the Policy OS2

threshold to comprise 14 two-bedroom and 21 one-bedroom flats. If

not, then in line with requirements of Policy OS2, a financial

contribution would be sought to assist with the provision and/or

upgrading of an off site facility.

3.12 The views of the County Archaeologist at e) above, requesting the

potential impact and development on archaeological remains to be

assessed prior to the determination of the application, will be noted. It

is understood that the applicant is currently in discussions with Kent

County Council regarding this matter. This should determine whether

archaeology can be dealt with a condition or is a matter to be resolved

prior to any favourable determination of the proposals.

3.13 Information accompanying the application states that a Bat Survey

has been carried out to determine the presence or otherwise of bats

within the existing buildings. The results of this survey, however are

still awaited. Any decision to approve the application will need to be

subject to this matter being resolved.

3.14 The points raised by Environmental Health regarding the means of

escape have been addressed by the submission of revised plans. It is

not considered that the other issues raised relating to ‘acoustic zoning’

could warrant an objection being raised to the proposal.


3.15 The principle of a development involving the reuse of Prince of Wales

House is welcomed. Together with the proposed new building fronting

Durham Hill, it should result in a significant enhancement to the

appearance of the Conservation Area. The achievement of a

development on the scale required however, (to make the proposal

financially viable), does have implications for the living environments

of residents in the Cowgate Hill properties and, in this respect, it is

considered that the proposals as currently submitted are

unacceptable. In view of the conservation benefits associated with the

proposal, however, alterations to the scheme have been negotiated

and it is felt these should reduce any adverse impacts to an

acceptable degree. Revised plans are awaited to clarify this view.

Subject to these being received and found satisfactory however, it is

considered that the proposal, subject to the resolution of a range of

outstanding matters can be approved.

3.16 In preparing this report, consideration has been given to the

implications for the Human Rights Act 1998, as it relates to both the

applicants and third parties. It is recognised that the granting of

planning permission may result in an interference with the rights of

third parties, and conversely the refusal of planning permission, the

rights of the applicant, as protected by Article 8 and Article 1 of the

First Protocol to the Act. The respective rights of one party, however

need to balanced against the other, and in this instance it is

considered that a decision to approve or refuse planning permission,

as set out below, could be given in the wide public interest.

g) Recommendation

I In respect of DOV/04/938, SUBJECT TO the receipt of revised plans which

satisfactorily address the impact of the development on the amenities of the

residents in Cowgate Hill (as detailed in 3.4 to 3.8 of this report), a legal

agreement being entered into (in the event that 15 or more family units are

proposed) to provide a financial sum towards off-site children’s play space

facilities, the satisfactory resolution of archaeological issues and the

satisfactory resolution of conclusions arising from the Bat Survey and

outstanding issues raised by Highways and Conservation, PERMISSION BE

GIVEN subject to:- (i) DP01; (ii) DP04; (iii) MA12; (iv) MA24; (v) Development

shall not begin until such time as an affordable housing scheme has been

submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. For the

purposes of this condition, such a scheme is one which: (a) provides a

definition of "persons in need" in terms of present housing circumstances; (iv)

identifies the five units to be used as affordable housing within the

development and ensures the provision and implementation of all five units as

affordable housing which shall be occupied solely by persons in need and

defined in the affordable housing scheme; (c) secures the involvement of a

registered social landlord as defined in the Housing Act 1996; and (d)

specifies that the development shall not be used other than for the provision

of housing accommodation which meets the objectives of the registered social

landlord. The affordable housing shall be provided in accordance with the

approved scheme. (Dover District Local Plan Policy HS9). Reason: to

secure the provision of affordable housing to meet and identify housing need;

(vi) Any other conditions to be delegated to the Chief Planning and Building

Control Officer including Highways conditions.

II Otherwise PERMISSION BE REFUSED on grounds to be delegated to the

Chief Planning and Building Control Officer covering, inter alia, the impact on

adjoining residents from overlooking..

III In respect of DOV/04/939 Conservation area consent BE GIVEN subject to (i)

DP03 (ii) The demolition hereby permitted shall not take place until such time

as a contract for the redevelopment of the site has been made and a copy of

that contract has been sent to and acknowledged by the Local Planning


IV I07/I13.

IV All outstanding matters to be delegated to the Chief Planning and Building

Control Officer.

Case Officer

Peter Wallace