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
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"
whereby rooms likely to result in noise in one flat do not adjoin bedrooms
another. Also, means of escape in the case of fire, for flats 19, 23, 24,
37 is not satisfactory as escape from inner bedrooms would be via kitchen
areas. Otherwise, no objections are raised subject to an informative
the applicants of their obligations under the Control of Pollution Act
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
and townscape terms. It is a substantial historic property and although
altered and now run down, it still makes a major contribution to the
character of the conservation area. Its loss would be detrimental to the
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
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
In summary, supports the scheme, subject to clarification regarding the
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
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
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,
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.
are raised to the demolition of the unlisted building (DOV/04/0939) as it
considered that Prince of Wales House is of historic interest.
Public Representations: Five letters have been received to the proposals.
petition signed by members of six households in Cowgate Hill and three
letters (from residents who also signed the petition) raise objections on
• 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
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.
3.1 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.
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
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
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
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
Committee meeting and shall be on display.
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
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.
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
residents in Cowgate Hill (as detailed in 3.4 to 3.8 of this report), a
agreement being entered into (in the event that 15 or more family units
proposed) to provide a financial sum towards off-site children’s play
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)
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
purposes of this condition, such a scheme is one which: (a) provides a
definition of "persons in need" in terms of present housing circumstances;
identifies the five units to be used as affordable housing within the
development and ensures the provision and implementation of all five units
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
of housing accommodation which meets the objectives of the registered
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
(vi) Any other conditions to be delegated to the Chief Planning and
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
adjoining residents from overlooking..
III In respect of DOV/04/939 Conservation area consent BE GIVEN subject to
DP03 (ii) The demolition hereby permitted shall not take place until such
as a contract for the redevelopment of the site has been made and a copy
that contract has been sent to and acknowledged by the Local Planning
IV All outstanding matters to be delegated to the Chief Planning and