Five new properties in Peterborough have received planning approval after an argument over what constitutes a bungalow.
Members of the city council’s Planning and Environmental Protection Committee decided on Tuesday that a bungalow is only a bungalow when it does not have a second-floor balcony with the issue arising following a planning application in September for five detached ‘bungalows’ on land to the west of Guntons Road, Newborough.
At that time the application was deferred because councillors said if a building has a balcony or a living space in the roof then they are houses.
The applicant, through his agents, had submitted his design for five detached bungalows, each with a “refuge area in the roof space in case of fire or flood”.
Nick Harding, council head of development and construction, explained to committee members: “This refuge area takes on the appearance of a dormer room with window in the roof and has access via a vertical balcony.
“Outline planning consent had been granted on the basis that only bungalows be erected on the site as most other properties in Guntons Road are bungalows.
“The legal definition of a bungalow is a single storey dwelling, but determining what to do isn’t easy as there’s only one law case on record and it dates back to 1920.
“At that time the judge said: ‘A bungalow must be a single-storey dwelling, but what happens in the roof space is neither here nor there in respect of planning’.
“The problem we have with this design is that access via a vertical balcony suggests more than one storey – in fact two storeys, and therefore a house.”
The matter was resolved at the meeting when the developer altered the design, removing the balconies from two buildings and changing the others to Juliet balconies, thereby satisfying the planning rules.
Juliet balconies are narrow balconies which sit just outside a window or pair of French doors on the upper storey of a building.
Despite a late objection from a neighbour complaining the proposed buildings were too close to his property, it was shown that the distances involved were within planning tolerance and the application was approved.
Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporting Service