Peterborough planners refuse second bid to remodel ‘bland 1960s house’

Peterborough city council’s planning committee has turned down an application to increase the size of a house in Thorney by ‘almost 100 per cent’.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 3:00 pm
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 3:14 pm

Members of Peterborough City Council Planning and Environmental Protection Committee met for the first time, face-to-face with Covid-19 Restrictions, in the council facilities at Sand Martin House earlier this week.
At the meeting (15 June), members of the committee voted to refuse the planning application for a property off Wisbech Road in Thorney.

It was the second time an application for extending the property had been refused, the first coming in 2018.

The property is the home of Dr Asad Qayyum, who argued that his growing family needed more space and that the house, built in 1963, was now totally inadequate.

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However, Case Officer, Karen Ip explained: “The reason Mr Qayyum is before the Planning Committee today is because of his relationship to another Peterborough City Councillor (Cllr Shabina Qayyum), otherwise this matter would have been delegated to planning officers who would have refused the application, regardless.

“The applicant is seeking to extend the ground floor and first floor, both front and rear and the overall effect would be to totally remodel the entire appearance of the property, virtually increasing it in size by 100%.

“In addition, the application requires the conversion of the existing garage in a habitable space by adding an additional storey to the building which is barely 3m from the fence-line of the adjacent property.

“Planning officers are recommending that members refuse this application on the grounds that by virtue of its design, size, scale and mass it seriously fails to respect or be subservient to the host dwelling.

“We believe the design to be contrived, unduly dominant in the Thorney area, totally out of character with the location and surroundings.

“While the house itself is not in a conservation area, the garden attached to it, is. We believe that the present design, character and appearance of the proposal would cause substantial harm to the Thorney Conservation Area if built.”
Mr Sajjad Panjwani, the Architect for Dr Qayyum, said: “We listened very carefully to the reasons for refusal in 2018, and have totally re-designed the proposal before the committee today to reflect what we no believe is a house that will conform with the ‘Thorney Design’.

“Dr. Qayyum has four children, ranging in age from nine to fifteen, and this is a three-bedroom property built in the early-1960s of totally bland design and facility.

“It is absolutely not up to the needs and requirements of a 21st Century family and we have gone to great lengths, talking with neighbours and the planning department to try and get this design correct.

“We shall be planting at least 14 new trees, in-keeping and going beyond green ecological requirements, and none of the new windows will overlook our neighbours, nor do any of their windows overlook our property with this new design.”

Cllr Nigel Simons, said: “While I do have some sympathy with the applicant who is a doctor with a growing family, I do also believe that we have planning restrictions in place for a reason.

“We also have our planning officers there for a reason, and that is to advise us in our decision.

“I cannot ever remember a planning officer using such direct language as ‘substantial harm’ to an area where a building is proposed.

“I therefore intend to go along with officers’ recommendations in this matter, and refuse.”

Cllr Scott Warren also had concerns, adding: “This proposal would virtually increase the size of this property by 100%.

“This is not a simple extension to the back of a house, this is a totally remodel, and while I appreciate that the actual build relationship to the plot only goes up from 4% to 8%, all that tells me is that you have a very large garden – most of which is in a Conservation Area, and therefore I shall also be refusing.”

Cllr Amjad Iqbal, spoke in favour of the proposal, saying: “I do not believe this is a poor design, nor given the tree screening on Wisbech Road in Thorney will anybody, including the nearest neighbours will have any detriment.

“I also believe that this is a good design – compared to the rather bland 1963 current property, I would say that it was a ‘handsome’ design, and I shall be supporting it.”

Members voted by majority (8 to 2) to refuse the planning application.

After the meeting, Dr Qayyum and Mr Panjwani said they were considering their options, and may appeal the decision, but that they had not yet decided.