Planning row over ‘lorry-sized’ granny flat in village

PLANS to build a “lorry-sized” granny annex in a country cottage have sparked a row among neighbours in a village near Thornbury.

Several Rockhampton residents opposed the plans due to the size of the proposed extension, but it has now been given planning permission.

The plans include demolishing an outbuilding at the cottage in Lower Stone Road and building the large granny annex.

Representatives for the cottage owners said the extension would allow them to care for elderly relatives.

But neighbours objected to the size of the new extension during a meeting of the development management committee at South Gloucestershire Council on June 22.

Ryan Cook, speaking on behalf of the applicants, said: “The proposal is designed to provide a high quality, accessible annex at ground floor level, capable of supporting an elderly relative.

“By integrating multi-generational living into the site, the applicant will be able to provide much-needed care and support for relatives, while also providing decent living standards, comfort and relative independence.”

Initially the plans also included using the extension for short-term lets, although this part has now been dropped after concerns were raised.

Objectors said the annex would be the size of an “articulated lorry trailer”, bearing down on a boundary fence.

Neighbour Geoff Fisher said: “My wife and I are very concerned about the quality of design, the scale and siting of the building and its impact on our property.

“An articulated lorry trailer in the UK has an average height of 4.2 metres, and the proposed building is 4.15 metres. The average length is 12 metres – proposed is 13.35 metres.

“When you’re alongside one of these heavy goods vehicles in traffic, it’s quite intimidating.

“To have the equivalent of one parked against your boundary is to urbanise your property.

“My wife and I do not have any problems with our neighbours converting their property to provide accommodation space. But surely another solution can be found.”

The village does not usually see controversial planning applications, according to Severn Vale ward councillor Matthew Riddle, who called in the plans for the committee to decide as there had been five objections.

Cllr Riddle said: “Rockhampton in terms of planning is usually very quiet. I think this is the first call-in I’ve done in Rockhampton since 2007.

“Five letters of objection is actually quite a lot for the small parish.

“While we should be encouraging families to look after and care for their elderly generation, the key issue here is: is the massing of this new proposal too much for the neighbouring property?”

The development management committee voted to approve the plans, with eight voting in favour and one against.

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service