Plans for Six New Four Bed Homes on Milton Road

Plans for six new homes on the site of three existing properties on Milton Road in Cambridge have been submitted to Cambridge City Council.

I think it is excellent to see investment and development in the area and the proposals are for high quality modern homes. I suspect the proposals will approximately double the number of people able to live on the site, providing more, much needed, central Cambridge accommodation.

Despite my general positive position in relation to the redevelopment I have suggested planning permission ought not be granted for the following reasons:

  • The proposals amount to slight overdevelopment which may make the new properties impractical to live in due to the shared frontage and paths. I think the developers are trying to cram a little too much in to the space.
  • The proposed second floor dormer windows on the front of the new houses are out of kilter with the surrounding area. Really I think the introduction of such windows amounts to an important enough change to the character of one of Cambridge’s main thoroughfares that councillors should take the decision on if it is acceptable or not.
  • The proposals involve the loss of a bungalow (and I think a ground floor annex). Places where people can live on the level are a valuable option for elderly and disabled people and its important the city’s housing stock includes such properties. I’d like to see the new development retain one or two level living units. (I don’t think Cambridge has a planning policy on this point so my comments may be futile)
  • I don’t think cycle parking in a shed, accessed by walking across the back lawn, is appropriate and practical and doesn’t reflect how people living in the area use bikes as a primary form of transport.
  • I would like to see the trees included in the plans to be required to be planted (the applicant appears keen to avoid such a requirement).

I see the County Council as Highways Authority have noted one car parking space per four bed home will probably not be sufficient; I agree with them on this.

My full submission:

I would like to object to this proposed development on the grounds it fails to respond to its context and therefore does not fulfil the requirements of policy 3/4 of the 2006 local plan.

The proposed second floor dormer windows facing Milton Road on the front of the proposed properties would be the only such windows on the stretch of Milton Road between Arbury Road and King’s Hedges Road which the site is situated on. It is my view that due to the presence of the second floor front-dormers the proposed development would significantly fail to be in-keeping with the existing properties around the site.

I note the applicant’s contextual photos on page six of the design and access statement includes a property with a second floor front-dormer which is on the stretch of Milton Road on the other side of King’s Hedges road; while the road name is still the same this is quite a different location, the road is wider, and there are a number of commercial buildings (the pub, hotel, car sales, and business premises) in the vicinity, as well as a major junction and a mini-supermarket.

I also think there will be a significant, negative, impact on the properties opposite as a result of the height, and bulk of the buildings proposed and particularly as a result of the number of higher, more overlooking, windows.

I appreciate though that the road is wide, and properties on either side either are, or are proposed to be, well set back from it which does reduce the impact of the bulk of the proposed development and the impact of the dormer windows on the properties opposite.

I also appreciate that councillors will want to look at the amount of additional much needed accommodation the proposed development will provide over what is currently provided for on the site. I would like to see the officer report explicitly state the number of bedrooms currently within the existing properties, so that can be compared with the twenty four bedrooms proposed.

My view is the proposals amount to a slight over development of the site and the second floor front dormer windows are an undesirable symptom of that.

I suspect the developers are trying to get as many properties, and bedrooms, on the site as they can, so there are some odd arrangements as a result of the overcrowding with one property’s bins being against another’s wall and the path to the back garden of one property being along the wall of another. Some of the bedrooms appear to be rather small. I would like to see this initial application, which has perhaps been made by the applicants trying it on to see what they might be able to get away with rejected, with councillors indicating a slightly less dense redevelopment would be acceptable.

The owners of the proposed homes are going to have to share the frontage, and some paths between the homes, which I know is common elsewhere but does in my view complicate things for future owners – perhaps they’ll have to get together to form a management company – or otherwise club together to maintain the shared elements of the grounds. The character of other properties on the road is largely one of independent self contained homes without such shared frontages or paths, again this is a way in which the proposals fail to respond to their context.

The design and access statement document says the developer doesn’t want the trees in the plans considered as part of the application but wants a planning condition on the planting. I am concerned and surprised by this approach. I hope it will be clear if planning permission is given if the trees shown in the plans are required to be planted.

Four ornamental cherries on the frontage, or other non-fruiting trees which are expected to grow to an appropriate scale, would in my view be appropriate and if tree planting is to be included in a condition I would suggest requiring the inclusion of such trees (in suitable tree-pits so as to avoid future damage to the highway).

I note sometimes developers and architects consult neighbours before submitting a planning application, it’s a pity they didn’t do that as far as I am aware in this case.

The proposals involve the loss of a bungalow. I would like to see the council take account of the loss of a bungalow and the fact none of the new proposed homes offer on-the-level living; so the city is losing a valuable asset – a home which particularly suits elderly or disabled residents. One could envisage one of the units having say a ground floor flat and a maisonette above to compensate, and that would also provide a wider range of property types, and presumably, prices, on the site.

This development will involve moving a bus stop, though the specifics are not included in the proposal. I suggest the bus stop should move away from Fraser Road so it’s not on the junction which has been the location of a number of recent collisions; this might get more important if there are more buses servicing the stops on Milton Road in the future. I understand this might well be outside of the scope of the formal planning process but perhaps those determining the application could make their views on the matter known. I see a representation from 241 Milton Road opposes moving the bus stop towards that property, perhaps it could be moved in that direction, but minimally. I would be surprised if the stop became a floating bus stop and am not aware of any plans for that, though the plans for the remodelling of the road are not yet finalised.

It’s odd the documents don’t mention remodelling the road, and the plans omit the existing cycle path on the pavement. Officers and councillors considering the application should make themselves aware of the current road layout and the Greater Cambridge City Deal proposals for change.

On cycle parking I think sheds in the back gardens, accessed over the grass and via, in some cases shared paths, are not convenient enough provision. I would like to see paved access to the cycle parking, and it ought be on the front of the properties. I suggest the current plans clearly do not fulfil the requirements of policy 3/12 and perhaps 8/6. The proposed design does not appear to reflect the fact that many of those who live in the area use bikes as a primary form of transport. I expect usage of bikes is likely to increase if the proposed cycle infrastructure improvements proposed by the Greater Cambridge City Deal materialise.

I am very supportive of investment in and development of the area, and the provision of accommodation for more people, I do though think those aspects of the proposals I have mentioned above need addressing before the proposed development can be deemed acceptable and to meet the requirements of Cambridge’s planning policies.

I live close enough to the proposed site to be considered a specifically consulted neighbour when it comes to the planning process.

Other Comments

The Highways comment states:

The dwellings are have potential to generate a demand for car parking in excess of the one-space per dwelling provision proposed.

Certainly most three or four bed homes on the street appear to have multiple cars at the moment.

The Highways comment also states:

The redundant vehicular crossings of the footway must be removed and replaced with full face kerbs.

This needs to become a planning condition and needs to be enforced, there are many examples around the city of disused drop-curbs not being removed eg. on Riverside and on Green End Road.

The council’s Landscape Architects have said they are unable to comment on the application as it lacks a “landscape plan” and they say they think one ought be provided.

Planning Reference

16/1003/FUL | Erection of 6 dwellings 243, 245 And 247 Milton Road Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB4 1XQ

View the documents on the Cambridge City Council’s online planning system.

27 responses to “Plans for Six New Four Bed Homes on Milton Road”

  1. I met Sean Dudley of the developer Dudley Developments.

    We discussed lots of aspects of the proposals for this plot, and the wider aspects of development in Cambridge.

    I was told the Cambridge City Council planners are overworked and the officer dealing with the case has said has too much to do to be able to prepare a report for the 3rd of August planning committee and probably the 31 August 2016 planning committee too so the decision is likely not to be taken until the 5th of October 2016 planning meeting.

    In terms of the design of the properties Mr Dudley told me council officers often let developers in Cambridge get away with using the cheapest materials but the materials on this development will be of the highest quality.

    As for the cycle parking Mr Dudley accepted there should be paved access and said this would be provided, but argued against cycle parking on the front of the property on security and aesthetic grounds. I described some of the cycling parking I’ve seen around the city, including small covered structures containing sheffield stands which don’t dominate front gardens.

    On cycle safety Mr Dudley pointed out there is a visibility splay at the entrance in which the height of planting is to be controlled.

    As for the front dormer windows – Mr Dudley said they were quite small and noted they serve the homes’ smallest bedroom.

    We discussed the potential to adapt the homes for on-the level ground floor living; one thing Mr Dudley noted was the stairs are a straight run so easy for adding a chairlift to.

    Mr Dudley told me a management company would be formed to manage the shared areas, the frontage, trees, parking spaces and some of the paths between the homes. He said he expected either one of the residents to take on the running of the company or for it to be contracted out.

  2. In the report on another development involving the loss of a bungalow in Cambridge (16/0617/FUL – Hayling House, Fen Road) the planning officer has written:

    The Access Officer has recommended that the units should comply with condition 2 (formerly lifetime homes) of housing design Part M Building Regulations 2015 in order to compensate for the loss of an accessible bungalow. This would be covered by Building Regulations. In my opinion the proposal does not conflict with Cambridge Local Plan (2006) policies 3/7 and 3/12 in this regard.

    The specifications appear to be those at: Access to and use of buildings: Approved Document M.

    I think we should be applying these standards irrespective of if a bungalow is lost; but if the loss of a bungalow makes them easier to require then that opportunity should be taken on this Milton Road development.

  3. Just wanted to say Mr Taylor that you do a lot for the community. Thank you for that. Is there anything an average citizen like myself or my neighbors can do to help?

  4. The plans have now been approved. The first I knew about it was a letter from the council telling me the planning committee had approved them.

    I could have pro-actively looked at the planning committee agenda, but I didn’t. I suspect the council would have probably intended to write to me to let me know about the committee hearing, I don’t know what went wrong.

    The application was considered at the planning committee meeting on the 5th of October:

    The report is at:

    There are no draft minutes or decision notices as yet on the committee page, but an image of a decision notice has been published on the planning public access system:

    There is a condition on tree planting, requiring plans for the tree planting to be submitted to, and approved by, the council.

    Visibility splays are required; and there is a condition requiring “all redundant vehicle crossovers of the footway” to be returned to normal footway prior to occupation.

    The report notes a comment from the County Council:

    The proposal may impose additional car parking demands upon on street parking on the surrounding streets

    Another key comment from the report is:

    The Access Officer has raised concerns with the loss of a bungalow for disabled people and only mitigation for this loss is if the new houses can be built to wheelchair standards. Whilst I acknowledge the officer’s concerns, the scale of development is outside the trigger of policy 5/9 (Housing for People with Disabilities) in the Local Plan (2006) which is 15 or more dwellings. However, policies 3/7 and 3/12 seek appropriate provision to be made to make development inclusive for the needs of those with disabilities to ensure places are easily and safely accessible.

    The report doesn’t mention the loss of a self-contained ground floor annex, just the loss of a bungalow.

    The officer report describes part of the proposed design as a “a cat- slide roof element”.

    The officers disagree with one of my main concerns saying:

    I do not consider the communal arrangements of the proposed development would have an adverse impact on the living quality or residential amenity of the future occupiers

    On cycle parking the officer report states:

    The proposal includes cycle parking for up to 3 bikes in an enclosed storage sheds located in the rear garden of each plot. Each shed will be fitted with a lock for security. The proposed cycle parking provision is compliant with the Council’s Cycle Parking Standards.

  5. A “demolition statement” has been published on the council’s planning web pages Ref: 16/1003/COND2. Demolition is to commence on the 3rd of January 2017 and take five weeks.

    We have chosen a 13ton 360 degree tracked excavator for the task of demolition; this machine will be capable of reaching all areas of the dwelling and be in control of an external demolition method, the machine would also be equipped with a pincher/grab attachment and capable of carrying out the works whilst not at full throttle, this will assist with reducing engine noise levels on an already quiet machine.

    Notably the developer states:

    There is parking within Fraser Road for operative’s vehicles, alternative parking spaces can be found within Middleton Close

    According to the County Council’s website Middleton Close isn’t an adopted road, nor is it under an agreement for it to become one.

  6. At the time of writing two of the properties are for sale, and a further one is under offer:

    An agent’s note on the latter states:

    AGENTS NOTE the current owners have applied for planning consent to convert the existing front garden to provide an additional parking space.

    This application does not yet appear to be present on the council’s planning public access system.

    Another description states:

    There is parking for a car at the front of the house, potentially two if the front garden is removed.

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