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18/0762/FUL | Replacement shopfront, ground floor rear extension, first floor rear porch and alterations to rear windows and doors. | 49 High Street Sidmouth EX10 8LN
  • Total Consulted: 8
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Clerk To Sidmouth Town Council

Consultation Date: Thu 26 Apr 2018

Sidmouth Town - Cllr J Dyson

Consultation Date: Thu 26 Apr 2018

Devon County Highway Authority

Consultation Date: Wed 11 Apr 2018

Sidmouth Town - Cllr M Booth

Comment Date: Thu 30 Aug 2018

I would like to register my support for this application based on the following:

1. I believe it is of great priority to look to find solutions to empty properties in Sidmouth town centre where they are being presented. I believe this application does that and both offers to provide commercial opportunities and opportunities for housing which Sidmouth is in always in need of. I appreciate it is not necessarily a planning consideration but we are seeing an increasing number of shops closing in the town centre.

2. I do not consider that there are any negative issues here in relation to overbearing, noise, parking or traffic.

3. I appreciate that there are sensitive issues with regard to the plans and proposed design and that both the area and the building itself are subject to issues around conservation. However, there are precedents to be considered here. I was involved approximately two years ago with helping to find a solution to a similar development in the same area, that was looking to adapt an existing shop within the conservation area into a flat plus an improved shop for a photography business. The conservation officer initially objected to that application mainly on the grounds of alteration to the interior and shop front, however we found a solution which if anything improved the appearance of both and provided housing and what is now a very successful commercial business in the main downstairs building. I believe the similar situations with developments of Trumps/Coffee #1 and the Cornish Pasty shop, as well as Tesco, in the area should be taken into account when considering this application. I appreciate the concerns of the conservation officer with regard to the existing shop front and elements of the interior to make this application possible, however this has been shown to be a recent addition in the last century and I would personally encourage, as with the above mentioned developments, revealing pre 20th century heritage in Sidmouth if done so appropriately.

Kind regards

Cllr Matthew Booth
Sidmouth Town Ward

Sidmouth Town - Cllr Cathy Gardner

Comment Date: Wed 29 Aug 2018

Having discussed this application with both Officers and the applicant (Mr Matthews), I wish to support it. Whilst I do not have strong feelings about either the existing frontage or the proposed frontage, I do feel it's important to bring this building back into use and good repair. The applicant maintains that a full shop front is more desirable to potential tenants that the current bay windows which are reminiscent of a house. The town centre is a mixture of frontages and I hope that a new shop front would be installed with due care and attention to detail to ensure that it adds both to the character of the street and the building.

I appreciate that the building is listed, but given that the current front is fairly recent and that the building has had a shop front before, I hope the redevelopment will be permitted. I have no comments on other aspects of the application.
Cllr Cathy Gardner
Sidmouth Town Ward

Conservation

Comment Date: Mon 06 Aug 2018

Response relating to comments received 12th July 2018:

The comments are noted and further response set out below:

Harm to the listed building: it is clear from the historical evidence and photographic record that the building has undergone a number of changes to the main front elevation and that the current fabric is modern with evidence of previous frontages in the form of a steel beam, see below. There is still considered to be harm to the listed building by the removal of the existing frontage and its replacement with a traditionally designed shopfront that was only one phase in its historical development and most likely the shortest time period. See comments relating to re-instatement dated 18.06.18.

Streetscene: it is noted that the Parish Council support the shopfront. Whilst it is appreciated that the property is vacant and therefore does not currently contribute to the town centre as a business, retail shop or residential use, this does not preclude it from doing so in the future. The porch is a modern addition, but there is no evidence that this deters shoppers or visitors from walking further up the High Street as can be seen from visiting Sidmouth.

Sidmouth Town Centre & Seafront Conservation Area:

The Sidmouth Town Centre Conservation Area: Shopfronts Practice Notes are an Appendix to Sidmouth Town Centre Enhancement Programme published in 1988. The Appendix is aimed at 'shops' and 'shopfronts', p22 and relates specifically to producing good design and this is not disputed. The majority of the text reflects this with information on the retention of traditional shopfronts, and the replacement of modern shopfronts with an appropriately designed alternative.

A feature of Sidmouth Town centre is certainly the survival of many fine shopfronts, mainly C19 to mid C20. Few towns can boast such a rich range of early and authentic survivals. However, the overall character and appearance of the Conservation Area comprises a mix of mainly C19 buildings and a variety of architectural styles, not necessarily all shopfronts. No. 49 High Street does not have a shopfront.

It is my understanding of the document that proposals affecting buildings in the town centre will be judged on the positive contribution that they make to the protection and enhancement of the area and where the opportunity arises that consideration is given to improve upon previous unsympathetic alterations. I am not convinced that the existing ground floor frontage of No. 49 High Street, is sufficiently 'unsympathetic' and whilst the detailing may not be to the standard of the upper floors, the overall character of the building as an early C19 three storey building is retained and as described in the listing description, albeit without the C20 Neo-Georgian bank front which was replaced by the current frontage.

Map 2 within the Sidmouth Town Centre & Seafront Conservation Area Character Appraisal identifies the building, along with others on the High Street, as having a largely unspoilt frontage retaining significant period detail. It is appreciated that the ground floor is of modern construction, but this does not prevent the property from contributing to the streetscene or wider character and appearance of the conservation area, which it undoubtedly does and was previously welcomed as 'constructive conservation', see earlier comments.

Public benefit of providing a viable retail unit for the town: as previously suggested a balance needs to be struck between the harm to the listed building, the streetscene, the Sidmouth Town Centre & Seafront Conservation Area and the wider public benefit of providing a viable retail unit for the town. The property was not built as a bank, nor was it built as a retail unit. Its original purpose was a house occupied by Dr Pullin until his death in 1911 and then occupied by his son. Only later did it become a shop. It is noted that full marketing of the property has not been carried out and there is no evidence to suggest that it would not be viable in its current form or a that a new retailer has registered an interest in the building on the outcome of any approval. There are at least two premises in close proximity to No.49 which are in the process of closing down that currently have large glazed shopfronts and there is no guarantee that a forthcoming approval of the proposed scheme would ensure that the premises are occupied. It is not disputed that a property no longer vacant is a public benefit, but this should be weighed against the loss of the existing frontage and its positive contribution to the streetscene. The proposals can still be carried out without the insertion of the proposed shopfront and as noted in previous comments this is the only outstanding concern. The shopfront will not necessarily secure an optimum viable use.

Modification of the existing frontage: this confirms that currently the property does not have a shopfront and therefore the points raised in relation to 'Shopfront Practice Notes' are not really relevant in this instance. The applicant has not demonstrated that the frontage could not operate as a retail unit without any or with some modifications to the ground floor. There are plenty of examples of retail units occupying similar frontages in Honiton, without a 'shopfront'. Also, two retail units, the old Post Office in Vicarage Road, Sidmouth (listed Grade II) has no shopfront and No. 15, High Street, Sidmouth (unlisted), a negotiated scheme to retain the historic frontage and replace unsympathetic alterations.

Refusal to allow reinstatement of former shopfront: unfortunately, there is no way of knowing if the property will continue to remain vacant or not, or whether other options or proposals are likely to come forward in the future. As has already been suggested, there is no overall objection to the scheme as a whole, but only to the insertion of the proposed shopfront.

Listed Points:

o The existence of the previous shopfront is not disputed, but as previously stated, this is only one phase of the historic development of the building. The steel beam may have been part of the 1930's Neo- Georgian bank frontage rather than the shopfront;

o See above;

o No objection to the principle of a retail use or 2no. flats. However, there are concerns relating to how this is achieved whilst retaining the overall character and appearance of the listed building;

o See above;

o It is unfortunate that the building is vacant and that the external fabric including the timber windows are in need of repair. However, it is in the best interest of the owner to maintain and repair their listed building. Quite modest expenditure on routine maintenance to keep the property secure and weathertight would have prevented much more extensive repairs becoming necessary at a later date. Local Authorities have powers to take action where a historic building has deteriorated to the extent that its preservation may be at risk. Theses powers take two forms: Urgent Works and Repairs Notices. However, it is always preferable to liaise with an owner wherever possible to discuss any problems relating to the repair and preservation of the listed building;

o There is no objection to the works to the upper floors to create 2no. flats and to ensure that any significant features, for example, the fireplaces, cupboards and parquet flooring, are retained and utilised within the proposals and this welcomed. However, this would be the same for any submitted application for works to this property or any other listed property where there is evidence of existing/original internal features;

o Not a listed building consideration, although obviously it would be preferable to see the property in use.


PROVISIONAL RECOMMENDATION - PROPOSAL
UNACCEPTABLE on the basis of the proposed shopfront
REFUSE: see above

KBH
03/08/18

Comment Date: Tue 19 Jun 2018

CONSULTATION REPLY TO CENTRAL TEAM
LISTED BUILDING CONSENT
PLANNING APPLICATION AFFECTING LISTED BUILDING

ADDRESS: 49 High Street, Sidmouth

GRADE: II APPLICATION NO: 18/0763/LBC & 18/762/FUL

CONSERVATION AREA: Sidmouth - Town Centre & Seafront

PROPOSAL: Replacement shopfront, ground floor rear extension, first floor rear porch, alterations to rear windows and doors, repair of rear render and alterations to internal layout

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF HISTORIC CHARACTER/ ARCHITECTURAL MERIT:

See listing description and information on file

HOW WILL PROPOSED ALTERATIONS AFFECT HISTORIC CHARACTER OF BUILDING AND ITS SETTING:

There is no objection in principle to the use of the ground floor for retail or the flats at first and second floor. However, there are some concerns relating to how this is to be achieved whilst retaining the overall character and appearance of the listed building, see detailed comments below:

Ground Floor: this floor has previously been modified for use as a bank and there are few internal features of note. However, there is an existing original solid wall towards the rear of the property (rhs facing) defining part of the original layout. Is it possible to keep this? If not justification for its removal in terms of the loss of historic fabric. No objection to extension of the remainder of the ground floor retail area, but it would be preferable to keep more of the original rear wall. No objection to removal of modern stairs;

First Floor: minor reconfiguration to layout to create Flat 1, no objections;

Second Floor: minor reconfiguration to layout to create Flat 2, no objections;

Third Floor: these are the Attic Rooms and as such do not have full head height in all rooms, but there are existing windows (south facing), rooflight and borrowed light to stairs. The room are accessed from the second floor flat with stairs enclosed behind an original 4 panelled door. No proposals are indicated on plan, but it is unclear how this room will remain unused as it is easily accessible from the flat. Following discussions with Building Control there is some concern as to use, means of escape etc and how this will be managed. The floor is shown to be retained as existing with existing/original separation doors, no objections;

Front elevation: the original building dates from the early C19, but the front elevation has been altered at ground floor level on several occasions, most recently under 76/C0312 to re-instate the original bays and central entrance dating from approximately 1865. The original bay windows were probably in place for almost 50 years. Historically there has also been a double fronted traditional shopfront, occupied by Goviers as described in the Heritage, Design and Access Statement and the National Westminster Bank frontage as described in the listing description: 'Ground floor given early C20 Neo-Georgian bank front projecting on to pavement. Red brick but with broad stone architraves with keystones to 3 central windows. Similar stone doorcase at each end. Stone hood on cut stone brackets. Deep stone frieze and cornice with blocking course returned to original elevation'.

The proposal is to replace the existing ground floor bay windows and central door with a traditional shopfront based on the historic photograph in the Heritage, Design and Access Statement. There are a number of concerns and issues to address relating to this part of the proposal in terms of historic fabric, re-instatement of a previous frontage and the proposed use for retail:

o Firstly, the photograph is later than 1904 and a 1906 photograph (Francis Frith) still shows the bay windows. It was probably altered after 1911 when the occupant, Dr Pullin died. It would appear to have been in situ for approximately 20 years;
o The existing fabric is modern, constructed in blockwork and with fibre glass pillars and has no historic value or significance. However, it is a reconstruction of the historic bay windows and central doorway based on a sketch dated circa 1870. In 1976, this approach was welcomed as 'constructive conservation' by the County Conservation Section;
o The early C20 neo-Georgian bank frontage, probably dating from early 1930's (Bank shown on 1932 OS map), whilst certainly not original, is today likely to have been considered worthy of retention and the 1976 proposals unlikely to have been supported. Subsequent additions to historic buildings, do not necessarily detract from the quality of a building. They are often of interest in their own right as part of the building's organic history. Generally, later features of interest should not be removed merely to restore a building to an earlier form;
o In general the wholesale reinstatement of lost, destroyed or superseded elements of a building or an interior is not appropriate, although, where a building has largely retained the integrity of its design, the reinstatement of lost or destroyed elements of that design could be considered. In such cases there should always be adequate information confirming the detailed historical authenticity of the work proposed. Speculative reconstruction should be avoided, as should the reinstatement of features that were deliberately superseded by later historic additions;
o The building has been vacant for some time, but there is no supporting information relating to previous marketing and whether the existing frontage is suitable or appropriate for a retail outlet. It is considered that there maybe less substantial alterations that could be made to the existing frontage to adapt it for retail use.

It is appreciated that the existing frontage is not original, but depicts an earlier form that had been part of the historic evolution of the building prior to the Edwardian shopfront and the early C20 neo-Georgian bank frontage and in terms of time, been in situ the longest. Despite the historic photographs, there is little justification for returning the frontage to its previous phase as a shopfront, merely to 'add interest and harmony to the streetscene' and 'in keeping with other important shop fronts' in the High Street. Further consideration needs to be given to retaining the existing frontage and modifying it for a retail use eg. alterations to front door, lowering the bay windows and appropriate signage;

Rear elevation: the dormer window on the rhs facing is shown to have been replaced with a matching dormer, but this is also shown differently on the 'existing' drawing - please clarify if the dormer is to be replaced; existing doors to be replaced with French doors, no objections. Access to the 2no. flats is to be created by the replacement of the existing central opening currently a modified multi-paned (6 pane) sash over 2no. small 4 pane windows which lights the original staircase and the two under stair cupboards. It appears that the opening will be widened to insert 2no. timber panelled doors to have separate access to each flat within a covered porch. There is some concern over this approach as it includes alterations to the original staircase, see below;

Rear wall: a new pedestrian access is to be inserted into the rear red brick boundary wall. No objections, subject to joinery details;

Secondary glazing: this needs to be shown/annotated on plan and is a preferable alternative to the replacement of the front bays;

Flooring: extent of parquet flooring to be shown on plan and treatment/ finishes agreed;

Fireplaces: there are existing fireplaces only at second floor in the Living Room and both Bedroom 1 & 2. These should be shown and annotated on the drawings. An exploratory condition to be added to any forthcoming approval to agree each individual outcome;

Staircase: the access to the flats requires the removal of the bottom [art of the staircase to be able to directly access the first floor flat and to utilise and extend the staircase up to the second floor flat. There is some concern regarding the loss of the original staircase and justification is required to ensure that there are no other options to access the flats without the loss of part of this significant internal feature. If there is no other suitable solution details of the modified staircase from first to second floor is required to ensure the retention of the historic fabric;

Conclusion: there are two main areas of concern, the replacement shopfront and the modifications to the staircase to access the flats, as detailed above. In both cases there needs to be adequate justification for the changes and alterations and to ensure that the benefits of the proposed works outweigh the supposed harm. Bringing a viable use back onto the High Street clearly has public benefits, but there needs to be a better balance in terms of the impact of the proposals on historic fabric and the evolution and historic development of the building.


PROVISIONAL RECOMMENDATION - PROPOSAL
ACCEPTABLE in principle, but concerns relating to the replacement shopfront and the original staircase




DATE: 18/06/18
INITIALS: KBH

Conservation

Comment Date: Mon 09 Jul 2018

ADDRESS: 49 High Street, Sidmouth

GRADE: II APPLICATION NO: 18/0763/LBC & 18/762/FUL

Response relating to comments received 2nd July 2018:

The comments are noted and further response set out below:

Ground Floor: the justification for the ground floor layout and removal of rear wall, leaving nibs either side is accepted;

Third Floor: the comments are noted, but any new owner needs to be made aware of the concerns relating to any future use of these attic rooms;

Front elevation: this is the most contentious aspect of the application and a balance needs to be struck between the harm to the listed building, the streetscene, the Sidmouth Town Centre & Seafront Conservation Area and the wider public benefit of providing a viable retail unit for the town. The property has been vacant since 2016 and its marketing is noted. However, the comments do not address sufficiently the replacement of the existing frontage with the proposed shopfront in respect of the significance features of the listed building and need to demonstrate why the suggested modifications to the existing shopfront could not be considered. The previous comments relating to this aspect of the applications still stand;

Flooring: await details;

Fireplaces: await amended plans and details of exploratory works;

Staircase: the comments and justification for the loss of part of the staircase is appreciated, and the re-use of the historic fabric. A Method Statement, including Structural Engineers report and detailed joinery drawing of the altered staircase will be required, preferably as part of any forthcoming approval, but could be conditioned.




KBH
09/07/18

Parish/Town Council

Comment Date: Fri 18 May 2018

SUPPORT subject to the agreement of the Conservation Officer.

NOTE: The members asked that the Conservation Officer takes into consideration the needs of the economy of the town when looking at this application and not just the conservation area issues.

an Idox solution