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Landmark Barton building extension plan blocked over 'smelly bins'



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Gill Lawrence owns The Dome in Barton Court Avenue, Barton
Gill Lawrence owns The Dome in Barton Court Avenue, Barton

AN EXTENSION to one of the most recognisable buildings in Barton has been blocked after neighbours complained about the potential for smelly bins.

The Dome’s unusual pagoda-style turret is a landmark in Barton Court Avenue, near the clifftop, where two of the block’s nine flats were proposed to be enlarged.

But the application – attacked as a “mishmash” – stirred up angry opposition from concerned residents who, backed by Barton Cllr Goff Beck, successfully persuaded New Forest District Council’s planning committee to refuse it.

The rejection was in the face of strong advice by planning officers to give the go-ahead and a warning by Cllr Richard Frampton that the council would be “slaughtered” if the applicant, Stephen Dean, appealed – which could end up with NFDC having to pay costs with public money.

Opponents said the changes, which included roof alterations, a single-storey extension, and first-floor terrace behind, would spoil the corner with bins too close to the street wafting smells and flies near to the overlooking flats of next door Shoreacre.

A decision had been deferred by councillors in June to clarify a number of issues, including to add a specific requirement for a bin store.

The plans prompted seven written letters of objection to NFDC, one of whom, neighbour Anthony Glenister, told the committee: “This is already a bad application made worse.”

Cllr Beck added: “This application has attracted an avalanche of complaints from the town council and more importantly the general public.”

Challenged to identify a formal objection under planning rules, however, Cllr Beck said: “There are a number but I am not expert enough to do that.”

A planning report said the application “would not have any adverse impact”, and rejected fears of insufficient overflow parking in surrounding streets for the nine residential spaces provided.

Cllr Frampton warned: “Whether it’s been a mess before, that’s what we’re looking at. I can’t see anything that says we can’t give it. If you say no, I think we will get slaughtered at appeal.”

Chief planning officer David Groom also cautioned: “How can we say that’s overdevelopment? It’s a small-scale extension of two flats.

“I hear the concerns. But I have not heard anything that we can translate into a refusal. You have to show harm.”

But the plans were a “mishmash”, insisted Cllr Maureen Holding. “We can sit here and say you go by the rule book but sometimes rules work and sometimes they do not.

“This is overdevelopment. I am concerned about this because it’s a beautiful area round there which I think is greatly going downhill because of the way plans are being passed and things are being crammed in.”

The application was refused by nine votes to five on the grounds of loss of amenity for neighbours.

Mr Dean, the contractor tasked with the works by the owner of the building, Gill Lawrence, told the A&T an appeal was likely: “We going to have to appeal. There’s no way around it really.

“To get a refusal on the things they asked for is not fair at all. It should have been deferred to make amendments.

“It’s a shame because everyone is trying to get on. They want to make the place nice and tidy it up but at the moment everything’s been left in limbo.”



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