Letter to objectors:
Thank you for your email of 21 May 2017 relating to an alleged breach of planning control at 148-154 Stoke Newington Church Street, namely that the shopfront does not accord with the approved plans. Your email was passed to me to respond in my capacity as Cabinet Member with responsibility for Planning.
I have made enquiries with the Council’s Planning and Property services and understand that a potential breach of planning control was initially reported in February 2016. Although the initial site inspection was carried out swiftly following the reported breach, it was not until 16 June 2016 that the Enforcement Officer, Martha Clark wrote to you to confirm that the enforcement investigation was being pursued. I would like to apologise for this delay as this communication should have been far quicker.
As details of the shopfront were required to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority for detailed consideration, an application was invited to discharge the outstanding conditions of the original planning permission. The application of details (ref. 2016/2321) was subsequently received on 20 June 2016. However, upon review of the application by a Senior Planning Officer, it transpired that the differences between what has been constructed and the previous building in situ (and the fact that the building was effectively demolished prior to its rebuilding) resulted in a materially different development scheme.
As a consequence, the application was withdrawn and the Local Planning Authority, in line with its own Planning Enforcement policy and Government guidance, sought to regularise the works through a further and full planning application. Since Officers were confident that an appropriate design solution could be found, and taking into account that permission for construction of a building of similar size was previously granted, it was not considered appropriate to take formal enforcement action in the interim. Due to the scale of the development and complexities of design, quite extensive pre-application discussions have been required. Planning and Design Officers have therefore been working with the applicant to achieve appropriate amendments to the scheme, particularly to the shopfront.
The pre-application discussions have now progressed to a sufficient stage where there are a set of proposed amendments to the shopfront design, as well as new structural information and a Heritage Statement setting out justification for the changes to the scheme originally consented, resulting in the materially different scheme. This fresh application is expected to be submitted later this month, June 2017, and a full consultation process will follow in accordance with the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement.
I would like to apologise for a lack of communication with you since the breach of Planning was first reported in 2016. I acknowledge that on this occasion pre-application discussions to work towards an acceptable Planning solution have been protracted, but this does reflect the complexity of the site. I have asked Officers to provide you with regular updates on this matter, particularly a link to plans and application documents, once the fresh application is submitted shortly.
If you have any further queries in the interim please do not hesitate to contact Ian Rae (Head of Planning) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cllr Guy Nicholson
Cabinet Member for Planning, Business and Investment