Plans to demolish a bungalow and replace it with three homes have been refused – with councillors calling the designs “hideous”, “overcrowded” and “stark”.
Developers put forward a proposal to knock down the derelict building in Lower Vicarage Road in Kennington, opposite the junction with Glebe Way.
They wanted to replace it with three new terraced homes, each with three bedrooms and private driveways.
But neighbours feared the homes would overcrowd the street, would not be in keeping with other buildings, and would make traffic and parking on the already busy road much worse.
Neighbours directly next door also raised concerns over the loss of light to their dining room as the closet building would be moved to less than three metres from their home.
At Ashford Borough Council’s planning meeting on November 8, councillors voted to refuse the application.
Cabinet member for planning, Cllr Linda Harman (Ashford Independent), said the computer-generated images create the “optical illusion” of tall buildings and the homes look “stark” compared to others already in the area.
She then proposed for the application to be refused based on the design of the plot as a whole.
Cllr Kate Walder (Green), cabinet member for recreation and public spaces, called the designs “visually hideous”, and “no way in line with the character of the area” and seconded Cllr Harman’s motion.
At the front of the plot to the left-hand side is a ‘no-build zone’ due to drains underneath the surface.
This means the homes would have to be built off-centre, something the committee said made the designs look odd.
Eleven councillors voted for the refusal while two voted against it.
Neighbour Mary Sharp, who voiced her objections at the meeting, said she “couldn't be more pleased” with the result.
“We have always realised that one of these days the bungalow would be developed, but we never anticipated anything like this,” she said.
“We are prepared to accept there will be some development, but it would be better as semi-detached bungalows like the ones on the other side of the plot, or even houses more centralised and in keeping with the surroundings.
“From our point of view that would be more acceptable.
“It’s back to square one now which I assume will need to be a redesign.
“The big problem for us would have been the loss of light which I felt the planning officer ignored.
“I appreciate there is a no-build area because of a drain, but I wouldn't have thought it needed to be that wide so the houses could have been more centralised.”
Concerns were also raised over the solar panels Mrs Sharp has on her home as the two-storey houses would reduce the amount of sunlight they received.
When plans were first put forward, developers initially hoped to build five homes on the plot, but this was soon reduced to three when concerns were raised about overdevelopment.
An agent speaking on behalf of the applicant at the meeting said the site can comfortably accommodate the three homes which they feel are “consistent with the character” of the surrounding area.
The agent, representing applicants Rich and Brown Developments, added: “The application has been reduced from the initial scheme proposing new dwellings at the rear of the site.
“It was acknowledged by the applicant that this was an overdevelopment of the site and the advice from the planning officer was followed by removing the units at the rear.
“This results in a more suitable infill development.
“The demolition of the existing dwelling and garage and the erection of the new proposals results in a very modest uplifted built-form footprint of 57.6 sq m.
“This equates to an increase of built footprint of just 1% of the entire site.
“It is clear the site can accommodate this development and would in no way result in overdevelopment or a cramped site.
“It will not adversely affect the residential comfort of the neighbouring occupants, or compromise highway safety.”