Decision details

Planning application 20/00802/FUL - Car Park to Rear of Tesco, Ashford Hospital, London Road, Ashford, TW15 3AA

Decision Maker: Planning Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No



Redevelopment of surplus hospital car park for 127 residential units comprising 123 flats and 4 terraced houses, in buildings ranging from 2 to 5 storeys in height, with associated access, parking, services, facilities and amenity space.


Additional Information:

The applicant has agreed to a make a contribution of £45,000 to off-site improvements to existing open spaces in the borough.  The figure of £35,000 at paragraphs 7.52, 7.147 and 9 should be revised to £45,000.


Since publication of the officer’s report the Local Planning Authority has received a consultation response from the Surrey Fire Service.  The Fire Service has objected on the grounds that the existing barrier between the application site and Victory Close would be retained and would restrict access to this road.  The Fire Service advises that there is insufficient detail provided to assess whether it will meet with the access requirements of Approved Document B Section B5 of the Building Regulations when the initial notice is submitted.  The Fire Service advises that a sprinkler, water mist system should be provided.

Officer note: it is considered that the matters relating to fire safety can be dealt with at the Building Regulation stage.


The Local Planning Authority does not have a specific planning policy relating to fire safety.  However, at paragraph 4.27, the Council’s SPD on design states that accessways in excess of 45 metres in length require a width of 4 metres to accommodate a fire engine.  When measured from the proposed site plan, the LPA has calculated that the access throughout the site would exceed 4 metres in width. 


The applicant has also provided a response stating that the barrier has never been in use by the Fire Service when in the previous hospital use.  The applicant also notes that the nearest fire station is located on the A308, and the access to the site would more likely be from London Road/Town Lane.  The applicant has also confirmed that Block A and Block B would both be provided with an automatic sprinkler system and arc fault detection devices, which reduce the risk of fire from appliances.


The applicant has submitted a further ground floor plan for Block C, which when measured from the plan shows that the ground floor unit in this block would exceed the minimum floor space requirements set out in the Technical Housing Standards (March 2015).  Paragraph 7.19 should therefore be revised to state that the ground floor unit in Block C would be in accordance with the minimum floor space requirements for a unit of this size. 


The revised plan also clarifies the garden sizes for the units in Block C, with the LPA calculating that 3 of the units would contain gardens measuring approximately 59m² and one of the gardens would measure in excess of 60m², although the applicant’s architect has stated that their calculations show that the gardens would measure 60m².  As a consequence of this, plan number 1345-DNA-B1-G1-DR-A-1070 Rev P1 should be amended to plan 1345-DNA-B1-G1-DR-A-1070 Rev P2 (Received 04.11.2021) in Condition 2.


Condition 18 should be amended to include plan number 19008-01-006 Rev C rather than 19008-01-006 Rev B. 


Condition 16 should be amended to refer to plan 1345-DNA-ZZ-GF-DR-A-0010 Rev P1 (received 07.09.2021), instead of plan 1345/ PL/1000 Rev B


A further condition is recommended as follows:


“The rated noise level from the plant hereby approved shall be at least 10 dB(A) below the background noise level at the nearest noise sensitive property as assessed using guidance contained within BS 4142 (2014)


Reason: “In the interests of the amenity of neighbouring and adjoining occupiers”


Public Speaking:

In accordance with the Council’s procedure for speaking at meetings, Suzanne Rankin (NHS) and Ian Anderson (Agent) spoke for the proposed development raising the following key points:


-       This development would provide much needed accommodation for key workers within the Borough

-       The total provision of amenity space would be 42% greater than that required

-       A £45,000 contribution to play/activity space off site would be provided by the Developer

-       Two children play areas would be created on the site

-       The revised design now achieved 44% energy savings which was double the savings achieved by the initial proposed design

-       22 S106 affordable housing units would be provided within the development

-       105 units would be prioritised for local NHS workers, then other key workers within the Borough

-       The site is close to existing facilities

-       The site adjoins Ashford Hospital where most of the residents would work

-       Public transport infrastructure is close to the site

-       The development makes good use of a brownfield site

-       The development is acceptable on the grounds of housing size and type, character and density, impact upon existing residential dwellings, affordable housing, parking provision and highways



During the debate the following key issues were raised:


-       Developers have addressed most of the concerns raised by the Committee in January 2021

-       Will help address the shortfall in the Council’s housing target figures

-       Will provide affordable housing for key workers in the Borough

-       Significant increase in the green credentials of this application

-       Improvement in the size of the gardens

-       Developer may wish to consider decreasing the height of Block B

-       Some units do not meet the minimum size requirement

-       Inadequate open space within the development

-       Inadequate parking provision within the development

-       Shortfall on the Local Planning Authority’s distance guidance

-       Would like to see a car club set up within this development

-       Many of the residents would work at the nearby Ashford Hospital and therefore would not need to use their cars to get to work


For – 7

Against - 5


Decision: The application was APPROVED.



21:38 the meeting was adjourned

21:44 the meeting reconvened


Report author: Matthew Churchill

Publication date: 23/11/2021

Date of decision: 10/11/2021

Decided at meeting: 10/11/2021 - Planning Committee

Accompanying Documents: