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HS13  Self-Contained Flat Conversions  Policy

Proposals for the conversion of existing buildings into self-contained flats will be permitted subject to:

(i) the conversion ensuring the privacy of neighbours and occupants including the layout of car parking areas to prevent overlooking of habitable room windows;

(ii) access normally being provided to individual flats within the main structure of the building. If external staircases have to be provided they must not result in significant overlooking of neighbours' windows or private amenity space;

(iii) any extensions required complying with Policy HS11;

(iv) any new windows required to serve habitable rooms, such as living rooms, kitchens or bedrooms, not overlooking adjoining properties to an unacceptable degree;

(v) any interior vertical partitions not cutting across windows and ceiling height reductions not being visible externally;

(vi) adequate sound proofing between flats;

(vii) any basement flat having windows with two-thirds of their height above the existing outside ground level giving sufficient daylight penetration, a reasonable outlook and not immediately adjacent to parking bays and vehicle accessways;

(viii) main living rooms having a reasonable outlook and not lit solely by roof lights, nor in close proximity to high boundary or gable walls;

(ix) access to rear yards/ gardens being provided from each flat;

(x) adequate visibility at entrance and exit points and turning space for vehicles; and

(xi) the proposal otherwise complying with Policy HS4 and Policy HS5.

Reasoned justification :

6.65 The conversion of buildings into flats provides an important source of accommodation for smaller households, often available for rent and in areas close to facilities such as shops. Many older, larger houses are no longer suitable for single family occupation, and subject to the general character of the area, may be best preserved by their conversion to flats.

6.66 Many other buildings may also be suitable for conversion, such as coachhouses and agricultural buildings. Where these are in the Green Belt, proposals will be assessed against Green Belt policy, especially in ensuring that the re-use of the building does not have a materially greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purposes of including land in it.

6.67 In converting buildings to residential use, or in intensifying the use of existing dwellings, it is important that the character of the area is maintained where necessary. Proposals should reflect and respect the general character of the area and existing features such as walls, gate posts, hedges, trees etc., should be retained. The provision of adequate off-street car parking should not involve the total loss of existing front gardens, nor be over-intrusive to neighbouring properties. Further guidance on self-contained flat conversions is contained in Supplementary Planning Guidance Note 13.