RESIDENTS have lost a battle against plans to convert a storage building in the garden of a Davenham home into accommodation after councillors approved the scheme.

Neighbouring residents to the London Road property wrote to Cheshire West and Chester Council, insisting they would lose privacy if the proposal was approved, while Kingsmead Parish Council also objected to the scheme.

But at Thursday’s meeting, CWAC’s planning committee gave the plans the green light amid fears the building could still be converted without planning permission – meaning the council would lose any control over it.

The building was previously used as an abattoir for a shop in London Road, but the shop was converted into a house in the 1980s, with the abattoir since being used for storage and as a summer dining area.

Catherine Reay, planning officer at CWAC, said: “The building would be used to provide living accommodation for the applicant’s elderly parents, who currently both have long-term health conditions and currently live in the main house.

“The accommodation would enable the applicant to care for their relatives on site as their medical needs increase, whilst allowing both parties a degree of independence.”

The building will be extended as part of the plans, and Ms Reay added the scheme had been amended to limit the amount the property would overlook neighbouring homes.

But CWAC received nearby resident Richard Dutton insisted the ‘inappropriate’ plans would cause a loss of privacy for neighbours.

“The distance between this outbuilding and neighbouring properties is only 10 to 14 metres,” he told the planning committee.

“For neighbouring properties in London Road, the building sits right at the end of the garden, giving uninterrupted views into both the garden and the rear of the property.

“The report states that these views already exist and are therefore acceptable, but there’s a major difference between occasional views from a garden store versus those from an occupied dwelling.”

Cllr Helen Weltman, Conservative CWAC member for Davenham and Moulton, added that the plans would have a ‘detrimental impact’ on neighbouring residents – and suggested the roof height of the building would not be ‘adequate and suitable for elderly residents’.

Before approving the plans, the biggest sticking point for the planning committee was whether the outbuilding could eventually be sold off or rented out as a separate property.

Cllr Samantha Dixon, Labour, said: “From the plans, it would look like a separate unit of accommodation, and yet we are assured by the applicant that it isn’t. The issue hinges on that, as well as the issues about privacy.”

But Fiona Hore, head of planning, insisted that a legal agreement could be included with the planning permission that ‘would give that comfort’ to prevent that.

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She added that should the scheme be rejected, the applicants could still carry out the internal works to convert the building into accommodation, with CWAC having no control over the plans through conditions or legal agreements.

Members approved the plans by seven votes to one, including a legal agreement ensuring the building remains linked to the main property.