Frustrated councillors were told that if they rejected plans to add more bedrooms to homes being built in East Preston, the developer could do it later anyway.
Arun District’s Council’s development control committee was asked to approve plans to put three bedrooms rather than two in four of the seven homes being built in Lime Tree Close.
When members raised concerns about the extra cars this would bring – and the fact there would be no room for them on the site – they were essentially told that turning down the application would be pointless.
Neil Crowther, group head of planning, said: “When this development is finished, they could do what they are proposing now under permitted development and we would have no control over it whatsoever.”
Permitted development rights allow homeowners to make some changes – such as extensions, loft conversions and adding new windows – without having to ask for planning approval.
Despite this, members were unhappy at having their hands tied in this way.
In January, the council adopted a new policy on parking standards, which laid out how many spaces were needed for cars and bikes in new developments.
Mike Clayden (Con, Angmering & Findon), was one who insisted that guidance be recognised.
He said: “We’ve got a policy which we only just signed last week. We should be following it now. Because if we’re not following these policies, why are we bothering with them?”
With no room on the site for the extra cars, the applicant carried out a survey showing there was enough on-street parking nearby to allow for them.
Members, though, who know the area well, pointed out that Lime Tree Close was often chock-a-block with parked cars and the equally narrow The Street, which runs nearby was a well a used bus route.
Richard Bower (Con, East Preston) said to encourage cars to park along there would be ‘lunacy’.
Despite Mr Crowther’s advice that they ‘had no chance’ of winning an appeal, members stood their ground and refused the application on the grounds that it breached their newly adopted policy.