Conservation Area conversion opposed

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Plans to convert a family home in a Conservation Area into flats have prompted an outcry from neighbours.

The application for 108 Malthouse Road, Southgate, was the subject of a passionate discussion a meeting of the Southgate Neighbourhood Forum on Thursday (June 13).

Residents from neighbouring homes were concerned that they had received no notification from Crawley Borough Council that the application – for five one-bedroom flats – had been submitted.

And they feared that, should it receive approval, it would set a precedent for other homeowners in the road – which pre-dates the new town – to follow suit, destroying the character of the area.

Michael Pickett, chairman of the forum, said: “What puzzles me was that when I spoke to local residents, none had received a letter from the planning department inviting them to send comments.

“No notices had been placed on the building itself or anywhere near it and it felt like the process of informing members of the public had not been fulfilled.”

Mr Pickett added that forum members had been delivering leaflets to addresses in Malthouse Road, Southgate Road and East Park and planned to present a petition to their ward members to present to the council.

A council spokesman said: “Due to its location within a Conservation Area the planning application will be considered against heritage and conservation policies.

“We apologise for the short delay in placing site notices near the property.

“However, the period for commenting on the application began when they were displayed, meaning that objectors will still have more than the statutory 21 days to give their views.

“Each planning application is judged on its individual merits.”

The application will be discussed at a meeting of the development control committee on July 15 at 7.30pm.

To see the application documents, log on to www.crawley.gov.uk and search for CR/2013/0258/FUL.