Up to 20 flats by could be created through the conversion of an office block on Reigate Hill and the addition of two extra floors.
Reigate Hill House, a 1980s building, sits on the corner of the crossroads just north of the level crossing. There are three storeys, with 19 parking spaces on the ground floor which will be kept.
Lodgecrest Investments was this week given the green light by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council to change the use of the existing first and second floors into ten flats: eight 1-bed and two 2-bed.
The council only got a limited say on that application, because of national permitted development rules aimed at making such conversions easier. In particular the council wasn’t allowed to consider concerns by some residents about loss of privacy and being overlooked.
However the planning officer did note that conditions originally imposed when the building was constructed would continue to apply, including on the design of key windows which might overlook others.
Two other applications from Lodgecrest, yet to be decided, seek to build a new third and fourth floor. One application would use the extra space for ten more flats (eight x 1-bed, two x 2-bed), while the other would instead construct eight flats (six 1-bed, two 2-bed).
Permitted development rules also apply to these applications, but here they are different and the council is able to consider a wider range of factors, including the impact on neighbouring properties and the appearance of the expanded building.
Key points from residents and the Reigate Society are that that the height of the new building will lead to overlooking and privacy issues, have an impact on natural light, and be overbearing for the area.
However, a letter from Lodgecrest argues in favour of the extra floors. Among its points, Lodgecrest says that a sunpath shadow assessment shows that there will be “little impact” on natural light for neighbouring properties, and that the orientation of existing properties and the new windows will address overlooking concerns.
Residents and the Reigate Society also argue that too much traffic will be generated. Lodgecrest points to the proximity of the bus stop and railway station, and the 19 car parking spaces on the ground floor.
Decisions on the applications are due by 13 July, with comments closing at the end of today, Friday 25 June.