PPA | Hillside House, 1-2 Hillside, Cotham

professional planning appraisal PPA


Hillside House, 1-2 Hillside, Cotham, Bristol, BS6 6JP


May 2020

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Hillside House, 1- Hillside, Cotham PROFESSIONAL PLANNING APPRAISAL


1.1 A PPA is a detailed appraisal of the development potential of a site by qualified

Chartered Planners. It is based on a desk-top review of the site; the relevant

planning policy; and planning history.

1.2 A planning appraisal is one of the most important and often under-rated planning

services provided to clients.

1.3 A well-researched and prepared appraisal will set out in an easy-to-read format,

the relevant opportunities and constraints applicable to a potential development


1.4 This planning appraisal covers all the relevant issues, with the core services as


i) Identifying planning policies relevant to a site and/or proposal;


Review of planning history;

iii) Site assessment to identify planning opportunities and constraints;

iv) Advice on development potential and principles taking into account the

constraints, opportunities, site characteristics and policy context;


Potential site layouts.

1.5 The PPA report is paid for by the purchaser of the site upon completion (£700 + VAT

is added to the contract) – they then have a £700 credit to spend on planning with

the planning team if they pursue development.

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Hillside House, 1- Hillside, Cotham PROFESSIONAL PLANNING APPRAISAL


2.1 This PPA has been commissioned to identify the potential for the residential

conversion of Hillside House. It is understood that the property; an internally linked

semi-detached pair of Italianate style villas, are currently used as care home for

vulnerable people (Use Class C2).

2.2 The villas are in the Whiteladies Road Conservation Area and sit at the end of a

private road off Cotham Hill, which serves four other properties also arranged in

semi-detached pairs and Grade II listed. The Council’s online planning records

indicate that nos. 5 and 6 Hillside have both been converted into flats.

2.3 There is vehicular access to the property, with a long drive that leads to a parking


2.4 It should be noted that no site visit has been undertaken to inform this appraisal and

a physical inspection by a conservation architect will be critical to establish which

features and walls are original, and therefore need to be retained. Equally,

specialist advice will establish where heritage gain can be secured, such as through

reinstatement of historic floor plan arrangements and the blocking up of existing

openings between the villas to return them back to separate buildings.

2.5 Notwithstanding the absence of a physical inspection or any specialist advice, it is

considered that there is potential to convert the villas back to separate dwellings or

into flatted accommodation. The number and size of the flats possible will be

dependent on the ability to alter the internal plan form, which will need to be

explored with a heritage specialist.

2.6 The potential for a conversion to small (C4) or large ( sui generis ) Houses in Multiple

Occupation (HMO), and student housing, is deemed to be limited due to the high

proportion of this type of accommodation within the area.

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Hillside House, 1- Hillside, Cotham PROFESSIONAL PLANNING APPRAISAL


3.1 Planning legislation 1 requires local planning authorities to “have special regard to

the desirability of preserving the [listed] building or its setting or any features of

special architectural or historic interest which it possesses.” There is also a statutory

duty 2 for development to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of a

conservation area. National policy 3 requires that “great weight” is placed on the

need to conserve heritage assets, including listed buildings and conservation areas,

and any harm or loss requires “clear and convincing justification.” 4

3.2 The listed status of the villas will constrain (but not prevent) the conversion potential

into flats. The Council will resist further loss of the historic floor plan arrangement and

historic fabric/features unless this can be offset by conservation gain in other areas

of the building(s).

3.3 In addition to planning permission, listed building consent will be required for the

conversion (whether to create flats or to create two houses). Any physical works

needed to facilitate the conversion (both internal and external) will require listed

building consent. Planning consent will be required for a material change of use,

and external alterations.

3.4 Any existing boundary walls (and the piers at the vehicular entrance) will be

deemed curtilage listed and would need to be retained. Any alterations will require

listed building consent. Any partial demolition may require Conservation Area

consent unless these works are included as part of a planning application for works

to the building.

1 Sections 16 and 66 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 2 Section 72 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 3 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), updated February 2019, and the associated guidance, the National Planning Policy Guidance 4 NPPF, Paragraphs 193 and 194

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Hillside House, 1- Hillside, Cotham PROFESSIONAL PLANNING APPRAISAL

3.5 A conversion of the building to provide two separate family houses might not be

financially viable (or marketable) due to their large size. Hollis Morgan could advise

on this.

3.6 Listed building consent was refused and subsequently dismissed on appeal for sub-

division of the ground floor to create three self-contained assisted living units (ref.

04/00768/LA). The decisions and delegated report are not available on the online

Public Register therefore the reasoning behind these decisions are unknown.

3.7 An application for conversion to provide specialist student housing; a small HMO

(between 3-6 persons – Use Class C4) or a large HMO (7 persons or more – sui

generis ) could be difficult to secure due to the high proportion of student housing

and HMOs within the ‘neighbourhood area’ (i.e. within a 100m radius), with the

closest HMO being at no. 3 Hillside. Policy DM2 resists these housing types where

there is or would be a concentration (defined as 10% or more – see the draft SPD

on HMOs 5 ).

3.8 Affordable housing will be required for any conversion proposing 10 or more flats

(although this number is unlikely to be possible in any event due to the building

being listed).

3.9 Applications for the creation of a dwelling are required to incorporate measures to

generate 20% of the residual energy use through renewable energy (Policy BCS14

refers). This requirement applies to listed buildings. However, there is some flexibility

on this policy (namely with respect to the 20% requirement) where it can be

demonstrated that there would be an unacceptable heritage impact, which is not

outweighed by the environmental benefits.


https://www.bristol.gov.uk/documents/20182/4026562/Draft_HMO_SPD_Consultation_Version_Fe b_2020_v3.pdf/03e6c326-df1f-8c9d-02af-c7e3e2399583

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Hillside House, 1- Hillside, Cotham PROFESSIONAL PLANNING APPRAISAL


4.1 Policy BCS5 supports housing in the built-up area and the highly sustainable location

of the site in accessibility terms makes it suited to a residential use.

4.2 The vertical sub-division of the two villas (through the infilling of gaps in the party

wall) to reinstate two separate houses would deliver heritage gain, and would be

likely to be supported by the Council in view of the shortage of large family housing

in this part of the city.

4.3 A flatted conversion (C3 Use Class not C4) should be acceptable despite the high

proportion of flats in the area bearing in mind the size of the villas, which might

render the reinstatement of two houses financially unviable. It is noted that nos. 5

and 6 Hillside have been converted into flats and although the applications were

approved under the previous Development Plan, they are still relevant material

considerations (albeit of moderate weight).

4.4 The highly sustainable location of the site should mean that a reduced parking level

below the adopted (maximum) standards could be supported.

4.5 The site is in Flood Zone 1 (Low Risk) and as such, is sequentially preferable in flood

risk terms for housing.


5.1 The site is considered suitable for a residential conversion to reinstate two houses or

provide flats (Use Class C3). These are likely to be restricted to the C3 use class due

to the high proportion of HMOs and student housing in the area.

5.2 It should be possible to achieve one flat per floor (likely to be a combination of two

and three bedroom), totalling eight flats within two buildings. This would avoid any

need to provide on-site affordable housing as part of the application 6 . It should be

noted that submitting two separate applications for the conversion in an attempt

6 The national threshold is 10 or more dwellings or site areas of 0.5 ha or more.

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Hillside House, 1- Hillside, Cotham PROFESSIONAL PLANNING APPRAISAL

to bypass the need for affordable housing (where the 10 unit threshold is reached)

would not be successful bearing in mind the property is currently a single planning


5.3 It is recommended that the existing openings in the original party walls separating

the two villas are blocked up to reinstate two separate buildings. This approach

would deliver heritage gain and in the case of a flatted conversion, would help to

off-set the horizontal sub-division of the villas.

Development Principles

5.4 A conservation architect should be appointed to assess which elements of the

building are historic, and so need to be retained, and where changes could be

made to accommodate a conversion. It is clear from the floor plans that the

internal layouts have been altered but it is not clear what remains of the historic

plan form, and therefore to what extent the layouts can be altered. Wherever

possible, bearing in mind the presumption in favour of preservation and the need

for clear and convincing justification for the loss of or harm to historic fabric, it is

recommended that historic features are retained. Reinstatement of lost historic

fabric would deliver heritage gain or could off-set loss in other parts of the building.

5.5 The dwellings will need to be designed in accordance with the Technical Housing


– Nationally Described Space Standards (see the Technical

Requirements as well as the GIA/storage requirements in Table 1).

5.6 Any external changes will need to be in keeping with the existing building in terms

of design, articulation, and the use of materials.

5.7 The proposal will need to comply with the Council’s sustainable design and

construction policies (use of renewable energy measures to reduce carbon dioxide

emissions from residual energy use in the buildings by at least 20%). There could also

be a requirement for the development to connect to a district heating network,

should this be in operation in this part of Bristol. This will need to be discussed with

an energy specialist and the Council at the feasibility/design stage.

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5.8 Dedicated provision for secure, conveniently located cycle parking will be

necessary in accordance with the adopted parking standards. This will need to be

fully enclosed (i.e. within a lockable store rather than under a canopy).

5.9 Refuse and recycling provision must be incorporated in accordance with the

standards set in Policy DM32. This will need to be close to the waste collection point.

The site plan will need to identify the location for storage and show the

size/capacity of the storage containers to demonstrate compliance with Policy


5.10 The Council operates a Community Infrastructure Levy, therefore a residential

conversion will be liable f or CIL if the building is not ‘in use’. An ‘in use’ building is

defined 7 as a building which “contains a part that has been in lawful use for a

continuous period of at least six months within the period of three years ending on

the day planning permissio n first permits the chargeable development.” CIL is

charged based on the amount of floorspace within the building and is payable

upon the commencement of development (see CIL information pages on the

Council’s website 8 ).

Application Report/Survey Requirements

5.11 Any formal application will require the standard plans/drawings, application and

CIL Question forms, and ownership certificates. Additional items are likely to

include: -

A Design and Access Statement;

A Heritage Statement;

▪ A Sustainability Statement and Energy Strategy.


6.1 A physical inspection of the building has not been undertaken therefore it has not

been possible to identify, with any certainty, precisely how the building could be

7 Regulation 40(11) of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 (as amended). 8 https://www.bristol.gov.uk/planning-and-building-regulations/development-liable-for- community-infrastructure-levy

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Hillside House, 1- Hillside, Cotham PROFESSIONAL PLANNING APPRAISAL

altered internally to accommodate a residential conversion. The Council will want

to retain as many original features (such as walls, architrave, staircases, etc) as


6.2 As previously identified, the internal arrangement of the dwellings will be dependent

on the advice provided by the conservation architect.

6.3 However, it is considered that it could be possible to achieve one flat per floor and

accordingly, some illustrative floor plans are provided to indicate this.

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