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Decision on a two-storey extension to a Romford house was deferred because councillors had not visited the site.

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The plans, which had attracted six letters of objection and a 31-signature petition, went before Havering Council’s planning committee on Thursday (November 15).

They would enlarge the semi-detached house in Greenock Way from three bedrooms to five.

Backing his worried constituents, Cllr Michael Armstrong (Conservative, Pettits) wrote in a letter to the committee: “I believe the application before the members would, by reason of width, bulk and mass, appear unacceptably obtrusive.”

He added: “The residents have made it clear to me that they aren’t against the development – they are just want to see something in keeping with the area.”

Echoing his sentiments, Cllr Ron Ower (Residents’ Association, Upminster) said: “It’s a complete change to the street scene. It’s far too big.”

Local resident Edna Vanlint also spoke against the extension.

The application was the second that had been put before the committee in recent months relating to the site. The first was turned down for being too big.

The new application saw the extension’s footprint reduced, but its roof enlarged.

Not everyone shared the residents’ concern. To the consternation of the public gallery, whose inhabitants muttered and sighed indignantly throughout, deputy leader Cllr Steven Kelly (Conservative, Emerson Park) said he saw no grounds for refusing the application.

“I’m struggling with all this angst,” he said. “When I read this I couldn’t believe it had been called in. It meets the criteria and there’s no reason to turn it down other than a very flimsy one of opinion.”

Cllr Jeffrey Brace (Conservative, Elm Park) added: “I’ve sat here 10 years and done lots of these.

“There’s no real overlooking [of neighbouring houses]. If we refuse and it goes to appeal I think we’d lose.”

But he came under fire from chairman Cllr Barry Oddy for basing his decision purely on the documents before the committee. “Have you actually been down and looked at the scene?” he said. “This is one of those where the iPad really doesn’t do it justice.”

Proposing a deferral, Cllr Barry Tebbutt (Conservative, Brooklands) said: “I’m uneasy about this without having gone and seen it. When I saw the report I thought it was completely cut-and-dried.

“If we refuse this and if it goes to appeal, we’ll get kicked round the floor.”

The motion for deferral was passed by eight votes to one abstention and one against. It will come back before the committee next month.

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