Outline planning permission was approved by three votes to one for the development north of Memorial Wood. The proposal, for six semi-detached 1.5 storey homes and five single storey homes, was recommended for refusal by the Planning Department. The unacceptable scale and massing of the project were said to impact the public amenity of Memorial Wood.
Memorial Wood is a public space that commemorates members of the British forces who served and died during the 1982 Falklands War. Trees have been planted in memory of each of the British servicemen killed during the war and there is an annex for those who have died whilst serving in the Islands since the war ended. The danger of the development blocking the views from and to the wood was raised by the Planning Department and said to contradict three policies in the Development Plan.
A previous application for the site was refused in June 2020 and an appeal by the applicant, the Falkland Islands Company (FIC), also refused. The new plans replace two-storey homes with 1.5 storeys and while this reduces the overall footprint the Planning Department said the basic layout remains the same with the boundary only 3.5 metres from Memorial Wood.
During the meeting of April 7, Planning officer Mary Smith said there weren’t enough details in the plans including the height of the properties and explained that the committee must be certain the number of homes proposed can fit in the space. The committee did express concerns about the development blocking the view from Memorial Wood and asked if the one and a half storey homes could be built further to the north of the plot with the single storey homes closer to the boundary.
Head of Planning and Building Lee Kenebel reiterated that height and layout are matters for the reserved planning application. "Once the reserved matters come in remember, you cannot change the number of houses," he said.
Tim Miller, from Stanley Nurseries who act as caretaker of Memorial Wood for the Public Works Department, said: "I'm very disappointed this has now been granted in view of the previous objections. I have no real objection if there were only single-storey houses being built to the north and not impede on the peaceful aspect of the wood. I would be very concerned about one and a half storeys as, depending on the design, they could end up the same size as two storeys."
When asked about the concerns raised at the meeting, Construction Director of FIC Roy Smith said: "We are very pleased that the committee has approved the application. We will be submitting a full application in due course which we trust will also be supported and, in turn, help to address the chronic housing shortage in Stanley.”
The Planning and Building Committee approved the outline application and MLA Mark Pollard requested that the reserved matters come before the Committee when ready.