The district is currently going through some navel gazing regarding coach houses. While the current proposal makes a number of limitations on an acceptable coach house, the key one for Delbrook residents is that it needs to either connect to a lane or be on a property over 929 square metres
Apart from the streets below St James, there are almost no lanes within Delbrook. So, you’re looking for a property bigger than 929 square metres. How big is that? Chances are, if your property is square it is too small (you can find out for sure by going to http://www.geoweb.dnv.org, use the property information application, and click on your property). We have numerous large properties around corners and at the ends of cul-de-sacs, but the vast majority of our properties are too small to support a coach house.
The District discussion paper has a good enumeration of the benefits of coach houses:
- Supports neighbourhood character
- Makes use of existing infrastructure
- Adds to housing diversity
- Increases rental stock
- Supports ageing in place
To these, I would add
- By retaining the existing structure on the property, coach houses do not cause as much waste as new builds. Coach houses are more sustainable
- Smaller houses encourage people to live outdoors more, and may foster greater community.
- Smaller houses make people consume less junk and lead more sustainable lives.
- Coach houses support higher density without a big impact on the neighbourhood character.
- Adding a rental dwelling to a property might almost make it affordable to ordinary people.
I can’t think of any similar list of benefits of tearing down an existing (heritage?) house and replacing it with a mega home. I don’t see the point of limiting the benefit we might see from adding secondary dwellings to our properties. Coach houses should be encouraged on every property.