Agenda and draft minutes

Planning Committee
Thursday, 19th April, 2018 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Offices

Contact: Kate Batty-Smith  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

187.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

It was noted that an apology for absence had been received from Councillor S F Bannister.

188.

Appointment of Substitute Members

To note appointments of Substitute Members.

Minutes:

It was noted that Councillor P M Brivio had been appointed as a substitute member for Councillor S F Bannister.

189.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 37 KB

To receive any declarations of interest from Members in respect of business to be transacted on the agenda.

Minutes:

Councillor P M Wallace advised that he had called in Agenda Item 7 (Application No DOV/17/01515 – Land adjacent to Citizens’ Advice Bureau Building, Maison Dieu Gardens, Maison Dieu Road, Dover) on behalf of residents.

190.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 22 March 2018 (to follow).

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 19 April 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

191.

Items Deferred pdf icon PDF 48 KB

To consider the attached report of the Head of Regeneration and Development.

Minutes:

The Chairman noted that there was one deferred item listed which remained outstanding.

192.

Application No DOV/17/01515 - Land between Homeleigh and Lansdale, Northbourne Road, Great Mongeham pdf icon PDF 32 KB

Erection of 12 dwellings, construction of vehicular access, with associated car parking and landscaping

 

To consider the attached report of the Head of Regeneration and Development.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee was shown plans and photographs of the application site which had almost all been allocated for the development of approximately 10 dwellings under policy LA37 of the Land Allocations Local Plan (LALP).  The Planning Consultant advised that the application sought planning permission for the erection of 12 dwellings, a reflection of the fact that this was a slightly bigger site as a result of the applicant seeking to fill in a gap between the site and an adjacent property.  Approximately one third of the site had not been allocated and was beyond the settlement boundaries of Great Mongeham. Members were reminded that the previous application had been withdrawn, following a site visit.  The principal issues raised by Members at the site visit had concerned the amount of hedgerow that would be lost and the design of the proposed dwellings. 

 

The principle of development on the site was established, albeit that it had been extended slightly.  The Planning Consultant opined that there had been no desire to constrain development at the site, but simply that this had been the area of land put forward under the ‘call for sites’ consultation.  In his view, filling in the gap between the adjacent property and the application site would not be particularly harmful to the character and appearance of the area and, moreover, would bring benefits in that 12 dwellings would require financial contributions to be made which would not have been the case with 10 dwellings. 

 

The applicant had made improvements to the scheme in that there would now be two rather than three vehicle access points and a smaller 10-metre opening in the hedgerow.  Although some of the hedge would need to be removed, there was the possibility of planting new hedgerow in some places.  Changes had also been made to the design, with more use of brick and less of weatherboarding.   The ecological buffer at the rear of the development would be a minimum of 3 metres in depth and subject to a landscaping plan.  It would not form part of residential gardens.  

 

In response to concerns raised by Members previously, a footpath would be provided within the development and would allow residents to walk through the site, although this feature would entail the removal of some hedgerow. Financial contributions would be made towards education and the provision of affordable housing within the district.  Officers considered that the applicant had addressed concerns raised in relation to the previous application and approval was therefore recommended.

 

Whilst Councillor B W Butcher welcomed the efforts that had been made to overcome reservations about the previous application, he remained concerned about the narrowness of the road and the amount of additional traffic that would be generated by the development.  The visibility for drivers exiting the site onto Northbourne Road was very poor and he was not convinced that the proposed splays would overcome this.  He suggested that the hedgerow should be moved back to improve visibility.   Councillor B Gardner questioned the amount of hedge that would remain once the splays – at 43 metres each - had been installed. He also questioned the affordable housing contribution which appeared to be very low.  In summary, he had serious concerns about the loss of so much mature hedgerow and could not support the application. 

 

The Planning Consultant reminded Members that the narrowness of the road, and indeed the overall suitability of the site for development, had been considered by Officers, Members and the Secretary of State.  The majority of the application site had been allocated for development, and a refusal would be difficult to defend at appeal given that the principle of development in this location had been established.  Policy LA37 allowed for the loss of some of the hedgerow.  The two additional houses proposed would mean eight additional vehicle movements which could not be regarded as significant.  The proposed splays would be set back 2.4 metres from the highway.  A large part of the splays would encompass the verge, thus leaving the hedgerow unaffected (although some pruning might be required).  If approval was given, details of the splays could be required under condition (vii) to ensure that the optimum method was used to deliver the splays, whilst minimising the impact on the hedgerow.  The figures in relation to affordable housing contributions would be examined in detail and finalised as part of the Section 106 agreement.  The scheme had been improved as a result of Members’ input, and it was for the Committee to weigh up the benefits against any disadvantages of the scheme.

 

The Chairman commented that it was not necessarily harmful to extend an allocated site when this would deliver more houses.  He recognised that significant changes had been made to the scheme and these were welcomed. However, he shared Members’ concerns about the highway and the loss of hedgerow.  It would be for the Committee to balance the benefits against the harm to the hedgerow and highway safety concerns. 

 

Councillor T A Bond raised concerns about visitor parking, pedestrian access and the lack of bus services.  Whilst he had no objections to the additional houses, he was not convinced that this was an appropriate site for development.  The Chairman emphasised that the Committee should assess each application on its planning merits and not on the basis of what might happen at an appeal.  He reminded the Committee that the harm must significantly and demonstrably outweigh any benefits.   

 

In response to a suggestion from Councillor Gardner, the Chairman advised that moving the buffer and houses back by three metres in order to preserve the hedgerow would constitute a material change and require a fresh planning application. 

 

The Planning Consultant clarified that plots 1 to 4 of the development would each have two independent parking spaces, adding that the provision of two parking spaces per unit would be better than the existing parking situation for other properties.  A pedestrian access was not being provided along the front of the development because there was no footpath to which it could be connected.  Residents would be required to pay towards the upkeep of the ecological buffer which would be managed by a management company.   Internal driveways would be unadopted.  In his opinion, it was likely that residents would have a vested interest in retaining the hedgerow as it provided a natural barrier to the highway.  In summary, the proposal for development on an allocated and deliverable site should be considered against the fact that the Council currently lacked a 5-year supply of housing land and whether the development would cause severe, significant and demonstrable harm. 

 

RESOLVED:  (a)   That, subject to the completion of a Section 106 agreement to secure financial contributions, Application No DOV/17/01515 be APPROVED subject to the following conditions:

 

(i)      Commencement within 3 years;

 

(ii)      Carried out in accordance with the approved drawings;

 

(iii)     Submission of Construction Management Plan;

 

(iv)    Submission of material samples;

(v)     Submission of details of proposed on-site highway works (including parking);

 

(vi)    Finished surfacing to vehicle and pedestrian access routes;

 

(vii)    Submission of details of sightlines (for each of the private driveways) and visibility splays, including. Details shall include topographical information identifying location of verge, positioning of the hedgerow atop, and the level of hedge that would subsequently need to be removed (condition to be agreed in consultation with the Chairman of the Planning Committee);

 

(viii)   Submission of details related to vehicle parking;

 

(ix)    Submission of details of hard and soft landscaping;

 

(x)     Hard and soft landscaping carried out in accordance with approved details;

 

(xi)    No damage to trees or hedgerows within phased development;

 

(xii)    Submission of external lighting scheme;

 

(xiii)   Submission of details of refuse storage areas and recycling facilities;

 

(xiv) Programme of archaeological works;

 

(xv)   Contamination;

 

(xvi) Details of finished ground floor levels;

 

(xvii) Carried out in accordance with ecological enhancements;

 

(xviii) Drainage and infiltration surface water;

 

(xix) Submission of sustainable water drainage scheme;

 

(xx)   Details of crime prevention;

 

(xxi) Foul and surface water sewage details.

 

(b)   That powers be delegated to the Head of Regeneration and Development to settle any necessary conditions and the Section 106 agreement in line with the issues set out in the recommendation and as resolved by the Planning Committee. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

193.

Application No DOV/17/01231 - Land adjacent to Citizens' Advice Bureau Building, Maison Dieu Gardens, Maison Dieu Road, Dover pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Erection of a detached single storey community building incorporating public toilets, access ramps and steps

 

To consider the attached report of the Head of Regeneration and Development.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members viewed drawings, plans and photographs of the application site.  The Planning Officer advised that the application sought planning permission for the erection of a detached, single storey community building incorporating public toilets, access ramps and steps.  As an update to the report, it was reported that Southern Water had raised no objections to the proposal.    As background, Members were advised that the applicant was the Dover Community Association (DCA), a charitable organisation, which had been given Biggin Hall by Dover District Council under a community asset transfer, on the understanding that new public toilets would be facilitated in the Biggin Hall area.  The existing toilets in Biggin Hall had been closed due to their very poor condition and problems with vandalism and anti-social behaviour.  The application site was owned by the Council which, along with Dover Town Council and the DCA, were part funding the proposed building.

 

It was considered that the proposal would enhance the overall quality of the area which was not characterised by buildings of architectural merit.  Given that the building would be a significant distance from any residential properties, it would have no impact on residential amenity.  Furthermore, no objections had been raised on archaeological grounds.  However, the site was situated in a Flood Risk Zone 3 area which carried the highest risk.  The Environment Agency (EA) had raised strong objections in relation to the loss of flood storage capacity, the displacement and diversion of flood water being likely to increase the risk of flooding elsewhere, to the detriment of third parties.  Negotiations with the applicant had failed to achieve acceptable amendments.  Refusal was therefore recommended on the basis of flood risk.

 

Councillor P M Wallace was aware that the area had flooded in 2007 and again, partially, in 2012.  However, he had balanced this risk against the significant benefits of the proposal which, in his opinion, far outweighed any harm that might be caused.  The risk of flooding in this area would always be present, and he did not consider that the proposal would make this significantly worse.   The hall would offer a community facility to local people, as well as the significant benefit of new public conveniences that would be well used by many people, including tourist coaches that parked in the adjoining car park.  Whilst he understood the conclusion reached by the Planning Officer, he proposed that the application should be approved.  Councillor Gardner agreed that the proposal would provide much-needed, modern facilities for local people and tourists alike, and should therefore be approved.

 

The Chairman clarified that the issue for Members to consider was the increased risk of flooding that would be caused by the proposed building displacing flood water, not the risk of flooding to the building itself. He noted, in particular, that the EA’s objection related to the cumulative effect of several developments rather than solely the application under consideration.

 

In response to Councillor P M Beresford, the Planning Officer confirmed that the building would encroach on to the existing footpath at one particular point.  This was due to the size of the site, but the footpath would be widened to ensure that pedestrian access was not obstructed.  The Team Leader (Development Management) clarified that there were currently no other schemes for development in this area in the pipeline. 

 

RESOLVED:     (a)   That, notwithstanding the Officer’s recommendation, Application No DOV/17/01231 be APPROVED on the grounds that the Planning Committee considered that the community and social benefits of the development would significantly outweigh any environmental harm.

  

(b)   That conditions be delegated to Officers.

 

 

194.

Appeals and Informal Hearings

To receive information relating to Appeals and Informal Hearings, and appoint Members as appropriate.

Minutes:

The Committee noted that there was no information to receive regarding appeals and informal hearings.

 

195.

Action taken in accordance with the Ordinary Decisions (Council Business) Urgency Procedure

To raise any matters of concern in relation to decisions taken under the above procedure and reported on the Official Members' Weekly News.

Minutes:

The Committee noted that no action had been taken since the last meeting.