The Major Applications Manager presented the report to Members, and in doing so also provided an update to the application, explaining the Environment Agency had removed the flood risk objection to the application, subject to the sequential test for flooding and conditions in relation to mitigation against flood risk. He continued by advising Officers had received a number of late representations from residents which included a petition opposing and a petition supporting the application and a number of representations in objection and support of the application. Reference was also made to the Council’s recently published Employment Land Availability Assessment (ELAA) which had been cited by the applicant.
Members sought clarity as to the report referencing employment land demand as part of the application. The Major Applications Manager explained current policy advised that demand for employment land within the area didn't necessarily outweigh established Green Belt policy. He continued to explain the applicant had referred to the Council’s ELAA but given the status of this document Officers had given only limited positive weight to this factor.
The chair of the Committee enquired as to whether the Green Belt considerations promoted as very special circumstances had been taken into account and if so was there still a concern given the site was Green Belt land. It was explained by the Major Applications Manager there were a range factors and benefits referred to by the applicant which attracted different weight in the balance of considerations. However Officers concluded that there were no significant reasons to clearly outweigh the identified harm to the Green Belt and any other harm.
It was asked whether mitigation for flooding on the site had been taken into consideration given the ‘flood plain’ status of the site. Officers explained the Environment Agency had initially raised a holding objection with regards tothe flood risk designation of the site, he further commented that the Agency had prior to the meeting removed their objection subject to the application of the sequential test and conditions.
The Officers were thanked for the detailed report and it was queried as to whether there would be a harmful impact on traffic as a result of the development. It was further sought if it was safe for the Committee to make a final decision on the application, given comments from technical consultee and that some information was still being awaited. The Major Applications Manager explained that further traffic modelling was submitted prior to the Committee meeting and that consultees would need to review this information and comment. However, as the applicant was keen to bring the case before Committee the Officers report included a reason for refusal referring to insufficient highways information..
Speaker statements were heard from:
During the debate Members expressed they were keen to carry out a site visit to be able to see the site in person.
The Chair, Councillor Kelly proposed that a site visit of the application been undertaken and was seconded by Councillor Arnold.
For: (8) Councillors Tom Kelly (Chair), Georgette Polley (Vice-Chair), Paul Arnold, Adam Carter, Allen Mayes, Sue Shinnick, James Thandi and Lee Watson
Councillor Thandi left the meeting at 7.30pm