The report on pages 167 – 178 of the Agenda was presented by Nadia Houghton.
The Vice-Chair questioned what local amenity would be lost as the site was overgrown and could not be accessed. Nadia Houghton explained that there was a small path around the back of existing homes that allowed residents to access their bins. The new development would be built very close to existing homes and there would be a poor outlook for the proposed bungalows as it would face directly into the back of those existing homes. She explained that the proposed development was a particular form of backland development that would be out of character with the area.
Councillor Rice asked whether two cars could pass in the proposed 4.8m access. Julian Howes confirmed that two cars would be able to pass in the proposed 4.8m access but that there would be pedestrian access issues. He explained that it was not just a matter of pedestrian visibility but the Applicant had also not shown the potential visibility splays for vehicles either. The junction would have several cars coming out and there were also issues regarding stagger on Cabbons Crescent.
Steve Taylor questioned whether there were trees and shrubbery around the area where the proposed 4.8m access would be. Nadia Houghton answered that the actual access would be just over half the width of bungalow no.63 as the Applicant also proposed four parking spaces adjacent to the access along with a pedestrian footpath; a landscaped strip between the four parking spaces and bungalow no. 61 so the width would not be the full 4.8m mentioned.
The statement of objection from Keith Mager, a resident, was read out by Democratic Services.
The statement of objection from Ward Councillor, Terry Piccolo, was read out by Democratic Services.
The statement of support from Gary Coxall, the Agent, was read out by Democratic Services.
Councillor Rice questioned the difference between the current application and the previous application 08/01054/FUL that had been approved at Committee in 2009. Nadia Houghton explained that the 2009 application had proposed for eight dwellings and had sought to remove bungalow no. 57. The layout was very similar to the current application and the 2009 application had also been recommended for refusal with almost identical reasons to the current application particularly relating to the overdevelopment cramped nature of the site and layout; the amenity impacts; concerns about the access; and the backland development and its impact on the character of the area. Members at the consideration of the 2009 application had resolved to grant planning permission subject to a legal agreement that the eight bungalows would be secured for over 55’s. No such agreement had been secured and there were also issues in relation to the red line plan so no planning permission had ever been issued and the Applicant withdrew the 2009 planning application. With the current application and since the 2009 application, new planning policies had been introduced in the NPPF in 2012 and in Chapter 12 in particular and the PPG in 2014, that highlighted layout designs and character which further supported the justifiable national and local planning policy reasons to refuse the current application.
The Chair commented that the proposed development was cramped and dense and noted the habitat that had been mentioned in the speaker statements. He mentioned the need to secure the bungalows for over 55’s. Councillor Rice commented that the previous application had been approved for eight dwellings and the current application was for seven dwellings. He mentioned an application in Orsett Heath with proposed bungalows that had been approved at Committee a few years ago even though that development had been cramped and said that Thurrock had a lack of bungalows. He felt the proposed development was well situated, close to local shops and that Stanford Le Hope needed regeneration. He mentioned that he had also seen the site. The Chair did not feel the comparison between the current application and the Orsett Heath application was fair as the Orsett Heath application had been recommended for approval.
Nadia Houghton explained that the Orsett Heath application was different to the current application as those dwellings had larger front and rear gardens was accessed on a private road and had been recommended for approval. The site on the Orsett Heath application had also had some built form on site already. She highlighted that each application had to be judged on its own merits.
Steve Taylor questioned whether the tree line along the school playing field would be removed; where the proposed properties in that area would face and if the school would be overlooked by the proposed properties. Nadia Houghton answered that the proposed properties would overlook the primary school playing field. The trees would not be removed as it belonged on the site of the school.
The Chair proposed the Officer’s recommendation and Councillor Byrne seconded this.
FOR: (3) Councillors Gary Byrne, Mike Fletcher and Tom Kelly.
AGAINST: (3) Councillors Dave Potter, Gerard Rice, and Sue Shinnick
ABSTAINED: (2) Councillors Angela Lawrence and Sue Sammons.
In line with the Constitution, the Chair used his casting vote to vote for the Officer’s recommendation and the application was refused planning permission.
(The meeting was adjourned at 8.55pm and recommenced at 9pm).