The report on pages 37 – 60 of the Agenda was presented by Lucy Mannion.
Councillor Lawrence asked whether a solution had been provided for the issues at the traffic light junction where cars were ‘bumping up’ the kerb to park in front of the site. She also asked if the Applicant had provided Very Special Circumstances (VSC) as the site was on Green Belt (GB). Lucy Mannion explained that the highways issue had been considered at the site visit and that it was an existing right of way due to the garages adjacent to the site. The issue of cars ‘bumping up’ the kerb had stopped and had happened a few times previously. She went on to say that the site was GB but needed no VSC as it fell within an exception in the NPPF so did not constitute inappropriate development in the GB.
Councillor Sammons did not feel the issue of cars ‘bumping up’ the kerb had been resolved as she had seen a large lorry on the site visit ‘bump up’ the kerb for a delivery. The Chair sought clarification on the bins collection point; access to the site; and if a taller fence had been installed. Julian Howes explained that a knee high rail had been installed and that the temporary access from London Road would be turned into landscaping. Following on from that, a new rail would be installed at the end where it joined to London Road, to prevent vehicles from driving onto the grass verge. The Highways Team was unable to do this yet as vehicles were allowed to access the temporary car park there.
Regarding the bins collection point, Lucy Mannion would look into this. The Chair thought the landscaping of the temporary access would resolve the bins collection issue. He went on to say that the application was to be approved, it would be on the proviso that the bins collection issue and access issue would be resolved. The Committee further highlighted their concerns over the access which they felt should be resolved and that road infrastructure was important. Members felt the application should be deferred to enable the Applicant to resolve these issues. Councillor Lawrence felt the proposal was not in keeping with the area or with St Clere’s Hall which was next to the site and built in 1735. She questioned the development position of St Clere’s Hall. Members also questioned whether the access could be blocked off to enable the users of the garage to access it only.
Julian Howes explained that currently, users were using the access road that was in front of the properties on London Road which was over a drop kerb and there was no ‘bumping over’ kerb as it had been stopped. Once the development was completed, access to the development would be via the existing St Clere’s Hall golf course and if needed, fencing would be installed at the end of the grass area to prevent access from that direction entirely.
Lucy Mannion added that the access had a right of way for users of the garage which was wide enough for delivery vehicles but the access could not be blocked off. She said that St Clere’s Hall was a listed building so could not be developed and that factors outside of the site’s red line boundary could not be considered within this application. She mentioned that the Council’s Enforcement Team had gone to the site and the area where there had been issues of cars parking there. Fencing had been installed there for a few months now and this issues was now resolved and people were parking around the rear of the site now.
Councillor Byrne said that he was currently receiving emails from people that stated that cars were still parking in that area. Councillor Sammons said that she was told that vehicles would still be able to access the first two properties on that access road even if fencing was installed there. She commented that the access for the last house on that block should not be applicable to the proposed dwellings and that vehicles should be accessing at the back where there was ample parking.
The Chair commented that car parking was an issue that most developments faced. He questioned how the developer could resolve this as it was outside the site’s red line boundary and whether this was a Council issue. Lucy Mannion answered that it was not a Council issue and the application could potentially resolve the situation with the conditioned landscaping scheme and fencing. It would be difficult to stop delivery vehicles from using the access road but the residents on the adjacent development should be accessing round the back of the site as the Applicant had to close off the front area as enforced by the Council’s Enforcement Team. If the fences had been removed, the Council’s Enforcement Team would need to visit the site again.
Councillor Lawrence thought the car parking issue lay with the Applicant and not the Council. She felt the application was an ‘add-on’ application and was not part of the original planning permission with the first development. She thought that landscaping had been part of that first development as it was supposed to blend in with St Clere’s Hall but the Applicant was now choosing to add more homes in which would cause more issues as people were accessing the area regularly. She felt that there would be an increased burden in the area at the traffic lights junction and was concerned it would affect emergency vehicles if they needed to use it.
The Chair proposed the Officer’s recommendation of approval and there was no seconder. The Officer’s recommendation of approval was rejected.
Members proposed that the application should be deferred to enable the Applicant to find a practical and agreeable solution for the access road issue and for more car parking spaces. Councillor Rice proposed this and was seconded by the Vice-Chair.
(Following Chapter 5, Part 3, para. 13.5 of the Constitution, Councillor Churchman could not participate or vote on this item).
FOR: (7) Councillors Tom Kelly, Mike Fletcher, Gary Byrne, David Potter, Gerard Rice, Sue Sammons and Sue Shinnick.
AGAINST: (1) Councillor Angela Lawrence.
The application was deferred.