The report on pages 157 – 184 of the Agenda was presented by Nadia Houghton.
Councillor Byrne highlighted that there were still issues with the parking despite the installation of the fence. He said that he had seen a video on Youtube of the site which differed to the photos shown in the Officer’s presentation. Nadia Houghton pointed out that the photos in the presentation showed that a knee high rail fencing had been installed around the proposed development site and there was an existing rail fencing in place along the existing access road that led to 1 Clere Cottage. There was no physical access from this access road from London Road to the application site which could only be accessed through the main access to the application site.
Steve Taylor noted that the landscaping plans showed greenery but the photos in the presentation showed a concrete landscape. He questioned if this was temporary. Nadia Houghton answered that the development was still in the construction phase so had a temporary concrete landscape.
Councillor Sammons said that she had seen the fence installed on the site but pointed out that residents in the first two properties (where the white car was situated as shown in the photos in the Officer’s presentation) drove in that access. She said that couriers also used this access and felt that the issues had not been resolved. Nadia Houghton explained that there was an existing access from the service road that led to 1 Clere Cottage and that delivery vehicles could not be stopped from delivering to that cottage on London Road as that is its access. The knee high rail fencing installed was to prevent access onto the application site and the main entrance would need to be used to access the overall development. The Chair commented that the developer had installed the fencing to protect the development and that the concern was that vehicles were parking near the alleyway that was not a part of the application site.
Referring to paragraph 4.7, Councillor Lawrence sought clarification on this. Nadia Houghton explained that the amendments related to the detailed materials to be used and hard and soft landscaping details that were included as conditions as part of the application.
Councillor Lawrence said that the original application had proposed an open area with landscaping which was not in the current application that was before Members. She noted that fencing had been installed on the request of Members and pointed out that the site was a mess with unfinished work which should be completed before starting work on another development. She stated that she was not confident that the Applicant could complete the landscaping work or the other unfinished works. She was minded to refuse the application. Councillor Byrne agreed. Councillor Rice stated that he shared similar concerns with Councillor Lawrence and Sammons. He said that the fence may not be in place indefinitely and felt that it should be included within the s106 agreement. The Vice-Chair commented that Members needed clarity on what the proposals were and what was expected of the Applicant.
Referring to Councillor Lawrence’s comments on landscaping, Nadia Houghton said that the proposal sought to introduce more landscaping than what currently existed so would reduce the amount of hard surfacing as a result of the development. In regards to Councillor Rice’s query on the s106, Nadia Houghton said that there was a s106 agreement required for the ecology mitigation as the site fell within the RAMSAR zone. There were adequate conditions within the application regarding soft and hard landscaping conditions, boundary treatments, parking provisions and the proposal. The control of the development would be ensured through a range of measures.
Leigh Nicholson noted Members’ concerns on cars driving from the existing access road onto the front of the site and stated that there were two conditions in the report could be amended to explicitly state that no car parking and no access would be allowed from that road. This would be included in the landscaping plans that would be submitted to the Council for approval and would enable enforcement actions of that condition to be taken if needed. The Chair sought clarification on whether this would prevent parking next to the fence. Leigh Nicholson explained that the condition could be amended to reflect Members’ concerns and explicitly state no car parking or access would be allowed on that part of the site.
Councillor Rice felt the application could go through with amended conditions. Councillor Byrne felt the conditions needed to be embedded before taking a vote. Councillor Lawrence commented that she would prefer the unfinished works on the site be completed before this development started and that the green landscaping should be carried out first. She also felt the development was overbearing as it was next to St Clere’s Hall.
Leigh Nicholson highlighted that conditions five and six were already included that would prevent car parking in those areas because of the landscaping. He stated that if Members were minded to refuse the application, there needed to be clear reasons given and if Members were minded to defer, there needed to be clarity on what was expected of the Applicant as there were already conditions included to prevent car parking happening in that area of the site.
The Vice-Chair noted the conditions within the report and said that it would be preferred if the landscaping and access issues were resolved first as a precondition before developing the next phase of the development. Councillor Byrne agreed and said that the preconditions needed to be ‘set in stone’. Councillor Lawrence agreed and questioned the timescale of the development. Leigh Nicholson referred to conditions 5, 6 and 7 on pages 176 and 176. He said that these conditions ensured the sequence outlined were followed and had a real emphasis on the developer to undertake the set procedures before the development could commence. Nadia Houghton agreed and said that an extra line could be added in condition 7 to state, ‘For the avoidance of doubt, there shall be no parking on any landscaped areas at all.’
The Vice-Chair asked that the wording be amended in the landscaping condition to ensure that details be provided before building commenced. He also highlighted the issue of ensuring that conditions were fulfilled before occupation. Nadia Houghton explained that condition 6 required the developer to submit a detailed hard and soft landscaping plans including details which would address the concerns raised by Members. This would provide reassurance to Members that if the developer departed from those details, it would be enforceable.
Councillor Byrne pointed out that there wasn’t much space at the back of the site particularly with 9 dwellings and 15 cars with no parking spaces. He questioned whether the built houses could be ‘knocked down’ if the developer ‘could not deliver’. Councillor Lawrence sought clarification on how the developer planned to develop at the front of the site as the roads were not completed at the back of the site yet. She also pointed out Members’ concerns over the areas and questioned why these had not been resolved yet. The Chair questioned what actions the Council could take if the developer did not adhere to the conditions. Nadia Houghton answered that it was a matter of fact and degree in those circumstances and that if there was a breach of a condition that was not applied fully or included in the development, houses would not be ‘knocked down’; however, the Council could serve an enforcement notice to remedy the issue.
Leigh Nicholson said that the recommended conditions required the developer to follow a process as part of the planning permission given. If these were breached, enforcement notices could be served to remedy these breaches. He highlighted that there was a recourse for the Council and if Members were minded to approve the application subject to conditions and the developer did not meet those conditions, enforcement notices could be used to compel the Applicant to do what was needed to ensure it followed the approved plans and what Members had granted as part of the planning permission given. He referred to Nadia Houghton’s earlier suggestion of including an extra line in condition 7 which could be added.
The Vice-Chair recommended that a further condition be added in relation to the existing road at the back that had not been completed yet. He said that to prevent the use of the wrong exit, the developer needed to ensure that the access road that should be used was in good condition. Nadia Houghton answered that the access road was outside the red line boundary of the site. She went on to say that she was of the understanding that the access road would be brought up to the appropriate standard once the overall development was completed. The Vice-Chair stated that this needed to be enforceable within the conditions. He said that he was not referring to the entire access route but was referring to the section that was within the red line boundary which needed to at least be brought up to a good condition before the development was finished.
The Chair proposed the Officer’s recommendation to grant planning permission, subject to conditions and s106 agreement. Councillor Rice seconded.
(Following Chapter 5, Part 3, para. 13.5 of the Constitution, Councillor
Churchman could not participate or vote on this item).
FOR: (4) Councillors Tom Kelly, Mike Fletcher, Gerard Rice and Sue Shinnick.
AGAINST: (3) Councillors Gary Byrne, Angela Lawrence and Sue Sammons.
The meeting adjourned at 7.52pm and recommenced at 7.58pm.