The report was presented by Nadia Houghton.
Councillor Byrne commented that the Applicant had been running their business ‘under the radar’ for the last two years and questioned whether this had complied with planning laws. He also mentioned that there was an investment into reducing traffic in Branksome Avenue but that the proposal would bring in an additional 60 traffic movements and questioned if this had been considered. He also asked if the minibus on the site had been considered as it took up a parking space and the commercial waste collection.
Nadia Houghton explained that the Applicant ran a childminding business and was looking to expand. She said that the Council had received the first enforcement complaint in September 2020 and noted the neighbour complaints. She highlighted that Members were to consider the application that was before them. In regards to commercial waste, she said that this had been considered in terms of the impact on resident amenity and that the minibus was a SORN vehicle. In regards to traffic movements, Julian Howes said that the Highways Team did not have concerns here as it was not a significant increase. He highlighted that the Highways Team had concerns to the accessibility of the parking and whether the six spaces was feasible for the proposal and to achieve the drop-off and pick-up facilities required.
The Chair commented that it was usual for people to be childminders in their own homes and sought further details in this case. Nadia Houghton explained that a childminding business could operate from home which was informal and usually had a handful of children to look after. She said that in the Applicant’s case, this number of children had increased and required expansion into a more formal setting like a nursery.
A speaker statement in support of the application was presented by Dean Hermitage, Applicant’s Representative.
Councillor Byrne noted the number of children and staff to be on the site in the proposal and commented on the number of traffic movements which would be dangerous for the cycle route in the area. He also noted that the proposal detailed different play times for children outside and mentioned an existing building that had been closed which was ideal for this proposal. He said that the proposal was good but not in the right location. Nadia Houghton answered that the application generated a need for at least nine parking spaces along with a drop-off and pick-up point to ensure the safe dual use of the site as it only had one formal access point which made manoeuvring and parking difficult. She said that it was not unusual to have a nursery in a residential area but was unusual to have it operating from the use of a dwelling.
The Chair said that the proposal was good but not in the right location given the neighbour complaints. He said that nurseries were important for the local community and much needed and noted Councillor Byrne’s mention of an ideal building for this business in the area. Members agreed that the proposal was right but in the wrong location.
Councillor Shinnick questioned whether staggered dropping off times could be implemented to avoid traffic issues. Nadia Houghton explained that this had been considered under parking concerns but that it had to be carefully managed by the Applicant. This would would not alter the harm caused to the residential amenity.
Councillor Byrne proposed the Officer’s recommendation to refuse and was seconded by the Chair.
FOR: (8) Councillors Tom Kelly, Mike Fletcher, Gary Byrne, Colin Churchman,
Angela Lawrence, Dave Potter, Gerard Rice and Sue Sammons.
ABSTAINED: (1) Councillor Sue Shinnick.