Agenda item

20/01394/OUT Kemps Farm, Dennises Lane, South Ockendon, RM15 5SD (Deferred)


The report was presented by Matthew Gallagher.


Councillor Lawrence questioned whether a road assessment had been undertaken. She also asked whether there had been concerns with footpaths in a previous approved application on the same site. She commented that the Council could improve the pathways around the site to make it accessible. Matthew Gallagher answered that the Applicant had been advised that a Road Safety Audit was needed which the Highways Team had not received. With regards to the previous approved application, he said that the application had also been recommended by Officers for refusal and had been approved by Members. He explained that the issue with the current site was the pedestrian link to the nearest amenities in that there was no footpath and it was an unlit 60mph road. He noted that the Applicant had offered a unilateral undertaking in regards to the footpath but there were still too many unresolved issues around this and involved an external party.


Julian Howes added that the site did not have good walking or cycling routes which was encouraged in developments. He said that he had walked the route of the site and would require a lot of work to be done to make the road safe and walkable such as the telegraph pole that would require relocating into a private field that the Council had no ownership of. He explained that there was a bend in the road where the visibility of vehicles were not good; hedges and ditches along the side and there were also utilities underground on the east side of the road. Permission would also be required from landowners. He said that the most important part was that the route was not lit.


Councillor Shinnick pointed out that putting a footpath on that road would be dangerous as the bend made it difficult to see other vehicles. Councillor Potter said that people would be able to see what they were buying into so had the choice to buy or not. Councillor Rice commented that the application only required an s106 to have a footpath link from the site to the nearest shops. He said that Belhus Country Park could implement this along with lighting which the Applicant could put financial contributions towards it.


Matthew Gallagher explained that there were existing footpaths within Belhus Country Park but there was difficulty getting to these from the site entrance. With the issue of lighting, he stated that the management of Belhus Country Park would eventually be handed over to a charity trust and introducing lighting in the park would be inappropriate due to the issues of the park being a nature conservation site as well as being in the Green Belt. He said that an s106 could not be relied upon for lighting as it involved an external party and that the Applicant also had no interest in this.


Steve Taylor commented that it was dangerous to walk along that road and across it so access was an issue. He said that the pathways were out of the control of the Applicant and the Council. The Chair said that the site was remote but it gave an element of safety which some people preferred. He pointed out that people had the choice to buy or not. Councillor Rice said that the application should be approved as the Council had no 5 year housing supply; the scheme was carbon neutral that aligned with the Council’s climate change commitment; Thurrock was a national growth hub; and the site was a 12 minute walk to the station with a proposed footpath in Belhus Country Park. He said that self-build homes were needed and that the footpath issues could be overcome with an s106. He noted that the site had heritage assets but pointed out that these were about 400 yards away and the site was by the M25 so could not see the harm.


Matthew Gallagher explained that the heritage assets were within the site with one being 30 metres away. He pointed out that an s106 for this application could not request that lighting be put on another site.


Councillor Shinnick proposed the Officer’s recommendation to refuse and the Vice-Chair seconded.


FOR: (2) Councillors Mike Fletcher and Sue Shinnick.


AGAINST: (6) Councillors Tom Kelly, Colin Churchman, Angela Lawrence, David Potter, Gerard Rice and Sue Sammons.




Leigh Nicholson referred Members to the Constitution, Chapter 5, Part 3, para. 7.2. He reminded Members that the Officer’s three reasons given for refusing the application in the report needed to be addressed by Members.


Councillor Rice said the harm to the Green Belt was recognised and proposed an alternative recommendation to approve the application for the following reasons:


  1. The Council did not have a five year housing land supply or a 20% buffer – substantial weight.
  2. The scheme was carbon neutral and provided custom build homes – moderate weight.
  3. Thurrock was a national growth hub – substantial weight.
  4. The development would be a 12 minute walk to the train station and local shops once the footpath was in place through the country park so it was sustainable and would be met through the Applicant’s unilateral undertaking.


Referring to the Officer’s three reasons of refusing the application, the Chair said that Councillor Rice’s given reasons addressed Officer’s first refusal reason. In regards to Officer’s second refusal reason, the Chair said that the site’s location gave people a choice of where they could live and referred to previously approved applications with similar remote site locations. In regards to Officer’s third refusal reason, the Chair said that the site was enclosed and close to the M25 so the impact to the heritage assets were limited and not a 360 degree impact. He added that another previously approved application on the same site would have had similar heritage asset issues and had been approved.


Leigh Nicholson explained that if Members were minded to approve the application, the decision made would follow the usual procedure of referral to the Monitoring Officer, then drafting of s106 conditions with the Chair; and then referral to the Secretary of State.


Councillor Rice proposed the alternative recommendation to approve and was seconded by the Chair.


FOR: (6) Councillors Tom Kelly, Colin Churchman, Angela Lawrence, David Potter, Gerard Rice and Sue Sammons.


AGAINST: (2) Councillors Mike Fletcher and Sue Shinnick.



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