The report was presented by Nadia Houghton.
Councillor Little asked which part of the road would be hard surfaced by the Applicant. She questioned whether future occupants of the bungalows would be allowed to make adjustments on the roof and also where the waste bins would be placed on each property. Nadia Houghton answered that hard surfacing would take place on the road of Morley Hill that was in front of the application site. With regards to adjustments to the bungalow roofs, she said that there were strict restrictions in place preventing these under condition 14 on page 99 of the agenda. For the waste bins, she explained that each plot had its own designated area for waste bins which were either to the rear or side of the property.
Steve Taylor noted the access road at the end of Branksome Avenue and sought further clarification on the road widening proposal. He commented that there could be a potential ‘pinch point’ on the road as it was likely that bin lorries would have to reverse into the road to access those properties on Morley Hill. Nadia Houghton explained that the application site boundary was before the properties on Morley Hill and not at 98 Morley Hill which was the first property in front of the application site. She said that the road that was part of the application site would be widened to 4.8 metres. She explained that the Applicant’s submitted plans indicated that bin lorries would have enough room to turn out from that road as well.
Councillor Akinbohun questioned the number of car parking spaces allocated to each property. Nadia Houghton answered that there were two allocated to each property and two visitor spaces located at the top of the ‘T’ of the development so it was 18 spaces in total.
Referring to the road at the bottom of the ‘T’ on the application’s plan map, the Chair sought clarification on who owned that road. Nadia Houghton explained that the Land Registry had no title deed for who owned that road so it was not an adopted road. It could potentially have a private established right of way as there was a public footpath north of the road. She said that the Applicant had satisfied all planning procedures by searching into this strip of road and with its notification process.
Councillor Polley asked whether there would be policies in place to prevent internal adjustments to the properties. Nadia Houghton answered that this would fall within the remit of building controls and legislation. She highlighted that the proposal before the Committee was of a high quality design and materials. She said that permitted development rights were restricted to prevent additional extensions or alterations which would require a formal planning application to be submitted for these.
Speaker statements were heard from:
The Chair asked if the right processes had been carried out in regards to the amount of homes proposed on this development due to the amount of space on the site. He also noted the concerns on HGVs and other large vehicles accessing the single track road and asked if the service was confident that the road would be safe in regards to weight limit. He also asked if parking would be allowed on the road. Nadia Houghton explained that the proposed eight bungalows were acceptable on the application site because of the limited impact it would have in the area. She said that a higher number of properties would have a bigger impact as properties would be smaller and gardens would be squeezed in. With regards to the weight limit on the unadopted road, Julian Howes said that the road would be hard surfaced to a level that would be able to withstand the appropriate type of vehicles needing access to the site. He said that the Highways Team had looked at accident records which showed that there had not been any. The application was considered to be finely balanced in highway terms. In regards to parking, he said that the inside road was 6 metres wide which was a shared surface but there was sufficient room to park a car there if needed. He stated that the parking spaces proposed met the Council’s draft parking standards.
Councillor Little questioned whether there was proposal for a footpath on the single track road. She said that the accident records showed no accidents because it was currently not tarmacked. Julian Howes explained that there was no proposal for footpath as it was a dirt track road which had a public right of way over a footpath. Nadia Houghton said that the access road on Morley Hill would be widened to 4.8 meters and within the cul-de-sac of the development, it would be six meters wide with a shared surface for pedestrians and vehicles. This would provide a better surface for pedestrians to walk upon than what was currently in place.
Councillor Polley questioned who would own the unadopted road once the development was built. She also sought clarification on where there was a turning head for fire engines. Julian Howes answered that the Council could not adopt the road as it linked to a private road. However, the service had asked for planning conditions that required the road to be constructed to an acceptable standard under highway terms. Nadia Houghton explained that the plan showed access for a pump appliance so a fire engine would be able to go in forward gear and reverse in the turning head, that was the little ‘T’ at the end of the road, and then come out in forward gear.
Councillor Watson mentioned that an objection stated that Highways England had concerns on the track and access road and asked whether these concerns had been addressed. She also highlighted her concerns on the access which she noted from objections was dangerous and obstructive. She asked what the developers would do to ensure that the road was safer and what mitigations were in place to prevent a potential accident. She also questioned whose responsibility it was for the unadopted road if it was to cave in. Julian Howes explained that Highways England would not have been consulted on this application as it was a small scale application. He said that Network Rail could potentially have concerns as they would need to access the railway track from the site’s location. Nadia Houghton said that the objection may have referred to a previous response from the Highways Team that had raised a concern on the red line boundary which had now been mitigated as the red line boundary had moved. In regards to the safety of the road, Julian Howes explained that the site had been visited by the Highways Team and were satisfied that the visibility was adequate at the access road and reiterated his point about the accident records. He also added that the Council could be involved if the unadopted road caved in or became dangerous but other than that, it would be the responsibility of the owners to fix the road.
Councillor Piccolo questioned who was responsible for the upkeep of the unadopted road. Julian Howes explained that the responsibility would fall to the owner of the land which was potentially the homeowners of the proposed properties. However the hard surfacing would help to maintain the road for at least 20 – 30 years.
The Vice-Chair said that infill was possible on the site and the proposed development was of a high quality design. He thought that the access was adequate and there were enough parking spaces. The Chair agreed and said that the current properties near the site did not have traffic issues. He said that it would be good to see more bungalows as currently there was only one bungalow on the site. Councillor Piccolo said that there were a lack of bungalows in Thurrock and the number proposed was not considered to be an overdevelopment. He agreed with officers that the bungalows would keep to the character of the area. Councillor Watson agreed and said that it would be good to see some safety measures put in place such as road mirrors to help road users see other vehicles coming in and out of the access road. The Committee felt that the concerns with the access road had been addressed.
The Vice-Chair proposed the officer’s recommendation to grant planning permission and was seconded by the Chair.
(Councillor Byrne did not participate in this application due to his declaration of interest.)
FOR: (7) Councillors Tom Kelly (Chair), Steve Liddiard (Vice-Chair), Terry Piccolo, Georgette Polley, Lee Watson, Abbie Akinbohun and Susan Little.
The meeting was adjourned at 8pm for technology issues to be resolved. The meeting recommenced at 8.15pm.