Agenda item

18/00540/FUL - Town Centre Car Park, King Street, Stanford le Hope (Deferred)


Chris Purvis, the Principal Planner, presented the application and informed the Committee that the application had been deferred from the last committee meeting on 10 January 2019 to allow for a petition to be considered. An additional planning obligation, also utilising any other relevant powers, was added in seeking to safeguard the remaining public car park area outside the site but within land owned by the applicant and the access to and from the car park(the blue line indicated on the map).


The Chair opened the item to the Committee for questions.


(Councillor Sue Shinnick was unable to participate or vote on the planning application as she had not been present at the initial planning application hearing).


Steve Taylor, Campaign to Protect Rural England Representative, questioned if the retention of the public car parks would be retained. The Principal Planner confirmed this would be the case as the car park in the blue line would be retained as a planning obligation. Following up, Steve Taylor asked what the process would be if obligations were to change in the future. The Principal Planner answered that a Deed of Modification would be needed to change the planning obligations which would then go through a separate planning process.


In regards to the extra car park spaces, Steve Taylor asked if there was a possibility for adding on a deck below ground. Responding that the car park was at its limit, the Principal Planner went on to say that this had been discussed with the applicant to ensure that there would be enough parking spaces to meet the draft parking standards. Steve Taylor sought clarification on whether a conversation had taken place regarding extending a deck below ground to which the Principal Planner replied that the conversation had not taken place.


Referring to page 33, paragraph 4.12, Councillor Rice queried whether the 35% of affordable units would equate to 17 affordable units. The Principal Planner confirmed that there would be 16 affordable units from the housing scheme. Councillor Rice asked the Officer to check the calculations as he had calculated 17.


Continuing on with questions, Councillor Lawrence questioned whether there would be charging points for electric cars. The Principal Planner answered that the charging points were not within the planning applications but could be considered through a planning condition or through the travel plan. Councillor Lawrence sought confirmation on the number of disabled parking spaces to which the Principal Planner confirmed that there were two.


Going back to the affordable units from the housing scheme, Councillor Rice said that his calculation was 16.45 and he asked if this number would be rounded up to 17 or rounded down to 16. Andrew Millard, Assistant Director of Planning, Transportation and Public Protection, answered that the figure would be rounded down to 16 which was confirmed by the Principal Planner.


Referring to the initial agreement of the car park when it was sold in 2012 and understanding that it was now void; the Chair asked why it was sold off on the provision of 107 car park spaces. He went on to say that the condition had been to retain car park spaces at the time due to the local businesses and asked if this had been a condition of the sale. In answer, the Principal Planner said that the 2012 application had included a car deck which would have provided more car park spaces than the current development would.


Referring to page 33, paragraph 4.10, Councillor Rice questioned if further information on the flood risks had been provided to the Officer yet. Referring to page 47, paragraph 6.50, the Principal Planner said a low flood risk had been identified as the area was in a low risk flood zone. Further information was required for water drainage through a planning condition. Councillor Rice stated that water drainage was important and an adequate system had to be in place. 


With no more questions from the Committee, the Chair opened the application up for debate.


Based on the 10 January 2019 Planning Committee meeting, the Chair was aware of the 500 signature petition in which it was clear that the Stanford le Hope community was not in favour of the planning application. He went on to say that as a Ward Councillor, he had always been vocal in keeping free car park spaces. Understanding that the initial sale of the Stanford le Hope car park had to be ignored due to the fact that the covenants had expired, the Chair commented on the increase in the population of the Stanford le Hope community which would be impacted by a decrease in the amount of free car park spaces. The Chair was open to vote in favour but asked to hear the Committee’s views.


Commenting on the difficultly of the planning application, Councillor Rice said the housing scheme would bring in 47 new homes of which 16 would be affordable. There would still be free car park spaces although these would be limited. Councillor Rice went on to say that the car park was a brown field site which allowed for development and Officers had undertaken the relevant investigations including an adequate water drainage system. There were no real objections from the agencies but there were a lot of objections from the local community.


Having weighed up the reasons, Councillor Lawrence stated that she was in objection to the planning application. The local community would be affected by the decreased number of free car park spaces and the housing development would be too big. If there had been more car park spaces available as a result, there would have been no issue. Councillor Lawrence mentioned reading an article on pollution and said that pollution was also caused by people driving round and round areas looking for a car park space.


Steve Taylor agreed the planning application would significantly impact on the town centre and the local businesses.  He felt there was still room for negotiation with the developers to develop a deck to increase the number of available car park spaces which had not been discussed. It was an option that should be explored.


Agreeing with Councillor Lawrence on the problems of car parking, Councillor Sammons added that local businesses would suffer as people would not stop at those shops.


The planning application was proposed by the Vice-Chair and seconded by Councillor Rice that the application be approved.


(Councillor Sue Shinnick was unable to participate or vote on the planning application as she had not been present at the initial planning application hearing).


For: (2) Councillors Steve Liddiard (Vice-Chair) and Gerard Rice.


Against: (4) Councillors Tom Kelly (Chair), Angela Lawrence, Sue Sammons and David Potter.


Abstained: (1) Councillor Graham Hamilton.


Due to the outcome of the votes, Andrew Millard stated that an alternative recommendation or motion had to be put forward by the Members opposing the application as per the Constitution. As reasons had to be given for departing from Officer’s recommendations, Andrew Millard noted the raised concerns on parking spaces which was detrimental to the vitality of the town centre and the overbearing development of the housing scheme which were considered as material planning considerations and the motion could be based on these. The Locum Solicitor concurred with Andrew Millard’s approach.


The Chair submitted a motion that the application was to be rejected based on the detrimental impact that the planning application would have on Stanford le Hope’s economy and the scale and overbearing nature of the housing development. The motion was seconded by Councillor Lawrence. 


For: (6) Councillors Tom Kelly (Chair), Angela Lawrence, Sue Sammons, David Potter, Steve Liddiard (Vice-Chair) and Gerard Rice.


Against: (0).


Abstained: (1) Councillor Graham Hamilton.


Andrew Millard stated that the final wording of the decision would be cleared with the Chair before the decision would be issued.

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