Agenda item

Planning Application 18/01737/OUT - Land South of KitHill, Crewkerne


Proposal: Outline application for residential development of up to 150 dwellings, public open space, landscaping and associated works with access from Lang Road, Crewkerne


The Specialist – Development Management introduced the application related to a residential development on land at KitHill, Crewkerne. He advised that since writing his report, two further letter of objection had been received reiterating previous concerns on highway access and housing in the town.  He said the applicants had provided revised plans which detailed some road improvements and so two further conditions would be added to those detailed in the report.  He advised that he had requested an officer from the SCC Highway Authority be present at the meeting to answer questions, however, none were available.  They had provided a statement and he read that to the Committee regarding the access issues at Cathole Bridge Road.


The Specialist – Development Management said the main considerations were the means of access, the additional traffic generated and highway safety.  He noted that the Highway Authority had withdrawn their objections and although access and additional traffic on Cathole Bridge Road were the main issue for local residents, the application could only be refused on highway safety or a cumulative or serious traffic impact in the area.  His recommendation was to approve the application


In response to questions from Members, the Specialist – Development Management confirmed:


·         The traffic survey had been conducted over one day and it did show heavy traffic movement on Cathole Bridge Road as a well-used road.  The survey had been accepted by the Highway Authority.

·         Visibility at the Cathole Bridge road junction with the B3165 was to be improved for traffic moving westwards but not for the return heading eastwards.   

·         Minor traffic incidents on the Cathole Bridge Road were not recorded and only incidents where an ambulance was called were recorded by the Highway Authority. Consequently, the Highway Authority considered the overall impact was acceptable.

·         A full ecological report had been submitted and there were conditions to secure additional planting and other ecology measures.

·         The site was a preferred development site within the current Local Plan.

·         It was for the Highway Authority to determine the frequency of hedge cutting along Cathole Bridge Road.


The Committee were then addressed by a representative of the Town Council and three members of the public in opposition to the application.  Their comments included:-


·         The Town Council object to the development because there is a lack of infrastructure, no employment proposed and no transport links. 

·         There was only one access proposed to the site on a steep bend which could be difficult for emergency access.

·         There was only one doctor and dentist in the town and the schools were full.

·         A water pipe from Sutton Bingham reservoir crossed the site and because of this it was understood the site would never be developed.

·         The traffic survey was supposed to be conducted at 3 junctions along Cathole Bridge Road but I only saw one person who only stayed until 6.00pm.

·         The proposed widening of the junction at Lang Road would cut into a bank with a hedge on top which were conditioned to remain as part of the Manor View development.

·         Many traffic accidents along Cathole Bridge Road went unreported as they were ‘knock for knock’.


The Agent for the applicant said that pre-application discussions with officers had been positive and the proposals were supported by officers.  The site was a preferred site in the Local Plan so the principle of development was acceptable.  The proposed improvements to the highway along Cathole Bridge Road would benefit all the community and the traffic survey had been fully scoped out with the Highway Authority.  Full education contributions would be made as requested by the County Council and a topographical survey of the whole of Cathole Bridge Road had been made.


One of the Ward Members, Councillor Mike Best, felt the number of houses on a single access was unsuitable.  Although improvements to Cathole Bridge Road were proposed, they were minimal as the road dropped away on one side and the other bounded an existing estate. He felt that the Highway Authority letter of objection dated 22 August 2018 was still relevant and were valid reasons to refuse permission.  He said the key site should be brought forward which would include a new school and would give a better outcome for the town, whereas, the proposed site would be damaging for the growth of the town


Ward Member Ben Hodgson expressed his concern at the traffic survey.  He noted that a previous application in 2010 for 114 dwellings had stated that no emergency access should be allowed onto Cathole Bridge Road as it was substandard.


Ward Member Robin Pailthorpe said the amount of traffic using Cathole Bridge Road was too great already and there was no way to widen it.  He said the proposed development was not beneficial to the town and instead, the key site should be brought forward.


During a brief discussion, Members expressed their concern that the traffic survey may not have been carried out as agreed with the Highway Authority, as suggested by a witness. It was proposed and seconded that the application be refused permission for the reasons stated in the Highway Authority letter of objection dated 22 August 2018.  On being put to the vote, this was carried by 11 votes in favour, 0 against, 0 abstentions.



That Planning Application No. 18/01737/OUT be REFUSED permission for the following reasons:-


1.    Cathole Bridge Road by reason of its restricted width is considered unsuitable to serve as a means of access to the proposed development.  The proposal is therefore contrary to Section 9 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Policy TA5 of the South Somerset Local Plan (adopted March 2015).

2.    The proposal is contrary to Section 9 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Policy TA5 of the South Somerset Local Plan (adopted March 2015) since the increased introduction of conflicting traffic movements onto Cathole Bridge Road, such as would be generated by the proposed development, would be prejudicial to road safety.

3.    The submitted traffic survey is not sufficient for the Local Planning Authority to make a full assessment of the traffic impact of this proposal.


(Voting: 11 in favour, 0 against, 0 abstentions)

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