Agenda item

Planning Application 19/01604/OUT** - Land At Coombe Farm Os Plots 4300 Part And 4613 Pa West Street Templecombe


Application Proposal: Outline application with all matters reserved save for access for residential development for up to 49 dwellings including landscaping, drainage and new vehicle access from West Street


Members noted that the application had been 2-starred under the Scheme of Delegation and that if the Committee were minded to refuse the application, whilst it would be able to debate the issues and indicate grounds for refusal, the final determination would be made by the Regulation Committee.


The Planning Consultant gave a detailed presentation on the application which covered the following:


·         The access was for detailed consideration.  All details in relation to appearance, landscaping, layout and scale were reserved for consideration at the reserved matters application stage.

·         The application site was located on the south-western edge of Templecombe and be would accessed from West Street.

·         The site was undeveloped and was located to the south-west of an existing residential area.

·         The site was not located within any landscape designation.

·         Traffic calming measures incorporated along the main A Road to control speeds.

·         Access to the application site and exit route.

·         On-street parking located in the surrounding area and lack of parking restrictions.

·         Illustrative layout of the proposed development.

·         Pedestrian routes located within the site and links to existing pavements.

·         Intention to provide woodland buffers to the south-west and north-west boundaries and an attenuation pond to the northern part of the site.

·         Part of the hedgerow would be removed to create the necessary width of access.

·         Location of existing pavements and where there were no pavements in the surrounding area.

·         Distances from the site centre to various services i.e. bus stop.

·         Updated that the public house was now closed and being redeveloped.

·         Photographs were shown outlining Vine Street, Westcombe, West Street and egress routes along Bowden Road.

·         The Council did not have a 5 year housing land supply.

·         Policies SS1, SS2 and SS5 were considered to be out of date and permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.

·         The proposal would be of benefit in helping to address the shortfall of housing land supply.

·         There was a particular acute need for affordable housing and the proposal would make a contribution.

·         The site was reasonably accessible to local services and facilities and well located in terms of accessibility by sustainable means.

·         The application would be of economic and social benefit.

·         The key considerations were Highway Safety, Visual amenity, Flooding and drainage, Ecology, Residential amenity and Loss of agricultural land.

·         Summary of the Henstridge appeal decision for 130 dwellings.  The application had similarities to this application.

·         The application was recommended for approval subject to a S106 agreement and conditions.


The Committee was addressed by seven people in objection to the application.  Points raised related to the following:


·         Lack of public transport at appropriate times.

·         Access road narrow and dangerous.

·         No pedestrian footpath at the top of Bowden Road.

·         Significant impact on existing residents and infrastructure.

·         Parked cars along West Street reducing the road to a single lane with two way traffic.

·         Roads not capable of taking additional traffic unless substantially improved.

·         Drainage and sewerage system would not be able to cope.

·         Planning permission had already been granted for a large number of dwellings in the village.

·         No demand for additional housing and existing houses not selling.

·         No reference to Vine Street in highway correspondence.

·         Vine Street narrow stretch of road and not suitable for additional traffic.

·         No pavements on Vine Street.

·         Increase in traffic and concerns over the potential for accidents.

·         Templecombe not able to cope with the level of development proposed.

·         Inadequate approach roads to the development.

·         Lack of facilities and infrastructure.

·         Wrong location for development.

·         Top of West Street was a narrow single track with no pavement with 3 concealed driveways and a blind corner.

·         Poor visual splay at Westcombe/Bowden junction.

·         Westcombe narrow and congested with parked cars.


The Applicant’s Agent commented that he had worked closely with officers in preparing and submitting the application.  The site had been identified as being suitable for development by the Council and in principle support for up to 68 dwellings was indicated at the pre-application stage.  A scheme for up to 49 dwellings was considered a suitable compromise with the development providing enhanced public open space and landscape parking.  He highlighted that Templecombe benefited from broad service provision including a large employer with excellent transport connections and the settlement was capable of accommodating additional housing growth.  The development was considered accessible, sustainable and acceptable in principle by planning officers.  He noted that the Highway Authority had accessed the scheme thoroughly and were satisfied with the transport impact.  The affordable housing provision met Local Plan requirements and contributions would be secured towards education, open space, sports and recreation.  There were no objections raised by technical consultees, the development would help address the national housing crisis and the benefits of the scheme demonstrably outweighed any limited harm that had been identified.


The Highway Authority representative responded to members questions on points of detail.  He confirmed the following:


·         Vine Street had been looked at as part of the Highway Authority assessment.

·         When an application was submitted for consideration, the Highway Authority looked at the access as well as the existing situation.  This included information on the traffic generated by existing estates contained within the national transportation database, existing junctions, existing road geometry, visibility splays and potential increase in traffic associated with the site.

·         There were no reported collisions on the adjacent estate.

·         49 units would generate 20-25 private vehicular trips in the peak hour which equated to 1 every 3 minutes.

·         Under the NPPF, the Highway Authority could only object if development would create a severe impact for the highway users.

·         There was no evidence to prove that the traffic impact from this development would be severe.

·         The junction into the site could be constructed to current standards.  The internal layout was a matter for consideration at the reserved matters stage.


Ward Member, Councillor Hayward Burt made reference to the following points:

·         The developments would create a 20% uplift in the population in Templecombe which was a huge increase.

·         Templecombe was not a sustainable area.  There was only 1 bus every 2 hours.

·         The doctors surgery was under pressure and operated limited opening hours.

·         Templecombe was a rural settlement and considered part of the countryside to which National Countryside Protection Policies applied.

·         Development not in accordance with Policy SS1, SS2, SS5 and TA5.

·         Breaching settlement hierarchy by turning Templecombe into a rural centre.

·         In danger of destroying the unique quality of our districts, communities, villages and hamlets by building because of the lack of a 5 year housing land supply.

·         The development was not sustainable as people would have to use their cars as there was no other way to access services.

·         No housing survey had been undertaken in Templecombe to prove that there was a housing need.

·         The local community did not support the development.

·         Concerns over safety of accessing the site, parked cars and poor visibility. 


Ward Member, Councillor William Wallace concurred with the comments of his fellow ward member.  He commented that the cumulative effect of the previously approved developments and the proposed development would cause harm over the benefits of the scheme.  He referred to Vine Street being very narrow with no room for pavements and felt that members should listen to local knowledge.  The need for housing was a district-wide requirement and further housing was not needed in Templecombe.


During the discussion on the application, members made a number of comments in relation to the following:


·         Disappointed that the Environment Strategy had not been considered.

·         Concerns over lack of footpaths.

·         Trains and buses run infrequently.

·         Increase in cars on an already dangerous road network.

·         Green infrastructure should be looked at before developments are considered.

·         Conditions attached to the application did not look at meeting the challenge of climate change.

·         The rural housing allocation target had been met.

·         Highway infrastructure not adequate for a new development in the proposed location.

·         There were no objections from statutory consultees.


A proposal was made to approve the application as per the officer’s recommendation outlined in the report but was not supported by members.


The Planning Consultant and Specialist – Development Management advised that if the application was recommended for refusal and went to appeal, the Appeal Inspectors had made clear that SS1, SS2 and SS5 were considered to be out of date in terms of housing and therefore carry limited weight as the NPPF stated that the Council did not have a 5 year housing land supply.  Members were asked to consider the harm of approving the application and whether it significantly and demonstrably outweighed the benefits.


It was proposed and seconded to recommend refusal of the application on the following grounds:


·      Taken cumulatively with other dwellings in Templecombe completed or with permissions within the Local Plan period, the proposal would result in a level of growth commensurate with the higher tier of Rural centres, and would be inconsistent with and contrary to Policies SS1, SS2 and SS5 of the Local Plan.

·      Concerns over highway safety and infrastructure.


It was agreed that the final wording on the recommendation for refusal be agreed by the Planning Consultant, Specialist – Development Management in conjunction with the Ward Members.


The proposal to recommend refusal of the application was supported by 10 members in favour, 1 against and 0 abstentions.



That Planning Application No. 19/01604/OUT** be REFERRED to the Regulation Committee with a recommendation from Area East Committee that the application be refused for the following reasons:


1. Templecombe is defined as a rural settlement and, as such, Policy SS2 of the South Somerset Local Plan (2006-2028) is a material consideration in the determination of this proposed development. It is considered that the numbers of dwellings proposed, taken cumulatively with other dwellings in Templecombe completed or with permissions within the Plan period (2006-2028), would result in a level of growth commensurate with the higher tier of Rural Centres. This would be inconsistent with the distribution of development as set out within the Rural Settlements tier in Policy SS5 of the Local Plan. Overall, the proposal would not accord with Policy SS2 and, on this basis, would not accord with Policies SS1 and SS5 of the Local Plan. Whilst the Council acknowledges that it cannot currently demonstrate a 5 year supply of deliverable housing sites as required by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and thus paragraph 11 d) of the NPPF is a material consideration, nevertheless the Council is of the opinion that the adverse impacts that would result from the granting of permission for this proposed development would, for the reasons set out above, significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposal.


2. The development would result in an increase in traffic along narrow approach roads, including certain sections with no pavements and poor visibility. This would prejudice the safety of highway users both on foot and cycle. As such the proposed development would be contrary to the aims set out in Policy TA5ii of the South Somerset Local Plan (2006-2028) and paragraph 109 of the National Planning Policy Framework.


(Voting: 10 in favour, 1 against, 0 abstentions)


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