Agenda and minutes
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Minutes of previous meeting
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the previous meeting held on 3rd June 2020.
The minutes of the Area South Committee held on Wednesday 3rd June 2020, copies of which had been circulated, were agreed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman.
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Graham Oakes, Wes Read and Rob Stickland.
Declarations of Interest
In accordance with the Council's current Code of Conduct (as amended 26 February 2015), which includes all the provisions relating to Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI), personal and prejudicial interests, Members are asked to declare any DPI and also any personal interests (and whether or not such personal interests are also "prejudicial") in relation to any matter on the Agenda for this meeting.
Members are reminded that they need to declare the fact that they are also a member of a County, Town or Parish Council as a Personal Interest. Where you are also a member of Somerset County Council and/or a Town or Parish Council within South Somerset you must declare a prejudicial interest in any business on the agenda where there is a financial benefit or gain or advantage to Somerset County Council and/or a Town or Parish Council which would be at the cost or to the financial disadvantage of South Somerset District Council.
Planning Applications Referred to the District Council’s Regulation Committee
The following members of this Committee are also members of the Council's Regulation Committee:
Councillors Peter Gubbins, Tony Lock, David Recardo and Andy Soughton.
Where planning applications are referred by this Committee to the Regulation Committee for determination, Members of the Regulation Committee can participate and vote on these items at the Area Committee and at Regulation Committee. In these cases the Council's decision-making process is not complete until the application is determined by the Regulation Committee. Members of the Regulation Committee retain an open mind and will not finalise their position until the Regulation Committee. They will also consider the matter at Regulation Committee as Members of that Committee and not as representatives of the Area Committee.
The following Councillors declared a personal interest in item 11 Planning Application 19/03143/FUL as they are either an ex-employee or had a relative who was a current employee of the company.
Councillors David Recardo, Andy Soughton, Andy Kendall, John Clark, Tony Lock, Karl Gill and Peter Sieb.
They did not consider the interest was prejudicial and would consider the application with an open mind.
Public question time
There were no questions from members of the public.
The Chairman informed members that the Area South Committee scheduled in August would only take place if there were planning applications to be determined.
Reports from representatives on outside organisations
This is an opportunity for Members who represent the Council on outside organisations to report items of interest to the Committee.
Councillor John Clark informed members that the Westfield Community Association had successfully applied for a grant for a ‘pocket park’ on derelict land in the area; a planning application was now being prepared to take this forward.
Councillor Andy Kendall informed members that the Yeovil Sports Club had put in a planning application for an extension to improve public facilities.
Adam Burgan, Arts and Entertainment Venues Manager presented the report and with the aid of a powerpoint presentation updated members on the following:
· Arts & Entertainment service- supporting a diverse range of events, including night-time economy, education, deliver for the communities and offering opportunities for local talent.
· Referred to the growth of attendance over the last few years, with Westlands on track with business plan and over the same period Box Office receipts have grown from £1.1 million to £2.8 million.
· Octagon Theatre has been admitted to the Trip Advisor ‘Hall of Fame’ for receiving highly positive reviews and achieving a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ for the last five consecutive years. Westlands Entertainment Venue has received a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ for the second year running. Panto ticket sales ever increasing with last year 29,800 tickets sold.
· 63% of tickets now sold online.
· Octagon Feasibility Study being carried out with Stage One being completed July 2020.
· Impact of COVID-19 including cancelled performances, conferences and classes with some funding received to help support online classes and workshops.
· Confirmed the Octagon Theatre was still currently closed, however, Westlands was being used to house the well-being hub, with many staff being re-deployed to this service and various other areas within the Council.
· Pleased to announce Westlands can begin screenings from 6th July 2020 with 22 screenings per week and with appropriate measures in place to ensure guests and staff are safe.
The Arts and Entertainment Venues Manager concluded that they continue to monitor the national and international developments and hope to be able to welcome the public back into these venues as soon as possible.
In response to questions, the Arts and Entertainment Venues Manager informed members that:
· Work has been completed on the installation of the air conditioning within the Octagon Theatre, but as yet are unable to fully test the system due to its current closure.
· Further improvements have yet to be undertaken, as chosen to re-deploy staff to support other services within the Council and a need for further financial clarification before any further works can be carried out.
· Yet to confirm the arrangements for the forthcoming literary festival but as a minimum hope to share content online. Further information will be sent direct to the member as soon as it is available.
Members congratulated the Arts and Entertainment Venues Manager on the success of the Arts and Entertainment Service and wished to thank him and his team on the support given to various other services within the Council at this current time.
The Locality Team Manager presented the report and invited members to comment and raise any issues or concerns relating to the current Covid - 19 pandemic within their wards. He updated members on the following:
· Work now being undertaken to help support non-essential retailers and towns on the re-opening of the high streets. This work is ongoing.
· Work also being carried out following the recent government announcement for the re-opening of play areas. Risk assessments and mitigation measures are being put in place to safely re-open play areas from 4th July 2020.
During a short discussion, members raised the following comments:
· Concern regarding the recommencement of dance classes at Birchfield Community Hall and the legal guidelines regarding this issue.
· Appreciate the recent traffic restrictions within the town centre, however, concerns have been raised regarding the prevention of buses being able to drop off at the Borough. The public now having to walk a fair distance up into the town from the only drop off point at the bus station. It was noted, that drop off points have been located within Princes Street, however, it was understood that the Bus Companies had not chosen to use this facility.
· Concern also raised regarding the lack of advertising to inform the public of the temporary relocation of Taxi pick up points at Princes Street.
In response, the Locality Team Manager noted the comments from members and would action accordingly.
The Case Officer – Strategy and Commissioning updated the members on the Area South Forward Plan and the current situation regarding forthcoming reports.
Councillor Andy Kendall requested that a report be brought to committee concerning the security of the town centre and the integration of CCTV has had with the police during the current Covid–19 pandemic.
Members noted the Schedule of Planning Applications.
Proposal: Demolition of existing building and the erection of a new warehouse and distribution centre.
The Specialist, Development Management presented the application as detailed in the agenda and with the aid of a powerpoint presentation proceeded to show the site and proposed plans.
She referred to the key considerations regarding this application being residential amenity, highway safety and visual amenity. She considered the distance and impact of the proposal to the nearby properties was not adverse or sufficient to refuse the application and was not overly dominant considering the mixed nature of the surrounding area.
The Specialist, Development Management also confirmed that a condition would be included to secure the details of the travel plan along with measures for implementation. She considered this acceptable as the proposal is a replacement to an existing building and believed there would be no significant increase in vehicle movement.
She also updated members that Conditions 02, 16 and 22 are to be amended to take into account the revised plans regarding a change to the alignment of the retaining wall structure.
She concluded that after considering all of the responses and advice, as outlined in the agenda report, her proposal was to approve the application as set out in the agenda report.
In response to members’ questions, the Specialist, Development Management advised members that:
· No mitigation measures have been submitted within the application aimed as a deterrent for seagulls in the area.
· Due to the proposed roof line and windows located within the roof space, where it is assumed much of the lighting will emerge and for security reasons, it is thought this would pose a problem for the installation of solar panels.
· The Highway Authority recommend a condition be included to ensure appropriate signage and access for HGV vehicles accessing the site.
· Confirmed there is a proposed gatehouse and various security features throughout the site to control pedestrians and vehicles accessing the site.
· A proposed condition is to be included to ensure the root protection zones of nearby trees are protected during construction of the store located at the front of the site.
The agent then addressed the committee. He explained the site had been vacant since 2017 and that this proposal would provide a state of the art logistics centre. He said the current site was a mix of ad hoc buildings, which would be replaced by a purpose built building that, would also bring social and economic benefits to the town. He explained the excellent public consultation event that took place and wished it noted that no formal objections had been received. He said all statutory consultees had considered the proposal to be acceptable and felt it was welcome news at this time, with sufficient long term investment for the town.
Ward member, Councillor David Gubbins voiced his support of the application and noted no objections had been received from either the public or the statutory consultees.
Ward member, Councillor Karl Gill also voiced his support for the application and believed ... view the full minutes text for item 185.