Agenda item

Planning Application 16/02874/FUL Land Adjoining Holbear Forton Road Chard TA20 2HS


Application Proposal: The erection of 252 No. dwellings with associated access and infrastructure.


The Specialist, Principal Planner presented the application as detailed in the agenda. He reminded members that this application had been deferred from a previous Regulation Committee for the reasons as set out in the agenda report.  He clarified that all these reasons have now been addressed.


He also updated members on the following:


·         Proposal should be amended to read ‘one bedroom houses’ and not ‘one bedroom apartments’.

·         Affordable housing contribution is now for 88 units and not 110 as originally sought due to reduction in overall housing, nonetheless was still policy compliant.

·         Approved plans list to be updated to reference latest plans.

·         One further letter of objection had been received since the report had be written, in relation to potential impact on a nearby dwelling and boundary treatment.

·         Original application had two highway points, however this application proposes vehicular access solely from Tatworth Road.  Access from Forton Road was now limited to pedestrian/cycle and emergency access until such time as the next phase of the eastern relief road is ready for connection.

·         Ecological issues raised have now been addressed by latest revised layout.

·         Football pitch issue now been resolved through a transfer of land to the council to go along with a parcel of land to provide this facility as part of the wider sports strategy.

·         Sport England have withdrawn their concern regards pedestrian access acknowledging a strategic contribution is to be made.

·         As the site overlaps with both South West Water and Wessex Water the developer has selected and agreed that sewerage disposal be connected to the Wessex Water network and disposed outwards towards the River Axe, therefore there is no phosphate impact from this development.

·         No issues raised from Somerset Archaeology.

·         Local Lead Flood Authority (LLFA) are now content with the surface water attenuation design and method of disposal.


The Specialist also highlighted the site was part of the housing allocations along the eastern side of Chard and it is not caught by the phosphates issue. He also noted amendments to the proposed schedule of conditions being:


·         Conditions 6,7,8 and 13 as set out in the agenda report and relate to the introduction and agreement of the phasing scheme.

·         Condition 14 to be removed.

·         Informative no. 1 to be amended to refer to correct condition numbering.


The Accelerated Housing Delivery Programme Manager then provided a short summary on the Strategic contribution the development site would provide and with the aid of a map showed members the Chard Framework development growth area including highway infrastructure and phasing plan. 


He reported this site would provide 35% affordable housing equating to approximately 88 units and that sites further to the north would be affected and ultimately delayed as they would be captured by the mitigation strategy regarding the current phosphates issues.  He confirmed that the Council’s current 5 year housing land supply has been calculated at 6.03 years.


The Specialist, Principal Planner, Accelerated Housing Delivery Programme Manager and Interim Planning Lead responded to members’ questions on points of detail which included the following:


·         Confirmed the adjoining site due to difference in ground levels is currently affected by the mitigation strategy and therefore caught under the current phosphate issue.

·         A travel plan has been agreed with SCC and as part has been agreed to minimise the use of private cars and encourage the use of other forms of transport

·         Contributions have been sought for education and provided through the Section 106 agreement.

·         The location for the first primary school is not allocated or required within this site.

·         Confirmed the four reasons that this application was previously deferred have now been addressed.

·         Clarified the traffic survey undertaken in 2016 was the most up to date traffic modelling available.  The Council were currently undertaking a review and had appointed highway consultants to look at the district wide highway delivery including the eastern relief road in Chard.  He understood the information, so far, had indicated the main junction was at capacity and therefore the applicant has been asked to look at other modes of transport and promote other routes of commuting through Chard.  He wished to highlight however the main statutory consultee SCC did not think is reasonable to refuse the application on highways.

·         Clarified the original application submitted was for well over 300 dwellings however this has now been reduced to 252 to improve the character, quality and overall improved design of the development.

·         Confirmed that should the application being approved a condition be included to include electric charging points located within the site.

·         Cannot impose a condition requiring a contribution directly towards health.  Such contributions must be secured by a Section 106 legal agreement.  CCG response frustrating due to the lack of detail on the financial sums sought and the physical infrastructure to which such funds would contribute.  Clarification is being sought from the CCG.


Councillor Martin Wale, Ward member then addressed the committee and raised a number of comments including:


·         Acknowledged the site is part of the Chard Regeneration scheme and local plan and had been allocated for housing development for many years with no CIL requirement.

·         Raised concerns regarding the existing traffic congestion at the main Chard junction which was already over capacity and the safety implications within the Chard highway network taking into account the cumulative impact of permitted and proposed developments as highlighted previously by Area West Committee.

·         Raised concern regarding the design of the proposed scheme located in such a prominent site within Chard town.

·         Acknowledged the main issues previously raised had now been covered by conditions.  However believed a larger ‘buffer zone’ could have been provided on the north eastern corner of the site. 

·         Concerned that the local schools and local doctors surgery do not have sufficient capacity to meet the additional demands this development will bring.

·         The scheme is not in accordance with the phasing of the Chard local plan.

·         Not against development but this proposal does not enhance the area or provide high quality housing.

·         A number of concerns still unanswered and that a decision on this application should not be made until further information was presented on a number of issues.


Councillor Jenny Kenton supported the concerns of the other ward member and also raised concern regarding the Covent Link junction and the impact of the traffic increase within the area.  She questioned the capability of these homeowners to use other forms of transport.


Councillor Dave Bulmer, adjacent Ward member also raised concerns regarding the application, these included:


·         Existing traffic congestion at the main Chard junctions which was already over capacity.

·         Believed the traffic modelling exercise was inadequate and reality was that the volume of traffic at the Covent Link junction was already severe. He believed the traffic plan to mitigate these issue was questionable and would not solve the traffic issues within the town.    

·         Raised concern regarding the cummalative impact that not only this development, but other proposed sites within the area, would have on the local schools which were already at capacity. 

·         Felt there was a lack of clarification on progress in delivering facilities in Chard for which educational contribution is sought.

·         Believed the layout at the northern end of the site required further amendment, to ensure it provides appropriate access for maintenance of the retained mixed barrier hedge.


In conclusion he requested that the committee defer this application for further negotiations with the applicant, Highways Officers, Education officers and SCC and SSDC to negotiate an acceptable scheme that addresses the issues raised.


Two members of the public spoke in objection to the application. Their comments included:


·         Believed the layout, design and density of the north eastern corner of the site had not been improved since the originally application in 2018 and was arguably worse.

·         Inadequate wire mesh fence proposed along the existing boundary being impossible to maintain.

·         Referred to other Persimmon developments that provided more suitable and adequate green spaces than this development.

·         Questioned the inadequate Wildlife impact study.

·         Does not believe the developer has fully identified and addressed the issues previously raised in 2018.

·         Poor quality of layout and design and have a harmful impact on the amenity of existing dwellings especially at Holbear.


The Applicant then addressed the committee and raised comments in support of the application, including:


·         Since 2018 the developer had worked closely with officers to address previous issues raised.

·         The site is allocated for housing within Chard and the adopted local plan.

·         Noted that the proposed number of homes had now been reduced from 315 to 252, and accords with the levels within the Chard plan.

·         Introduced additional green space throughout the site with improved streetscene and parking.

·         Development will delivery significant investment in highway infrastructure and noted no objections had been raised from highway authority.

·         Development will provide 35% affordable housing equating to 88 units.

·         Formal play area is provided on site.

·         Financial contribution towards education provision and travel planning.

·         Agreed a transfer of land at Badgers Lane that will support a sports pitch provision.

·         This development does not impact or is affected by the phosphates issue.

·         Believes the development will deliver much needed homes for the area including affordable housing.


During the discussion, members raised several comments with regard to the application.  These included:


·         The scheme is not in accordance with the phasing of the Chard local plan.

·         Acknowledge this site is identified for development with the local plan, however still have concerns regarding the highways issue already raised with no adequate solution or sufficient survey completed.

·         Believed there were a number of concerns still unanswered and that a decision on this application should not be made until further information can be provided.

·         Believed further clarification was required on the progress in delivering facilities in Chard for which education contribution is sought.

·         Questioned the ability to deliver the 35% of affordable housing.

·         Believed there were many issues still outstanding and could not make an informed decision on the application until all information had been presented.

·         Acknowledged local concerns raised, however, noted the Statutory Consultee for highways have raised no objection.

·         Questioned the ability that alternative methods of transport could be the main source of travel, when in reality the use of cars will be the main mode of transport.


Following a further discussion, members supported concerns raised regarding the safety implications and impact of the capacity of junctions within the Chard highway network. They also raised concern regarding the education contribution sought on future educational facilities.


It was then proposed and seconded to defer the application so that a strategic report on the safety and traffic implications of the Chard highway network and further clarification on educational facilities be sought.


The Legal Specialist advised members that should the information they require be made obtainable, she believed members were within their rights to defer a decision on this application, until further information can be provided.  She advised that it would be a reasonable expectation that on this second hearing of the matter that any issues that are foreseeable should be raised now and dealt with at this point rather than deferral for a third time.


The Interim Planning Lead confirmed that although this was not in the applicant’s gift this was something that can be provided as regards the cumulative impact of developments already in place and approved.


A member also felt that as that there was no guarantee that this report could be provided he proposed that the application be approved as per the officer’s recommendation, this was subsequently seconded.


The Chairman then took the first proposal which was to defer the application for the following reasons:


1.    A strategic report on the safety implications for and capacity of junctions within the Chard highway network taking into account the cumulative impact of permitted and proposed developments (in accordance with a previous request from Area West Committee).

2.    Further clarification on progress in delivering facilities in Chard for which educational contribution is sought.


On being put to the vote this was carried by 7 in favour, 4 against and 0 abstentions.




That Planning Application 16/02874/FUL be deferred for the following reason:


1.            A strategic report on the safety implications for and capacity of junctions within the Chard highway network taking into account the cumulative impact of permitted and proposed developments (in accordance with a previous request from Area West Committee).


2.            Further clarification on progress in delivering facilities in Chard for which educational contribution is sought.


(voting: 7 in favour, 4 against, 0 abstentions)






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