Planning Application 20/02249/OUT - Land to the North of Fore Street, Tatworth
Application Proposal: Outline application with all matters reserved, except for access, for up to 35 dwellings
The Lead Specialist – Built Environment presented the application as outlined in the agenda report together with Planning Application 20/02247/OUT. He advised that the vote for Planning Application 20/02247/OUT would need to be taken first as the application provided the access onto the main road.
The Lead Specialist – Built Environment reminded members that both applications were presented to the Committee in September. They were adjoining sites which bounded a single infill property and had previously been presented with two separate access points and a pedestrian link between the two. Concerns had been raised by members in terms of having two points of access which was also the key concern of the parish council. A revised scheme had been submitted by the Applicants to include a single point of access from the lower part of the scheme. The Highway Authority had raised a concern over part of the site being landlocked, however, it was felt this could be secured by making it a phased development. He also advised that discussions had been held with the Lead Local Flood Authority in the previous week over concerns raised by an adjoining resident regarding surface water run-off and the outcome was the introduction of engineered surface drainage solutions.
In conclusion, the Lead Specialist – Built Environment stated that a single point of access had been secured, the two schemes would be linked by one S106 agreement to secure phasing and to ensure the point of access was available for all the development. The Lead Local Flood Authority had recommended conditions to deal with the construction phase, reducing the surface water run-off, managing flows and ensuring a point of discharge into the water course. The Officer’s recommendation was to approve the application subject to conditions.
In response to questions from members, the Lead Specialist – Built Environment advised:
· Members had indicated at the September meeting that they were generally happy with the scheme but not with the two points of access.
· Flooding had been raised since the September meeting and the Applicant had engaged and responded on the flooding issue.
· There could be an issue if the decision was to be appealed as it could be seen as unreasonable to introduce ecology as a grounds for refusal when the application was deferred for a specific reason.
· The Persimmon site was located within the Parish of Tatworth but it functionally related to Chard in that it was a continuous extension of the Chard settlement.
· The Local Plan aspired to deliver the bulk of its development in Yeovil but by reason of slow starts, the Yeovil sites ran into a Five Year Housing Supply issue which meant that the rural areas took more development.
· The level of growth in Tatworth was consistent with the level of growth experienced by a number of other larger villages within the district.
· The applicant could not be required to secure a 20 mph zone because it had not been requested by the Highway Authority.
· The Lead Local Flood Authority had recommended a number of conditions.
· One of the recommendations sought to retain a large area of open space which would give flexibility over the width and depth of the attenuation pond.
· The detailed surface water drainage scheme could be requested as part of the Reserved Matters application and would be agreed by the Lead Local Flood Authority.
The Committee was addressed by two members of the public in objection to the application. Their comments included:
· Concerns over significant increase in road usage
· Overspill parking outside the boundaries of the development
· There was already and increasingly occasional parking on the road and pavement near the development obscuring sites lines for traffic exiting at Langdons Way
· If granted request for conditions to include traffic calming measures, speed cameras and double yellow lines on the highway as well as pavements.
· The road towards the A358 was narrow and there was no footpath and no space to create a footpath.
· The road was already dangerous which was used by pedestrians, buses and other larger vehicles.
· Vast majority of local residents unhappy with the proposal.
· There was another huge development planned on the south side of Tatworth and if both were approved there would be large scale developments on the north side and the south side.
The Agent addressed the Committee. Her comments included:
· The scheme had been amended to include a single access road with crossing points.
· The proposals would deliver a policy compliant 35% affordable housing provision helping to meet a demonstrated local need.
· Tatworth was recognised as one of the most sustainable rural settlements in the South Somerset Local Plan and these applications represented a modest infill development within the village.
· Local amenities were within walking distance with an existing footpath and right of way. A new crossing point would be provided complete with tactile paving.
· The development was environmentally sustainable as possible retaining and enhancing landscape features.
· All existing hedgerows and boundary treatments would be retained where possible and additional tree and shrub planting was proposed.
· The development would improve the existing flooding issues by introducing drainage systems.
Ward Member, Councillor Martin Wale referred to his concerns previously raised at the September meeting which related to highway safety matters, overlooking of Sunnyside, the suggestion that any housing above it should be bungalows, over development within the Local Plan, flooding and ecology and he was of the opinion that these issues had not been agreed at that meeting. He expressed his support for the one access which he felt was an improvement and pointed out that the road was very busy, unsuitable for more traffic and had no footway on part of it. He noted the flooding conditions which he agreed addressed the issues raised and was happy with the density of houses and agreed that the two sites should be joined. He concluded that it was a much improved application but he still had grave concerns about the highway issues.
The other Ward Member, Councillor Jenny Kenton referred to the number of conditions relating to ecology and the Ecological Impact Assessment which had found various species on the site including dormice, bats and worms. She said that the land had not been intensively farmed, had been left to lay fallow and had its own eco system. She had concerns about how the conditions would be applied to protect habitats in the area.
In response to comments, the Lead Specialist – Built Environment clarified the building heights and confirmed there was a condition to ensure that heights accord with the indicative layout shown. With regard to hedges and dormice, there were a number of conditions to protect specifies and there would be a relatively uninterrupted boundary with areas of open space that would be protected outside of the curtilage.
Ward Member, Councillor Jenny Kenton felt that the application should be refused based on the overdevelopment of the area, ecology and the impact on the bungalow located next door to the site. She raised further concerns which included:
· The development was too big and not right for Tatworth
· Flooding issues
· Highway impact
Clarification was sought by the Lead Specialist – Built Environment over the proposed reasons for refusal including the relevant policies and the harm that would outweigh the benefits of the development.
The Lead Specialist – Built Environment responded to a member question. He confirmed that the Council did not have a 5 year housing land supply at the current time due to the issue of phosphates precluding development in large parts of the district. It was unlikely that the Council would have a 5 year land supply within the next 12-18 months. He advised that policies which sought to protect recognised heritage, landscape and environmental designations retained full weight, however policies which sought to restrict the supply of housing were considered to be out of date. The fact that the development was not affected by the phosphates issue was not in itself a reason to approve development if there were good reasons not to.
During the discussion, some members made comments which included the following:
· There were limited services in the village and the school was at capacity.
· The need to look at the cumulative effect of other developments.
· The road was extremely dangerous.
· The applicant had addressed the main issue with the development which was the access. There were no other grounds to refuse the application.
Following further discussion by members and the Lead Specialist – Built Environment and clarification of reasons for refusal by the Specialist - Legal, it was proposed and seconded to recommend refusal of the application contrary to the Planning Officer’s recommendation on the grounds of:
· Overdevelopment of the area
· Impact upon ecology, and
· The suitability of the highway network servicing the site
On being put to the vote this was carried by 9 votes in favour, 2 against and 1 abstention.
That Area West Committee recommend that the Chief Executive REFUSE Planning Application 20/02247/OUT contrary to the Planning Officer’s recommendation on the grounds of:
· Impact upon ecology, and
· The suitability of the highway network servicing the site
(Voting: 9 in favour, 2 against and 1 abstention)