Link to homepage

Agenda item

21/00079/APP - Land at Tewkesbury Road, Twigworth

PROPOSAL: Approval of Reserved Matters (Access, Appearance, Landscaping, Layout & Scale) comprising Phase 2 of Outline Planning Permission ref: 15/01149/OUT for the erection of 147 no. dwellings and associated works.

 

OFFICER RECOMMENDATION: Approve.

Minutes:

72.2          This was an application for approval of Reserved Matters (Access, Appearance, Landscaping, Layout & Scale) comprising Phase 2 of Outline Planning Permission ref: 15/01149/OUT for the erection of 147 no. dwellings and associated works.

72.3          The Planning Officer explained that the application related to Phase 2, which was located to the north of the Twigworth Strategic Allocation. Phase 2 abutted the recently approved local centre and the residential park home site to the north. The phase also partially abutted the previously approved village green. The principle of residential development at the site had already been established through the grant of outline consent and its subsequent allocation for housing in the Joint Core Strategy (JCS). This application therefore related solely to the approval of the access, layout, appearance, landscaping and scale of Phase 2. Condition 7 of the outline permission required all reserved matters applications to accord with the approved Site Wide Masterplan Document (see 2D extract). The reserved matters presented had therefore been assessed primarily in the context of the document. Consideration had also been given to whether the proposed development accorded with the outline consent and the associated S106 Agreements. In terms of the layout, the road positions and block sizes were generally in accordance with what was shown in the Site Wide Masterplan Document. In terms of the character areas defined in the Masterplan Document, Phase 2 fell partly within the ‘Gateway Character Area’ to the north west of the Strategic Allocation, which was centred around the main access road off the A38. The remainder of Phase 2 fell within the ‘Core Neighbourhoods Character Area’. As set out in the report, it was considered that the proposal, as amended, was in accordance with the relevant character areas and the scale and appearance of the proposed dwellings was acceptable. In terms of amenity, a number of objections had been received from residents of the adjacent park home site citing a loss of light, outlook and privacy. The scheme, as submitted, was considered to be unacceptable in this regard. Following extensive negotiations with the applicant, the scheme was revised so that there was a minimum back-to-back distance in excess of 20 metres between the rear of the affected park homes and the rear elevations of the proposed dwellings. Where the proposed dwellings presented their flank elevations to the park homes, the distance was now in excess of 12 metres. Whilst there were currently vacant plots on the adjacent park home site, the slabs that had been laid indicated where park homes would be situated in the future. Based on this, the proposed development would achieve the same stand-off distances set out above. On that basis, it was considered the revised layout would have an acceptable impact on the adjacent park homes. The proposed planting was consistent with what was approved on Phase 1 and was acceptable. The general landscaping and green infrastructure was also in accordance with the Masterplan Document. Details of the street trees could also be secured by way of a planning condition. With regard to access, as set out in the late papers, the highways authority had now confirmed that the proposal was acceptable in terms of highway safety and parking provision. In summary, it was considered that the proposal would result in an acceptable access, layout, scale, appearance, and landscaping and was recommended for permit.

72.4          The Chair invited the applicant’s representative to address the Committee. He advised that this reserved matters application sought approval for the Phase 2 details of 147 dwellings and associated works at Land at Tewkesbury Road, Twigworth, which formed part of the Twigworth Strategic allocation which was granted outline planning permission on December 2017. Phases 1A and 1B of the development, which had been previously approved by the Planning Committee, were currently under construction by Vistry. The Phase 2 application boundary, as defined by the approved Phasing Plan for the wider development, was located within the northern section of the site. The applicant emphasised some key aspects of the application, advising that the layout, as presented at Committee, was a direct result of a number of constructive meetings held with the Council's Planning Officer, Urban Design Officer and Gloucestershire Highways Officers over the past few months. Through their constructive input, the layout now ensured an acceptable balance between achieving high quality design with a technically acceptable highways arrangement. He added that the layout was supported by Officers and received no objections from any of the statutory consultees. As confirmed in the Officer's report, the layout was also in general accordance with the approved Site Wide Masterplan, which set out the principles for determining the design, form, height, general arrangement and external architectural features of the buildings. Working closely with the Officers, the layout presented to the Planning Committee today ensured consistency with the approved Vistry dwellings along the opposite side of the Gateway Street by proposing a continuous frontage layout arrangement and a more consistent architectural approach to the external appearance of these dwellings. Furthermore, informed by up to date survey data and working in collaboration with Officers, the layout also ensured sufficient private amenity space to the neighbouring park homes along the northern site boundary. The combined housing tenure mix was split between 65% open market homes and 35% affordable housing. The affordable housing tenure and mix complied with the requirements of the Section 106 Agreement and was confirmed as acceptable by the Council's Housing Enabling Officer. In conclusion, he thanked Officers for their constructive advice and hoped that the Committee would support the Officer recommendation to approve the reserved matters application.

72.5          A proposal was made, and it was seconded, that the application should be approved in accordance with the Officer recommendation. During the discussion that ensued a Member questioned why the Council imposed conditions on applications, what was their function and what powers a Local Authority had to enforce them. He also asked that, in the light of Government banning fossil fuel vehicles in 9 years’ time, why as a Planning Authority the Council was not insisting that every new home be built with an external charging point particularly since the cost of retrofitting was in the region of £550; he felt with the Councils’ alleged green credentials, both at Borough and County level, this was something that should be insisted upon in relation to every new build. The Development Manager explained that the purpose of planning conditions was to regulate development and to require certain details to be resolved before development takes place in accordance with agreed parameters. In terms of enforcement, the Council did have powers and could serve notices in respect of the breach of conditions but clearly it would need to be expedient to take such action and that was a judgement which must be made in each case. He indicated that fossil fuel vehicles and electric charging was a really interesting point; planning policy tended to take a little while to catch up with wider Government policy and current planning policies did not allow the Council to require every property to be fitted with electric vehicle charging points. He hoped that in time that this would be picked up by Building Control and the wider building industry but in terms of planning policy this was not something that could be insisted upon. Another Member referred to the surface water concerns at the site and asked, as the site was now starting to be developed, what was required at this stage to deal with surface water and would arrangements be put in place before building commenced with the development exacerbating problems in the area. The Planning Officer indicated that as part of the outline application there was a condition for a drainage strategy to cover drainage including surface water drainage across the whole site and the condition required all of the reserved matters applications to be approved in accordance with that drainage strategy. The strategy was approved under a condition some time ago and each of the reserved matters then accord with that strategy. A lot of the drainage had been approved in previous reserved matters applications which included all the swales and attenuation ponds on site. So the development now before Members would effectively feed into what already had been approved draining into the swales and then eventually into the drainage basins that were already in place. The Planning Officer indicated that he had visited the site previously to have a look at what had been done and he could confirm that all of the swales and basins were in place so a lot of the infrastructure had been built and this development would feed into this infrastructure. The Member sought clarification that the Planning Officer was satisfied that what had already been provided would deal with any surface water issues arising from the development now before the Committee. The Planning Officer indicated that the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) had been consulted and had been heavily involved with the proposals and were satisfied that the approved drainage strategy would work and had been designed to accommodate all of the houses on this strategic allocation site. The LLFA did not object to this reserved matters application and found the drainage proposals within it to be acceptable. The Development Manager stated that when the appeal for this site was allowed and the conditions approved there was a requirement to build in an allowance for climate change as well; everything that had been submitted to date had met the requirements in terms of policy and conditions that were set out by the Secretary of State when the appeal was allowed. A Member indicated that he had visited the site with the Planning Officer at the invitation of the developers but his concern related to the fact that the site was being dealt with in isolation and there was no allowance for the water flow that came onto the site from other developments which was matter he had raised on numerous occasions. Referring back to the response with regard to conditions, he questioned what had happened in respect of the development at Coombe Hill and the condition in regard to hedgerows which had been completely decimated during the breeding season yet he was unaware of any action being taken; he indicated that he was focusing on this point as the residents of Orchard Park were quite rightly concerned about noise and the impact this development would have on the quality of their lives. He indicated that nowhere in the conditions could he find any reference to time restrictions, operation of heavy machinery, dust levels etc. yet it was likely that the build for this development would run for about two years but there appeared to be no protection for the existing residents of the Park or acknowledgement of what they were having to suffer. He also asked a question on density as with the current buildout rate it was going to exceed what was agreed by the Inspectorate and he wondered what would be done about that. The Development Manager indicated that he would not comment on the reference to the Coombe Hill development as this was for another time except to say that it had been investigated as all apparent breaches were investigated. In terms of the residents referred to in this instance, he indicated that there was a construction management plan that had been approved under a condition on the outline permission and as a further safeguard there were powers under the Environmental Protection Act. Planning permission had been granted on this site and there would inevitably, as a result, be a degree of noise and disturbance to adjacent residents that happened on every development; conditions were in place to try and minimise that and if residents felt the disturbance was so unacceptable they could contact the Environmental Health Team to discuss the powers under the Environmental Protection Act. In terms of the reference to the rate of buildout, the planning permission was limited to 725 dwellings on the Twigworth site and, whilst it was inevitable that there would be higher and lower densities on different parts of the site which was normal, the planning permission was limited to an overall number and if the applicant or future applicants wanted to extend this then they would need to submit a full planning application and go through the normal process. A further discussion ensued on electric charging points and the Planning Officer confirmed that there was a condition attached to the outline consent that every unit should have an electric charging point; so actually across the whole strategic allocation each house was required to have an electric charging point but this scheme went a little further in that some selected units had a 7 kilowatt charger in the garage that was specifically to address the issue of parking for some of the larger units to encourage the use of the garage for parking. On this basis, clarification was sought on the policy in relation to electric charging points particularly as the County Highways Authority was insisting upon them in respect of applications being considered later in the meeting. The Development Manager clarified that whilst the policies were not in place it made sense to include electric charging points in any future permissions as this was clearly the direction in which the Government was heading.

72.6          Upon the motion being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED           That the application be APPROVED in accordance with the       Officer recommendation.

Supporting documents: