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Agenda item

21/00214/APP - Land at Stoke Road, Bishop's Cleeve

PROPOSAL: Approval of reserved matters (scale, layout, appearance, landscaping) for the residential element pursuant to outline consent 18/00249/OUT for the erection of 215 dwellings, public open space, landscaping and a sustainable urban drainage scheme.




13.37         This was an approval of reserved matters application (scale, layout, appearance, landscaping) for the residential element pursuant to outline consent 18/00249/OUT for the erection of 215 dwellings, public open space, landscaping and a sustainable urban drainage scheme. 

13.38        The Planning Officer advised that the application site was located to the west of Bishop’s Cleeve and north of Stoke Road and covered an area of approximately 10.5 hectares.  The application site formed part of a wider site for which outline permission was granted at appeal in November 2019 for the erection of up to 215 dwellings, up to 2.24 hectares of commercial use (B1 and B8), up to 0.1 hectares of retail uses (A1) with public open space, landscaping and sustainable urban drainage systems and two vehicular access points from Stoke Road.  This application was the first phase of development; the commercial elements of the extant outline permission would be brought forward under separate cover.  It should be noted that the principle and quantum of residential development at the site had already been established through the grant of outline consent; this application related solely to the approval of the layout, appearance, landscaping and scale of the residential elements of the wider development site.  A range of house types and tenures were proposed including provision for 40% affordable housing.  Within those tenures, a wide mix of unit types would be delivered including one bedroom ground floor and first floor maisonettes, one bedroom bungalows, terraces, semi and detached dwellings ranging from two to five bedrooms.  Most properties would be two storeys in height, though the development would include a small number of bungalows and a similar number of 2.5 storey dwellings.  A single vehicular access point to serve the residential development would be created off Stoke Road; this was in accordance with the outline permission.  The landscape strategy for the site would provide 4.01 hectares of green infrastructure across this part of the wider site and included a large area of public open space incorporating a Locally Equipped Area of Play (LEAP) to the west of the site, green corridors, tree and street planting.  An assessment of the material considerations was set out at Pages No. 148-154 of the Committee report.  As set out in the report, Officers considered that, when taking account of all of the material considerations and subject to the resolution of the outstanding matters outlined in the Additional Representations Sheet, attached at Appendix 1, the proposed development would result in an acceptable layout, scale, appearance and landscaping.  The scheme advanced would be in accordance with the principles and parameters described and identified in the Illustrative Masterplan, the Development Framework Plan and the Design and Access Statement approved under the outline permission for the wider site.  The Planning Officer advised there were a number of updates set out in the Additional Representations Sheet and a number of outstanding matters detailed in the Committee report had now been resolved.  The Environment Agency had raised an objection to the proposed installation of culverts preferring span arrangements.  No objections had been raised to the location of the crossing points and discussions between the Environment Agency and the applicant were taking place and this was an issue that would be covered by the delegated approval recommendation.  In terms of revised attenuation pond design, the Lead Local Flood Authority had no objections so that matter had now been resolved.  As set out in the Additional Representations Sheet, a local resident had commented that she had heard a population of Skylarks on the application site.  Members were informed that an updated Breeding Birds Survey had been carried out in June 2020 which set out that the site was unsuitable for the species due to the length of the grass.  The Ecologist had requested that a further survey be undertaken and a condition included on the outline permission required an ecological management plan to be submitted prior to commencement of development therefore additional survey work could be secured.  It was noted that the Committee report stated that 4.06 hectares of green infrastructure would be provided but this had now been reduced to 4.01 hectares.  It was recommended that authority be delegated to the Development Manager to approve the application, subject to the resolution of the outstanding matters in relation to the drainage arrangements and addition to/amendment of planning conditions as appropriate.

13.39        The Chair invited the applicant’s agent to address the Committee.  The applicant’s agent explained that the application for the approval of reserved matters for 215 residential dwellings came before Members following detailed discussions and negotiations with Officers which had been ongoing since June 2020. The result of that proactive work was a scheme that was supported by Planning Officers and had received no statutory consultee objections from Highways England, County Highways, the Lead Local Flood Authority, the Council’s Urban Design Officer, Tree Officer, Landscape Consultant, Housing Enabling Officer, Environmental Health Officer,  Ecologist and Project Officer.  The proposed development was considered to comply with the design principles and parameters established as part of the outline planning permission, in particular the affordable housing provision and overall mix accorded with the outline planning permission and Section 106 requirements; the materials and roof tiles proposed had been subject to discussion with Officers and boundary treatments had been revised and improved during the application process; careful consideration had been given to the layout of the scheme in terms of development blocks, plot arrangement and green infrastructure creating a clear street hierarchy with varying street widths and design details which gave legibility to the development, and the site’s location adjacent to the open countryside and lowering densities toward the site’s northern fringes created a sensitive transition to the countryside beyond; the orientation of properties onto the areas of public open space within the scheme and to the site’s periphery on its northern boundary increased public surveillance onto footpath links and open spaces which was good design and an improvement from the illustrative masterplan approved within the outline planning permission; the landscape scheme proposed green infrastructure including a large open space with a play area, reinforcement of existing hedgerows, a green corridor through the centre of the site, a footpath along the site boundary and tree and street planting throughout the development; the homes had been designed to ensure their construction was sustainable and would be provided with energy efficient boilers, cycle storage and electric vehicle charging points; the inclusion of ‘hedgehog highway’ provisions within gravel boards of garden fencing further improved the biodiversity enhancements beyond that required by the outline permission; and an increased footway width on the eastern side of the access road from Stoke Road into the residential element of the site improved connectivity for cyclists between the development and the planned cycleway along the northern side of Stoke Road that would be delivered as part of the Section 278 works and would improve the site’s connectivity with Bishop’s Cleeve.  The applicant’s agent went on to state that the proposed application would enable the delivery of housing within the local planning authority area on a site which benefitted from outline planning permission.  The proposed development had been subject to detailed considerations and negotiation with Officers and was a scheme which accorded with the requirements of the outline planning permission and relevant development plan policies.  She hoped that Members would be able to support the Officer recommendation and resolve to delegate authority to the Development Manager to permit the application.

13.40        The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was that authority be delegated to the Development Manager to approve the application, subject to the resolution of the outstanding matters in relation to the drainage arrangements and addition to/amendment of planning conditions as appropriate, and he sought a motion from the floor.  A Member indicated that the Planning Committee had strongly objected to the initial outline application but the Inspector had taken a different view; however, she continued to be of the opinion that the odours arising from the waste processing plant meant that this site was unsuitable for housing – she lived in Gotherington and odour could be an issue on days when the wind was blowing from that direction.  Nevertheless, the Inspector had granted outline planning permission so there was very little the Committee could do to refuse the application at this point.  Stoke Orchard and Tredington Parish Council had stated there was insufficient provision in relation to improving cycling and pedestrian access to the west of the site and she asked for the Officer view in relation to that.  Looking at the site, there did not seem to be any links for cyclists into other housing developments.  The Planning Officer explained that the Council had tried to defend the requirement for a link to the housing estate at the outline consent stage but, unfortunately, the Inspector had not agreed and there was no requirement for the applicant to provide a link.  The Member felt that did not contribute to social cohesion of this site and the rest of Bishop’s Cleeve but, as there was nothing that could be done, she proposed that authority be delegated to the Development Manager to permit the application in accordance with the Officer recommendation.  The proposal was seconded with the seconder of the motion indicating that he shared those views completely; this was a much needed employment site but it had been decided that it was suitable for housing and the Council would need to be ready for the complaints about the odour that would undoubtedly arise.

13.41         A Member indicated that, although there had been an update in relation to drainage, comment was awaited from the Environment Agency and he asked for more detail on that. He drew attention to Page No. 146, Paragraph 4.10 of the Committee report, which stated that the Environmental Health Officer had no adverse comments to make in respect of air quality and he asked what comments had been made. The Member also noted that a condition 12 of the outline permission set out that no development would commence until a detailed Surface Water Drainage Strategy for the entire site had been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority; he recognised that the strategy had been submitted and the Lead Local Flood Authority had raised no objection but he wanted confidence that conditions would be properly policed - he had experience of two development sites within his Ward which had been subject to similar conditions relating to drainage and those had been breached at least four times and had resulted in calls to the Fire Service for excess water to be pumped from the Cheltenham Road East site.  In response, the Planning Officer advised that the Environment Agency had commented on the design of the attenuation ponds whilst advising that fell outside of its remit.  In terms of the culvert proposed in respect of the road across the watercourse between the south field and the ones beyond a late objection received from the Environment Agency the previous day had indicated it was looking for a bridge which needed to be discussed by Officers.  In terms of air quality, she did not have the Environmental Health Officer comments to hand but they were available online and she confirmed that no adverse comments had been made.  She pointed out that air quality was considered as part of the outline consent and nothing had changed since that time.  The Development Manager confirmed that conditions would be policed but only in terms of the specific wording; there had been discussion elsewhere in the Council about whether construction sites could be controlled as a lot of conditions included within planning permissions tended to be about what happened once properties were actually built.  In terms of the particular condition referenced by the Member, there was no contradiction of specific planning conditions as far as he could recall.

13.42         A Member noted the comments made by the proposer of the motion and the Officer response and drew attention to Page No. 147, Paragraph 5.4 of the Committee report, which set out comments  made by the local Ward Member for Cleeve Grange about the need for the houses to have good cycleway access to the village centre and the proposed new primary school, and she expressed the view that it would be a great shame not to have any cycle access to the new primary school which Members had worked hard to secure for the area.  In terms of that local Ward Member’s comments about the need for the houses to be carbon neutral, she asked for confirmation of what design features would be added to the properties, if any.  In response, the Planning Officer explained that Officers did not disagree with the comments regarding the cycleways and their preference would be to have a cycleway through to the east of the site.  The internal layout was designed for cycle traffic as well other traffic with a 20mph speed limit and the developer had offered to make provision for cyclists from the entrance to Stoke Road up to the point where the retail park would be but, outside of the site, nothing more could be required at this stage.  In terms of carbon neutrality, each property would be served by an electric vehicle charging point and all buildings would comply with building regulations for sustainability.  A local resident had asked for a hedgehog highway which the developer had introduced.  A Member found it ridiculous that it was supposedly safe to cycle all the way down to Stoke Road and then nothing could be done about Stoke Road itself; on that basis he suggested it might be better not to include a cycleway at all.  Another Member indicated she would be abstaining from the vote on this application as it was diabolical it had been allowed to happen.  She noted that the Environment Agency had asked for the drainage ponds to be redesigned but she was unsure what design was proposed.  In addition, she raised concern that the affordable housing which had been agreed at the outline stage did not include any social housing so she questioned whether it was truly affordable for the majority of people in the county.  She indicated that she was in complete agreement with the comments about a cycleway not being available along Stoke Road.  The Planning Officer explained that the Additional Representations Sheet stated that no comment had been received from the Environment Agency regarding the revised design of the attenuation pond; however, a plan showing a new shape had been received with planting added to encourage wildlife which was a more multipurpose solution.  The changes were outside of the Environment Agency’s remit.  The Lead Local Flood Authority had been consulted and was happy with the revised design and capacity of the outfall. 

13.43         A Member indicated he would like to know how and when the air quality assessment had been carried out and whether the Inspector’s comments at the appeal had been taken into account.  He also asked if any work had been done regarding the leaching of contaminates from the landfill site.  In response, the Development Manager reiterated that air quality and leaching were both issues that had been dealt with at the outline stage so there was little that could be achieved by going over that now.  He understood all the concerns that Members had raised, and some were very much supported by Officers, but, unfortunately, the position was that outline consent had been granted and Members must make a decision on the approved matters application in that context.

13.44         Upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That authority be DELEGATED to the Development Manager to APPROVE the application, subject to the resolution of the outstanding matters in relation to the drainage arrangements and addition to/amendment of planning conditions as appropriate.

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