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Agenda item

20/01024/FUL - 15 Swallow Crescent, Innsworth

PROPOSAL: New attached two bedroom dwelling to the side of 15 Swallow Crescent.




32.21        This application was for a new attached two bedroom dwelling to the side of 15 Swallow Crescent. 

32.22        The Planning Officer advised that the application sought permission for a new dwelling attached to a pair of semi-detached dwellings so that the development would appear as a row of three terraced properties.  The new dwelling in this location would comply with the strategic housing policies in the development plan and, as the Council could not demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing sites, the presumption in favour of sustainable development was engaged in this case.  As mentioned, the proposal would add a dwelling to the existing pair of semi-detached properties, introducing a terraced form into the streetscene and; although the built form was predominantly semi-detached dwellings, there were small sections of terraced properties on Swallow Crescent and in the wider area.  In terms of design, the proposal would be broadly consistent with neighbouring two storey semi-detached properties with a hipped roof design.  No. 15 Swallow Crescent had been granted permission to be clad in red facing brick and the materials of the proposed new dwelling would be in materials to match.  The application had been amended to reduce the size of the property to two bedrooms to comply with national space standards.  There were many other examples of similar terraced properties within the area and, given the mix of building materials and house types in the area, the proposal was considered to respect the streetscene and character of the area.  In terms of overlooking, the adjacent dwellings were semi-detached and it was considered it would not be significantly different from that already experienced.  In respect of parking provision, the existing dwelling would be provided with one on-site parking space and one on the road and the proposed dwelling would benefit from two parking spaces at the front of the property; County Highways considered the parking arrangements to be acceptable subject to conditions.  Therefore, the Officer recommendation was to permit the application.

32.23        With regard to the five year housing land supply, the Development Manager stated that, as Members were aware, the Council had received the High Court judgement in respect of the challenge to the appeal decision which granted planning permission for up to 50 dwellings at Land off Ashmead Drive, Gotherington.  Whilst the Council did not succeed in getting the appeal decision quashed, the Judge had confirmed that, in most cases, the question of oversupply would need to be considered in assessing housing needs and requirements.  For the reasons set out in the Committee report for this application, and the reports for the other items on the Agenda, it remained Officers’ view that past oversupply should be taken into account when calculating the five year supply and that the published five year supply statement was robust in light of the High Court judgement.  Nevertheless, the Council could not currently demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing sites, therefore, the presumption in favour of sustainable development was engaged in this case, and in all relevant cases on the Agenda today; he did not intend to repeat this for each application as it did not alter the Officer recommendations.

32.24        The Chair indicated that there were no public speakers for this item.  The Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  A Member indicated that he wanted to support the Officer recommendation; however, he drew attention to the consultation response from Severn Trent Water, set out at Page No. 94 of the Committee report, which stated there was a public 100mm surface waste sewer and public 100mm foul sewer located within the site which had statutory protection and may not be built close to, over or diverted without consent.  Severn Trent Water would seek to assist in obtaining a solution which protected the public sewer and the building and the Member asked whether it would be appropriate to delegate authority to the Development Manager to permit the application, subject to that being found to be satisfactory.  In response, the Development Manager advised that the comment from Severn Trent Water was a standard response which was often submitted and it was proposed to be included as a note on the planning permission, should Members be minded to permit the application.  The Planning Officer had confirmed that the applicant was fully aware of the comment and it was a technical issue relating to Severn Trent and the building regulations process.  The Development Manager’s view was that a note to the applicant, and any subsequent owners, would be sufficient and he did not think a delegated permission would achieve anything over and above that. 

32.25        Another Member raised concern over the consultation response from County Highways; in her view, County Highways’ role was to advise on matters of highway safety and yet it was imposing conditions in relation to cycle storage and she drew attention to condition 6 which stated that the cycle storage facilities must be implemented in accordance with the submitted plans and retained thereafter.  She questioned who would enforce this and expressed the opinion that it was down to the local authority to determine whether or not cycle storage should be required in line with the National Planning Policy Framework.  She felt that not having specific cycle storage at a property did not mean that the residents would not have bicycles or somewhere to store them.  On that basis, she proposed that the application be permitted, subject to the removal of condition 6.  This proposal was duly seconded.  The Development Manager explained that there were planning policies seeking to engage measures to assist with the climate change agenda and the Council should be doing all it could to try to help.  It was within Members’ gift to remove the condition but that may send out the wrong message to the public in view of the Council’s stated position in terms of the climate change emergency.  In response to a query as to whether it was reasonable to include a condition which could not be enforced, the Development Manager confirmed it was not; however, it was possible to enforce this condition as Officers could go and check the cycle storage was still in situ.  A Member indicated that he was very troubled by this advice as specific policies in relation to cycling had been considered in detail during the development of the Borough Plan which was hopefully nearing the end of its journey.  In his view, this was County Highways attempting to apply policy through the back door which he found unacceptable; as the proposer of the motion had stated, the role of County Highways was to comment on highway safety in the planning process, not to influence planning policy. 

32.26        During the debate which ensued, a Member took the point that policy should not be dictated by the County Council; however, there were emerging policies in the local plan which did include cycle storage provision.  The proposer of the motion stated that she was not against the climate change agenda but pointed out that bicycles had been around for longer than the motor car and not having a specific cycle store would not prevent people from having bicycles and a place to store them.  The suggested condition was clearly not enforceable in her view as the Planning Enforcement team could not be expected to check every cycle shed in the borough and she did not think there was sufficient policy to impose the condition.  Another Member agreed that it was not realistic to expect Officers to check cycle sheds every year to ensure they were still there and not being used for other purposes.  A Member completely agreed with the points made by the Development Manager in terms of the fact that Tewkesbury Borough Council – and Gloucestershire County Council - should be doing all in its powers to encourage the use of bicycles and any other environmentally friendly means of transport.  In her opinion, removing the condition would send out completely the wrong message.  The Chair stated that, should Members disagree with the proposal to permit without condition 6 they should vote against it and, if that fell, he would seek another motion.

32.27        Upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED           That the application be PERMITTED, subject to the removal of condition 6.

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