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Agenda item

20/01179/FUL - Land Adjacent to the Bungalow, Down Hatherley Lane, Down Hatherley

PROPOSAL: Erection of two single storey dwellings.




32.32        This application was for the erection of two single storey dwellings.  The Planning Committee had visited the application site on Friday 15 October 2021.

32.33        The Planning Officer explained that the application required a Committee determination as the Parish Council had objected to the proposal, as set out in the Committee report.  The application related to a parcel of land associated with a property known as The Bungalow which was located in a set-back position off Down Hatherley Lane.  The Bungalow was accessed via a private driveway from Down Hatherley Lane, although there was a secondary access off Ash Lane.  The application site was not subject to any formal landscape designation but was located within an area of safeguarded land.  The application had been submitted in full and sought permission for the construction of a pair of semi-detached bungalows; vehicular access to the development would be via the existing access off Ash Lane.  Each property would benefit from at least two off-road parking spaces.  In addition, one of the proposed dwellings would have an integral garage whilst the other would benefit from a detached garage.  The proposed dwellings would be of traditional design with a simple shape and form.  As clarified in the Additional Representations Sheet, attached at Appendix 1, permission in principle had been granted on the site in May 2020 for the erection of a single dwelling which had established that the location and size of the site was suitable in principle for a single dwelling.  An assessment of the material considerations, including an assessment of the impact of the development upon the safeguarded land, was set out at Pages No. 120-135 of the Committee report.  As stated in the report, Officers considered that, when taking account of the material considerations, including the identified harm which came from the conflict with Policy SD5 of the Joint Core Strategy, the harm would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits in the overall planning balance.  It was therefore considered that the proposed development would constitute sustainable development in the context of the National Planning Policy Framework as a whole.  Page No. 132, Paragraph 7.30 of the Committee report, set out that an update would be provided at the Committee as to whether Severn Trent Water had considered the drainage details shown on the plan to be acceptable; however, a response had not yet been provided, therefore, the Officer recommendation had been changed to delegate authority to the Development Manager to permit the application, subject to establishing the wording of a condition in respect of drainage details with Severn Trent Water and adding such a condition, should it be necessary.

32.34        The Chair indicated that there were no public speakers for this item.  The Officer recommendation was to delegate authority to the Development Manager to permit the application, subject to establishing the wording of a condition in respect of drainage details with Severn Trent Water and adding such a condition should it be necessary, and he sought a motion from the floor.  A Member raised concern that this was what he had requested in relation to Agenda Item 5f - 20/01024/FUL – 15 Swallow Crescent, Innsworth and he sought clarification as to the difference between the applications.  In response, the Planning Officer explained that, in this case, Severn Trent Water had raised no objections to the application and had recommended standard conditions be applied regarding drainage details; however, this application had been submitted with a detailed drainage plan so Severn Trent Water had been asked to confirm whether the details were acceptable or if a condition was still required.  If the plan was considered to be acceptable, that would negate the need for a condition.  With regard to 15 Swallow Crescent, an informative note had been included on the planning permission regarding the drainage being close to the site whereas this was about making sure the detail of the drainage was acceptable.  The Development Manager advised that an alternative approach would be to include the condition requiring the drainage details but that would be prolonging the matter and would create additional work for everyone. 

32.35        It was proposed and seconded that authority be delegated to the Development Manager to permit the application, subject to establishing the wording of the condition in respect of drainage details with Severn Trent Water and adding such a condition should it be necessary, and the removal of condition 7 which required cycle storage facilities to be made available and maintained for the duration of the development.  The Planning Officer explained that, in this case, plans had been submitted showing the cycle storage and those plans would be approved as part of condition 2 which required the development to be carried out in accordance with the approved plans.  The proposer of the motion clarified that he objected to the requirement for cycle storage being included as a specific condition as this meant that it could only be used for that purpose and he suggested that the plans should refer to it as ‘storage’.  The seconder of the motion felt that surely it was possible to negotiate a minor alteration to the plans and he indicated that his issue with the cycle storage condition was that it was imposing something on an individual applicant; if the individual wanted to provide that facility that was fine, but the Council should not be imposing it on them as it was not part of its policy.  The Council had a number of policies about cycling etc. but the current policy suite did not stipulate that all new development should have cycle storage facilities so the condition was wrong in his view.  The Chair indicated that the removal of the condition did not mean that the cycle storage on the plans also needed to be removed.  A Member accepted that there were no set cycle storage provision policies within the local plan; however, the Council had declared a climate change emergency and it should be doing everything possible to eliminate carbon emissions; provision of cycle storage was one such example of this and he felt it was an appropriate condition given that this was a semi-rural location and people should be encouraged not to rely on motor cars.  He did not see a problem with the condition being included and felt there were more important things to discuss.  He indicated that he would be voting against the proposal as he felt it was piecemeal development - there were two other houses which had been granted planning permission on the site but had not yet been built and, based on the Planning Committee site visit, some Members had considered there was potential for another six houses on the site.  Another Member echoed the comments about the condition as there was a danger of undoing any progress that had been made with the Council’s climate change agenda; in her opinion, any policy which encouraged alternative transport should be kept in place and she was disappointed with the proposals being put forward to the contrary. 

32.36        A Member noted that there were two double garages on the premises which the occupant could use for bicycle storage.  For the benefit of the Committee and members of the public, particularly the objectors, she sought clarification that the site was not in the Green Belt and therefore very special circumstances were not required to be demonstrated in order for the development to be permitted.  In response, the Planning Officer confirmed that the application site had been removed from the designated Green Belt as part of the boundary review during the adoption of the Joint Core Strategy and now formed part of the Council’s wider ‘safeguarded land’.  The new boundaries identified on the Green Belt map had taken into account longer term need by identifying safeguarded land which may be required beyond the Joint Core Strategy plan period to ensure that the Green Belt did not need an early review.  That said, Policy SD5 of the Joint Core Strategy set out that safeguarded areas were not allocated for development at the present time and planning permission for the permanent development of safeguarded land – except for uses that would not be deemed inappropriate within the Green Belt – would only be granted if a future review of the Joint Core Strategy deemed the release of the land necessary and appropriate and proposed the development.  The first test was to establish whether the development would be deemed inappropriate in the Green Belt; in this case, the Planning Officer’s assessment was that it would be inappropriate development in the Green Belt, but that the harm that would be caused would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.

32.37        In terms of the cycle storage, a Member indicated that he felt it was important to be realistic; in his view, including cycle storage in planning permissions would not encourage people to cycle.  To do that it was necessary to change the attitude of motorists who made it difficult for cyclists and County Highways needed to make sure that roads were safe for people to cycle on.  He also questioned why County Highways was not insisting on electric vehicle charging points being installed in new properties given that it was imposing the conditions about cycle storage.  A Member indicated that she took these points on board but continued to be of the view that any conditions which helped to encourage cycling should remain.  In terms of the earlier comment about the garages being included on the plans, she had studied the plans in detail and had attended the Committee site visit so she had thoroughly considered the issue of storage in expressing her view.  Another Member indicated that he agreed with a lot of the comments that had been made, particularly those about the need to make roads safer for cyclists; however, he felt that things were becoming overly complicated.  The condition around cycle storage was based on an aspiration – ultimately, he did not think it mattered if the cycle storage was used for something other than a bicycle and the bicycle was actually stored in one of the garages; the aspiration was a good one which the Committee should support.  The proposer of the motion clarified that he was not against cycling at all but he disagreed with the inclusion of condition 7 which had been imposed by another authority.

32.38        Upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED           That authority be DELEGATED to the Development Manager to PERMIT the application, subject to establishing the appropriate wording of a condition in respect of drainage details with Severn Trent Water and adding such a condition should it be necessary, and the removal of condition 7 in relation to cycle storage provision.

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