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Agenda item

21/00821/APP - Land North of Innsworth Lane, Innsworth

PROPOSAL: Erection of 144 dwellings, associated landscaping and infrastructure on Parcel 6.




7.28          This was a reserved matters application for the erection of 144 dwellings, associated landscaping and infrastructure on Parcel 6.  The Planning Committee had visited the application site on Friday 17 June 2022

7.29          The Planning Officer advised that Members had resolved to approve the reserved matters application for phase 5 of this development at the Committee meeting in April.  The principle of residential development at this site had been established through the grant of outline planning permission and its subsequent allocation for housing in the Joint Core Strategy as part of the wider Innsworth and Twigworth strategic allocation.  The key principles guiding reserved matters applications had also been approved by the Planning Authority and included a Site Wide Masterplan Document and a Site Wide Attenuation and Drainage Strategy.  This application sought approval of reserved matters pursuant to the outline planning permission and the issues to be considered were access, appearance, landscaping, layout, scale and compliance with the approved documents.  As set out in the Committee report, Officers considered that the scale, layout, landscaping and appearance were acceptable, accorded with the Site Wide Masterplan Document aspirations and were of an appropriate design.  It was also considered that the access, internal road layout and car parking provision were acceptable and accorded with the Site Wide Masterplan Document, Policy INF1 of the Joint Core Strategy and the National Planning Policy Framework.  In addition, by virtue of the design approach, it was considered that the proposed development would result in acceptable levels of amenity for future residents.  The scheme also accorded with the Section 106 Agreement and subsequent Deed of Variation in terms of the deliverability of 35% affordable housing on site.  In terms of flood risk and drainage, the site-wide flood risk attenuation works engineers operations to create attenuation ponds had been considered and subsequently approved as part of a previous reserved matters application Reference: 18/01284/APP.  The Site Wide Attenuation and Drainage Strategy for this part of the scheme had been prepared in alignment with the detailed surface water drainage strategy approved under condition 26 of the outline permission.  The Lead Local Flood Authority had been consulted in respect of the current scheme and was satisfied with the details.  As such, the proposed drainage arrangements were considered acceptable and in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework and the Site Wide Attenuation and Drainage Strategy.  Taking all of this into consideration, Officers felt that the proposed development was acceptable in terms of access, layout, scale, appearance and landscaping; the scheme advanced would be in accordance with the outline consent and the Site Wide Masterplan Document approved under that consent and was therefore recommended for approval.  The Planning Officer clarified that comments had been received from Severn Trent Water that morning confirming it raised no objection to the proposal.

7.30          The Chair invited the applicant’s representative to address the Committee.  The applicant’s representative indicated that the application for consideration today was for 144 new homes within Tewkesbury Borough and represented the next phase of development at Innsworth. The team had worked hard to evolve a high quality development that fostered key design principles to deliver a place that looked great, worked for people and protected and enhanced the local environment.  He was very proud of the final scheme and thanked the consultant design team and the various Officers from the Council for all of the hard work and effort they had put into it.  The developer was award-winning and took great pride in its work – for the last 13 years it had achieved a five star builder status based on customer recommendations.  Like Tewkesbury Borough Council, it was committed to championing sustainable development and delivering affordable, high-quality homes.  The design of the scheme had been led by the approved Masterplans which included connections, character, materiality and landscaping.  Throughout the course of the application, the applicant had worked hard with Officers to deliver these plans, incorporating feedback and responding where possible.  For example, an additional north-south pedestrian connection had been included along the eastern boundary to connect the spine road to the play area to the north; the landscaping proposals had been revised to include more native hedge and tree species; additional trees had been included along the spine road to the south; and the roofing materials had been amended to ensure they were in keeping with other phases of the Masterplan.  The applicant’s representative was pleased the application was recommended for approval and hoped to move into delivery of the much-needed homes which would contribute significantly towards the Council’s housing supply and the developer’s fundamental objective of creating a great place for people to live.

7.31          The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to approve the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  A Member sought clarification as to the trajectory for delivery and the Planning Officer advised he had no indication that the developer would not want to move forward as soon as possible.  The Member pointed out that the houses would contribute to Gloucester City’s housing need as opposed to Tewkesbury Borough’s.  Another Member questioned why no plans showing elevations or house types had been included in the Committee report and the Planning Officer advised that it would not have been possible to include all of the plans submitted with the application but he confirmed they were all available online.  The Member expressed the view that it was necessary for the Committee to receive hard copies of the relevant plans in advance of the meeting, regardless of the size, and she was disappointed only the street scenes had been included as this did not correctly show materials or house types.  A Member proposed that the application be approved in accordance with the Officer recommendation.  He indicated that the Committee could not refuse the application as outline permission had already been granted at appeal.  With regard to density, when this scheme had started with phase 1, Members had been told that the second phase (phase 5) would be 43 dwellings per hectare and going into the centre of the development the density would start to reduce; however, this phase was in the centre and yet the density was still 43 dwellings per hectare.  The Planning Officer advised that the density at the centre accorded with the Site Wide Masterplan in the character areas which had been identified for the spine road.  Another Member questioned what the difference was between affordable rent and affordable intermediate and she sought clarification as to the breakdown of the affordable housing being provided.  She noted that Page No. 192, Paragraph 7.21 of the Committee report, stated that the majority of units had on-site car parking provisions and she questioned what percentage that equated to.  The Legal Adviser understood that the affordable housing on the site was split between affordable rent and shared ownership; he believed affordable intermediate was a form of shared ownership.  The Member raised concern that providing social housing in blocks seemed to be becoming more popular and she personally did not like it.  Another Member indicated that the phrase ‘affordable intermediate’ was not a term the Committee was familiar with and if it meant shared ownership that was what it should say in the Committee report.  The Planning and Enforcement Team Leader (North) advised that the affordable housing split had been agreed for the entire site in the Section 106 Agreement for the outline application and the provision within the reserved matters applications needed to be in accordance with the affordable housing plan for the site.  The Council’s Strategic Housing and Enabling Officer had confirmed that what was being brought forward in the reserved matters applications did accord with that.  She appreciated that the terminology used was different and clarified that affordable intermediate could cover different types of shared ownership.  Whatever the affordable housing provider was providing had to satisfy the planning definition and the Section 106 Agreement.  Since the outline application had been agreed, there had been a change in the type of affordable housing being negotiated by the Council when considering outline applications as social rent was considered to better meet current needs than affordable rent; notwithstanding this, affordable rent was what had been agreed in this instance and it was only possible to deliver what was set out in the original planning permission.  The Member thanked the Planning and Enforcement Team Leader (North) for this explanation and indicated that it would have been helpful for that to have been included within the Committee report.  She was disappointed that more social housing had not been negotiated at the time the outline permission had been agreed which she assumed must have been more than three years ago.  It seemed to her that the time between an outline application being permitted and footings actually being constructed was getting longer and she asked if a planning policy could be put in place to reduce that.  The Planning and Enforcement Team Leader (North) explained that, when negotiating outline planning permissions currently, if the developer was saying that it would help the Council to meet the five year housing land supply, a shorter timescale was negotiated for the submission of reserved matters; sometimes that was agreed, for instance, the latest Fiddington decision.  Large sites such as these took a long time to build out so the final phase would come a significant time after the first phase.   The Member asked whether the developer could subsequently come back and ask for more time and the Planning and Enforcement Team Leader (North) advised that although the developer could not be forced to complete within a period of time, the development could be required to commence within a certain period – a variation to the planning permission for an extension of time could not be negotiated as that was not allowed in planning law.

7.32           It was proposed and seconded that the application be approved in accordance with the Officer recommendation.  The proposer of the motion felt it would be beneficial to consider including a policy within the Joint Strategic Plan which committed developers to delivering an application within a certain period of time.  Upon being put to the vote, it was

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

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