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Agenda item

21/01013/FUL - Lunn Cottage, Aston Cross, Tewkesbury

PROPOSAL: Erection of 10 dwellings, garages, construction of internal estate road, formation of parking areas and gardens/amenity space.




56.26        This application was for the erection of 10 dwellings, garages, construction of internal estate road, formation of parking areas and gardens/amenity space. 

56.27        The Senior Planning Officer advised that, in terms of the site location, access was located approximately 100 metres south of the junction between the B road north to Aston Cross and the A46 from Tewkesbury to the west.  Access to the proposal through Queen’s Head Close ran through the existing development which was approved in 2017 and the Tirle Brook was located at the south end of the site which was within Flood Zone 2//3 and would be public open space.  The application was supported by all of the required assessments including trees, ecology, highways, transport, drainage and flooding.  As set out in the Committee report, all of the technical concerns in the original submission had been resolved, so there were now no consultee objections outstanding including the Parish Council which had a neutral position as set out in the Committee report.  That said, there had been a number of public objections, principally in relation to highways and access provisions.  The Senior Planning Officer advised that the application included provision for four affordable units and whilst these had not been secured via Section 106 Agreement, he had been asked to emphasise the applicant’s willingness to enter into one should Members resolve to permit the application.  He went on to advise that the application was outside of the Tewkesbury Town settlement boundary which included Ashchurch.  Members would be aware that the borough currently had a housing land supply comfortably exceeding five years which enabled new housing development to be directed toward sustainable locations, for example, market towns, and sites within settlement boundaries of rural service centres and service villages.  In the overall balance of harms and benefits, the proposed development was considered by Officers to be inappropriate in principle, being outside of the development boundary, furthermore, permitting the application would risk undermining the authority’s ability to use the five year housing land supply as a means to directing housing to sustainable locations as part of a plan-led system.  With that in mind, the Officer recommendation was to refuse the application as set out in the Committee report.

56.28         The Chair invited the applicant’s representative to address the Committee. The applicant’s representative indicated that the planning application before Members had been submitted on 9 August 2021 and the Council’s planning portal still confirmed the determination deadline as being 16 December 2021; at that time, the Council had less than four years supply of housing land.  The fact that it had taken another 15 months for the application to reach Committee was entirely due to the Planning Officers failing to deal with it in a timely manner and he assured Members he had made every effort to move the application forward as swiftly as possible.  Therefore, for this application to come to Committee once the Council had decided it had a five year housing land supply – which the Committee would be aware was subject to challenge by other applicants – and for that to be the only reason for recommending refusal after all this time was quite unreasonable, not least because even if a five year supply existed, that was not a cap on development.  A five year supply was a minimum, not a maximum, so there was no imperative to refuse this application and it should be considered on its merits.  In that context, the applicant’s representative confirmed that he was willing to enter into a Section 106 Agreement dealing with affordable housing and education contributions, therefore approval would secure the delivery of much needed affordable housing which was a significant benefit to those in need.  As was clear from the Committee report, the application had generated few objections and the Urban Design Officer had commented that it made a logical extension to the adjoining recently developed site, as such, to recommend refusal only on the basis that the Council was now claiming it had a five year supply was illogical, unjustified and untimely.  In the conclusions section of the Committee report, weighing the balance of benefits and harm, Paragraph 8.41 detailed a significant number of benefits to be derived from this development whilst Paragraph 8.42 set out that the only harm identified was the lack of a Section 106 Agreement to supply affordable housing.  In reality, the Council would not enter into a Section 106 Agreement until planning permission was granted so it was a chicken and egg situation in terms of which came first.  As had been confirmed, the applicant would be happy to enter into a Section 106 Agreement and the Community Infrastructure Levy paperwork had already been completed.  Finally, the plans for the Tewkesbury Garden Town identified development all around the site including some 300 houses in the Severn Bends road, south of Pamington, outside of the current settlement boundary.  It seemed perverse to refuse this application in light of all these plans and the applicant’s representative urged the Committee to permit the application which would provide a sustainable, well-designed and logical extension to this part of Aston Cross.

56.29         The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to refuse the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  A Member indicated that she had been expecting to see something on the plans in respect of the Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) and asked whether that should be included.  She also asked for clarification as to whether surface water run off and its impacts had been assessed, given that the site was located within Flood Zones 2 and 3, whilst recognising that the Lead Local Flood Authority had stated there would be no impact.  In response, the Senior Planning Officer advised that the development would connect to the mains system in terms of foul waste and surface water drainage.  The southern half of the site was within Flood Zones 2 and 3 and the proposed attenuation basin would be underground which was why it was not shown on the plan.  This had been assessed by the Lead Local Flood Authority and found to be acceptable, therefore, the drainage situation had been resolved and did not amount to a reason for refusal.  It was subsequently proposed and seconded that the application be refused in accordance with the Officer recommendation.

56.30         A Member was surprised that no concern had been raised about air quality given the proximity to the A46 where traffic, including Heavy Goods Vehicles, often queued at the Aston Cross traffic lights backing up to Teddington Hands roundabout.  The Senior Planning Officer confirmed that a report had been submitted with the application which had been assessed by the Environmental Health Officer who had raised no objection.  In response to a query as to whether there was an identified need for houses outside of the development boundary in this area, the Development Management Team Leader (Northwest) advised that there was an identified need across the borough but proposals were assessed based on what was considered appropriate in the context of the development plan – there were some instances where the principle of development was considered acceptable but this was not one of those.  Another Member expressed the view that the reasons for refusal were clear and the comments about the five year housing land supply should not detract from them.  Upon being put to the vote, it was

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

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