Decisions

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Decisions published

09/09/2020 - Adjournment of Meeting ref: 502    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Planning Committee

Made at meeting: 09/09/2020 - Planning Committee

Decision published: 17/09/2020

Effective from: 09/09/2020

Decision:

RESOLVED that it being 12.05 p.m. the meeting be adjourned for a five minute comfort break and reconvene at 12.10 p.m.

 


09/09/2020 - 71912: Application for a non material amendment to planning permission 71405 to change approved timber cladding to a composite material for the elevations, Tarka Tennis Centre, Seven Brethren Bank, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 2AS ref: 504    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Planning Committee

Made at meeting: 09/09/2020 - Planning Committee

Decision published: 17/09/2020

Effective from: 09/09/2020

Decision:

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Place (circulated previously).

 

Molly Leonard (agent) addressed the Committee.

 

RESOLVED that it being 1.00 p.m. that the meeting continue in order for the remaining business to be transacted.

 

Councillor Knight (in his capacity as Ward Member) addressed the Committee.

 

In response to questions, the Lead Planning Officer (JW) advised that the change of the approved timber cladding to a composite compressed fibre cladding material for the elevations was considered to be more appropriate for a modern design building.  The composite material would visually look like timber and would have a softening impact.  Concerns had been raised regarding the timber claddings ability to stand up to weather erosion.

           

RESOLVED (10 for, 1 abstained, 1 against) that the application be APPROVED as recommended by the Head of Place.

 


09/09/2020 - 70467: Outline application for the erection of 26 dwellings and associated car parking and some matters reserved (appearance and landscaping), Land of Southley Road, South Molton, EX36 4BL ref: 503    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Planning Committee

Made at meeting: 09/09/2020 - Planning Committee

Decision published: 17/09/2020

Effective from: 09/09/2020

Decision:

Councillor Chesters returned to the meeting.

 

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Place (circulated previously).

 

Councillor Marc Cornelius (South Molton Town Council) addressed the Committee.

 

Councillors Henderson and Worden (Ward Members) addressed the Committee.

 

In response to a question, the Planning Officer (DB) confirmed that the application was for the erection of 26 dwellings.

 

In response to questions, the Lead Planning Officer (JW) advised that the land at Mill Street and Pannier Market end of the site were under separate ownership.  The section 106 would require the pavement to be built to an adoptable standard and that the long term aim would be for adoption once  the pavement connected to the public highway by Devon County Council.

 

RESOLVED (9 for, 2 against, 1 abstained) that the application be APPROVED as recommended by the Head of Place.

 


09/09/2020 - 64000: Outline application for residential development for up to 94 dwellings (all matters reserved)(additional ecological information)(amended information), Land at Chivenor Cross, Chivenor, Devon ref: 501    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Planning Committee

Made at meeting: 09/09/2020 - Planning Committee

Decision published: 17/09/2020

Effective from: 09/09/2020

Decision:

Councillor Chesters re-declared her personal interest in the above application and chose to leave the meeting during the consideration of this planning application.

 

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Place (circulated previously).

 

Councillor S. Crowther (Vice-Chair of Heanton Punchardon Parish Council), Graham Townsend (agent) and Stuart Maskell (applicant) addressed the Committee.

 

Councillor Davis (Ward Member) addressed the Committee.

 

In response to questions, the Head of Place advised that the Joint Local Plan was adopted in October 2018.  The Senior Planning Officer (JM) referred to an appeal decision in Torrington whereby the Inspector had come to the conclusion that North Devon and Torridge District Councils were unable to demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing land sufficient to meet their housing requirements as the Councils had insufficient evidence for the current deliverability of the housing land supply.  The lack of a five year housing land supply had a material impact on the determination of future applications.  However, should the application be approved it would have a positive impact on the five year housing land supply.   

 

The Lead Officer Planning Policy advised that since the adoption of the Joint Local Plan, the National Planning Policy Framework had changed the way in which Authority’s could include sites which could contribute to the five year housing land supply.  The Inspector determined as part of the appeal decision in Torrington that emails from developers could not be included as clear evidence of future delivery.  Due to Covid 19 a high level of build out was not anticipated until market confidence was re-established.  The five year housing land supply was determined at a point of time, therefore both Councils needed to maintain a five year supply.  Build out rates will increase and decrease. Both Councils needed to re-establish the five year housing land supply and ensure that there were sufficient deliverable sites.

 

In response to a question, the Senior Planning Officer (JM) advised that it had been proposed by the applicant  to provide 50% affordable dwellings but at that time the site would have been classed as a rural exceptions site and so the starting point was 100%.   Affordable housing reduced only by cross subsided market housing demonstrated through viability.   However, following the Inspector’s appeal decision in Torrington the site was outside of the development boundary and policies ST17 and ST18 applied.  These policies required the provision of affordable housing to be 30% for this development. There was now no planning policy basis to require the provision of 100% or 50%.  If the Committee was minded to approve the application it could attach additional conditions provided that they met the six tests of reasonableness. As the applicant had agreed to policy compliant contributions an independent viability assessment would not be sought.  If the applicant could not deliver the amount of affordable housing required, then the applicant would be required to submit an application to vary the Section 106 agreement.

 

In response to questions, the Highways Officer (PY), Devon County Council addressed the Committee.  He advised that pre-application discussions had taken place during 2017/18, however there had been little engagement with DCC since that time and the applicant had not fully addressed the highways issues that had been raised.  No proposals had been advanced since the initial discussion with the Highways Authority in January 2018.  A transport assessment had been carried out to assess whether the junctions had capacity and rigorously assessed whether the impact of the development would warrant refusal of the application.  It had been concluded that although there would be an increase in traffic, it would not materially have an impact on the junctions.  Within the last two weeks, the applicant had indicated that the highways improvements would be undertaken and included within a section 106 agreement, however the applicant had not provided any detail of the improvements to be made and so he was concerned that the applicant did not appreciate the level of works that were required. The existing crossing near to the Bovis homes housing development was fit for purpose.  A new Toucan crossing would be provided approximately 50-60 metres away from Chivenor and would replace the informal crossing.  The proposed footway to be provided had not been fully identified.  He also expressed concern regarding the potential loss of highway improvements as in other applications these had been removed due to viability.  He advised that DCC had assessed whether any improvements could be made to the junction in the centre of Braunton, however very little improvement could be made and any improvements made would not fully address the traffic congestion.

 

In response to comments made by the Highways Officer, the Senior Planning Officer (JM) advised that the chronology of consultation that had been undertaken with DCC Highways was detailed on page 16 of the report.  Work had been proactively undertaken with the applicant over the past nine months to actively address the concerns that had been raised.  There had been two responses from the Highways Officer and no request had been made, within those responses, for detailed designs for off-site highway improvements.  Therefore, the applicant had not been requested to provide a detailed design. A section 106 agreement and detailed designs for off-site highway improvements could be drawn up.  The most recent consultation response had been received in April 2020.  The Senior Planning Officer (JM) advised any departure from these requirements would result in the scheme coming back to committee.

 

In response to suggestions by the Committee to include additional conditions regarding carbon neutrality, all dwellings were required to be built to modern standards and in accordance with the Building for Life 12 standards and would be considered as part of the reserved matters application.  In relation to a proposed condition to secure a cycleway/footpath at the western end of the development onto the highway, this would also be considered as part of the reserved matters application.  In response to further questions from the Committee, she advised that if the application was deferred for a period of two months it would only result in the receipt of technical drawings for off-site highway improvements from the applicant.  The applicant had already agreed to provide the highways works required by the Highways Officer.  If these improvements could not be provided, then the matter would be brought back to the Committee for consideration.

 

In response to a question, the Head of Place advised that if the application was refused and the applicant appealed, that it was likely that the applicant would be successful on the basis of the five year housing land supply.

 

The Lead Officer Planning Policy advised that the success of any appeal was based on the robustness of any reasons for refusal.

 

The Solicitor advised that North Devon Council and Devon County Council would be required to draft heads of terms and therefore the terms needed to be clear.  Any additional conditions imposed would be required to meet the six tests for imposing planning conditions.

 

In response to the suggestions of the inclusion of additional conditions, the Senior Planning Officer (JM) outlined the six tests for imposing conditions.  In relation to carbon neutrality of dwellings and the inclusion of electric vehicle charging, these would both be considered as part of the reserved matters application.  A condition linking footpaths to the highway would be considered as part of the layout as part of the reserved matters application.

 

RESOLVED (6 for, 5 against, 0 abstained) that the application be APPROVED as recommended by the Head of Place subject to that if there were substantive highways issues that could not be resolved between the Highways Authority and the applicant within the next two months that the application be brought back to the Committee for consideration.

 


09/09/2020 - To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 12th August 2020 ref: 500    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Planning Committee

Made at meeting: 09/09/2020 - Planning Committee

Decision published: 17/09/2020

Effective from: 09/09/2020

Decision:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 12 August 2020 (circulated previously) be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 


08/09/2020 - Legal Services hourly rates ref: 499    Recommendations Approved

Reason(s) for the Decision: Assist with to the Corporate Priority for the Council to achieve financial security, this will allow the legal team to set charges in line with other local authority legal teams and increase the income for the Council. Part 3, All Heads of Service, paragraph 4.5 of the Constitution provides that charges and fees can be set and varied by the Head of Service.


Information: The Council’s Legal Services team currently charges rates based on standardised cost recovery applied across the Council. This takes into account the cost to the Council of the salary of individual officers as well as overheads such as the costs of the maintenance of the offices, paying for training and for things like subscriptions to professional materials and case management systems. On this basis the Council charges the following:

• Senior Solicitor - £74
• Solicitors - £66
• Part-time Solicitor - £60
• Admin. Paralegals - £34
• Apprentice - £15
On review of the charges made by other authorities in Devon and across the country their rates have been collated as follows (this is for section 106 agreement matters in particular):

LOCAL AUTHORITY LEGAL TEAM CHARGE RATE
London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham - £220 per hour in 2015
London Borough of Westminster - £260 per hour (can be £320 in certain circumstances) in 2015
Cheshire East Council - £195 per hour as of 2018
South Gloucestershire Council -£194 per hour
Wyre Council £400 standard fee (under review), rises depending on complexity
Walsall Council - £2,500 minimum unless otherwise agreed
Derbyshire County Council -£1,000 for up to ten hours work and then £46 per hour thereafter.
Bracknell Forest Council - Fixed fee of £1,500 and then £176 per hour thereafter
New Forest District Council - £165 per hour (reduced and fixed fees in particular scenarios)
Dorset Council - £135 per hour
Central Bedfordshire Council -£182 per hour reviewed annually (correct as of 2015)
Torridge District Council - £80 per hour
Torbay Council - £150 per hour – Senior Solicitor
£135 per hour – Senior Lawyer
£120 per hour – Lawyer
£100 per hour – Legal Officer

On liaising with some of these other authorities, Torbay in particular, have applied a “professional premium” to the cost recovery only rates that they charge in order to justify the uplift. This is to reflect the professional status of the individuals carrying out the work, including to recover some of the costs accrued over their career to get the individual to that professional status. We have adopted this principle to allow an uplift to the hourly rates.

The Council can charge at a profit for services it delivers to external public authorities (including other district councils, the county council, parish councils and others, such as colleges and housing associations) pursuant to the Local Authorities (Goods and Services) Act 1970.

For consistency, the legal team’s charges to internal departments will be recorded at the same rate where such charges need to be recorded (such as section 106 agreements, footpath diversions etc).

Consideration has also been given to the rates offered by law firms on framework agreements and to national guideline hourly rates (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/solicitors-guideline-hourly-rates) to ensure that the rates charged are not unduly unfavourable to other public sector organisations or internal departments.

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision published: 14/09/2020

Effective from: 08/09/2020

Decision:

That the Legal Services team charge an hourly rate of:
• £120 for a Senior Solicitor/Lawyer;
• £100 for a Solicitor/Lawyer;
• £80 for a junior Solicitor/Lawyer (fewer than 8 years PQE) and
• £60 for a Paralegal/Apprentice;
Reviewable by the Senior Solicitor on an annual basis

Lead officer: Ken Miles


28/08/2020 - Dangerous Structure Rustic Cottage Gunn Ref no. 20/0539/DS ref: 498    Recommendations Approved

STATEMENT OF THE REASONS FOR THE REQUEST AND WHY IT IS URGENT:
Rustic Cottage is in imminent danger of collapse which will impact both the adjacent highway and cause potential damage to the neighbouring semi-detached property. Action is required under Section 78 of the Building Act 1984 to remove the danger. There is an immediate danger and a cordon cannot be created to protect members of the public, action is therefore required that cannot be delayed to enable a tendering process.
Work to demolish Rustic Cottage has already taken place at a cost of £27,370 plus VAT. However this has left the former party wall which now forms the gable end to the neighbouring cottage exposed and the front elevation of the cottage in an unstable condition. Hence, in conjunction with the demolition works it is necessary to carry out reinstatement works to the gable end to ensure that it is left in a condition that prevents water ingress and ensures that it is structurally sound. Due to the water ingress into the cob construction this is a complex multi-staged operation and the cost estimate is £38,419.00 plus VAT.
Complying with the Contract Procedure Rules by following a procurement process would not have been appropriate given the fact that the works are by definition urgent. Because of the prospect of worsening weather, the second phase of the works, to make the adjoining property weather proof, are also required urgently.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:
Under Section 78 of the Building Act the cost of emergency work can be recharged to the owner of the property. There is a financial risk as the owner could potentially legally challenge the Local Authority on the basis that the works were more than the minimum required to make the structure safe. However, it is considered that this risk is mitigated by the supporting dangerous structures report 20/0539/DS

CHIEF EXECUTIVE'S COMMENTS:
It is essential that the works take place to protect the adjoining properties and the public so I am happy to support his provided recovery from the landowner takes place.

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision published: 07/09/2020

Effective from: 28/08/2020

Decision:

Approval of instruction to contractor to carry out works to make the building safe at an estimated total cost of £65,789.00 plus VAT without complying with the Contract Procedure Rules.

Lead officer: Ken Miles