Outline application for the erection of up to 161 residential dwellings, involving the demolition of an existing dwelling (no.18 St Andrews Road) to create a new access onto St Andrews Road, and associated landscaping and open space with some matters reserved (appearance, landscaping, layout and scale) (amended plans). Report by the Lead Planning Officer (Majors) (attached).
The Committee considered a report by the Lead Planning Officer (Majors) (circulated previously).
The Lead Planning Officer (South) provided an update to the Committee pursuant to the deferral of the application on 13 July 2022. Further to the site inspection held on 25 May 2022, the Lead Planning Officer advised the Committee of the proposed location of the 2m acoustic fence as detailed on the plan indicated in blue.
Diane Etheridge (objector), Deborah White (objector), Patricia Ward (objector), Helen Elder (objector), Derrick Slade (objector) and Dan Yeates (agent) addressed the Committee. Helen Elder read a statement on behalf of Mr Harpoll (objector).
The Lead Planning Officer (South) advised that a number of representations had been received since the consultation period ended on 3 August 2022. The total number of objections received were now 191, 14 comments and a petition containing 1,401 signatures. A consultation response had also been received from Fremington Parish Council which was read to the Committee.
In response to questions the Lead Planning Officer (South) advised the following:
· The cross section plan showed the alignment of the site access and the proposed levels at the give way point on the junction. The plan showed the levels of the road approaching St Andrews Road. The plan demonstrated that the light impact would be at the same level and that there were no indentations in the road.
· Read policy DM01 “Amenity Considerations” and the supporting text and policy DMO2 “Environment Protection Policy” to the Committee.
· Light spill into a property was a material consideration, however this needed to be balanced along with the other matters identified. The Environmental Health Officer had not raised a specific objection to the light spill into a particular property. The Council’s own advisors did not consider there was a significant impact to refuse the application.
· The Levelling Up Bill had not yet been enacted and was therefore not a material consideration. In terms of decision making, the start point for passing any application was the statutory development plan; the adopted Joint Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was a material consideration.
· Information relating to the distance to the changing facilities had been provided following a request at the site inspection. Generally people would chose to walk the shortest distance to shops and facilities.
· No alternative vehicle access to the site had been provided by the applicant.
· Reference was made to place making and residential amenity within policies DM01 and DM02 of the Joint Local Plan. Paragraph 130 of the NPPF also referred to achieving well designed places. Paragraph 185 of the NPPF referred to noise.
· The plan submitted for the acoustic boundary fences identified that the land was within the ownership of the applicant which was required to enable the Planning Authority to apply conditions. There was approximately 1 – 1.2m walkway between the fences and habitable rooms of 16 and 20 St Andrews Road.
· The noise acoustic boundary fences demonstrated attenuating sound to a certain point which the Environmental Health Officer considered to be the lowest adverse noise level. The Environmental Health Officer had acknowledged impacts from the development within the consultation response.
· Professional evidence had been submitted by the applicant and the responses from professionals had been included within the first section of the report.
· Where not adopted by DCC the level of upkeep of the road network and the access of agricultural vehicles to Church Farm would form part of a management agreement.
· In terms of contributions of the maintenance of the road, the landowner would have power to include this within the deeds.
· The provision of parking spaces would form part of the reserved matters application.
Paul Young, Highways Officer, Devon County Council addressed the Committee. He advised that there were three elements that the Highways Authority considered in relation to this application: impact on the highway network pre-Yelland planning inquiry, impact on the highway network post the Yelland planning inquiry and immediate impact on the highway network to serve the development. He explained to the Committee how the Highways Authority objection had changed from an objection to no objection. The Highways Authority had sought to secure contributions to the highways infrastructure and improvements to be made at the Wrey Arms and Cedars roundabout junctions. The objection had initially been raised as the applicant was not prepared to secure section 106 contributions for highway improvements. The applicant then agreed to secure section 106 contributions which overcame the Highways Authority objections. The Highways Authority had made steps to raise objections to the planning application for the Yelland site as it considered that there were “severe” highways issues at the Wrey Arms and Cedars roundabout. Within the Yelland Planning Inquiry Appeal decision the Inspectorate did not define “severe”. The Government also provides no definition of “severe”. The Highways Authority definition of “severe” was in relation to queuing traffic during peak times in the morning and afternoon. The Planning Inspectorate did not support this definition of “severe”. As a result of the Planning Inquiry decision, the Highways Authority could not seek section 106 contributions for improvements to the highway network. The road standards on this proposed site met adoptable highways standards of the width between 4.8 - 5.5m. Road traffic movements on the site would be a slow speed environment. The Highways Authority had also considered the immediate access to St Peters and St Andrews Road. The residents had described St Andrews as being a quiet street, therefore there was greater capacity to accommodate an increase in traffic movements. During the highest peak, there would be 90 vehicles movements per hour in the morning. The Highways Authority could not raise objections for this level of traffic movements.
In response to questions, Paul Young, Highways Officer, Devon County Council advised the following:
· The preferred standard for the width of pavements on new developments was between 1.8 – 2m. There was guidance in relation to consideration for mobility. The normal minimum standard was 1.2m and on occasions 1m would be acceptable for short distances. 1.2m width allowed pedestrians and persons with mobility issues to pass each other, however there would be difficulty for example if a person with mobility issue had to pass a person with a pushchair.
· The site was easy to design to meet the appropriate standards.
· The widths of the footways at St Andrews and St Peters met the 1.2m requirement.
· The Highways Authority would seek to adopt the road within the site to full highway standards. It would not preclude agricultural vehicle usage.
· The Highways Authority sought to secure 2 parking spaces per property for the Fremington camp site and would seek to secure 2 parking spaces per property for this site also.
Councillor Biederman (in his capacity as Ward Member) addressed the Committee and advised that the comments that he made as Ward member did not mean that he didn’t have an open mind. He would vote once he had listened to all of the debate.
RESOLVED that it being 12.10 pm that the meeting be adjourned for five minutes to allow for the mover and seconder of the motion to finalise the wording of the motion and be reconvened at 12.15 pm
RESOLVED (unanimous) that the application be REFUSED for the following reasons:
a) The proposal was contrary to policy DM01 “Amenity considerations” of the adopted North Devon Joint Local Plan by reason of significant detriment to amenity that would be caused by the proposal compared to the relative peace and tranquillity enjoyed by the residents of St Andrews Road, St Peters Road and Church Farm. This disturbance would arise from noise, light intrusion, traffic movements and loss of privacy.
b) The proposal for major development on a non-allocated site was contrary to policy ST04 “improving the quality of development” and also policy DMO4 “Design Principle” of the adopted North Devon Joint Local Plan by reason of its poor relationship with the pattern of development of the village and unsatisfactory access arrangements as noted by the independent design review panel in its consultation report dated 1 December 2021. The proposal does not represent quality place making as required by the NPPF as detailed in paragraphs 104 (d), 126, 130 and 134 which seeks to achieve well designed places and was also included in guidance set out in the National Design Guide.
c) Contrary to policy ST14 “Conserving most versatile agricultural land” of the North Devon Joint Local Plan and paragraph 174 of the NPPF as the application site was predominantly grade 3a best and most versatile agricultural land which represented limited environmental resource.