Demolition of existing private garage blocks and erection of 2 dwellings, with parking provision for existing dwellings and associated works (amended description, red line, plans and additional information). Report by Lead Planning Officer (Major applications) (attached).
The Committee considered a report by the Lead Planning Officer (Major applications) (circulated previously) in relation to planning application 73784.
The Lead Planning Officer (Major Applications) advised the following:
· There were no additional representations received following the close of re-consultation.
· Since the publication of the agenda, a late consultation response had been received from Bishops Nympton Parish Council dated 28 February 2023, which she read to the Committee.
· There had been no other new matters raised as a result of the late consultations received.
· The Property Manager from North Devon Council and the Highways Officer from Devon County Council was present at the Committee meeting to answer any questions.
· There was no longer a requirement to seek a Section 106 agreement and therefore it was recommended that this reference be deleted from the recommendation on page 43 of the report.
Catherine Gaze (objector), Bill Mallinson (objector), Frances Evans (objector), Joy Padworth (objector), Charles Bradfield (objector), Amanda Sing (objector), Ian Cowling (Parish Council representative) and Matthew Steart (agent) addressed the Committee.
In response to questions from the Committee, the Lead Planning Officer (Major applications) advised the following:
· That the proposed scheme would provide four additional car parking spaces.
· The garages were originally built for vehicle parking and to serve the Glebeland Villas development.
· Over a period of time due to the sale of the housing stock there had been a segregation of land ownership.
· The garages were now unsafe for use, however they had been previously available for use and rental by the tenants. Over time this arrangement had ended.
· The occupiers of the majority of properties were tenants of North Devon Homes.
· The 17 spaces proposed were for general parking for residents and would not be allocated to properties.
· A further two spaces were proposed to be provided for short stay drop offs for carers and deliveries for a period of 15 minutes. As it was a privately owned road, North Devon Homes would be responsible for enforcement of the short stay spaces. A longer period could be provided for short stay which could be controlled by a condition.
· There were currently 17 garages which were not available to use as they were unsafe and there were 13 spaces available in front of the garages for parking which had been utilised, however there was no formal agreement in place.
· The proposed development would create 15 new spaces and a further two spaces in a layby for short term parking.
· There was currently the ability to park on street at the lower section of the site, which was an area of 41 meters and accommodated 6.8 vehicles i.e. six vehicles. Due to the width of the road, vehicles could not park either side of the road as it would cause an obstruction.
· North Devon Homes had advised that they would secure the two dwellings as affordable dwellings in a development agreement with North Devon Council outside of the planning system using their own mechanisms.
The Highways Officer (PY), Devon County Council addressed the Committee and advised the following:
· There was a finer geometric layout at Glebeland Villas.
· It was not a public highway maintained by Devon County Council and was maintained by North Devon Homes.
· If vehicles were prohibited from turning, then this was a civil matter for North Devon Homes and affected parties.
· There was a need for a tracking arrangement to be carried out to check whether vehicles could turn, which he did not believe had been carried out. This could be required at a later stage.
The Property Manager of North Devon Council addressed the Committee and advised the following:
· The sale of housing stock was part of the LSVT transfer of assets which took place in 2000 where many sites were transferred over to North Devon Homes.
· Many sites were retained by the Council for specific purposes such as the garages which were let to residents in the short term. The garages had become unsafe due to asbestos and some had been damaged as a result of a vehicle driving into some.
In response to questions, the Highways Officer (PY), Devon County Council advised the following:
· He considered that the parking assessment for this development was the most complicated he had seen for some years in terms of reality and theoretical assessments.
· A number of assumptions had been made. Many years ago the removal of the existing garages would be seen as a loss. Consideration also had to be given to what the reaction would be for the replacement of the garages with modern sized garages. The existing garages were below standard and undersized and had not been used for many years. Was that justification to remove the garages.
· The Highways Authority view was that the garages were derelict and out of commission. If the garages had been allocated to a property, then the occupiers of that property could park in front of their garage. There was a loss of parking, which had been replaced with additional parking. The traffic generation from the two proposed dwellings was not a significantly material consideration to recommend the refusal of this application and would not have an impact of any difficulties currently experienced in relation to turning of vehicles. This proposal provided formal parking spaces. The existing garages due to the size were probably used for garden equipment storage, motorcycles, tools etc, but were not used for cars.
In response to a question from the Committee, the Solicitor and Data Protection Officer advised the following:
· It is a difficult point to answer without knowing the specific details however, there were no “squatters rights” for the occupation of land in front of the existing garages for parking for over a 20 year period as how the spaces had been occupied and by whom over that period could not be ascertained. It was likely that the parking spaces had been occupied by a number of different people over the years and that there had been an interrupted period of use. There would have been a fluid use which would have also included visitors and deliveries.
In response to a question from the Committee, the Property Manager advised the following:
· That following approval of the application, the next stage would be agree with North Devon Homes a way forward in conjunction with Bishops Nympton Parish Council following the comments raised by the Parish Council. A separate report would also need to be presented to the Strategy and Resources Committee regarding the development agreement.
In response to questions from the Committee, the Service Manager (Development Management) advised the following:
· There was not currently a good arrangement in place for the turning of vehicles, as witnessed as the site inspection with the reversing of a food delivery vehicle.
· Informal parking currently took place on site. The land was owned by North Devon Council and this informal parking could be removed at anytime.
· Parking would also be provided for the two new proposed dwellings.
· She considered that it would be a planning betterment as more parking spaces would be provided as part of a formal arrangement and two additional short stay spaces would be provided.
Councillor Yabsley declared an other registerable interest as a Member of Devon County Council.
RESOLVED (unanimous) that the application be REFUSED for the following reason:
(a) The Council do not consider the development to be good place making and contrary to policies DM04 and DM01 “amenity design principles” and paragraph 130 (f) of the National Planning Framework “place making”; and an informative be placed on the decision notice advising the following:
(i) That the Council look corporately at the issue and work together with Bishops Nympton Parish Council and North Devon Homes prior to the submission of a further planning application.