Change of use of land and erection of 3 dwellings. Report by the Lead Planning Officer (Major applications) (attached).
The Committee considered a report by the Lead Planning Officer (Major Applications) (circulated previously).
In response to questions by the Committee, the Lead Planning Officer (Major Applications) advised the following:
· The plot was not adopted by North Devon Council (NDC).
· It was a public open space which should have been transferred to local authority ownership on completion of the site. This transfer had not taken place. NDC had managed the area until it had been privately sold.
· Considerations should be made regarding:
o It was considered to be a cramped development
o The bedrooms did not meet the preferred minimal standards for dwellings
o The application stated it would be a ‘car free development’ which would be unlikely.
o Impact on hedgerows had not been considered
o The site did not have the benefit of a DEFFRA small-site metric.
Ann Hardy (of Rowan Homes South West) (applicant) addressed the Committee.
Statements from objectors; Lyn Simmons and Patricia Gillibrand were read to the Committee by the Corporate and Community Services Officer.
The Legal Officer advised that there was a Section 52 agreement in place which required the transfer of the land. This was a complex issue as the original developer of the site had gone into liquidation. The receivers had sold the land. Negotiations were taking place.
In response to questions from the Committee, the Legal Officer confirmed that NDC had maintained the plot for 20 years, under mandatory arrangements. However this did not provide the authority with any additional rights.
In response to questions from the Committee, the Lead Planning Officer (Major Applications) advised that on consulting with the Parks Team it had been noted that their view was that if the development was approved then there should be a Section 106 agreement to provide off-site provision of an open space. It was however considered that to off-set and remove the area would not be good ‘place making’ in contravention of DM09 of the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan.
The Service Manager (Development Management) advised that it was about good ‘place-making’ and to avoid creating high-density development and reconfirmed the possible consequences for other areas of public open space in the surrounding area.
Councillor Walker addressed the Committee as Ward Member.
Councillor Prowse advised the Committee that he had been involved with the original planning of Roundswell in the late 1980s and had noted that public open spaces had been intentionally added to provide green spaces to the design. He noted that the three original developers were all no longer trading but had been ‘restructured’ in different companies. He noted that an audit of those spaces should be performed.
In response, the Chair confirmed that any spaces should be listed within the Council’s list of assets.
In response to questions from the Committee, the Lead Planning Officer (Major Applications) confirmed that should the application be refused the land would need to be returned as public open space and therefore any fencing removed in order to make the space accessible.
RESOLVED (11 for, 0 against, 1 Abstained) that the application be REFUSED as recommended by the Lead Planning Officer (Major Applications).