Report by Senior Planning Officer (North) (attached).
The Committee considered a report by the Senior Planning Officer (North) (circulated previously).
The Lead Planning Officer (North) addressed the Committee and advised:
· The application was called in by the Ward Member; Councillor Gubb.
· The plans show the three proposed open-market dwellings to the North of the site. Each had a small front garden (to the South) and a decking area to the rear.
· There had been no representations from the home owners of the properties in front of the site. There was a distance between the existing and proposed properties which included the parking spaces.
· The site was included within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) however it was within a developed area of Combe Martin.
· The archaeology report had been accepted by Devon County Council (DCC).
· A Section 106 agreement would be required.
· The parking provision of two spaces per dwelling was acceptable.
· The main issue with the application was in regards to the highways.
· The site access was a narrow sloped access road from the A399.
· The access route had inadequate visibility.
· The site would create 18 to 24 additional vehicle movements per day.
· The opinion of was that the application did not comply with Policy DM05 of the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan and had significant impact on the highway.
· An access width of 4.1m was the standard of a private drive. The width of the proposed access to the site would be 3.3m
· The Highways consideration (covered on pages 38 to 40 of the agenda) was read out (in part) to the Committee.
John Woodward (agent) addressed the Committee.
In response to questions from the Committee, Paul Young of Devon County Council (DCC) Highways confirmed:
· DCC Highways had raised a number of objections. The objection in relation to the drainage on site had now been resolved.
· The main issue was the access onto the highway. The junction had poor visibility from the access road to the A399. To the immediate west was on-street parking which provided parking for up to one hour. This was well used and cars were able to park overnight at the location. When vehicles were parked the available visibility was reduced to 12 metres.
· The preferred width of an access road was 4.1m. The proposed access would be only 3.3m. This was sub-standard.
· The gradient of the access would be 1 in 7; increasing to 1 in 4 / 1 in 5. The preferred standard was 1 in 15. If there was any rain or ice on the road surface it would be difficult to access the site.
· The access radii was substandard on to the A399. Vehicles would have to straddle the centre of the A399 to gain access or encroach on to the yellow hatch area outside the fire station.
· Despite the fact that there had been no recorded accidents for the junction over the past five years, the lack of data did not prove that the location was safe. Highways maintained that the proposed access via the junction would be unsafe.
· Three dwellings currently used the site for parking. It was expected that those dwelling would still be permitted to park on the site. Therefore, with the three new dwellings the vehicles movements would double from the existing figures. Highways had spoken to the applicant previously regarding the possibility of limiting the available parking although it was deemed that this would only move the problem on to a different location in the village.
· There had been many applications (also at other locations) where there had been mention of safety issues caused by excess run-off (water and ice) over footpaths. The initial objections due to drainage had been resolved due to a soakaway system being created further up on to the site.
· Any difficulties for vehicles caused by the gradient would also cause problems for pedestrians. North Devon Council’s Building Control office would be involved in considering any difficulties faced by pedestrians.
Darren Collacott (applicant) addressed the Committee.
In response to further questions from the Committee the Lead Planning Officer (North) advised that any issues regarding accessibility/disabled access would be covered by the architect’s plans.
Councillor Gubb addressed the Committee as Ward Member.
In response to questions from the Ward Member, Paul Young of DCC Highways confirmed:
· The plans of the site showed parking for the three new dwellings, plus the existing three spaces used. The consideration was for parking for six dwellings, DCC looked at the issues in conjunction with the gradient and visibility issues.
· There had been no accidents recorded within 200m of the junction within the last five years. However there had to be material consideration as although there was no data, the junction could not be considered as safe. It was an existing sub-standard access route which would have additional traffic from the site.
· Although sites with similar gradients in the area may, or may not have been given permission, each site was assessed based on its own merits.
RESOLVED (unanimous) that the application be APPROVED as the site was deemed to be a substantial site, compliant with policy, which outweighed (DCC) Highway’s objections subject to;
a) A Planning obligation securing appropriate contributions towards Public Open Space, and
b) Appropriate and relevant conditions, with power delegated to the Lead Planning Officer to determine the exact wording of the planning obligations and planning conditions, subject to prior consultation with the Ward Member.