Agenda item

65448: Land at Westacott, North of A361, Landkey

Outline Application (With All Matters Reserved Except Access) For Up To 820 Dwellings, Up To 0.28ha Neighbourhood Hub, Up To 1.9ha Employment Uses, Primary School, Community Sports Provision & A Network Of Open Spaces Together With Highways & Other Infrastructure Works (Amended Plans). Report by Lead Planning Officer (attached).



The Committee considered a report by the Lead Planning Officer (circulated previously).


The Lead Planning Officer advised of the following corrections to be made to the committee report:


·       The area of land edged in blue on the plan showing the site allocation was in the control of the applicant Barwood however it did not form part of this planning application.

·       Section 106 Agreement Heads of Terms and Viability – paragraph 12.3, reference to the “Serviced Primary School site” should state “1.8 hectare” as Devon County Council had requested a total of 1.8 hectare (1.3ha and 0.5ha for expansion) for the new primary school site.


The Lead Planning Officer advised that Matt Collins, Devon County Council Highways Officer was in attendance.


Nick Mathews (representing the applicant) addressed the Committee.


Sue Petters (Assistant Town Clerk for Barnstaple Town Council) advised that Rob Ward was unable to attend and confirmed that she did not wish to address the Committee.


In response to questions, the Lead Planning Officer advised the following:


·       It was proposed that the viability of the scheme would be reviewed half way through the construction of the development.  If the target sales within the viability assessment were exceeded then it was anticipated that a share of the profit would be used to deliver additional affordable housing.  There would not be a “downward review” in relation to the provision of affordable housing and the minimum number of affordable housing units delivered on the site would be 82.

·       The Park and Change parking areas could be used more flexibly for onward travel such as for public transport or traveling by bike to onward destinations.

·       The construction of a new primary school would form part of the phasing plan.  The community hub was at the heart of the scheme, however the key spine road needed to be constructed and survey works for the school needed to undertaken prior to construction works commencing on the new primary school. There would be a quantum of housing delivered first and the school would be delivered at the earliest point in the scheme.

·       Devon County Council Public Health had requested a financial contribution towards the expansion of the existing medical centre provision in the town.  It would not be used for the provision of a new facility. This financial contribution would be released to the NHS at the earliest opportunity.  The Council would work with the NHS in relation to the drafting of the section 106 agreement to tie the financial contribution to a particular scheme.

·       There was no local plan policy in relation to the occupancy of dwellings.

·       The Housing Infrastructure Fund would enable an additional 3% affordable housing units to be provided as part of the development.

·       The community hub would be provided by the developer.  If it could not be provided then section 106 financial contributions would be sought.

·       Due to the uncertainty of the access road being provided through the park, the masterplan would secure a secondary road which would terminate at the boundary and would be aligned to the proposed accesses shown on the adjoining development site. This would allow for the roads to be linked in the future.  There were limited points on the site that the secondary road could be provided to ensure onward connectivity. Devon County Council had recommended that conditions be included regarding points of access to the boundary of the site.

·       Devon County Council Children’s Services in their consultation response dated 21 January 2019 advised that the Barnstaple primary school provision was now at capacity across the entire town.  Orchard Vale primary school was at capacity.  The primary school provision was likely to attract pupils from the Landkey and areas nearby.

·       There was no planning policy on self build properties and it did not form part of this scheme.

·       If the application was refused it would have a significant impact on the 5 year housing land supply. The development was ready to be delivered and the scheme included a phasing plan.  The developer would commence the scheme in 12 months and the Council was seeking an early delivery within the next 2 years.  80 housing units would be provided per annum and would be a significant contribution to the 5 year housing land supply.


In response to questions, Matt Collins, Devon County Council Highways Officer advised the following:


·       The Park and Exchange would be used mainly for parking.  Devon County Council would wish to secure the management arrangements for this site, which would include the management of the site and arrangements for charging.

·       Devon County Council would be working with the bus company and initially 1 new bus service would be provided which would be increased to 2 as the number of houses increased on the development.

·       There was a potential for people travelling to Barnstaple from the South Molton side of town to use the Park and Change facility.

·       The Park and Change facility would remove a small number of vehicle movements from the South Molton/Landkey direction traveling through the town centre.


In response to questions, the Service Manager (Development Management) advised the following:


·       The current Joint Local Plan did not include self build, however the Council was taking the housing crisis seriously and considering what actions could be taken.  These would be considered as part of the review of the Joint Local Plan.


RESOLVED (unanimous) that the application be APPROVED as recommended by the Lead Planning Officer.


The Committee requested that a letter be sent to the Government expressing its concerns regarding the current housing crisis.

Supporting documents: