Agenda item

72675: St Johns Garden Centre, Roundswell, Barnstaple, EX31 3FA

Hybrid planning application comprising the following: Outline application occupying a total area of 1.44 hectares consisting of a garden centre of up to 6,000 sq. m. (gross external floor area), car parking and, other associated ancillary infrastructure; and


Full planning permission for a petrol filling station and associated shop and drive-thru coffee shop, occupying a total gross floor area of 1,215 sq. m. including the completion of a Toucan crossing on the eastern arm of the Roundswell Roundabout (amended description, plans & Flood risk assessment).


Report by Service Manager (Development Management) (attached).


The Committee considered a report by the Service Manager (Development Management) (circulated previously).


The Service Manager (Development Management) addressed the Committee and advised that:


·       The application was a hybrid application covering a site of 1.44 hectares which included the provision of a garden centre, carpark and associated infrastructure.  The full application included a petrol filling station,shop and ‘drive-thru’ coffee shop.

·       The extant planning was for a garden centre.


The Service Manager (Development Management) provided the Committee with the:


·       Location plan- the site was on the eastern side of Roundswell, with the employment hub to the west side of the roundabout.

·       Proposed site plan in relation to the full application and the outline application.

·       The scheme elevations, floor plans, canopy elevations, street scenes and landscaping mitigation.

·       Photos of the site and its access to the B3232

·       Views of the site and the surrounding boundaries.


The Service Manager (Development Management) advised that:


·       The application should be considered as a roadside services facility.

·       Highway safety for pedestrians was a key issue for the site’s use. There was an existing uncontrolled crossing which would become controlled through this proposal.

·       The applicant had previously made arrangements with Devon County Council (DCC) and paid £200,000 for the provision of a toucan crossing by DCC. This had not been provided.

·       Paul Young of DCC was in attendance, but it was noted that although DCC had expressed concerns over the safety of the access, no written evidence had been provided to the Planning Authority.

·       There would be little impact on neighbouring residents as there were fair distances between the site and the nearest neighbours, however, acoustic screening would be installed.

·       If the application was successful, additional conditions would be required.


Richard Fritter (supporter) addressed the Committee.


The Corporate and Community Services Officer read a statement from Sarah Newton (objector) to the Committee.


David Onions (agent) addressed the Committee.


In response to questions from the Committee, the Senior Planning Officer (SM) advised the crossing area included dropped kerbs. There would be a crossing within the site boundary but that none was required on the B-road. She confirmed this would be outside of the ownership of this application.


Paul Young of DCC addressed the Committee.


The Service Manager (Development Management) advised that:


·       There was an existing uncontrolled crossing in situ across the B-road. It was not within the control of the applicant to provide a controlled crossing.

·       Works had taken place on site and it had been deemed extant. This had been scrutinised extensively with the legal team and the Chief Executive.

·       The application was being considered under exceptional circumstances. The need for services along that stretch of the A39 had been considered and plans would be required to provide such facilities.


In response to questions from the Committee, the Service Manager (Development Management) confirmed:


·       The preference was to achieve biodiversity onsite where possible. Although a project was in progress with the Biosphere and AONB to select sites to be used to mitigate adverse effects on the environment.

·       The design focus for this site was of ‘green/nature’.  

·       Increased emphasis was required on the green energy provision of the fuel station, with more electric vehicle (EV) charging stations rather than petrol pumps.

·       The location of the site along the A39 was key in the consideration of the application with access to an electrical supply.


RESOLVED that it being 11.48 a.m. the meeting be adjourned for a five minute comfort break and reconvene at 11.53 a.m.


RESOLVED, that it being 11.53 am the meeting continue in order for the remaining business to be transacted.


In response to a request from the Committee, the Service Manager (Development Management) reconfirmed the planning proposal (in brief) as per page 77 of the agenda report.


RESOLVED (8 for, 4 against) that the application be DEFERRED for two cycles for the following reasons:


a.    To see if there was appetite to resolve the highways issues with Devon County Council.

b.    To seek to improve sustainability on site, including compliance with the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), and

c.     To look at the character and identity of the proposals.

Supporting documents: