Issue - decisions

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

31/01/2022 - 72675: St Johns Garden Centre, Roundswell, Barnstaple, EX31 3FA

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

 

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

 

·         The extant planning permission for the site was for the relocation of the St John’s Garden Centre, subject to amendments.

·         The application had previously been deferred due to concerns which were

o   To see if there was appetite to resolve the highways issues.

o   To seek to improve sustainability on site.

o   To look at the character and Identity of the proposal.

 

·      In response to these three issues, the Service Manager (Development Manager) confirmed that:

 

·         The applicant team had tried to work with Devon County Council Highways (DCCHW) to come to an alternative solution aside from the extant permission where £200,000 had been paid to deliver a Toucan crossing but DCCHW had provided no evidence to the Planning Authority to consider. The applicant team had provided advice from Queens Counsel regarding this lack of evidence and the implications for the Local Planning Authority in terms of making a decision without sound evidence.

·         It was apparent from the previous planning committee meeting that the proposed Garden Centre and fuel station were not giving concerns but that the resulting increase in pedestrians along the route, from the Drive-Thru and retail units, was the key issue. 

·         The possibility of preventing pedestrians from crossing the A39 had been explored but DCCHW commented that this would require a Stopping-Up Order, for which no certainty could be provided, and could not be a condition on any planning approval.

·         This was not a standard fuel station and was the first of its kind on this main route. The emphasis was on electric vehicles. The number of electric charging points provided would increase to 15. There was an emphasis on future electric chargers but there would be a requirement to provide some petrol/diesel initially although this would be on a smaller scale than traditional fuel stations with a much smaller fuel tank.

·         The applicants had considered carefully, wooden cladding and greening for the site, albeit there were limited options available. The surrounding developments were commercial, with many having flat roofs. It was not considered out of context when compared with the Node Cowork building on the opposite site. It was considered that a pitched roof would increase the overall mass and bulk.

 

Richard Fritter (supporter) and Oliver A’Court (supporter) addressed the Committee.

 

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

 

David Onions (agent) addressed the Committee.

 

Councillor Walker (Ward Member for an adjoining ward addressed the Committee).

 

Councillor Knight (Ward Member for an adjoining ward addressed the Committee).

 

Paul Young, Highways Officer of DCC Highways addressed the Committee in response to a request from the Committee. He advised the Committee:

 

·         He objected to the application and disagreed with the developers’, consultants’ and Queens Counsel’s findings.

·         DCC, the Police Authority and the Parish Councils had raised concerns over the plans.

·         The £200,000 paid by the applicant to DCC had been set aside and did not oblige DCC to provide a toucan crossing. The principle for a crossing of that type was considered no longer acceptable.

 

In response to a question from the Committee, the Service Manager (Development Management) advised that the Heritage Officer had confirmed their conclusion that the development provided ‘less than substantial harm’.

 

RESOLVED (6 for, 5 against) that the application be approved as recommended by the Senior Planning Officer subject to   the arrangements for the discharge of condition 43 being amended to “That prior to the commencement of the development the details of the design of the toucan crossing across the A39 shall be submitted and called-in to the Planning Committee for consideration”.

 


25/11/2021 - 72675: St Johns Garden Centre, Roundswell, Barnstaple, EX31 3FA

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.