Proposal: Outline application (All matters reserved except for access and associated link road); with up to 386 dwellings (Class C3); up to 1000sqm of retail units (Classes A1-A5); up to 900sqm of offices (Class B1) and up to 2200sqm of foodstore (Class A1); together with accesses, a link road and associated highway works, public open space including SANG, allotments, landscaping and associated works.
The Major Projects Officer presented the report showing members all the relevant plans and drawings. The committee was advised that the application site comprised of 20.2ha of green field land and was located to the south-east of the intersection of the A347 and B3073, in the Parley Cross area, the local centre of the village. The A347 and the B3073 connected to the site east to west and north to south to the surrounding area.
The Major Projects Officer reported a number of updates to the committee including that additional comments had been received from East Dorset Environment Partnership. However these issues did not include any matter relevant at outline stage that had not already been addressed within the report. Some matters did relate to the details to be submitted at reserved matter stage and where relevant would be included within an informative note.
Members were also advised that two further neighbour representations had been received, but no new issues had been raised. In respect of paragraph 8.5.2 and 8.11.2 of the report the reference to policy should be updated to read FWP6. In respect of employment opportunities, the applicant had confirmed that the proposal had the potential to deliver up to 207 new FTE positions. In relation to the location of the SANG car parking provision, the access to this was to be provided from either the link road, New Road or Christchurch Road, with the final location of the car park to be determined in consultation with Natural England. Members were also advised that in recommendation B the “Head of Planning Services” should be amended to read “Legal Services Manager”.
The committee was informed that the site had a Public Right of Way that crossed east to west connecting Church Lane to New Road and the land was allocated within the Christchurch and East Dorset Local Plan Core Strategy. The outline application was for the construction of up to 386 dwellings, new local centre comprising of up to 1000sqm of retail units, 900sqm of offices and 2200sqm of food store. The application would include access from Christchurch Road and New Road, a link road which is forecast to alleviate congestion at Parley Cross, and associated highway works, open space, including SANG, allotments, landscaping and associated works; and a children’s play area.
Members were reminded that the plan shown was indicative and demonstrated what could be delivered on the proposed site. The committee was asked to note that these designs were not set in stone.
The Major Projects Officer continued that the majority of properties abutting the site were located within Church Lane adjacent to the proposed SANG area and it was unlikely that there would be any unacceptable disturbance to amenity. The development facing the site from Christchurch Road and New Road would also not be detrimentally affected and would see improvements to amenity as a result of the reduction in traffic and congestion in the area.
The proposed site was not within the green belt area, but parts of the SANG proposal were shown in parts of the green belt. However this was an appropriate green-belt use and would not be considered to impact on the openness of the green-belt.
In respect of the retail space and food store, the Major Projects Officer confirmed that a Sequential Test and assessment of the impact of the whole retail offering had been submitted. The test concluded that the impacts associated with the proposal were low and represented no threat to the vitality and viability of local town centres.
The site was located within the Bournemouth Airport safeguarding zone and members were advised that the airport had raised no objection to the proposals, but had indicated a number of detailed considerations to be secured and addressed through conditions. The public footpath could be accommodated within the proposed residential layout, SANG and this would be addressed through the Design Code and at the reserved matters stage.
In respect of public transport, there was a bus route which passed the site north to south which could be accommodated in the proposal; however this along with any proposed cycle path would be addressed as part of the link road development.
Members were informed that in respect of the housing mix and affordable housing contribution, the housing mix did differ from that identified in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA). The proposal would secure a good mix of properties including larger accommodation for affordable rent. But also provided a good mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom market units. The proposed affordable housing would be 19% of the site.
In terms of community facilities the Major Projects Officer confirmed that the following would be secured; contributions to Education, transport improvements towards a new clinical consulting room. It also included contributions to a new community facility at the Sports and Social Club to provide a wide ranging community centre and other contributions included, allotments and a children’s’ play area.
Oral representations objecting to the planning application were received from Keith Hern, Jean Heaton of the British Horse Society and Tom Blythe. Those objecting to the proposal stated that there was no evidence to prove a demand for another large food store in the area when there were others within a 5 minute drive or short bus trip away. They also challenged the need for additional office space when there were vacant properties at a local business park. Concerns were expressed regarding the existing infrastructure which was considered inadequate and insufficient to cope with traffic and that local schools and GPs could not cope with the increased demand.
There were further concerns expressed that the link road would not work as planned and would create additional traffic issues for the area. There were concerns expressed regarding the loss of green belt land and the development had not been considered in light of other housing developments already in the area. It was considered that the local planning authority had not listened to these points raised or views of the local community. Jean Heaton indicated that she was concerned for the long-term safety of local horse riders and that the proposed link road would create a dangerous environment for those crossing the B0373. She requested that more links across Parley Common be introduced for horse rider’s safety and asked that the committee think about the safety of the horse riding community when making their decision.
Oral representations were received from the Chairman of the West Parley Parish Council, Cllr Philip Bamborough. Cllr Bamborough expressed concerns in respect of the information relating to the access, link road indicating that the detail was inadequate. He asked if the material to be used would be horse and cycle safe. He also advised that planning needed to take a strategic view of the whole area and consider the long term impact of the infrastructure, including the proposed development at the airport. There was also concern that SuDs would attract birds causing a hazard for local aircraft.
Cllr Andrew Parry, Local Ward Members was invited to address the committee and speak on behalf of the local community.
Cllr Parry advised that they should not underestimate the strength of feeling within the West Parley community regarding their concerns about the proposed development. He advised that residents were unhappy about the loss of the green space and the green belt land. The development would be detrimental to West Parley and surrounding towns and villages. The proposed retail and business units would have a negative impact on the area and it was considered that these proposals were not demand lead.
If members were minded to approve that application, he asked them to consider rejecting the business element of the proposal. He also asked the committee to consider the proposal in the light of the council’s declaration of a national climate emergency and challenged if the proposal had been considered against this declaration. He also stated that it was disappointing that the original affordable housing allocations would not be met and there were concerns around the viability of the link road proposal.
Oral representations were received from Lorraine Southwood on behalf of the applicant who advised that the proposed development would create new homes with community benefits and a much needed link road for the area. She understood the depth of local feeling in respect of the application, but advised that the proposal did accord with the requirement of the Local Plan New Neighbourhood Policy and was in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework. The applicant advised that they had consulted widely and considered need against these policies. The proposal represented sustainable development for the area including the allocation of affordable dwellings.
The Chairman invited Steve Savage, Transport Development Liaison Manager to address the committee and respond to some of the comments relating to highway issues. He confirmed that the Transport Statement was satisfactory and robust. The proposed forward funding would enable to the link road to be in place prior to the proposed development of the site and so offer relief to local congestion. He also confirmed that the proposals for the airport had been taken into account as part of the modelling results.
In response to some of the issues raised the Development Management Manager advised that there had been a number of representations made and these had all been carefully considered and part of the application process. Education need had been considered and section 106 contributions would be sought. Members were advised that the proposal for the site accorded with the requirements of the Local Plan and the Core Strategy. The parameter plan had been submitted and provided confidence that the proposal would be distributed across the site in a way that would not have an adverse impact on the Dorset heathlands or green belt area.
At this stage of the meeting and following advice from the Senior Solicitor, Cllr B Ezzard indicated that she would not take part in the debate or vote on the application; she had arrived late to the meeting and had not heard all of the officer’s presentation.
In response to questions, the Planning Officer advised that climate issues were considered in accordance with planning policies. A cycle way, public footpath and public allotments were all proposed for the site. Renewable energy had also been considered. The application also included an Ecological Appraisal and Biodiversity Mitigation Plan. In respect of the concern that SuDs would attract birds causing a hazard for local aircraft, members were advised that in was anticipated that the SANG would only attract small birds and the airport were not objecting to the proposal.
In response to a further question regarding the evidence for a food store and it not impacting existing stores, the Major Projects Officer advised that the retail assessment was subject to independent scrutiny by a retail consultant who confirmed the original findings of the Sequential test.
Members were disappointed about the percentage of affordable housing, but acknowledged that the proposal had to be considered as a whole. However it was requested that the condition relating to social housing element be strengthened to read as follows:-
“Review of affordable housing viability at mid-point of the development with any additional affordable housing found viable to be delivered on-site, provided that this review does not result in a reduction in the percentage of affordable housing units to be provided below 19%.” This amendment was agreed by the committee.
In respect of reserved matters members were advised that the submission of a design code was subject to a condition of the application. Reserved matters could come back to committee in accordance with the constitution, should this be considered appropriate. In summing up the Major Projects Officer confirmed that officers had worked with the local community and engaged with the design and access statement. The changes to proposal had been made as part of the consultation process.
Overall members welcomed that application and considered the scheme to be sustainable and reasonable. The community facility proposals would bring benefits to the area and work opportunities through the business element of the proposal.
It was proposed by Cllr S Bartlett seconded by Cllr M Dyer that the application be:-
APPROVED as amended and as set out in the appendix to these minutes.