Demolition of existing flats & erection of 18 Houses &13 Flats in two blocks.
Cllr Peter Barrow and Cllr David Gray moved to the public seating area of the room and did not take part in the debate or vote for this application.
Cllr Kelvin Clayton did not take part in the debate and abstained during voting on this application.
The Senior Planning Officer presented the application for the demolition of the existing flats and erection of 18 houses and 13 flats, comprised of 100% affordable housing within the Defined Development Boundary for Weymouth. The scheme would offer a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership that would assist in meeting the high level of local housing demand. There were presently 1777 people on the Weymouth & Portland housing register and the housing team would have an input into the allocations with regard to a local letting policy. The scheme was considered suitable in terms of highways standards.
Members were shown the proposed site plan, aerial view and a number of artists impressions and photographs detailing the change in level of the site from north to south and the relationship of the site to the surrounding area, in particular, to Southill Primary School. The potential for construction traffic to interfere with the footpath had been recognised as a potential safety issue and could be dealt with via a construction management plan to cover matters such as vehicle movements/timing and wheel washing.
The Development Manager referred to the update sheet containing minor amendments to the wording of the recommendation and condition 5 that had been circulated to the Committee at the meeting.
Beth Chalker addressed the Committee in objection to the application, raising issues in relation to overbearing, density of dwellings per hectare in comparison with other areas of Southill, increase in number of occupants, traffic and noise, impact on road safety and width of the existing footpath. She considered that the application contradicted Adopted Local Plan policy ENV12 in relation to the design and positioning of buildings and asked whether a full impact analysis had been carried out for Southill Primary School.
Jonathan Dixon addressed the Committee in objection to the application, drawing attention to the density of the development and Adopted Local Plan Policy ENV16 in relation to the impact on amenity given the threefold increase in numbers of people living on the site. The deficiency in the allocated parking would see an increase in numbers of vehicles parking in Sycamore Road.
Stephen Hairsine addressed the Committee in support of the application, highlighting inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the local press with regard to the development. He stated that although stress had been caused by the length of time, the residents of Marchesi House were in support of the scheme and many objections had been addressed at the last open day. Ongoing uncertainty was unnecessary and he urged the Committee to approve the application.
Cllr Peter Barrow addressed the Committee as the Dorset Council Ward Member for Radipole. He confirmed that the 200 objections were truthful representations of the community, who did not want to stop the development altogether. The proposal did not comply with Adopted Local Plan Policy ENV16 in relation to neighbourhood amenity or ENV12 with regard to the design and positioning of buildings and was not in keeping with the Southill area which had a distinct character. There would be significant increase in traffic through a restricted access and additional vehicle movements along Sycamore Road. He requested a permanent access from Radipole Lane and reduction in density of the development.
Cllr Christine James, Weymouth Town Councillor, stated that Weymouth Town Council had voted against this proposal due to the density of the development and impact on amenity. She had previously been informed that a separate access onto the site beyond the temporary access for construction would not be possible and questioned whether this would result in less properties.
Tom Whild, the agent, spoke in support of the application. He said that the current building was dated and had no future. The proposal was for 100% affordable housing and so would be of significant benefit. The scheme had been designed to minimise its impact and make best use of the site.
The Highways Officer, who had been involved in work around safe routes to school, confirmed that the existing access worked well and had a good safety record whereas an access from Radipole Lane could cause further problems. It was likely that residents from the proposed development could avoid peak school run times. The footpath surrounding the development provided good visibility from Sycamore Road into Radipole Lane and, whilst appreciating concerns for children's safety, the application could not be refused on highways grounds.
Members were advised that the density of the site of 77.5 dwellings per hectare was not unique and was reflective of sites that included flats. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) encouraged making the most efficient use of land and this was a self-contained development that established an identity of its own, taking advantage of the opportunity offered by the levels of the site in an area that already had a mix of properties. It was considered that the scheme would not impact on amenity in terms of lack of privacy.
Members considered that this was a large development for the area that would result in a significant increase in the number of people. Some felt that a smaller development would be more appropriate. Comment was also made in relation to layout and location of the flats on the site, the shortfall in parking provision, the availability of free parking at the nearby shopping centre, the provision of cycle storage and access to the local cycle network, and the lack of a bus service. The need for affordable housing and that the existing building was not fit for purpose was also acknowledged.
Proposed by Cllr David Shortell, seconded by Cllr Nick Ireland.
Decision: That the application be delegated to the Head of Planning to grant planning permission subject to the completion of a legal agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act to secure provision and tenure of Affordable Housing in accordance with Planning Policy and subject to the planning conditions (as amended in the update sheet) outlined in the appendix to these minutes.