Outline application to demolish existing building and erect a detached apartment block comprising 9 flats with details of access (all other matters reserved).
The Committee considered an outline planning application - 6/2019/0401 – for a new development at 4 Poole Road, Upton to be able to demolish the existing building there and erect a detached apartment block, comprising 9 flats, with details of access being explained in the application but with all other matters reserved.
With the aid of a visual presentation officers explained what the main proposals and planning issues of the development were; how these were to be progressed; and what the benefits of the development entailed; in helping to meet housing needs in that part of Dorset and make best use of an otherwise vacant site. Plans and photographs provided an illustration of the location, dimensions and design of the development, with the presentation also confirming what the highways, traffic management and access arrangements being proposed would be; how the housing would look and its setting; showed the development’s relationship with the characteristics of the
surrounding town development and landscape; other residential development and civic amenities in Upton and its setting within the town. Moreover, the building was currently unused and the site was therefore vacant.
All other aspects of the planning permission would be assessed in full as part of any following reserved matters application but, in officer’s assessment, the:-
• Scale, design and impact on the character and appearance of the area
• Impact upon neighbouring properties
• Drainage issues
• Impact on trees and hedgerows
all appeared to be acceptable in planning terms, subject to appropriate conditions as necessary. The location was considered to be sustainable as it was within the designated settlement boundary and in the officer’s assessment, there were no material considerations which could warrant refusal of this application. On the basis that all significant planning matters had been appropriately or adequately addressed. Based on the reasoning for the material considerations, officers were recommending approval subject to conditions.
Of significance was what assessment had been made to meet the developments parking needs, being based on the Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset Residential Car Parking Study (published in 2011), in identifying Upton as in a suburban location of Purbeck and, on the assessments made in that regard, parking provision was considered to be of limited justification. Moreover, the application had been submitted with a transport assessment that detailed the varied public transport options available to future occupiers, including regular buses and well established walking and cycling routes, so reinforcing the justification that prescribed parking allocation was not warranted. Furthermore, the Highways Authority had no objection to the application on road safety grounds and considered there were no relevant policies which would warrant refusal of this application.
However, on this particular issue, Lytchett Minster and Upton Town Council had objected regarding the failure to provide any onsite parking, particularly in view of the extant local parking problems in the immediate area and town centre generally. This view was reinforced by the receipt of 11 objections from neighbouring residents. As the comments from the Town Council were contrary to officer’s recommendation, Dorset Councillors had requested that the application be referred to this Committee for determination. Upon careful
consideration of all representations received and the planning merits of the
application, officer’s accorded with that view.
Robin SeQueira was speaking on behalf of St Dunstan’s Church and was of the view that allocated parking was a necessity given that in practice households require their own transport as a means to go about their daily lives and given the infrequency of alternative public transport options. This part of Upton was congested as it was and being on a main road did not allow much on street parking. His primary concern was that those residents would see the opportunity to use the readily available church car park in meeting their needs and would cause an inconvenience to those who wished to legitimately use this. He could see no reason why the applicant could not identify some space to accommodate the needs of their occupiers. On that basis he considered the application should be refused.
June Richards reinforced the stance of her Town Council made much the same points in that there was a need to be realistic that those occupying the flats would have access to a car and therefore need a place to park. The absence of this would only lead to further congestion in an area which already suffered to that extent. Moreover, she could foresee that road safety could be compromised by any increase in competition for road space.
Scott Masker - for the applicant - promoted the virtues of the development in meeting an identified housing need in that the site was vacant and sustainable and that the proposals had been deemed to be acceptable by planning officers and that there were no material considerations that could merit the application’s refusal. Given that the Council had declared a climate emergency, what was being proposed would wholly accord with that stance. With the conditions to be imposed he saw no reason why the application should not be permitted.
As one of the local members, Bill Pipe spoke on behalf of those of his residents who had submitted objections considering that whilst it was admirable to assume more would be made of public transport and environmental considerations, in practice there would be a need for some dedicated parking provision to meet the needs of occupiers. He considered that area to be somewhat overdeveloped in any event and anything further would only serve to exacerbate the problems already experienced. Any parking which was suggested could take place in laybys was unacceptable as any limited parking would be lost and the church were not obliged to accommodate any overspill parking not associated with its business. On that basis, he considered the application should be refused.
The Committee were then provided with the opportunity to ask questions of
the officer’s presentation and from invited speakers, with officer’s providing
clarification in respect of the points raised. Officers confirmed that whilst the issues of parking were of relevance, members were being asked to purely consider the application in front of them. Officers also confirmed that rather than being unable to provide for parking, the applicant had chosen not to. Clarification was provided by the highways officer that whilst parking was emotive and the concern of those objecting were understandable, from a highway’s safety perspective, there was no material reason why the application should not be approved.
Another of the local members, Councillor Alex Brenton, expressed her concern at the absence of parking for the occupants of the flats as they would undoubtedly have access to a vehicle and need somewhere to park. Given the absence of any alternative public transport provision, they would have limited means of going about their daily lives. For that reason therefore, she felt that she was unable to support the application as it stood.
Whilst Members recognised what the development was designed to achieve, the concern of the two local members who had spoken, was reinforced by the Committee at the absence of the provision of dedicated parking provision as, in practice, occupiers would generally have access to a vehicle to meet their needs and a space to park was essential. Moreover, any visitors or goods deliveries would likewise have little opportunity to park safely and conveniently. As there was limited public transport options available and congestion was regularly experienced on what was a busy thoroughfare, having no opportunity for dedicated parking as part of the development was considered impractical and would not be a realistic prospect. For that reason, most members came to the view that without that necessary provision, they could not give their support to this application. Had provision been made by the applicant for some means of electric charging to offset the absence of parking, then this may have made the application more acceptable to them.
However, the Vice-Chairman took a different view in that, whilst being frustrated with the parking situation and what the NPPF stipulated as reasons for refusal, the essence of the application was acceptable in planning terms as set out in the Committee report and, on tht basis, should be approved. Any parking consideration could be addressed later under Reserved Matters.
Having had the opportunity to discuss the merits of the application, having
understood what was being proposed and the reasoning for this; having taken
into account the officer’s report, what they had heard at the meeting from the
case officer, legal advisor and those invited speakers, particularly the views of the Town Council, the Committee were satisfied in their understanding of what all of this entailed. On being put to the vote the Committee considered that, notwithstanding the assessments made by officers, they could not agree to what was being recommended on the basis that the inadequate and insufficient parking provision being proposed would be detrimental to all that was necessary and was not in accordance with the Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset Residential Car Parking Strategy, in being contrary to Policy IAT of the Purbeck Local Plan Part 1 and, accordingly, the planning application should be refused.
That planning application 6/2019/0401 – for a new development at 4 Poole Road, Upton - be refused on the grounds that the proposed development, by virtue of the lack of adequate parking provision in line with the Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset Residential Car Parking Strategy, would be contrary to Policy IAT of the Purbeck Local Plan Part 1.
Reason for Decision
That the proposed development, by virtue of the lack of adequate parking provision in line with the Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset Residential Car Parking Strategy, would be contrary to Policy IAT of the Purbeck Local Plan Part 1.