To consider a report by the Head of Planning.
The Area Manager for Planning and Community Services introduced the application to erect 50 No. dwellings, form vehicular and pedestrian access. (Reserved matters application to determine access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale; following grant of Outline Planning Permission No. 2/2016/0149/OUT).
The Area Manager explained the reasons for the previous refusals and described the revised plans. The proposed layout was highlighted and explained to members.
The proposal was considered to protect the amenity of the neighbours to the site. The proposed bungalows would have no permitted development rights for roof alterations. No harm was identified in relation to heritage assets.
The Transport Development Liaison Manager advised members that the outline application had fully considered the traffic impact and highways were content with it. The road layout had been restricted to a 20mph speed limit. The application was fully compliant with the guidance provided and car parking had also been provided within the plans. A refuse vehicle could drive around the site with ease, therefore there were no objections from the Highways department.
A number of written submissions objecting to the proposal and a statement by the applicant were read out at the meeting and are attached to these minutes.
The Area Manager for Planning and Community Services responded to comments from members of the public in respect of drainage which had been dealt with in the outline consent, so therefore had been addressed. In respect of access, highways safety was looked at during the outline stage and no objections had been raised.
In respect of the solar panel, some harm was identified as there would be partial shading. However, the weight attached to this was for members to decide, and officers did not consider it would amount to demonstrable harm that would outweigh the benefits in terms of housing provision against the current shortfall.
In respect of a question raised by an objector relating to the low traffic levels identified by the outline application’s transport assessment, the Transport Development Liaison Manager advised that the assessment had provided a future year scenario for 2020 which predicted a realistic traffic level.
Local Members for Gillingham
Cllr David Walsh supported the application and believed that the applicant had worked hard to mitigate measures. This was the first time bungalows had been incorporated into a development to alleviate concerns by local residents.
Cllr Belinda Ridout had followed this application for a long time and was satisfied that material concerns had been addressed. She felt that the impact on the character of Bay had also been addressed. This was a highly sustainable location with a good mix of housing.
Cllr Val Pothecary noted that although objectors felt there was overdevelopment of the site she felt the scheme was far improved from the last one with the inclusion of bungalows. She recognised that the addition of flats was not welcomed by everyone. However, she was concerned about the planting and the solar array. The Area Manager felt that these concerns had been addressed with Condition 14. Cllr Pothecary felt that the developer had done their best to address the concerns of the people in the town.
Members comments and questions:
Cllr Tim Cook was concerned about the solar array and asked if a condition could be included that certain properties of the development had an equivalent number of solar panels to bring back the power that would be lost. The Area Manager advised that officers were restricted by council policies and although officers had tried to mitigate harm arising from schemes, the report sought to address the harm that would be caused. There has to be demonstrable harm to refuse a scheme so it was felt officers were unable to add a condition about the solar panels and extra solar panels were not part of this application. The Chairman added that there were no planning policies available to enable members to insist on solar panels on other buildings. In respect of measures to mitigate the loss, the Area Manager advised that a condition had been put in place to ensure no planting was undertaken that would hinder the panels.
Cllr Jon Andrews was in favour of supporting the application and was pleased to see the inclusion of flats. The Area Manager confirmed the configuration of the flats were for smaller 2 bedroom properties.
Cllr Les Fry felt that council policies were not quite in step in respect of climate change and this was a missed opportunity. Following a question about the existing trees the Area Manager advised that Condition 14 sought to ensure there was a planting schedule that would not lead to tall trees that would not overshadow the solar panels more.
Cllr Carole Jones felt the layout looked very well throughout. She asked about the density in the local area. The Area Manager advised that this scheme was slightly lower than 25%, officers would usually expect to see 35%. Bayfields reflected the more house type density of 35% per hectare but there were a transition of densities across Bay. Cllr Jones felt that the environmental concerns could be taken forward through the Local Plan.
Cllr David Taylor asked if the drainage problems raised by the objectors had this been accounted for. The Area Manager confirmed they had been addressed and this scheme should increase the robustness of drainage going forward.
Cllr Bill Pipe felt this was a more realistic application. He was concerned about sewage and drainage services and asked if there would be new provision. The Area Manager confirmed the development would be connected to the existing infrastructure and there was a condition in place to cover this.
Cllr Matt Hall made reference to trees and shrubs having a positive effect and asked who would be looking after all the green space. The Area Manager confirmed that Condition 14 was looking for more shrub based plants with less maintenance. The usual 5 year maintenance was included in Condition 7, but this could be extended if members felt this was appropriate.
Following a discussion, members agreed to extend Condition 7 to 15 years.
Proposed: Cllr Ridout
Seconded: Cllr Pothecary
That the application be approved subject to the amended conditions outlined in the appendix to these minutes.