The first application of the evening was introduced for Members’ consideration. Planning application number 140938 for construction of 33no.Entry Level homes and associated infrastructure - Phase 2. "Land off", Deepdale Lane, Nettleham. The Development Management Team Leader explained three further representations had been received from 8 Midway, 24 Baker Drive and 30 Baker Drive. One representation suggested that the site should be made into allotments however the proposal applied for was dwellings and was assessed as such. No other new matters had been raised that had not already been addressed in the officer’s report. The recommendation remained the same.
She added that a change was required for recommended condition 7 in order for this to read correctly. It was suggested that the words “of that phase has been” should be changed to “shall be”.
Condition 7 would then read - Prior to occupation, a schedule of landscape management and maintenance for a minimum period of five years from the completion of the development shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The schedule shall include details of the arrangements for its implementation and the development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.
The s106 currently had not been signed therefore it was requested if Members moved the recommendation they delegate back to officers to complete the s106.
The Chairman invited the first speaker to address the Committee.
Councillor John Evans, of Nettleham Parish Council made the following statement:
“Local strength of feeling on this matter can be judged by the large number of submissions in opposition from the community. But we do understand that developments such as this must be judged on planning grounds.
The Parish Council strongly objects to this application and respectfully requests that the committee should refuse this application 140938 for 33 homes off Deepdale Lane on the following planning grounds:
1. This is not an allocated site in the adopted Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan (Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan) or CLLP.
2. The developer claims that this is an entry-level exception site so under NPPF 71 development on an unallocated site is permissible. However the proposal is contrary to para b) of the NPPF 71 as it does not comply with the design policies or standards as per D-6 and D-3 of Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan.
Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan D-6 clearly states that new development should recognize and reinforce the local character in terms of height, scale, density, spacing, layout orientation, features, and materials. This is supported by LP26 c).
The Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan also identifies the max density for new homes in Nettleham as 20 homes per Ha, which is reflected in the adjacent Phase 1 development by Larkfleet/Allison Homes.
This proposal seeks to almost double that housing density leading to an inappropriate urban density in a rural village setting.
The design and access statement seeks to justify this high density by comparing it to that of the adjacent residential care home development. This includes apartment style accommodation for older people so would be a totally inappropriate and invalid as a comparison for a housing development such as this.
3. The Design and Access statement makes reference to under delivery of affordable houses in the CLLP area but only uses historical data the most recent being 3 years ago.
Over the past 3 years Nettleham alone has had planning permission approved which includes 71 affordable homes, a significant over delivery against the 37 identified as required in the Neighbourhood Plan. LP11 calls for 20% of new housing allocation in rural locations to be affordable, which equates to 47 here.
Recent developments in Nettleham have already delivered 45 of that total. So Nettleham is already over delivering.
4. Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan policy D-3 states very specific minimum parking requirements to avoid the parking clutter that is seen on many new housing developments. This proposal falls short by some 17 parking spaces against those requirements.
It is clear that none of the properties have garages and the parking provision is in place of a front garden. This is more usual in urban developments and does not reflect the character of Nettleham.
LP13 of the CLLP states the need to consider surrounding conditions and cumulative impact, but without stating specific paring numbers. We contend that in a high density setting in cul-de-sacs like this it would clearly not be appropriate and would lead to parking chaos.
Please note that guidance from LCC highways is just that, and not a statutory planning requirement, which the Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan is.
Nettleham Parish Council submits that based on the above grounds alone, this opportunistic planning application should be refused. It is contrary to the adopted Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan and not compliant with NPPF 71 b.
However should the LPA be minded to approve the development then provision for children’s play equipment on site should be required (via S106 agreement) as the distance to the nearest play are is some 700m. away along Deepdale Lane a busy access route into Nettleham.
Deepdale Lane lacks a footpath on the development side the lane, so for safety and amenity purposes there should also be a S106 requirement for the developer to be required to provide one to meet up with the existing footpath on the north side of the road.”
The Chairman thanked Councillor Evans and invited the second speaker, Mr Mark Mann, to address the Committee.
Mr Mann thanked the Committee for their time. He explained he was the Planning Director for Larkfleet Homes, the applicant. He stated that the proposal was for a small development of entry level homes as defined by paragraph 71 of the revised NPPF published in February 2019. He clarified the purpose of entry level homes was to assist young people to get a step on the property ladder, especially in rural areas. He highlighted a shortfall of affordable homes in the district and stated that the development would help to address that shortfall. He noted the objections to the development however stated it was not part of the open land that would be handed to residents in the area and that, without the addition of paragraph 71 to the NPPF, the land would likely be identified for development during the next review of the Local Plan. He explained it was a logical location for further development and it was the introduction of paragraph 71 that led the company to consider the land for development. He stated that the introduction of paragraph 71 removed, overnight, any objection to potential development. He highlighted that in terms of design the proposals were in line with Phase 1 of the development in the area and that, although the density was higher, this was as a result of the nature of affordable homes. He referenced the Officer’s report in terms of higher density being allowed in consideration of affordable homes. It was pointed out that the developers had taken on board comments made the Parish Council and repeated that the development would provide much-need affordable housing in the area. He noted there were no objections from key consultees and that the Officer had recommended approval as the development was in line with the criteria set out by paragraph 71. He thanked the Committee for their time and requested that Members support the Officer recommendation for approval.
The Chairman thanked Mr Mann for his time and introduced the third speaker of the evening, Sally Lidbury.
Note: The Chairman declared a non-prejudicial interest in that he had worked with Sally Lidbury approximately eight years previously but had had no contact with her since then, and none in relation to this application.
Sally Lidbury then made the following statement:
“I have been asked to speak on behalf of residents of Nettleham Chase. We have many concerns about the quality and integrity of the developer, but fully appreciate this is not the forum to share our concerns.
The land off Deepdale Lane in Nettleham was allocated for development within the Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan. The number of dwellings allocated for this area was approximately 50. We feel it is important to highlight that there are already 86 dwellings within this area. 36 more than suggested within the neighbourhood plan.
We do not feel that sufficient evidence has been provided, by the developer, in relation to the need for affordable homes in our village.
Residents of Phase 1 were told that the quota of affordable homes had been met by the 36 Lace Housing dwellings. This equates to 42%.
If this application were to be approved, along with 141032, it would mean that 60% of dwellings on the development would be affordable housing.
The 76 affordable homes on this development would be on one side of the road and the 50 private dwellings on the other! Planning guidance states that new residential developments should support the creation of mixed, balanced and inclusive communities. We do not feel this proposal is at all balanced.
It is our understanding that Nettleham has already exceeded its quota of affordable housing. Have the following been taken into consideration….
112 dwellings in development offf off Lodge Lane and Scothern Road
57 proposed dwellings off Scothern Road and The Hawthorns
The planning officer’s report states that a local needs survey was not available so instead, a West Lindsey housing register was used to determine need.
The Nettleham Neighbourhood plan states that housing needs to 2031 show that a total housing growth in the region of 180 dwellings. This was assessed as appropriate to meet local needs.
That equates to 45 affordable homes being built in future developments up to 2031. This figure has already been surpassed.
The Village Design Statement states that the scale and proportion of buildings should complement and reflect surrounding dwellings and buildings. We feel this proposal does not.
The Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan states that a density of 20 homes per hecture for future developments. This proposal is 34 homes per hecture. This figure is even higher when the Phase 2 site is looked at collectively.
The planning officer’s report states that the proposal reflects existing residential densities in the locality. The existing housing is 21 dwellings per hectare whereas this proposal is 34. We do not feel the proposal reflects the existing residential density.
In its conclusion, the officer’s report attempts to make a comparison to the existing LACE development. It states that the proposal reflects the locality’s density. We do not feel this is a fair comparison as the dwellings are of a completing different type - 22 apartments and 14 bungalows.
We feel a comparison of density of similar house types would provide greater clarity.
Ecological Change & Impact
We feel there has been a lack of ecological response in relation to this application. There is no up to date report to support this planning application and the impact it would have on the environment and wildlife. The last report was for phase 1 and is now over 2 years old.
Within two weeks of the development site becoming silent, due to the national Covid-19 lockdown, residents noticed a significant amount of wildlife returning to the planned site. Sadly, this dramatically reduced when the site reopened.
We can confirm that we do have a population of bats living and roosting in and around this development, as well as owls and other wildlife. We would urgently suggest this matter is thoroughly investigated.
Paragraph 127 of the NPPF states that planning policies and decisions should ensure that developments optimise the potential of the site, including green and other public space.
The ‘Design & Access Statement’ states that ‘significant amounts of open space are to be provided within phase 1 and will be accessible to residents of phase 2’. We would like to question the validity of this statement.
Given the density of this proposal, we do not feel adequate provision of open space has been provided in accordance with policy LP24 of the CLLP. The planning officer’s reports states that within the red line plan is an area to the south of the pond which can be utilized.
We do not feel this suggestion of green space is suitable, on the grounds of safety. Both in terms of the open water and its close proximity to Deepdale Lane – where there has recently been an identified issue with speeding traffic. These points have not be included in the planning officer’s report.”
The Chairman introduced the final speaker for the application, Councillor Giles McNeill, Ward Member for Nettleham.
Councillor McNeill thanked the Chairman and stated that the issue to be considered was the weight to be given to NPPF paragraph 71 in contrast to the Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan. He stated that paragraph 71 was not a blank cheque for entry level housing to be agreed without due consideration. There was criteria that needed to be met. He stated that the development did not meet local design policy and standards. This was covered within the Local Plan, the Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan and Design Statement. He commented that the development failed to meet the character of the area and important design principles. Councillor McNeill stated that it breached the policy for amenity and open space and was contrary to sustainable growth. He highlighted that development within the area was already over 26% above what had been identified and the proposed development did not take into consideration the identity of the village community. He felt that the development failed to demonstrate it would contribute to an efficient and safe transport infrastructure nor address issues regarding parking spaces for the new houses which was already an existing issue down Deepdale Lane. He thanked the Chairman for the time and suggested the application should be considered for refusal.
The Chairman thanked all speakers and invited comments from the Officer who highlighted that there were conditions proposed to deal with the concerns regarding the pond, open space, landscaping and maintenance and she also noted that the Neighbourhood Plan pre-dated the Central Lincolnshire Plan and the NPPF. The Chairman then invited comments from Committee Members.
There was considerable discussion regarding the location of such a development and that it was contrary to the Neighbourhood Plan. The requirements for entry level housing were clarified with the Officer, who confirmed the need area was central Lincolnshire however advice had been sought from the Housing Team within the Council for local need. There was uncertainty as to how weighting should be given to paragraph 71 in comparison to the Neighbourhood Plan and the Local Plan. The Legal Advisor confirmed that all plans together formed the development plan on which to base their considerations, however, the newest plan should take precedence and in this case, that was the introduction of paragraph 71 in February 2019. It was also highlighted that section b of paragraph 71 stated any proposals must meet local standards and designs.
After further discussion regarding the impact on the village and local area, in relation to significantly higher density housing than agreed for other developments, a Member of Committee proposed the refusal of the application as contrary to LP26, design and amenity, NPPF paragraph 71 section b and D3 and D6 of the Neighbourhood Plan. This proposal was duly seconded.
On being put to the vote it was agreed that planning permission be REFUSED as contrary to LP26, design and amenity, NPPF paragraph 71 section b and D3 and D6 of the Neighbourhood Plan.