The second application was introduced by the Chairman, application number 143260 an entry level exception site for erection of 21no. affordable dwellings - phase 3, on land to South of Wesley Road, Cherry Willingham. The Committee heard the following update from the Planning Officer. It was requested that committee delegate back to officers to grant planning permission subject to:
- completion of a bi-lateral section 106 agreement securing the proposal as an entry level exceptions site and the management and maintenance of the on-site public open space;
- receipt of a unilateral undertaking securing public bridleway access through the field to the south of the application site to Green Lane;
- resolution of surface water drainage matters; and
- evidence of agreement in principle from an adjacent landowner to construction road provision.
With regard to drainage design, the fee proposal had been obtained on the day prior to the meeting for the engineer to prepare designs for the drainage and connection into existing attenuation / pumping station, works ongoing with drainage. Regarding the unilateral undertaking for bridleway, the final engrossed unilateral undertaking had been received from the solicitors. The client’s solicitors were preparing an ‘associated grant of the right of access’. In relation to the S106 for affordable housing and open space, the Final Clean Version of the agreement was sent to WLDC on 19 October.
Additionally, regarding the Haul Road access, Cherry Tree Homes originally proposed having the Haul road cutting diagonally across the field from Franklin Way. However, the adjoining land owner objected as his agricultural vehicles could only operate in straight lines. He would not be able to farm the cut off area of the field due to its triangular shape and relatively small size. The adjoining land owner of the east field had agreed in principal to Cherry Tree Homes having the access across his site. However, he was not currently willing to agree in writing to an exact route until Cherry Tree Homes paid him for the access.
The Chairman noted there were two registered speakers and invited the first, Mr Adam Skidmore from LK2 Architects, to address the Committee. Mr Skidmore made the following statement.
“Thank you, Chairman and Members of the Committee. My name is Adam Skidmore from LK2 Architects speaking in support of the application. This site has been subject to a number of historic planning applications. Previous planning submissions and subsequent appeal decisions of the site have determined that for locational purposes the site is acceptable for the development of residential housing.
The proposal is for an entry level exception site, which meets the requirements of paragraph 71 of the National Planning Policy Framework. Whilst the development of this site would extend the existing built farm of the settlement, the proposed scheme for 21 affordable homes demonstrates exceptional reasons to justify the granting of a residential scheme on the site. The proposal will help to meet the identified much needed demand for affordable housing in the Cherry Willingham area in response to the strategic housing figures produced by the West Lindsey Housing Register.
The applicant is now prepared a Section 106 agreement to ensure the site is designated for affordable homes only. This section 106 agreement has now been drafted and agreed with the council. The layout scale and density of the proposed scheme complies with the relevant design principles from the Cherry Willingham Neighbourhood Plan and policies LP 17 and LP 26 of the Central Lincolnshire local plan.
Cherry Tree Homes and LK2 Architects have engaged closely with the planning officer throughout the planning period. This has resulted in further enhancements and redesigns to the application. These include all existing trees have now been retained on the site. There's been an increase in new tree planting along the street frontage in response to the latest national planning policy. There's been a provision of larger public open space on the site, and also the provision of a new public right of way to Green Lane, providing a bridleway link from Little Cherry into the main settlement of Cherry Willingham. This has been secured through the provision of a unilateral undertaking from the applicant and the adjoining landowner. All this has been done in response to feedback received during the planning authority and from local councillors during the planning consultation period.
Landscape and ecology. The application proposes a large net gain of boundary hedges and trees across the site. This softens the impact of the proposals from the surrounding area, and further supports local ecology. Bird and bat boxes have been provided in accordance with the recommendations of the ecology report to further enhance this.
It has been noted that a number of concerns have been raised about parking and access to the site by local residents. These can be addressed as follows. The application will not require any on street parking. The scheme has been designed with driveway parking to every house. The two and three bed houses have been designed with two car parking spaces each. The one bed bungalows have one space each. The site provides 37 private parking spaces and the further four visitor spaces are included to give a total of 41 spaces for our 21 houses. This is a higher ratio of spaces than the previous phase one and two developments to the north. The applicant is updating the management plan on the Phase One and Two development sites to help alleviate existing parking problems and congestion. The new road into the phase three development has been designed to adoptable standards.
To prevent construction traffic issues, the applicant has agreed in principle with an adjoining landowner to provide a whole road route into the site so that construction vehicles don't have to travel along Wesley Road to access the phase three development. We'd like to respectfully request the committee approve this application and thank you for your time.”
The Chairman thanked Mr Skidmore and invited the Democratic and Civic Officer to read the statement provided by Mr Paul Varnsverry in objection to the application. The following statement was read aloud.
“I am a former resident of the neighbouring Cherry Paddocks development and write to endorse and reinforce the objections submitted by current residents of the Wesley Road development.
For whatever reasons, both the Wesley Road and Cherry Paddocks developments were constructed “from the front back”, leaving the two pockets of land identified in the Cherry Willingham Neighbourhood Plan as CL4751 and CL4752, and designated as suitable for housing, ‘locked’ behind existing homes.
Irrespective of the status of CL4751 and CL4752 within the strategic plan, development of these two sites cannot occur without causing significant inconvenience to existing residents of Wesley Road and Cherry Paddocks, considerable risk of damage to property and private vehicles from large vehicles delivering building materials trying to navigate the completed residential roads (and damage to the roads themselves), danger to pedestrians, and potential loss of amenity.
Furthermore, residents of Cherry Paddocks, with grant support from WLDC and LCC, had to fund high-speed Internet connectivity themselves, when the “cut-price” service the developer signed up for slipped to below 2Mbps or no connection whatsoever as more homes were completed and occupied. Will the Fibre To The Cabinet service this community initiative funded suffer reductions in bandwidth if this application is constructed? If so, developers need to be compelled to finance such infrastructure as is required to maintain the current level of service.
It is no secret that the developer of Cherry Paddocks has designs on the strip of land immediately to the west of that development, an application on which (134096) was previously refused both by the WLDC planning committee and the Planning Inspectorate (APP/N2535/W/17/3179325), and has been engaged in pre-application discussions with the planning authority. Clearly, this strip of land also has the potential to provide a “haul road” and a repository for materials for application 143260.
Any such proposal should be rejected by WLDC, as the designation of said strip of land has already been tested by the previous application and appeal. Notwithstanding the noise and dust this would inflict on existing Cherry Paddocks residents (both factors which occurred when the land in question was used as an unauthorised repository and haul road for completion of Cherry Paddocks), any use of the land whatsoever for development purposes of any type should be looked at in its fullest context and no decisions taken which would cause an irrevocable change of use and create enabling development that might prejudice residents’ objections to further applications.
In closing; it is in the nature of developers to be greedy. There can never be enough land to satisfy them, and even where housing needs are being addressed by local strategic plans, developers will continue to submit inappropriate planning applications. They know which “buzzwords” to use in planning applications and presentations to the planning committee, but are often found lacking, as has been alleged in other comments by Wesley Road residents, and as was found with the original “cheapskate” Internet provision at Cherry Paddocks.
Whilst the land subject of application 143260 may be designated for housing development, common sense and logic make it clear the previous strategic decisions of developers on the phasing of the existing housing developments makes construction on this site non-viable without great inconvenience and risk to the community. I urge the authority to reject the application.”
The Chairman invited response comments from the Officer who confirmed that the application was under paragraph 72 not 71 as stated by the architect.
The Chairman opened the discussions by summarising the location of the proposed development and raising concerns regarding the impact on the existing homeowners of any construction work as well as concerns regarding the access for construction traffic and the impact on the existing roads. Members of the Committee voiced further concerns regarding the access to amenities and the location being set away from the main town. It was felt that residents would have no option but to use private transport for even the basics of everyday life. The requirements of developments under paragraph 72 as entry level housing were read aloud to confirm location of such developments did need to be on unallocated land and there was not the requirement for it to be integrated in existing developments.
There was significant discussion regarding existing concerns of residents regarding access to broadband, difficulties with low water pressure as well as access to the site. It was explained that should the development be approved, it could be conditioned that construction could not commence until the construction access road had been completed.
The recommendation was moved and seconded, however on taking the vote, there was a majority vote against the recommendation and as such, the proposal was lost.
The Chairman requested an alternate proposal and, through further discussion, it was proposed that the application be refused as contrary to D1, section G of the Neighbourhood Plan, LP1, LP17 and LP26. On having this proposal seconded and put to the vote, it was agreed by majority vote that permission be REFUSED.
Note: The meeting adjourned at 7.48pm for a short comfort break and reconvened at 7.49pm.