Agenda item


The Chairman introduced the next application, number 143815, outline planning application for the erection of up to 4no. dwellings with access to be considered and not reserved for subsequent applications - resubmission of 141429, on land to South of Clixby Lane Grasby. The Senior Development Management Officer informed the Committee that additional comments had been received since the publication of the report, mainly making the same points as previously covered in the report, and there was a correction to the report that the plan should have been dated as November not December. Additionally, he drew Members’ attention to conditions four and nine of the report.


The Chairman stated there were several registered speakers, some of whom had submitted statements. He invited the Democratic Services Officer to read aloud the first statement from Grasby Parish Council. The following statement was read.


“Planning Application for this site was turned down on 15th Oct 2020.  An Appeal was also denied. The main issue for both decisions was the effect on Clixby Lane.


The original denial said ‘the development would not contribute towards a safe transport network for pedestrians or vehicular movement when considering the impact on Clixby Lane and surrounding highway network, it fails to maximise pedestrian permeability and avoid barriers to movement through careful consideration of street layouts and access routes.  The proposal is therefore contrary to Policy 13 and Policy LP26 of CLLP and provisions of NPPF’


So I ask ‘What has changed?’


The Appeal denial supported the Planning Committee’s decision.


‘Main Issue is the effect of the development on highway safety’

The reasons are given as the narrowness of Clixby Lane, need for vehicles to reverse out of the Lane, no separate footpaths and Clixby Lane is a Public Foot Path used by hikers, Duke of Edinburgh groups, schools. The Planning Inspector said ‘I conclude that the proposed development would compromise highway safety for users, causing harm.  This would conflict with Policies LP13 and LP26 of CLLP where these policies seek to ensure that development provides well designed, safe and convenient access for all.  It would also conflict with NPPF ie that safe and suitable access to sites can be achieved for all users.’


So I ask again ‘What has changed?’


Clixby Lane hasn’t got any wider, it is not any less used by walkers, visibility down Clixby Lane hasn’t improved. It is still the Viking Way.


The number of properties has been reduced by 1 but the Planning Inspector contradicted the Appellants claim that 5 properties would have little impact on the number of vehicles on Clixby Lane and thought there would be noticeably more traffic.  The new application would reduce this by 20% - an unknown number of vehicles.


The Inspector addressed the problem of no turning place for vehicles. A lay by is proposed near the far corner of the field on Clixby Lane.  The Lane is 2.8 metres wide, and the verge there is 2.3 metres wide.  This is not enough for anything other than a car of a light van to use for turning.  The refuse lorry is 12 m long. 


Turning on the site itself will not be guaranteed as the turning points appear to need to use drives and these may be blocked by residents’ vehicles.


So the plans may have been tweaked but I ask once more:

Is this a change? Has anything really changed?


Lastly, the Environment and Habitat.  We are all mindful of the need to reduce Carbon and halt diminishing Biodiversity. A natural undisturbed grassland such as this is such a gift for a village.  Grassland holds Carbon– 15 to 20% of the Worlds Carbon has been suggested.  On disturbance this would be released as Carbon Dioxide. This field is a habitat for birds, small mammals, badgers, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates including pollinators.  It is an Ecosystem in itself.  It should not be destroyed.  There must be a way of saving this wonderful piece of nature while providing some financial gain for the Appellant.  This is an opportunity for some innovative thinking which would please and be beneficial to every person involved in this application. I urge you to deny this Planning Application.


I include a photo of this natural piece of grassland.



Vivienne Wood, Vice Chairman Grasby Parish Council.”


The second submitted statement, from Mr Ken Turnball, was also read as follows.


"As a resident of Grasby for 26 years, I am registering my support for this Planning Application. I wish to inform the Committee that there are several other Grasby residents in support of this application.


Grasby requires proportionate development to support sustainable growth and meet local needs. The proposed application is a suitable, small scale development on an appropriate site. All concerns and objections to a previous application, have been carefully, sympathetically considered, addressed and mitigated with this application. In particular, this proposal will cause no additional significant problems to road or pedestrian users of Clixby Lane.


I consider this application should be approved."


The Chairman thanked the Democratic Services Officer and invited the first of the ‘in-person’ speakers, Mr Oliver Clawson, to address the Committee. Mr Clawson made the following statement.


“My name is Oliver Clawson. I'm a Planning Consultant at Globe Consultants. As agent of the application, I'm here to speak in favour of the proposal. This site was subjected to a previous outline application which sought the erection of up to five dwellings with all matters reserved. Despite being prepared on the back of positive pre-application discussions with planning officers, the Council's Planning Committee refused the application against officer recommendation, over concerns regarding the safety of the site's access arrangements. That decision was upheld when appealed due to a lack of demonstrable evidence otherwise.


Responding to those concerns, this application seeks outline planning permission for four dwellings, with all matters reserved for subsequent consideration aside from access, especially as the transport consultant led the preparation of the amended access arrangements, which were formulated closely along with highways authority. During those discussions, the highways authority confirmed that the additional vehicles and journeys generated by the proposed dwellings would not be significant enough to cause highway safety issues. Similarly, the development of the site will not cause harm.


The proposed development includes a single access point to the west from which acceptable visibility spays are achieved and a passing space is also proposed further to the east. The vehicle tracking shown on the first block plan clearly demonstrates a typical family size car and a larger refuse vehicle are both able to access the site in forward gear, manoeuvre without reliance on private driveways before exiting the site forward. The response from the highways authority confirms that the proposed development is acceptable and this revised application provides demonstrable evidence to mitigate the concerns of the previous refusal.


Neither the previous planning officer, the appeal inspector nor the current planning officer sets out any concerns in relation to the site suitability for development. The council's trained landscape officer confirms that they have no objections to the application and the council's Environmental Protection Officer offers no comments beyond this, just inclusion of a suitably worded planning condition. Two ecological surveys have been undertaken in the previous three years and confirm little ecological value. Consequently, Natural England provide any comment and link to Wildlife Trust confirm the accessibility of the previous proposal.


In response to the previous application, the Historic Environment officer confirmed that no archaeological input would be required. Matters relating to site design and amenity construction, management and drainage will all be considered in full and detailed at design stage. Nevertheless, it is not considered that any of these matters would have any unacceptable impact and a suitably worded planning condition requiring a construction management bond is expected as part of any of these conditions. It's therefore clear that the concerns raised by local opposition are fundamentally unfounded. Many of the objections recorded are duplicates from the same household or extended family residing elsewhere, and consequently only a small minority within the village have objected, with some also registering their support. It is therefore concluded this application provides demonstrable evidence overcoming the previous concerns raised for the site. No other material planning considerations have been identified and is therefore respectfully requested that Members vote in accordance with the planning recommendation and grant planning permission. Thank you”


The Chairman thanked Mr Clawson and invited the next speaker, Mr Blair Bushby, to address the Committee. He made the following statement.


“Thank you Chairman for this opportunity to address the committee. Grasby has no local amenities and it is likely that each new dwelling will have at least two plus cars. This will add a minimum of 20 additional vehicle movements to Clixby Lane per day. There is a total absence of footpaths, all vehicles larger than a medium sized van was reversed up and down the lane. This poses a great risk to pedestrians and cyclists. Deliveries blocked the lane and there is further danger when children are dropped off and collected from the village school.


The previous application was refused by the committee 11 to two against the case officer’s recommendation and the subsequent appeal was also dismissed. Nothing has changed with Clixby Lane since the previous application, adjusting the quantity and location of access points does nothing to address the fact that Clixby Lane is just too narrow to accommodate this development safely.


Large vans, HGVs, agricultural machinery have not been considered for passing and turned on Clixby Lane and LP 13 C and 26 B have not been complied with. Some of residents and other users have disabilities and their need for safe and repeated access has not been considered under the Discrimination Act 2005. Highways and planning authorities should take steps to take account of disabled persons, and clearly this hasn't happened.


The transport and access technical note is based on assumptions not fact, and only considers cars. Larger vehicles are increasingly a regular part of the delivery culture and this must be considered not ignored. The applicant’s previous development for two properties, approved two years ago, has caused regular disruption to residents and businesses. Work on the first property has been stopped for six months. If there was a need, they would have been built out with people living in. For the first property alone, over 100 deliveries have been made, and it is only at ground level. Based on this real life scenario. The building of four properties on Clixby Lane could cause disruption to residents for 10 years.


Since the 1970s, there's been eight new houses built on Cilxby Lane with a further one recently approved but not built. This represents a 50% increase. If four more houses were added, this gives an increase of 75% with no highway improvements. With this development, Grasby’s remaining growth allowance of 20 dwellings will be reduced to just six to cover the remaining 15 year period. It is clear that Grasby is already undergoing significant development for its size, and if existing permissions are not being built out, where is the need for more.


There were 78 objections to this development posted. Grasby has 11 roads and there were objections from eight of these. This means that residents from 73% of the roads are putting an objection therefore the majority of the village deem this development inappropriate and not just Clixby Lane residents. The proposed development does not meet LP 2 as the settlement’s character and appearance will be harmed by building on one of the few green spaces left within the core. Furthermore, the character and appearance of the surrounding countryside of rural setting will be harmed by blocking the views appreciated by many walkers on the Viking Way, where the proposed access road is.  Clixby Lane is three metres wide of the access roads is 5.1 metres, with a split extended to 50 metres. How can this be in keeping with a small single track lane?


The ecology report fails to mention that the site is a regular feeding ground for barn owls which are listed under schedule one the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Swallows with some bats all feed on the abundant fine insects found on this grassland. Also feeding ground will be so destroyed the species will be absent for Grasby forever. Another omission of the report is not mentioning a single type of insect. Pollinators are declining rapidly and many of the flowering plants that grow on the site support their existence. We must consider what village we want to leave for the next generation, a village with green spaces and abundant wildlife or a village with no green spaces and the wildlife desecrated by inappropriate development. Once the wildlife is destroyed, it will be gone forever. We are in a climate crisis and grassland, woodland should be valued above development. Why is this development being concentrated on grassland when arable land results in less carbon emission? The world is in danger of forgetting about the importance of the natural world, future generations will judge us on whether we prioritise development over the natural environment.


In conclusion, this is the wrong location for such a development. It being totally out of character and unsafe for the free movement of pedestrians and all users of Clixby Lane.”


The Chairman thanked the speakers and enquired whether there was any response from the Officer. The Planning Officer clarified the location of the passing place and the turning place within the development. He highlighted that the appeal of the previous application had noted no visibility splay had been done, this had now been included with evidence that vehicles could pass. There had been professional ecology survey undertaken and all recommendations were conditions to be adhered to. Many objections received were not in consideration of planning matters and nor was the right to a view a planning consideration.


The Chairman opened discussions to the Committee and there were concerns raised regarding the width of Clixby Lane and the impact of increased traffic. Members considered the amendments and some felt these were not sufficient to mitigate the impact of the proposed development. It was equally commented that the applicant had addressed the issues raised in previous applications and subsequent appeal, however the considerations of the narrow lane and traffic movements were recognised. The Planning Officer again clarified the passing place on the lane and turning point within the site, with the Legal Adviser explaining that it was not for this development to solve existing problems, only to not create new problems.


The slides provided by Mr Bushby, which had not been shown during his statement to the Committee, were shown to Members, after which the Chairman proposed a site visit. This was seconded, however on being taken to the vote, there was a majority vote against the arrangement of site visit and so the proposal was LOST.


With no further comments from Committee Members, the Chairman proposed the recommendation as written. Having been seconded and taken to the vote, there was again a majority vote against the written recommendation and as such the proposal was LOST.


The Vice-Chairman subsequently stated that there had been insufficient change to the application from the original application and as such, he proposed that the application be refused, on the same basis as previously. This was seconded, and, on taking the vote, it was agreed that permission be REFUSED for the following reason:


The development would not contribute towards a safe transport network for pedestrians or vehicular movement when considering the impact on Clixby Lane and surrounding highway network. The development also fails maximise pedestrian permeability and avoid barriers to movement through careful consideration of street layouts and access routes. The proposal is therefore contrary to Policy 13 and Policy LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan and provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework.


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