Agenda item


The Chairman introduced the next item on the agenda, application number 144010, for two dwellings at 18 South Drive, Stow, Lincoln. The Development Management Team Leader confirmed there were no updates, and gave a short presentation on the application. The Officer stressed that the application site was within the agreed upon built up area in the newly agreed Neighbourhood Plan, which supported the principle of development in such areas.


The Chairman invited the first registered speaker, the Parish Council representative from Stow Parish Council, Councillor Pam Duncan, to address the Committee. The following statement was made.


Stow Parish Council objects to the application as it stands. We note the Planning Officer’s report and would like to make the following observations.


1. The Sturton by Stow and Stow Neighbourhood Plan, which was made by WLDC on 4th July, is the product of significant consultation with local residents on their needs and wishes in relation to the provision of any new dwellings in the two villages. That consultation included a survey to every household as well as numerous consultation events. The overwhelming views expressed were for new housing to reflect the needs of local residents and are summarised in Chapter 3 Key Issues. We need a range of low carbon and energy efficient homes in terms of size and affordability to meet the needs of local residents including provision of smaller homes, both as starter homes allowing young people to remain within the area, and for older people downsizing. Policy 1a goes on to say we will support development where: "new homes are of size, type and tenure that meet local housing requirements”.


2. We accept Policy 2 does not set out criteria restricting the size of newdwellings, but Policies 1a and 4 indicate that a range is needed. Policy 4 emphasises the need for more smaller, 1-2-bedroom houses.


3. The Officer’s report refers to: The most recent Housing Needs Assessment for Central Lincolnshire (April 2020): “Households with dependent children are expected to see the strongest growth…” The Officer goes on to say: "The Housing Needs Assessment does therefore consider the evidence implies a need for larger family homes, with households with dependent children seeing the most growth. Whilst the “mix” across the site is limited, only two dwellings are being proposed. Whilst the concerns of the Parish Council are recognised, it is considered therefore that the development would not be in direct conflict with policy 4.


We do not disagree that there may be a need for some larger family homes, but we do disagree that these need to be 6 bedroomed dwellings. The application is for two 3 storey houses of substantial proportions and each having 6 bedrooms (2 bathrooms plus 3 en suites), an office and a gym. We already have a recently completed new development of three 3 storey houses with 5 bedrooms plus an office (or a 6th bedroom) in Stow. What evidence is there to say there are local families that would need this size (5/6 beds) of dwelling? We found none in our public consultation. How many houses of this scale might a small village need?


4. Paragraph 5.4.1 states: "Policy 4: This policy seeks a locally appropriate market housing mix, together with the provision of some affordable housing specifically for local people. It also seeks the provision of different types of housing to give a variety of opportunities for people to attain their own homes. This will help to achieve a healthy and inclusive community.”


Not only do we have the new large houses, we have had a further recently approved four bed family house (previously a smaller chalet bungalow approval) and there have been a number of 3 and 4 bed houses approved over the last few years. Apart from a small development of rental properties we are not aware of any new one or two bed properties for sale nor properties that might be considered affordable which would enable young local people to step on the property ladder and stay in the area or allow an older person to downsize and stay in the area. We believe, therefore, that the application is NOT in accordance with Policy 4.


5. We believe the original proposals for the site might have been more in line with the needs and wishes expressed in the Neighbourhood Plan and, with four bedrooms, would have satisfied the need for larger family dwellings. In conclusion, therefore, as it stands we object to this application, as we believe it is contrary to the Neighbourhood Plan. We would request that members consider a site visit to see for themselves the impact on the village.”


The Chairman thanked the speaker for her statement, and invited the next registered speaker, the agent for the application, Rob Bradley, to address the Committee.


The speaker noted that there were numerous objections, and contrary suggestions from Stow Parish Council. The speaker referenced that they had worked with the case officer to address the issues with the scheme, and stated that the closest dwelling was 7.9 metres awayfrom the boundary.


The speaker continued to state that on 23 December 2021, there was no objection to the design changes to 144010, with the Parish Council having changed its mind due to a procedural error with one of the neighbour’s objections being miscategorised. The speaker stated that he had never come across a situation like this before. Moving to the application itself, the agent had worked with West Lindsey District Council, and was satisfied with the application.


The speaker then stated that the application had followed sustainable development. The Neighbourhood Plan had allocated four dwellings in Stow, with these two dwellings meeting the criteria. The agent’s opinion was that the site was capable for the large detached dwellings, with the character and appearance being respectful to the surrounding area. The speaker then stated that the site was within Flood Zone 1, with an approved scheme for foul water disposal.


The speaker asserted that planning law required that planning permission had to be determined by the Neighbourhood Plan unless material considerations indicated otherwise. The speaker progressed to say that this was not a new site, as it had numerous approvals for development.


The speaker concluded by saying that the application did not increase the housing allocation numbers, as the figures agreed in the recent update to the Neighbourhood Plan included the application being considered. The speaker finished in stating that the application met the policies in place, and asked for support.


The Chairman thanked the agent for his comments, and invited the final registered speaker, Deborah Rose, an objector to the application, to address the Committee. The following statement was made.


“Thank you to the case officer for his work in compiling the report. Regarding 2 substantial, 3 storey, 6-bedroom executive houses. Backfill development in the curtilage of a property NOT simple infill. We respectfully ask the committee to keep this in mind when considering the justification of the size and scale of the current proposal. Comparison to HH not justified. Its 4 bed, with non-habitable storeroom NOT 3 storey positioned centrally in acre plot.


Reference to 136472 has been made also, yet this expired 15 months ago. Proposals bear no resemblance to previous in terms of size, scale and design or the underlying principle for development of affordable housing and small dwellings. Original site layout justification was based on this principle also. Targeting executive market may meet some Government Policy but is contrary to local data in NP.


The proposal is contrary to most aspects of the NP including: Sustainability, Impact on neighbouring amenity, Environmental, Obscuring view of historical asset, and Character of Settlement. To be clear we are not opposed to development. My husband is a builder. We strongly feel that this is simply the wrong type of dwelling for the location. A tier 6 village with limited capacity for development LP4 & LP2.


It’s paramount that any development meets current need of community. 136472 was included in LP4 growth levels Apr 22, despite its expiration May 21. In the interests of fairness this needs to be explained. Extant single 4 bed was notably recorded in LP4. We ask the committee to justify whether the proposed better meets current policy, rather than the extant permission. If only 2 plots allowed, we challenge why proposed dwellings continue to be positioned close together, at the furthest point from the access.


We urge officers to consider and explain how this is the best sustainable use of the available grounds regarding current policy and plans. The Rectory was identified as Heritage Asset in NP yet the proposed would obscure this view. Ref Policy 7 and 10 Proposal not in keeping with character of this village aspect. Surrounding properties are centrally positioned in extensive grounds with open aspect Ref NP.


The Extant is arguably more in keeping with this at present. Extant 174sqm increased to 470 cannot be justified. Over five years this concept has ballooned from a couple of bungalows, to mixed affordable housing, to a single 4-bed detached, to 2 substantial 6 bed dwellings. This is a far cry from the original proposal! With respect it could be argued that a block of flats meets affordable housing policy, but it too would be inappropriate.


Added balcony screen attempts to address privacy issues but taper to 1m. The balcony would detrimentally effect the enjoyment of our home and garden, and emotional wellbeing. I implore you to consider this carefully and explain how this can be justified. It’s contrary to LP26 and NP policy 2, in that the main social areas of garden and home would be greatly impacted.


The design is intrusive. Proposed have clear views of open land at ground level. First-floor balcony is not necessary or justified.  Increased distance from the boundary may increase privacy issues. The proposed remain arguably overbearing. We need assurance that the committee is totally satisfied that the design is appropriate and other options have been rigorously explored.


The non-habitable ensuite appears to be multi-purpose with links to uncategorized room nearest window. Further bedroom windows are not mentioned in report. Proposed dwellings could exacerbate issues detailed in NP section 3 &4 and Policies 1, 2, 5, 7 and 10-13. Increased size, occupants and multiple bathrooms could have significant impact. The proposals appear obsessive in light of environmental issues.


All this said, I would like to reiterate that we are not against sustainable development. The current proposal is simply the wrong scale and design for the location. We support the small-scale affordable dwellings on which the principle for development and indeed site layout was based. This would satisfy more of the NP by:meeting community need, impact less on the environment, impact less on unresolved sewage issues, reduce the number of vehicles and subsequent hard surfaces, impact less on the street scene retain the open character to the village, impact less on adjacent neighbouring amenities mitigating privacy issues associated with overlooking balconies etc. Thank you for the time and consideration of the points I have raised.”


The Chairman thanked the speaker for her comments, and invited the Development Management Team Leader to reply. He explained that the application was allocated as suitable for housing in the Neighbourhood Plan, which did not set out any criteria for the size of the dwellings. 

Regarding concerns for affordable housing, the Officer clarified that none of the submissions in the past had proposed this and that this was not a requirement in this proposal for 2 dwellings. The Officer then explained the properties in the area were varied in size and scale, pointing to different slides on the presentation, and that there was no fixed design or type. The Officer questioned the degree of impact on neighbours, noting there was a distance of approximately 24 feet from the nearest new building, the garage, to the boundary with the neighbour, and this was closest to an existing garage next door. Impacts on neighbours were avoided due to the proposed layout and separation distances.


The Chairman invited comments from Members of the Committee. Debate ensued, and Members queried where the application site was in relation to the surrounding Stow area, and the lines of communication surrounding area. A Member also asserted that the Stow and Sturton by Stow Neighbourhood Plan was to have one- or two-bedroom dwellings.


A Member of the Committee suggested that in order to better learn about the site, and to understand the application as requested by two of the speakers, the Committee should make a site visit. Whilst the Officer recommendation had been moved and seconded, this was superseded by the moving and seconding of a proposal for the decision to be deferred, in order for the Committee to undertake a site visit. As such, the Chairman took the vote and it was


RESOLVED that the application be deferred for decision at the next available meeting, in order for a site visit to be undertaken.


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