Agenda item


The Chairman introduced the next item of the meeting, application number 144574, to erect 5no. detached dwellings with attached garages on land to the east of Church Road, Upton, Gainsborough.


The case officer provided an update from a resident comment including a response on the hedgehog mitigation measures in the ecology report.  The case officer then requested to the Planning Committee that, subject to their resolution, the application was delegated back to officers for the signing of the S106 legal agreement. A short presentation on the application was then made to Members of the Committee.


The Chairman noted there were three registered speakers. The first speaker’s statement, from Councillor Don Spittlehouse, the Parish Council representative and Chairman of Upton Parish Council, was read aloud by the Democratic and Civic Officer.


“Upton Parish Council has strongly objected to this planning application from when the first application for outline was submitted. Unfortunately, this was passed so we cannot change that decision. We feel that the wishes of the residents that live in that area has not been fully addressed as well as the Parish Councils concerns over building in that area.


Our main concern is the road structure leading to the site as well as the site area itself. The only access to this site is via Church Road or Main Street. Church road splits into two. The first entry being off High Street past the Church. This is a single-track road with no passing places. The road is eroding away on the left-hand side leaving many potholes and ruts. At the end of this road is a drain that constantly becomes blocked after any substantial rain.


We have complained about this, numerous times over the years, but nothing has been done to rectify this. When this area floods it travels all the way down Church Road making it like a river. There is no footpath whatsoever on Church Road. Any vehicles coming either way is a hazard to pedestrians, especially if 2 cars come along at the same time. There is nowhere to get out of the way of oncoming traffic. This is bad enough for pedestrians even worse for anyone with a wheelchair or pushchair.


Main street is an area of historical value dating back to post war when these houses were built for the American Airforce. It is not an ideal route for commercial vehicles to travel to access the site or for the extra traffic that will be generated from 5 dwellings with double garages. Exit points onto High Street from both Church Road and Main Street are blind exits to oncoming traffic.


The applicant has gone for s106 instead of including any affordable housing, which is what our village needs instead of more oversized houses. If this application is granted, we urge the Planning Committee to consider where the s106 monies will be used. This s106 money could be put towards improving the infrastructure of Church Road rather than benefiting another Parish at the detriment to Upton.


Furthermore, I think it would be beneficial for the Planning Committee to have a site meeting to appreciate the problems that I have outlined before a decision is made. Thank you for your time.”


The Chairman then invited the second speaker, the agent for the applicant, Vic Fowler, to address the Committee.


In his statement, the speaker stated that the application followed outline approval given in application 138896, and was very similar to the previous outline. It was the same number of dwellings, in a similar layout, with access to Anglian Water sewerage that ran through the middle of the site.


In responding to comments on the West Lindsey District Council webpage for the application, the agent stated that the removal of the western hedge was due to Lincolnshire County Council requiring a new 2-metre-wide footpath running between the two new entrances. There was a call made to have the footpath, but have additional tree planting and a new mixed native hedgerow to mitigate the removal.


The speaker progressed to talk about the low-level light for the site, with movement operated sensors to mitigate light pollution. Ecology was next mentioned, with nesting boxes and fences incorporating the updated ecological legislations to allow hedgehogs access to the site.


Replying to comments on the application portal, access to the eastern end of the site was only for farm machinery. The speaker concluded his statement, believing it was unlikely that the road was to comply with Highway requirements for future developments, and hoped the Committee could approve the application.


The Chairman thanked the agent for the comments and invited the third and final speaker, David Swayne, an objector, to address the Committee. The speaker made the following statement.


“Size of Properties. The proposal is for 5 large dwellings, with double garages. Recent plans on Church Road have been approved on the basis of single-story dwellings. Why is that not the case here? Building large properties in this location is going to detract from the character of the location.


Location. The proposed dwellings are at the end of a single-track road, where residents have no footpaths or means of getting out of the road. Meeting an oncoming vehicle results in one reversing to find a suitable passing place. The proposed plans are likely to add 10 cars to this mix, once the construction traffic has vacated the site. How does the council believe that this location can sustain this increase in traffic?


Access. The current access to the site is over a raised area of soil, which is overgrown and under a tree branch. The proposal includes the introduction of a tarmac access road, adjacent to established properties, hedges, trees and over existing wildlife habitat. Why is it deemed necessary to increase the level of access to such a degree – there clearly hasn’t been any need for this previously? The field is clearly not accessed via Church Road at all. No improved field access should therefore be necessary in the plans.


Ecological Report. The ecological report contains a number of assumptions that are invalid.


- “The pond is more than 10 years old, not less than 1.

- The residents have reported the presence of newts and the report states that these aren’t likely to be present.

- There is significant activity from protected species in the area, the report states that there is low to moderate probability of them roosting on the site but no-one appears to have bothered to check.


Does the council agree, that at the very least, a more thorough report should be commissioned?


Unsustainable location. Upton itself has poor road links and no real access to public transport. The lack of local facilities drives people into their cars to access the facilities in Gainsborough. This is achieved via a variety of narrow roads.


The proposed site is at the end of a single-track residential road, where residents walk in the road because there is nowhere else for them to be. As I have already stated, passing opportunities are extremely limited. Church Road is poorly maintained and subject to increased water flow due to recent building on the west side of the road.


Water pressure is already low in this location. What impact will 5 more properties have on this? Frankly, this location cannot sustain the addition of 5 large dwellings and the proposal should not proceed because of this.”


The Chairman thanked the speaker for his statement, and invited the Officer to respond. In response, the Officer clarified that Lincolnshire County Council Highways had no objections, and there was a drainage condition to manage the fact that the area was in ‘Flood Zone 1’.


It was referenced that there was no footpath to the front of the property, with Condition 7 to alleviate those issues. The Officer stated that the proposed site was not suitable for affordable housing, and that the outline permission had expired.


The Officer reiterated that there was a mixture of dwelling types, with bungalows to the western side and the north side having a mixture of properties. The Officer concluded his response to state that an ecology report had been conducted and the evidence from that was used as part of his assessment.


Debate ensued, and Members raised their concerns, including the narrowness of nearby roads, the lack of footpaths, and issues with the village’s topography. Members also referenced the siting height and scale of the proposed dwellings, and the ageing demographics of Upton. Members also debated about the acceptability of roads in villages like Upton, with references to the traffic.


Responding to a stated remark about the Section 106 agreements not providing affordable housing in the village, the Officer stated that the Section 106 agreement monies would go where it was required, and could not confirm where it would be allocated. The Legal Adviser further clarified that the monies from the possible approval would be restricted to be spent within West Lindsey District Council, and would be spent on affordable housing in the District.


The Legal Adviser also elucidated that Members were working for the District in their roles on the Committee, not just for individual wards. In response to the latter part of the debate about footpaths, the Officer clarified that there was a footpath from across the road for the site.


Early in the debate, several Members felt sufficiently unfamiliar with the site and the village of Upton to comment on the road conditions, footpath, and what the proposed site would look like in the village itself.


Having been proposed, and seconded and, on taking the vote, 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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