Agenda item


The Chairman introduced the first 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, DN21 5NS.


The Officer stated that there was an update to the report, which was that the S106 agreement was created, and was in consideration with the applicants. The Officer then gave a short presentation on the application.


The Chairman advised that there were two registered speakers for the item. The Chairman invited the first registered speaker, the agent for the application, Vic Fowlers, to address the Committee. The following statement was made.


The speaker thanked the Committee for their consideration, and stated the current application was based on a previously approved application. He then stated that the current application was similar to the previously agreed outline, with the same number and type of dwellings, and with a similar layout.


The speaker progressed to respond to objections previously made, specifically the removal of the hedge on the western side to Church Lane. This was only being removed due to Lincolnshire County Council requiring a two metre footpath between the access points to the site. The speaker stated that there was sufficient room, and the application provided for additional tree planting in a mitigation attempt of any environmental issues. Other measures proposed included lights and movement senses, nesting boxes, fences to the rear gardens, and openings to allow hedgehogs to access the site. Regarding the access roads to the proposed site, Lincolnshire County Council expressed no concerns regarding these roads, neither in the outline application or the proposed application.


The Chairman thanked the speaker for his statement, and invited the second and final speaker, the Local Ward Member, Councillor Jessie Milne, to address the Committee.


The Member stated that she knew the area very well, and that attending the site visit was useful. The statement expressed concern about the footpath linking the two access points, with the nearby Church Road hosting poor visibility issues, and dangerous road situations in the surrounding area. The Member then expressed concerns about road flooding and individuals avoiding cars in the village, with flooding not dealt with and the roads subsequently covered in mud. The statement then asserted that there were nearby archaeological sites of interest that could be affected.


Moving to suggestions for the committee, the Member highlighted that better management of flood risks, the historic environment, transportation, and construction control could be put in place in order to guarantee a better development. The Member asserted that this could be also assisted by the enforcement of the conditions, and made sure that the site was being looked after. The Member concluded her statement to state that she was tired of dealing with complaints from construction work in her ward, and that builders were not adhering to the conditions placed upon them in the approval of planning applications.


The Chairman thanked Councillor Milne for her statement.


Note:               Councillor J. Milne left the Chamber at 6.47 pm for the remainder of the item.


The Case Officer was then invited to respond. He informed Members that a footpath for the whole of Church Road was unreasonable, and that the current access on Main Street was safe. The Officer also explained that the flooding and construction management aspects of the application were conditioned in the recommendations, and that the area was in Flood Zone 1. In response to the archaeological issues, this was to be conditioned as recommended by Lincolnshire County Council. Regarding any conduct of the developers, the Officer highlighted that this was an enforcement issue, and that the Authority could not control what developers did day by day.


The Chairman then invited comments from Members of the Committee. Debate ensued, and Members raised up their concerns, reiterating points about access, the lack of pedestrian safety, and the village footprint should the application have been granted. A large amount of discussion occurred on the affordable housing monies and CIL funding that were in with the proposed application.


During the debate, Members expressed their views on the proposed application, with several references to the need for agriculture, the level of community support, and a long conversation of the density of the application site. Members also utilised their experiences from the site visit to highlight aspects of the application. 


In response to a query about potential footpaths, there were no plans for road widening. In a similar response from the Officer, the access point for construction vehicles would be laid out in the construction management plan, which would include the storage parking and management of the site, in addition to the roads that would be used by the builders.


During queries made to the Planning Officer, Members heard that the site would be 0.92 hectares, which was described as about two and a quarter acres, and was proposed to be built on Grade 3 agricultural land. In response to a query about the siting of the dwellings, the judgement call for small villages like Upton were whether it was within an inappropriate location, and the sequential tests of an application.


Responding to several questions about the affordable housing aspect, Members learned that the Homes, Health and Wellbeing Manager had assessed that the dwellings were not suitable for affordable houses, and an offsite contribution would be made. In response to a supplementary, the Senior Development Officer explained that any reassessment of the CIL figure provided would be very difficult, as it was based on the land used by the dwelling. In a later query, Members heard that the affordable housing contribution would be split, with 25% going towards the Government’s First Homes project, and the remaining 75% going towards traditional affordable housing, with both of these streams being spent within the West Lindsey district.


Later in the debate, a similar query was raised about the affordable housing contribution, which Members learned had been calculated to be the equivalent of what would be on-site provision affordable housing, and that in scenario of on-site affordable housing, the dwellings might have stood empty.


In the debate, the Chairman had received two recommendations from the committee that were proposed and seconded. The first to do so was the granting of the application, and the second was the refusal of the application. Early in the debate, several Members felt that the proposed application was limiting safe access in the site, and in the surrounding area, in addition to a loss of agricultural land. The refusal proposal was deliberated to possibly include reasons of flood risk for removal, but after discussion with the Legal Advisor who pointed out that the flood authority did not object to the application, this was removed. Since the refusal was seconded last, the Chairman took the vote on the application


The Chairman took the vote to refuse first. Having been proposed and seconded, the Chairman took the vote, and on taking the vote, it was agreed that permission be REFUSED for the following reasons:


1.     The development would not achieve well designed, safe and convenient access for all, particularly with regard to pedestrians and cyclists. This would be contrary to policy LP13 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan (2017), and draft policy S46 of the Submission Draft Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


2.     The proposal would result in development in the countryside and lead to the potential loss of Best and Most Versatile Land, contrary to Policy LP55 (Part G) of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan (2017), and draft policy S66 of the Submission Draft Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


Note:               Councillor C. Darcel left the Chamber at 7.39 pm.


Note:               Councillor J. Milne returned to the Chamber at 7.40 pm.


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