Demolition of the existing dwelling at 22A Lavant Road and the construction of 4 no. dwellings and associated works.
Mr Mew presented the item to Members and provided a verbal update relating to an additional objection regarding the character of the area, privacy of neighbouring properties and the request for hedge planting. Mr Mew also drew Members’ attention to the Agenda Update Sheet regarding a third party representation which cited the lack of clarification relating to the construction method and any associated fire risks.
Mr Plowman left the meeting and did not return.
The Committee received the following speakers:
Simone Ivatts – Objector
Richard Zipeure – Objector
Nick Sutherland – Objector (statement read)
Paul White – Agent
Officers responded to Members’ comments and questions:
Statement provided Mr Plowman read in his absence.
With regards to consulting Southern Water, Mrs Stevens confirmed that there was no statutory requirement to do so on schemes under ten dwellings which was also in line with the adopted position statement. It was acceptable for the scheme to discharge to Apuldram Wastewater Treatment Works subject to the mitigation for nitrates. On the matter of the protection of boundary vegetation, the trees and shrubs had been assessed as not worthy of a Tree Preservation Order but a plan had been submitted with the ecological mitigations and enhancements proposed as part of the scheme and Mrs Stevens confirmed that Condition 26 could be amended to clarify that the vegetation along the boundaries should be retained. In terms of the wider approach to nitrate mitigation, in line with advice from Natural England, which the Council were working with, in regards to one-off schemes and also a broader approach going-forward, there was not a requirement for authorities to look at discreet areas within specific parts of Chichester Harbour as an example, or the wider Solent which had been divided into areas, which was the reason for Natural England accepting the type of mitigation proposed. On the matter of the use of the agricultural land to be used for the mitigation scheme, this was grade 3 or 4, had been in recent use and officers were satisfied would provide an appropriate level of mitigation.
With regards to the affordable housing provision, Mrs Stevens confirmed that within the development plan it was not possible to require a contribution for this size of development, and should this be a concern, it would have to be addressed by planning policy. On the matter of the materials proposed, Mrs Stevens advised that there was a mix of materials within the locality and the cedar cladding on the rear properties was considered acceptable, but the materials condition could be amended to include a requirement for materials to be negotiated as part of the discharge of conditions application.
Mrs Stevens explained that the previous appeal scheme had included two detached properties to the front of the site and a row of three link-detached properties to the rear. The current scheme included part of the adjacent neighbouring garden with two semi-detached properties to the front of the site and two chalet bungalows to the rear of the site and therefore the previous proposal had been greater in density. The current proposal was considered by officers to be appropriate, provided housing in a sustainable location, supported the lack of a five year housing land supply and provided space around the dwellings with garden areas. The housing team had previously raised an objection to the four-bedroomed units, and the scheme had been amended to two four-bedroomed and two three-bedroomed units. Mrs Stevens added that it was difficult to have a Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment (HEDNA) compliant scheme on such a small number of units and to do so it would have required a two-bedroomed unit in place of a three-bedroom unit, but the current scheme was now considered not materially different to the HEDNA to warrant refusal, as concluded by the housing team. Mrs Stevens advised that the mitigation management would form part of the Section 106 agreement to ensure on-going management of the nitrate mitigation land.
Mr Whitby confirmed that his assessment of the vegetation had been concluded as not worthy of preservation but could be considered important in terms of softening the boundaries between residents and for the wildlife. The protection could be made more stringent but not under a preservation order. Mrs Stevens also confirmed the site was not within a conservation area and the tree specifically cited was not protected, therefore the Council did not have control, but Condition 26 could be enhanced and amended.
Mrs Stevens confirmed that Condition 15 prevented any external lighting other than in accordance with a scheme which must be agreed. In regards to the distances from neighbouring properties, Mrs Stevens advised that the proposal provided distances over and above the Council’s guidance. In terms of the quality of the existing buildings, Mrs Stevens added that it was accepted that they form part of the character of the area but the demolition of a house does not require planning permission and only prior approval for the method of demolition.
With regards to housing land supply figures Mrs Stevens advised that a windfall site was separate within the Local Plan and Mr Whitty added that windfall sites assisted in demonstrating delivery.
With regards to the Tree Preservation Order (TPO) tree, Mrs Stevens confirmed that tree 7 was an oak in a neighbouring site, and tree on the highway land was owned by the County Council and was not the subject of a TPO. Mrs Stevens also responded that the case officer had looked at the evidence provided for the previous use of the nitrate mitigation land and Natural England had not raised an objection. On the matter of ground water monitoring, Mrs Stevens responded that Condition 6 was a standard condition which required that this must take place over the winter period following the grant of planning permission and construction could not take place until the information had been submitted and agreed in consultation with the drainage engineer officer.
Mr Whitty summarised a number of points including the principle of development of the site and explained that this proposal would maximise the efficient use of land and with regards to the erosion of character, this was not contained within any adopted policy and all decisions of the Committee must be based on policy. There was other back land development within the vicinity with larger houses being removed for the construction of smaller dwellings and therefore this now formed part of the character of the area. With regards to the trees and boundaries, the level of threshold for creating a TPO tree, this was set at high public amenity not a private amenity. It could however be ensured that planting to the rear aimed at retaining privacy and was maintained via a condition. On the matter of nitrate mitigation land, it was grade 3 or 4 land, and the Council’s policies sought to protect grade 1, 2 and 3 land, therefore the lowest grade was looked at for loss in the first instance. There was ploughed evidence for the land and Natural England’s approach was that it was not possible to establish the regularity or time period in which ploughing had taken place or crops grown, but that the land would make a contribution to mitigating nitrates within the harbour. The Council had engaged with a specialist regarding the Solent to draw-up a longer term solution. In the intervening time, the solutions put forward by developers had to be accepted and secured by a Section 106 with the requirement to plant, and this could be reviewed in the future to ensure this was taking place. Mr Whitty added that Natural England required the nitrate mitigation land was taken out of all farming production and using the land for animal husbandry would still produce a level of nitrates.
Mr Whitty confirmed the amendments to the conditions as discussed during the debate.
In a vote the recommendation was not carried against officer recommendation.
The Chairman proposed that the application was deferred. This was seconded by Mr Briscoe.
In a vote Members Agreed to Defer for further negotiation with the applicant on the retention of hedging and trees and for comment from Southern Water on the Apuldram Wastewater Treatment Works capacity for the extra three houses and cumulative effect. The application to be brought back to Committee for determination.
Members took a ten minute break