Agenda item

E/20/03289/FUL; Earnley Gardens Almodington Lane Almodington Earnley PO20 7JR (approximate start time 11.05am)

Demolition of existing property (buildings 1-13) and construction of 5 no. dwellings with ancillary garages.


Defer for S106 then permit; (against officer recommendation)


Mrs Stevens presented the report to the Committee. She drew the Committee’s attention to the Agenda Update sheet which set out further supporting information from the Planning Agent. Mrs Stevens also gave a verbal update on the application which is recommended for refusal, in addition to the reasons cited in the report the access site lies within Flood zone 2 and has not been accompanied by a sequential test to demonstrate that the whole development cannot be accompanied in a lower risk flood area.


The application is in a rural location outside the settlement boundary of East Wittering & Bracklesham, West Wittering and Birdham; the nearest settlement to the site is Earnley. The proposal is for the development of five houses on a previous tourist attraction which ceased trading in March 2020. Mrs Stevens highlighted the site layout and its location to the Committee.


Whilst there a significant number of buildings already on site they are low level and do not cause any significant impact to the surrounding area.


The proposed buildings are all individually designed and propose to use natural materials in their construction and are appropriate for the location. However, Mrs Stevens explained that there is concern regarding the mass and bulk of the proposed development which would be out of context to the surrounding development along Almodington Lane. The site is in an unsustainable location with poor access to both services and amenities, which would require a strong reliance on motor vehicles.


The Committee received representations from;


Mr Robert Carey – Earnley Parish Council

Cllr Julian Joy – West Sussex County Council Councillor (statement read by Carley Lavendar)

Ms Julia Bowering – Supporter

Miss Elaine Standish – Supporter

Mr Farley - Supporter

Mr James Horsley - Applicant

Cllr Elizabeth Hamilton – Chichester District Council Ward Member


Officers responded to Members’ comments and questions as follows;


With regards to the sequential test and the flood risk at the site entrance; Mr Whitty confirmed that the statutory bodies were aware of the flood risk and where that flood risk lay. The EA do not comment on flood risk with regard to flood zones, the sequential test that can be applied is undertaken by the local planning authority. Mr Whitty explained that the additional information regarding the flood zone at the access for the site had not being included within the Committee report as officers were only made aware of the issue prior to the start of the meeting. The applicant has engaged the sequential test and presented information to show that the site is no longer a viable employment site and has proposed that the only viable option for regeneration is through development.


In response to the concerns regarding the swales and drainage; Mrs Stevens informed the Committee that the proposed drainage scheme included the pond with a restrictive outflow, permeable surfaces and drainage provided throughout the site. In addition, there are currently a large number of hard surfaces already on site; therefore it is likely that there will be a decrease in surface water run-off as a result of the scheme. If the Committee were to permit the application then it is recommended that a drainage condition be included to ensure full details are submitted prior to commencement.


On the issue of undermining the authority’s position at appeal regarding the Earnley Concourse; Mr Whitty assured the Committee that if they were minded to permit the application it would not undermine the council’s position in response to the Earnley Concourse appeal.


With regards to the housing mix; Mrs Stevens confirmed that the housing mix had been discussed with the applicant; the justification that has been provided for the proposed housing mix is viability of what property is appropriate for the site. With regards to whether a varied mix of housing on the site could be viable; Mr Whitty explained that the level of detail to assess such viability had not been provided and therefore officers were unable to comment.


On the matter of ground heights at the site; Mr Whitty informed the Committee that the site height was between 4.5m to 5m AOD. He clarified that the required floor level figures referred to the finished floor level inside the building, the building itself does not need to be constructed several metres above the existing ground levels. If the Committee were to permit the application then a condition would be included to secure details of the proposed ground and floor levels prior to development.


With regards to Annexe 3 of the NPPF and reference to essential infrastructure; Mr Whitty explained that where a site has previously been developed then the sequential test which would normally be applied in this situation can be put to one side, as it may prevent the site from being redeveloped.


Mr Whitty advised the Committee that when determining the application they must apply the tilted balance to their decision making. He confirmed that the housing mix was a material consideration when determining an application.


Following the discussion Mr Barrett proposed that the application be permitted for the following reasons;

·         the design of the development is sensitive to the surrounding location and landscape

·         The site has been marketed and there has been no uptake for it as a commercial site; therefore housing development is the only viable option.

·         The proposed design will support homeworking.

·         When considering the tilted balance the application is in favour of design.


This proposal was seconded by Rev. Bowden.


In a vote the Committee voted to go against officer recommendation and defer for s106 then permit, (the Heads of Terms for the S106 and conditions to be delegated to officers).


Recommendation; defer for s106 then permit, (the Heads of Terms for the S106 and conditions to be delegated to officers).


*Members took a ten minute break.



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