P1975/11/FUL Former Longhope C of E Primary School, School Lane, Longhope
Decision maker: Planning Committee, Development Control Committee
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Erection of 13 dwellings and provision of public open space, with associated landscaping, parking and access
Please refer to the late material circulated before the start of the meeting
Referring to the updated officer’s report on page 31 of the agenda and to the information that had been included in the late material, Principal Planning Officer, Emma Norgate, informed members that, although the legal agreement for the planning permission required for this application had been received, it was after the date that had been specified by members in their resolution at the meeting in March 2012. Accordingly, it had been necessary to re-present the application at this meeting to confirm that the planning permission could be issued. Furthermore, one of the signatures on the agreement had not been witnessed. The planning officer explained that a 14-day period was being requested for the legal agreement to be completed.
Speaking as an objector on behalf of local residents, the first speaker made the following statement: -
‘We would like you to take into consideration our objections when you make your decision on this development of 13 houses to be built on the land adjacent to Rectory Meadow. We have no objection to the old school being developed into two dwellings. The sewerage and draining need to be upgraded – this was recommended several years ago, following the development at Sunnybank and the Old Rectory. Rectory Meadow is now suffering flooding from all the surface water coming down. In Rectory Meadow, there are 23 cars belonging to residents and visitors, which have to park on the roadside. The road is far too narrow for large vehicles to use. The junction at Rectory Meadow on to Church Road is extremely dangerous as we have cars parked at the junction and the road. Visibility is virtually non-existent. We have had a few minor accidents here recently and it will only be matter of time before something serious happens. We have also had an ambulance not being able to get to patients due to the road being so narrow with parked cars. The same applies to School Lane. The Church has a lot of activities there and there is no car park. Hence all the cars, even coaches, park along that stretch of road, making it really dangerous to pull out from. Also the Church have run out of burial ground so why don’t they use this land for that purpose. I hope you will take into consideration our serious concerns regarding this application.’
Speaking on behalf of the parish council, Chairman of Longhope Parish Council, Councillor Stan Stephens, noted that the decision relating to this application was made at the March committee meeting and apologised if he was wasting time by making the following statement: -
‘The village is concerned with the impact of a further thirteen houses being built in a constructed area of a village. As the parish council, we are particularly worried about the impact of people using the new houses on the main road of the village, Church Road. Church Road already has three bad locations along its stretch, which make the road almost impassable. The school virtually closes the road. The crossroad in the centre of the village is always full of parked cars. This is the road you intend to use for access to the new houses, (through the council estate). The church, when used blocks the School Lane that you intend to use to access the new houses. It would be marginally better if you used a new access road, which was proposed on the last planning application. However, Church Road also plays a very important role as a main route for the A40 and the A416 to Little London, when both are closed during roadworks or road accidents. This occurs frequently and results in Church Road becoming a by-pass for all traffic, including police, ambulances and goods vehicles. This is why we are very concerned.’
Despite several strong reservations about the earlier decision to delegate authority to the Group Manager for Planning and Housing for the approval of planning permission, the committee accepted that to change this decision could result in serious legal risk to the council. Seeking advice from the Group Manager for Legal and Democratic, Marie Rosenthal, on what the legal implications might be should the committee refuse the application at this late stage, members were informed that they would need to substantiate their decision with good reasons to avoid the risk of a serious legal challenge or successful appeal against the decision. Responding to concerns about access arrangements at the site, Group Manager for Planning and Housing, Peter Williams, reminded the committee that the site was already an allocated site for development and that there had been no change in circumstances following presentation of the committee report, and subsequent decision to approve planning permission, at the committee meeting on 13 March 2012. He said that the only reason why the application had been brought back to the committee at this meeting was because of an oversight in the signing of the legal agreement confirming the committees’ earlier decision to grant planning permission. On this basis, the majority of members reluctantly accepted the situation. Councillor Lynn Sterry moved the recommendation and Councillor Brian Jones seconded the motion. A recorded vote was taken and it was,
RESOLVED to delegate authority to the Group Manager for Planning and Housing and the Group Manager for Legal and Democratic to grant planning permission subject to conditions and to the completion of a section 106 legal agreement on or before 22 May 2012. If the legal agreement should not be completed on or before 22 May 2012, the Group Manager for Planning and Housing authorised to refuse the application.
Councillors, Gethyn Davies, Judy Davis, Terry Glastonbury, Val Hobman, Brian Jones, Gabriella Kirkpatrick, Paul McMahon, Graham Morgan, Norman Stephens, Lynn Sterry and Arthur Thomas
Councillors, Philip Burford, Frankie Evans, David Thompson and Roger Yeates.
Publication date: 18/05/2012
Date of decision: 08/05/2012
Decided at meeting: 08/05/2012 - Planning Committee