P0109/10/DISCON Land at Angel Farm, Off Hampshire Gardens, Coleford
Discharge of condition of planning permission P1229/07/FUL, allowed on appeal (29), provision of cycle/pedestrian link.
Discharge of condition of planning permission P1229/07/FUL, allowed on appeal (29), provision of cycle/pedestrian link
Please refer to the late material circulated prior to the meeting
Principal Planning Officer, Emma Norgate, referred to the late material and clarified that the application related to the discharge of condition 29 of the original planning permission, (P1229/07/FUL), which had been granted at appeal in 2008.
Speaking as an objector to the application, the speaker questioned the proposal to turn a long established farm track into a cycle and footpath. The speaker expressed several concerns about safety and the poor visibility for cyclists and pedestrians exiting the sudden and abrupt downhill outlet on to the adjoining road. The speaker confirmed that both he and the residents from a neighbouring property had established rights of way along the path and that vehicular access was currently permitted for personal use and emergency access to the two properties. Highlighting the potential risks experienced by cyclists and pedestrians involved in road traffic accidents, the speaker implored the committee to consider the proposals carefully.
Cabinet member for the Community, Councillor Denis Riley, questioned whether there had been an opportunity for the committee to consider the safety audit plans that had been submitted by the applicant and referred to in the late material where several references to the audit had been made. Having noted that Gloucestershire County Highways had not accepted the information detailed in the road safety audit, Councillor Riley outlined some of the safety issues, he believed, local residents were most concerned with, including the gradient of the slope from the path to the road, the stability of the walls lining the path and the safety and welfare of children, animals, pedestrians and cyclists using the path.
Local member, Councillor Grace Bensted, referred to the Planning Inspector’s report and to safety issues relating to the cycle/footpath link from the proposed development to the road, including “the potential conflict between vehicles and pedestrians and cyclists”. Councillor Bensted noted that the Planning Inspector had suggested that, “the need for vehicular access along the track had precluded the installation of a physical barrier at the bottom of the track, (to be installed to prevent pedestrians and cyclists entering traffic on Cinder Hill)”. Furthermore, the Planning Inspector had expressed concern about the risks involved from local residents having vehicular rights of way to the track and had suggested that safety issues could potentially outweigh the benefits of providing a pedestrian/cycle path at this location. Councillor Bensted also expressed concern about entering Cinder Hill from such a narrow and steep gradient and of the risks to highway safety from the increased number of vehicles created by the development. Councillor Bensted suggested waiving the discharge of condition 29 and only allowing access to the two properties on the lane. Following the advice of the Group Manager for Planning and Housing, Peter Williams, that to waive the condition was not necessarily a reflection of the Planning Inspector’s judgment, Councillor Bensted proposed that the application be refused due to safety concerns. She later suggested that planning officers consult with the developer on seeking an alternative and safer option. This proposal was seconded by Councillor Jane Horne and supported by Councillor Terry Hale. Earlier in the meeting, Councillor Hale had referred to information from Gloucestershire Constabulary and had informed members that, whilst raising no objections to the proposals, the police did have concerns about anti-social behaviour and would have preferred to see the developer provide alternative options.
The majority of members shared the concerns about highway safety, with several members empathising about the loss of privacy and threat to personal security to the residents living on the lane. Group Manager for Planning and Housing, Peter Williams, acknowledged such concerns, but stressed the need for clarity on what the committee wanted the planning authority to do, should the application be refused.
In trying to reach its decision, the committee questioned Chris Rose from Gloucestershire County Highways, who confirmed that it was not a requirement for the developer to submit a road safety audit on this application and that Gloucestershire County Highways had raised no objections to the cycle/footpath, due to the perceived low risks involved and the relatively low volume of traffic travelling along Cinder Hill. Additionally, a gating order would be required to install a gate at the link, which would only be considered if there was evidence of persistent crime at the site. Mr Rose informed members that it was Gloucestershire County Highways intention to make the proposals as safe as possible and that extra safety features could be considered during the adoption process.
Members remained unresolved in their concerns about safety issues and voted on an earlier proposal from Councillor Bensted, that the committee refuse the application and allow the planning authority time to consult with the developer to seek an alternative proposal. The reason suggested for refusing the application was the risk to public safety based on the perceived conflict between vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. Councillor David Thomson said that the permitted use of vehicles on the lane, in effect, prohibited the safety of all the other users of the footpath. A recorded vote was taken and members,
RESOLVED to refuse the application. Officers were requested to consult with the applicant to seek an alternative proposal and/or removal of the link.
Councillors Grace Bensted, James Bevan, Philip Burford, Heather Dalziel, Frankie Evans, Terry Glastonbury (Chairman), Terry Hale, Jane Horne, Gabriella Kirkpatrick, Norman Stephens (Vice chairman), Arthur Thomas, David Thomson and Roger Yeates
Councillors Di Martin and Lynn Sterry inadvertently voted against the proposal to refuse the application.