Agenda item

The site is in a rural locality and within the sustainable settlement of Great Bentley and proposes 26 Dwellings similar in design and layout to adjacent development.


It was reported that this site was in a rural locality and within the sustainable settlement of Great Bentley and proposed 26 Dwellings similar in design and layout to adjacent development.


The Committee had before it the published Officer report containing the key planning issues, relevant planning policies, planning history, any response from consultees, written representations received and a recommendation of approval.


At the meeting, an oral presentation was made by the Council’s Planning Manager (John Pateman-Gee) in respect of the application.


Emma Walker, the agent acting on behalf of the applicant, spoke in support of the application.


Karen Squires, a local resident, spoke against the application.


Parish Councillor Peter Harry, representing Great Bentley Parish Council, spoke against the application.


Councillor Lynda McWilliams, a local Ward Member, spoke against the application.


Matters raised by Members of the Committee:-

Officer’s response thereto:-

If that change regarding the open space is refused because we think it should stay as open space this application cannot go ahead?

That would be the risk the applicant would take at this time.

Was that from an application that was granted by this Council or was S106 laid down by a Planning Inspector?

To confirm that was Council approval.

Confirmation that, due to apartment block to the south of the site, will those on admiral green estate have site of the village green? 

Views are possible but could be restricted to a certain degree.

Is it correct that there is a general presumption in favour of new development, if this committee is mindful to refuse this application what would be the impact on a possible appeal?

That would depend on what reasons you put forward to refuse the item. My advice to you would be that principle of development would be a difficult matter to defend but ultimately you would be looking at actual planning harm as a consequence of the development and what would that be in accordance with your other policies within the Local Plan that do draw out  Planning considerations for consideration.

So policy SPL1 managing growth, Great Bentley is described here as a rural service centre. Rural service centres in our plan says some of these villages will accommodate a modest increase in housing where appropriate developments will be  of the scale that is proportionate, achievable and sustainable for each of the settlements concerned having regard to the existing size and character  of each settlement. Does that meet the test of that statement in our new policy?

Yes, in context of the specific location of this site and the context of the development to the north of it. There are other parts that have been examined not that far away from this site that are more prominent and I would say would fail that particular test because of the impact specifically of the characteristics of the existing village that are more obvious and intrusive. This in my opinion would not be intrusive in that context. In terms of the village itself, if I was at an appeal you would have to weigh up the various infrastructural services that are available within this village including connections in terms of transportation and it would be difficult to say that it could not sustain the growth itself. You would be looking at planning harm if you were to go down the road of a refusal reason.

Are these houses included in the 550 or are they windfall properties?

This is not a site that is specifically allocated for residential development to contribute towards the 550 a year requirement, this would be classed as a windfall development. By virtue of its location within the settlement boundaries there is general presumption in favour of development, subject to meeting other planning considerations.

There was mention of two specific properties that impact on neighbouring properties. In what way does that impact on the other properties and is that detrimental there enjoyment of their own properties?

So part of our assessment in respect of impact on existing amenity was to consider how does this development affect existing occupiers and their enjoyment. It was felt that there is a degree of harm in respect of the windows at first floor level you have a bathroom, bedroom, bathroom, bedroom window arrangement for the semi-detached group and in terms of overlooking you have the ability to look out of those windows and look to the side and on that basis you would be able to overlook parts of the gardens of the existing properties to the north so there is a degree of harm there. There is some landscaping in existence and the in the control of those existing residents but it would not entirely remove that potential intrusion in respect of their amenity. However, you are weighting the balance of the development benefits and the degree of harm. Overall we have fallen on the side that it’s not so harmful as a single issue to be a warrant defending appeal and warrant refusal.

If they were single storey would that eliminated harm caused?

It would remove the potential for overlooking as long as they are true single storey.

Are there any cycle paths?

There are no cycle paths with regards to the proposed development.

Given recent developments are there any plans for solar panels on these proposals?

Not as a specific proposal before us.

It’s a given that all new housing will have electrical charging points for cars?

It was in the design and access statement that they would all have charging points.

Are we confirming that two small trees, that were originally envisaged to be removed, will not be removed? Or is this something we would have to condition if we were mindful to approve?

While the TPO sees no value in them given their size, there is no reason why we can’t keep those trees. I suggest we do add a condition to that for avoidance of doubt if you were to approve it. 

Is there no possibility that we could get a footpath at least through onto the green so those can get to the train station?

Ultimately there isn’t a public right of way existing or that is proposed with this application and essentially in order to create a reasonable route that your considering you would be dealing with other land beyond the control of the applicant. It would be subject to other consent required as well. So ultimately that would not be reasonable to require and is not the proposal before you. If we were to resist this proposal on that issue we would be in difficulty as officers to defend that point. Not least that the development close by has the same issue of commuting to the station.


The Planning Solicitor gave the following advice to the Committee: “We have to rely on reasons for refusal which stand up to scrutiny on Planning merits and we must act reasonably. A part of that includes ensuring that we refuse on grounds that stand up to the Planning merits of the case and that are also supported by evidence. Just to remind Members that unreasonable behaviour can attract cost rewards for the Council.”


Following discussion by the Committee, it was moved by Councillor Harris, seconded by Councillor Fowler and RESOLVED:

(1) On appropriate terms as summarised below and those as may be deemed necessary to the satisfaction of the Assistant Director (Planning) to secure the completion of a legal agreement under the provisions of section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 dealing with the following matters:

- A financial contribution for Open Space, Schools and RAMS as set out by consultees adjusted to 26 dwellings and indexed linked.

- Affordable House 30%

- Public open space to be secured and managed

(2) That the Assistant Director (Planning) be authorised to grant Planning Permission upon completion of the legal agreement subject to the conditions as stated in Section 8.2 of the related Officer report and stated below (or as need to be varied to account for any errors, legal and necessary updates) and those as may be deemed necessary by the Assistant Director (Planning) and further subject to a condition requiring the two northern dwellings to be of single storey height. If following consultation with the applicants this condition is not accepted then this application will be put before the Committee once more.

(3) The informative notes as may be deemed necessary;

(4) That in the event of the Planning obligations or requirements referred to in Resolution (1) above not being secured or not secured within 6 months that the Assistant Director (Planning) be authorised to refuse the application on appropriate ground at their discretion.

Conditions and reasons:


1. The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission.


Reason - To comply with the requirements of Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.


2. The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the following approved plans and documents: Drawings to be agreed on release of decision


Reason – For the avoidance of doubt and in the interests of proper planning.


3. Prior to the commencement of development, including any ground works or demolition, until a Construction Management Plan has been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the local planning authority. The approved plan shall be adhered to throughout the construction period. The Plan shall include:


i. the parking of vehicles of site operatives and visitors

ii. loading and unloading of plant and materials

iii. storage of plant and materials used in constructing the development

iv. wheel and underbody washing facilities

v. prior to the commencement of any work on the site, a joint inspection of the route to be used by construction vehicles should be carried out by the Applicant and the Highway Authority, including photographic evidence.

vi. noise control

vii. emission control

viii. dust control

ix. working hours


Reason - To ensure that parking on the highway does not occur and to ensure that loose materials and spoil are not brought out onto the highway in the interests of highway safety and to ensure that construction does not lead to excess water being discharged from the site or the environment is adversely affected.


4. No materials produced as a result of the site development or clearance shall be burned on site.


Reason: In the interests of residential amenity


5. Prior to occupation of the development, the road junction / access at its centre line with Michael Wright Way shall be provided with a minimum clear to ground visibility splay with dimensions of 2.4 metres by 33 metres in both directions, as measured from and along the nearside edge of the carriageway.

Such vehicular visibility splays shall be provided before the road junction / access is first used by vehicular traffic and retained free of any obstruction at all times.


Reason: To provide adequate inter-visibility between vehicles using the road junction / access and those in the existing public highway in the interest of highway safety in accordance with policy DM1.


6. No unbound material shall be used in the surface treatment of the private drives throughout.      


Reason: To avoid displacement of loose material onto the highway in the interests of highway safety in accordance with policy DM1.


7. Prior to the occupation of any of the proposed dwellings the internal road layout shall be provided in principle and accord with Drawing Number (Drawing No to be agreed on release of decision), Proposed site layout plan.


Reason: To ensure that vehicles using the site access do so in a controlled manner, in the interests of highway safety and in accordance with Policy DM1.


8. Any new boundary planting shall be planted a minimum of 1 metre back from the highway boundary and any visibility splay.


Reason: To ensure that the future outward growth of the planting does not encroach upon the highway or interfere with the passage of users of the highway, to preserve the integrity of the highway and in the interests of highway safety and in accordance with Policy DM1.


9. The proposed development shall not be occupied until such time as the vehicle parking area indicated on the approved plans, has been hard surfaced, sealed and if required marked out in parking bays. The vehicle parking area and associated turning area shall be retained in this form at all times. The vehicle parking shall not be used for any purpose other than the parking of vehicles that are related to the use of the development unless otherwise agreed with the Local Planning Authority.


Reason: To ensure that on street parking of vehicles in the adjoining streets does not occur in the interests of highway safety and that appropriate parking is provided in accordance with Policy DM8.


10. Any vehicular hardstanding shall have minimum dimensions of 2.9 metres x 5.5 metres for each individual parking space, while each tandem vehicular parking space shall have minimum dimensions of 2.9 metres x 11 metres to accommodate two vehicles, retained in perpetuity.


Reason: To ensure adequate space for parking off the highway is provided in the interest of highway safety in accordance with Policy DM8.


11. Prior to occupation of the proposed dwelling, the Developer shall be responsible for the provision and implementation of a Residential Travel Information Pack for sustainable transport, approved by the Local Planning Authority in writing, to include six one day travel vouchers for use with the relevant local public transport operator free of charge.


Reason: In the interests of reducing the need to travel by car and promoting sustainable development and transport in accordance with policies DM9 and DM10.


12. Notwithstanding the details submitted with this application, no development shall commence other than that required to carry out additional necessary investigation which in this case includes demolition, site clearance, removal of underground tanks and old structures until an investigation and risk assessment has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The risk assessment shall assess the nature and extent of any contamination on the site, whether or not it originates on the site. The investigation and risk assessment must be undertaken by competent persons and a written report of the findings must be produced.


Reason: To ensure that any risks (to future users of the land and neighbouring land and to controlled waters, property and ecological systems) arising from any land contamination are minimised and to ensure that the development can be carried out safely without unacceptable risks to workers, neighbours and other offsite receptors.


13. Prior to the construction above damp proof course, a scheme for on-site foul water drainage works, including connection point and discharge rate, shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.


Reason: In the interests of ensuring suitable drainage.


14.   1. No development or preliminary groundworks of any kind shall take place until a programme of archaeological investigation has been secured in accordance with a written scheme of investigation which has been submitted by the applicant, and approved in writing by the local planning authority.


        2. No development or preliminary groundworks of any kind shall take place until        the completion of the programme of archaeological investigation identified in the WSI defined in 1 above.


        3. The applicant will submit to the local planning authority a post excavation assessment (to be submitted within six months of the completion of the fieldwork, unless otherwise agreed in advance with the Planning Authority). This will result in the completion of post excavation analysis, preparation of a full site archive and report ready for deposition at the local museum, and submission of a publication report. Reason: To secure archaeological works required.


15. Notwithstanding Section 55 (2)(a)(ii) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended and the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015, (or any Order revoking and re-enacting that Order with or without modification):- - no enlargement, improvement, insertion of new openings or other alteration of the dwelling house(s) shall be carried out, except pursuant to the grant of planning permission on an application made in that regard.


Reason: To enable the Local Planning Authority to retain control over the development in the interests of the amenity of the locality and to safeguard local distinctiveness.


16. All changes in ground levels, soft/hard landscaping shown on the approved landscaping details shall be carried out in full during the first planting and seeding season (October - March inclusive) following the commencement of the development, or in such other phased arrangement as may be approved, in writing, by the Local Planning Authority up to the first use/first occupation of the development. Any trees, hedges, shrubs or turf identified within the approved landscaping details (both proposed planting and existing) which die, are removed, seriously damaged or seriously diseased, within a period of 10 years of being planted, or in the case of existing planting within a period of 5 years from the commencement of development, shall be replaced in the next planting season with others of similar size and same species unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.


Reason: To ensure that the approved landscaping scheme has sufficient time to establish, in the interests of visual amenity and the character and appearance of the area.


17. Retention of Trees

Notwithstanding the landscape details submitted, all trees shall be retained within the public open space areas except to allow the access drive unless otherwise agreed in writing by the LPA

Reason - In the interests of the environment. 


18. Car charging points

All dwellings shall provide a functional car charging point prior to first occupation to serve the interests of the occupier of that dwelling. 

Reason – For the avoidance of doubt.   


Supporting documents: