The development applied for relates to the construction of 104 holiday lodges and an associated function/club house building, 36 retirement apartments for over 60yr olds, 5 private dwellings along with ancillary landscaping/engineering works, a glamping area, toilet facilities, boating jetties and children’s play area.
It was reported that this application had been referred to the Planning Committee as it represented a departure from the Local Plan. The development applied for related to the construction of 104 holiday lodges and an associated function/club house building, 36 retirement apartments for over 60yr olds, 5 private dwellings along with ancillary landscaping/engineering works, a glamping area, toilet facilities, boating jetties and children’s play area.
The Committee was informed that the application site was situated on the north-eastern edge of Brightlingsea on land to the north of Robinson Road. The site comprised approximately 81 acres of former gravel workings which established a low-level restoration profile. The site had been left to self-seed, which had created areas of open scrub, grassland and woodland around three former silt lagoons, which had formed five open lakes. The site was located outside of the defined settlement boundary for Brightlingsea in both the saved and emerging local plan and within a coastal protection belt within the saved plan only.
In respect of the tourism use, it was felt that the development of the Lower Farm Park site would offer the opportunity to deliver diversification from its current limited low-level use through its integrated connectivity into the local area. It would offer: both direct and indirect employment opportunities within the local area; attract both national and international tourism; and, promote economic growth of the immediate and local areas. The mixed-use proposals across the site had been designed to align themselves with the overarching objectives and policies of the emerging Local Plan and the Council’s Tourism Strategy.
In terms of the private housing Members were made aware that this was proposed to, in part, finance the tourism use and trigger points were proposed accordingly to ensure an appropriate provision of tourism lodges prior to the occupation of the residential elements of the site. In terms of the merits of the residential aspects of the scheme, the site was located on the edge of a smaller urban settlement with good access to local services/facilities and there was residential development on land directly to the south and south-west of the site. The site contained mature vegetation along its perimeters with Robinson Road. As a consequence there would be minimal landscape impact whilst sufficient spacing to existing residential properties was retained to safeguard amenity.
The Committee was aware that in the current situation the Council was unable to demonstrate a 5 year housing supply and therefore in accordance with the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) the presumption in favour of sustainable development applied. The mixed use development was considered to meet the economic, environmental and social strands of sustainability as outlined in the NPPF.
Therefore, subject to the applicant entering into a Section 106 agreement to cover the provision of an affordable housing contribution and public open space/RAMS contributions, the proposal was considered by Officers to be acceptable with no material harm to visual or residential amenity, heritage assets, ecology interests or highway safety, and the application was therefore recommended for approval.
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, Councillor John White declared that this item was deferred to allow alterations to the original application.