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Agenda item

DM/18/00101/OUT - Land South of Dale Road Industrial Estate, Dale Road, Shildon

Outline planning application for residential development (Use Class C3) together with access, open space and landscaping with all matters reserved except for access.


The Committee considered a report of the Senior Planning Officer regarding an outline planning application for residential development (Use Class 3) together with access, open space and landscaping with all matters reserves except for access on land south of Dale Road Industrial Estate, Dale Road, Shildon (for copy see file of Minutes).


S Pilkington, Senior Planning Officer provided a detailed presentation of the application which included a site location map, aerial photograph, indicative site layout, and views from the site looking south across the site, backwards towards Dale Road and east towards the fisheries.


Mr Hackett of Eden Grange Fishery addressed the Committee to object to the application.  Mr Hackett informed the Committee that water seeped through naturally from this site and expressed concern that the size of development would result in an increased water drain-off of dirty water, which would be detrimental to the fishery.  Mr Hackett’s solicitor had sent Theakston Estates Ltd a Section 62 on two occasions and had, to date, received no reply.


Access to the fishery resulted in cars waiting around the entrance from 5.30 a.m. to 6.00 a.m. and Mr Hackett was concerned that this could lead to complaints from future residents on the development.


The applicant had held no dialogue with Mr Hackett on potential issues around water drainage and Mr Hackett considered that dialogue was needed.


Mr N Westwick of Lichfields, agent for the applicant, addressed the Committee.  The principle of development at the site had long been established and the site had an extant permission for 310 dwellings.  The site was also acknowledged as a housing commitment in the emerging County Durham Plan.


The outline application was for up to 340 dwellings which represented an increase of 30 dwellings from the total already approved.  The proposals would help meet the identified housing needs within the local area and County by delivering a high quality and sustainable residential community well integrated with Shildon.


All technical issues, including flood risk, had been fully addressed and Mr Westwick asked that the Committee approve the application.


The Senior Planning Officer informed the Committee that the drainage strategy which had been submitted with the application restricted run-off rates to that of field rates.  Any level changes on the site would not increase the flood risk from the site.


N Carter, Planning and Development Solicitor informed the Committee that while Mr Hackett had referred to Section 62, this was a private law matter.


Councillor Jewell considered that the issue of concern to the objector was drainage from the development.  There was already a problem with drainage from the site and Councillor Jewell felt that this could be alleviated by the development.  The Senior Planning Officer referred the Committee to paragraph 108 of the report which outlined that the proposed drainage plans for the site would result in a betterment.


Councillor Wilkes informed the Committee that previous applications had recommended reed beds to be planted to filter drainage water yet these were not included for this development.  If all water flowed straight in to the main drainage system, this would be contaminated water.  Councillor Wilkes had concerns about how drainage would be dealt with.  Additionally, paragraph 127 of the report stated that no affordable housing was to be provided and paragraph 128 that there was to be no onsite provision or offsite mitigation for the increased pressure on allotment, parks and gardens and play space typologies and Councillor Wilkes questioned why such a large development was being recommended for approval without affordable housing or mitigation.


Councillor Robinson referred Councillor Wilkes to the section of paragraph 127 which stated that a large proportion of the houses would be offered at the lower end of the market whilst there was a large supply of houses within Shildon which would fall below the Council’s defined affordable level.


The Senior Planning Officer informed the Committee that the drainage strategy outlined in principle how drainage for the site would be managed and the proposed Condition 11 of the permission required for a detailed scheme for the disposal of foul and surface water.


The Senior Planning Officer referred the Committee to paragraphs 119 and 120 of the report which explained that the viability of the site was considered marginal and could not bear the costs of affordable housing provision or offsite contributions towards recreation provision.


Councillor Laing asked why the developers wanted to increase the number of proposed dwellings on the site from 310 to 340.  The Senior Planning Officer replied that this would increase the viability of the site.


Councillor Tinsley informed the Committee that he had listened to the concern of the objector but there was already permission on the site for up to 310 dwellings and Councillor Tinsley asked whether any change would arise to the drainage situation as a result of the proposed additional 30 dwellings.  While no affordable homes or offsite mitigation was proposed, the development would provide £1.5m in new homes bonus as well as increased precept contributions to the Town Council, which was a community benefit.


Councillor Shield referred to the outline permission granted for the site which was for up to 310 dwellings with a community wildlife area and asked what had happened to the community wildlife area and whether the extant permission contained any play areas.


The Senior Planning Officer replied that the extant permission did not contain any offsite contribution for play areas.  The proposed scheme used areas of land which could have been used for community use.  Councillor Shield added that this would have been an area of land for community benefit.


Councillor Taylor informed the meeting that he had concerns about water and drainage issues, but he now felt more confident about this.  However, the proposed development would extend the community without extending community benefit.  It proposed nothing for recreation and the Committee had been advised that this was on the grounds of viability.  The development was for 340 dwellings and proposed no community facilities with the extra disadvantage of proposing no affordable housing.  However, there were no valid planning reasons to refuse the application.


H Jones, Principal Planning Officer informed the Committee that paragraph 118 of the report provided details of what was being provided on site.  The development was not providing nothing, it just was not providing a full raft of contributions.


Councillor Clare informed the Committee that Rights of Way Officers had suggested a contribution towards local pathways but none had been proposed, which was disappointing.  Although it was disappointing that this contribution as well as no affordable housing or offsite contribution towards recreation provision was being proposed, this did not mean that the application should not be approved.  The proposed Condition 11 of the outline permission would mean that the application would not pass the reserved matter stage until these provisions, relating to drainage, had been agreed.  The Committee had been informed that people gathered early in the morning to gain access to the fishery business and no facility had been proposed for this situation.  Councillor Clare expressed concern that this could lead to conflict with residents of the development and asked that proper provision be made at the reserved matters stage to ensure conflict did not occur.


The Senior Planning Officer informed the Committee that the submitted drainage scheme would be based on sustainable drainage principles set out in ‘Surface Water Principles’ contained within the County Durham Surface Water Management Plan 2011 which restricted run-off rates and worked towards water betterment.  With reference to noise, there was a buffer proposed to the eastern boundary of the site and Environmental Health Officers had not identified the fishery as being a significant noise source.  The proposed Condition 12 of the permission required a scheme of noise mitigation measures.


Councillor Nicholson reminded the Committee that the principle of the development had already been approved for 310 dwellings and that this application proposed an additional 30 dwellings.  However, he expressed concern that the development was on the periphery of Shildon and developments on the periphery did not get people into town centres.  The area needed new houses and better quality houses.


Councillor Wilkes informed the Committee that he had been reassured that drainage issues had been dealt with in a sufficient manner.  The extant permission for the site would have resulted in a larger area of open space on site which this application would remove.  Policies L1 and L2 of the Sedgefield Borough Local Plan required the provision of open space and Policy D5 required the provision of appropriate areas of public open space.  Policy D8 of the Plan required developments to contribute towards offsetting the costs imposed by them upon the local community in terms of infrastructure and community requirements.  Paragraph 118 of the report highlighted that the proposed development did not meet the open space needs requirement and that a contribution of £535,000 would be needed to do so.  The new homes bonus referred to by Councillor Tinsley would not necessarily be spent within the Shildon area, as this was a decision which was made by Cabinet.  The application did not meet saved Policies L1, L2, D5 and D8 of the Local Plan and Councillor Wilkes informed the Committee that he would be voting against the application and moved refusal.


Councillor Shield expressed his disappointment that the area of land proposed for the additional 30 dwellings could have been used for leisure and that the extant permission had open space facility which this application did not now have.


Councillor Tinsley considered that the drainage and water quality issues had been satisfactorily addressed and that this scheme would have no material impact over that of the already approved scheme.  Referring to open space issues he understood the viability argument and an assessment of the viability of the site had been carried out.  The proposed development would have open space on site because the proposed density was in the region of 27 dwellings per hectare.  Councillor Tinsley moved approval of the application.


The Planning and Development Solicitor understood Councillor Wilkes concerns about the lack of compliancy with the saved Local Plan.  However, paragraphs 119 and 120 of the report addressed in detail the viability issues surrounding the site which concluded that it would not be viable to provide a contribution.  He advised that Members were not in a position to challenge the viability evidence and it would therefore be difficult to sustain such a refusal reason.


Councillor Taylor considered that there were no grounds on which to refuse the application but expressed concern that houses were being built without extending the community and without providing facilities.  Councillor Taylor seconded approval of the application.


Councillor Shield seconded Councillor Wilkes motion that the application be refused.


Upon a vote being taken Councillor Wilkes motion was defeated.


Upon a further vote being taken it was



That the application be approved subject to the completion of a Section 106 Legal Agreement to secure

·      the provision of: £30,000 towards offsite biodiversity enhancement

·      voluntary obligations in respect of the transfer of land to the Council, and

·      voluntary obligations in respect to targeted recruitment and training clauses


and the Conditions contained in the report.

Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714