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Agenda item

DM/18/02339/FPA - Site of Former Belle Vue Swimming Centre, Ashdale Road, Consett

Proposed residential development of 24 bungalows with associated access and landscaping


The Committee considered a report of the Senior Planning Officer regarding a proposed residential development of 24 bungalows with associated access and landscaping (for copy see file of Minutes).


The Senior Planning Officer gave a detailed presentation on the application, which included photographs of the site and plans of the proposed layout and members had visited the site on the previous day so were familiar with the location and proposals.


Councillor Temple, Local Member commented that whilst he considered the proposals to constitute a good development by a first class local provider he did have some reservations mainly relating to the withdrawal of a car park which currently accommodated up to 80 cars during school drop off and pick up times. The loss of this informal car park would displace cars elsewhere and ultimately would be felt by the inhabitants of the cul-de-sac.


The second issue related to the positioning of the footpath and the issues that this could bring having heavy footfall, mainly secondary school children, walking through the estate where elderly residents would be living. He therefore queried whether the layout could be reviewed so that the footpath was diverted along the outside of the estate rather than through the middle.


Furthermore, Councillor Temple queried whether it would be possible to consider widening the footpath so that elderly residents who use mobility scooters could easily pass side by side. In addition, he asked whether a condition could be agreed which stipulated that work on site should not commence before 8 am due to the proximity to Ferndale Court.


The Senior Planning Officer advised that the application was subject to grant funding and deferral of the application could potentially prevent the scheme from progressing. In addition, he noted that condition 10 stipulated that work on site could not commence before 8am.


With regard to the issues raised relating to the footpath, the Principal DM Engineer advised that there was potential for this however rerouting the footpath would create difficulties.


Councillor A Watson, Local Member, addressed the committee and advised that whilst he welcomed development, the removal of the car park would cause major issues on what was an already extremely busy highway at school pick up and drop off times.


He added that despite the grant funding potentially being in jeopardy there were still issues that remained unresolved and could if ignored lead to a fatality.


Mr S Donoghue, Architect for Karbon Homes, addressed the committee to speak in support of the application. He noted that he did foresee any issues in widening the footpath, however the ability to maintain access during development was unknown until contractors had been appointed.


Regarding the layout of the site it was noted that this had been assessed in great detail in consultation with the Senior Planning Officer and amendments to such would likely have an impact upon the number of dwellings that could be provided.


Councillor Shield in referencing paragraph 64 of the report asked for some clarification regarding the traffic survey. The Senior Planning Officer advised that the council had been criticised for the timing of the traffic survey undertaken, however this had been undertaken by the developer, not Durham County Council.


Councillor Shield further added that as a local to the area he was also aware of the congestion issues on Sherburn Terrace and Medomsley Road however acknowledged that the two proposed unconnected access roads was more acceptable.


He went on to note that on planning balance there was an identified need for bungalows in the Consett area and with the suggestion of the widened footpath and 8 a.m. starting times he was minded to Move approval of the application, despite the concerns which he shared relating to pedestrians, students and loss of the informal car park.


As a point of clarification, the Solicitor advised that members could not grant permission then requires changes to the granted permission by way of condition. Councillor Shield further queried whether the developer could be asked to work with officers and local members to address and mitigate the concerns.


Councillor Hopgood further queried whether there was any legal way of prohibiting non-resident traffic within the site so that parents picking children up from school did not park within the estate, noting that sixth formers also had cars and would also be displaced from parking at the former swimming baths. The Principal DM Engineer advised that resident parking permits would only be introduced should an issue arise in the future and an assessment be undertaken.


Councillor Jewell reminded the committee that as earlier explained as the car park was private land this could be fenced off at any time displacing cars. The Senior Planning Officer advised that this issue of illegal parking was not an issue for the planning committee to remedy.


Councillor Milburn Seconded the proposal.


Councillor Martin commented that he found it disappointing that Karbon Homes were not in attendance and in acknowledging the concerns raised, agreed that the application be deferred.


Following a vote being taken it was




That the application be approved subject to the conditions as listed within the report.


Supporting documents:


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