Outline application for up to 50 no. dwellings, all matters reserved except access
The Committee considered a report of the Senior Planning Officer regarding an outline application for up to 50 dwellings, all matters reserved except access on land south of Sudburn Avenue, Staindrop (for copy see file of Minutes).
T Burnham, Senior Planning Officer gave a detailed presentation of the application which included a site location plan, aerial photograph, site photographs and indicative layout. Members of the Committee had visited the site and were familiar with the location and setting. The Senior Planning Officer informed the Committee that a late representation had been received from Staindrop Academy which expressed support for the application.
Councillor I Royston of Staindrop Parish Council addressed the Committee. The Parish Council had no ambiguity and fully supported the application on a site which the Parish Council had repeatedly requested be allocated for housing. Housing n this site was preferable to any extension to the industrial estate, which is what the land had been identified for, and no application had been received to use the land for industrial estate purposes. The applicant had sought the views of the Parish Council at an early stage and the current application was a major opportunity for the village of Staindrop, which was stagnating and losing young people. The proposed development would bring with it 20% affordable housing as well as a proposed 20 m.p.h. speed limit which would be alongside the Staindrop Academy. Councillor Royston asked the Committee to approve the application.
Councillor J Rowlandson, local Member, addressed the Committee in support of the application. Councillor Rowlandson informed the Committee that he was puzzled why the application was recommended for refusal, with other Councillors making representations for the development to be approved. The Parish Council, which was fastidious in the protection of the village of Staindrop, had been in support of the application from an early stage. The Staindrop Academy was supportive of the application and the development would introduce a 20 m.p.h. speed limit around the school to allay any fears around speeding traffic. Referring to landscape issues, Councillor Rowlandson considered that the proposed entrance to the development would soon grow back and other proposed landscaping would mitigate the impact of the development. The developers had worked with officers and were proposing 20% affordable housing which would help to keep young people in the area. New development was necessary to ensure the sustainability of the village and Councillor Rowlandson asked the Committee to approve the application.
The following representation was submitted by Councillor R Bell, Member for the adjoining electoral division:
I am taking the unusual step of commenting on an application outside of my division, for three reasons:
1. Affordable housing will be provided as 20% of the development. This is likely to benefit local young people in the wider Teesdale area.
2. There is a requirement to provide 10% of the private and intermediate properties for older people. It is a fact that in Teesdale there is a shortage of bungalows and this was stated by the AAP in its comments on the County Durham plan.
3. As a school governor I know the pressures on the finances of small rural schools, and this development will help safeguard Staindrop. Not to mention the 20mph limit it will enable outside the secondary school.
The Planner’s objection is mainly about the new access. I note that DCC Highways have no objections in this regard and that the applicant will pay for what is needed.
The objection is to the appearance of the new road. As you drive down the C44 your eye is hit by the side of the industrial estate, which is hardly a thing of beauty. In my view a new road would scarcely be noticed against that backdrop. It is in any case planned to plant screening of the road, and roads being as they are, flat on the ground, I do not consider it will take many years for growth to hide the road.
What is the alternative? Knock down an industrial unit belonging to someone else, and access through the industrial estate? Mixing domestic and industrial traffic is surely not acceptable.
The new road and entrance will only be excessively suburban if DCC insist on making it so. I feel with some creative design a satisfactory road access is achievable.
The report also seems concerned that possible future growth of the industrial estate will be stymied by this development. I will leave members to reflect on how more industrial units could possibly be less harmful to the look of the area than a landscaped access road.
I would ask the committee to help enable much needed housing for Teesdale’s young people and elderly and approve the application.
I Lyle, agent for the applicant, addressed the Committee. Locally there was a need for new housing and this proposed development was promoted by a local family. The development proposed 20% affordable housing and highways safety measures including a 20 m.p.h. speed limit outside of the school. The clear conclusion of all reports was that the site was sustainable and the development would help Staindrop to grow and thrive. While it was accepted that the site was in an area of high landscape value, most of the Teesdale area was, but this site was already bordered on two sides by development. The landscape impact of the access road had been overstated and hedgerow and trees would be replaced. The proximity of the development site to the industrial estate as a source of noise had again been overstated, with the noise levels being from a wheel nut gun for 4 minutes a day. This would not lead to residential amenity being affected. This was an attractive development on a sustainable site and Mr Lyle asked the Committee to approve the application.
The Senior Planning Officer replied that there was support in the NPPF for housing in rural communities but that in this application it was considered that the harm of the development outweighed the benefits of it. Referring to the harm caused by the proposed access, the Senior Planning Officer informed the Committee that approximately 80 metres of hedgerow and several trees would need to be removed because of the curve on the road. While a new hedgerow was proposed there would also be the need for a footway which would likely require the removal of a mature oak tree to the north of the proposed site entrance. With reference to noise, the Senior Planning Officer accepted that the worst noise from the industrial estate was for a short period of time but this was at a level which was considered to have an adverse impact bordering on a significant adverse impact. The business on the industrial estate was an established business and this could lead to the potential for noise complaints in relation to its operations.
Councillor Maitland asked whether the proposed 20 m.p.h. speed limit had arisen at the request of the Council. The Principal DM Engineer replied that this was not something which had been proposed by highways and would be subject to consultation in any event.
Councillor Maitland referred to the established industrial estate and expressed concern that the proposed development could restrict the use of the site. As well as young people needing housing to remain in villages, they also needed jobs.
Councillor Atkinson sought clarification of paragraph 46 on page 72 of the report. The Senior Planning Officer replied that it was the opinion of officers that the negative impacts of the development outweighed the benefits of it, although this was a decision for the Committee to make.
Councillor Brown noted that there had been no mention of flood risk. She considered this to be a good application, with good consultation, traffic calming and noise mitigation. However, the loss of hedgerow and a mature oak tree led her to propose that the recommendation to refuse be supported.
The Senior Planning Officer informed the Committee that a flood and drainage strategy had been submitted and this was not a concern.
Councillor Richardson informed the Committee that the Parish Council and local Members were in support of the application. The development proposed 20% affordable housing as well as bungalows and the lack of objections to the application was significant. Councillor Richardson was not persuaded by and did not agree with the proposed reasons for refusal. The development was an opportunity for the village to grow and become more sustainable and for these reasons Councillor Richardson moved that the application be approved.
Councillor Clarke seconded Councillor Richardson’s proposal that the application should be approved. While planning officers considered the best interests of the community, the mitigations were achievable. The development would lead to the loss of hedgerow and some trees but would also bring traffic calming which would lead to increased child safety. The development proposed affordable housing and had the support of local stakeholders and Councillor Clarke considered that the benefits of the development outweighed the drawbacks of it.
Upon a vote being taken it was
That the application be approved and delegated authority be made to the Head of Planning, in consultation with the Chairman, to agree Conditions and a Section 106 Legal Agreement.