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Agenda item

DM/19/03082/FPA - Land to The East of Davison Terrace, Sacriston

8 new build bungalows and associated infrastructure (re-submission)


The Committee considered a report of the Senior Planning Officer which consisted of 8 new build bungalows and associated infrastructure (for copy see file of minutes). 


The Senior Planning Officer provided a detailed presentation of the application which included a site location plan, aerial photograph of the site, site photographs and site layout.  Members of the Committee had visited the site the previous day and were familiar with its location and setting.


The Chair thanked the Senior Planning Officer for his presentation and asked Councillor Liddle to address the committee. 


Councillor Liddle thanked the committee for the opportunity to speak in objection to the application on behalf of the community.  She thought the idea of building eight new bungalows in Sacriston was good as there was a demand and need for them but the community was concerned about the location of the site.  She felt the layout of the scheme was archaic with the internal court yard facing inwardly and putting their backs to the rest of Sacriston.  She noted that the surrounding buildings in the area had a lot of history which would be spoilt by the new building which would also impact on the privacy of the residents.


Councillor Liddle was worried about the proposed access to the development through two lanes which were narrow tracks of poor quality leading to the main road. She was apprehensive that the maintenance of the lanes would fall to the residents and the agricultural vehicles that would come would add undue stress to the roads. She thought there would be visibility issues near the church access making it difficult for veterans to access Shade.


Councillor Liddle explained that in the last 20 years there had been no development on the land. She had received numerous complaints from neighbours regarding Japanese Knotweed that was growing into their gardens from the site.   She wanted a condition placed on the application should it be approved for the applicant to make good the highway and install street lights.



The Highways Officer explained that the access roads to the site had been investigated and it was found that access from the church to the cross roads had had only one minor accident.  He noted that a speed survey showed that the speed of traffic was on average 32 mph illustrating no issues with the roads.  He informed the committee that the track was not of a highway’s standard especially near the church where the tree roots affected the surface but was wide enough for service vehicles to gain access. He noted that some street furniture would need to be relocated as part of the approved plan. 


Councillor Jewell requested clarity on the visibility on both access sites to the development.


The Highways Office confirmed that visibility on both access points complied with Durham County Council’s standards.


Mr Ashton, the applicant addressed the committee in support of the application.  He informed the committee that only five out of the eight properties would potentially use the access near to the school but he felt the extra traffic would not affect the times when children were dropped off and collected. He noted that highways had approved the development highlighting no issues with the additional number of vehicles or speed of traffic in the area.  He thought it was a good? scheme with visibility being good in all directions.


Mr Ashton confirmed there would be a management plan in place prior to the commencement of any building works to control the noise of the development and to reduce the impact of traffic on the nearby school. He had accepted the standard restrictions on the days and hours of work and indicated there would be a sympathetic fence erected to provide privacy for residents of Davison Terrace.


The Chair thanked Mr Ashton and asked the committee for any questions or comments.


Councillor Brown was concerned about the potential presence of Japanese knotweed on the site.  She informed the committee that she had written a thesis on the subject and it was a notifiable and hazardous weed where care was required to dispose of it correctly. 


The Senior Planning Officer noted that Environmental Health and Ecology had not highlighted any presence of Japanese knotweed in their reports.


Councillor Jewell notified the Committee that upon the site visit the previous day he had not noticed any obvious sighting of the weed.


The Senior Planning Officer stated that Durham County Council kept records of any reports of the weed and was not aware of the weed being on the site until it was mentioned on the day of the planning meeting.


Councillor Jewell wanted to know if this needed to be investigated and whether a condition should be added to the application for the careful removal of any Japanese knotweed that may be present.


The Senior Planning Officer requested clarity on where the concern of Japanese knotweed had come from as if the site was potentially affected then the applicant would need to carry out a survey to mitigate its presence.


Councillor Liddle informed the Committee that over several years the site had been a blight with fly tipping.  She explained that she had reported the issue to the Council to have it removed but was told by Clean and Green that they could not remove the fly tipping as it was on private land and the land had Japanese Knotweed present.  Councillor Liddle told the Committee that the site had been cleared and the top soil removed two months ago.


The Senior Planning Officer stated that the site had been visited over several years and it had not been detected.  He noted that if Clean and Green had investigated then it should be recorded with Durham County Council.


Mr Ashton informed the Committee that Durham County Council took Japanese knotweed very seriously and have good records.  A full ecology survey of the site that formed part of the planning application had been undertaken and Officers had not made the applicant aware of its presence.


The Solicitor - Planning and Development explained that condition six of the report required a scheme to carry out remedial work to see if the land was contaminated.  He stated that the condition could be expanded to include Japanese Knotweed in order to cover its presence, should Members feel that it was necessary to do so.



Mr Ashton noted that condition seven of the report also required remediation works to be undertaken in relation to contaminated land.


Councillor Thompson was concerned that if the top soil was contaminated and removed then it would transfer the contamination to another area.  He felt there should be a condition in the application to disclose where the soil had been taken in order to address the situation properly.


The Senior Planning Officer noticed on the site visit the previous day that a large pile of rubble had been scrapped to one side of the site that made him believe the top soil had not been removed.  He explained that further investigations would highlight this.


Councillor Martin proposed approval of the application seconded by Councillor Higgins.


Upon a vote it was unanimously



That the application be APPROVED subject to the conditions contained in the report.


Councillor Thompson left the meeting


Supporting documents:


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