Outline planning application for the erection of up to 14 dwellings, including means of access (all other matters reserved)
The Committee considered a report of the Senior Planning Officer which provided details of an application for r the erection of up to 14 dwellings, including means of access (all other matters reserved) at Land to the East of Sedgefield Community College, Hawthorn Road, Sedgefield (for copy see file of minutes).
The Senior Planning Officer provided a detailed presentation of the report and included site location plans, aerial photographs and photographs of the site. A site visit had taken place on the day prior to the meeting.
The Senior Planning Officer advised that a Section 106 agreement could not be imposed as the Council were also the applicant, so instead planning permission would be withheld until there had been an internal transfer of funds.
Councillor Adam advised that on this occasion the site visit was a worthwhile exercise as it had provided him the opportunity to view the nature and layout of the site which was substantially higher than the surrounding area. Members had been approached by some local residents who had voiced concerns about the proposal.
Councillor Adam advised that Butterwick Road was essentially a lane which suffered with speeding traffic and was used by large and heavy vehicles coming from the A177 despite being unsuitable for those types of vehicles. The speed limit changed from 60 to 30 but this was close to the junction and he suggested that the signs should be moved and a restriction placed on heavy vehicles.
Councillor Adam also had concerns about the site line as the land was situated on a high slope. In his opinion for a sufficient site line the vegetation would need to be cut back or drivers would not be able to see cars exit the junction until they were upon the area. Both directions were the and considering the narrow lane which often had parked vehicles on it, the opening needed to be realigned to ensure a sufficient view. In addition, restricted parking should have been introduced as during school drop off and pick up times the road was dangerous.
Residents had concerns that the speed survey had been carried out during a period when the school was operating under covid restrictions and the roads were very quiet and therefore a further survey should have been done under normal circumstances.
There were additional concerns regarding the capacity of the SUDS scheme as the land was a substantial height in comparison to the other houses and concerns re water run off and whether it would be sufficient.
The Highways Development Manager advised that many of the highway concerns raised were existing problems that would not be made worse by the development. With regards to the parking, this was a 30 mph zone and the speed survey showed an average speed of 30 mph. The development would not make that any worse and the junction had been designed within the 30 mph zone and he vegetation could be removed to achieve visibility splays.
The Senior Planning Officer confirmed that the application had been reduced from 20 dwellings to 14 in order to achieve a decent set back and ensure no issues with regards to overlooking and privacy and with regards to drainage, the use of swales and permeable driveway along with the condition for a flood risk assessment to be undertaken had been determined acceptable by drainage officers.
Councillor Atkinson queried the allocation of money in the absence of a Section 106 agreement and asked if the money would still be used within the local area. The Senior Planning Officer advised that although the contribution could not be secured through a Section 106 agreement, it would be used as if it were and only to benefit the local area.
In response to a further question from Councillor Atkinson regarding the drainage, the Senior Planning Officer confirmed that the Local Flood Risk Authority had deemed the scheme to be acceptable and there would be no impact to flood risk.
Councillor Boyes advised that despite the issues raised by Councillor Adam, the application would regenerate a brownfield site which was lying dormant. This was a small scale housing development with no great impact. He accepted the comments made by the Highways Officer, the road was a 30 mph road with an average speed of 30 mph and it could not be opposed. He moved the recommendation as set out in the report.
Councillor Brown queried the time of the traffic survey and whether the road was operating on limited capacity in July 2021. The Highway Development Manager confirmed data from a speed survey in 2014 had resulted with an average speed 28.1 mph and added that the weekday average was 168 vehicles per day.
Councillor Andrews advised that although residents were concerned about flood risk there had been no flooding in the area to date.
Councillor Cairns queried the exact date of the speed survey in case it was carried out during school holidays however it was 9 July when schools were operating and Councillor Boyes added that this was not during a lockdown period.
Councillor Adam confirmed that he had no objection to houses being built there as it was a suitable site, however he believed highways needed to reconsider some aspects that would not incur too much cost. He also queried the validity of a speed survey from 2014 was also a long time ago and there had been building work done at the school since.
The Highways Development Manager advised that he could make a commitment to look the issues raised, but conditioning those would not be appropriate as they were existing issues that would not be made worse. In addition, parking restrictions would require a traffic order which was outside of the Planning Committees remit.
Councillor Atkinson seconded the proposal to approve the application.
Councillor Brown commented on the condition for offsite affordable housing and advised that if needed, it should be in the area.
The Planning and Development Solicitor advised that the Committee could only require a developer to mitigate any issues caused by the development, however issues raised were existing issues and would suffer no further impact from the development. He advised with regards to traffic orders, there was a separate process and the highways officer had confirmed his willingness to liaise with traffic management officers.
That the application be APPROVED subject to conditions outlined in the report and the completion of an internal transfer of funds to secure the following;
· £24,505 toward open space provision within the electoral division.
· £5044.76 towards biodiversity enhancement.
· £137,880 toward education provision.
· And subject to a financial contribution the equivalent of 20% affordable housing provision to be secured through the sale documentation for the site/at the point of sale of the land.