Residential development of up to 20no. dwellings (Outline – all matters reserved except access)
The Committee considered a report of the Senior Planning Officer which provided details of an application for a residential development of up to 20no. dwellingsLand south of Eve Lane, Spennymoor, Co Durham (for copy see file of minutes).
M O’Sullivan, Senior Planning Officer, provided a detailed presentation of the application which included a site location plan, aerial photograph and photographs of the site.
Jeremy Good, agent for the applicant addressed the Committee and clarified that a noise report had been undertaken and that Environmental Health were happy with the noise levels on the site.
Councillor Maddison noted the reference to not harming the character of the site adding the development would fall between two roads one being the access to an already major development and asked what benefit there was to have the development on this site.
In response Jeremy Good informed the Committee the main benefit would be the additional houses in the area, noting the previous application had been refused on Policy 6 which this development now met and was acceptable in principle.
Councillor M McKeon noted she had been on the previous Committee that had refused the application and still saw good reason to refuse now, questioning the use of the Masterplan which was used to give residents assurance of what developments they were going to get in their area if the Committee was just going to override it.
Councillor L Maddison added that the S.106 agreement did not outweigh the impact of the loss of the area noting another development so close to the Durham Gate site was unnecessary, and that development would provide more than enough housing for the area with consideration needing to be given to affordable housing.
Councillor E Adam addressed the Committee commenting he would be minded to refuse the application given the Committee had refused this application recently and those issues had not been addressed and sought assurances that the issues previously raised would be addressed.
The South West Team Leader noted this was a difficult application adding that the Inspectors decision carried significant weight, informing Members that a balanced decision needed to be made and if Members were to refuse this application they would need to find additional reasons for doing so.
Councillor J Atkinson noted that although the application had previously been refused and subsequent appeal also refused the planning inspectorate had visited the site and taken everything into account and deemed it suitable for a development, so would be minded to approve the application.
Councillor M McKeon added that this was housing that County Durham did not want but felt it had to accept noting there were many reasons to refuse the application with air quality being a significant issue.
Councillor D Oliver noted that although the application was not ideal, there was no ground for refusal.
Councillor P Jopling added that there was a need for housing and accepted that the location for this was not always ideal. She agreed with the officer recommendation to approve.
Councillor M Stead noted that there was already a 5-6 bedroom house on the opposite side of the road which had occupants. He agreed that there was a shortage of housing and expressed concern regarding the future of the land if not utilised for housing.
The Chair asked to see an aerial photograph of the site and enquired about the nearby agricultural site.
The South West Team Leader informed the Committee that all of the land was in use adding that if this application was approved it would not be setting a precedent.
Councillor Atkinson moved to approve the application which was seconded by Councillor Jopling.
The application be APPROVED subject to the conditions outlined in the report and completion of a Section 106 Obligation to secure the following:
· Provision of 15% affordable housing on site
· Financial contribution totalling £31, 482.00 towards offsite open and recreational provision, payable in a single instalment prior to the occupation of the first dwelling, and a minimum 660m2 of usable on-site amenity open space provided on a pro rota basis.