DPD Minutes 15th October 2014

Planning & Development Policy Committee

Minutes of the Myland Community Council Planning & Development Policy Committee Meeting held on Wednesday 15th October 2014, 7.15 pm @ Myland Community Council Office, 101 Nayland Road, Colchester, CO4 5EN

Present:        Cllr John Sutcliffe (Chair)

Cllr Jean Dickinson

Cllr John Dickson

Cllr Pete Hewitt

Cllr John Stewart

There was one member of the public present.

090-14/15     Apologies

Cllr Liz Gray

091-14/15     Declarations of Interest

There were none.

092-14/15     Have Your Say

Mrs White said further to monitoring she believed that where the NAR3 crossed Tower Lane there should be a culvert.  Cllr Dickinson said she had been to the site and tried to speak to someone without success, however she returned at a later date and although there was no-one in the site office she did see the working drawings.  She said the reassuring news was that where the NAR3 intersects Tower Lane there is a chicane on both sides and it looked like there was definitely something going under the NAR.  She said it was not clear what was going underneath, could be culverts, tunnels or electric cables but she would return to the site and find out.

Mrs White said the houses by the entrance to Severalls on Boxted Road were connected to the Severalls sewer and MCC should make sure this was not interfered with.

Mrs White said a lot of trees and hedges had been removed from Severalls.  Cllr Hewitt said he believed any trees that were removed should be replaced and added that he would try to visit the site to check the situation.

Mrs White said there needed to be a plan if the temporary pond at Rosewood overflowed.  She said originally there should have been three but now there would only be two, one of which would be moved, and this also needed to be monitored.

093-14/15     Chairman’s Announcements and Correspondence


094-14/15     Minutes of the meeting held on 1st October 2014 to be approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman    

Following the insertion of the following under Item 083-14/15:

“Mrs White asked if Cllr Stewart should declare an interest in the Rugby Club.  The Chairman said Cllr Stewart had no connection with the Rugby Club and could not even see it from his residence so there was no need for him to declare an interest.”

The minutes of the meeting held on 1st October 2014 were approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman.

Proposed: Cllr Dickson                 Seconded: Cllr Dickinson        (4 For: 1 Abstention)

095-14/15     Matters arising from the Minutes – There were none.

096-14/15     Monitoring – None.

097-14/15     Planning & Licensing Applications – To make recommendations, including requests for Section 106 money where applicable, on applications received

145954 – Unit 2, Easter Park, Axial Way, Colchester CO4 5WY – Change of use from Class B8 (storage and distribution) to Class D2 (assembly and leisure) – Opening of childrens’ soft play centre – Object

MCC wish to support the principle of this sort of play facility in Mile End, but cannot support this application for it on this Easter Park site. We wish to put forward an alternative site which might be considered by the Applicant, this Council, and Colchester Borough Council.

Please see Paragraph D for Proposals for an Alternative Site.

Myland Community Council (MCC) have examined this planning application and interviewed neighbouring businesses and consulted CBC adopted Core Strategy documents, and Myland & Braiswick draft Neighbourhood Plan

Our grounds for opposing the planning application 145954 are:

  • Some of the arguments submitted by the applicant are either untrue and/or ill informed
  • The proposals do not  accord to the adopted Masterplan for North Colchester for this employment zone,  nor does it attempt to co-ordinate with the Myland & Braiswick draft Neighbourhood Plan, nor the draft Masterplan for the Northern Gateway
  • The proposals are perceived as being unsuitable due to: loss of net employment; the 7 days a week international goods transfer activities of the site; a potential liability to other occupants of adjacent units and potentially unsafe for children attending the centre.

A       Some of the arguments submitted by the applicant are either not true and/or are ill informed.

A1     Newman Comment last paragraph “it is likely that this may be the only suitable premises available to Epic Play in Colchester.  EPL’s describe 18 months of research into trying to find a unit of their desired capacity”.

MCC consider these statements, even if true, are irrelevant to this Planning matter. There is an existing real shortage of warehousing and other B class uses accommodation in Colchester and especially Myland. Vacancies occurring in Severalls Industrial park during the recession are now occupied. The current tenants of Unit 2 are moving to Severalls as this was the only location available in Colchester of sufficient size for their future needs. It is thus apparent that the loss of any existing warehouse or any other B class space in North Colchester cannot be supported, or used as an argument to support this application

A2     The inclusion of the bus map shows how at present there are no adequate bus routes for Axial Way that could pick up children from all over the existing residential areas of north Colchester. The Applicant has not supported his argument with any evaluation of the potential public transport changes which may occur as a result of the Northern Gateway development and assumes 100% car use, which in itself is an approach which is not compliant with the required Modal Shift policy for this area to 2031.

A3     Application Form Para 10. Parking spaces declaration of 11 no. is not accepted the number of spaces is currently 35.

A4     Application Form  Para 14. Incorrect information about Unit vacancy, the existing use is still taking place and the Tenant is due to leave in mid December 2014.

A5     Planning Statement Floor Plan. It seems to MCC the application is somewhat misleading as half the gross floor area of 1227m2 is allocated to a 650m2 cafeteria which seems disproportionate to other play centres in this region which are generally about 30%. Should not the application make clear why they believe this is necessary is there a longer term alternative use for this function being considered?

A6     Page 7  Needs Survey:   MCC agrees that the demand for such a play facility in Mile End is well founded, but is concerned that the survey methodology, consultees and data sources are not described or validated. The applicant should have consulted the validated Myland & Braiswick Neighbourhood Plan survey data on this topic

B       The proposals do not accord with the adopted Masterplan for North Colchester for the this employment zone,  nor does it attempt to co-ordinate with the Northern Gateway proposals nor  Myland & Braiswick draft Neighbourhood Plan.

B1     The North Colchester Masterplan and site allocations policies are clear that the Easter park area is a zone for employment. The draft Myland & Braiswick Neighbourhood Plan, which is not mentioned by the Applicants, is clear that increased employment opportunities for all our new residents is in the top two objectives for this Neighbourhood.

B2     The use of all the units at Easter Park for warehousing is supported by this Council but we would support any other B class use which would include much higher FTE employment numbers than is currently the case.

C       The proposals are also perceived as being unsuitable due to:

C1     Loss of net employment

As the population of Mile End  is due to increase by a further 7000 people than anticipated at the Core Strategy/Site Allocations adopted date of 2010 the need for local jobs is increasing and any loss in any way will be opposed by this Council. The application fails immediately on this point as the staff level of the current occupiers of Unit 2 is approximately 50.  The 15 FTE staff proposed by the applicant is clearly a loss.

C2     The 7 day a week international goods transfer activities of the site.

The senior managers of Units 3, 4, and 5 confirm they have regular large vehicle deliveries, including weekends, and frequently these are coming from Europe with drivers who are not conversant in English or expecting to meet families in their drop off zones. This possibility was stated to us as an out of hours’ management concern regarding this application.

C3     A potential liability to other occupants of adjacent units 

The car parking analysis put forward by the Applicant appears fundamentally flawed in that it assumes a daily total with equal numbers per hour during the day. Patently this is not realistic and play centre businesses are more likely to have fluctuating numbers of customers throughout the day depending on school hours, weekends and the weather. We believe there will be frequent occasions when car parking by family users of the play zone are bound to use the estate roads and open car parks of the other units at peak weekend times, as happens at Go Bananas.

The senior managers of Units 3, 4 and 5 confirm that potential issues of public liability, safety, lighting, litter and vandalism need to be considered. The 35 car parking spaces may be adequate at off peak times but much more negotiation and co-operation with managers of the other units is called for before any planning permission could be considered.

C4     Potentially unsafe for children on foot or on cycles attending the centre 

Unit occupants and MCC are not persuaded that the location of the unit is safe or appropriate in attracting under age 12 children who would visit the Play Centre via Axial Way by cycle or on foot.  This commercial main distributor road will become increasingly busier and the junction with the NAR will be a potential danger.

The applicant states he is assuming all children will arrive by car, which is a reasonable assumption apart from the fact it flies in the face of the ECC/CBC Modal shift targets for North Colchester.

Viability Statistics Unit2 Easter Park

  • GFA 1227 m2, Cafeteria area 630 m2 ,  volume – 6375 m3,  car parking 35 spaces,
  • Rents, rates FM £175 – £200k pa
  • Current staff 50, Proposed staff 15customers pa, 108 000
  • Possible active area (non warehousing) 2000 m2 possible staff in an industrial  facility   175-200

NPPF Commentary

The applicant quotes verbatim, many paragraphs of the NPPF to support his application, but regretfully fails to apply the required detailed evidence, relevance and argument for the play zone on all but a few of them.

D       MCC Proposals for an Alternative Site

In 2001 the original (still in force)  Masterplan for North Colchester was approved which includes a children’s Recreation Zone on the Western Boundary of the Stadium Car Park with Boxted Road.  This area has been partly developed as grass 5 aside football pitches and training area and has outline permission of a crèche.  In summer 2014 this same, but enlarged, area was potentially zoned for more intensive development and profitable use compatible with the Stadium activities in the Outline Northern Gateway Proposals.

MCC have formally asked for confirmation from CBC that the zone (which may cover up to half the existing car park) should be retained for children’s activities because of safety, accessibility and complementary resources reasons.  MCC would strongly support an all weather play zone facility, possibly including other youth facilities, in this area, and it would seem to us that a joint partnership agreement to construct and operate such a beneficial and viable facility would be in all our interests.

Proposed: Cllr Dickinson              Seconded: Cllr Hewitt                         (Unanimous)

145926 – Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Fund Turner Road, Colchester CO4 5JL – Proposed extension to main car park off Turner Road. Including a new filter lane within the Hospital site and improvements to the ambulance and disabled parking in front of A&E – Object

MCC oppose the granting of planning permission to Application 145926 for the Hospital car park extension on the following grounds.

1   This proposal should fail because it does not overcome the CBC Planning committee objections to a very similar scheme in Application 101331.

MCC notes that the current application was the subject of a pre-application submission and it seems likely that the failure of a similar application no enquiry 101331 in June 2010, which failed, was not discussed or its lessons learnt.

2     This proposal should fail because it does not comply with current Transport Policies because:

  1. It flies in the face of the strategy for ECC/CBC Modal shift targets for North Colchester, as proposed by Vectos/ECCH and agreed to by CBC on the North Colchester Urban Extension Planning Application 2013.
  2. It also ignores the application of the un-adopted but being enforced ECCH North Colchester Transport Strategy 2010
  3. There is no up to date and validated set of transport movement analyses for the hospital site since the ECCH 2007 base evaluation nor predicted for the next two decades. (Which is a requirement from the NGAUE Transport Assessment undertaken by both Vectos and Royal Haskoning in 2013).
  4. There no mention of the extent of the use and impact of the future Park & Ride facility.
  5. It is not clear if the current NHS staff Park & Ride service from Severalls and its forthcoming cessation is incorporated into this evaluation or not?
  6. Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust has shown little evidence over the last three years of fully implementing their own existing Transport strategy policies/Travel Plans and does not
  • appear to encourage the use of public transport
  • widely publicise bus timetables in its patient information packs or around the premises
  • have any other form of public transport programme in development
  1. MCC notes that no evaluation of the current model shift pattern around the hospital nor ECCH/VECTOS own required modal shift pattern of 15-20% for North Colchester are evaluated as required under NGAUE Transport Assessment and ECCH draft Transport Strategy for North Colchester 2010)
  1. MCC notes forms of public transport which are good for modal shift are listed in the Application but no evaluation as to the % capability of patients and visitors to actually be able to physically use public transport is considered in the proposals e.g. is it OK for 2/10 elderly people with bad hips to walk the 1.4km uphill from the station to the hospital and back?

9          MCC note that Vectos have not provided any future models shift targets for hospital staff visitors or patients nor any evidence of an adopted and monitored Hospital Travel plan which would support this application.

This proposal is therefore contrary to Development Policy DP1 and Core Strategy Policies UR2 and ENV1.

This proposal should fail because it does significant harm to the quality life and the Street Scene for the residents in the Turner Road area.

The proposed car park extension will result in the removal of most of the last green sward hedgerow/shrubs and trees along on the Eastern boundary with Turner Road and the group of trees and shrubs on the corner of Turner Road and the South access road to the hospital.  All of which provides vital landscaped buffers in both:

  • Reducing the impact on households in Turner Road, of cars using the hospital car park in particular screening vehicles from view and reducing light pollution.
  • Maintaining the only established visible “green lung” for 1400 homes within the immediate area.

These factors alone were important enough to produce the CBC decision of objection in 2012

The proposal is therefore contrary to Development Policy DP1 and Core Strategy Policies UR2 and ENV1

This proposal should fail because it does not give any evidence for the assumption at paras 6.4 & 6.5 that 187 new spaces will relieve significant harm in the short, medium or long term to the quality of  Resident Amenity caused by current verge and local street parking  by visitors and patients

MCC notes that this application is purely for 187 additional new patient/visitor parking spaces at ground level only and the Vectos assumptions given at para 6.4 is that this number of spaces will completely mitigate the on verge and on street parking suffered by local residents. There is no evidence to support this assumption as MCC believes this greater need for parking is due only to the transfer of all clinical services from the Essex County Hospital and ongoing population growth (25% in the Hospital catchment and 100% in Myland until 2031).

MCC notes that the figures at 6.1 used to justify this statement are an average parking space usage count of 1 day in May 2014 and 1 day in May 2012. No consideration for any of the known future growth in population from 2014 to 2031 is accommodated by the proposals.

The proposal is therefore contrary to Development Policy DP1 and Core Strategy Policies UR2 and ENV1

This proposal should fail because it seeks to overdevelop the Hospital site to its maximum capacity without any thought of provisions for future growth nor has any evaluation taken place as to the general effects on both its own ambiance and efficiency or on the neighbours in the Turner Road area.

This car parking  proposal is invalid in that the area of the site allocated for roads, service areas and surface car parks is too high at 60% and it is regrettable the Applicant has not seen fit to consult local representatives, or to implement a long term transport & parking strategy with facilities which ought to be in place now.

MCC Recommendation for Site Reorganisation and new Parking Solution

MCC has no objection to the internal reorganisation of parking and roads on site as part of this application. However we can see that more land area will be needed for much more clinical activities over the next 20 years. Thus there is a very strong argument to reduce the footprint of parking and service yards right across the site.

As there is bound to be a large receipt on the sale of the Essex County Hospital MCC request CBC Planning Committee reject this Planning Application 145926 and that the NHS Trust prepares a new site masterplan to meet all predicted hospital demand for the next 10-15 years.

Proposed: Cllr Sutcliffe                Seconded: Cllr Stewart                       (Unanimous)

145608 – 28 Bedford Road, Colchester CO4 5LS – Proposed 2 storey part rear extension with single storey side extensions – Object.  MCC objects to this application on the grounds of over-development and the impact on the residential amenity of the neighbour (No 26) due to the loss of daylight and sunlight.


Proposed: Cllr Dickson                 Seconded: Cllr Dickinson                    (Unanimous)

145785 – 4 Fieldview Close, Colchester CO4 5HD – Proposed extension to and conversion of existing garage to form an annex to the existing dwelling – Support.

Proposed: Cllr Stewart                 Seconded: Cllr Hewitt                         (Unanimous)

146009 – 15 Cranborne Close, Colchester CO4 5UZ – Ground floor, single storey extension to rear of property for use as kitchen, dining, and family room – Support.

Proposed: Cllr Dickson                 Seconded: Cllr Hewitt                         (Unanimous)

145902 – 166 Turner Road, Colchester CO4 5JR – installation of white pvc double glazed clear glass window units – Support.

Proposed: Cllr Hewitt                  Seconded: Cllr Stewart                       (Unanimous)

098-14/15     To receive copies of Planning/Appeal Decisions

145746 – 44 Hollymead Close, Colchester, CO4 5UU – Single and part first floor side rear extension – Permission granted, three conditions, 9th October 2014

099-14/15     Date of next meeting – 5th November 2014, 7.15pm @ Myland Community Council Office, 101 Nayland Road, Colchester.

The meeting closed at 8:24pm