DPD Minutes 4th March 2015

Planning & Development Policy Committee

Minutes of the Myland Community Council Planning & Development Policy Committee Meeting held on Wednesday 4th March 2015, 7.15 pm @ Myland Community Council Office, 101 Nayland Road, Colchester, CO4 5EN

Present:        Cllr John Sutcliffe (Chair)

Cllr Jean Dickinson

Cllr John Stewart

Cllr John Dickson

The Clerk

The Assistant Clerk

There was one member of the public present.

153-14/15     Apologies

Cllr Liz Gray and Cllr Pete Hewitt

154-14/15     Declarations of Interest

There were none.

155-14/15     Have Your Say

Mrs White said she was pleased to note that monitoring of the Chesterwell development had begun.

Cllr Stewart said he had noticed there was never a report from the P&DP committee in the Mylander, although there were reports from the Working Groups, and he thought a P&DP report should be included.  He said he had noticed that no report was given at the Myland Community Council meetings either.  The Chairman said minutes of all P&DP meetings were made available to everyone so there was no need to report at MCC meetings.  Cllr Stewart said it would be nice if a report was made in the Mylander, just a few sentences to say what the Committee had been doing.  Cllr Dickinson said it should include updates on all developments.  The Chairman thanked councillors for their comments.

156-14/15     Chairman’s Announcements and Correspondence

The Chairman said he had received a series of emails regarding the proposed changes to parking restrictions on Mile End Road.

157-14/15     Minutes of the meeting held on 18th February 2015 to be approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman           

The minutes of the meeting held on 18th February 2015 were approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman.

Proposed: Cllr Stewart                 Seconded: Cllr Dickson           (Unanimous)

158-14/15     Matters arising from the Minutes

There were none.

159-14/15     Monitoring

There was no report.

160 -14/15    Planning, Licensing & Highways Applications/Appeals – To make recommendations, including requests for Section 106 money where applicable, on applications received

150177 – Chapmans Farm, Nayland Road, Colchester, CO4 5HA – Demolition of all existing buildings and construction of 27no. 2, 3 and 4 bed detached and semi-detached houses on the existing brownfield site currently occupied by Cants of Colchester – Object.  See Appendix 1 for full objection

Proposed:  Cllr Dickinson             Seconded: Cllr Dickson           (Unanimous)

150201 – 153 Bergholt Road, Colchester, CO4 5AH – Proposed two storey and single storey rear extension loft conversion and associated internal alterations. To provide improved kitchens, bedrooms – Support

Proposed: Cllr Dickson                 Seconded:  Cllr Dickinson       (Unanimous)

150247 – 107 Bergholt Road, Colchester, CO4 5AG – Porch to the front of the property 1.2m x 1.9m. Rendered finish to walls, slate hipped roof – Support

Proposed:  Cllr Dickson                Seconded: Cllr Stewart           (Unanimous)

150287 – 1 Church Farm Way, Colchester, CO4 5JJ – Erection of 1 x 4 bedroom house – resubmission of 146192 – Object

This proposal relates to an application for 1 x 4 bedroom house within the grounds of Church Farm, Myland, Colchester. This application is a re-submission of application 146192 which was refused.

This company have submitted 1 previous application for Church Farm House itself, which was granted. This is, MCC believes, the 4th application for the adjacent site. The original application was for 4 houses which were then re-submitted for two dwellings last year and which were again refused. The company submitting the application has planning permission for change of use of Church Farm House to domestic dwelling. As yet no remedial work has been undertaken. Indeed if such work had been completed prior to this application it would have been a signal of good intent by this developer. We understand that Church Farm House is listed and on the market for sale.

Church Farm House is a Grade 2 listed building and the last of such farm houses within Myland. It is still possible to view this building from a certain point and imagine what the land looked like in bygone times. However, if this plan receives permission, this will remove that view forever.

The latest plan would remove current car parking spaces which are used by visitors/ staff attending Mosaic Homes accommodation adjacent to the site. These vulnerable adults require 24/7 access for staff members. Proposed parking restrictions in Nayland Road and removal of this car park facility will mean staff have no nearby parking access and necessitate staff (many of whom are women) walking some distance in the dark hours and creates a safety problem.

Approval of planning permission on application 144679 required the retaining of 2 car spaces within this existing car park. The current plans have moved these spaces to a location which is on an access footpath, thereby breaching the planning agreement. On the site is a telegraph pole which the plans state will be ‘relocated’ but no mention is made of where to and how this will prevent disruption to neighbours telephone services. Objections are already lodged from several local residents and the Ward Councillor Martin Goss has raised several reasoned objections to the application.

Reasons for objection

Overdevelopment:  This application could be viewed as ‘piecemeal’ development. With the development at Blue Gates opposite it would appear the developers are trying to squeeze a large house into a small green area.

Impact on listed building: The Farmhouse is, as stated, Grade 2 listed and the view taken from the existing car park gives one an impression of how the area looked in medieval times. Granting of planning permission would hide this view of the building and circumvent the intention of such listings.

Impact on protected trees:  The occupier of 27 Bolsin Drive argues that his experience of living in the shadow of the protected Oak Tree may tempt future occupants to carry out remedial work without permission. Indeed there are signs of previous lopping to the tree. It was noted in a previous visit that a tree had already been felled although not subject to TPO.

Loss of daylight/sunlight: The occupant most affected by the development (27 Bolsin Drive) still maintains concern that even one house on the site will adversely affect his property.

Breach of planning conditions: The developers appear to have amended the planning conditions attached to application 144679 in as much as they have relocated the 2 parking bays.

Proposed:  Cllr Stewart                Seconded:  Cllr Dickson          (Unanimous)

150360 – 295 Mile End Road, Colchester, CO4 5DZ – Demolition of single storey extension at rear, construction of new single storey rear extension together with internal alterations and additions – Support

Proposed: Cllr Stewart                 Seconded:  Cllr Dickson          (Unanimous)

161-14/15     To receive copies of Planning/Appeal Decisions

150030 – Poundland, Unit 1a Turner Rise Retail Park, Petrolea Close, Colchester, CO4 5TU – 1 x high level sign to shopfront. 1 x shopfront fascia sign – Permission granted, 5 conditions, 23 February 2015

150013 – Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, Turner Road, Colchester, CO4 5JL – Extension of Recycling and Waste facilities to allow hard-standing and covered areas for specific recycling facilities to include; covered paper/cardboard baler and storage area, dual baler for both plastic bottles and cans, relocation of domestic use compactor and potential space for second compactor, secured covered storage area for clinical waste – Permission granted, 2 conditions, 3 March 2015

146595 – 10 Rudkin Road, Colchester, CO4 5LT – Proposed rear extension and garage extension including associated alterations – Permission granted, 2 conditions, 20 February 2015

162-14/15     Date of next meeting – 18th March 2015, 7.15pm @ Myland Community Council Office, 101 Nayland Road, Colchester.

The meeting closed at 8:14pm

Councillor John Sutcliffe ……………………………………………………….. Chairman

Appendix 1 – P&DP Minutes 4th March 2015

Planning Application – Chapmans Farm – 150177 – Object

MCC have examined this outline application for change of use of 0.95Ha land from agricultural use to new residential use (27 units) including demolition of all existing buildings and creation of a single main vehicular access onto Nayland Rd.

1        MCC’s relevant research shows

1.1     The application site (0.95Ha) is on the boundary of, but does not form part of the NGAUE/Chesterwell planning application for 16-1800 dwellings, and so is not subject to the conditions or protections of that Development.  Similarly the application site is within 100 metres of the main entrance to the Severalls site which has planning approval for 1250 dwellings.

1.2     The application site is owned by Cant’s of Colchester and the adjacent land at Walnut Drive may be owned by the Developers Knights or their successors in title

1.3     This Planning Application for 27 new homes is therefore made in the context of the Chesterwell and Severalls approved developments for 2850 new dwellings, where the first 250 units, adjacent to the application site, are scheduled for completion 2015-2016.

2        Comment on the Application

2.1     Housing Development Context

MCC are of the view that Myland Parish, with planning approvals for a  further 2850 new dwellings, is at saturation point for standard 2 to 4 bedroom homes, as indicated on the submitted drawings.

2.2     Appropriate Number of Units?

2.2.1  As the existing and proposed developments adjacent to this site are already designated for residential Use in Planning Policy terms, a new Residential or Community Support Facility Planning Use can be supported.

The application requests 27 units (i.e. a density of 28.4 units/Ha) with 1 or 2 bedrooms, 16 no 3 bedrooms, and 10 no 4 bedroom units.

An indicative analysis of the proposals are                  m2

Gross site area m2                                                 9538

Road area incl 5 extra visitor spaces                     1950

Open space 10% (500m2 only shown on plan)      958

Housing area                                                          6730

27 units                                                                  20 Units

23 garages                                      483                  20 garages                  420

31 driveway parking bays)             650                  20 parking bays           420

27 dwellings + garden area av       207m2             20 dwellings + garden 294m2

As indicated in the table above, 20% of the gross area is needed for roads required on this site, Pedestrian access and open space, the average plot size is only 207m2 + 42m2 for parking . MCC believes this footprint is too small for family living in what is a transitional urban to rural environment and demonstrates that approval for a more appropriate number of family housing of 20 units rather than 27 units could appropriate for the Chapman’s site

2.2.2   Affordable Homes

The Applicant states in the Design & Access Statement, Page 1, Para Use, that the North Colchester Area SPD incorporates 35% affordable housing requirement.  As stated at 1.1 above this site is not within the NGAUE boundary, and the percentage affordable housing for Colchester applicable generally in 2015 is 20%. The applicant/Fenn Wright should check their sources on this matter.

2.3    Highways Access

2.3.1  The NGAUE highways changes are that the existing A134 Nayland Road is to become a cul-de-sac with all traffic diverted by a new A134 thought the Chesterwell neighbourhood centre.  This means there would be no contentious issues for the primary access to the Chapmans site and it may even be possible or desirable to create a second access, if it improves the design and utility of the development.

Other Highways issues are identified as:

2.3.2  The CBC policy defines a need for a 2m wide Tarmac cycle and pedestrian access to and

from the site at:

  1. a) To the East through to Walnut Drive and into Boxted Road
  2. b) To the North to link to the NGAUE Eastern green corridor and main entrance to Severalls.

2.3.3  Minimum Compliance with Design Standards and Adoption by ECC Highways in terms of:

  • Parking, garaging and 6 visitor parking  spaces
    • Road width and pavements
    • Turning heads for large vehicles, at all dead ends

do not appear to have been met in the outline drawings

2.3.4  If the roads are not adopted they must be managed and maintained by a regulated private specialist company

2.4     Open Space

The 10 % requirement for this site is some 950m2, only half of which is indicated on the plan. However no thought as to how this open space can be used productively as a leisure facility has been considered.

It is requested that negotiations are held with Mersea Homes leading to their possible contribution of an equivalent amount of land in this location, in order to make this space a viable and accessible pocket park for the residents of  the  +/- 100 dwellings (Chapman’s, Whitebeam and NGAUE) in this parcel of land

2.5    Ecological Issues

MCC’s experts express below, their concern at the vagueness of the Report and are particular concerned that it was undertaken in late October 2014 and not at a time when the abundant wildlife of this area was more in evidence.  Attached is a set of observations from our Chairman Peter Hewitt and Simon Underwood, resident and member of the Natural History Society, which show several Red and Black category birds.  In addition bats are frequent visitors.

2.5.1  With all the development proposed for the area it would seem reasonable that the negative impact on Ecology  and Habitat caused by this development on Chapman Farm is insignificant compared  to the damage likely to be caused by  the development of the whole NGAUE area.  MCC will not oppose this Planning Application on Ecology Grounds, but will seek proportionate compensation for loss of wildlife through a set of landscaping requirements.

2.5.2  MCCs intention above is underpinned by our request to the CBC/LPA to vigorously apply policy ENV1 “The Borough Council will conserve and enhance Colchester’s natural and historic environment, countryside and coastline. The Council will safeguard the Borough’s biodiversity, geology, history and archaeology through the protection and enhancement of sites of international, regional and local importance”.

2.6    Landscape

MCC is concerned about:

  • the site’s survey of individual trees, shrub/tree clusters and road boundary hedge
  • the consequent proposals for the removal of most of them
  • most importantly, the lack of any satisfactory and appropriate landscaping proposals

2.6.1  There are 9 trees and 3 shrub groups on site and it appears from their health description that this once national nursery has allowed their trees to decline towards a consistently poor standard. Of the 9 trees and 3 large shrub clusters, just 5 are being considered for retention, and there is the vaguest of proposals to plant a new hedge with a few more trees on the main road boundary.  Tree planting of small decorative varieties only appears to be indicated in the residential area on the plans.

MCC reject the outline landscape proposals and ask the LPA to condition this application to replace lost trees with species and landscaping on the West boundary, Pocket Park and Green links that:

a        provide future replacement habitat for birds and insects to thrive and

b        reflect the semi rural nature, history and local memories of the Roses and Oak landscape on which this area is founded.

2.6.2 The proposed development is so intensively designed that there will be no safe room for any planting of trees of a significant nature and for this reason MCC ask the LPA to  apply a planning condition that  a  stand of indigenous trees, plus squirrel owl & bat boxes, and climbing rambler roses are provided and actively maintained along the Nayland Road  highway boundary and within the pocket park, as  both a living memory and partial reinstatement of all the beauty that Cants provided to this Parish over  many years.

SUPPORTING EVIDENCE – EXPERIENCED- OPINION ON ECOLOGICAL AND LANDSCAPE CONCERNS

From: Simon Underwood <srhunderwood@yahoo.co.uk>
To:     Peter & Carole <pete.carole@btinternet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, 17 February 2015, 14:33
Subject: Re: Cants planning proposal

Having read the various documents relating to the application I am concerned by the ecological appraisal, which reads:

“The small amount of available trees and scrub within the site makes it unlikely that the site is of significant importance for bird Species of Principal Importance in England (SPIE), such as Song Thrush, House Sparrow and Starling. There are no records of SPIE species within one kilometre of the site, although this is likely to be due to a lack of recording locally.”

Having checked the list of SPIE and the BTO Red List, I am shocked at this statement. 

As we know the fields immediately adjacent to the farm support an abundant population of skylarks (although this will not be so for much longer).  The Hedgerows around the farm and fields also support considerable numbers of yellowhammers.  That is to say that within 100 metres of the farm these two species can be found.  Around the farm itself, and in my garden, next door to the farm there is a good number of house sparrows indeed, they nest in my garden and, I believe, on the farm.  In addition, I have groups of starlings that forage on my lawn and I have recorded turtle doves in my garden.

I have made listing of the birds I’ve noticed in the garden over recent years, and I see I have Fieldfare, Redwing and Tree Sparrow on the list, among others, so those are certainly found within 100 metres of the farm.  Consultation of the BTO Red list reveals that Fieldfare and Redwing are now both Red listed, as are the linnet and cuckoo.  All of these can be found within 1000 metres of the farm.

Sadly, sightings of birds such as these are becoming rarer as more building takes place, so I would really like to see a couple of houses taken out of the proposal and some clusters of trees put in their place

The ecological appraisal also talks about potential bat roosting sites on the farm, but found no specific evidence of bat activity, although they mention the need for a further survey at the appropriate time of year. I can confirm there are bats roosting in the farm buildings in the summer; I see them every year.

Sadly, the application also calls for the removal of several trees and large areas of mature hedgerow; the latter to be replaced by new hedging, which will be of little  if any value for nesting birds for some years..

Simon Underwood

Alternative Development Solution.

MCC are of the view on economic/commercial factors, local policy and demographic grounds that this outline application is inappropriate and ill-advised at this time in terms of the published emerging Myland & Braiswick Neighbourhood Plan, which already has the status of material consideration on any Planning Application in Myland.

MCC will directly approach Cants and Fenn Wright and the LPA with two new closely argued proposals for the site being:

  • that the main house is retained as the central social and functional core for a cluster of between 25-40 individual properties specifically for Myland’s older residents
  • that we seek to apply the requirement that all new homes on this site must comply with Lifetime Homes building standard.

In conclusion

  • Myland Community Council, accept the principle that housing development on this site is appropriate and in compliance with overarching LPA Planning Policy.
  • The outline scheme as currently presented does not meet any of our local criteria for new housing applications in North Colchester and is not acceptable for the detailed reasons stated above.
  • At 27 units the average building plots are too small and mean and we have analysed that if this application is approved in outline by the LPA a maximum of 20 units should be permitted
  • The proposals for the site need to be reconsidered from first principles.  If a new design, sensitive to the local and historical context is developed, which addresses this Council’s demographic needs and policies, improves the public connectivity, mitigates and enhances the environmental impact, then MCC will be pleased to support it.