DPD Minutes 7th January 2015

Planning & Development Policy Committee

Minutes of the Myland Community Council Planning & Development Policy Committee Meeting held on Wednesday 7th January 2015, 7.15 pm @ Myland Community Council Office, 101 Nayland Road, Colchester, CO4 5EN

Present:        Cllr John Sutcliffe (Chair)

Cllr Jean Dickinson

Cllr Pete Hewitt

Cllr John Stewart

Cllr Liz Gray

Cllr John Dickson

There was one member of the public present.

120-14/15     Apologies

There were none.

121-14/15     Declarations of Interest

There were none.

122-14/15     Have Your Say

Mrs White introduced herself to the new Assistant Clerk. She asked if anything has transpired recently regarding the conditions for the Severalls development.  The Clerk said she had chased this with Vincent Pearce (VP), who said the application had been updated, but as far as the Clerk could see only the title had been changed.  VP was aware the application was wrong, but the updated application is not yet on the CBC website.

The Clerk introduced Katherine Kane, the new Assistant Clerk, to the meeting.

123-14/15     Chairman’s Announcements and Correspondence

The following correspondence had been received:

Public Notice: Notification of suspension of cycle lane under North Station from 10th January 2015 until end of works.

Public Notice: Temporary speed limit on A134 of 20mph.

124-14/15     Minutes of the meeting held on 10th December 2014 to be approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman           

The minutes of the meeting held on 10th December 2014 were approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman.

Proposed: Cllr Hewitt                  Seconded: Cllr Dickinson        (3 For, 3 Abstentions)

125-14/15     Matters arising from the Minutes

There were none.

126-14/15     Monitoring

There was nothing to report.

127-14/15     Planning & Licensing Applications – To make recommendations, including requests for Section 106 money where applicable, on applications received

146466 – Blue Gates, 2 Nayland Road, Colchester CO4 5EG – Variation of condition 2 of 121699 to reflect changes made to the conversion of the existing house. – Support.

Proposed: Cllr Sutcliffe                Seconded: Cllr Hewitt                         (Unanimous)

146483 – 19 Worsdell Way, Colchester CO4 5WQ – Single storey extension and part conversion of existing garage to form shower room and bedroom for a disabled person. Ramped access to front entrance – Support.

Proposed: Cllr Dickinson              Seconded: Cllr Gray                            (Unanimous)

146463 – Turner Rise Retail Park, Petrolea Close, Colchester CO4 5TU – Application for removal of condition 6 following grant of planning permission. (144667) – Support.

Proposed: Cllr Hewitt                  Seconded: Cllr Stewart                       (Unanimous)

Appeal 145770 – Volkswagen, Inchcape, Axial Way, Colchester CO4 5XB – Building fascia signage, pylon signs and site directional signage – Object.

Original objection to stand (see minutes of the meeting held 1st October 2014) in addition the Clerk to email Environmental Protection and the Planning Department regarding the lighting at the showroom following a strongly worded complaint from a resident.

Proposed: Cllr Dickinson              Seconded: Cllr Gray                            (Unanimous)

CC/COL/52/14 – Former Severalls Hospital Site, Northern Approach Road, (Phase 3), Colchester, Essex, CO4 5HG – Construction of a two-storey, two-form entry Primary School with associated hard and soft play space, vehicle access and parking, hard and soft landscaping, drainage, lighting and fencing – Object.

Councillor Dickinson proposed objecting on many grounds:

  • This is not the correct site for a school
  • On grounds of design, as it is not in keeping with the surroundings
  • There are no facilities for a pedestrian crossing across the main road
  • There is no separate access into the school for pedestrians
  • There are no facilities for parent drop-off and pick-up parking
  • The plans are not Dept. of Education site-compliant
  • There is no provision for nursery education
  • There will be pollution from the adjacent road (both noise and fumes)
  • Because of the bund along the perimeter and the mound within the grounds, there is a high risk of flooding
  • At the public consultation, transport and parent drop-off provision were raised as concerns

The original end of the consultation period was 8th January 2015. HH advised that Essex County Council (ECC) have agreed to extend this until 16th January 2015. VP has told HH he  is happy to discuss this matter at next week’s Planning Liaison meeting. Cllr Dickinson said in the meantime she will investigate the site more closely.

Mrs White raised concerns about the demolition of buildings adjoining the site – she said Orchard Villa should be demolished before the school is built. She said that we should insist on an appropriate crossing and that Footpath 69 should lead into the school site.

Other concerns raised were ensuring the retention of high-quality debris from the demolition of the existing buildings, and whether the site would be properly cleaned environmentally, especially considering it had been a hospital site.

There was some discussion as to the best way to proceed, and it was agreed that full paperwork would be completed after the Planning Liaison meeting to be held on 13th January 2015.

Proposed: Cllr Stewart                 Seconded: Cllr Hewitt                         (Unanimous)

128-14/15     To receive copies of Planning/Appeal Decisions

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 children’s soft play centre – Permission Granted, eleven conditions, 10th December 2014

146213 – North Colchester Urban Ext Mile End Road, Colchester – Reserved Matters Application for 8 units on Phase 1a (Part of R8). Pursuant to Outline Planning Permission 121272 – Permission Granted, five conditions, 23rd December 2014

146241 – 36 Mile End Road, Colchester, CO4 5BX – Single storey rear extension – Permission Granted, five conditions, 31st December 2014

145633 – APP/A1530/D/14/2227474 – 33 Nayland Road, Colchester, CO4 5EG – Proposed single storey front and single storey rear extensions – Appeal dismissed, 18th December 2014

129-14/15     Date of next meeting – 21st January 2015, 7.15pm @ Myland Community Council Office, 101 Nayland Road, Colchester.

The meeting closed at 8:28pm

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

Appendix 1 to the Planning & Development Policy Committee Meeting Minutes

7th January 2015

CC/COL/52/14 – Former Severalls Hospital Site, Northern Approach Road, (Phase 3), Colchester, Essex, CO4 5HG – Construction of a two-storey, two-form entry Primary School with associated hard and soft play space, vehicle access and parking, hard and soft landscaping, drainage, lighting and fencing – Object.

1   Overall Opinion

MCC opposes granting of planning permission for the proposed Severalls Primary School development on the grounds that the site, originally identified in 2003, is no longer fit for purpose.

Whilst MCC supports the early provision of a 420-place primary school within this community the Application as proposed contains significant flaws. It fails to meet current legislation and current and future local demand.

MCC’s reason for the above position is set out below.

2   Catchment Demand

MCC agrees the demand for primary school places is probably urgent however it is concerning that no evidence of a schedule of assumed pupils from post code areas over the next 10 years has been provided with this application. The Application states the catchment will be primarily from the Severalls development of 1500 new dwellings. Although 250 are close to completion (Phase 1) the remaining 1250 (Phase 2) are still to be designed and built.

No developer has been found for the Severalls Phase 2 site over the last 14 years with the most recent candidate again pulling out.

This situation suggests that the Essex County Council (ECC) claim that this school is for children in the immediate locality may be ill-founded. It may be more likely that demand may stem earlier from the NGAUE (Chesterwell) development, eastern Myland generally or northern villages.

The absence of plausible evidence distorts current arguments and claims for catchment demand. This needs to be revisited as a matter of urgency and through dialogue with MCC.

3   Timescales and Phasing       

The application indicates an opening date for the new school of September 2016 is required.  However, there is no indication as to how the proposed construction phasing programme for the school might be managed. Given the acutely difficult access issues referred to later in this response there appears to be no awareness by the Applicant as to how the later construction stages could possibly be managed.

MCC are of the view that logistically the whole structure for 420 place school will have to be built from the start. The prime reason being one of severe vehicular and pedestrian access whose conflicts cannot accommodate any form of later construction traffic

MCC is of the view that in the absence of a realistic and safe phasing programme the whole 420 place school would have to be built from the outset.

4   Omission of Under 5’s Education    

Legislation has changed since 2003 and ECC must now support the provision of 15 hours per week of formal education for all 3 and 4 year olds in either primary schools or private/ social sector approved premises.

This provision does not appear to be addressed for the Severalls School in this Application. Also, this Severalls school site at 2.12 Ha just meets the criteria for a 420 place primary school only.

The lack of Under 5s provision indicates that the proposed Severalls site is not adequate for full future primary educational services. MCC is concerned there is no evidence of any Myland-wide Under 5’s education provision.

5   Design to DfE Standards

MCC understand Department for Education (DfE) Primary School Areas Guidance 2014 for a 420 primary school states a recommended GFA for buildings of 2250m2, a minimum site area of 1.6Ha, and maximum site area of 2.2Ha.

MCC notes there is no analysis in this Application to evidence that all building rooms and circulation areas comply with current DfE guidelines.

There is also no analysis to define compliance with DfE standards for external areas.  Our own approximate scaling off the plans presented appears to suggest the GFA is compliant but this requires confirmation.

MCC notes there is a short description of different use allocations for the wider site area against a “brief” but the ECC brief to the designers has not been submitted with the Planning Application.

MCC notes the playing field size is 400m2 less than required by ECC Education. How is this deficit to be addressed?

MCC requests evidenced reassurance the proposed school building and site meet full DfE requirements in terms of size, facilities and usable open spaces for a 420 place primary school. A copy of the ‘brief’ provided to designers would also be appreciated.

6          Other Design Matters

The design of the proposed school building is in direct contradiction of the architectural design guides for the area contained in the following approved/adopted documents:

  • Myland Design Statement 2011
  • HCA Severalls Phase 2 Design Guide 2011
  • Draft Myland & Braiswick Neighbourhood Plan (2015)

The essence of these three documents is;

  • The Victorian Park legacy should be clear in design of all prominent public buildings
  • The housing styles may be modern but they also reflect some of the Victorian ethos in design detailing
  • Recycled Victorian brick, stone, glass and timber should be used prominently in new and existing buildings (Eden Villa on the site is to be demolished)
  • The Central Mall, Administration Building, Chapel and (hopefully other buildings) are to be retained and restored for community services use
  • Taller new buildings along the eastern boundary of the site are to be prominent high quality and in an identifiable Victorian style along the length of the NAR3
  • The Eastern Access onto the NAR3 is the most prominent and character setting site for the whole Myland Area and this community. Special design & consideration to Architectural Quality and status is demanded and to a lesser extent on the Western Access.
  • Flat roofs will not be accepted

The Severalls school proposal on the most important community facing site in North Colchester fails to meet any of the above adopted Architectural Quality and Legacy Criteria.

7          Site Compliance and Access

It is the view of this Council that both the Transport and Travel Plans, required by the ECC Local Planning Policy and National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) fail to address the acute and specific needs of parents and children in this location.

We refer you to our comments in section 2 above where we do not accept that for the first ten years at least pupils will be arriving from Severalls phase 2 at all but from all other areas of the wider North Colchester area.

Whilst it may be desirable for pupils to arrive on foot or cycle, it will only be practicable for most of the pupils to arrive by car, (as witnessed at most other schools where parents need to drop their children off en-route to work).

This issue is acknowledged as a real concern by the feedback from those attending the public meetings for both this Severalls and the recent Braiswick school applications.  Indeed it would appear from a consultation meeting that the CBC Planners also envisage most of the pupils being dropped off by car.

The expected numbers of vehicles arriving at school drop off times will cause congestion due to the total absence of any parking/drop off / turn round facilities, much in the same way as the difficulties evident at the Queen Boudicca School.

The apparent absence of crossing points on the NAR 3 is a major concern. The main catchment area will emanate from the Eastern side of this road. The acoustic barrier proposed along the NAR 3 will necessitate pupils having a greater walk in order to access the school premises. This may also encourage ‘shortcutting’ across the busy road. There appears to be no provision for ‘School Crossing Guards’ to enable children to cross the NAR 3 safely. Nor is there any provision or discussion of School Bus Facilities in the plans.

The proposal to use the future Community Centre is also ill considered. This council is opposed to building of the Community Centre at this location, and even if it is built it will be in full public use for 16 hours/ day 7 days a week. The earliest construction of the centre is one of our highest priorities in the Neighbourhood Plan.

It is of great concern that at this stage of the design and development the Applicant has not sought to check out these well known facts.

This Planning Application must fail on the grounds that the Travel and Access arrangements for the children who will be attending this school are inadequate to the point of being dangerous.

The solution proposed is based on false data in relationship to catchment area, use of community centre, traffic generated by major West-East link of Severalls Boulevard/NAR3 junction, and a ridiculously small and narrow access road off a right turn from the Boulevard.

MCC is of the clear view this Highways Access issue is severe enough to call the viability and safety of the entire project into doubt.

MCC insist a transport solution is totally redesigned and new traffic movement calculations be redone and submitted to our own Highways consultant Royal Haskoning, for agreement.

8   Pollution

The Application site is also unsuitable for use as School premises for the following safety reasons.

New international standards on pollution on sites adjacent to primary schools have been introduces since 2003. Consequently this site could not be selected in 2015 as suitable for this purpose. To overcome the legislation the designers of the Severalls school are using the following unacceptable practices;

  • Exhaust gases and particulates

Emission from the major distributor NAR 3, and the main EW Boulevard of the Severalls Phase 2 development (which is listed in the North Colchester Transport Strategy as a major east-west link especially for all the through east-west bus routes) are expected to be major sources of particulates.

The designers have orientated the building so that windows face the lesser of the two sources. However concern in complying with the EU legislation on particulate penetration is so great, that the Designers have had to specify sealed windows in most classroom and air filtering/conditioning systems throughout the class room block to protect the children.

This information is buried in the documents and makes an ineffective gesture that there can be some opening windows (which there has to be by law).

The playing field area is planned to be partly protected by a 4-6m high combination of trees on top of a 2m ground bund.  This bund will reduce not only particulates but also light to the classrooms and external areas.

Much is made in the report about the need for shade for young children. It is MCC’s view that due to our climate we are of the view the quantity and quality of UK sunlight in school times could never be problematic.

  • Noise Pollution

It would appear that noise pollution on this site is likely to be higher than that acceptable for primary school children.  Remedial design proposals are made for a   tree/ bund solution plus an unsightly 2m high acoustic fence on top of the bund all along the NAR, and this curving back, into the Severalls development itself.

This pollution protecting set of structures right around the NAR3/ Boulevard boundary and junction is an eyesore in what is already publicly declared and adopted to be the most highly valued proposed Victorian Park street scene and significant location in the whole of North Colchester. MCC will oppose the installation of this barrier and eyesore in this location as it will lead to a loss of prominent architectural amenity.

The school scheme is compromised and does not reflect either the adopted interests of this community nor the high quality of architecture which has also been secured on the opposite side of this main approach to the town centre.

If the degree of remedial works to reduce pollution is required to make this already inadequate site acceptable in health terms then clearly these are further significant reasons why the Site is No Longer Fit for Purpose for Use as a School.

9   SUDS / Flooding

There is little indication in the documentation explaining how surface water accumulated in the playing field area will be effectively dispersed.  The “pudding bowl” effect of the bund and the mound together with the predominance of clay in the Myland area raises considerable concerns regarding flooding.

10 Inadequate Public Consultation

From this community’s point of view the public consultation process leading to this application has been inadequate and did not meet the level of dialogue needed to inform the provision and operation of this vital education facility within our area.  In particular issuing the application over the Christmas period was most unhelpful.

The opportunity for MCC to fully comment on the proposals at such a late date in the process is totally unsatisfactory. Given the range of issues outlined above MCC cannot accept sub-standard and unsafe schools provision and is surprised this Application has been made.