STEEPLE MORDEN PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the Parish Council Planning Meeting held in the Cricket Pavilion on Monday 30th October 2017 at 8.00pm
Present: Councillors J Brocklehurst (Chairman), A Drew, C Upchurch, C Whittington, G Belson, S Wheatley, K Austin
In attendance: 22 Members of the Public.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATIONS UNDER THE CODE OF CONDUCT
Apologies were received from Mrs Norton, Mr Clayton, Mrs Walmesley (Parish Clerk)
Mrs Wheatley declared a non-pecuniary interest under Item 3.1 as a relation of the neighbouring resident.
COMMENTS AND OBSERVATIONS FROM PARISHIONERS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
Members of the public were invited to take part in discussion under agenda items.
TO AGREE A RESPONSE TO THE FOLLOWING PLANNING APPLICATION
3.1 Ref No. S/3428/17/OL
Land to the west of Station Road between nos 12 and 14 Station Road
The Chairman invited members of the public to speak.
It was advised that not every neighbour had received a letter from South Cambridgeshire District
Counci advising them of the application (at least 5, nos 11,14, 19, 31 & 43 Station Road). It was queried whether the application process should go ahead. It was reported that one resident who’d received the letter had notified her immediate neighbours and that Mrs Drew had taken it on herself to deliver a letter to all houses on Station Road about this planning meeting. The meeting had also been advertised on the notice boards and village website with the required notice.
The applicant, Mr Douglas Rule and Planning Consultant, Andy Thompson, were in attendance
and introduced themselves.
The Chairman reminded parishioners that the only thing to be agreed at this stage was access to the site, but it was also observed that the principle of development would also be agreed at this stage.
It was queried whether this development could proceed as the land is outside the village development envelope. The Chairman pointed out that the Ashwell Road development was outside the envelope, but it was observed that this had been an exception site with all the houses built was affordable housing. It was stated that in the absence of a Local Development Plan and the lack of a five year land supply some planning policies were defunct. However, it was believed that following a ruling by the Supreme Court some of the policies were still valid, including this one. The site was a former orchard and was agricultural land. If planning was approved for this site all the fields and green field sites outside the village line could be built on in the future.
Concern was raised that the access road between proposed plot 9 and 10 could be used for access
to develop more houses in the future at the rear of the site. The developers explained that one of
the reasons the orchard was currently derelict was because there was no access to it. It was
queried that if the application was for access only then why had so much money already been spent on developing such a detailed application.
It was advised that more off road parking was needed. Old cottages were very nice but why did
the village want more of the same. It was suggested that the proposed houses could be pushed
further back to keep trees to the frontage. This would also discourage parking on a stretch of Station Road which is already very congested due to parked cars. The 5 affordable properties out of the 12 market houses, was questioned. Residents opposite the proposed development expressed their concerns over the loss of privacy for them.
Mr Rule was asked if there had been survey on the fruit trees as old orchards were very important
to bio diversity. It was believed that a BAP survey would be needed in addition to the one undertaken by the applicants. Mr Rule gave a history of the orchard; the front 2/3rds had been Bramley apple trees, but the planning application only related to the front 1/3rd of the site and there was not a healthy Bramley tree within that part. He added that there was no intention to develop the rest of the site. The proposal to maintain access to the rear was modest and would adhere to principles which would demonstrate to the village that he was interested in best practice. If the planning application was successful part of the remaining land would be dedicated as a Community Orchard for the village. Mr Rule stated that his intention was, if he could get the resources, to manage the rear 1/3rd of the site . The layout of the planning application enabled access to this land.
Mr Rule and Mr Thompson were asked if a covenant could be put on the land. Mr Thompson
replied that it would be difficult. The Chairman suggested that instead of a community orchard
being sited as it was shown on the plans the orchard position be changed to run north to southwhich could act as a ransom strip. If the Parish Council owned this land it would be able to instigate a covenant so that there would be access only for conservation and maintenance of the rear plot. It was suggested that restricting the rear access to 1.8 metres wide would also put people’s minds at rest. The past maintenance of fences and the trees was then discussed.
It was stated that if the village envelope could be changed, this application was much better than could have been put forward, with which the Chairman agreed.
A discussion took place on access to the site both pedestrian and vehicle. Private parking to the
site would be provided with a single point of access. All houses would be served from the rear.
The layout had been tracked for bin lorries and there was still room to park on the opposite side
of the road. The effect on the conservation area which included the houses opposite was also discussed.
Concerns were raised that if outline planning permission were granted the applicants could sell on the land to developers and a less sympathetic building scheme could be proposed.
Parking at the railway station would also need to be taken into consideration. It was noted that
there were 71 cars parked on the side of the road near the station earlier in the day.
Mr Rule concluded by advising that he had listened to the village and tried really hard to be sympathetic. This was the outline stage of the application and once approved the detail would need to be developed for a new planning application in consultation with local residents.
Councillors then discussed the application. Mrs Wheatley did not take part in the discussions.
Cllr Murfitt agreed to find out from the South Cambridgeshire District Council Planning office
why residents, including those adjacent to the land in question, were not advised of the
application as part of the consultation as would be due process.
Mrs Drew added that the officers should be reprimanded for not getting this information out; it
was stated that as this was a big issue for the village the Parish Council agenda should have been
advertised more widely.
The Chairman stated that the status of the village envelope needed to be queried with the planners.
Councillors then agreed that a letter would be sent as a matter of urgency to the Director of
Planning raising concerns over the lack of formal notification for the residents from the Planners. He would also be asked the current position regarding the site being outside of the village envelope and if it could be altered at random, or could the proposed development only
be considered if all the houses were either shared equity or for social rent. It was noted that the
existing cottages on the opposite side of the road were in the conservation area and had to comply with certain restrictions – would this also be the case for the new development?
The Planners would be advised that a decision on the application was not made due to these
issues and the emotive atmosphere of the meeting.
3.2 Ref No. S/3611/17/NM (For information only)
Rear of 1 Westbrook Close –Non material amendment of planning permission S/3581/16/F
(Mr Trevor Pryor)
3.3 Ref No. S/S/3714/17/AD
Odsey Service Station, Baldock Road - Retention of an ATM with associated signage and
(Mrs Natalie Gaunt, New Wave Installations Cardtronics UK Ltd)
-The Parish Council decided to object on the grounds of public health & safety. The application makes no mention of the fact that the previous cash machine was blown up in a robbery on December 23rd 2016. Councillors expect assurances to be given that the applicant has taken the necessary steps to ensure that this cannot happen again, as next time it could result in loss of life (either passing motorists or at one of the neighbouring dwellings).
OTHER PLANNING ISSUES
4.1 Section 106 Projects –Land to the west of Station Road (Between 12 and 14)
The District Council Section 106 Officer, James Fisher, had asked the Parish Council for a list of
projects in the village so that if the planning application for the above site was successful funding
could be requested under a Section 106 Agreement. Councillors agreed that a ‘wishlist’ would be
compiled so that if funds were forthcoming projects could be identified.
COUNCILLORS ITEMS FOR INFORMATION AND REQUIRING THE URGENT ATTENTION OF THE CLERK
There were no other issues raised.
There was no further business and the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 9.30 pm.