Decision Maker: Planning Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
RESOLVED that the following application be determined or otherwise dealt with in accordance with the various recommendations contained in the list namely:
(i) No 1 on the Plans List (19/02034/LBC Listed Building Consent for internal alterations to create an en-suite shower room - The Old Carriage House, St Andrew Street North, Tiverton)) be approved subject to conditions as recommended by the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration.
(Proposed by Cllr L J Cruwys and seconded by Cllr D J Knowles)
b) No 2 on the Plans List (19/0928/MFUL Erection of buildings incorporating employment (B1/B2/B8) with associated infrastructure – land at NGR 305390 112177 (Hitchcocks Business Park) Uffculme).
The Interim Group Manager for Development outlined the contents of the report by way of presentation highlighting the location of the proposed development within the site, the proposed floor space of the 3 proposals and members were reminded of the fact that this was now a revised smaller scheme than originally proposed. Members viewed the layout of the 3 areas, the site sections, floor plans and elevations and viewed photographs from various aspects of the site.
The officer added that the proposal was in line with Policy DM20 of the Local Plan and highlighted the updates within the update sheet which included the following: a representation from the MDDC, Growth, Economy and Delivery Section and Halberton Parish Council, a response from the Environment Agency and a further objection.
The officer then supplied answers to questions posed in public question time:
· With regard to climate change and the Council’s aim to become net zero by 2030, there was a need to look at the current planning policies within the existing Local Plan.
· With regard to light pollution, the application had been thoroughly scrutinised and external consultees had found that the mitigation that had been put in place was acceptable.
· With regard to responses to the original application, those responses were still on the file for everyone to view.
· With regard to Policy DM20, the policy did allow for this type of development, officers had been working with the Growth, Economy and Delivery Team to make sure that the needs of the policy had been met.
Consideration was given to:
· The details of the travel plan
· The lateness of the Growth, Economy and Delivery Team’s response
· The views of the objector with regard to the views of the local community with regard to the proposal, the cumulative impact of continued development on the village of Uffculme and the roads leading to the village. The number of applications that had been submitted for the site and the fact that the local habitat was being changed forever.
· The views of the applicant with regard to the 100% occupancy of all units on the site and the mixture of small and large businesses in residence. The application would contribute to the traffic on local roads but lots of cars travelled along that road heading for the motorway junctions. It was intended that investment would be made in solar energy where possible. The site continued to provide employment in the local area.
· The views of the local Ward Member with regard to the scaled back proposal, Halberton Parish Council were in support of the proposal and it would create jobs in the area, the smaller units on plot 1 should be encouraged, the Growth, Economy and Delivery Team supported the proposal and there had been no objection from the Highway Authority.
· The site was not outlined within the current or emerging Local Plan, although officers considered it to be in line with Policy DM20; there was a need for the countryside to be protected and maybe there was a need for an additional condition with regard to extra planting/screening around the site.
It was therefore:
RESOLVED that: planning permission be granted subject to the prior signing of a S106 agreement to secure:
a) A financial contribution towards the installation of a visibility control at the junction roundabout at J27 of M5 or the installation of the scheme to address the issue of minor shunts and:
b) A travel plan to seek to reduce overall reliance on private car travel to the site.
And conditions as recommended by the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration with an additional condition to be added after Condition 2 to state:
Reason: To ensure that the size of the units remains appropriate for starter and grow on space
With a further condition in respect of screening/additional planting around the site.
(Proposed by the Chairman)
i) Cllr B G J Warren made a declaration in accordance with the Protocol of Good Practice for Councillors dealing with planning matters as a member of Willand Parish Council which had been involved in discussions regarding the site;
ii) Mr Hills spoke on behalf of the objectors;
iii) Mr Persey (applicant) spoke;
iv) Cllr R F Radford spoke as Ward Member;
v) The following late information was reported:
MDDC - Growth, Economy and Delivery (GED) – 3 February 2020.
The Growth, Economy and Delivery (GED) team strongly supports this planning application.
The award winning business park has delivered a significant proportion of the District’s economic growth (delivery of employment space, job creation and business investment) over the past 5 years, and is looking to build upon this success. The proposed units will enable local businesses to grow, and will help to meet the demand for business space which is currently outstripping the supply of commercial and industrial units across Mid Devon and the surrounding areas (most of our business sites and commercial land owners have waiting lists of interested businesses).
The site’s occupants provide employment for over 600 people, with jobs at a variety of salary levels, including higher level technical and specialist roles.
It is unfortunate that the owner has chosen to withdraw the larger scheme they originally put forward and is instead going for a smaller project. The larger, masterplanned scheme would have delivered far greater benefits to the local area (greater pedestrianisation between Willand and Uffculme, park and community facilities etc), and there is a real risk of these benefits being lost through a potential return to a piecemeal approach to developing Hitchcocks. However, we recognise the reasons behind the decision, and will continue to support the business park and its further development.
HALBERTON PARISH COUNCIL 15th January 2020 - No objections. The Council supports the scaled down application and the provision of much needed local employment.
Response from Environment Agency 07.02.2020
Thank you for re-consulting us on this application.
Environment Agency position
Following review of the Foul Drainage Statement (AWP, dated 23rd December 2019), we confirm that we have no objection to the proposed development. The reason for this position and advice is provided below.
Reason – We have reviewed the further information provided within the Foul Drainage Statement and consider this to adequately demonstrate that the proposed foul drainage arrangement is acceptable. The proposal complies with our requirements and with the General Binding Rules.
Additional condition to be added after Condition 2
· The floorspace hereby approved under drawing reference 180209 Unit F3 01 01 C shall not be amalgamated and/or let to provide an individual unit of more than 288 sq m.
· The buildings hereby approved under drawing reference 180209 Unit F1 01 01 F shall not be amalgamated or let to provide an individual unit of more than 216 sqm.
· The buildings hereby approved under drawing reference 180209 Unit F 01 01 H shall not be amalgamated or let to provide an individual unit of more than 216 sq m. and there shall be no more than three units beyond 144 sq m in total.
Reason: To ensure that the size of the units remains appropriate for starter and grow on space
From an objector :
Re: Scientific report on behalf of the applicant on air quality and proposed additional HGV and car movements (60 lorries and 700 cars):
· Cars, of the employees (approx. 700), in all probability will all turn up to and exit the site at roughly the same time; and anyone familiar with the locality cannot possibly consider that the impact of such a significant increase in vehicular movement and accompanying pollution (air quality) could be anything other than significant; especially as additional to the existing and currently expanding new developments of residential properties in close proximity on two sides of the site’s perimeter and only metres away.
· The residential developments themselves are a source of additional vehicular movement and pollution to the existing residential developments (both the established developments and those still under construction). No consideration at all has been given to the fact that the full effects of the latter properties are yet to have been established as not yet built/completed! Already, residential vehicles and ‘white’ goods vehicles are congested up and down Bridwell Lane; a lane which cannot accommodate the passing of two cars even, in places, let alone commercial vehicles with local car drivers having to repeatedly reverse a significant distance back along a narrow and bendy road with road users displaying varying degrees of ‘courtesy’ and ‘care’ (often both absent) i.e. not very safe.
· Much of the commercial traffic (although not all) will probably arrive via the M5 and travel along the upper road to Uffculme B....’, which is already becoming increasingly congested; especially at the Old Well / Waterloo Cross roundabout and the access road from it to the M5 roundabout resulting often in 20 minutes of vehicular queueing; especially when loading is taking place at the ‘Waterloo Cross’ (the linking road suffering much pot-holed disrepair which will be exacerbated throughout the area if the expansion goes ahead).
· The residents of Uffculme have limited road access to the M5, the main two running alongside Bridwell Manor and Uffculme School; both already suffering from the lack of two car passage at certain points; both with difficult access to join the top road (B) to access the M5 at Jctn 27; both already becoming increasingly hazardous due to the already increased weight of traffic, especially heavy goods vehicles; posing a hazard to people, children and domestic vehicles.
· Both these access roads are hazardous, having generally poor visibility, including at their respective junctions with the upper road B... (which also has poor lighting), currently having no assistance provided to aid safe access across oncoming traffic to join the traffic flow in direction of the M5.
· The alternative is to travel the ‘long’ route, Uffculme Road (the ‘Uffculme straight’), to Willand roundabout and then retrace the journey back along the B... (upper road) where the site’s access for 700 to 800 vehicles is to be situated, including at least 60 heavy/commercial vehicles! This weight of traffic is compounded by the relative narrowness of the road for heavy lorry usage with large vehicles passing very close as they travel in the opposite direction, also creating sudden and significant backdraft as they hurtle pass small vehicles travelling in the opposite direction (and pedestrians).
· Similarly, potential pedestrian use of the upper road (B... ) has not been considered. The pavement, in combination with a lack of lighting is already inadequate and dangerous for the safe passage of pedestrians; especially due to the closeness of the road to the path and the strong back draft created by passing heavy goods vehicles.
· There seems to be no consideration of the yet to be built Junction 27 major industrial and commercial development (or the current expansion of the Mid Devon Industrial Park with its industrial units or the large scale residential developments, not only in Uffculme but also Willand and Tiverton Parkway localities). Travelling along the ‘Uffculme straight’ in the direction of Willand to access Cullompton and/or the M5 at J 28 is becoming increasingly congested; with traffic already trailing at peak times the whole length of Millennium Way at Cullompton for those travelling to Cullompton Tesco etc or the M5 at J 28; where queuing is regularly 30 minutes plus (on outward and incoming journeys).
Noise Pollution – This has been given little if any consideration; either whilst proposed building works take place or/and when the site is completed and the site is up and running:
· 700 cars and 60 lorries are going to generate significant noise and gas emissions/pollution.
· The noise and vibration effects from building works in the early stages of Luccombe Park, were protracted and invasive. I am sure no residents in the locality would relish a prolonged repeat of this; with the constant ‘thumping’ sound and accompanying vibration felt all day every day, for weeks; even though we ourselves are not the nearest of properties to the building works; it drove us ‘mad’; initially thinking a neighbour had a washing machine and tumble dryer running constantly in their garage (not attached to our house) but subsequently found this not to be the case as it was the building works.
· Is Mid Devon going to allow residents to suffer a repeat of the Luccombe Park building nightmare and inconvenience; including protracted use of temporary traffic lights, which impacted upon residents’ movements (‘imprisoning’ Culm Valley Way residents for significant periods) and the additional misery which would be created going forward?
All the above makes a mockery of the applicant’s expert conclusion that they do not see any negative traffic or pollution impacts prior to 2024! The area is already suffering impact from these!
Sewage - What exactly is the provision for this? This seems a vital consideration which has yet to be fully considered or addressed! How can a ‘large scale’ development such as this be given any consideration at all without detail of provision for this and drainage in place? We often suffer drainage issues and have noticed an increase in vehicular ‘drainage’ activity in the locality; as well as historical flooding across the Uffculme straight in the region of the Luccombe Park development and beyond.
Flood risk (none?)
· I find this a strange conclusion as I have repeatedly, following heavy rainfall had to travel along Bridwell Lane up to the ‘top ‘road’ (B... ); to avoid the flooding which takes place along the stretch of road passing between the Hitchcock’s site and Langlands Industrial Estate/ Luccombe Park (Uffculme Road); and have witnessed other more intrepid drivers stranded, broken down in the flood water as their vehicle has not been designed to negotiate deep water or ‘flooding’!
· Surely the further reduction in natural soakaway land down to Uffculme Road and across it, by the increase in concrete coverage will exacerbate the likelihood and extent of flooding in this locality (and potentially of homes); especially as the land on the ‘Uffculme straight’ side of the site (and the site itself) slopes downwards to the ‘Uffculme straight’ and beyond?The fields becoming flooded now from Uffculme to Cullompton (and no doubt beyond)
Finally, the existing site is an eyesore and very visible from Bridwell Lane and Uffculme Road. The village of Uffculme remains a small one, which would be visually and practically dominated by such an extension of the Hitchcock’s site, as proposed. To allow this proposal to go ahead would render Uffculme a giant industrial estate which has a tiny residential component at its centre. Its residents would find themselves living in the middle of a giant industrial estate (combined areas)with detrimental associated issues. This cannot be right or humane on any level; noise, pollution, flooding, inconvenience, hazard, ‘green’, environmental and ecological issues and last but not least, the health and safety of local residents with their right to live in a decent and appropriate environment; one in which they can thrive and which is conducive to their general well-being.
If the residents of Uffculme had been happy to live in the midst of an industrial estate, they would have moved into an area where such existed and one in which the house prices and council charges would have been significantly lower than residents of Uffculme have paid for the privilege of enjoying some semblance of the benefits just listed There must be more appropriate ‘brown’ sites where this plant could be situated; it certainly does not need to be situated in a location which results in residents finding themselves but a speck in the middle of an industrial estate/s!
I hope these comments may contribute to any discussionand subsequent decision.
c) No 3 on the Plans List (19/01608/HOUSE – erection of a single storey extension and separate garage/annex/workshop accommodation – Tanglewood, Dukes Orchard, Bradninch).
The Principal Planning Officer outlined the contents of the report and reminded those present that the application had been deferred from a previous meeting to allow for a site visit to take place by the Planning Working Group. He highlighted by way of presentation the location of the application site, the proposals which included the proposed elevations and floor plans and photographs from various aspects of the site.
Consideration was given to:
· How the proposed condition 10 would be enforced
· The views of the objector with regard to the impact of the proposal on her property, the garage with accommodation would have an overbearing impact and there would be overlooking issues on her bungalow and her garden.
· The major concern was that of the position of the proposed garage not the erection of a single storey extension
· Whether the proposal was visually unattractive and had an adverse effect on the amenity of the neighbouring property and therefore against policy DM2 of the Local Plan
It was therefore:
RESOLVED that: Members were minded to refuse the application and therefore wished to defer the application for an implications report to consider the proposed reasons for refusal, that of: the proposal was not in accordance with Policies DM13 (a) and (c) of the Local Plan Part 3 (Development Plan Policies)
a) Respect the character, scale, setting and design of existing
c) Will not have a significantly adverse impact on the
living conditions of occupants of neighbouring properties.
and DM2 (a) and (e) of the Local Plan Part 3 (Development Plan Policies)
a) Clear understanding of the characteristics of the site, its wider
context and the surrounding area;
e) Visually attractive places that are well integrated with
surrounding buildings, streets and landscapes, and do not have
an unacceptably adverse effect on the privacy and amenity
of the proposed or neighbouring properties and uses, taking
ii) Siting, layout, scale and massing
iii) Orientation on and fenestration
iv) Materials, landscaping and green infrastructure
(Proposed by Cllr B G J Warren and seconded by Cllr E J Berry)
i) Cllr E J Berry declared a personal interest as he knew the objector;
ii) Mrs Brown (objector) spoke;
iii) A proposal to approve the application was not supported.
d) No 4 on the Plans List (19/01156/FULL Installation of a 24MW Reserve Power Plant with associated infrastructure – land at NGR 302839 111143, Lloyd Maunder Road, Willand).
The Interim Group Manager for Development outlined the contents of the report by way of presentation highlighting the location of the proposal, which was outside of the settlement limit but close to existing development; blocks plans, a plan identifying the treeline and gas pipe, proposed elevations, photographs of the proposed power plant and also photographs from various aspects of the site. She highlighted page 154 of the NPPF and the need for renewable and low carbon energy, she explained how the proposed power plant would be fuelled using bio-methane, derived from both the national grid and the neighbouring AD facility and how that power would be distributed and when and that the energy would be classed as renewable.
Referring to the question posed in public question time, there was a need to consider the application before the committee today. The application had been screened for an Environmental Impact Assessment but was not an Environmental Impact Assessment development.
Consideration was given to:
· The views of the representative of the CPRE who felt that the proposal was for a mini power station on greenfield land, the proposal was not a renewable energy generator or a low carbon facility that therefore contrary to policies COR5, COR18 and DM5. The proposal would have a massive carbon footprint which would only be used for a maximum of 4 hours per day.
· The views of the agent with regard to the need to support the Devon Climate Declaration, the proposal was in line with becoming carbon neutral but that there was an intermittent source of sun/wind and therefore a fluctuation of energy generation, it was therefore necessary for storage facilities to be made available. She reminded those present that the NPPF was very clear with regard to the need for low carbon technology to reduce emissions and the certification process that was required.
· The views of the representative from Willand Parish Council with regard to the proposal not complying with the NPPF or policy COR 18, that natural gas was a fossil fuel, there had been no discussion with regard to the safety of the plant and no agreement with the National Grid/Western Power that they would accept the energy.
· The views of the Ward Members with regard to the impact on the local residential area, the proposal was outside of the settlement limit, would the energy being used be renewable? How would it be known that the energy being drawn from the national Grid was renewable. Was there any evidence for the need. An application to increase the tonnage used in the AD plant.
· Whether the application was premature as there was a need for the additional tonnage for the AD plant to be determined.
It was therefore:
RESOLVED that: Members were minded to refuse the application and therefore wished to defer the application for an implications report to consider the proposed reasons for refusal:
The application was:
· In the open countryside
· Not producing renewable energy
· Not an energy efficient measure
· Not in accordance with Policies COR5, DM5 or COR 18(f) of the Local Plan
And that there was cumulative impact with other Devon renewable energy plants in the area.
(Proposed by Cllr B G J Warren and seconded by Cllr R F Radford)
i) Cllr B G J Warren made a declaration in accordance with the Protocol of Good Practice for Councillors dealing with planning matters as a member of Willand Parish Council which had been involved in discussions regarding the site and had called the application in;
ii) Cllr R Evans made a declaration in accordance with the Protocol of Good Practice for Councillors dealing with planning matters as he had had discussions with regard to the application as a local Ward member;
iii) Miss Coffin spoke on behalf of the CPRE;
iv) Ms Cairns spoke as applicant;
v) Cllr Grantham spoke on behalf of Willand Parish Council;
vi) Cllrs R B Evans and B G J Warren spoke as Ward Members;
vii) The following late information was reported: There is an error on page 63 of your agenda (Plans List No 4)
Under conclusion it states that ‘The proposal is considered to be unacceptable, having regard to the Development Plan…..’
This should read ‘The proposal is considered to be ACCEPTABLE, having regard to the Development Plan….’
Publication date: 14/02/2020
Date of decision: 12/02/2020
Decided at meeting: 12/02/2020 - Planning Committee