To receive any questions relating to items on the agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
Note: A maximum of 30 minutes is allowed for this item.
Hayley Keary, referring to No 3 on the plans list stated:
My name is Hayley Keary, I live at 44 Higher Town a heritage asset at the NE end of the site and have done for 44 years. Due to its position facing full on to the site, and its close proximity, it gets the worst of the impacts. Our main room is the kitchen, the window itself is about 2m from the boundary, the floor level is about 1.5m below the nearest onsite land.
This means we have very limited light reaching our only two downstairs rooms. The planning is deeply distressing due to harm to our living conditions via impact on light, outlook and privacy.
We have repeatedly invited planning committees to make an internal visit as we are at a distinct disadvantage without one, but a visit has not yet taken place. Without seeing the outlook from inside, Members cannot get the full picture: it is hidden due to these unusual levels and close proximity.
The plans before you are in-accurate in the way 42-46 Higher Town are shown. Our kitchen window at 44 is actually located within the area marked 46. The case officer and developer do now accept this. On 13 June the developer met with us and agreed to talk with the officer about a Condition for changes to landscaping at the NE: this led to Condition 7, which we much appreciate.
This Condition accepts what has already been done to keep our privacy and not obstruct our open skyline outlook. It also allows for further changes to reposition trees and guarantee hedge heights and boundary treatment nearby.
We therefore welcome Condition 7, and seek that you ensure that if the application is approved today, then this Condition is accepted, but we respectfully ask for one addition: after the word ‘referencing’ in line 4, please add the words ‘path levels’. This would allow the possibility of lowering, by about 50 cms, the path that will run across the front of 42-46 Higher Town.
This would protect our privacy at 44 by limiting overlooking of our windows from the path. The officer has told us that he has asked the developer previously to do this, so please can the committee add the words ‘path levels’ to Condition 7.
We fully support community calls for the play area to be removed from its proposed position because, as planned, it would extend some distance across our outlook. The inevitable noise and overlooking from a playground so close is unacceptable and harmful to the setting of heritage assets.
One final point –The applicant wants to locate the car park, storage area and site offices on the skyline directly in the view from this same window during the 3 year construction period. Please do not allow this.
My question is to the Chair: Please will you ensure that my request to amend the wording of Condition 7 by adding the words ‘path levels’ is directly addressed by the Committee during this meeting?
Greta Tucker also referring to No 3 on the plans list stated:
I am Greta Tucker of Sampford Peverell. My question concerns the development at Higher Town.
The first plans for this development went out to consultation in January of this year. Those plans had no pedestrian connection to the south east access that followed a natural desire line. The January plans required pedestrians from the south of the site to make a detour of 150 metres, taking them north of the allotments. This would involve making their way 50 metres up a steep road, along a narrow footway with barriers across it and over 80 metres down the steep, shared cycleway before reaching a point near the south east access, just 12m away from where this detour started.
In response to our objections, the applicant simply added thirty steps that connect the onsite road to the south east access. The officer assures us in his report that these steps are Part-M compliant. He may be right – but that does not mean they are good design.
Policy SP2 requires improved access to the village for pedestrians.
The National Planning Framework paragraph 130 and your own Policy DM1 say developments must be safe, inclusive and accessible.
Paragraph 112 of the Framework says applications for development should give priority first to pedestrians and cyclists.
I remind you that the thirty steps were added after the first plans were published. At first, there was no provision for pedestrians to follow the natural desire line to the south east access and the bus stop nearby.
Adding the steps afterwards cannot disguise the fact that the design did not and does not put pedestrians first. The onsite road and housing at the south east were obviously designed first and the steps were only retro-fitted as a late compromise.
Those who cannot use the steps, such as wheelchair users and people with walking disabilities or using pushchairs will all still have to use the long, steep detour I have already described.
This arrangement will make more people use their cars to access the village. This, in turn, will divorce the new development from the rest of the village. By making those with walking impairments travel an extra 150 metres up and down steep slopes, well away from the natural desire line, you risk failing to comply with your Public Sector Equalities Duty if you approve these plans.
My question to the officer.
Are you telling Members that access arrangements at the south east are high quality design?
Gerald Dinnage, again referring to No 3 on the plans list stated:
I am Gerald Dinnage of Sampford Peverell. My question is about the Higher Town development.
The application proposes a 200-metre, shared-use cycleway at the east.
The law does not allow cyclists to use footways, so this shared path must be designed to standards set for cycleways.
The National Planning Framework says decision makers must ensure that the design of streets and other transport elements ‘... reflects current national guidance’.
The government’s national guidance for cycleways sets a maximum gradient of 5% and requires a level, 5 metre ‘landing’ after each 30 metre slope at that maximum.
This application proposes eight slopes AT OVER 8% with seven short ‘landings’ between them - but these landings are NOT level. Their gradient is 5% - itself the maximum allowed. As designed, the cycleway would have about 35m at the maximum 5% and over 180m at 8%.
The cycleway design fails to comply with national guidance in other ways:
• It has blind bends
• It is too narrow
• It does not have a sealed surface
• It passes just 1 metre away from a very steep drop into a large attenuation area – the guidance says the minimum distance to water hazards is 4.5m.
All these failings have been pointed out in objections - but the officer’s report has only addressed concerns over gradient.
On page 46 of the Public Report Pack, he tells you that Highway Authority officers have accepted these gradients subject to the addition of landing points. He says that these highway officers will ensure that the landings are included in the S278 Agreement drawing. But there are problems here:
• The officer says nothing about blind bends and other such failings
• The Highway Authority’s consultation responses say nothing about landing points
• The plans you are being asked to approve have no level landings
• Adding level landings must lengthen the cycleway and require its route to change, causing landscape issues.
• Routes within the site are part of Reserved Matters. It is not acceptable to delegate these design decisions to the Highway Authority and the Section 278 process.
Finally, we have Freedom of Information evidence that the applicant’s engineer says it is impossible to stop surface water from by-passing the SUDS scheme and flowing from the site along the cycleway at the north-east and south-east accesses. This fails to comply with Policy SP2c.
Question to the officer –
Why have you delegated Reserved Matters decisions on layout and routes to the Highway Authority without authorisation from the Planning Committee?