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.
Mr Leach referring to item 1 (Meadow Park, Willand) on the agenda stated that this application is for 125 dwellings when, in the current policy plans to 2026 no houses, other than windfall sites, were included for Willand. 51 dwellings are recorded as having come forward under that windfall provision. Additionally, there were exceptions sites identified and 35 additional houses have or are being currently built under that provision. No additional facilities have been provided but a filling station and small shop associated with it has been lost. A Co-op is to open and a butchery has opened a retail element to its wholesale business on an industrial site.
Under the emerging Local Plan Review 42 dwellings have been identified for part of the application site for the plan period up to 2033 – not necessarily now. No additional facilities or infrastructure are identified to accompany that plan for 42.
Why are officers recommending approval for 125 dwellings – three times the planned for number – when 2 applications – one for only 30 houses – have been refused and made the subject of appeals which have been dismissed? Is there any point to having a Local Plan when officers are prepared to recommend approvals under these circumstances to just apparently boost numbers?
Comment is made that only 11 residents put forward objections. Is it any wonder when 72 put forward objections to another application and these were summarised by officers in 53 words? People have lost faith in councils’ ability to plan, follow policy and listen to the views of those that are to be affected and so are not engaging.
Mrs Leach also referring to item 1 (Meadow Park, Willand) on the agenda stated that on page 15 of the bundle the officer reports that a noise bund is indicated along the western boundary. Will Members also please note that the indicative layout and planning statement also shows that there will be a line of higher buildings to the East of that bund which are identified as to aid ‘noise reduction’. Will these higher buildings be in keeping with the neighbouring housing?
Members attention is drawn to page 22 of the bundle under the heading of ‘Noise’ where in paragraph 4.4.2 of the Parish Council response attention is drawn to paragraph 5.88 of the applicants Planning Statement. They state: “The site has been designed to maximise the reasonable protection from an acoustic barrier along the motorway boundary, and to utilise new buildings as a screen for those further removed fromthe motorway." Will these higher buildings form the affordable housing clusters?
In paragraph 4.4.3 The Parish Council draw attention to paragraph 5.85 of the planning statement where it is stated that the noise levels in a number of gardens on the west side of the site ‘would fall above the usual criteria of acceptability’
On page 28 the officer reports that public health has no objection to the noise levels and this is further emphasised towards the bottom of page 35. Did MDDC Environmental Health Officers actually read the relevant papers from the applicant? Do they really consider that it is acceptable to have housing built in areas where the noise levels are in excess of guidelines? Are your officers really recommending you approve a scheme where dwellings in which people have to live should be part of a noise reduction barrier?
Cllr Warren (Willand Parish Council) also referring to item 1 (Meadow Park, Willand) on the agenda stated that on the bottom of page 16 is the commencement of the Willand Parish Council response to you. If you look at the bottom of page 19 paragraph 3.4 you will see the comment in brackets [Underlining is that of the consultee for ease of reference] but there is no underlining. The Parish Council response as submitted and recorded on the MDDC public access site contains underlining, bold type and italics to avoid any confusion between Parish Council comment and quotations from others to make the representation very clear.
Why has the officers report removed all of these clarification aids?
The submission has numbered paragraphs and the last paragraph was 6.10 followed by a concluding recommendation for refusal. Why has the officer report cut off the response at paragraph 6.7 on page 25 of the report?
On page 40 of your bundle in the last paragraph of the officer report under 7) Planning Balance the officer states “Without the offer to fully fund a major project to improve the facilities at the school, fit out the Health and Community Centre and to improve recreational equipment in the village which could be used by all sectors of the community, Officers would remain concerned about the level of development proposed and the effects on social cohesion.” The amount that is being offered is far less than half of the figure that was being sought in the S106 agreement for the 259 houses. How sound and secure is this offer and when will the monies actually materialise? Could it be amended when reserved matters are considered?
The £250,000 for the school, although badly needed, is the subject of further costing detail enquiry of DCC by the applicant. The Parish Council are supporting this figure as DCC are not seeking any contribution. It is our understanding that, in the event of approval, DCC will make the monies available to the school now although it may be some time before the monies come forward under any S106 agreement.
The offer for the Community Centre project was at first refused by the developer but reinstated after representation by the Parish Council. No idea as to when the monies would be available. Although on your update sheet it is now offered to be made available at the commencement of the development.
The offer of £125,000 in relation to the Skate Park or other Recreation/Teen facilities is about £40,000 short of that which we made detailed and costed application for and has been the subject of detailed exchanges with the officer and Parish/Ward Councillors but not actioned. We were concerned about the trigger points but that has now been answered to a degree but we were concerned to read in the officers report that it was going to be sorted out between officers and the Ward Councillors without any reference to the Parish Council, but as it has moved on that will be irrelevant but when will MDDC make the monies available to the parish for those items if approval is given and the development starts, how long will we have to wait?
If these provisions are the main reason for recommending approval did Members ought to be made aware of the view of the Inspector who dismissed the recent appeal in relation to the Esso Garage site where in paragraph 25 he says “However, paragraph 010 of Planning Practice Guidance sets out that planning permission should not be granted subject to a positively worded condition that requires the applicant to enter into a planning obligation under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 or an agreement under other powers. Such a condition is unlikely to pass the test of enforceability.”?
The Chairman indicated that answers to questions would be supplied when the item was debated.