Report No: DEV/SE/17/049
Outline Application (Means of Access to be considered) - Residential development of up to 2,500 units (within use classes C2/C3); two primary schools; two local centres including retail, community and employment uses (with use classes A1/A2/A3/A4/A5, B1 and D1/D2; open space; landscaping and associated infrastructure
Outline Application (Means of Access to be considered) – Residential development of up to 2,500 units (within use classes C2/C3); two primary schools; two local centres including retail, community and employment uses (with use classes A1/A2/A3/A4/A5, B1 and D1/D2; open space; landscaping and associated infrastructure.
(Councillor John Burns declared a non-pecuniary interest as he lived in close proximity to the application site but remained in the meeting for the consideration of this item).
Planning application DC/15/2151/OUT had been considered by the Development Control Committee on 2 March 2017 and planning permission had been granted subject to the applicant entering a Section 106 agreement to secure essential infrastructure. Members were informed that progress towards signing the Section 106 agreement was proceeding well.
The application had been bought back to the Committee because the applicant sought permission to adjust the implementation period from three years to five years for commencement of development and from 10 years to 15 years for the submission of details. The reasoning behind the request was explained by the Case Officer as follows:
· The application site was still owned by a private individual and not a development company therefore the land would need to be marketed before any development could commence.
· The Officer’s decision to suggest a period of submission of details to 10 years was made in line with smaller strategic sites previously considered around Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill, however given that the scale of the proposed development was much larger than those in comparison it was unlikely that all details would have been submitted by the 10 year time limit.
The Case Officer also reminded Members that at the Committee meeting on 2 March 2017, delegated authority had been given to Officers’ to consider alternative access to the site from that which had been proposed from Chalkstone Way. The Officer explained that this had been difficult due to issues related to land ownership, however those issues had now been resolved and the amendment had been made. Some objections had been received, however they related primarily to the scale of development and not the details of the alternative access.
Speakers: Mrs Marion Farrant spoke on behalf of Kedington Parish Council on the application
Councillor John Burns spoke on the application as the Ward Member for Haverhill East
Members were generally in support of the request, however in light of recent requests from Central Government for Local Councils to build an increased amount of houses in a shorter period of time, a suggestion was made by one Member to hold at least one part of the development site to the original agreement to ensure the development does not delay the Council’s obligation to build more houses.
The Case Officer responded to the suggestion and explained that if any part of the site was held to the original agreement of three years then a situation could arise similar to that had been experienced on the nearby North West Haverhill strategic site where development had to commence by March 2018. This proved difficult due to problems the developer had been facing in relation to the amount of time it had taken to complete the transfer of land ownership, the submission of details for the site and approval of Highways drawings from Suffolk County Council. If development did not commence within three years then the planning permission would expire and the developer would have to reapply, therefore extending the time period for commencement to five years would prevent that from happening and it was not considered that it would impinge on early development of the site.
Following on from the concern raised, clarity was sought as to whether approval of extending the implementation periods could be subject to any forthcoming legislation that would require the Council to support an accelerated delivery of housing. The Service Manager (Planning – Development) explained that it would not be able to be included as a condition that the applicant would have to adhere to because it was not a material planning consideration. If any such legislation came into effect after approval had been granted it would not override the decision to extend the implementation periods.
Other Members sympathised with the concern that had been raised however stated that they would not want the quality of the proposed development to be compromised by the pressure of having to adhere to a short time scale for commencement.
In response to a Member query, the Service Manager informed the Committee that extending the implementation periods would not have any negative impact on the Council’s five year land supply.
The Case Officer confirmed that the implementation period of five years for commencement of development would come into effect the day planning permission was issued and the Section 106 agreement was signed.
Councillor David Roach proposed that the amendment sought be approved, as per the Officer recommendation, and this was duly seconded by Councillor John Burns.
Upon being put to the vote, and with the vote being unanimous, it was resolved that
The amendment sought be APPROVED.