Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Planning Committee - Wednesday, 17 January 2024 10.00 a.m.

Venue: Council Chamber, First Floor

Contact: Laurence Damary-Homan 01954 713000 Email: democratic.services@scambs.gov.uk  Members of the public wishing to speak at this meeting are requested to contact the Support Officer by no later than 4pm two clear working days before the meeting. A public speaking protocol applies.

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Chair's announcements

Minutes:

The Chair noted that Councillor Judith Rippeth had stepped down from the Committee and thanked her for her time and work with the Committee. The Chair then made several brief housekeeping announcements. Following these, the Chair, seconded by Councillor Peter Fane, proposed that the order of business be varied to take Minute 7 (23/03311/FUL) as the sixth item of business and Minute 6 (23/03642/HFUL) as the seventh item of business. The Committee agreed to the variance in the order of business by affirmation.

2.

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence from committee members. 

Minutes:

Apologies for Absence were received from Councillor Geoff Harvey.

3.

Declarations of Interest

 

1.         Disclosable pecuniary interests (“DPI”)

A  DPI is where a committee member or his/her spouse or partner has any kind of beneficial interest in the land under consideration at the meeting.

 

 2.        Non-disclosable pecuniary interests

These are interests that are pecuniary involving a  personal financial benefit or detriment but do not come within the definition of a DPI.  An example would be where a member of their family/close friend (who is not their spouse or partner) has such an interest.

 

3.         Non-pecuniary interests

Where the interest is not one which involves any personal financial benefit or detriment to the Councillor but arises out of a close connection with someone or some  body /association.  An example would be membership of a sports committee/ membership of another council which is involved in the matter under consideration.

Minutes:

With respect to Minute 5, Councillors Bill Handley and Dr Tumi Hawkins declared that, as Members of the Cabinet, they had been present at meetings of the Cabinet where the application had been discussed and as such would withdraw from the Committee for the application. Councillor Heather Williams declared that she was a Member of the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) Assembly, with the GCP being referenced in the report, but had not been part of any discussions regarding the application.

 

With respect to Minute 8, Councillor Dr Tumi Hawkins declared that she was local Member for the application and had been present at meetings of Bourn Parish Council where the application had been discussed, but that she was coming to the matter afresh.

 

4.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 190 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the meetings held on 13 and 18 December 2023 as a correct record.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

By affirmation, the Committee authorised the Chair to sign both the Minutes of the meetings held on 13 and 18 December 2023 as a correct record, including the restricted Minute in the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 December.

 

5.

23/00123/FUL - Land South of Pond, Cambourne Business Park, Cambourne pdf icon PDF 890 KB

Erection of 256 No. dwellings and change of use of the existing marketing suite to a café, landscaping, car parking, substations, bin and bike store and associated works.

 

Decision:

By 5 votes to 2, the Committee approved the application in accordance with the officer’s recommendation, and subject to the conditions and Section 106 agreement, as laid out in the report from the Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development.

Minutes:

Councillors Bill Handley and Dr Tumi Hawkins withdrew from the Committee, in-line with their Declarations of Interest.

 

The Chair noted that the site had been visited on 4 October 2023. The Principal Planner (Strategic Sites) presented the report and offered the following updates:

·       Condition 23 was to have the wording at the end of the condition which read “prior to the occupation of any dwelling” removed as this was a typo.

·       An additional third-party representation had been received from the occupants of Building 1030- Zeiss House which requested that effective engagement continued to take place between the applicants and the third party through the discharge of conditions process to ensure the development would not place unreasonable restrictions on the existing operations taking place at ZEISS House. Officers were satisfied that the representation raised no new issues that had not already been considered within the main report.

Members asked a number of questions of clarification and, in response, officers offered the following advice:

·       The Transport Assessment Team (TAT) had reviewed the submitted modelling of traffic impacts and that the highway network would be capable of accommodating the traffic generated by the site and the Cambourne West development, thus there was no objection from the TAT as technical consultee and that the proposal was considered acceptable in transport terms.

·       Cambridgeshire County Council, as the Education authority, no longer requested a financial contribution towards Primary School Places serving Cambourne, with paragraph 6.13 of the report detailing why the contribution was no longer required.

·       The additional information request from the Waste Services (paragraph 6.29) had been provided through the submission of an updated refuse strategy which was in-line with the Greater Shared Waste Guidance for Developers document and, as such, it was considered acceptable.

·       The concerns of the Designing Out Crime Officer (paragraph 6.67) still stood but officers felt, on balance, that the design and connectivity benefits of the proposal outweighed the concerns of the Designing Out Crime Officer on balance, thus the proposal was considered acceptable.

·       The requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 135 (b), which related to visually attractive development, were considered to have been met by officers. Officers advised that it was up to the Committee to decide if the proposal was compliant with NPPF policies, including 135 (b).

·       Biodiversity net gain could not be fully delivered on-site to achieve the 20% biodiversity net gain the applicant sought to deliver, in light of changes to the biodiversity net gain baseline metric. Some off-siting of biodiversity net gain measures was required to fulfil the 20% gain, and these measures would be delivered within the District and, where possible, would be close to the site.

·       With regard to the proposed apartment blocks, the proposal was considered to be compliant with Policy HQ/1 of the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018 and the Urban Design Team had no objection to the proposal. Officers advised that the proposal had been through an extensive pre-application process, reviewed by the Design Review Panel and amendments to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

23/03642/HFUL - Whitehall, 9 Chapel Lane, Fowlmere pdf icon PDF 266 KB

Erection of a greenhouse, summerhouse, garden shed and bicycle shed, and removal of an existing dilapidated shed.

 

Decision:

By unanimous vote, the Committee approved the application in accordance with the officer’s recommendation, and subject to the conditions, as laid out in the report from the Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development.

Minutes:

Minute 6 was taken as the seventh item of business, as per the agreed variance of the order of business.

 

Councillor Heather Williams rejoined the Committee.

 

The Senior Planner (Dominic Bush) presented the report. A Member question was raised regarding the third party representation which had concerns over the use of the existing rear access gate for construction and parking for contactors, to which the Senior Planner advised that he was unaware of a rear access gate on the site and that the back of the site was overgrown, with officers taking the view that front entrance to the site was much larger and would be the access point for construction traffic. In response to a question on why the proposed works were not undertaken under Permitted Development Rights, officers advised that the site did not have Permitted Development Rights due to the property’s status as Grade II listed.

 

Councillor Peter Fane, seconded by Councillor Bill Handley, proposed that the Committee move to a vote. The Committee agreed to the proposal by affirmation.

 

By unanimous vote, the Committee approved the application in accordance with the officer’s recommendation, and subject to the conditions, as laid out in the report from the Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development.

7.

23/03311/FUL - Rose Villa, Little Heath, Gamlingay pdf icon PDF 422 KB

Demolition of agricultural buildings and erection of 5 No. dwellings with associated access and landscaping.

Additional documents:

Decision:

By 6 votes to none, with 1 abstention, the Committee approved the application in accordance with the officer’s recommendation, and subject to the conditions, as laid out in the report from the Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development.

Minutes:

The Chair noted that the site had been visited on 10 January 2024 and the Senior Planner (Mary Collins) presented the report. Officers responded to Member questions and clarified that:

·       Financial contributions were required by the Neighbourhood Plan which would go towards improvements to the bridleway and cycle lanes, however it was not clear if these improvements would be directly related to the site as it was up to Gamlingay Parish Council to allocate the funding.

·       In relation to proposed plots B and C, the ridge height would be similar to that of the existing barns.

·       The application had been through a pre-application process and conditions dealt with a number of matters as not all information was available at the point of application.

·       Officers were satisfied that the proposed biodiversity net gain could be achieved, with a baseline plan which detailed the proposed habitat creation having been received by the Planning Service as part of the application. Some of the biodiversity net gain was to be delivered within the blue line boundary and further net gain to be delivered within the red line boundary through the delivery of replacement habitat.

·       The floor area increases from the existing permission to convert the barns (a fallback position) was 100% by virtue of one additional storey proposed, whilst the ridge height was very similar to that in the fallback position.

 

The Committee was addressed by a public objector, Gillian Kitchener, who clarified, in response to a Member question, that she held concerns that the granting of permission would set a precedent to allow further development of the heath land which local residents felt was an important asset that should not be built on. The Committee was addressed by the agent of the applicant, Liz Fitzgerald, and Kirstin Raynor, Clerk of Gamlingay Parish Council, on behalf of the Parish Council who objected to the application.

 

Councillor Dr Richard Williams left the meeting and did not return.

 

In the debate, officers offered the following points of clarification in response to Member questions:

·       That surveying had shown that there were protected species (bats) on the site and as such there would be a level of harm, but that condition 10 secured a requirement for a wildlife sensitive lighting strategy to mitigate harm (as recommended by the Ecology Officer).

·       The Gamlingay Neighbourhood Plan had been considered, the report and presentation acknowledged that the proposal was not compliant with policy GAM1 of the Neighbourhood Plan and that the officer’s recommendation was based on a planning balance that included assessment against the policies within Neighbourhood Plan.

The Committee agreed that the principal of development had been established by the existing permission to convert the barns which was a fallback position. Some Members expressed views that, whilst the fallback position of Class Q dwellings would be in keeping with Neighbourhood Plan policy GAM1, the incorporation of basement floors was a better use of space. Further comment was made that the proposed design was sympathetic to the existing barns and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

23/02752/OUT - Land North of David's Lodge, Old North Road, Bourn pdf icon PDF 615 KB

Outline application for the erection of up to 5 No. self-build dwellings with some matters reserved, except for access off Fox Road.

Decision:

By 6 votes to 1, with 1 abstention, the Committee approved the application in accordance with the officer’s recommendation, and subject to the conditions and legal agreement, as laid out in the report from the Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development.

Minutes:

The Chair noted that a site visit had been held on 10 January 2024. The Senior Planner (Laurence Moore) presented the report and provided an update to advise that there was an error in the report (paragraph 10.14) which stated that “the development framework extended along the southern edge of the site”. The officer confirmed that the site did not adjoin the development framework boundary but that this did not impact the assessment of the proposal nor the officer recommendation within the report, and that the development was acknowledged as outside of the development framework throughout the report. Officers responded to Member questions and clarified that:

·       The site was assessed as being an 8-minute cycle along the main road to Bourn High Street, which was deemed as close proximity and access to the services available in Bourn led officers to view the site location as sustainable.

·       The site had bus services in close proximity. Bus timetables for the nearby stops were shared with the Committee.

·       The 22% Biodiversity Net Gain would be delivered through enhancement of the currently “poor” condition woodland and that no new habitats would be introduced.

·       The site had been mapped as modified (improved) grassland, an assessment that the Senior Ecology Officer agreed with.

·       The accident history data at the staggered crossroad between the B1046 and A1198 had one serious accident in the previous 5 years, which was not considered to be significant for concern in technical terms, as advised by the Highway Development Management Engineer. The site was expected to generate an additional 25 vehicle movements per day which was not considered to be significant in the context of the typical daily vehicle movements on the stretch of road.

 

The Committee was addressed by the agent of the applicant, Ben Elvin, who responded to Member questions and clarified that:

·       There were no objections from statutory consultees other than the Conservation Officer’s comments, and that planning officers had assessed the application as having no harm to heritage assets contrary to the comments from the Conservation Officer.

·       The applicant intended for two of the plots to be occupied by his daughters, assuming it was compliant with requirements of the Self-Build register.

The Senior Planner clarified that the Conservation Officer had objected but that the case officer’s conclusion was that there was no harm to heritage assets and that they did not agree with the Conservation Officer’s consultation response.

Councillor Barbara Cooper of Longstowe Parish Council addressed the Committee on behalf of the Parish Council in objection to the proposal. Councillor Cooper responded to Member questions and clarified that:

·       The response from the Highway Development Management Engineer did not allay the Parish Council’s concerns regarding highway safety.

·       The Parish Council had concerns that horse manure was being placed around the trees subject to TPOs, which would harm the protected trees by acidifying the soil.

In response to a concern raised by Councillor Cooper regarding visibility from the access to the site and impact on highway safety, a Member  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

TPO (request ref SMXHKLWH) - 29 Station Road, Shepreth pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Permission to serve a provisional Tree Preservation Order at the request of Shepreth Parish Council.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

By affirmation, the Committee gave permission to serve a provisional Tree Preservation Order.

Minutes:

Councillor Martin Cahn, seconded by Councillor Dr Tumi Hawkins, proposed that the Committee take the decision by affirmation. The Committee agreed, by affirmation, to the proposal and by affirmation the Committee gave permission to serve a provisional Tree Preservation Order.

10.

TPO (request ref ZGHDTZHV) - Hall Close (adjacent to 57 Station Road, Foxton) pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Permission to serve a provisional Tree Preservation Order at the request of Foxton Parish Council.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

By affirmation, the Committee gave permission to serve a provisional Tree Preservation Order.

Minutes:

The Tree Officer presented the report. A Member question was raised on if the nearby fence with a concrete base would have any impact on the tree, and the Tree Officer advised that it was questionable if it would have any impact on the tree and that any impacts on the root system were likely to be minimal given the age and overall vitality of the tree.

 

Councillor Martin Cahn, seconded by Councillor Dr Tumi Hawkins, proposed that the Committee take the decision by affirmation. The Committee agreed to the proposal, by affirmation, and by affirmation the Committee gave permission to serve a provisional Tree Preservation Order.

11.

Compliance Report pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Heather Williams rejoined the Committee.

 

The Principal Planning Compliance Manager presented the report. In response to Member questions, officers advised that it was not possible to assign priority to cases that were older than 6 months due to technical restraints but that it may be possible to see if any of these were priority A. Members requested that it would be helpful to see if there were any older priority A cases and that the details of case priorities created a useful early warning system for Members. Officers advised that priority A cases were few and far between and that there were no cases that needed to be specifically brought to the attention of the Committee.

 

Councillor Heather Williams left the meeting.

 

The Committee noted the report.

 

12.

Appeals against Planning Decisions and Enforcement Action pdf icon PDF 468 KB

Minutes:

The Delivery Manger introduced the report. Member comments were made with regard to the following cases:

·       APP/W0530/C/23/3327223, The Navigator, Little Shelford- officers advised that no notification had been received that the appeal had been withdrawn.

·       Land South of the Causeway, Bassingbourn (not listed in the report)- the appeal had been allowed by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) but officers advised that the Council had filed for a judicial review, appealing both the decision and the costs decision. Officers were awaiting a response from the court.

In response to a Member question regarding the number of appeals, officers advised that delays at PINS were impacting the numbers of outstanding appeals and informed Members that only one appeal had been lodged in December 2023. In response to a Member question, officers advised that the local inquiry for appeal APP/W0530/W/23/3328390 (Darwin Green) had started.

 

Councillor Heather Williams rejoined the Committee.

 

In response to cases awaiting decision for the Network House, St Neots Road, Caldecote site, officers advised that these decisions were being affected by the PINS delays.

 

The Committee noted the report.