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Decision Maker: Planning Committee
Made at meeting: 28/06/2019 - Planning Committee
Decision published: 01/08/2019
Effective from: 28/06/2019
Following limited discussion at the Planning Committee meeting on 12 June 2019 (Minute 7 refers), this application had been deferred to enable officers to brief Members about a few specific details therein, and about the nature of design codes in general.
Councillor Nick Wright declared a non-pecuniary interest because some of the land within the site of Cambourne West was owned by relatives of his. Councillor Wright said that he would be representing his constituents by contributing to the debate but would not be voting.
The case officer referred Members to the update report and reminded them that the Design Code did not override the Outline planning application. He emphasised the difference between mandatory elements of the Code (indicated by the use of the word ‘must’) and preferred elements (indicated by the use of the word ‘should’). The case officer explained that the use of ‘should’ was effectively an invitation for applicants to demonstrate to the Planning Committee an intention to innovate and to justify why Members should authorise something above and beyond what had been envisaged.
A question was asked about the status of the Gibbet Mound. The case officer undertook to investigate.
Danielle Bentley (applicant’s agent) and Councillor Shrobona Bhattacharya (a local Member) addressed the meeting.
The Assistant Director (Delivery) confirmed that South Cambridgeshire District Council had fulfilled its legal responsibility in terms of notifying all appropriate parties, including Cambourne Town Council. She read out loud an extract from the Minutes of the Town Council meeting held on 11 June 2019, which the case officer had attended and at which the Design Code had been discussed. She said that the Town Council had been regularly involved in the development of the project as a whole. Although the Town Council had not commented formally, the case officer remained in contact with the Town Clerk.
Councillor Bill Handley proposed, seconded by Councillor Brian Milnes, that the meeting move to a vote. However, following advice from the Assistant Director (Delivery) , Councillor Handley withdrew his Motion.
Councillor Deborah Roberts expressed grave reservations about how the design code issue had been progressed. She considered it to be unsustainable and that it would deliver a low quality of life for residents.
Councillor Nick Wright, observing that the Design Code had been developed while Cambourne was a group of three linked villages, said that it was vital that the principle underlying that Code be reassessed to take account of Cambourne’s new status as a town.
Councillor Heather Williams urged officers to ensure effective consultation with parishes neighbouring the site of West Cambourne, including Caxton and Papworth Everard. She also expressed concern about proposed densities and said that sustainability issues must be mandatory. Any departure from the Design Code should be referred to the Planning Committee for determination. The Assistant Director (Delivery) reminded Members about the Scheme of Delegation to officers and said it was important not to cause any conflict with that. She suggested that, in the interests of efficiency, minor departures should be dealt with by officers and only major departures (such as from the mandatory elements of the Code) should be presented to the Committee.
Councillor Brian Milnes said that the Design Code should be future-proof so that evolving standards could be taken into account.
Councillor Mark Howell reminded Members about Cambourne’s experience with drainage, and emphasised the importance of treating this issue as mandatory, particularly with reference to an additional pumping station.
By nine votes to one, the Committee gave officers delegated authority to approve the amended Cambourne West Design Code subject to
1. the receipt of additional details and reassurances in relation to matters highlighted in the main report, which include:
(a) Typographical corrections
(b) Amendments to the Parameter plans to reflect the latest submission under S/1775/19/NM;
(c) Corrections to Sheepfold Character Area, in particular Figures 74 and 75;
(d) Corrections to ensure that diagrammatically the proposals meet the design aspirations and parameter plans
2. On page 17 of the Design Code, in the section headed ‘foul water drainage’, the words “Where practicably possible, further pumping stations should be avoided; however, if they are required, they should:…” being replaced by the words “Where practicably possible, further pumping stations should be avoided; however, if they are required, they must:…”
3. On page 59 of the Design Code (Section 3.25 Sustainability) the fourth bullet point (Address climate change mitigation…) being moved from that list to become mandatory; and
4. Other variations required from time to time being recorded in minutes of Planning Committee meetings.
(Councillors Henry Batchelor, John Batchelor, Cahn, Fane, Handley, Howell, Milnes, Rippeth and Heather Williams voted to delegate approval. Councillor Roberts voted to refuse the application. Councillor Wright did not vote.)