Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall, Trowbridge BA14 8JN
Contact: Tara Hunt Email: email@example.com
To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.
Apologies for absence were received from:
· Councillor Ernie Clark
· Councilor James Sheppard, who was substituted by Councillor Bridget Wayman
Minutes of the Previous Meeting
To approve and sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 3 November 2022.
The minutes of the meeting held on 3 November 2022 were presented for consideration and it was,
To approve and sign the minutes as a true and correct record.
Note: Councillor Adrian Foster highlighted that he had requested several meetings ago that the Committee receive a briefing, training session or update on the 5 year Housing Land Supply (HLS) and the strategy for Wiltshire Council to address the shortfall and reach the required figure. This had not yet taken place. Councillor Foster stated he had received communications from the Cabinet Member for Development Management and Strategic Planning which said there was not a strategy in place.
Nic Thomas, Chief Planning Officer explained that officers were aware of the request and a briefing or training session would be held. This would be aligned with a policy update on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It was explained that the 5 year HLS was a challenging issue which many council’s were wrestling with. There was a strategy in place regarding the 5 year HLS and officers were working very hard behind the scenes to carry out work to bring forward the new Local Plan which was key to addressing the 5 year HLS issue.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.
There were no declarations of interest.
To receive any announcements through the Chair.
The Chairman announced that there would be an organised site visit for the Committee in February 2023. The visit would allow the Committee to view 3 applications located south of Trowbridge, which were all allocated in the Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan (WHSAP). The applications were 18/10035/OUT, 20/09659/FUL and 20/00379/OUT. It was hoped that these applications would all be ready to be considered at the February meeting. Further details would be circulated to Members when available.
The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.
Members of the public who wish to speak either in favour or against an application or any other item on this agenda are asked to register no later than 10.20am on the day of the meeting. If it is on the day of the meeting registration should be done in person.
The rules on public participation in respect of planning applications are linked to in the Council’s Planning Code of Good Practice. The Chairman will allow up to 3 speakers in favour and up to 3 speakers against an application, and up to 3 speakers on any other item on this agenda. Each speaker will be given up to 3 minutes and invited to speak immediately prior to the item being considered. Representatives of Parish Councils are included separately in the speaking procedure, please contact the officer listed for details.
Members of the public will have had the opportunity to make representations on the planning applications and to contact and lobby their local member and any other members of the planning committee prior to the meeting. Lobbying once the debate has started at the meeting is not permitted, including the circulation of new information, written or photographic which have not been verified by planning officers.
To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution which excludes, in particular, questions on non-determined planning applications.
Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on 4 January 2023 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on 6 January 2023. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.
Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.
The procedures for public participation were detailed and noted.
Planning Appeals and Updates
To receive details of completed and pending appeals, and any other updates as appropriate.
The Chairman highlighted the appeal detailed in the agenda which was underway and was taking place by way of written representations. The appeal related to application 21/01950/FUL.
Councillor Elizabeth Threlfall, the division Member for the application, stated that although the applicant had appealed in February after the Committee’s decision, she and the parish of Great Somerford had not been advised of the appeal until November. This gave them little time to read the 800 pages related to the appeal and to respond by the deadline, which was unsatisfactory. Andrew Guest, Head of Development Management confirmed that we could reflect that back to the Planning Inspectorate.
Officers also confirmed that there had been no response yet regarding the Westbury Incinerator hearing.
A member of the public, Francis Moreland, had registered to speak on the appeals update. Mr Moreland highlighted application PL/2021/04774 - Land off Coate Road, Devizes, which had been refused planning permission by the Committee in November and was now going to appeal. He stated that there had been a long run of decisions where applications on greenfield windfall sites were refused, which then went on to appeal and this raised issues about the costs incurred by the council following these decisions. Mr Moreland questioned the rationale of doing this and whether if the proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) were implemented whether this would make a difference to Wiltshire Council case officer recommendations on the tilted balance.
The Chairman thanked Mr Moreland for his comments and stated that the Committee had discussed many of the points raised with officers previously. He stated that in his view the Committee had a very good rational behind refusals that they made.
It was requested that Andrew Guest, Head of Development Management should email the Committee and Mr Moreland on the points raised. Nic Thomas, Chief Planning Officer also stated that how land was allocated could be included in the training session for Members when it took place.
Councillor Christopher Newbury queried whether the draft changes to the NPPF to remove the buffer on the 5 year HLS was positive and whether it would encourage the Council to meet the figure. He also questioned whether enough resources were available for officers to work on this issue and requested that this be looked at. Nic Thomas stated that an answer would be provided in due course.
To consider and determine the following planning applications.
The following planning applications were considered.
PL/2021/06519 - Purdys Farm, Wood Lane, Braydon, Swindon, Wilts, SN5 0AH
Change of use of land to provide an extension to existing Gypsy / Traveller site.
Mr Simon Rushton (agent) spoke in support of the application.
Cllr Melanie Allsop of Lydiard Millicent Parish Council spoke in objection to the application.
Andrew Guest, Head of Development Management, presented a report which recommended that planning permission be granted with conditions for application PL/2021/06519, Purdys Farm, Wood Lane, Braydon, Swindon, Wilts, SN5 0AH for a change of use of land to provide an extension to an existing Gypsy / Traveller site.
Key details were stated to include the following, the principle of development; impact on the character, appearance, visual amenity and openness of the locality; impact on residential amenity; impact on Ecology/County wildlife site, impact on drainage/flooding and impact on Highways safety.
Attention was drawn to the late representation from Edward Rawlings which had been circulated to the Committee. All the points raised in the representation were covered in the officer report or in the presentation.
The officer explained that the application would provide an extension to an existing Gypsy / Traveller site, with the addition of 5 more pitches. Slides were shown to the Committee (published in supplement 1) detailing the site and the plans. There was reasonable visibility at the access to the site; there was woodland to the rear and hedgerows to the front and there would be open space on either side of the new pitches. Each pitch would consist of a mobile home, a touring caravan and a day room. Additionally, there would be car parking, a turning area, a sewage treatment plant and a children’s play area.
In March 2022 the Council published a new Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) which covered the need for pitches up to 2038. There was a need for 120 new pitches which met the definition in the Planning Policy for traveller Sites (PPTS), 61 for those that did not meet the definition and a further 18 for households which could not be determined.
A Gypsy and Traveller Development Plan was being developed, as part of the new Local Plan, but it was not ready yet. Under planning policy applications should be assessed in accordance with a presumption in favour of development.
Details were given on Wiltshire Council Strategy (WCS) Core Policy 47 and the criteria that were used to assess sites as detailed in the agenda. In this case there was a demonstrable need and the criteria were met, hence the recommendation for approval.
Members of the committee then had the opportunity to ask technical questions of the officer. Details were sought on the definition of a caravan. It was explained that under the definition a caravan could be a mobile home, park home and touring caravan. They were all mobile.
Members also queried the need described in the GTAA, which would only equate to about 10 pitches a year. It was clarified that planning appeal decisions meant that the council was under delivering on what was required at present so there was a need.
In response to further questions, it was explained that ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
15/04736/OUT - Land south east of Trowbridge
Outline planning application for mixed use development comprising: residential (up to 2,500 dwellings - Classes C3 & C2); employment (Class E (‘Business’ only), B2, and B8); two local centres (Classes E, C2, and C3); two primary schools, one secondary school, ecological visitor facility, public open space, landscaping and associated highway works including for the ‘Yarnbrook / West Ashton Relief Road’ and the access junctions.
The Committee reconvened at 12.15pm.
Anne Henshaw, Chairman of the Wiltshire CPRE spoke in objection to the application
Francis Moreland spoke in objection to the application.
Chris Minors of Persimmons spoke in support of the application.
Andrew Guest, Head of Development Management presented a report which recommended that the Strategic Planning Committee continued to authorise the Head of Development Management to either grant planning permission, with conditions, subject to S106 legal agreements being entered into, or to refuse permission if the S106 legal agreements were not completed by 30 September 2023.
Attention was drawn to late representations from Ken McCall, Co-ordinator for the Campaign for a Better Trowbridge, which had been circulated to the Committee. The officer would deal with the issues raised within his presentation.
It was explained that this application was back before the Committee as the latest deadline for the S106 legal agreement was approaching (on 31 January 2023). Whilst the S106 was progressing very well, there was work still to do, which it was not thought possible to complete prior to the deadline. Therefore, an extension to the deadline to compete the legal agreements was being sought.
The applicants had also requested an extension until 30 September 2023, due to the changing market conditions which they felt affected the viability of the project.
The officer highlighted that if the Committee refused the application, this would likely result in an appeal, resulting in considerable costs to the council.
The Chairman highlighted that this application had first been considered in April 2018, where delegation to grant permission was given, subject to successful completion of S106 legal agreements, and it had been back to the Committee at various points since then for extensions to the deadline to complete the agreements. It was now back before the Committee again due to commercial constraints. The Chairman was anxious that the Committee ask as many questions as possible in order to get the decision right. He was keen that the application should not come before the Committee again.
Members of the committee then had the opportunity to ask technical questions of the officer.
Members questioned the difference that 8 months would make to the economic environment and the rationale behind that argument.
Members also queried what affect the delay would have on the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF). The officer stated that the answer to that was not known, if the HIF fell away it would not be make or break for the applicant in terms of viability. If the economy was in a better place, then the proposal should be viable. However, from a Wiltshire Council point of view it would be unfortunate if HIF funding (approximately £8.5 million) was lost. The deadline for the HIF funding was the end of March 2023 and discussions were ongoing as to whether the deadline for that would be extended.
Nic Thomas, Chief Planning Officer explained that the 8 month extension was to allow the applicant to negotiate with the land owners. So, ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
Any other items of business, which in the opinion of the Chairman, should be taken as a matter of urgency.
There were no urgent items.