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Agenda item

16.06790.FUL - Methuen Park, Chippenham

Minutes:

Chris Beaver representing M&W Group spoke against the application. The joint applicants, Ben Humphries- Ashville Group and John Owen- Greensquare Group, spoke in favour of the application. The applicant’s agent Rosie Dinnen, spoke in favour of the application.

 

The Senior Planning Officer introduced the application for the proposed erection of 66 dwellings, formation of access road, open space, landscaping and associated works. A presentation was delivered displaying photographs of the existing site and proposed plans. Planning objections to the application were highlighted, namely the lack of public open space that was to be provided, as detailed in the report. Furthermore the Strategic Programmes Manager presented the economic arguments against the application, stating that the site was important for the economic development of Chippenham. Members were advised that this was the only readily available employment land in Chippenham, and that there was an evidential demand for such land in the area. It was explained that improvements were being made to the roads and access in the area and that this would enhance the value and commercial attraction of the area. The Officer highlighted a number of concerns raised by the business community in the area, including the impact on traffic and parking, along with the detrimental affect on commercial development in Chippenham. Attention was also drawn to the Late Items. The Officers recommendation was for refusal.

 

Members were invited to ask technical questions and it was queried why the site had not been utilised commercially, if there was such a demand for employment land in the area. Officer’s explained that they did not have details as to why commercial offerings had fallen through but stated that there was an evidential demand for employment land in Chippenham.

 

Members of the public spoke as detailed above.

 

The Local Member Cllr Phillip Whalley offered Cllr Peter Hutton the opportunity to speak on this item, as the site is due to transfer to the Chippenham electoral area under the recent boundary changes. Cllr Hutton expressed disappointment that this was the only available employment land in Chippenham and stated that the site had been vacant from before 2003. He said that this application was a good opportunity to see the site developed.

 

In the debate that followed, Members expressed concerns that the site was being reserved for employment land, when there was no evidence to suggest that it was a viable commercial site. Reference was also made to the significant housing need in Chippenham, with a lack of affordable housing available. However, it was also voiced that a “residential hope” value may have contributed to the vacancy of the land. Cllr Christine Crisp proposed the officers recommendation for refusal. This was seconded by Cllr Toby Sturgis and passed by the majority.

 

Resolved:

 

Application REFUSED for the following reasons:

1) The proposal would lead to the loss of a major employment allocation of land, which is part of the strategic objective set out in the Wiltshire Core Strategy to deliver a thriving economy to provide a range of jobs in Wiltshire with dependence on retaining the availability of and enhancing existing employment sites. The loss of this site would also be contrary to the aims of the Wiltshire Core Strategy which seeks to protect Wiltshire’s most sustainable and valued employment areas by applying policies to favour employment uses on these sites. The proposal would therefore be contrary to the aims of the Wiltshire Core Strategy and to Policy CP35 of the Wiltshire Core Strategy and the advice within section 1 of the NPPF in particular.

 

2) The application does not satisfactorily demonstrate through a robust and comprehensive marketing exercise that its retention is no longer warranted. This would be contrary to the employment led emphasis of the Wiltshire Core Strategy and the requirements of CP35 of that document together with advice in Section 1 of the NPPF.

 

3) The proposal does not make provisions to secure contributions to affordable housing; education; public art; waste collection and re-cycling; the ongoing provision and maintenance of open space. The application is therefore contrary to Core Policies 3, 43, 45 of the Wiltshire Core Strategy and saved policy CF3 of North Wiltshire Local Plan 2011.

 

INFORMATIVE: The applicant is asked to note that reason for refusal 3 may be overcome via the entering into an agreement under s106 of The Act to deliver the necessary infrastructure to make the development acceptable in planning terms.

Supporting documents:

 

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