Agenda item

Agenda item

Planning Application No. CB/17/04108/OUT (Houghton Hall)


Address:       Bury Spinney, Thorn Road, Houghton Regis, Dunstable,



Outline: Residential development for up to 100 dwellings with all other matters except access reserved.


Applicant:     C/o agent (Jeremy Peter Associates)





The Committee had before it a report regarding Planning Application No. CB/17/04108/OUT, an outline application for a residential development for up to 100 dwellings with all other matters except access reserved.


The Chairman advised the meeting that the case officer, Alex Harrison, would be leaving the Council in two weeks to work elsewhere.  The Chairman, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Mr Harrison for his efforts and asked that the Committee’s appreciation of his work be recorded.


In advance of consideration of the application the Committee’s attention was drawn to additional consultation/publicity responses, additional comments and additional/amended conditions.


In advance of consideration of the application the Committee received a representation from Houghton Regis Town Council.  The Town Council representative responded to a request for clarification.


The ward Member commented on the following:


·         The difficulty in accessing the site by road.

·         The need for a footpath providing access to the site at the same time as the dwellings were built.

·         The need to designate the 12 dwellings for those aged 55 or over as affordable housing to allow existing tenants to downsize and free up larger Council properties.

·         The slight prematurity of the application given the neighbouring developments had not been started.


The planning officer responded to the points raised:


·         Prematurity was not a reason to refuse the application.

·         The infrastructure present at the time and its delivery was a material planning consideration.

·         There was no time frame for providing facilities at the neighbouring Houghton Regis North (HRN) 1 and 2 sites.

·         The site provided pedestrian links to adjacent sites but they would only link through once the residential parcels of those sites were delivered.

·         A viability assessment justified the low level of affordable housing.  It did not set a precedent so this was not a reason in itself to refuse.

·         There had been successes in delivering accommodation restricted to persons 55 years old and over.

·         The proposed dwellings were for market sale and it was not possible to amend this.

·         The retention of the dwellings for use by the specified age range could be implemented by condition or the Section 106 agreement.  Any change in the permitted age range would require a planning application to the Council.

·         The Section 106 contributions were low as a result of the assessed viability of the application.

·         The nearby Oakwell Park outline application had been refused but the circumstances between the two sites was different.

·         The request for a pedestrian footpath along Thorn Road was met by one of the recommended additional highways conditions set out in the Late Sheet.

·         The ideal approach would have been a holistic delivery with HRN2.  However, a number of parcels of land, including the one before Members, did not form part of HRN2 so these sites would need to be dealt with individually.  It was not a reason for refusal.


The Committee considered the application and, in summary, commented as follows:


·         The site was isolated with no infrastructure or a footpath for children to walk to the nearest school and no land had been made available for a path.  There would be a reliance on cars for journeys. 

·         There were a large number of concerns from technical consultees.

·         Very special circumstances had not been demonstrated for building on the Green Belt.

·         Whilst prematurity was not a planning reason the application would find more favour once local facilities and roads were in place around the development.

·         There was an inadequate highways provision.  The existing road was dangerous and the only part of the highway that could be widened was that immediately outside the application site under the applicant’s ownership.

·         There was major concern regarding the under-provision of affordable housing units (10% in contrast to the Council’s policy of 30%).  There was no clear explanation given for this. The possibility that this was due to the cost to the developer of purchasing the site and demolishing existing dwellings was an issue for the developer.

·         The application was contrary to policy 14 of the NPPF as it was not a sustainable site.


On being put to the vote 12 Members voted to refuse the application, 0 to approve it and 1 abstained.




that Planning Application No. CB/17/04108/OUT relating to Bury Spinney, Thorn Road, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 6JQ be refused as set out in the Schedule attached to these minutes.




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