Agenda item

Agenda item

Planning Application No. CB/18/00181/FULL (Arlesey)


Address:       Land rear of 133 & 135 Station Road, Lower Stondon, Henlow, SG16 6JJ


Demolition of 133 & 135 Station Road, Lower Stondon and erection of 149 residential dwellings (including 3 custom built plots and 52 affordable housing units) with associated access, road, parking, LEAP and amenity space. Construction of surface water attenuation basin and associated pumping station and provision of 0.12ha of land for community facility.


Applicant:     DLA Town Planning Ltd



The Committee had before it a report regarding Planning Application No. CB/18/00181/FULL for the demolition of 133 & 135 Station Road, Lower Stondon and the erection of 149 residential dwellings (including 3 custom built plots and 52 affordable housing units) with associated access, road, parking, LEAP and amenity space.  Construction of surface water attenuation basin and associated pumping station and provision of 0.12ha of land for community facility on land rear of 133 & 135 Station Road, Lower Stondon, Henlow, SG16 6JJ.


In advance of consideration of the application the Committee’s attention was drawn to additional consultation/publicity responses, an update to the report, the deletion of conditions and amended conditions.  The Committee noted that a condition regarding vision splays had been duplicated and so additional condition 29 on the Late Sheet should be deleted and the remaining additional conditions renumbered.


In advance of consideration of the application the Committee received representations from Stondon Parish Councillor Nigel Benson, Tony McDonnelly, an objector, and Emily Bishop, the agent for the applicant.  All three parties responded to Members’ requests for clarification.


The planning officer responded to the points raised as follows:


·         The Parish Council comments on the application being outside the settlement envelope and the alleged prematurity of the allocation had been dealt with in the officer report and, in part, by the agent’s response.

·         It was not considered a significant development in that it would prejudice the Local Plan so there were no grounds to refuse on grounds of prematurity.

·         With any outside of settlement application, consideration had to be given as to whether any benefits outweighed the lack of policy compliance.  The officer report outlined the benefits that did so specifically with landscape and character.

·         The application would impact on the local infrastructure but contributions were sought for and including the doctor’s surgery and to education facilities to ensure they were upgraded.

·         The proposed access arrangement off Station Road and the highway network had been assessed and were considered fully acceptable.

·         A cohesive approach had been considered in terms of the emerging allocations on either side of the application site and a link road through the site joined up with the latter to ensure ‘future proofing’.

·         The community would gain footpath connectivity.

·         The proportion of the costs for the land for the community hall had been calculated by an agreed leisure methodology and was considered proportionate for the size of the scheme and the award of land.

·         The Parish Council had been included in the S106 discussions on community gain whilst the S106 obligations for education and healthcare were formula based.

·         The pollution officer was aware of the additional kennel blocks on the Greyhound Stadium site to the east and had undertaken discussions with the applicant.  The pollution officer had removed his objection subject to noise mitigation measures, including an attenuation bund, being implemented.  As a result the application was considered acceptable.


The highways officer responded to the points raised as follows:


·         The transport assessment was fairly robust.  The surrounding junctions, including the A600, were acceptable as was the development road layout, which included traffic calming measures.


A ward Member, who was also a member of the Committee, commented on behalf of his fellow ward Members as follows:


·         It would have been preferable to have the three expected development applications for Stondon, of which this was one, be submitted together to enable joined up working in response to highways issues.  It would also allow a plan for identified benefits for the community to be drawn up given that a current piecemeal approach did not allow the proper development of infrastructure.

·         The total of £2.3m in S106 obligations was welcomed though most would be spent on education and not on the wider community infrastructure.

·         The need for an improved access on to the A600 was raised and he referred to the high volume of local comment from residents on this matter.  The ward Member commented that the existing poor situation would only worsen as a result of the forthcoming housing developments.

·         Traffic calming measures had been delayed because construction traffic would damage any measures introduced.

·         Any noise assessment of Henlow Greyhound Stadium should have been carried out during racing events in order to gain a true impression of the noise impact on the proposed new homes.  He commented that once construction had been completed the Council would receive complaints from the new residents about noise levels from the Stadium which, in turn, would impact on the Stadium’s business.

·         Discussions between the developer and Parish Council should have occurred earlier as it could have enabled more joined up working.  The offer of the land was welcome though there was a gap between the offer and actually delivering the community facility.

·         He and another ward Member had met with the local doctor approximately a year ago to discuss how to overcome the lack of capacity at his surgery.  The ward Member suggested that this had not been taken further in part because it was in conflict with the aim of the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) to see a Health Hub established in Biggleswade.  Whilst welcoming the £364k towards health facilities he expressed concern about how the facilities would be delivered.  In response the planning officer advised that the £364k would not be allocated to the local surgery because, at that point, there had been no formalised direction on the build of an extension to the surgery or certainty on its deliverability.  As such the BCCG had requested that the monies either be given to the surgery if the extension could be realised or be used towards the proposed Health Hub.  The ward Member stated that both he and the GP would want to see a local development and requested that he be involved in the discussions on this.  The Chairman indicated his support for the inclusion of the ward Members in the further discussions on the application.

·         Whilst the Station Road/A600 roundabout was considered acceptable by the highways officer he stated that the following Hitchin Road/A507 roundabout near The Crown public house was known to be at capacity and he queried if that had been taken into consideration given the resulting increase in traffic numbers.

·         The presence of MBDA Missile Systems to the north of the application site and its impact and relationship with the A600 with regard to issues such as employment and safety.

·         The ward Members understood the need for the homes and welcomed the proposed 35% provision of affordable housing in the development but, despite this, there were outstanding issues which prevented their support for the application.


The Committee considered the application and in summary discussed the following:


·         That any noise from dogs barking should be addressed by the owner of the Stadium rather than allow it to prohibit nearby development.

·         The strength and relevance of the Neighbourhood Plan.

·         The impossibility of securing a unified approach by developers regarding the submission of planning applications for each village or settlement.

·         Whether the pollution officer’s statement that the noise levels from the Stadium were acceptable, subject to the specified mitigation measures, would defend the Stadium owner from future criticism by new residents.

·         That paragraph 50 of the National Planning Policy Framework clearly defined prematurity and that the application before Members did not fall within that definition.

·         That Health Hubs were not regarded as a replacement for local doctors’ surgeries but would contain a range of facilities to provide acute care at a local level and might include a doctor’s surgery within them.   There was no conflict between the two.

·         The amendment of the terms of the S106 so that the full £364k was used for works to provide local facilities at the surgery, subject to the receipt of suitable plans, but that should it not be possible for such works then consideration be given to making those monies available to the NHS.

·         That the link road was available when the other parcels of land were developed without further planning gain.

·         That the orchard seen by the Committee on its site inspection did not form part of the application site.


It was moved and seconded that the application be approved subject to the incorporation of those points regarding ward Member participation in future negotiations, the use of the £364k S106 obligation toward local healthcare and securing the link road without further planning gain.


The planning officer:


·         Undertook to explore the Committee’s views on the use of the S106 monies with the BCCG and seek its compliance.

·         Advised that the access was included in the S106 to ensure it was kept free.

·         Confirmed that the orchard was not in the application site but was afforded a level of protection in its own right.

·         All the good quality trees and landscaping within the site were retained in the scheme.


A Member expressed concern regarding the noise levels and intensity.  The pollution officer not being present the Chairman reminded the meeting that the officer had removed their objection subject to the provision of a bund to lower the noise levels.


A Member expressed concern that Anglian Water repeatedly stated that it had no issue with planning applications yet he was aware in his own ward of problems with sewerage.  He sought a condition to strengthen the company’s responsibility in this area.  The planning officer responded that Anglian Water had the ultimate responsibility for the service and the company had sometimes stated that there were issues with the network, though not in this instance.  She added that she was satisfied that the existing proposed condition was sound.


A Member suggested the possible inclusion of an informative requiring the developers to inform prospective purchasers of the nearby Stadium.  However, comment was passed that the purchasers’ solicitors should advise clients when undertaking searches.  Further, the developer was a reputable body and purchasers would see the Stadium when they visited the development.


On being put to the vote 9 Members voted for approval, 3 voted against and 1 abstained.




that Planning Application No. CB/18/00181/FULL relating to land rear of 133 & 135 Station Road, Lower Stondon, Henlow, SG16 6JJ be approved as set out in the Schedule attached to these minutes.

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