Planning Application No. CB/18/02373/OUT (Stotfold & Langford)
Address: Loft Farm and West of Church Street, Langford, Biggleswade, SG18 9QA
Outline planning application for up to 95 dwellings and associated public open space, with all matters reserved except for access.
Applicant: Rosconn Strategic Land
The Committee had before it a report regarding Planning Application No. CB/18/02373/OUT, an outline application for up to 95 dwellings and associated public open space with all matters reserved except for access at Loft Farm and west of Church Street, Langford, Biggleswade, SG18 9QA. The meeting was aware that the application had been submitted to the Committee on 5 December 2018 but, following discussion, it had been resolved (minute DM/18/105 refers) to defer further consideration for up to two cycles to enable Members to:
· receive evidence relating to the ability of construction vehicles to enter the application site by passing through Tithe Farm Close.
· assess the impact on the existing residents in Tithe Farm Close in the immediate vicinity of the proposed new access to the application site as a result of the increase in traffic resulting from the development.
· find an alternative access to the application site, subject to the developer’s approval to do so.
In advance of consideration of the application the Committee’s attention was drawn to additional consultation/publicity responses and additional comments as set out in the Late Sheet.
In advance of consideration of the application the Committee received representations from Councillor G Clarke of Langford Parish Council (which objected to the application), Ms T Barr, an objector to the application, and Mr A Davies and Mr D Hatcher, jointly representing the applicant. All parties responded to Members’ requests for clarification. The meeting noted that the Parish Council had no objection to the development in principle and its concerns focused on issues such as the site access.
A ward Member indicated his support for the Parish Council’s objections and referred to weaknesses within the proposed traffic management plan. He asked that, if the Committee was minded to approve the application, it took account of the Parish Council’s points and to his own comments regarding the proposed hours of operation, the policing of construction vehicles to ensure they entered via the A507 and not Biggleswade and the location of storage silos on site to reduce vehicle movements. In conclusion he asked how it had been determined that construction vehicles could access Tithe Farm Close when other vehicles could be legally parked on the side of the road. That situation could result in construction vehicles mounting the pavement. He expressed the hope that the application would be refused until an alternative access had been found.
(Note: At this point in the proceedings Cllr Dixon, as another ward Member, moved from the Committee tables to sit at the public speaker’s point in order to address Members).
The ward Member explained that he had met with officers to examine issues such as wheel washing, delivery hours, access routes, a possible holding off area on the A507 and an unloading area for the larger machinery. However, the problem of driving a 12 meter long vehicle along Tithe Farm Close remained and, whilst theoretically possible, the video he had taken on the previous Sunday at 1.00 p.m. and circulated to Members, made it apparent that any other vehicles parked in the vicinity would force the larger vehicle to mount the pavement. There were no parking restrictions. Using the Close as an access would therefore cause disruption and was unacceptable.
The ward Member felt that insufficient consideration had been given to multiple property purchases in order to provide the required sight lines. He also stressed that, if the application was approved, a Puffin crossing was required from the beginning in order to protect local residents and schoolchildren. The ward Member asked the Committee to consider the issue of buildability and construction process as well as design. He urged the Committee to reject the application and then left the Council Chamber, taking no further part in the debate on this item or the vote thereon.
The planning officer responded to the points raised as follows:
· The application was considered by the officers as acceptable and this position was reinforced by the additional information received.
· The tracking diagrams showed the proposed use of Tithe Farm Close by construction vehicles as acceptable.
· The vehicle used to demonstrate the feasibility of driving a 12 meter vehicle along the Close was a horse box which might not provide a like for like comparison as it would have a different wheelbase from a lorry.
· Alternative access points had been investigated but the removal of the properties concerned had proven unsuitable regarding width and vision splays. No suitable alternative access had been found. Further, an alternative access would require the submission of a new application.
· The presence of sub-contractors on site could be detailed as part of the construction management plan.
· The provision of CCTV at the entrance to the Close could be included as a criteria within the construction management plan.
· He confirmed that Henlow Parish Council had not been consulted on the application.
· The officers felt a Puffin crossing should be in place at the point when the dwellings started to be occupied not when construction works started.
· He was unable to comment on the statement by the applicant’s agent that lorries would wait in designated areas on the A507 as he did not know who the builder would be and, therefore, from which direction the construction materials would approach the application site from.
The highways officer responded to the points raised as follows:
· No indication had been given by the Parish Council as to which part of the transport assessment was regarded as incorrect. He concurred that the existing speed limit through the village was 20 mph.
· An alternative access point would require several properties to be removed to meet the technical requirements but there was nothing available.
· The Close was a public highway and he was uncertain what action the police, as the responsible authority, would take to clear the Close if vehicles were legitimately parked there. However, he felt that developers took health and safety issues seriously and saw no reason why the Close would be unsuitable for construction traffic. The Chairman commented that the police would only take action if a parked vehicle caused obstruction or was parked dangerously. If the vehicle was parked outside the owner’s home then he did not believe action would be taken.
The Committee considered the application and in summary discussed the following:
· The Neighbourhood Plan carried no weight in planning terms at the current stage of its development though the Committee should have regard to local feeling and wishes regarding the validity of the application.
· There had been no consideration of the possible purchase of two homes in order to provide a wider access point and, possibly, suitable visibility splays.
· A construction plan was not a material consideration but was a matter of concern to the Parish Council and local residents.
· No one appeared to object to the site in principle but to the impact of the site and the construction traffic on Langford village and the access point in Tithe Farm Close, in particular on one resident.
· The application before Members was similar to that originally submitted to and deferred by the Committee.
· The NPPF referred to the requirement for a safe and suitable access to the site and, whilst there was no issue with cars or smaller delivery vehicles, there was a problem on the use of large articulated vehicles and the possible issues that could arise should cars be parked outside their owners’ dwellings.
· The development phase could last approximately two years and would impact on existing residents on the estate for that period.
· There was no list of predictable objections but concerns which focused on the access.
· There were concerns as to whether the Close could be kept clear.
· The Committee had no alternative but to approve the application as it was or refuse it.
· The Committee would not take into account any possible appeal costs.
A Member then moved that the application be refused on the grounds of loss of amenity to the residents of Langford. He added that should the application be allowed at appeal a Puffin crossing was required before the development began so that lorries would be required to stop at a traffic light rather than possibly misjudge the need to stop when approaching an ordinary pedestrian crossing. Further, he did not believe that a request for CCTV was enforceable. Following discussion a planning officer advised the Committee that a motion to refuse the application should be worded with reference to the locality. He explained that it would be difficult to claim wider impact on Langford given it involved the use of a public highway which was not under the Council’s control. The planning officer stated that if the application went to appeal there would be a need to demonstrate reasons and why a loss of amenity would take place but he believed the Council had an arguable case
It was moved and seconded that the application be refused on the grounds of loss of amenity particularly adjacent to the site access.
On being put to the vote 10 Members voted for refusal, 0 voted against and 1 abstained.
that Planning Application No. CB/18/02373/OUT relating to Loft Farm and west of Church Street, Langford, Biggleswade, SG18 9QA be refused as set out in the Schedule attached to these minutes.
- 7 - 18.02373 Map, item 128. PDF 660 KB
- 7 - 18.02373 Report, item 128. PDF 155 KB
- Item 07 - Schedule, item 128. PDF 26 KB