Planning Application No. CB/18/02600/FULL (Leighton Buzzard South)
Address: Leedon Service Station, Hockliffe Road, Leighton Buzzard,
The construction of two blocks containing 10 No. flats, together with associated parking and landscaping.
Applicant: W E Black Ltd
The Committee had before it a report regarding Planning Application No. CB/18/02600/FULL for the construction of two blocks containing 10 no. flats together with associated parking and landscaping at Leedon Service Station, Hockliffe Road, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 3JU.
In advance of consideration of the application the Committee’s attention was drawn to additional comments and additional/amended conditions as set out in the Late Sheet.
In advance of consideration of the application the Committee received representations from Jacki Banfield, an objector to the application, and William Macleod, the agent for the applicant. Members sought clarification from the objector.
A ward Member (and Chairman of Leighton-Linslade Town Council’s Planning Committee) stated that she concurred with the observations of the Town Council (set out in the planning officer’s report) and the objector on the application. She stated that whilst the Town Council would welcome the tidying up of the site the there was concern that the proposed development would be overbearing. It was felt inappropriate to site a three storey block of flats so close to surrounding houses.
The ward Member reminded the meeting that an application for 18 flats on the site had been previously rejected. The proposed blocks of flats would tower over nearby homes and would be highly visible from the path running alongside the Clipstone Brook. These were not in keeping with the local area which was some distance from the town centre. Whilst obscured glass was to be used on the side of the block (Block A) facing 41 Woodman Close there would be a loss of leylandii trees to the rear of the site meant that the garden of 41 Woodman Close would lack privacy. The ward Member stated she was not convinced that the proposed small trees and shrubs would offer sufficient screening.
Turning to the parking and highways concerns, the ward Member stated that there were two spaces provided for each flat but no on-site visitors spaces, despite the site being on a main road (Hockliffe Road) with little on-street parking, and on-going calls for a residents’ car parking scheme to be introduced. It was also less than twelve months since parking restrictions had been introduced further along Hockliffe Road because of poor parking and she was concerned that, if the application was approved, there would be a repeat of the traffic problems. The proposed development on Hockliffe Road would be opposite the busy junction with Brook Street, the former being a main HGV route. It was also felt that the access and egress from the site would present a danger to all road users and pedestrians. The ward Member stated that it had been at least 20 years since the site had been used for a filling station and traffic levels in Hockliffe Road had significantly increased.
Turning to the issue of flooding the ward Member stated that the officer report dismissed any concern regarding flooding despite part of the site laying in Flood Zone 3. She advised that the land had laid vacant since the early 2000’s and the area suffered severe flooding in 1992. Flood prevention measures had recently been introduced near Carina Drive and close to the site but this was a scaled down scheme and there was further building to the east of Leighton Buzzard in the flood plain of Clipstone Brook. She asked that Members bear these concerns in mind as especially as climate change made extreme weather and flooding more likely.
The ward Member asked the Committee to reject the application as it was not sympathetic to the surrounding area, with barely sufficient parking and was partially site in Flood Zone 3. If Members were minded to approve she asked that they look at the level of screening provided both to the rear and along the brook.
The planning officer responded to the points raised as follows:
· She described the measures she had taken to obtain a full view of the site and the garden of 41 Woodman Close.
· With regard to residential amenity, the main windows in the living rooms of Flat Block A would not be obscure glazed.
· A condition was recommended for adoption which would ensure that the obscure glazing, which was in those windows facing 41 Woodman Close, was permanent.
· Juliet balconies were not the type which would allow residents to stand on outside and overlook 41 Woodman Close. The Committee could choose to have them replaced by windows. She added that the only overlooking from Block A would be from windows that were obscure glazed.
· Block B was 60 meters from the boundary with 41 Woodman Close.
· Block A could be seen from the garden of 41 Woodman Close. However, three storey blocks of flats were not unusual in an urban setting.
· Although there was an impact on the amenity of 41 Woodman Close it was not sufficient to as to warrant refusal of the planning permission.
· The leylandii trees were not of great ecological value, being essentially a monoculture.
· The site had been severely contaminated and subsequently decontaminated although a recommended condition also required the submission of a remediation scheme.
· The ecological value of the site was minimal.
· The trees on the corner of the site would remain. The recommended landscaping scheme would not replicate the screening currently provided by the leylandii trees and though the visual amenity was effected it was not harmed.
· If the leylandii trees were retained it would not be possible to provide the amont of parking that was proposed.
· The problem with this type of site, and especially those that required remediation work, was that the building of houses did not make the site viable. Hence the construction of flats.
· From a planning perspective the effect on the neighbouring amenity was acceptable.
· The required sequential test had been carried out and, given that most of the site was in Zone 2 it was considered the scheme was appropriate for the location, especially as there had been no objection from the Environment Agency or Internal Drainage Board or Anglian Water.
• A small part of the site was in Flood Zone 3 but the floor levels of Blocks A and B would be above the flood level arising from climate change.
• The loss of the flood plain would be attenuated by the lowering of the ground level of some of the parking spaces.
The highways officer responded to the points raised as follows:
• The number of parking spaces to be provided complied with the Council’s standards.
• The average parking demand for this type of development was possibly lower than was provided for. There was, therefore, no reason to expect an increase in demand for on-street parking on nearby roads as a result of the development.
• The trip generation for the site when it was a petrol filling station was considerably higher than it would be for the proposed flats. As such there was no traffic hazard arising from the use of an access to the site from Hockliffe Road despite the proximity of the junction with Brook Street.
• The development would see the closing off of the nearest of the two current accesses from the site on Hockliffe Road to the junction with Brook Street which would benefit road safety.
The Committee considered the application and in summary discussed the following:
• The possible retention of the leylandii trees to create a formal hedge and the possible impact on parking provision. The planning officer advised that the trees were quite old with a fairly large girth and very close to the site’s rear boundary. If retained seven parking spaces would be lost on the southern boundary although some parking could be provided on what was proposed to be amenity space.
• The planning officer was unable to suggest suitable, alternative, fast growing planting to form a high formal hedge to replace the leylandii trees.
• A mechanism to ensure that the proposed cycling storage provision was retained as such and not used as a utility room. The planning officer referred to a recommended condition which dealt with the submission of details of a scheme for the parking of cycles and the retention of storage space for use by cycles.
• A Member stressed the importance of the screening provided by the leylandii trees for 41 Woodman Close and retaining them around the tall blocks of flats as they would be overlooking the garden of 41 Woodman Close, rather than keeping them along by the parking spaces in order to retain privacy and reducing the overbearing presence of Block A.
• The planning officer advised that the landscaping scheme could be amended to retain the leylandii trees but the proximity of the trees’ root system to the flats was unknown and it would be necessary to defer any decision on the application to allow discussion with the architect.
• A Member commented that to have any benefit the leylandii trees would need to be far higher than they were at present thereby obscuring any views from the windows of the lowest flats.
• The planning officer stated that the distance from Block A to the boundary with no. 41 was four meters whilst the distance, at an angle, from the obscured glazed windows in Block A to the rear of no. 41 was 22 meters.
• The cost of remediation works for the site given its previous use as a filling station and the resulting reasonably high intensity of the development to ensure its viability as had occurred at similar sites.
• The possible issues that could arise during the construction phase as a result of parking by contractors’ vehicles on Hockliffe Road.
• The use of recommended condition 9 could incorporate a requirement for a satisfactory boundary treatment. This suggestion was accepted by the mover of the recommendation.
On being put to the vote 8 Members voted for approval, 0 voted against and 4 abstained.
that Planning Application No. CB/18/02600/FULL relating to Leedon Service Station, Hockliffe Road, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 3JU be approved as set out in the Schedule attached to these minutes.
- 9 18.02600 Map, item 144. PDF 704 KB
- 9 18.02600 Report, item 144. PDF 175 KB
- 9 18.02600 Schedule, item 144. PDF 72 KB