Decision Maker: Development Panel
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
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Councillor H Harrington spoke on the application as Ward Councillor.
A pre-prepared statement was read out on behalf of the agent Rachael Graham in support of the application.
The report recommended delegation of the responsibility to grant permission subject to conditions to the Head of Place Development upon;
A. The completion and signing of a multilateral s106 agreement to secure obligations relating to the provision of a pedestrian crossing on Church Street, and
B. Receipt of a signed copy of the draft unilateral undertaking to secure £20,000 for the provision and maintenance of children’s play equipment in the Harbour Area play area or for an obligation to be included within the multi-lateral agreement for an appropriate local, accessible off-site provision.
The report outlined the application and detailed the main issues within the report as follows:
The merits of the residential development itself had been approved and implemented under the original permission 2/2013/0445.
The principle of the development remained acceptable and not under review. The development was largely complete.
· Approved play area under 2/2013/0445
Officers acknowledged that there were identified constraints relating to the approved site area for the play equipment under the planning permission due to its detached location from the residential areas of the development itself and its access route’s steep gradient.
· Alternative site
There was little practical alternative opportunity to accommodate the play area elsewhere within the approved housing development. The alternative location at the harbour related to an existing established play area in the locality which was in proximity and accessible from the residential estate. On its individual planning merits the alternative was therefore considered acceptable.
The documented evidence in the report outlined that there was a need for this equipment. Members were therefore requested to consider three main issues;
The only other play area in the immediate vicinity was at the Marina which had recently been purchased by the Town Council. The report recorded that as being at a direct distance of 475m distance but officers verbally confirmed at the meeting that, via the best practicable walking route, it was 533m from the nearest permitted dwelling and 643m from the furthest. Officers considered there would be wider community benefits in expanding those facilities.
Amount of equipment – the level of equipment on the original permission was identified and approved under condition. Further to the granting of the permission the Council had adopted a Supplementary Planning Document for calculating the sum for off-site contributions reasonably required to make a development acceptable.
2. Using the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) calculated the required contribution was £8.5k for the equipment and £11.5k for ongoing maintenance. The Town Council had requested £50k but had not included any evidence base on how that sum was identified.
Officers considered the applicant’s £20k accounting for the SPD guidance was acceptable in this instance.
If both the developer and the Town Council accepted the s106 recommendation it was hoped to conclude the s106 within 3 months and deliver the items within 6 months.
If refused it was suggested it be a breach of the original condition notice 9, and would be given 3 months to rectify the situation.
Another separate matter on the original s106 was the highway contribution which was requested by Cumbria County Council to deliver a pedestrian crossing over Church Road. The developer provided a sum to the County Council in 2015 but the County Council had yet to implement those works. The County had advised that they hoped those could be provided within the early next financial year, but if necessary could contract out to a private contractor. The developer could claw back that sum at the end of the 5 years. It was considered such contributions should only be used if they were essential. Officers considered the provision still reasonably required to make the development acceptable and commensurate in scale to the development. It was therefore recommended that the revised s106 include the additional caveat of delivering the facility within 6 months of the date of the permission.
Following questions raised to the speakers, a discussion by members ensued specifically in relation to whether the off-site enhanced existing play facilities were reasonably accessible from the development, it being noted by some members that the distance was in excess of the SPD’s guidance. Members that had visited the site in the morning commented that the route followed relatively busy roads with no safe marked crossing points. The previously permitted on-site provision was, some members proffered, conveniently accessible.
Councillor T Annison then moved refusal on the grounds that there was a need for a play and public open space provision arising from the development. There was no such existing provision within the area that was within an acceptable walking distance of the site. Therefore, in the absence of an on-site provision and the ability for residents of the development to access an off-site provision, the development was contrary to policy S25 of the adopted Allerdale Local Plan part 1 2014.
This was seconded by Councillor D Wilson.
A vote was taken on the motion for refusal, 8 voted in favour, 3 against and 0 abstentions.
The motion was carried.
Reason for Refusal
There was a need for a play and public open space provision arising from the development. There was no such existing provision within the area that was within an acceptable walking distance of the site. Therefore, in the absence of an on-site provision and the ability for residents of the development to access an off-site provision, the development was contrary to policy S25 of the adopted Allerdale Local Plan part 1 2014.
Report author: Lewis Jefferson
Publication date: 17/10/2018
Date of decision: 16/10/2018
Decided at meeting: 16/10/2018 - Development Panel