Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham
Contact: Committee Services 01362 656870
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 4 August 2014.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 4 August 2014 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Declaration of Interest and of Representations Received (Agenda Item 3)
Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate and must leave the room, for the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest.
In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests they have in relation to an agenda item, that support the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.
All Members had received direct representation concerning Agenda Item 9 – Schedule Items 3, 4, 5 and 6 (Thompson).
Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 4)
The Chairman introduced David Raggatt to Members. He was replacing Chris Gordon as legal advisor to the Committee.
Members were also advised that Nick Moys had returned as a Principal Planning Officer for Capita.
Following his visit to South Holland’s Planning Committee the Chairman was introducing the use of voting cards. Members were requested to hold up their card when voting, for clarity.
Local Plan Update (Agenda Item 7)
To receive an update.
The Director of Planning & Business Manager provided the update.
The next Local Plan Working Group (LPWG) would take place on 9 September following the Cabinet meeting. It would consider the Spatial Strategy for the District and also options for the natural and historic environment. The spatial strategy would present options for the spatial distribution of housing. The LPWG would also consider the approach to Local Service Centres and Rural Settlements. A further LPWG on 30 September would consider the approach to the market towns.
Work was continuing to progress on a number of key evidence base documents which would inform policies within the Local Plan, including the open space assessment, for which site visits to all the open spaces in the District were currently underway. The Retail and Town Centre Study and a Strategic Housing Market assessment were nearing completion.
Croxton, Kilverstone and Brettenham would be holding a drop-in session on Saturday 13 September as the first stage of work on their Neighbourhood Plan. The session would start at 10am in Croxton village hall.
Breckland Council was currently in the process of agreeing a Memorandum of Understanding with Attleborough Town Council which would set out what both the Neighbourhood Plan and the Local Plan would include to avoid overlapping policies.
No further Neighbourhood Plans had come forward at present.
A Local Impact Report had been prepared and submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of Breckland Council in regard to the Norwich Northern Distributor road. It had triggered a discussion with the County Council to prepare a Statement of Common Ground addressing mitigation measures identified for Breckland.
Councillor Claussen pointed out that there should be consultation with the Parish Councils affected by the development to ensure their views were represented by the District Council and the Director of Planning & Business Manager agreed that a co-ordinated approach with those affected was the best way forward.
To consider the Schedule of Planning Applications:
RESOLVED that the applications be determined as follows:
(a) Item 1: WATTON: Plaswood, Griston Road: Modification of Section 106 agreement on 3PL/2012/0503/O in terms of contributions: Applicant: Serruys Property Company Ltd: Reference: 3OB/2014/0005/OB
This application requested the removal of financial contributions from the legal agreement attached to the earlier permission. Following on from the approval of outline planning permission in January 2014 the viability of the site had been addressed and subsequently independently assessed by the District Valuer who confirmed, on the basis of the submitted material, that it could not support the obligations. Removal of the obligations could allow redevelopment of the dilapidated site. The legal agreement would need to be amended to include a clawback clause if the application was approved.
Mr Futter (Agent) explained it was a difficult site which was badly contaminated. The financial appraisal had been done without adding any interest costs.
Cllr Wassell (Ward Representative) raised concerns about developers reneging on their commitment to the community. The viability issues could have been caused by a number of reasons which had not been made clear to the Committee. He asked Members to consider very carefully the precedent that would be set by agreeing to the recommendation.
Members raised concerns about the loss of affordable housing; the fact that the developer had underestimated the costs and that the District Valuer considered that even without the obligations the site was not viable.
Mr Futter advised that it was intended to increase the floorspace of the site (probably by adding an additional storey to the flats) thereby making it viable.
Members were advised that the original Outline consent did not define the amount of floorspace; that would be dealt with in the Reserved Matters application. They were also told that Government Guidance said that affordability was a legitimate issue for the Committee to consider.
The Planning Manager advised that the application was supported with details of viability and marketing. The report confirmed that the site had been marketed in February 2014 and there had been little interest and no bids. The site had been purchased and marketed at a price of £372,567 whereas the District Valuer considered a benchmark land value of £300,000 to be reasonable. Nevertheless, even at that price the District Valuer considered the scheme to be unviable. In terms of contaminated land/abnormal build costs there was some uncertainty with the accuracy or otherwise of the submitted figures.
The recommendation for refusal was not supported.
The site has been marketed for sale on the open market for a period of 3 months before the application was submitted. That period of time was not considered sufficient to fully assess the true market value of the site, with or without the agreed planning obligations. Furthermore, having independently assessed the financial appraisal submitted with the application, it was apparent that the abnormal costs attributed to the redevelopment of the site were too high, which might have a bearing on the viability of the site.
Refused, on grounds ... view the full minutes text for item 87.
Report of the Executive Director of Place.
Members are requested to raise any questions at least two working days before the meeting to allow information to be provided to the Committee.