Agenda item

SWANTON MORLEY: Lincoln House Care Home, Dereham Road: (1) 20 Assisted Living Units; (2) 5 Assisted Living Units: Applicant: Dr S Kaushal: Reference: (1) 3PL/2013/0626/F (2) 3PL/2013/0627/F

Report of the Director of Commissioning.


These applications had been deferred from the meeting held on 30 September 2013 for a traffic assessment and drainage details. 


A traffic assessment had been provided.  NCC Highways were content with the visibility at the junction.  A traffic count had been undertaken based on flows from the existing development and estimated forward to take the new development into account.  It had been concluded that the new development would produce lower numbers than normal C3 development.


A Drainage Engineer had considered the scheme and concluded that local flooding was primarily due to the silting up of gullies.  The attenuation pond had been reconsidered in light of changes to Environment Agency guidelines in the last five years and was slightly below requirements.  An additional 64 cubic metres of capacity was required and would be conditioned if the applications were approved.


Mr Atterwill (Parish Council) had provided a lot of details from the Local Development Framework (LDF) against the development at the previous meeting.  He believed the Highways figures had been skewed and the total number of movements was much greater.  70 new homes would soon be built in the village and the additional traffic from them would increase safety concerns about the junction.  He also felt the development was C3b, not C2.  It should therefore make affordable housing and Open Space contributions.


Mr Porter (for Applicant) advised that in the Drainage report the latest analysis took account of climate change.  That had not been required to be considered previously.  He confirmed that the visibility splays at the junction exceeded NCC requirements.  The traffic survey had taken place during the school holidays but average daily figures did not change.


Mr Evans (Agent) reiterated that the application had been the subject of substantial consultation with the Planning department.


Councillor Robert Richmond (Ward Representative) asked Members to consider Localism.  Local residents had been actively involved in the LDF process and that work was not being taken seriously now.  Residents supported health care but the entrance to the development which also served the Doctor’s surgery, the Care Home and existing dwellings was heavily used and the junction was dangerous with many near misses occurring there.  The possibility of an alternative entrance had been mentioned and that could defuse a dangerous situation.


Councillor Duigan asked the Highways Consultant if the additional traffic from the 70 houses had been taken into consideration and whether it would have a material effect on the junction.  Mr Worsfold said that he had not done so as that development was further north within the village.  In his opinion the junction was suitable to cater for the increase generated by the developments.


Several Members were concerned that the new houses would increase the number of vehicles using the junction. 


Councillor Bambridge was concerned about the lack of a flood risk assessment and the dangerous junction.  He suggested that the alternative access should be explored.  He also felt that the C2/C3 issue was ambiguous.  Finally he said that localism should be taken into account.


The Solicitor advised that Members should look at the application as presented, including the legal agreement which would control the use/inhabitants of the development.


It was noted that the junction was on a 30mph stretch of road.  The Chairman did not think it was possible to drive round the bend at that speed due to its sharpness, although he believed it had been rounded off over the years and bollards had been added.  He wondered if there was scope for further improvements, such as adding a filter lane.


The Highways Consultant confirmed that the junction was acceptable as it was and that further improvements were not normal for such a junction.


The recommendation for approval was not supported and Members were asked to provide reasons for refusal.  The Solicitor advised that the reasons needed to be specific and any highways reasons for refusal needed to be supportable at appeal.


Councillor Lamb suggested that as all of the development was outside the Settlement Boundary and the Parish had suggested other areas for development the application could be refused on those grounds.


The Principal Planning Officer advised that the principle had been agreed when the first phase of development had been approved outside the Settlement Boundary.  He also noted that Care Homes and extensions to them were normally allowed in the countryside.


Councillor Duigan pointed out that Members had only deferred the application on Highway and Drainage grounds and so only those aspects could be considered.  He did have highway concerns, but in view of the Highway Engineer’s comments he did not feel that a refusal could be supported.


The Solicitor confirmed that it was bad practice to add things not considered unacceptable at the previous meeting to reasons for refusal, but it could be done.

Councillor Spencer thought that if additional Highways conditions were added Members might reconsider the recommendation. 


The Principal Planning Officer suggested that Members should instruct Officers to write to the Highways Authority to strongly request that they address issues of signage to slow drivers down or to provide a central refuge for vehicles turning right.


Councillor Bambridge asked about the proposed second access and Mr Atterwill explained that the land required was in the ownership of a business partner of the applicant who was willing to enter discussions about it.


Mr Evans pointed out that a second access would create a junction on a 60mph stretch of road, not subject to Highways approval and could make matters worse.


The Solicitor advised that Members needed a new proposition.  They could approve the recommendation and ask Highways to look at the safety issues; they could defer the application for further investigations of those issues; or they could refuse the application and provide grounds for doing so.


A new proposal to defer the applications was made and seconded, but not supported.  After further discussion it was proposed that the application be approved if Highways were asked to re-examine the junction for further improvements to safety.




(1)               the application be deferred and the officers authorised to grant approval, subject to conditions, on completion of the section 106 agreement;and

(2)               NCC Highways be requested to look again at the junction.


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