Agenda item

Attleborough : Land off Honeysuckle Way : Proposed Residential Development : Applicant : Norfolk Homes Ltd : Reference 3PL/2010/1041/F

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.


The application was for residential development on land to the north of Honeysuckle Way, Attleborough, and would comprise of 66 dwellings, a new access road and provision of two areas of public open space.  A range of house types were proposed and would be either 1½ or 2 storeys, with 26 provided as affordable.


In the late 1990s, the site had been proposed for allocation but was deleted due to general housing over supply.


Anglian Water had stipulated that no dwelling be occupied prior to March 2012, and the Applicant had stated that that would fit in with their timeframe.


The two areas of public open space amounted to 81% of the total open space provision required by Core Strategy Policy DC11.  In order to compensate for the shortfall and in lieu of the provision of children’s play equipment, a financial contribution of £28,880 was proposed.  The Applicant had indicated that they would be happy for the terms of the legal agreement to be broadened to include general green infrastructure provision. 


Breckland’s view was that the development had been designed to minimise the affect on local properties, although some local residents had raised concern. Traffic would be spread equally between two arms of access roads and a 20 mph zone would be extended. The proposed development met PPS3 despite being outside the settlement boundary.


Mr Harper, for the Applicant said Norfolk Homes wanted to create family homes and that the site was part of the surrounding estate and was deliverable. The 40% affordable housing would meet Code Level 3 with the rest of the housing being 15% above building regulations, they would be air tight and as well insulated as possible. Many changes had been made in response to concerns raised and they wanted to maintain and enhance biodiversity.  10% renewal energy would be met.


Mr Stasiask, Ward Representative stated that the 66 dwellings outside the settlement boundary conflicted with the Core Strategy and that there was a huge shortfall not just in Attleborough but every town in Breckland, and whilst the Town Council would be grateful for the money, they were opposed to the application.   He believed the application came through ‘on the back of’ not having a 5 year supply of deliverable housing land in Breckland. 


He advised that the Attleborough Task Force was in the middle of a consultation period seeking views of NR17 and NR16 and they wanted residents to decide where growth would be.  He stated there were horrendous traffic problems in Attleborough and that the application did nothing to help those. £¼ million funding had been secured and it was necessary to make sure all residents were consulted.  Whilst he acknowledged there was a shortage of open space in Breckland, he felt to try and get away with a 1/5th less than was required was unsatisfactory, and he believed that whilst in the fullness of time it might be acceptable, it was not at the moment and hoped that Members would refuse the application.

It was confirmed that there would be pedestrian access out of the development onto Carvers Lane.  Those who occupied the flats above the open garaging would have access to at least one parking space. 


A Councillor asked that a condition be made that the open garages were left as ‘open cart designs’ and not to have doors on them, and the Development Services Manager confirmed that this could be imposed. The Applicant stated car ports were favoured, and would be leased with strict covenants, and that the vast majority of dwellings would have garages which had electric garage doors and sound insulation.  It was asked if the open garaging would be walled per garage unit or a total open space.  The Applicant agreed to look at the plans with regard to the open cart design and walls.


Concern was raised that trees would be taken out.  The Applicant explained that the hedge that abutted Carvers Lane would be retained, and the one on the other side of Carvers Lane was not theirs.  He stated they would improve the hedging by removing dead wood and supplementary planting with new.  If the Council adopted the open space they would see it maintained in perpetuity.  However, a Councillor believed that to strip out brambles and ivy could be considered contradictory to wildlife and birdlife, and did not want them to suffer.  The Committee were made aware that a detailed habitat survey would be done and a report submitted to the Council.


In response to a Councillor who believed it would be an over development of the site, the Applicant believed 33 dwellings per hectare was a reasonably low rate.  He said local people had been consulted and he believed the infrastructure query had been addressed, but he was not aware that the Town Council had objected.


It was stated by a Councillor that Breckland had been over willing in the past to grant planning permission for housing. The Principal Planning Officer explained that Breckland was not unique in not having a 5 year supply of deliverable housing land and that it was common across the country and not due to Breckland being reckless.  Due to delays in the local planning system and bringing forward LDFs, the allocation had been used up and as a result, Breckland and many other Councils had a shortfall in housing which was a regular issue that occurred within the country.  Currently there was a 1.7 year supply in Breckland.


The Developer had introduced a number of measures consisting of electric barriers and gates at the parking courts, windows in gables, and no alleyway ‘cut throughs’ which directly addressed the concerns raised by the Police with regard to the proposed layout relating to parking courts, private space and pedestrian access routes.  No further comments had been received from the Police.


The flats would not have windows that looked out to existing properties, but would have roof lights.  There would be a substantial double boundary at Hazel Road.  Responsibility for hedging around the site would depend on who owned it.  There would be owner occupied and social rented affordable housing. 


The nearest house would be 70–75m away from the closest part of the A11.  It was asked whether anything would be done to mitigate noise from the A11.  It was stated that whilst the noise was clearly audible, it was not especially intrusive, but a condition could be added that a scheme for noise mitigation measures be required.


Whilst one Councillor described the development as being ‘one field too far’ due to the edge of the field getting close to the bypass, another one felt it was a good site for housing and was an extension of the current build but did cause worry due to the Attleborough point of view despite in principle having been very well thought out.  It was not known how many houses had been granted in the last four years.


Whilst Norfolk County Council had been consulted it was not known where the children would go to school, or what Doctors or Churches the residents would attend.


A letter of objection was read out by the Principal Planning Officer from the Town Council.


RESOLVED that the application be deferred, and the Officers be authorised to approve it on completion of the Section 106 Agreement and subject to conditions as set out in the report as well as the following additional conditions :


(1)       Ecological

(2)       Open structure car ports

(3)       Retention of hedgerows

(4)       Noise condition with regard to A11


A Councillor asked for direction with regard to what the default was with regard to code levels achieved by houses.  The Principal Planning Officer explained that the core strategy included policy on renewable energy, it did not relate to code levels, and there was no policy basis for certain code levels.  The aim was to gradually increase requirements through building regulations and over the next few years they would come together, but the code for sustainable homes was an advisory one and developers sought to achieve them for marketing reasons and it made buyers aware of how efficient a house was.


The Chairman said it was not possible for the Committee to decide on a default decision, and that the matter would have to be put to Council if a higher code was to be required.  She added that the Committee had discussed the subject in the past and agreed that they would strive to impose higher standards, but until the Council put through a policy, it could not be enforced.


Supporting documents: