Agenda item

Deferred Applications (Agenda item 8)

To consider applications deferred at previous meetings including some, but not all, of those shown on the attached Schedule of Deferred Applications.


Swaffham: Land to the rear of the Conservative Club, London Road: 22 dwellings for retirement occupancy for Equity Holdings and Investments (Agenda item 8a)


Permission had previously been refused for 24 retirement dwellings on this site in September 2006 on grounds of overdevelopment, poor access and loss of the bowling green.  A subsequent appeal had been dismissed in March 2007 and the reasons for its dismissal had been on the loss of the bowling green and harm to the amenity of neighbouring properties.  The Appeal Inspector had concluded that the access arrangements were satisfactory, taking into account previous uses, and that the proposal would not result in an overdevelopment of the site.  In terms of amenity, the Inspector had focused on two neighbouring properties.  The applicant had since redesigned the building, and although two storey, the windows at the first floor were now in the form of roof lights to prevent overlooking and the windows facing the property to the East would be of obscure glazing.  The scale had been reduced and the building had been lowered therefore having a less imposing impact.


This new application, for 22 dwellings, had been deferred from the Development Control Committee meeting held on 15 October 2007 (Minute No. 167/06(i) refers).  The reason for its deferral was to enable additional information to be sought to the precise nature of the development, the provision of affordable housing and access arrangements.  This additional information had been submitted in support of the application.


In relation to the proposed use, the applicant had confirmed that the development would provide sheltered accommodation for the elderly, with an on-site warden and out of hours alarm call system and the development would be restricted to the over 60s.


The proposed development did not initially include affordable housing but instead the applicant had offered a financial contribution of £50,000 towards the provision of affordable housing elsewhere in the locality; however, since the production of the report, the applicant had offered a greater contribution of £60,000 or the provision of six shared equity units on the site.   Members were advised that if the provision of six units was accepted the contribution of £60,000 would be withdrawn.


Access to the site as currently proposed was via the existing drive onto Beech Close.  Consideration had been given to the possible use of an existing entrance onto London Street adjacent to the Conservative Club.  However, this access was considered as unsuitable for increased use given its restricted width and limited visibility.  No other alternative accesses to that shown in the application were currently available.


As far as the loss of recreational facilities was concerned, the applicant had also offered a sum of £40,000 towards a replacement facility elsewhere in the town.


Mr Wingate, the Applicant’s Agent was in attendance and reminded Members that the Planning Inspector had been considering a scheme for 24 units on the site. He pointed out that the Housing Enabling Officer had been happy with the applicant’s offer of six shared equity units and he hoped that Members found this new proposal acceptable.


A Member asked whether the six units would still be aimed at a particular age group as she had concerns with the width of the access for emergency vehicles.  In response, the Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) advised that the affordable units would be for sheltered housing use only. 


The Solicitor reminded the Committee of the Planning Inspector’s decision and advised that if Members were mindful to refuse the application, Members would have to come up with good reasons.


RESOLVED that the application be deferred; however, the Development Services Manager be authorised to grant permission subject to appropriate conditions and subject to the completion of a Section 106 Agreement to secure:


1)      the contribution of £40,000 towards recreational facilities; and


2)      the payment of the commuted sum of £60,000 towards the provision of affordable housing elsewhere in the locality or the provision of the six shared equity units on the site, the latter being preferred.


Supporting documents: