This was an outline application for up to 5no. dwellings with all matters reserved on land adjacent to 1 Brook Cottage, Brick Kiln Bank, Lightmoor, Telford, Shropshire. Councillors C Healy and J Greenaway had requested that the application be determined by the Planning Committee. An update report and additional information had been circulated to the Committee prior to the meeting taking place.
Councillor C Healy, Ward Councillor, spoke against the application and raised concerns regarding flooding, car parking, visibility, highway safety, street scene and topography, the ground level and the steep slope, density, drainage and surface water. She felt that it contravened Policies ER12, BE1 and C3 and asked that members refuse the application. If Members were minded to approve the application she requested that outline consent be limited to 1 or 2 units in order to meet policy BE1 and provide adequate garden parking spaces, reduce the hard surfacing which would allow drainage to mitigate flooding.
Councillor J Greenaway, adjoining Ward Councillor, spoke against the application and raised concerns regarding flooding, the soakaway system, site stability, the slope of the land and the risk of landslip along a major walking route, within the green network and a wooded area, access along the A4169 which served 75 properties and a care home, obstruction from parked cars and highway safety lack of public transport and play facilities and concerns regarding Policies ER12, BE9, C1, C3 and NE6 and NET trees, hedgerows and woodland.
Mr N Clarke, a member of the public, spoke against the application on behalf of the local residents who all raised concerns regarding the stability of the land, piling and drilling and the ground survey on densely overgrown area, surface water drainage, flooding not sympathetic to its surroundings, the blind entrance along the A4169, high way safety and regular visits by emergency vehicles to the care home.
Ms L Cannon, Applicant, spoke in favour of the application which had a reduction in dwellings from 9 to 5 on a previous application. Parking had increased to 20 spaces to future proof parking. Wildlife enhancements were being offered with a new habitat, woodland management plan and reptile area together with improvements to the boggy footpath. With regard to flood management water could be slowed on entering the brook to 1 litre per second with the outlet point downstream to reduce impact and would be a betterment. A precedent had been set with a similar successful development nearby and there was a presumption in favour of sustainable development.
The Planning Officer addressed Members with regarding ecology, slope stability, drainage, the construction and environmental management plan and parking. The scheme proposed mitigation for the loss of the green network including was a 20 year management of the local wildlife site woodland area; provision and management of the reptile area on the site and provision of a walkway to the path to the west of the site together with the planting of 200 linear metres of hedgerow and on balance the loss of the green network was considered acceptable. With regard to slope stability, the coal mining risk assessment recommended prior to commencement of any development intrusive site investigations took place to determine the ground conditions which may lead to a scheme of remediation works, but consent was required for the principle of development before this could take place due to the indicative nature of the application and the application before members was for the principle of development only. A permit would be required from the coal mining authority prior to any investigations or development were to take place. It was intended that a retaining structure would be positioned to the rear of the development site to create the level platform for the houses, gardens and parking areas in line with the top of the existing slope and further details would be submitted at the reserved matters stage. Investigations into the drainage including had been undertaken with the highways drain being discounted and an alternative scheme to connect into the stepped weir was re-examined which was acceptable to the Council’s drainage engineers subject to risk avoidance measures. The construction and environmental management plan, highway safety and parking would come forward at the reserved matters stage and the highway authority have no objection to the parking subject to the provision of visibility splays.
The Drainage Engineer explained the position with regard to flooding in the area and that this had been considered when looking at the three proposals that had been put forward; option 1 to drain into the step weir and the highway system, option 2 to drain down the highway and connect in front of Brook Cottages and option 3 to connect into the attenuated system which drained upstream of Brook Cottages with options 2 and 3 being discounted as they would send water upstream to the know flood risk area. Following the investigations it was deemed acceptable to use option 1 and link into the highway drainage due to the point of connection into the step weir would be lower down than the highway drain and was open channel from that point and would not need to be made a public sewer. The proposed rate of discharge was one litre per second which was the minimal risk of discharge from a site and the risk was considered to be minimal.
During the debate some Members raised concerns regarding stability, highway safety, flooding, parking, drainage and shallow mine workings. Other Members raised concerns regarding the loss of the green. Some Members felt that there would be a reduction in water coming from the site and that there had been no highway safety issues when previous sites had been developed and that concerns had been alleviated via conditions and that the application was for outline permission only and more details would come forward at the reserved matters stage.
The Planning Officer confirmed that the houses would be on the Green Network but the improvements through the management of the woodland area of the Local Wildlife Site, the provision of 200 linear metres of hedge and proposed reptile mitigation area outweighed the loss of the Green Network, the reserved matters application could be brought back before Committee and members could call in the application, the mitigation measures would restrict the water flow to 1 litre per second and developers could only allow for reasonable storm events. The indicative plan was showing 20 parking spaces for 5 properties which was an overprovision of parking and some visitor spaces were provided.
The Legal Advisor advised Members that it would be difficult for the Committee to sustain reasons for refusal which were contrary to any technical advice they had been given because the expert technical advise had been clearly put. In addition officers had confirmed that stability concerns could be addressed by robust conditions.
On being put to the vote it was, by a majority:
RESOLVED – that in respect of planning application TWC/2019/0790 that delegated authority be granted to the Development Management Service Delivery Manager to grant outline planning permission subject to the conditions and informatives set out in the report and the update report (with authority to finalise conditions and reasons for approval to be delegated to Development Management Service Delivery Manager).