Minutes – Planning and Conservation Working Group – 3 February 2022
The minutes of this meeting are presented below.
You can also download a PDF copy of the minutes here: Minutes – Planning and Conservation Working Group – 3 February 2022
NOTES OF THE VIRTUAL MEETING OF THE PLANNING AND CONSERVATION WORKING GROUP HELD ON THURSDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2022 AT 2.00PM
- Councillor Plowman (Chairman)
- Councillor Quail (Vice-Chairman)
- Councillor Corfield
- Councillor Gaskin
- Councillor Gershater
- The Mayor (Councillor J Hughes)
ALSO IN ATTENDANCE:
- Property Manager
- Planning Adviser
- Member Services Support Officer
- West Sussex County Councillor, Simon Oakley, Ash Pal (Chairman, Chichester Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group), Greg Ockwell (Project Manager – Growth and OPE, West Sussex County Council), a member of the press and two members of the public
84. APOLOGIES AND RECORD OF ABSENCE
Apologies were received from Councillor Apel, Sharp and Scicluna.
The Deputy Mayor (Councillor Joy) was absent from the meeting.
96. NOTES OF THE MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP HELD ON 6 JANUARY 2022
AGREED that the notes of the Planning and Conservation Working Group meeting held on 6 January 2022, having been previously circulated, be approved and signed as a correct record at a later date.
97. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST BY MEMBERS OF THE WORKING GROUP IN MATTERS ON THE AGENDA FOR THIS MEETING
Councillor Quail declared an interest as Chairman of the Westgate Residents’ Association.
Councillors Plowman declared an interest as a Member of Chichester District Council.
Councillors Plowman declared an interest as a member of the Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee.
At this point the Chairman took the Supplementary Agenda item.
98. STREET NAMING AND NUMBERING – MILLER HOMES WHITEHOUSE FARM PHASES 5G and 6i – LAYOUT PLAN AND PLOT TO POSTAL
The Property Manager summarised the street naming applications that had been circulated with the supplementary agenda.
He advised Members that, while the lists of roads appeared lengthy, the Working Group was only being asked to consider four new names as the other street names had previously been discussed and agreed.
The new names for consideration were:
- Cornfield Way
- The Rew
- Stook House
Members discussed the new names and agreed that, on the whole, they were appropriate to the area and historical use of the land.
In response to a question from the Mayor, the Property Manager explained that a “Stook” was the traditional sheaf shaped stack of harvested corn.
Members agreed that this suggested name was not particularly attractive and that it could cause confusion through lack of awareness of its meaning.
Councillor Quail suggested that a more appropriate and better understood name might be Hayloft House.
Members approved and it was AGREED to ask the Property Manager to discuss this suggestion with the developers.
Councillor Quail asked about the origin of the name The Rew. The Property Manager confirmed that all the suggested names had been researched for local associations.
Members discussed this and the Property Manager was asked to provide a definition as a post meeting note.
Post meeting note:
A Rew can be defined as “Wooded hedge – sometimes called a shaw or rew. Line of shrubs and trees over 5m wide managed by coppicing but usually now left un-managed. Found in the Weald and South Downs and usually the remnant of woodland.” (Source: Sussex Historic Landscape Characterisation, Dr Nicola Bannister AIFA, 2010)
- Highfield Lane
Members AGREED that this suggested street name should be accepted.
The meeting returned to the published agenda order
99. APPLICATIONS FOR PLANNING PERMISSION
No committee items
CC/22/00033/FUL – Case Officer: Calum Thomas
Elberry Properties Ltd
10 Lavant Road Chichester West Sussex PO19 5RQ
Demolition of 3 no. flats and associated garages and erection of 6 no. flats and 1 no. 3-bed dwelling and associated works. (Variation of condition 2 of permission CC/20/03342/FUL -amendments to include roof lanterns, roof lights and mezzanine levels within the approved roof space).
The Planning Adviser summarised the history of this application that had been circulated to Members with the agenda.
The Planning Adviser, with the aid of a visual presentation, explained the previous proposals and the amendments that had been made.
Members were advised that the key issues raised by this revised application were:
- There is a significant history of applications and variations for the development of a block of flats and separate dwelling on this site. Most recently, under reference CC/20/03342/FUL, a further floor among other alterations was applied for, which the City Council objected to. Amended plans were then submitted altering the roof and omitting the additional floor, resolving the City’s objection. Subsequently that application was approved.
- This variation of condition application proposes further changes to the layout of the approved apartment building, providing additional living space with a further floor again proposed, now as a mezzanine, and associated fenestration alterations.
- A key principle of the planning system is to approve development unless it causes harm to matters of public interest. Impact (whether harm or benefit) is easier to identify from a single big change, and more difficult to pinpoint within a long process of repeated small, incremental changes. Nevertheless, there is a limit to the level of development and occupation which the proposal site can comfortably provide without harm to the proposed and surrounding residents. The increased development, living space, occupation and activity on the site, together with the reduced ratio of outdoor amenity space, would harm the amenity of the proposed and surrounding residents and would detrimentally impact the existing special local character as a low density, edge of settlement area. It is therefore considered that the limit of development which this site can adequately provide for without harm is exceeded by the proposal.
Councillor Gershater declared an interest due to the close proximity of the development to his home.
Members discussed the new application and expressed their agreement with the concerns raised by the Planning adviser in her report.
Recommendation: Objection as the additional living space, the consequent levels of activity and intensity of use of the site and the ratio of living space to outdoor amenity space would harm the existing special character of this low density, sylvan, edge of settlement area.
No committee items
100. NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN – UPDATE
The Chairman introduced Mr Ash Pal, who had recently been elected to the role of Chairman of the Chichester Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.
Mr Pal summarised the recent activity that had been taking place as part of the reboot of the Steering Group.
Members were advised that this included clarifying who was responsible for what in terms of the activities of the group and the direction of the Neighbourhood Plan project.
Members were further advised that the group had appointed a volunteer project manager who had started planning the processes and requirements that would be needed for the project to be successfully completed.
Mr Pal informed the Working Group that he had also been clarifying the relationship between the City Council, as the qualifying body, and the Steering Group in terms of the delegated authority and associated roles and responsibilities of both organisations.
He also informed the Working Group that work was in progress to improve communications and reduce perceived opaqueness of the process and the activities of the Steering Group.
The relationship with the City Council’s consultants, Feria Urbanism was also highlighted and Members were informed that work was under way to improve this relationship and better exploit the breadth of experience and knowledge that the consultants represented.
Members were advised that the Steering Group had set up a number of working groups to undertake specific tasks and that residents were being encouraged to take part in PLACE assessments in their areas in support of this.
They were also advised that the aim of the Steering Group and the new Communication working group was to build up interest in the process and promote wider participation.
The Chairman expressed his thanks to Mr Pal and advised Members that he was pleased with the direction being taken by the Steering Group.
Mr Pal was asked to provide regular updates about the Neighbourhood Plan progress to the Planning and Conservation Working Group at future meetings.
The Chairman then informed the Working Group that the City Council had recently received a letter from Chichester District Council advising that there would be an estimated housing allocation of an extra 300 new homes in Chichester in the Local Plan.
He also informed the Working Group there were two approaches that could be taken. Firstly, the Steering Group could be asked to consider the allocation and include suggestions for sites in the final Neighbourhood Plan. Alternatively, the City Council could decline to include the allocation in the Plan and it would then revert to the District Council’s Local Plan for assessment and site allocation.
Mr Pal reminded Members that, at the current time, inclusion of housing allocations in the Neighbourhood Plan was not part of the Steering Group’s terms of reference but that this could change if required by the City Council.
The Planning Adviser informed Members that the processes around housing allocations, such as impact assessments, should be ongoing as part of the policy creation and that this should not been seen as too onerous on the work of the development of the Neighbourhood Plan.
The Chairman advised Members that this would be discussed further at the next meeting of the Planning and Conservation Working Group.
101. LOCAL PLAN – UPDATE
The Chairman reported that the District Council was currently reviewing the housing allocations that had been made by Central Government and testing those numbers for viability.
He further reported that the numbers that had been allocated did not look achievable due to a lack of suitable infrastructure to support them.
Members were advised that, in terms of the new allocation for the city, it was hoped that existing brownfield sites could be used for the provision of new affordable housing.
Councillor Gershater asked whether consideration of Central Government’s recently published Levelling Up agenda was being included in the ongoing discussions about the Local Plan and whether the Local Plan process would remain relevant.
The Chairman informed the Working Group that the District Council’s Development Infrastructure Panel would be taking all things in to consideration as discussions moved forward. He also agreed to ask the question about Levelling Up at the next Panel meeting.
102. WHITEHOUSE FARM – UPDATE
Members were advised that the next stage of the process would be the submission of an outline planning application for phase 2 of the Whitehouse Farm development.
The Chairman highlighted the southern access route to the site as being a major concern for local residents. He informed Members that the next public consultation with the developers would include further details of the access route proposals but that there was no further information at this time.
The Chairman expressed the opinion that, with people moving in to the phase 1 houses, it was crucial that these new people were welcomed in to the Chichester community and helped to feel included and that Councillors had a vital role to play in this process.
Councillor Quail asked about the potential creation of a new ward given the number of people that would be moving in to the Whitehouse Farm development.
The Chairman reminded Members that during the last ward boundary review, the expected number of residents at Whitehouse Farm had been taken in to account and that Chichester City had increased the number of wards from four to five.
Councillor Quail expressed concerns about the ability of Councillors to effectively represent the large number of new residents what Whitehouse Farm represented.
Councillor Oakley summarised the electoral ward boundary review process and the criteria that would be required to trigger that process.
The Chairman suggested that, based on what Councillor Oakley had reported, the Working Group should be mindful of developments within the City and the potential effect on Councillor workloads.
103. NOISE ISSUES
The Chairman reminded Members that Councillor Sharp was closely involved in work to tackle noise issues and that this was also involving parishes to the south of the city.
He advised Members that this group had been looking at traffic noise issues and the effects of this on peoples’ wellbeing and that the group had been developing its terms of reference.
The Chairman asked that, for future meetings, the minutes of the meetings of the noise action group be included with the agenda.
Post meeting note:
The Chairman further requested that the minutes of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group meetings were also included with the Planning and Conservation Working Group agendas.
104. TRAFFIC HOTSPOTS AND POTENTIAL COMMUNITY HIGHWAYS SCHEMES
Members were reminded that the community highway schemes were intended for bottom up development with proposals coming from the community, supported by evidence, for promotion by Councillors and action by the appropriate bodies.
The Chairman advised the Working Group that the footpath between the Lidl carpark and Story Road could be considered as such a scheme and that it was one that the Mayor had been working on for some time.
He further advised that the proposal for this path to be considered as a Community Highway Scheme application would be presented at the next Council meeting on 23 February 2022.
Further suggestions for Community Highway Schemes were discussed and included:
- A pedestrian crossing on Oaklands Way, coupled with work to improve the Northgate carpark, as it was felt that the underpass was unattractive to pedestrians who were making the riskier crossing over the road itself. Councillor Oakley advised that this project had recently been discussed by West Sussex County Council as part of a wider project in that area but that updates were not currently available.
- A pedestrian crossing on Bognor Road near to the Co-operative supermarket.
- Westgate traffic calming. The Working Group was informed that this was currently being reviewed and that it could be converted to a Community Highway Scheme proposal if the review did not progress.
- Additional pedestrian crossings in Broyle Road to supplement the existing provision.
- Modifications to the Broyle Road pavement to improve access between the bus shelter and the pavement for non-pedestrian bus passengers.
- A crossing at the junction of St Pauls Road/Old Broyle Road, Norwich Road and Sherbourne Road to improve safety for pedestrians.
105. ITEMS TO BE INCLUDED ON THE NEXT AGENDA
- Neighbourhood Plan – Local Plan housing allocation
- Neighbourhood Plan – request for additional funding (Chairman to submit a written report)
Councillor Gaskin asked for standing items to be included on the agenda to provide updates on the Southern Gateway and West Street projects. The Chairman advised that this would be discussed further to the Members briefing planned for after the next Planning and Conservation Working Group meeting on 3 March 2022.
DATE OF NEXT ORDINARY MEETING: THURSDAY 3 MARCH 2022
The meeting closed at 3.21pm