MEETING ON 27/08/13 IN COMMITTEE ROOM 1 OF THE VILLAGE HALL 19:50 TO 20:50
Chair - Cllr John Reynolds
Members: Councillors Chapman, Parsons, Anson, Eldridge
Ex-officio members: Cllr J Vine-Hall (Chairman of the Council), Cllr P Glew (Vice-Chairman of the Council)
The Chairman welcomed Cllrs Anson and Eldridge to their first meeting of the Planning Committee.
39 APOLOGIES. None, all present.
40 INTERESTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE 2012 CODE OF CONDUCT. None declared.
41 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION RE MATTERS ON THE AGENDA AT THE CHAIRMAN'S DISCRETION. No public present.
42 MINUTES. RESOLVED: That the Chairman is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Planning Committee held on 30/07/13.
43 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
- RR/2013/1568/C Felon Field, Marley Lane, Sedlescombe TN33 0RE. New ESCC Highway Maintenance Depot with Salt Barn, 10 No. Vehicle Garages, Vehicle Washdown, Materials Storage Bunkers and Office/Welfare Facilities. Cllr Parsons reported on this application. The Clerk reported that, because Rother is a consultee and ESCC will be making the decision on this application, the decision notice shown on Rother's website is, actually, Rother's comment on the application.
RESOLVED: That the Parish Council supports approval but wishes to highlight the following issues of concern which are all intended to reduce the area's impact on the AONB:
- The Tree Preservation Order for this area should be enforced.
- All lights should be "down lighters" to minimize the impact on the dark countryside that does not have any other street lighting in the vicinity.
- The use of green material for walls and roof mentioned in the application should be enforced to ensure better blending into the countryside.
- RR/2013/1548/P The Dairy, Barnes Farm, Poppinghole Lane, Robertsbridge TN32 5BN. Variation of condition imposed on RR/2012/2500/P - development to be carried out in accordance with site plan, 1202/2 REV C, 1202/04 REV B, 1202/05 REV A. Cllr Vine-Hall reported on this application. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council supports approval.
- RR/2013/1605/P The Old School House, Balcombe Green, Sedlescombe. Demolition of detached outbuilding and erection of single storey extension with rooms in roof. Replacement of two existing roof lights to dormer windows with pitch roofs. Cllr Glew reported on her inspection. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council supports approval.
- RR/2013/1626/P Sedlescombe Vineyard, Hawkhurst Road, Staplecross. Improvement of the site access to Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard by re-locating same 90m north of the existing. Cllr Reynolds reported on his inspection. The Clerk was asked to contact the County Council's Highways Department re this access.
RESOLVED: That the Parish Council should make the following comments:
- The creation of a new access not far from the existing access to Sedlescombe Sawmills may create an additional hazard on this fast stretch of road. It is important that any change in the access to the Vineyard does not jeopardise the future uses of the Sawmills including possible improvement of employment-generating opportunities.
- A new access closer to Compasses Lane may also increase dangers for traffic coming out of that Lane where visibility is already impaired.
- The public's access to a clear ungated footpath along the existing access to the Vineyard must be safeguarded.
44 APPEALS. None.
- RR/2013/876/P The Street - Car Sales Site. Temporary change of use from car sales to car wash and valeting with 'in-out' drive through (six year temporary period). RECOMMENDED FOR REFUSAL BY ROTHER PLANNING COMMITTEE. The Clerk reported receipt of a request from sellers of motorhomes for the Parish Council's opinion on their use of this site. It was agreed that the use of this site for the sale of motorhomes would not be appropriate for the following reasons:
- No on-site customer parking.
- Noise from vehicle washing.
- Security fencing inappropriate in Conservation Area.
- RR/2013/1280/P and RR/2013/1281/L Pump Cottage, The Green, Sedlescombe. Proposed lean-to type extension to replace existing smaller addition. APPROVED
- RR/2013/1112/P The Dairy Sheds, Bowlings Corner, Marley Lane, Sedlescombe, development of current agricultural land and building to a new agricultural warehouse, production area and office for use by Battle Wine Estate Ltd. APPROVED
46 ENFORCEMENT. None. The Clerk was asked to check on the LWA Bodyshop Enforcement.
47 CONSULTATION ON MAJOR AND MINOR AMENDMENTS TO THE CORE STRATEGY. Members had been provided with a list of possible comments on the major modifications to the Core Strategy. RESOLVED: That the following comments should be made on the major modifications to the Core Strategy:
- Mod 2.1 Presumption in favour of sustainable development. The inclusion of the final paragraph is not justified - "The Council will always work proactively with applicants jointly to find solutions which mean that proposals can be approved wherever possible, and to secure development that improves the economic, social and environmental conditions in the area." This paragraph is not justified as it is a virtual repeat of para 187 of the NPPF.
- The exclusion of any reference to Rother encouraging applicants, who are not already required to do so by law, to engage with the local community before submitting their applications is not justified.
- MOD7.14 Overall Spatial Strategy. The amendment of the amount of employment land to be included for the "villages" to "at least" 10,000 sq.m is not justified because it does not take account that two of the three employment sites in Marley Lane are in the parish of Sedlescombe. Only one of the three employment sites in Marley Lane is in the parish of Battle (Rutherfords). The importance of the Marley Lane sites to Sedlescombe parish and their contribution to the villages' total of employment land should not be under-estimated. There are two current applications for businesses on these sites ie winery and salt depot. The * footnote that the Battle total of employment land includes sites on Marley Lane should be removed. In addition, in chapter 11, para 11.13 and Policy BA1 Policy Framework for Battle para (iv) - Marley Lane sites have been taken over by Battle. This is a mistake which needs to be corrected.
- Mod 12.15 Amendment of Figure 12 showing Distribution of Rural Housing Allocations. The chart showing various housing figures broken down into parishes is not easily understood and its inclusion in the proposed form is not justified.
- The footnotes are much too small to read and some are not required if the additional text is inserted after Figure 12 as proposed.
- The "All Completions" column has been changed from (previously) "All completions 2006-2011" to "All net completions in plan period 01/04/2011 to 31/03/2013". The previous Plan was dated 2006, should the figures for completions remain as from 2006? Is it justified to add the word "net" to this column?
- The current commitments column heading has been changed from the previous heading "Commitments 2011 to 2028 (allocations and permissions)" to simply "Current Commitments". The content of the column has also been changed to current commitments as at April 2013. The heading needs to clearly show what is being shown.
- Proposed new Core Strategy sites are shown as having to be within or immediately abutting a village while the current commitments and net completion columns are shown for development across the parish. Like is not being compared with like.
- The number allocated for Sedlescombe at 35 is not justified because it is too high a percentage increase from the 25 previously shown (the previous figure included 8 new affordable homes at EVT and 35 does not. This is therefore actually a 106% increase from 17 to 35. Compare this with the total increase for all the villages ie from 1,000 to 1,670 increase. A 67% for Sedlescombe would be 27 or 28 additional properties.
- MOD 16.1 "Existing employment sites make a particularly valuable contribution to the supply of business land and premises because of the often marginal viability of new commercial developments. Hence, there is a presumption to retain existing sites, as well as providing for more effective employment space through mixed use schemes where it is demonstrated to be needed. A full review of the use of existing business sites will be undertaken as part of the site allocations process". It is not justified to omit at the end "or the Neighbourhood Plan process".
The Committee also noted that the reference to improving the supply of business units in towns and villages that act as local service centres (such as Sedlescombe) is to be removed and replaced with the following paragraph: "Securing a range of incubation space, small and medium sized sites and units across the District in line with the respective spatial strategies, and particularly in settlements with good strategic access, including through mixed use developments."
48 PARISH COUNCIL COMMENTS ON PLANNING APPLICATIONS. It was noted that, following the increased emphasis on the presumption in favour of sustainable development in the NPPF and in accordance with the Planning Committee's wishes, RALC has been asked for an agenda item to be added to their next meeting so that a discussion can take place about Rother parish councils' action when there could be a difference of opinion between the Planning Officer and the parish council on an application. The e-mail was also sent to Rother clerks.
Arising from these e-mails, a Mountfield Parish Councillor contacted the Clerk with the following information:
NEW PLANNING LEGISLATION UNDER THE TOWN AND COUNTRY PLEANNING (DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT PROCEDURE) (ENGLAND) (AMENDMENT No.2) ORDER 2012. An amendment to existing legislation requires a planning authority, when making a decision about an application, to include in the decision notice "a statement explaining how, in dealing with the application, the local planning authority have worked with the applicant in a positive and proactive manner based on seeking solutions to problems arising in relation to dealing with a planning application". The Committee will remember that the Planning Officer refused to tell Sedlescombe PC what discussions he had had with the car wash applicant prior to the submission of the application.
The Mountfield councillor has referred his report to his Council with comments regarding what could arise from this change including the following:
- "It puts unhealthy pressure on the planning officers. If they continuously work with an applicant over a period of time, it will surely become more difficult to recommend refusal of an application".
- "The logic of this amendment is that, barring intransigence or stupidity on the part of the applicant, any planning application can, over whatever period of time it takes, be whittled and wheedled into planning permission."
- "We need to get our heads round this new way of working. Planning applications will often be more of an opening negotiating position."
- He is suggesting to his Council that they try to anticipate what changes could be negotiated so that their comments remain relevant and valid despite changes that might be made to the plans. Also that they should monitor ongoing applications and be more alert in getting applications referred to the Planning Committee by one of their District Councillors (NB most Rother Parish Councils have 2).