Application for approval of reserved matters for access, appearance, landscaping, layout & scale for Sectors 3.63 & 4.31 of outline planning permission 1/D/09/001363.
The Committee considered planning application WD/D/19/001272 by ZeroC Holdings Ltd, with approval being sought in respect of reserved matters for access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale for the development of Sectors 3.63 and 4.31 North Quadrant, Poundbury, Dorchester of outline planning permission 1/D/09/001363.
The approved reserved matters application was for 83 dwellings across the 2 sectors. The proposal was now for 85 dwellings, with both additional dwellings being affordable units. Of the 85 units, 53 were indicated to be private and 32 affordable, which equated to 60% of the total number of units.
In respect of Sector 3.63 the main changes when compared to the consented
· Plot 438 had been moved slightly south and was now detached from plot
· There was to be a single coach house unit above the garages in the
parking courtyard and it was now proposed to be split into 2 units.
· Plots 439 – 444, shown as being affordable dwellings, had a reduced
internal floor area of 72.4 sq m, as opposed to the approved 76.5 sq m.
· Plots 450 – 454 shown as being affordable dwellings had a reduced
internal floor area of 83.2 sq m, as opposed to the approved 93.5 sqm
· The width of the terrace (plots 446 – 448) was reduced and as a result, the
windows were proposed to be reduced by 1 module in width, from 4 panels to 3.
· Plots 439 – 444 were no longer proposed to have a stepped ridge and the width of the windows had been reduced.
· Plots 450 – 454 were no longer proposed to have a stepped ridge.
In respect of Sector 4.31, the main changes when compared to the consented scheme were:
· Blocks 633 & 634 had been staggered by 450mm. The internal floor
areas of the flats had also been reduced and a third floor flat omitted
from the scheme. The design of the two blocks was now proposed to be the same.
· Amendments to doors and fenestration on Plots 625 – 630.
· Block 631 – individual access to each flat above the garages, as opposed to the previously approved shared access. Width of garages had been reduced to accommodate the change.
· Steps to Flat 632b amended so that a set would rise each side of the door to a landing area as opposed to the steps that led straight to the front door in the approved scheme.
· Block 635 – amendments to fenestration and the omission of ground floor windows from the south west elevation.
· Changes to the carport/refuse/cycle store building on west side of site to incorporate two flats above.
The Committee were provided with a visual presentation and, taking into
consideration the provisions of the Update Sheet appended to these minutes, for
context, officers described the main proposals and planning issues in detail, how the development would contribute to meeting housing needs; what the key elements of the reserved matters were; how detail to individual properties had been changed and the reasons for this as a means to benefit the development and what this entailed. Plans and photographs provided an illustration of the location and design of the development, showing both its dimensions - form, mass and size – and those of individual properties and how these would look, be constructed and the materials to be used.
The presentation also confirmed what the highways, traffic management, parking and access arrangements being proposed would be; showed the development’s
relationship with other residential development and civic amenities in Dorchester and
its setting within the town. Officers also explained the context of the development
in relation to the characteristics of the surrounding town development and landscape, the local highway network, the topography of the area and the relationship between the development and the adjoining Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Councillor Robin Potter, Chairman of Dorchester Town Council’s Planning Committee, confirmed that the Town Council maintained its objection to the proposal on the grounds that there would be a loss of residential amenity, particularly to the affordable housing units and there was a lack of commitment to consideration of environmental and sustainability measures from the outset of the development. The Town Council was also disappointed with the design of two of the blocks, which gave the impression of a somewhat austere and overbearing appearance, lacking in visual interest. On that basis he asked the Committee to refuse the application.
Greg Hilton addressed the Committee on behalf of the applicant, considering that all of the issues raised had either already been addressed or could be addressed satisfactorily and the proposals remained in accordance with the outline permission. On that basis, he considered there to be no material planning considerations for being unable to grant permission. He confirmed that the issue of charging points for electric cars would be discussed with the Duchy, with consideration given to the practicalities of providing this and what this would entail. In his view there had been no compromise of amenity by the changes made to the scheme and that what was now being proposed was wholly acceptable and met all that was necessary.
Similarly, the attention of the Committee was drawn to the representation made by the local Ward member for Dorchester Poundbury, Richard Biggs, expressing concern at the absence of the infrastructure for electric car charging points, - particularly in light of the Council being committed to the enhancement of environmental considerations in their declaring of a Climate Emergency - ; the restrictive dimensions of the garages; the reduction in the size of some units; and the scant opportunity to understand what landscaping there would be. Given this he was of the view that the application should be refused.
The Committee were then provided with the opportunity to ask questions of the
officer’s presentation and officer’s provided clarification in respect of the points raised. Particular emphasis was placed on the reasoning for the reduction of size of those properties affected and what consideration was being given to the provision of electric car charging points.
Officers confirmed that although it was accepted that some proposed units fell below national standards for size, they confirmed that there was no policy in the adopted West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland Local Plan (2015) regarding the minimum
size of dwellings, although it was understood that properties needed to be of a reasonable size to provide adequate amenity to residents. As those proposals were in accordance with all the necessary relevant national and local policies and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) so, on balance, should be acceptable for what they were. Given this, officers considered that the reduction in gross internal floor area would not result in an unacceptable impact on residential amenity and therefore was wholly acceptable.
The Senior Solicitor confirmed that the Committee’s focus for their consideration – in material planning consideration terms – was whether they could accept that the proposed size of the properties, and rooms therein, were sufficiently large enough to be acceptable in planning terms.
Regarding the provision of charging points, it was clarified that paragraph 110 of the NPPF stated that development should be designed to enable charging of plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles in safe, accessible and convenient locations. There was, however, again no policy requirement in the Local Plan for this to be the case. Moreover, there would be a need to establish where responsibility lay for the management of such a facility. However, officers understood that the Duchy were giving active consideration of this matter for development at Poundbury overall, so as to establish what any future technology was likely to be and identify what infrastructure might therefore be required.
Given this, the Committee were keen to emphasis to the applicant the importance of actively pursuing the means to provide for the ability to achieve the installation of the necessary charging infrastructure as a fundamental part of this development and any other new builds on the estate, if at all practicable. Officers confirmed that this could not be conditioned in itself as there was no requirement for this within the policies of adopted Local Plans, nor was it a requirement of the outline permission. Nevertheless, an Informative note could be added to any grant of permission highlighting the importance to the Committee of this.
Officers also took the opportunity to assure the Committee that the size of the garages being proposed was quite adequate to accommodate modern motor vehicles, despite thoughts to the contrary from the Ward member. Moreover, there should be no concern that garages could be converted into additional living space as they were mostly isolated from the property itself.
Similarly, they confirmed that there was every reason to believe that any landscaping would be as sympathetic with its setting as had previously been the case throughout the completion of other sectors of the estate and which had received critical acclaim. This aspect would be covered by condition.
Officers considered that given all of this, together with those changes made to the proposals in response to the representations received to the formal consultation process, now satisfactorily addressed what concerns there had been so, on that basis, officers were recommending that permission be granted for the approval of the application. Having heard what officers had to say about this, members were largely satisfied with the responses received in their more meaningful understanding of what the proposals entailed.
However other Councillors expressed a different view in that what was being proposed went some considerable way to achieving what could be considered to be an acceptable development, in enhancing the housing stock of the estate and in contributing to meeting housing needs.
Generally in terms of scale, layout and appearance, the scheme was seen to be acceptable as it was not so different to that previously approved, and that those changes made were designed to benefit and optimise what the development had to offer.
Having had the opportunity to discuss the merits of the application, having
understood what was being proposed and having taken into account the officer’s report, what they had heard at the meeting from the case officer, legal advisor and invited speakers, notwithstanding the views of the Town Council and the local Ward Member, on that basis - and on being put to the vote – the Committee considered that the planning application should be approved and planning permission granted, subject to the conditions set out in the officer’s report, and having regard to the provisions of the Update Sheet and taking account of an Informative note about environmentally sustainable means of charging electric cars.
That planning permission be granted for application WD/D/19/001272, for the development of Sectors 3.63 & 4.31 North Quadrant, Poundbury, Dorchester, subject to the conditions set out in paragraph 16 of the report; having regard to the necessary provisions in the Update Sheet and taking account of the following Informative, to be included with the grant of permission.
Reason for Decision
It was considered that the proposed development would have an acceptable impact on visual amenity and the landscape character of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, residential amenity and highway safety.
The Council expects applications for development that will generate additional traffic movement to be accompanied by a statement (with reference to plans) explaining how the development has been designed to enable charging of pug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles in safe, accessible and convenient locations. This could be included in a Transport Statement or Assessment, or separately, but it should be done as a matter of course. This application did not include such a statement. Prior to occupation of the development hereby approved such a statement should be submitted to the Council as a matter of record.