To consider a report by the Head of Planning.
The Committee considered application 3/19/2271 to demolish the existing buildings and erect a dementia care home with new vehicular access and parking provision at 5 - 7A Edmondsham Road, Verwood. The Committee were informed that two previous applications had been refused and modifications had been made to address the reasons for refusal in this application.
With the aid of a visual presentation, officers explained what the
main proposals, principles and planning issues of the development were; how
these were to be progressed; how the development would contribute to
meeting care needs; and what this entailed.
Plans and photographs provided an illustration of the location, dimensions –
form, bulk, size and mass - and appearance of the development, along with its ground floor plans and internal design; how it would look; the materials to be used; what landscaping there would be; its relationship with the highway network; the characteristics of the site; access arrangements and its relationship with the local highway network; its relationship with other adjacent residential development and the variety of dwellings therein; what local amenity there was and; its setting within Verwood. The comparative distance to Verwood Heath – some 400 metres - was mentioned. Views into the site and around it were shown, which provided a satisfactory understanding of what the application entailed. The security of the site and how this could be assured was explained to Members.
The Committee’s attention was drawn in particular to the staff car parking stacking system that was to be implemented and how this would operate in practice; its appearance; what safety measures it had; and why it was necessary. Officers took the opportunity to describe this feature in some considerable detail as it might well be unfamiliar to some members and so that they had a clear understanding of what this entitled and why it was necessary. The safety features associated with the system and the limited times when it would be necessary to be operated were also described, only being installed to manufacturer’s specification and being fob operated.
Other material considerations of merit were the contributions to be secured through Community Infrastructure Levy of some £74605 (approx.) and the opportunity for employment gains with the creation of 20 jobs.
The officer’s recommendation was for permission to be granted on the basis
that the modifications made in this application to address the reasons for previous refusals were considered to now be satisfactory and acceptable, in that:-
- the proposed basement amenity space had been removed
- the bedrooms in the basement had been removed and the number of bedrooms reduced from 38 to 29
- hard landscaping had been reduced
- parking had been reconfigured as per the amended hard landscaping
- the two storey element to the north had been further set back away from the neighbouring property
- flood and drainage information had been revised
- a signed Biodiversity Mitigation and Enhancement Plan (BMEP) had been updated
The officer then provided the following updates to the published report in her
Condition 1 - added as underlined:
(a) Before any development is commenced details of all 'Reserved Matters', that is the following matters in respect of which details have not been given in the application and which relate to the landscaping (including boundary treatment details) shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
(b) An application for approval of any 'Reserved Matters' must be made not later than the expiration of three years beginning with the date of this permission.
(c) The development to which this permission relates must be begun not later than the expiration of two years from the final approval of the Reserved Matters or, in the case of approval on different dates, the final approval of the last such matter to be approved.
Reason: (a) This condition is required to be imposed by the provisions of Article 5(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) Order 2015: (1) of the (b) and (c) These conditions are required to be imposed by Section 92 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Condition 2 – amended as underlined:
The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the following approved plans:
J18067 001 Rev F Proposed Basement Floor Plan
J18067 002 Rev N Proposed Ground Floor Plan
J18067 003 Rev M Proposed First Floor Plan
J18067 004 Rev L Proposed Second Floor Plan
J18067 005 Rev G Proposed Front Elevation
J18067 006 Rev F Proposed Rear Elevation
J18067 007 Rev F Proposed Side Elevation
J18067 008 Rev F Proposed Side Elevation
J18067 009 Rev G Proposed Street Elevation
J18067 010 Rev G Section AA
J18067 011 Rev E Section BB
J18067 012 Rev L Block and Location Plan
J18067 013 Rev E Bin Store Details
Reason: For the avoidance of doubt and in the interests of proper planning.
Condition 16 – added as underlined:
Prior to the commencement of the development of the care home, hereby permitted, a noise assessment for any external plant/condensers shall be conducted in accordance with BS4142:2014 for all plant including fans associated with the extract system, refrigeration condensers, air conditioning units, 9 car stacking system and any other plant likely to be audible at neighbouring premises from the care home. The assessment shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The agreed scheme (together with any required measures) shall be installed to the agreed specification prior to the first use, and maintained and operated in that condition thereafter.
Reason: to protect neighbouring amenity of adjoining neighbouring properties
Condition 18 – duplicated materials condition deleted and replaced with:
The 9 car stacking system here by approved as identified on drawing J18067-012 L shall only be used by staff employed on the premises and remain in the closed position at all times except for the purpose of loading and unloading vehicles.
Reason: to protect the amenity of future occupants.
On the basis of these modifications – particularly that its mass had been sympathetically modified, so that its roofline was now tiered, rising gradually, from 1 storey to 3, away from the nearest property - and taking into account the merits of the application, officers were now recommending approval of the application.
Formal consultation had generated an objection from Verwood Town Council
on the grounds of form; appearance and traffic generation, with 66 representations being received objecting to the proposal on the grounds of incongruous design; the impact on the character of neighbouring amenity; adverse effect on trees, Verwood Heath and the highway network and; the disruption from its construction.
The Committee were then notified of those written submissions received and
officers read these direct to the Committee - being appended to these
minutes. Having heard what was said, officers responded to some of the
pertinent issues raised, being confident that each one could be addressed by
the provisions of the application and the assessments made.
One of the three local ward members - Councillor Simon Gibson - was given the opportunity to speak, in considering that the development still did not adequately or fundamentally address the reasons for previous refusals and concerns remained, as they did for the Town Council. The scale of the development was inappropriate for such a constrained site and how the staff parking was to be accommodated was unacceptable on local amenity. Among his other concerns was the internal layout, that the staff rest room was now proposed for the basement and that residential amenity would be compromised by the activities proposed externally. In supporting those neighbours who had objected, he asked the Committee to refuse the application.
The opportunity was given for members, to ask questions of the presentation
and what they had heard, in seeking clarification of room sizes, design and
the internal arrangements and layout; the need for the facility; the security of the site and the necessity for the car stacking system.
Officers addressed the questions raised, providing what they considered to be
satisfactory answers based on the assessments made, the material planning
considerations applicable and for the reasons set out in their report and
Officers reiterated that to accommodate staff parking on the site the car stacking system was a tried and tested means of doing this successfully and in a managed way. Whilst this system might well be unfamiliar in parts of rural Dorset, such parking was commonplace in more urban areas throughout the country as a satisfactory solution in meeting a typical challenge.
Much was made of what evidence there was for the need for the facility and its proposed internal layout with officers confirming that whilst the Dorset Social Care Team had some reservations that the internal design and arrangements did not appear to have regard to modern Dementia friendly design standard or that consideration did not appear to have been given to smaller household units within the home, this was not necessarily critical, given that the proposed design was of a satisfactory care standard and would meet the needs of its residents quite acceptably. Despite some representations questioning the need for another care home, the Social Care team had identified there being a need in East Dorset for acute levels of dementia care to be met together with the principle for a contribution to be made to deliver such accommodation in urban areas in the local Plan to relieve such pressures on more environmentally sensitive areas.
As to the impact on the character of the area, officers considered this to be acceptable in that the design, appearance and bulk was acceptable and in keeping with the blend of styles in the area and that proximity to neighbouring properties had now been mitigated by the redesign to a tiered structure and in now being located some further distance away.
Traffic and highways issues were clarified by the Transport Liaison Development Manager including what traffic movements there currently were and what was anticipated to be generated by the home. How this would translate in additional traffic generation on the network was seen to be minimal and would have little effect on peak periods, as traffic flows were relatively low on Edmondsham Road. He was also confident that there would be no conflict with the finishing times of the nearby Trinity First School. However members were not convinced this would be the case as in their view, the peak times for both the home and the school appeared to coincide.
In response to what effect on the development could have on Verwood heath the limitations on any additional residential properties being built within 400 metres of the heath did not apply to a care home such as this given the nature of the activities taking place and what limited opportunities there might be in it being readily accessible to residents. Natural England had acknowledged as much and it was acceptable within the provisions of the Dorset Heathland Planning Framework.
One member mentioned what archaeological surveys had been done as part of the application with officers clarifying that what was necessary had been complied with in this regard; it being anticipated that there was no reason to believe that there was anything of significance on site which would constitute a material consideration.
However whilst accepting the clarifications made, Members remained somewhat unconvinced that what was being proposed would meet the need for which it was designed and were concerned that the site was too constrained to accommodate a development of the scale, bulk and form proposed and that the stacking parking system being proposed was testament to this and should not be necessary if the size of the site was adequate and fit for purpose. Although the case for the car stacking system had been adequately explained in detail buy officers, Members still considered it to be undesirable – if not unacceptable – for this site and considered there to be a need to provide adequate, traditional on-site parking to ensure a satisfactory standard of residential amenity for residents. The density of the development was considered to be too restrictive and compromised what a care home should have to offer. It was acknowledged that the design of a development had an effect on well-being and it was their opinion that this proposal did nothing to enhance that. Moreover, there was a need to accommodate the needs of those most vulnerable in society but felt that this would not be achieved by what was being proposed.
Furthermore, whilst a bedroom was no now proposed for the basement, members felt that this was still not the place to site a staff rest room and what this had to offer. Other reservations members had were not necessarily material considerations and, therefore, a case could not be made to justify refusal on their basis.
As the Planning Authority, members said that the Council had an obligation to
ensure development achieved good planning standards and design and met
what was necessary and expected, in being wholly satisfied that those
standards had been met. They considered that this was not the case for this
Having had the opportunity to discuss the merits of the application, having
understood what was being proposed and the reasoning for this; having taken
into account the officer’s report and presentation; the written representations;
and what they had heard at the meeting; and the views of Councillor Simon Gibson, the Committee were satisfied in their understanding of what the proposal entailed and the reasoning for this. The Committee considered that, notwithstanding the assessments made by officers that the proposal should be granted permission, they could not agree to what was being recommended on the basis that the site was too constrained, with the internal arrangements not being of a satisfactory standard to meet the need of a modern care home and the parking proposed inadequate.
On that basis – and being proposed by Councillor Shane Bartlett and seconded by Councillor Alex Brenton - on being put to the vote, the Committee agreed, unanimously, that the application should be refused.
That planning application 3/19/2271 be refused.
Reason for Decision
The site is too constrained to accommodate development of the scale, bulk and form proposed together with the need to provide adequate on-site parking and a satisfactory standard of residential amenity for residents. For these reasons the development is considered to constitute overdevelopment of the site contrary to Policy HE2 of Christchurch and East Dorset Core Strategy and paragraphs 122 (e) and 127 (f) of the NPPF 2019 that require a good standard of amenity for existing and future occupants.