Reserved Matters following Outline Permission P18/V0259/O for the appearance, landscaping, layout and scale for the development of 125 dwellings. Discharge of Conditions 7 (Biodiversity Enhancement Plan), 8 (Building Heights), 9 (Green Interface), 10 (Lighting), 11 (Acoustic Insulation & Ventilation Scheme), 14 (Floor Levels), 15 (Construction Method Statement), 17 (Travel Plan) and 18 (Electric Charging Points) on planning application P18/V0259/O. (As amended by plans and documentation received 18 and 25 October 2022, 28 February 2023 and 4 April 2023)
The committee considered planning application P22/V0996/RM for Reserved Matters following Outline Permission P18/V0259/O for the appearance, landscaping, layout and scale for the development of 125 dwellings. Discharge of Conditions 7 (Biodiversity Enhancement Plan), 8 (Building Heights), 9 (Green Interface), 10 (Lighting), 11 (Acoustic Insulation & Ventilation Scheme), 14 (Floor Levels), 15 (Construction Method Statement), 17 (Travel Plan) and 18 (Electric Charging Points) on planning application P18/V0259/O. (As amended by plans and documentation received 18 and 25 October 2022, 28 February 2023 and 4 April 2023) on land south of Steeds Farm, Coxwell Road, Faringdon.
Consultations, representations, policy and guidance, and the site’s planning history were detailed in the officer’s report, which formed part of the agenda pack for the meeting.
The planning officer introduced the report and highlighted that the application was brought to the committee due to the objection of Faringdon Town Council. She advised that outline planning permission had been granted for the site in July 2021 and that the site was part of the South of Faringdon strategic housing site. The application secured 35 per cent affordable housing in line with the S106 agreement and sought to discharge a number of the outline planning permission conditions.
The planning officer informed the committee that the application site was located to the southern edge of the built up area of Faringdon. The application comprised a mix of house types and sizes with all dwellings facing outwards. She noted the application provided a green buffer to the south and west of the site as well as a central area of open space. The majority of buildings were 2 storey but the application included three 2.5 storey buildings.
The planning officer advised the committee that policy NDS9 of the Great Coxwell Neighbourhood Plan required buildings to be no higher than 2 storeys with roof space behind the dormers which officers interpreted to allow for 2.5 storey accommodation but that the application had been assessed against policy in the context of the existing built area and that there had been no objections from the landscape officer or conservation officer on the basis of the heights of the buildings.
The planning officer advised the committee that 95 per cent of properties across the scheme met the minimum garden size guidance. Some fell short of the guidance but remain proportionate to the size of the dwellings. The officer noted that in order to achieve 100 per cent compliance of garden sizes across the scheme the quality of design would be detrimentally affected.
The planning officer informed the committee that condition 9 of the outline consent required that a 20 metre green buffer was provided at the southern and western sides of the site and this was achieved through this application. Faringdon Town Council had raised concerns that this had not been achieved but the planning officer confirmed that the swales within this area did not constitute built form.
The planning officer concluded that overall the principle of development had been established through the outline consent and that the application before the committee was acceptable and compliant with policy.
Councillor Mike Wise spoke on behalf of Faringdon Town Council, objecting to the application.
Nathan McLoughlin, the agent representing the applicant, spoke in support of the application.
Councillor David Grant, a local ward councillor, spoke objecting to the application.
The committee asked if the Design Guide specified size of garden. The planning officer confirmed that it did but highlighted that the Design Guide was guidance and not policy. The garden sizes given in the Design Guide needed to be balanced against design, layout and policy. The planning officer confirmed that for this site the considerations had been a combination of design quality, the provision of the green buffer to the south and west of the site, ensuring the scheme was well landscaped, the delivery of housing mix and the provision of parking. She stated that the overall balance was acceptable but that some properties did fall short of the recommended garden sizes identified in the Design Guide.
The committee inquired as to whether applying the garden sizes as required in the Design Guide could result in the loss of properties. The planning officer confirmed this would potentially happen but that there would also be an impact on the quality of the site.
The committee asked for confirmation that the properties remained the same as approved in the outline consent in terms of bedroom sizes and the balance of affordable and full market. The planning officer confirmed that the number of affordable units was as set out in the S106 agreement and that the market mix was as closely aligned to the Strategic Housing Market Assessment as was achievable. The planning officer confirmed that the difference from the Strategic Housing Market Assessment was detailed at point 5.41 of the officer report.
The committee noted that there was a current planning application to adjust the watercourse which had not yet been approved and queried why. The planning officer confirmed that this would be assessed alongside the application the committee was considering and subject to the outcome it would be approved. She confirmed there were no technical objections to the application to adjust the watercourse. The committee further went on to highlight that Thames Water was unable to supply water to the properties at present. The planning officer confirmed that there were no objections from Thames Water to the reserved matters application before committee but that there was a remaining condition to be discharged on the outline consent. In response to concerns from the committee that people could move into properties without the required work being completed the planning officer confirmed that the relevant condition was a pre-commencement condition and would therefore need to be discharged before any works could commence.
The committee noted that the drainage engineer had objected to the application initially and had since removed this objection but requested a condition requiring more detailed plans of the drainage scheme. Members enquired why these plans were not needed before approval of the application before the committee. The planning officer confirmed that the overall drainage strategy was acceptable and that the plans requested related to specific properties. It was confirmed that the condition requesting these details was a pre-commencement condition.
The committee highlighted that there were no ground source heat pumps or photovoltaic panels included as part of the scheme. The planning officer confirmed this was not a policy requirement but that under the revised Building Control Regulations this would be caught and that the applicant had confirmed they would be addressing this.
The committee inquired as to the weight given to neighbourhood plans. The planning officer advised that the same weight was given to neighbourhood plans as was given parts 1 and 2 of the Local Plan. She went on to highlight that with all applications a balance must be struck between all of the policies which needed to be considered.
The committee noted that the site was tight for the number of houses which had been given permission under the outline application but that officers had done a good job to achieve the application before them.
The committee commented that a departure from the number of dwellings would be preferable to the failure to adhere to the garden sizes as set out in the Design Guide. It commented that the Design Guide did not require much with regards to amenity space and that this should be upheld. The importance of amenity space for wellbeing had been highlighted to all during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The committee highlighted that it had concerns about balancing the need for amenity space and the impact this could have on the number of affordable houses delivered under the scheme but that a number of the garden sizes were below the Design Guide requirements.
On being put to the vote, the motion to approve the application was not carried and the chair requested another motion be put forward.
A motion, moved and seconded, to refuse the application was carried on being put to the vote.
RESOLVED: to refuse planning application P22/V0996/RM, for the following reason(s):
1. Having regard to the nine properties that do not have a garden size in accordance with design guide requirements, this represents an overdevelopment of the site which would detrimental to the amenity of occupiers of the new houses. This is contrary to polices DP23 of the adopted Local Plan 2031 part 2, the NPPF, and the Joint Design Guide SPD.
2. Having regard to the 2.5 storey height of three units, this would be contrary to the requirements of Policy NDS9 of the Great Coxwell Neighbourhood Plan.
3. Having regard to the distance between houses and the reduced garden size of some properties, this development would be detrimental to the amenity of the occupiers of future residents. This is contrary to policy DP23 of the adopted Local Plan 2031 part 2, the NPPF, and the Joint Design Guide SPD.
4. Having regard to the location of the site in relation to the surrounding area and the design of the green buffer, this development would be tantamount to coalescence between Great Coxwell and Faringdon, which would be detrimental to the established character of the area and landscape setting. This is contrary to policy CP44 of the adopted Local Plan 2031 Part 1 and Policy EDQ1 of the Great Coxwell Neighbourhood Plan.
The chair noted this was the last planning committee meeting of this administration and thanked both committee members and officers for their hard work and support.