Agenda item

Application 13/03051/OT - Position statement - Outline application for residential development of up to 400 dwellings, access and associated works including open space and landscaping - Land at Spofforth Hill, Wetherby

Further to minute 109 of the City Plans Panel meeting held on 11th April 2013, where Panel received a pre-application presentation on proposals for a residential development at Spofforth Hill Wetherby, to consider a further report of the Chief Planning Officer setting out the current position relating to an outline application for residential development of up to 400 dwellings, access and associated works including open space and structural landscaping


(report attached)




  Further to minute 109 of the City Plans Panel held on 11th April 2013, where Panel received a pre-application presentation on proposals for a residential development on a Protected Area of Search (PAS) site at Spofforth Hill, Wetherby, the Panel considered a report of the Chief Planning Officer setting out the current position in respect of these proposals

  Plans, photographs and graphics were displayed at the meeting

  Officers presented the report and made reference to policy N35 of the UDPR, which had not been included in the report

  Members were informed that comments on the proposals were awaited from Natural England

  At the meeting in April 2013, Members had discussed the options for the access arrangements, with Members of the view that the best option was for a roundabout to be sited on land which was within the Harrogate boundary.  Harrogate Council had been approached but had indicated they would not support a roundabout at the proposed location

  Loss of trees had also been a subject of discussion at the April meeting, and arising from this, the number of trees to be removed had now reduced.  16 trees would now need to be removed, although some others could be affected, with discussions continuing on this

  A single access point was proposed for the development.  Whilst for this number of houses two access points were usual, it would be difficult to accommodate a further access point without removing trees.  Highways had indicated that the proposed access could be supported

  In relation to the provision of affordable housing, the developer had indicated that 35% affordable housing would be provided, although this was proposed to be split between 15% on-site provision and 20% off-site provision

  Members sought further information on:

·  the negotiations with Officers in Harrogate Council and North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) about the siting of a roundabout on land in the Harrogate boundary

·  the policy setting out the number of dwellings off a single access

Panel was informed that the issue had been raised with NYCC as part

of discussions on proposals at Thorp Arch.  NYCC had raised concerns about the proposal.  Harrogate Council had also objected  Concerns were expressed about how this had been dealt with, particularly in view of Members’ comments at the Plans Panel on 11th April 2013

  In terms of the number of dwellings off a single access, the Transport Development Services Manager advised that the Street Design Guide was an adopted SPD and suggested that for 200-300 dwellings then more than 1 access should be considered.  Whilst this would be the preferred position and that the proposals would be better with a second access point, in this case it was not practical.  The design of the internal road, as a loop, was considered to mitigate against any blockages

  Members commented on the following matters:

·  that at 400 dwellings, the proposals were double the minimum number of dwellings where a second access point should be considered and that the obvious solution would be to build less houses

·  that a reduced number of dwellings should be considered by the applicant

·  the high level of vehicle ownership in this area with concerns at the impact of the proposed scale of development on the road network, particularly the level of traffic which could go either through the adjacent housing estate or through Linton

·  concerns about safety and accessibility for emergency service vehicles

·  concerns about the loss of trees; that some of the existing trees required urgent attention and that the Chief Planning Officer should refer this maintenance issue to Leisure Services to address

·  that discussions should take place at the highest level with Officers from Leeds, Harrogate and North Yorkshire Councils, together with the applicant on the issue of a second access

·  the wording of the criteria relating to the release of PAS sites

·  that the proposals had divided opinion locally; that mini roundabouts were needed to help the traffic flow around Wetherby; that as an allocated site it was recognised that some development was likely but that what was being proposed was not acceptable

The Head of Planning Services stated that this was not the only

PAS site under consideration for development and that if a certain number of properties were allowed off a single access point, similar proposals would be brought forward by other developers and that the highways and safety aspects in this case had to be considered carefully

  The Chief Planning Officer stated that discussions should take place with Harrogate on the access issue

  In response to the specific issues raised in the report, Members provided the following comments:

·  that up to 400 houses on this site was too many

·  in relation to a 15% affordable housing provision on-site and 20% off-site provision, to note there were mixed views.  Concerns were raised that the level of need for affordable housing in Wetherby had not been quantified and that this information was needed.  The need for family houses in Leeds was also highlighted.  Further discussion on this matter took place with Panel agreeing to the principle of a split between on-site and off-site provision but without any specific percentage being proposed at this stage until information on local need had been provided

·  on the principle of whether a 20% off-site contribution (in accordance with the Council’s standard formula) sufficiently met criteria vii of the interim PAS policy, that further work needed to be undertaken on this, as stated above, before Members could give a view.   Further discussion took place as to the wording of the interim PAS policy and clarification was provided as to the different tests relating to sites up to 10 ha and those over that threshold

·  that Members were not supportive of the principle of a new roundabout at Spofforth Hill/Wentworth Gate to provide access to the proposed development; that there were concerns about the safety aspect of this; the impact on trees and that a better solution would be a roundabout further along the road on land within the boundary of Harrogate Council

·  that Members were unhappy about the access and tree loss

·  that Members were supportive of the principle of a 20m buffer to the open countryside plus additional landscape buffer to the existing residential properties

·  that there was not support for the general principle identified on the indicative layout due to the excessive number of houses to be served off one access

·  that regarding the proposed Heads of Terms, it was not possible at this stage to take a view on this matter

RESOLVED -  To note the report, Members’ comments and the

requirement for discussions between Leeds, Harrogate and North Yorkshire Council, at the highest level, together with the applicant, to discuss the issue of the location of a roundabout to serve the development and that a further report on the application be submitted in due course



Supporting documents: