Agenda item

Application 17/07970/OT - Land off Walton Road, Walton, Wetherby

To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Planning Officer regarding an outline application for residential development.



The report of the Chief Planning Officer presented an outline planning application for a residential development comprising up to 119 dwellings at land off Walton Road, Walton, Wetherby.


Members were advised of an additional condition: Scheme for delivery of renewable energy to be submitted and approved.


Members were also advised of additional representations:

Additional objection from a Wetherby resident on the grounds that:

  • Need for development not justified;
  • Fails to meet accessibility standards;
  • Impact on public services and public transport;
  • Increased traffic and queues over the bridge at Boston Spa and at roundabout on edge of Wetherby;
  • Wetherby congested and polluted at peak periods;
  • S106 payments and benefits from Travel Plan questionable;
  • Will encourage further infill development;
  • Change from rural to urban character;
  • Justification is flawed and should be refused.


Representation from the Wetherby Liberal Democrats:

  • Provision of 35% affordable housing is welcomed;
  • Does not offer the best site for a new community hall;
  • Concerns noted about school provision;
  • Support residents only parking scheme on Bridge Road;
  • Concerned over traffic in Boston Spa and discussions should continue;
  • Support comments made by Sport England, and oppose the conclusion that the pitch is surplus to requirements, and pitch should remain with a new pavilion for community use.


Members had visited the site earlier in the day, photographs and plans were shown at the meeting.


The application was brought before the North and East Plans Panel as this is a major and sensitive development.


The application was in outline with all matters reserved, save for access which includes two vehicular access points. Members were informed that the site was currently partly undesignated within the development (UDPR) however, part of the application site was allocated as a protected playing pitch under save policy N6 of the (UDPR). It was noted that the pitch had formed part of HMP Wealstun but had become surplus and had been transferred to Homes England in January 2015.


Members were advised that the overall site was being put forward as a housing allocation within the advanced Site Allocation Plan (SAP). The SAP put forward a target of 142 dwellings on this site alongside an area of land within the allocation which is already subject to a positive resolution to grant permission for 23 dwellings and if combined with the 119 proposed dwellings would meet the 142 dwelling allocation target.


The proposed layout would split the site into two component parts, with the southern most portion comprising of 32 dwellings which would be served by Grange Avenue and the remaining 87 dwellings would be served by a new access onto Street 5 within Thorp Arch Trading Estate. Members were advised that there would also be pedestrian links between the two sites and that there would be bus stops for travel towards Wetherby and Boston Spa.


Members were advised that provision for land to the south eastern boundary be designated as Site of Ecological Interest (SEGI) and that this area should not be transferred to private ownership. It was noted that to the south east corner of the application site allotments were proposed, adjacent to the SEGI.


Members were informed that 35% of the site would be affordable housing with a mix of 2, 3, 4 bed houses.


In attendance at the meeting to speak against the application were:

Cllr. Alan Lamb

Peter Locke

John Richardson

Howard Alderton


The Panel were informed of the following objections to the proposals:

  • Misrepresentation of the planning case;
  • Site not sustainable;
  • Highways problems;
  • Impact on traffic;
  • Urbanisation of a rural area;
  • Proposal fails Core Strategy requirements;
  • Report was incomplete;
  • Site on green space provision;
  • Site not suitable for SAP;
  • The proposal was not in line with Neighbourhood Plan;
  • Site premature to be considered for development;
  • The proposal would merge two existing settlements;
  • Impact on bridge at Boston Spa which already has traffic issues;
  • Traffic around and through Thorp Arch Trading Estate already busy especially at rush hour;
  • Proposed houses would over look existing houses;


In response to Members questions the Panel were advised of the following points:

  • Debate had taken place between all parties and the Inspector in relation to SAP site;
  • The neighbourhood Plan has been adopted;
  • Permission had been given for the 23 houses. However, no work had started on the site;
  • It was the opinion of those in attendance that the proposed residents parking scheme near to the bridge at Boston Spa would not solve the traffic issues along this road or over the bridge;
  • There was a lack of parking particularly on race days and weekends. It was noted that often people drive along the pavements, or queue in oncoming traffic;
  • 1 school at Thorp Arch which had capacity to extend small amount. However, it was the view that should the development take place children offered places at the school from the new development would block places for children in Walton. It was noted that there was currently no spaces at Lady Elizabeth Hastings Primary School, St Mary’s at Boston Spa had some spare capacity;
  • The High Schools in the area had spare capacity;
  • 1 GP in Boston Spa which it was noted was already full;
  • Concerns were raised that this was a rural area and the size of the development would urbanise the area and change the character of the area;
  • Boston Spa had some facilities and shops but Walton had no shops or post office;
  • Members were advised that this size of development would merge the two settlements and this was not allowed in planning policy;
  • The Inspector was only weeks away from providing their views on the development of the site;
  • Currently no football pitches in Walton, Thorp Arch or Boston Spa would like to encourage young people to play football and re-establish the football pitch;
  • The Neighbourhood Plan proposes 43 – 45 new houses for the area;
  • The site proposed for the agreed 23 houses is part of brownfield site.


Mr Walton the agent and Mr O’Brian the applicant were at the meeting and addressed the Panel:

  • Homes England had acquired the site from HMP Wealstun when it was no longer required. It was noted that the site would stay in the control of Homes England until the development was completed;
  • The proposal meets sustainability and suitability tests;
  • The site was adjacent to other houses and had been allocated in draft for housing development;
  • SAP is due to be updated in the near future and as part of SAP this should add weight to the proposal;
  • Prematurity would not prejudice the size and scale of this development;
  • Playing field land was now redundant and had not been used for 5 years;
  • There is a half hour bus service and the developer would provide contributions towards the local transport system;
  • Members were advised that Lady Elizabeth Hastings Primary School would be able to absorb children from the new development.


In response to questions and comments from the Members the following points were noted:

·  Public footpaths and cycle ways would be provided;

·  The site was on white land;

·  Bungalows could be considered at reserved matters stage should there be found to be a need for them;

·  The development would not impact negatively on already existing traffic issues;

·  The consultation event had been well attended at the Community Hall where comments had been taken on board and revisions had been made to the plans in light of the comments put forward;

·  Consultation had taken place with GP’s and dentists;

The Lead Planning Officer for the Panel commented, with reference to central government planning policy and guidance, on some of the points raised by objectors and the applicant. This included that the starting point for the consideration of any planning application was against the policies of the development plan, that central government planning policy guidance sets out that in the absence of a 5 year housing land supply there is a tilted balance in favour of granting planning permission for sustainable development, that it would be difficult to sustain a planning argument that the development is premature in light of the tests set out in government planning guidance,  that as the SAP is at an advanced stage towards its adoption government advice is that weight should be attached to that document, the council in proposing to allocate the site for housing in the SAP has set out that the council considers it to be a sustainable and suitable form of development at this site, that the implications that arise from the failure of the development to fully comply with the council’s accessibility standards need to be weighed against other factors including the scale of development, the proximity to sources of employment and that the site is close to other residential properties.


The Panel also discussed:

  • Public transport
  • Impact on traffic in the area
  • Neighbourhood Plans
  • 5 Year Housing Land Supply


At the conclusion of discussions Councillor Nash moved a motion to defer the application for further work to be undertaken and information to be provided to Panel in respect of the sustainability of the site and the proposed development. The motion was seconded by Councillor Arif. On being put to the vote, Councillor’s Nash’s motion was passed.


RESOLVED – To defer the application for further work to be undertaken on the sustainability of the site and the development and particularly:

  • Sustainability:–
    • How the proposal sits accessibility standards including including details of the bus service and days and hours of operation.
    • Information in respect of the sustainability credentials of the site including proximity to employment opportunities, local schooling and local facilities.
    • Details of what measures the applicant propose to improve the sustainability credentials of the site and development and how these would be secured.
  • To set out the impact of traffic associated with the development on Thorp Arch Bridge. What measures are proposed to mitigate that impact and what processes need to be gone through to deliver the mitigation measures.
  • Further detail to be provided on how the proposal sits with against the policies of the relevant Neighbourhood Plan and plans from neighbouring areas.




Councillor Dobson left the meeting at 15:45 at the end of this item.



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