The report of the Chief Planning Officer requests Members consideration on an application for alterations to a boundary wall, the creation of access and the construction of 1 replacement vicarage and 6 dwellings with associated hard and soft landscaping at 86 High Street, Boston Spa, Wetherby, LS23 6EA.
The report of the Chief Planning Officer asked the Plans Panel to consider planning and listed building applications for works including alterations to boundary wall, the creation of access and the construction of 1 replacement vicarage and 6 dwellings with associated hard and soft landscaping at 86 High Street, Boston Spa, Wetherby, LS23 6EA.
Members had visited the site earlier in the day. Photographs and plans were shown throughout the presentation.
The application had been presented to North and East Plans Panel at the request of Cllr. Lamb whose concerns had been set out at point 1.1 of the submitted report. Cllr. Lamb was also in attendance at the meeting.
In attendance at the meeting was Phil Ward, Design and Conservation Team Leader at Leeds City Council.
The Panel were informed of the following points:
· The vicarage and attached front garden wall are Grade II listed appearing on 1836-51 Tithe Maps;
· The surrounding area is predominantly residential with a mix of house types;
· A new access would be created onto High Street with the existing access on High Street blocked up;
· The existing vicarage would remain with no works proposed. However, there was an application in respect of the alterations to the boundary wall which was grade II listed;
· Plots 1-3 along with the replacement vicarage had been designed to reflect the character of this part of the locality and to ensure that they remain subservient to the Listed Building, with the new dwellings set lower than the current listed vicarage;
· Plots 4-6 were proposed to be much larger ‘villa’ type properties;
· The Conservation Officer had been involved in negotiations to ensure that heritage aspects were respected;
· Proposal was for a minimum of 2 off street parking spaces per dwelling;
· The stone removed for alterations to the boundary wall would be reused within the development;
· The removal of some trees was proposed, however compensation landscaping was set out as a condition;
· This site was a windfall site not part of the Site Allocation Plan;
· All services including schools, shops and transport links are located close by;
· 85 objections had been received with objections summarised at point 6.1 of the submitted report. A further letter objecting to the application had been received since the publication of the agenda and set out the following objections;
o Creation of houses is not adding to the community;
o Detrimental to flora and fauna
o New houses would create another new junction on a busy road;
o Impact on local services;
o Detrimental to village’s heritage, wildlife and existing residents for no discernible need.
· 10 letters of support had been received and were set out at point 6.2 of the submitted report;
· Boston Spa Parish Council also objected to the application and a number of observations were provided by the Parish Council within the submitted report in relation to the Neighbourhood Plan;
· Officers and the applicant had considered the Neighbourhood Plan working within the policies set out in respect of local character;
· An additional condition in relation to Policy H10 Accessible Housing Standards had been added. However, it was noted that the proposed scheme was policy compliant.
Three speakers against the recommendation were present at the meeting including Councillor Lamb.
The speakers informed the Plans Panel of the following points:
· Loss of open space;
· A new junction to add to the seven already on this busy road;
· This type of housing not needed, need affordable housing for young people starting out and elderly people wanting to downsize and who do not wish to leave the village
· The scheme proposed goes against the Neighbourhood Plan;
· The Vicarage is a grade II listed building;
· No consultation had taken place with residents or ward members;
· Officers had told Members that they would be setting out a recommendation to refuse this application. It had been a surprise to find that in was recommended to defer and delegate;
· Wrong housing mix for the area going against the Neighbourhood Plan;
· Boston Spa has done enough in relation to providing housing for the city;
· This proposal was a betrayal of the people of Boston Spa;
· Core Strategy and land supply was irrelevant.
In response to Members questions the Panel was provided with the following information:
· The principle of the development, even if the properties were small, was not justifiable as there had been no proper engagement with the residents of the Parish Council of Boston Spa;
· Cumulative impact on traffic in Boston Spa had increased over recent years with a number of large scale developments;
· Flood risk would be made worse with the increase of hardstanding;
· The impact on the green corridor with the decrease of sanctuary for birds and wildlife;
· A needs assessment had been undertaken as part of the Neighbourhood Plan with a requirement for affordable housing for those wishing to downsize but remain in the area.
Richard Irving and David Chary were in attendance at the meeting speaking on behalf of the Diocese of York and Park Lane Homes. They informed the Panel of the following points:
· The current vicarage is early 19th century and although over the years a number of works had been undertaken the vicarage was draughty and required a number of improvements.
· The Clergy are required to maintain their own homes and it was currently a struggle to maintain the up keep of this grade II listed building.
· The proposed new vicarage would be smaller, more energy efficient and sustainable;
· The development was to be on land currently owned by the diocese who were of the view that the development would be an enhancement to Boston Spa;
· The developer had worked closely with officers of the council to present the current scheme.
In responding to Members questions the Panel were informed of the following:
· Consultation had taken place with the planning officers and the conservation officer;
· Residents and the Parish Council were aware of the scheme;
· There was a need for a new vicarage and the housing mix and design had been conservation led.
Members discussed the application at length receiving advice from officers in relation to a number of points including planning policy, highways and conservation.
It was noted that in the event of the deferment of the application an appeal on non-determination could be lodged.
The Chair offered her sympathy to Boston Spa Parish Council supporting the building of smaller houses. However, she reminded the Panel the need to give reasons for refusal on planning grounds.
Councillor Anderson clarified for the Panel that he had not discussed this application with Mr Irving or anyone else but had on a number of occasions heard Mr Irving speak at previous Plans Panels.
At the conclusion of discussions Councillor Anderson proposed to reject the recommendations as detailed within the submitted report so that the application be refused, this was seconded by Councillor Dobson. Upon being put to the vote it was,
(i) Members resolved not to accept the Chief Planning Officer recommendation to grant planning permission and listed building consent and that both applications should be refused
(ii) That determination of the application(s) be deferred to allow the Chief Planning Officer to prepare and bring back detailed reasons for refusal based on the following for Members to consider:
1. Highway safety – cumulative impact on the local network arising from this and other developments
2. Harm to character and appearance of the conservation area
3. That the development does not provide an appropriate mix of housing and in particular smaller units
In the absence of an acceptable development scheme for the site it would be premature to carry out works to create a new access point in the boundary wall.
A report is to be presented to the May Plans Panel for Members to consider the suggested reasons for refusal.
Under the Council Procedure Rule 16.5, both Councillor S Arif and R Grahame required it to be recorded that they had voted against the proposal to refuse the application.