The report of the Chief Planning Officer presents a change of use of vacant land to one gypsy/traveller pitch comprising one touring caravan, one mobile home, one day room and associated works including new hardstanding and vehicular access to land off Sandgate Terrace, Kippax, Leeds LS25 7BQ
The report of the Chief Planning Officer set out reasons for refusal on an application for change of use of vacant land to one Gypsy/Traveller pitch comprising of one touring caravan, one mobile home, one dayroom and associated works including new hardstanding and vehicular access on land off Sandgate Terrace, Kippax.
Members had attended a site visit earlier in the day. Photographs and slides were shown throughout the presentation.
The Panel noted that there were no speakers against the recommendation and as such in line with Plans Panel Speaking Protocol no speakers for the recommendation would be able to speak at the meeting. However, at the Chair’s discretion, Members would be able to ask questions if necessary of those who had attended to speak for the recommendation.
Members were advised of the following changes to the submitted report:
· Amend to refer to Kippax and Methley ward as opposed to Harewood;
· Correct reason for refusal 1 to CS Policy G6 (as amended by the Core Strategy Selective Review 2019)
· Correct reason for refusal 2 to CS Policy T2 (as amended by the Core Strategy Selective Review 2019)
· A revised tracking diagram has been submitted on 25th September 2019, and was with Highways Officers. The diagram seeks to address reason for refusal 2 by widening the access to allow sufficient turning space into the site without creating conflict with parked vehicles on the street.
Members were requested to give consideration to the officer’s recommendations to refuse permission. The reasons for refusal were set out at points 1 and 2 of the submitted report.
Members were advised of the following points:
· The area is predominantly residential;
· Close proximity to a primary school;
· Kippax Neighbourhood Plan, designates this area of allotments and application site as local green space;
· Sykes Field and Carters Field allotments are well used and there is a waiting list for them;
· The applicant has voluntarily submitted an ownership Certificate D for land between the road and the allotments, having undertaken the required notification requirements for the application being submitted. It was noted that, while nothing has been received, should another party say that they also own the land, this would become a civil matter.
· Noted that there is a need for gypsy/ traveller sites in the area;
· The applicant has not demonstrated any special circumstances that exist to account for the loss of green space that would a rise from the change of use;
· The proposed dayroom would be a modest but permanent structure;
· Highways had not had a chance to fully interrogate the newly submitted diagram in relation to widening of the access and as it stands currently the access would be unsuitable, and Sandgate Terrace is a narrow street.
· Officers have considered the requirements under the Public Sector Equality Duty and all other material considerations have been taken into account.
Responding to questions and comments from the Panel, Members were informed of the following:
· An explanation in relation to occupancy of the allotments was provided and it was noted that the allotments were well used and provided plants etc. for Kippax in Bloom;
· It was understood that the site had previously been left as open space before it was sold to the applicant, following which the applicant had tipped hardcore onto the application site;
· No information was available regarding the demand for allotment space from a national perspective. Correspondingly no report had been received from the Castleford and District Federation for Allotments in relation to the impact caused by loss of green space upon the allotments;
· Highways assumed that from the proposal there would only be one touring caravan on the pitch. Their concern was not for the volume of vehicles but for the size of the proposed vehicle and the narrowness of Sandgate Terrace;
· The updated tracking model / diagram submitted had still not considered the ‘worst – case’ scenario as had been requested by officers, such that concerns remained regarding the ability of a proposed vehicle to access the site safely;
· It was noted that 1,000 people had sent in objections to the proposal and it was noted that the applicant had not provided any special circumstances in the context of planning policies to account for the proposed loss of greenspace;
· It was noted that the Local Neighbourhood Plan had stated that this site was designated as green space not greenbelt, however the same tests apply in the unusual situation arising from the designation / status within this particular Neighbourhood Plan;
· The applicant had been made aware of the meeting date and of the Plans Panel Speaking Protocol, it was not known why the applicant had not attended;
· Members were provided with information should the applicant take this recommendation to appeal, but with confirmation that officers could not in any way predict or envisage what decision / use of the land may result if the matter was later determined at appeal.
Members were advised that reason 2 required a slight amendment to the wording to clarify that concerns exist regarding highway safety matters at both noted highway points. As such, officers suggested that the recommendation should be to defer and delegate to the Chief Planning Officer to allow this slight amendment to be made.
At the conclusion of discussions Cllr. Nash moved to refuse the application and to defer and delegate to the Chief Planning Officer in relation to amendments for reason 2. Cllr Smith seconded the recommendation. This was then put to the vote.
RESOLVED – To refuse the application and to defer and delegate to the Chief Planning Officer to slightly amend the wording to reason 2.