Planning Report and Presentation – The Head of Planning Services submitted a report in respect of application PLA 21/00427/FULL, Bethany School, Jarvis Lane, Goudhurst,Kent and this was summarised at the meeting by Canan Clatworthy, Principal Planning Officer and illustrated by means of a visual presentation.
Updates and additional representation – Two letters of objection had been received from residents raising issues concerning the level of hedgerows, ecology loss, the potential commercial use of the facility, lighting and noise. All these issues were dealt with in the report under the AONB and ecology sections and with the attachment of suitable conditions. In addition, following the publication of the revised NPPF (published on 20 July 2021), no additional considerations needed to be taken into account save for the changes to paragraph numbers. Para 95a of the revised NPPF (94a of the revoked NPPF) continues to give great weight to the need to create, expand and alter schools.
Registered Speakers – There were three speakers registered in accordance with the Council’s Constitution (Planning Committee Procedure Rules)
Danielle Lawrence – DHA Planning on behalf of the applicant
Parish Councillor Antony Harris – Chair of Goudhurst Parish Council
Mr Ed Bates – Local Resident
Matters of Clarification by Officers and Committee Members’ Questions to Officers – Members raised a number of questions and officers confirmed the following:
- A CCTV survey of the existing surface water would be likely including the car park (as a new area of hard standing) and would be undertaken as part of the Conditions.
- Condition 19 was strong enough to prevent the use of the new facilities for any other purpose other than by the school.
- Removal of the hedgerow was required to provide better visibility at the entrance/exit to the car park.
- Additional landscaping enhancements in other areas of the development would be provided.
- Condition 12 had been added to ensure that details of any lighting provision would have to be submitted to the Council.
- A Noise Survey to include the Amphitheatre and proposed building was suggested to ensure that any noise impact was minimised or mitigated upon the amenities of local residents.
- Use of the new facilities for charitable purposes e.g. local schools was considered important to the local community and should be allowed. This would be similar to what was currently being done with the swimming pool. It was unclear as to whether the Condition 19 allowed for this, or whether it could be left to the discretion of the school. It was further determined that ancillary use could be left to the discretion to Bethany School.
- A transport report was included and determined that there would be no additional traffic to what was currently experienced at the school.
- With regards to flooding, the wording of the relevant Condition ensured that mapping would be required to show where the existing ditches and drainage were and how any issues would be addressed through discharge of conditions.
Committee Debate and Officer Responses – Members of the Committee took account of the presentations made and raised a number of questions and issues within their discussions. These included:
- There was general support for the application, with the caveat there was a Condition to survey the impact of performance noise from the proposed Amphitheatre and the indoor theatre.
- The proposal included the reuse of the old swimming pool which should be applauded.
- There remained concern about the wording of Condition 19. That it should be amended to ensure the use of facilities for charitable purposes, including local schools.
- The current wording was deemed as quite succinct in that it made clear the new facilities could not be used for commercial or business purposes. This prevented the school from turning the facilities into a commercial enterprise. However, the school had a moral duty to extend the use of its premises to other similar organisations e.g. local schools, similar to what was already being done with the swimming pool.
- The current wording of Condition 19 left the decision to the school.
- The addition of a noise Condition to be included, based along the following lines ‘an additional survey on the impact of performance noise from the Amphitheatre and indoor theatre measured by the impact from local properties’.
- Officers confirmed such a condition could be agreed with the Chair.
Decision/voting – On the basis that members were satisfied that all relevant planning considerations had been covered within the report, a motion was proposed by Councillor Pound, seconded by Councillor Dr Hall and a vote was taken to approve the application in line with the officer recommendation but subject to confirmation that the application included a sufficient requirement to ascertain the noise impact of both the Amphitheatre and the indoor theatre.
RESOLVED – That application PLA21/00427/FULL, Bethany School, Jarvis Lane, Goudhurst, Kent be granted subject to the plans, conditions and informatives as set out in the agenda report, plus confirmation that the report included sufficient requirements relating to noise for the purposes of the application.