Planning Report and Presentation – The Head of Planning Services submitted a report in respect of application 21/00757/REM, Land North of Culverden Down, Tunbridge Wells, Kent and this was summarised at the meeting by Richard Hazelgrove, Principal Planning Officer and illustrated by means of a visual presentation.
Updates and additional representation – A block plan was submitted last week that clarified the finished floor level of the dwelling.
Registered Speakers – There were no speakers that registered in accordance with the Council’s Constitution (Planning Committee Procedure Rules)
Matters of Clarification by Officers and Committee Members’ Questions to Officers – Members raised a number of questions and officers confirmed the following:
- An earlier application for 8 dwellings was refused in 2017 because it strayed into an area of ancient woodland and its buffer zone. Planning permission for 8 dwellings was subsequently granted in June 2019 and amended in January 2021.
- The application being considered was for reserved matters (scale, appearance and landscaping) for one of the dwellings (plot 2).
- Individual plot owners would come forward in due course with reserve matter applications (reserve matters for plot 3 had already been granted) for the other plots.
- The purpose of rural fringe land was to set aside land for future development.
- 2 Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s) were in place to protect the woodland.
- Issues related to biodiversity and bird nesting were addressed at the outline planning stages of the application. It was not a matter for consideration when dealing with the individual plots.
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:
- Concern was raised regarding the use of the land for large properties. It was suggested that planning permission for properties of this size were not normally granted.
- It was further suggested that properties of this size did not address the issue small 2 bedroom starter homes that were required in the area.
- There was a question as to the design of the property which did not seem to look particularly rural.
- The principle of developing 8 houses on this site had already been agreed by this Committee. One of the reasons for agreement, was the self-build nature of the development. Following agreement, individual plot owners would submit details related to the scale, appearance and landscaping under reserve matters. This application was before the Committee because the adjacent plot (plot 1) was owned by a relative of an officer of the Council.
- Members were reminded that they were not voting on the principle of the development, only the particular layout of plot 2.
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 Hamilton and a vote was taken to approve the application in line with the officer recommendation.
RESOLVED – That application 21/00757/REM be granted subject to the plans, conditions and informatives as set out in the agenda report.