Planning Report and Presentation – The Head of Planning Services submitted a report in respect of application PLA 20/03848/FULL - Paddock Wood Memorial Recreation Ground, Maidstone Road, Paddock Woodand this was summarised at the meeting by Ms Jennifer Begeman, Principal Planning Officer and illustrated by means of a visual presentation.
Updates and additional representation – None.
Registered Speakers – There were 11 speakers registered in accordance with the Council’s Constitution (Planning Committee Procedure Rules)
· Councillor Don Kent
· Mr Jeremy Thompson
· Ms Wendy Morris
· Mr John Haffenden
· Mr Matthew Blythin
· Mr Rex Wakelin
· Mr Fred Lemont
· Ms Christine Spicer
· Councillor Meryl Flashman
· Councillor Rodney Atkins
· Councillor Sarah Hamilton
Matters of Clarification by Officers and Committee Members’ Questions to Officers – Members raised a number of questions and officers confirmed the following:
- It was confirmed, the beech tree, located on the south of the exit and on the boundary of the site had now been removed, and was a category B tree. The removal was supported by the TWBC Tree Officer. The tree was on the boundary with the neighbouring site which was currently being developed as terrace housing.
- Access to the site would be improved which would satisfy any concerns raised by Kent Highways.
- Information included in the report regarding the status of the Paddock Wood Cricket Club was received from Paddock Wood Town Council.
- Policy R1 of the Local Plan and paragraph 97 of the NPPF made clear that building on existing recreation ground and on open spaces was permissible provided the proposed development did not result in a deficiency of recreation space within the catchment area.
- Further, that the loss of open space would be surplus to requirements and would therefore not materially impact upon the function of the open space nor its capacity for playing pitch provision. It was confirmed that the remaining land would continue to be retained for recreational use.
- There was a capacity issue with regards to sewerage. As such, Southern Water had factored this development into their plans. The three conditions included in the application ensured that appropriate measures would be taken.
- The car park, tennis courts and pavilion were all within 80 meters of the ball strike and therefore the existing cricket square was not compliant for hard ball cricket. There was no proposal to move the cricket pavilion.
- Management of the different uses of the community centre would ensure that the car parking spaces allocated would be sufficient.
- The time limits on S106 money were not imminent. The use of S106 money was not a factor for the consideration of this application.
- The site for the community centre would remain central to the town even allowing for any future housing development as set out in the Pre-Submission Local Plan.
- It was confirmed that the proposals met the conditions of paragraph 99 of the NPPF (paragraph 10.69 & 10.70 refers). The inclusion of a children’s nursery was an additional community benefit for the wider Paddock Wood area.
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:
- The application appeared to include too many components for one site.
- The arrangements for the sports facilities would seem to be too tight for the space available and there was doubt that it would work in practice.
- There was concern that the maintenance of the cricket square would be difficult if it overlapped onto the football pitches.
- The ability to play hard ball cricket should be preserved.
- There would be considerable community benefits to the centre.
- The loss of land would be found elsewhere.
- The role of the Town Council, who were broadly supportive of the scheme should be recognised. The Borough Council should support the decisions of the Town Council.
- The scheme met the needs of the local community and would provide significant benefits.
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 Fitzsimmons and a vote was taken to approve the application in line with the officer recommendation.
RESOLVED – That application PLA/20/03848/FULL – Paddock Wood Memorial Recreation Ground, Maidstone Road, Paddock Wood be granted delegated powers to officers to approve in line with the officer recommendation.
Please note that the requirements of the Delegated Powers, recommended Planning Conditions and Informatives were listed in the Committee Report.