Planning Report and Presentation – The Head of Planning Services submitted a report in respect of application PLA126/21 202 and 230 Upper Grosvenor Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent and this was summarised at the meeting by Mr Kevin Hope Principal Planning Officer and illustrated by means of a visual presentation.
Updates and additional representation – Since publication of the agenda report, the presenting officer gave an update on conditions as follows:
· Additional drawing to condition 3:6943 001 P3 Site Location Plan
· Amendments to condition 4 c):c) Details of all walls, fences or other means of enclosure including position, alignment, height and materials
· Amendment to line 1 of condition 19: Notwithstanding the submitted plans and details, prior to the commencement of development details of existing and proposed levels, including details of spoil retention and disposal, shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority....
· Replacement condition 20: Notwithstanding the submitted plans and details, prior to the commencement of development (excluding the demolition of buildings on site and the construction of the access road to the site) full details of electric vehicle (EV) charging points (including passive provision for spaces not served by EV charging points) shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.
Reason: In the interests of promoting emission-free car use and to achieve sustainable development.
· Additional line to condition 23:j) Details to advise new residents of the LEMP, its aims and the areas/features it covers, how it operates and the reasons for the protective measures within it.
Registered Speakers – There were 6 speakers that registered in accordance with the Council’s Constitution (Planning Committee Procedure Rules)
· Ms Trix Tanzerella, member of the public.
· Mr Luke Engleback, member of the public.
· Mr Chris Carney, member of the public.
· Mr Stuart Clayman, member of the public.
· Ms Emily Hall, on behalf of the applicant.
Borough Councillor not on the Planning Committee
· Councillor Peter Lidstone.
Matters of Clarification by Officers and Committee Members’ Questions to Officers included:
i. Officers clarified that it was not possible to verify the measurements or images on the visual aids shown by speakers .
ii. The historic meadow mentioned by one of the speakers may have been a historical feature of the land however, it was currently a residential garden.
iii. Kent County Council (KCC) Highways had raised no objections to the application and their comments were discussed in detail within the report.
iv. There was an ecological assessment as part of the application from paragraphs 10.23 onwards, it was confirmed that the Council’s Landscape and Biodiversity officer had raised no objections and was satisfied that the scheme was able to achieve above the proposed 10% net gain for biodiversity.
v. The parking provision on site was considered to be suitable, additional parking would introduce more pressure to protected trees on the site.
vi. The site was deemed to be sustainable given that it was within Limits to Build Development (LBD), close to shops, school, pedestrian pathways and public transport.
vii. It was confirmed that future residents would have sufficient both internal and external amenity space.
viii. The positioning of the disabled parking bays were considered to be acceptable by both Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) Planning and KCC Highways and were determined by distance to entrance.
ix. The amendment to Condition 20 ensured that the provision and infrastructure for future EV charging points was in place.
x. Officers were content with the provision of cycle storage both in the north area and under croft.
xi. Officers advised that the density of the site and the efficient use of land was deemed acceptable given that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) encouraged development in high density areas such as towns as it reduced pressure on more greenfield sites that may be more sensitive outside of an urban boundary.
xii. It was advised that 30% allocation of affordable housing secured was based on the emerging local plan policy and was explained in detail within the officer report.
xiii. Officers advised that they were satisfied that the number of evergreens on the boundary of the properties, as well as the angled windows and the updates to Condition 24 which outlined details of measures to mitigate overlooking towards existing dwellings for block A and block B were appropriate in terms of an amenity package.
xiv. Clarification was provided concerning the existing trees within the site which included confirmation that four of the protected trees would be removed with the rest retained. Other trees removed were not protected by a Tree Preservation Order.
xv. It was advised that there was a clear intention to plant additional trees as part of the scheme.
xvi. It was advise that a reduction in height of the buildings would not significantly lessen the amenity impacts to existing dwellings and officers considered the distances as proposed would not warrant a refusal.
Committee Member Debate and officer clarification included:
i. Concerns were raised about the parking and traffic situation in the area however it was understood that it would be extremely difficult to sustain an appeal against a refusal on that basis, given that KCC Highways had raised no objections.
ii. It was acknowledged that the application was within the Limits to Build development and had been partly previously developed.
iii. Members agreed that the sustainability of the site was well met, it was thought to be very well placed in terms of services and amenities and residents should be encouraged to use facilities such as pathways, public transport so that in the future residents would not need a car.
iv. The housing shortage issue in Tunbridge Wells which included affordable was highlighted.
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 Warne, seconded by Councillor Backhouse and a vote was taken to approve the application in line with the officer recommendation.
RESOLVED – That application PLA126/21 be granted subject to the completion of a Section 106 legal agreement and the plans, conditions and informatives as set out in the agenda report including changes to conditions 3, 4, 19, 20 and 23 and the additional informative shown below:
1. Informative inviting the applicant to contact Tunbridge Wells Borough Council with any queries regarding the details necessary for the LEMP or its implementation.