Planning Report and Presentation – The Head of Planning Services submitted a report in respect of application PLA128/22 Showfields Estate Showfields Road Royal Tunbridge Wells Kent and this was summarised at the meeting by Mr Richard Hazelgrove Interim Development Management Team Leader and illustrated by means of a visual presentation.
Updates and additional representation – None.
Registered Speakers – There was 1 speaker that registered in accordance with the Council’s Constitution (Planning Committee Procedure Rules)
· Bob Heapy, Chief Executive Town and Country Housing.
Matters of clarification by Officers and Committee Members’ questions to Officers included:
i. Officers advised Members of a correction to a figure in the table at 3.0 in the report and confirmed that it should read 320 not 32.
ii. The matter of the sewers and their protection was essentially for the applicant/owners to come to an agreement with Southern Water separately and was outside of the planning process. Condition 23 ensured that once that took place the details would be submitted to planning for discharge.
iii. Condition 12 sought details of sustainability measures.
iv. Kent County Council (KCC) Highways were involved extensively for the last few years with the proposals with regard to the parking provision and how it was provided. KCC were now satisfied in terms of numbers of spaces and how they were distributed over the estate.
v. The issue of tenants that were decanted out of the buildings and then subsequently given alternative accommodation was a matter for Town and Country Housing Group, its tenants and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) housing advice team and was not a matter for the Council as Local Planning Authority.
vi. Comments from Parking Servies were addressed in paragraph 10.118 of the report.
vii. Officers believed that there were traffic calming measures proposed to slow vehicles down along Showfields Road however, this had to be agreed by KCC as the owner of the road under a separate Section 278 agreement.
viii. Officers confirmed the proposal resulted in a loss of trees however that included small and poor quality trees and it was advised that there was a substantial tree replanting scheme proposed with 130 replacement trees of varying mature sizes.
ix. An explanation was given with regard to the Section 106 payments and why they had been scaled back and why the car club contribution was maintained.
x. It was not a planning consideration whether the site was to be connected to the gas grid.
Committee Member debate and Officer clarification included:
i. Carbon reducing measures were welcomed and the developer was congratulated on the installation of the air source heat pumps which were considered a good innovation as well as the roll out of the car club which encouraged active travel.
ii. Members raised concerns that it was not a like for like development and there was a net loss in housing in relation to the social rented tenure.
iii. Officers advised that there would be a negative effect on the viability of the scheme had there been more social houses placed on the site.
iv. Page 21 para 2.07 set out the dwellings and tenure types.
v. Members considered the 5 story block at the entrance was overwhelming however noted it was a matter of opinion.
vi. Members acknowledged the difficulty of putting the number of properties in the area however considered that it was a good development and an improvement to what was already there.
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 Bailey, seconded by Councillor Fitzsimmons and a vote was taken to approve the application in line with the officer recommendation.
Councillor Moon voted to refuse the application against the officer recommendation.
RESOLVED – That application PLA128/22 be granted subject to the plans, conditions and informatives as set out in the agenda report.