Agenda and minutes

Planning Committee - Wednesday, 3 February 2021 6.30pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Ellen Wright, Democratic Services Officer 

Media

Items
No. Item

700.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

During this period, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it was informally agreed between the two political groups to run Medway Council meetings with a reduced number of participants. This was to reduce risk, comply with Government guidance and enable more efficient meetings. Therefore, the apologies given reflects that informal agreement of reduced participants.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bhutia, Curry, Hubbard and Thorne.

701.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 13 January 2021.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 3 February 2021 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as correct. 

702.

Urgent matters by reason of special circumstances

The Chairman will announce any late items which do not appear on the main agenda but which he/she has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report. 

Minutes:

The Chairman accepted an item of urgent business in accordance with section 100B of the Local Government Act 1972, namely the 2019/20 outcome of the Housing Delivery Test for Medway which had been received from the Government in the past few days. This item was considered urgent for inclusion on the agenda for this meeting as it was a material planning consideration to be taken into account when considering applications for housing development on the agenda at this meeting.

703.

Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Other Significant Interests pdf icon PDF 371 KB

Members are invited to disclose any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests in accordance with the Member Code of Conduct.  Guidance on this is set out in agenda item 4.

 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other significant interests (OSIs)

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

Councillor Potter referred to planning application MC/20/1800 – Land off Lower Rainham Road, Rainham and informed the Committee that as Ward Councillor he had previously objected to development at this site. Therefore, he wished to address the Committee as Ward Councillor on this planning application and would take no part in the determination of the application.

704.

Housing Delivery Test

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Head of Planning informed the Committee of the updated 2019/20 outcome of the Housing Delivery Test for Medway received from the Government in the past few days. This item was considered urgent for inclusion on the agenda for this meeting as it was a material planning consideration to be taken into account when considering applications for housing development on the agenda at this meeting.

 

The Head of Planning explained the background to the Government’s Housing Delivery Test which was based on an assessment of housing delivery against housing ‘need’ as calculated using the standard methodology over a 3 year period. As delivery of housing within Medway over that 3 year period fell below 75% of the identified housing need, the Council therefore faced 3 sanctions – the need to update its Housing Action Plan; to have a 20% buffer added to the housing need figure; and for the presumption in favour of sustainable development to be applied to all applications for housing development.

 

The Head of Planning gave a presentation on the number of homes constructed in Medway over recent years which showed an increase, particularly in 2019/20. However, he explained that the granting of planning approval was only the beginning of the process and for such developments to be eligible for inclusion in the Housing Delivery Test, the housing units were required to be completed.

 

The Committee discussed the information provided by the Head of Planning and expressed concern that in the main, local authorities were not housing providers and were only involved in the determination of planning applications. Therefore, it was unfair for the Government to penalise a local authority for failing to deliver the number houses required under the Housing Delivery Test when the actual delivery of housing was dependent upon the developer being able to complete the development. It was pointed out that some developments stalled in their timeline for completion due to a number of reasons such as land contamination issues.

     

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the presentation.

 

705.

Planning application - MC/20/3077 - Land North of Medway Road, Gillingham ME7 1NY pdf icon PDF 830 KB

Gillingham North

 

Construction of a Foodstore (Use Class E(a) - Retail) together with associated car and cycle parking, servicing, landscaping, and associated works.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion: 

 

The Head of Planning outlined the planning application and informed the Committee that two previous applications MC/19/1875 and MC/20/1431 for a limited assortment discount (LAD) foodstore at this application site had been granted planning permission but that following a challenge by judicial review, the parties involved had agreed a consent order that the planning permissions be quashed on a ground relating to the officer’s report failing to refer to Polices related to flood risk that were considered relevant to the applications. He confirmed that both applications had now been quashed.

 

However, given the uncertainty regarding timescales for the court decision, the applicant had chosen to submit this duplicate application to address the issues raised regarding flood risk.

 

The Committee was advised that the only the difference between the current application and those in MC/20/1431 and MC/19/1985 was that 4 electric vehicle (EV) charging points were now provided within the scheme instead of 2.

 

The Head of Planning referred to a letter received from the applicant as appended to the supplementary agenda advice sheet.

 

The Head of Planning also drew attention to suggested amendments to proposed conditions 25 and 26 as set out on the supplementary agenda advice sheet (no. 27 being corrected to no. 26 at the meeting). He further advised that the supplementary agenda advice sheet also provided updated information for the proposal, appraisal, flood risk and surface water and conclusions and reasons for approval sections of the report.

 

In outlining the application, the Head of Planning drew particular attention to the fact that although the application site was not in a core retail area or identified as such in the Local Plan and, as the proposed development was under the 2,500sqm threshold, a retail assessment was not required. However, following a retail assessment undertaken by officers, it was considered that there was no other suitable site for the retail element proposed in Gillingham or Chatham and assessing the proposed development against the criteria of Policy R13 of the Local Plan, officers were satisfied that the development would not create a detriment to either town centre.

 

In addition, he advised that although Pier Road was the subject of localised flooding, owing to the application site being 1.5m above the highway, officers were satisfied that tidal flooding would not be an issue for this site. In relation to surface water flooding, the development had been assessed in accordance with national and local policy requirements and subject to the conditions recommended was deemed to be acceptable.

 

The Committee discussed the application and noted the various legal challenges that had arisen for previous applications relating to the development of this site for a LAD foodstore. It was not considered that in determining a planning application, the Committee could give weight to commercial challenges from other supermarkets.

   

Decision:

 

Approved with conditions 1 – 24 as set out in the report for the reasons stated in the report and conditions 25 and 26 amended as follows:

 

25.       No development shall take place  ...  view the full minutes text for item 705.

706.

Planning application - MC/20/0932 - St Clements House, Corporation Street, Rochester pdf icon PDF 755 KB

Rochester West

 

Demolition of the existing building and erection of a part 6, part 5 storey building to provide 44 residential units together with associated car parking, cycle parking, hard and soft landscaping, tree removal, boundary treatment, access, utilities and other associated works.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:  

 

The Head of Planning outlined the application in detail and suggested that if the Committee was minded to approve the application, proposed conditions 13, 14, 19 and 24 be replaced with revised wording on the supplementary agenda advice sheet along with a new condition 28 also set out on the supplementary agenda advice sheet.

 

In addition, he drew attention to further representations received since despatch of the agenda confirming that both Historic England and the Lead Local Flood Authority had no comments or objections to the application.

 

The Committee was informed that in submitting the current application, the developers had taken on board previous concerns and had reduced a section of the proposed development from 7 storey to 6 storey to reduce the visual impact and dominance of the building.

 

The Committee discussed the application and in particular the benefit of the developer working with Countrysideon the potential expansion of the Car Club Scheme in Rochester to enable residents of this development having access to the Car Club.

 

Concern was expressed as to the quality of the railings provided on a nearby development and it was suggested that the applicant be required to provide a better quality product at this development site. In response, the Head of Planning confirmed that this had already been the subject of discussion with the applicant and was covered by proposed condition 17.

 

It was further suggested that in the future, consideration be given to the expansion of the Car Club to include other residents of Rochester, particularly those living in the historic town centre who had very little access to car parking. The Head of Planning supported this suggestion.

 

Decision: 

 

Approved with conditions 1 – 12, 15 – 18, 20 – 23 and 25 – 27 as set out in the report for the reasons stated in the report and conditions 13, 14, 19 and 24 amended as follows and new condition 28 as follows:

 

13.       No development shall take place other than demolition, contamination investigation and remediation works, archaeological works and earthworks until a scheme showing details of the disposal of surface water, has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority in consultation with the Lead Local Flood Authority.

Those details shall include (where applicable):

 

i.          Details of the design of the scheme (in conjunction with the landscaping plan where applicable).

ii.         A timetable for its implementation (including phased implementation).

iii.        Operational maintenance and management plan including access requirements for each sustainable drainage component.

iv.        Proposed arrangements for future adoption by any public body, statutory undertaker or management company.

 

The development shall be undertaken in accordance with the agreed scheme.

 

Reason: To manage surface water during and post construction and for the lifetime of the development as outlined at Paragraph 165 of NPPF.

 

14.       Prior to the first occupation of any building (or within an agreed implementation schedule) a signed verification report carried out by a qualified drainage engineer (or equivalent) must be submitted to and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 706.

707.

Planning application - MC/20/1800 - Land off Lower Rainham Road, Rainham, Gillingham pdf icon PDF 347 KB

Rainham North

 

Full planning consent for 79 dwellings, including affordable housing together with access, open space, landscaping and associated infrastructure works.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:  

 

The Head of Planning outlined the application in detail and drew attention to a number of suggested changes to elements of the proposed Section 106 agreement, proposed conditions, additions to the relevant planning history and planning appraisal sections of the report all of which were set out on the supplementary agenda advice sheet. In addition, he reported receipt of a letter from the applicant in response to climate change which was appended to the supplementary agenda advice sheet.

 

In outlining the application, the Head of Planning explained the background to the planning history of the site and informed the Committee of the differences between the current application and the previously granted outline planning permission. He stressed that due to the prior granting of outline planning permission, the principle of development on this site had already been approved. He advised the Committee that since the grant of outline planning permission, the site had been sold to the current applicant and whilst the applicant had originally wanted to increase the number of units on site from the approved 64 to 84 units, the applicant had since amended the scheme to 79 units to reflect the concerns and comments previously expressed by Members at a planning presentation.

 

The Head of Planning informed the Committee that the current application would provide a pedestrian link to Berengrave Nature Reserve so as to avoid potential damage by the creation of informal entrances once the housing units are occupied. In the light of this, he sought the Committee’s view as to whether it would be beneficial to also include a pedestrian link from the adjoining estate to the south of the site so that residents of that estate could also benefit from pedestrian access to the Nature Reserve.

 

With the agreement of the Committee, Councillor Potter addressed the Committee as Ward Councillor and made the following points:

 

·         The original application for 64 units had been a balanced application and the proposed increase to 79 units exceeded this and would impact highway congestion.

·         The design for the current application was considered more suitable for a rural area and was welcomed along with the proposed landscaping but there was concern that the pedestrian link to Berengrave Nature Reserve could result in antisocial behaviour in the Reserve.

·         Residents of the estate to the south of the development did not wish to have a pedestrian access through the new site.

·         Ward Councillors would like to be involved in the Construction Management Plan.

 

The Committee discussed the application having regard to the comments of the Ward Councillor and in response to questions, the Head of Planning informed the Committee that the provision of trees and landscaping on site formed part of the proposed conditions and the future maintenance of the car parking area within the site for use by residents on Lower Rainham Road who did not currently have off road parking would be dealt with either through the highway adoption process or the management plan for open space within the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 707.

708.

Performance Report: 1 October to 31 December 2020 pdf icon PDF 674 KB

This report is presented quarterly to planning committee informing Members on current planning performance and the Local Plan.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out performance for the period 1 October – 31 December 2020.

 

The Committee expressed its appreciation to the Head of Planning and his staff for maintaining exceptional performance despite challenging times due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

In response, the Head of Planning informed the Committee that many members of staff within his team were facing challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic not only due to the requirement for them to work remotely from home but also due to their mental and physical health and in some cases the requirement to juggle work commitments alongside home schooling.

 

He informed the Committee of a number of factors that had resulted in an increase in the workload for staff.  

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the report and expressed appreciation to the Head of Planning and his team for the exceptional performance that was being maintained despite the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic was presenting in addition to the increased workload.

709.

Report on Appeal Decisions 1 October 2020 to 31 December 2020 pdf icon PDF 233 KB

This report informs Members of appeal decisions.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out appeal decisions for the period 1 October – 31 December 2020.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the report.

710.

Report on Section 106 Agreements October - December 2020 pdf icon PDF 427 KB

This report informs Members on the amount of Section 106 funding received between October to December 2020 and sets out what the contributions must be spent on according to the Section 106 agreements.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out information as to the amount of Section 106 funding received between October – December 2020.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the report.