Construction of four 3-bedroom and three 4-bedroom houses with associated parking, access road and open landscape area.
In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman chaired the meeting for this planning application.
The Head of Planning outlined the planning application and suggested that should the Committee be minded to approve the application, proposed condition 18 be amended as set out on the supplementary agenda advice sheet. Although the supplementary agenda advice sheet indicated that this was an additional condition, he advised that it was an amendment. In addition, he drew attention to the additional letter received from the applicant which had been appended to the supplementary agenda advice sheet.
The Head of Planning referred to the representations from Rehman Chishti MP in support of the application and clarified information concerning his financial interest in the Avenue Tennis Club. He informed the Committee that in determining the application, the Committee would need to decide what weight to attribute to the support of the MP for the application based on this information.
The Head of Planning referred to the planning history of the site and in particular, referred to planning application MC/18/3114 for 8 dwellings which had been refused on 19 February 2019 and MC/19/2404 for 7 dwellings which had been refused on 20 January 2020. Both applications had been the subject of appeal and both appeals had been dismissed by the Planning Inspector. The Head of Planning referred to the Planning Inspector’s grounds for dismissing the appeal for MC/19/2404 set out on page 72 of the agenda.
He informed the Committee that the current planning application sought to address the issue raised by the Planning Inspector concerning the harm caused to the character and appearance of the surrounding area as set out within the report.
With the agreement of the Committee, Councillor Chrissy Stamp addressed the Committee as Ward Councillor and set out the following objections:
• Despite the reduction from 8 to 7 dwellings the proposed development constituted overdevelopment of the land and an appeal for 7 dwellings had already been dismissed by the Planning Inspector.
• Garden sizes were very small and the development would result in harm to the surrounding area and the area should be retained as open green space.
• The access road would run adjacent to and take land from 26 Second Avenue and 4 parking spaces were located in the back garden of 26 Second Avenue, reducing the garden size of this property.
• Concerns regarding the access and egress for emergency vehicles.
With the agreement of the Committee, Councillor Purdy addressed the Committee as Ward Councillor and set out the following objections:
• The application had not changed from that previously submitted in 2019 and the applicant had failed to address flooding and soakaway concerns.
• The application constituted back garden development and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government had said that local authorities should have a say in plans for their area and listen to local people.
• Green spaces should be protected and retained as they benefit people’s health and well-being.
The Committee discussed the application having regard to the planning history of the site, including the two appeals and the concerns expressed by the Ward Councillors.
The Head of Planning informed the Committee that in assessing the current application and recommending approval, officers had carefully considered the application and that the applicant felt that they had addressed the concerns set out by the Planning Inspector in dismissing planning application MC/19/2404 by changing the layout of the site, reducing 3 units from 4 bed to 3 bed dwellings and providing greater space at the boundary of the site. The applicant considered this was sufficient to address concerns without the need to reduce the overall number of dwellings within the site. However, it was now for the Committee to determine whether it was satisfied that these changes were sufficient.
The Committee noted the Head of Planning’s comments but considered that the application continued to constitute an overdevelopment of the site that would have a significant harmful effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area.
Refused on the following ground:
The proposed development by reason of its layout and scale would result in a cramped form of development that would have a significantly harmful effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area. The proposal as such would result in overdevelopment of this backland site and would not result in a clear improvement of the local area. The proposal is therefore contrary to Policies H4, H9 and BNE1 of the Medway Local Plan, and paragraphs 124 and 127 of the NPPF.