Strood Rural Ward
Demolition of existing structures and erection of 9No. residential dwellings. Formalisation of the existing access from Lodge Hill Lane and provision of associated car parking, hardstanding, landscaping and infrastructure including drainage and earthworks.
The Head of Planning outlined the application in detail for the demolition of existing structures and erection of 9 No. residential dwellings. Formalisation of the existing access from Lodge Hill Lane and provision of associated car parking, hardstanding, landscaping, and infrastructure including drainage and earthworks.
When Members had previously considered the same applicant’s proposals at View Road, the impact on SSSI and proposed mitigation, a question was asked whether the decision to approve with mitigation would set a precedent to which the Head of Planning had said no and that further applications would be treated on their own merit and individual package of mitigation.
Whilst there were many positives to the development, the specific issue with this development was due to the impact on the SSSI, specifically in relation to nightingales in the area. There were issues with the no cat policy and cat proof fencing. Natural England were strongly opposed to the application and their conclusion was that the mitigation would reduce rather than mitigate the issue regarding cats and the harmful impact on nightingales. If monitoring showed that the mitigation was not having the desired effect, there would be nothing that the applicant could do to further mitigate.
The package of mitigation was far less than that in the same applicant’s application in View Road.
With the agreement of the Committee, the Head of Planning read out a statement by Councillor Williams as Ward Councillor which raised the following concerns:
Parish Councillor Michael Pearce submitted a letter of objection that the development would be damaging to SSSI, would set a damaging precedent for all wildlife and developments across the country
The Committee discussed the planning application noting the concerns outlined by the Head of Planning and the points raised by the Ward Councillor.
A Member drew attention to the fact there was a cattery in vicinity of the site and consideration should be given to how this would affect the no cat policy.
A Member drew attention to the fact that whilst the area was a site of outstanding beauty with great wildlife, this development was low density and sustainability was not an issue. This was a suitable location that would benefit from more homes that would be prevented from development due to reasons that appeared to be of relative minimal risk.
Refused as set out in the report for the reasons stated in the report.