Strood Rural Ward
Outline application with some matters reserved (appearance, landscaping, layout and scale) for the construction of 8 to 12 self build dwellings, provision of open spaces, landscape buffers, drainage features and earthworks. Enhancement and widening of existing access track from Lodge Hill Lane and formation of two new cross-over accesses from Lodge Hill Lane to serve two dwellings.
As outlined in the presentation for Planning application MC/20/2979, this application was for outline application with some matters reserved (appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale) for the construction of 8 to 12 self-build dwellings, provision of open spaces, landscape buffers, drainage features 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 are strongly opposed to the application their conclusion is that the mitigation would reduce rather that 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 in terms of further mitigation.
The package of mitigation was far less than that in the same applicant’s previous application in View Road.
With the agreement of the Committee, the Head of Planning read out a statement by Councillor Williams as Ward Councillor and raised the following concerns:
Parish Councillor Michael Pearce submitted a letter of objection that the development would be damaging to SSSI, would set 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.