Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual

Contact: Ian Smith  Email: democraticservices@watford.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

Conduct of the meeting

Prior to the start of the meeting agenda, the Chair explained the procedure for the virtual meeting and the method he would employ to ensure the voting was accurately completed.  The Chair also ensured that all participants were introduced. 

 

The committee will take items in the following order:

 

1.     All items where people wish to speak and have registered with Democratic Services.

2.     Any remaining items the committee agrees can be determined without further debate.

3.     Those applications which the committee wishes to discuss in detail.

15.

Apologies for absence

    Minutes:

    There was a change of membership for this meeting; Councillor Williams replaced Councillor Sharpe.

     

16.

Disclosure of interests

    Minutes:

    Councillor Smith declared an interest in item 7 on the agenda, in that he lived fairly close to the proposed development.

17.

Minutes

    The minutes of the meeting held on 2 July 2020, will be agreed, but signed at the next non-virtual meeting.

    Minutes:

    The committee agreed the minutes of the meeting held on 2 July 2020 and these would be signed once members and officers returned to the Town Hall. 

     

18.

20/00520/FUL - Land Adjacent To 1 Neston Road pdf icon PDF 416 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Principal Planning Officer (AC) presented his report to the committee.  The Chair then invited Ms Tracey Hardy, of Wakelin Associates, to address the committee. 

     

    Ms Hardy highlighted certain areas of the report.  She explained that the development had been redesigned to reduce the impact on neighbouring properties, in consultation with the planning authorities.  She added that the design was such that it would respect the neighbouring properties and had off-road parking and soft landscaping.  This would be an improvement over the existing hard standing. 

     

    She also pointed out that the development was on a brownfield site and offered family housing in an appropriate location in the town.  The development was in accordance with local and national planning policy. 

     

    The Chair thanked Ms Hardy for her presentation and commented that whilst the development was high density, it was difficult to argue against it and it seemed a sensible application.  He added that the unorthodox design reduced the impact on 168 to 178 Sandringham Road and he saw no reason to object to the application. 

     

    Councillor Williams raised the issue that a number of residents were highlighting parking as a loss of amenity.  He asked the Principle Planning Officer to explain the changes to parking and why it was no longer a valid consideration.  

     

    The Principal Planning Officer explained that policy had now moved towards more sustainable forms of transport.  He added that the area was about to have a controlled parking scheme, which would probably reduce pressure on parking. 

     

    Councillor Bell commented that one of the objections mentioned the design and how it would fit into the area.  He asked the officer to detail how the proposal might reflect the character of the area. 

     

    The Principal Planning Officer pointed out that the south side of the road had semi-detached houses, similar to the proposed development.  Additionally, he felt that the size, scale and materials used were similar to surrounding properties and therefore would sit well within the streetscene. 

     

    Councillor Johnson commented briefly that whilst he did not particularly like infill developments, this was policy compliant and he would be supporting it. 

     

    Councillor Smith asked the officer whether the eight new trees detailed on the application were semi-mature or mature, as this would have an effect on the drainage in the area. 

     

    The Principal Planning Officer pointed out that the types of trees were noted on the application and one of the conditions was for the planning authority to agree all the trees and shrubs that would be planted. 

     

    Councillor Collett noted that immature trees get broken and asked if the council could ensure that the trees planted were sufficiently mature. 

     

    The Principal Planning Officer replied that the condition required the trees to be planted within one planting season and for a period thereafter to be replaced if they should die.  This should address Councillor Collett’s concerns. 

     

    Councillor Watkin commented that he would be supporting this application and that he felt it was an improvement over the current garages. 

     

    The Chair  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

20/00401/VARM - 60 High Street pdf icon PDF 408 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Principal Planning Officer (AC), summarised his report to the meeting.

     

    There being no speakers for or against the application, the Chair summarised his thoughts to the committee, stating that it seemed to be very similar to original, but with improvements.  He particularly commended the changes to the windows on the top floor and the revised balconies.  The Chair then passed the matter to the committee for their comments. 

     

    Councillor Collett commented that whilst she did approve of the application, she felt that the committee should express their general disapproval of the lack of affordable homes and lack of family apartments. 

     

    The Chair underlined that the committee’s role was to decide on the variations to the design, not the design in principle. 

     

    Councillor Bell commented that the site had changed ownership and invited the officer to comment. 

     

    The Principal Planning Officer replied that the role of his department was really to assess the planning merits of applications and they had no sway over site ownership. 

     

    Councillor Johnson expressed his view that the revised application was a definite improvement, but added his disappointment that the new owner was still refusing to consider providing a commuted sum.  He accepted that this was not relevant to this application, but felt that this should be aired. 

     

    The Chair pointed out that there was a provision for a review, which may result in a commuted sum. 

     

    The Chair then proposed a vote that planning permission be granted subject to the completion of a deed of variation to secure the planning obligations contained in the s.106 agreement dated 7th February 2019 and the conditions contained in paragraph 8 of the officer’s report. 

     

    In accordance with Standing Committee Procedure Rules, paragraph 4.2, Councillor Jeffree requested that it be recorded in the minutes how members cast their votes.

     

    Those members voting for the motion:

    Councillors Bell, Collett, Jeffree, Johnson, Pattinson, Smith, Watkin and Williams.

     

    Those members voting against the motion:

    None

     

    Councillor Mills was unable to vote. 

     

    The motion was declared to be CARRIED by eight votes to none, with no abstentions.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    That planning permission be granted subject to the completion of a deed of variation to secure the planning obligations contained in the s.106 agreement dated 7th February 2019 and the conditions listed below:

     

    1.      The development to which this permission relates shall be begun before 7th February 2022.

             

    2.      The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the following approved drawings:-

             

    489-CDA-ZZ-00-DR-A-00-0100_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-00-DR-A-01-0100_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-00-DR-A-05-0100_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-01-DR-A-05-0101_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-02-DR-A-05-0102_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-03-DR-A-05-0103_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-04-DR-A-05-0104_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-05-DR-A-05-0105_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-06-DR-A-05-0106_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-07-DR-A-05-0107_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-XX-DR-A-05-0200_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-XX-DR-A-05-0201_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-XX-DR-A-05-0202_S73-1 R1

    489-CDA-ZZ-XX-DR-A-05-0203_S73-1 R1

     

    3.      No construction works above damp proof course level shall commence until details of the materials to be used for all the external finishes of the building, including walls, roofs, doors, windows, fascias, balconies and balustrades, have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The development shall be carried out only in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

17/00470/FULM - 37-39 Clarendon Road pdf icon PDF 512 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chair introduced the item to the committee and invited the Interim Head of Planning and Building Control to present his report. 

     

    The Chair then invited Mr Douglas Bond to address the Committee. 

     

    Mr Bond pointed out that this was a Section 106 variation on an already approved application and represented a significant redevelopment in the area.  It would improve the stock of office space within the town, as well as providing good-quality housing. 

     

    He explained that since that approval had been granted, the applicant had been working towards implementation of the project.  However, the mechanism for the affordable housing contribution had created a too much uncertainty around the cost of the scheme.  This had hindered the investment funding required to progress the scheme. 

     

    Following viability reports, including one from the council’s own viability consultants, it had been determined that a fixed one-off payment of £1.65 million, was the maximum amount, would be paid.  This would be in addition to the other obligations and also represented an increase from £1.4 million to £1.65 million, upon practical completion of the development and would therefore be received much sooner than the previous 106 agreement.   The viability reports stated that there was no realistic possibility of more funds, so this should be seen as acceptable and compliant with planning policy. 

     

    The Chair thanked Mr Bond and passed over to the committee for comments. 

     

    Councillor Johnson asked for clarification on the definition of “practical completion”.

     

    The Interim Head of Planning and Building Control stated that this was a frequently used and well understood definition within the world of development.  He defined the phrase as meaning that the development has been completed and signed off, with the certificates issued by building control. 

     

    Councillor Bell asked if the payment was essentially £1.65 million or nothing. 

     

    The Interim Head of Planning and Building Control replied that it was the applicant’s stated position and if it was not accepted the scheme would be less likely to be delivered. 

     

    Councillor Smith commented that the review mechanism was in place and he was reluctant to move away from that, despite the short-term gains. 

     

    The Chair noted that there had been a number of viability studies, the council’s viability consultants had concurred that the theoretical long-term gains from the original agreement were not there. 

     

    The Interim Head of Planning and Building Control added that the current permissions had been in place for two years and stressed that multiple viability consultants had all agreed that the maximum payable would be £1.65 million. 

     

    Councillor Watkin commented that the proposed revision offered the earliest possible payment option.  He asked if, with the current Covid crisis and the potential for reduction in the need for office space, there was a future risk of the development being changed to residential space.  

     

    The Interim Head of Planning and Building Control reassured the councillor that permitted development rights for office to residential conversion, only applied to existing buildings.  Planning permission would be required to effect any such changes.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

20/00178/FULM - 147 York Way pdf icon PDF 558 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chair introduced the item to the committee and invited the Principal Planning Officer (AC) to present his report. 

     

    At the conclusion of the presentation, the Chair thanked the officer and expressed his support for the scheme.   In the absence of any speakers, he passed the matter to the committee for comments. 

     

    Councillor Smith noted the nearby power lines and that they had been there for a long time.  It seemed strange that the minimum distances to the power lines were not taken into account from the outset.  He asked the officer if the three new units were “flexicare”.

     

    The Principal Planning Officer confirmed that they were and briefly addressed the issue of the power lines. 

     

    Councillor Pattinson asked what the difference was between “flexicare” and “extracare”.  She also expressed her disappointment regarding the changes to the design, particularly relating to block D and the loss of the pitched roof lines.  She also expressed regret that the café had also been removed.   

     

    The Principal Planning Officer explained “flexicare” and “extracare”; both allowed the elderly to live independently and have 24 hour support if needed.  He went to comment on the various design changes.   The pitched roofs were lost due to the reduction in massing at the rear. 

     

    He concluded by commenting that although the café had been lost, a café could easily occupy one of the new 9 retail units. 

     

    The Interim Head of Planning and Building Control further clarified that “extra care” was exclusively for residents who required immediate care.  In other words, a very narrow criterion.  Whilst “flexicare” could include those people, but also elderly people who might not immediately require that same level of care, but may need it in the future. 

     

    The Chair then proposed a vote that planning permission be granted, subject to the completion of a planning obligation under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as set out below, and subject to the conditions in Section 8 of the officer’s report and the amendments in the update sheet.

     

    In accordance with Standing Committee Procedure Rules, paragraph 4.2, Councillor Jeffree requested that it be recorded in the minutes how members cast their votes.

     

    Those members voting for the motion:

    Councillors Bell, Collett, Jeffree, Johnson, Mills, Sharpe, Smith and Watkin.

     

    Those members voting against the motion:

    Councillor Pattinson

     

    The motion was declared to be CARRIED by eight votes to one with no abstentions.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    That planning permission be granted, subject to the completion of a planning obligation under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as set out below, and subject to the following conditions:

    Section 106 Heads of Terms

    i)          To secure the provision of fire hydrants as required to serve the development.

    ii)         To secure a minimum of 89 dwellings as affordable housing comprising 9 social rented and 80 affordable rented units. The remaining 44 dwellings to be provided as social rented,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

 

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