Agenda and minutes
Venue: Town Hall
Contact: Ian Smith Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Conduct of the meeting
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.
Apologies for absence
There was a change of membership for this meeting; Councillor Grimston replaced Councillor Pattinson.
Disclosure of interests
Councillor Hastrick, who was present to speak regarding item 38, disclosed that she lived quite near to the proposed development, but that she did not have any pecuniary interest in the matter.
The Chair introduced the item to the committee and invited the Principal Planning Officer (AC) to present his report.
The Chair thanked the Principal Planning Officer for his report and invited Mr Zak Yousfi to speak against the application. Unfortunately Mr Yousfi appeared to have left the meeting. Councillor Collett volunteered to call him, but she was unable to reach him. The committee noted that he lived nearby to the proposed development. The Chair decided that there was no option but to continue without hearing from him and invited Ms Dina Cardoso of Rock Townsend to address the committee.
Ms Cardoso commented that the application was made on behalf of Watford Community Housing Trust and that it provided much needed social housing in the area. The proposed development made good use of the available land and supported the community. She explained that the site was disused and had never been a park or other designated public space.
Ms Cardoso then went on to describe the proposed development and explained it provided quality housing, with double aspect residences, benefiting from gardens, an amenity space and good parking.
Ms Cardoso concluded by pointing out that full consultation had been carried out with both statutory consultees and neighbours.
The Chair thanked Ms Cardoso for her contribution and commented that whilst he welcomed the application, he felt that the large loft spaces that the design afforded, were a poor use of the space and a missed opportunity for more storage or additional bedrooms for the upstairs flats. He then invited comments from the committee.
Councillor Johnson commented that he was of the same opinion as the Chair regarding the use of the loft spaces, but that he also supported the application.
Councillor Collett asked that whilst the preservation of trees was not a planning matter, could provision be made to preserve the oak tree on the site, or at least to plant more trees to replace those that were lost.
The Principal Planning Officer assured her that the oak tree would be retained and protected during the construction works.
Councillor Grimston asked if more trees could be planted and she was assured by both the Chair and the Principal Planning Officer that there was a landscaping scheme included as part of the application.
Councillor Bell voiced his support for the scheme.
The Chair then proposed a vote that planning permission be approved, subject to the conditions in Section 8 of the officer’s report and the additional conditions 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, Grimston, Jeffree, Johnson, Sharpe, Smith and Watkin.
Those members voting against the motion:
Those members abstaining:
Councillor Mills was unable to vote on the motion, due to a temporary technical issue.
The motion was declared to be CARRIED with eight votes for and one abstention.
That planning ... view the full minutes text for item 37.
The Chair introduced the item to the committee and invited the Principal Planning Officer (HH) to present her report.
The Chair thanked the Principal Planning Officer for her report and invited Mr Simon Warner (Warner Planning) to address the committee.
Mr Warner described the proposed development as three high quality, four bedroom houses, with gardens and parking, which reflected the streetscene. This development was designed to provide much needed family homes, a welcome change from the recent developments of smaller apartments in Watford.
The scheme was sustainable, being sited close to amenities such as shops, schools and parks. Features such as low energy lighting and high levels of insulation augment its sustainability credentials.
The design incorporated car parking to required standards and also incorporated cycle stores.
A noise assessment had been carried out and there were no issues with ecology, drainage etc. He added that the ecology was enhanced on the site.
The Chair thanked Mr Warner for his contribution and invited Councillor Kareen Hastrick, one of the Ward Councillors for Meriden, to address the committee.
Councillor Hastrick stated that she lived in Kytes Drive, very close to the site. She commented that much had been made of the vehicular access to the proposed site, but this access was based on using a private, un-adopted service road from Kytes Drive. This service road was used by residents for various access purposes, which would be limited by construction traffic using it. Residents use the road for going to shops and schools. Additionally it was required for wheelchair access. Sharing the use with heavy construction vehicles was dangerous.
Councillor Hastrick criticised the timing of the noise assessment, as it had been conducted during the first Covid-19 lockdown, when traffic volumes were substantially lower than normal.
She concluded by reading a letter from a resident of Park Terrace, citing health problems.
The Chair thanked Councillor Hastrick and invited comments from the officers on the key points raised by Councillor Hastrick.
The Principal Planning Officer replied that Highways had reviewed the access and parking arrangements, and were satisfied, subject to certain conditions. A transport statement accompanied the application and it indicated low numbers of vehicle trips (11 per day).
She added that HCC had advised that the service road was serviceable and maintained by them, although there was one narrow section, although there was a footpath. There was also a pre-commencement condition to submit a construction plan and vehicle movements would be staggered.
The Principal Planning Officer then addressed the issue of the timing of the noise assessment during lockdown (over three days in mid-June). The report recognised that traffic flows were lower than normal and took that into account.
The Chair then invited comments from the committee.
Councillor Johnson stated that whilst he could not see a reason to refuse the application, he took exception to the cynical and disingenuous assertion by the applicant that they were improving the ecology of the area. In fact they were merely replacing what they had decimated. ... view the full minutes text for item 38.