Agenda item

056023 - R - Full Application - Demolition of Existing Dwelling and Provision of Access Junction and Access Plan at 81 Drury Lane, Buckley


That Planning Permission be refused for the reasons outlined in the report of the Chief Officer (Planning and Environment).


The Committee considered the report of the Chief Officer (Planning and Environment) in respect of this application which had been the subject of a site visit.  The usual consultations had been undertaken and the responses received detailed in the report.  Additional comments received since preparation of the report were set out in the late observations.


The officer explained that the application was unusual in that it proposed the demolition of an existing property and the formation of an access without any further development.  The accompanying Design and Access Statement and Transport Assessment made reference to the access serving a potential housing development on land to the rear of the property which did not form part of the application.  A request for more time to consider the application had been refused by the applicant who had stated their intention to appeal if the application was not considered by the end of the month.  Since publication of the report, a revised plan had been submitted by the applicant to address one of the officer’s three recommended reasons for refusal which were detailed in the report.  An initial response by Highways officers was included in the late observations.  The revised plan had not been subject to public consultation due to the late stage at which it had been made available to the Council and the applicant remained unwilling to agree to an extension of time, therefore the Committee was asked to determine the application on the basis of the original plan.  As such, the officer recommended refusal of the application for the reasons set out in the report of the Chief Officer (Planning and Environment).


On behalf of local residents, Mr. J.L. Keig spoke against the application on the following grounds: the need to retain the property due to its heritage and the fact that it was already habitable; the range of new housing already in the area and inability of the local infrastructure to support further developments; the detrimental impact of increased levels of traffic along this heavily used route and the safety of pedestrians; and concerns about the impact on a nearby elderly resident.


The applicant, Mr. S. Bourne, spoke in support of the application on the following grounds: the Inspector’s decision to include this land within the settlement boundary which could make it available for future development; contributing to the shortfall in the Council’s five year housing land supply; the Muller Group agreeing to a condition allowing implementation of the access permission only if the housing development was granted approval; the revised plan having been issued within 24 hours of the published report which contained consultation responses; the access complying with Highways standards and relevant guidance; and supporting information to address concerns on safety and traffic.


As a Local Member, Councillor Dennis Hutchinson had been given dispensation to speak for five minutes, having declared a prejudicial interest.  He spoke against the application on the following grounds: concerns of local residents that this was an opportunist application with no evidence to support the need for further housing developments in the area; prior rejection of the site by the UDP Inspector in favour of another where new houses had been built; the important heritage of the property to the area; increased traffic volumes and movements which would contribute to the heavy traffic currently recorded; concerns over the safety of pedestrians; and non-compliance with policies GEN1 and AC13.  Councillor Hutchinson then left the meeting for the remainder of the item.


The recommendation for refusal was proposed by Councillor Mike Peers and seconded by Councillor Richard Jones.  Councillor Peers pointed out that section 5.4 of the applicant’s planning statement did not comply with planning policy and Technical Advice Note TAN1 in relation to increasing housing land supply.  He said that the application was unjustified, and that the demolishing of the property would result in a detrimental impact on the streetscene and loss of character in the locality.  He referred to the UDP Inspector’s comments which reflected that the demolition of a property to facilitate a development was outweighed by a development where demolishing a property was not necessary.  In addition, the Inspector had spoken against the allocation of land to the rear of the property being used for future housing development.  Councillor Peers stated that housing need in the area was satisfied and that this was a speculative application of uncontrolled development which was unsupported by the local infrastructure and did not comply with HSG3.


In supporting refusal of the application, Councillor Richard Jones highlighted the importance of considering the detrimental impact on the character of streetscene and the creation of an unacceptable access which was inadequate to serve any proposed development.  He also referred to the lack of detail in the application which conflicted with Planning Policy Wales.


Also speaking against the application was Councillor Derek Butler who was against the demolition of the dwelling and felt that the proposed housing development was a ‘red herring’.


Councillor Gareth Roberts agreed, saying that the shortfall in five year housing land supply was not a consideration in this case.


In supporting the proposal for refusal, Chris Bithell felt that the application was an attempt to ‘jump the queue’ on the UDP process and that there were no detailed plans to assess the potential housing development.


In response, the officer advised that there was no guarantee that the housing development would proceed so the application could only be considered on the basis of the proposed demolition and access.


The Service Manager - Strategy said that the lack of detail on the housing development prevented an assessment of sustainability and community impact, and that the lack of demonstrated housing land supply should not give rise to approval of speculative applications.  He added that the applicant’s willingness to offer a condition at this stage should have formed part of the application process.


In summing up, Councillor Peers said that Members were entitled to speak on the housing element, as referred to in section 1.02 of the report.  His reasons for refusal concurred with those set out in the report.  He referred to his earlier comments against demolition of the property and non-allocation of the site.  He further added that the application did not accord with policy HSG3 and that uncontrolled developments would result in conflict with principles of the LDP and previous consideration against the demolition of a property to access land at the rear of the property.


On being put to the vote, the proposal to refuse the application was carried.




That Planning Permission be refused for the reasons outlined in the report of the Chief Officer (Planning and Environment).

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