To consider the report of the Director City Development and Housing.
The Principal Project Manager (Development Management) (CC) presented the application for reserved matters seeking permission for 182 dwellings and associated infrastructure, layout, scale, appearance and landscaping relating to the Residential development approved under application 15/0641/OUT (Revised plans).
The report also setting out the following key elements:-
· the principle of development;
· requirements of 15/0641/OUT;
· quantum of development;
· site layout
· highway considerations;
· archaeology; and
· sustainable construction and energy conservation.
The Principal Project Manager (Development Management) (CC) advised that since the publication of the Planning Committee agenda, revised plans has been submitted. These were based on advice from the assessing officer and involving minor alterations to dwelling details, garden layouts and the introduction of additional visitor parking spaces. He provided the following detail:-
· Aldens Farm was a Reserved Matters application for 182 dwellings following a 2015 Outline application that granted in September 2021 comprising a mix of 1, 2 and 4-bed dwellings including two blocks of flats on a 4.1 hectare site which is currently split into two fields, with hedgerow bordering each. To the West is Shillingford Road, which had vehicular access already approved as part of the Outline consent. To the north is Veitch Gardens and to the east is an additional site allocated for development as part of the south Alphington expansion. To the immediate south is Markham Lane and land under Teignbridge Council, which was undergoing significant development;
· an additional objection had been received bringing the total to 75, the primary objection being the density of development and subsequent impacts on the surrounding area
· the indicative plans and the initial access assessment showed 116 dwellings which had led to expectation of a much lower level of development in this area;
· the scheme would have a total site density of 43.75 dwellings per hectare (dph) which was considered in keeping with that of development in the surrounding area. The Alphington Development Brief, which covers this and a wider area, makes reference to density, noting that levels of 30 dph would be the minimum expected, with lower densities at the north and southern parts of the site. The closest sites to this development were immediately to the south across Markham Lane, split into two parcels, one for 94 dwellings at a site density of 35.2dph and one for 163 dwellings at a density of 40.4dph. Density levels in the Design Brief state 20 dph for areas of Vestry Gardens, Chudleigh Road and Steeple Drive and 54 dph for areas of Lichgate Road and Tower Walk;
· on balance, it was considered that the level of density was similar to that of the surrounding area and was acceptable in principle;
· a revised Transport Assessment was submitted based on the new dwelling numbers and the Highway Authority found that the proposed access was still suitable for this increased number of dwellings with suitable capacity on the surrounding highway network;
· revised plans had changed the appearance of a number of buildings with a reduction in height of a number of plots and revised car parking arrangements. In line with a condition and Section 106 requirement, 10% of the site would be public open space;
· the bordering hedgerow would be improved as part of this scheme, with the only removal to create the access points. The central hedgerow would be retained and would become a dark corridor for bat use;
· there was a thought that a connection to Chudleigh Road would be made as part of this application. The relevant condition required that a road suitable for two way bus traffic be built up to the site boundary to join third party land allocated for future residential development;
· a footway will be installed along the western site boundary along Shillingford Road; and
· an existing Section 106 Agreement included a 30% Affordable Housing delivery, as well as contributions towards education, medical care and the local highway network.
The Principal Project Manager (Development Management) (CC) stated in conclusion that, whilst there was an increase in density compared to the indicative levels shown at outline stage, it had been demonstrated that the site could accommodate this increase. The development would provide an acceptable level of amenity for occupants and was therefore recommended to the Committee for conditional approval.
The following responses were given to Members’ queries:-
· outline permission had already been granted and it would not be possible to add contributions for special education needs and, seeking an overall re-design, would be costly to the developers;
· on balance, a density of 43.75 dph was not excessive;
· social housing provision was not limited to the identified flats but would be spread throughout the site;
· the number of bedrooms would be reflected through car parking provision which would be 1.4 per household on average and would include designated visitor parking bays. Car parking provision would be largely off street;
· the Locally Equipped Area for Play was not part of the drainage network;
· whilst the trees were not covered by TPO’s, they would be retained; and
· 30% affordable housing provision had been agreed at outline stage through the Section 106 Agreement which did not include provision for linkage to District Heating as this could no longer be fulfilled.
Councillor Atkinson, having given notice under Standing Order No. 44, spoke on the item. She raised the following points:-
· concerns were expressed at the outline stage regarding the dangerous traffic conditions caused by the narrowness of Shillingford Road and this remained the case with the safety of pedestrians and cyclists compromised;
· design and density were inappropriate for the local area and it was unacceptable to compare density with those of the neighbouring developments in Teignbridge;
· the proposed density was put forward to maximise profits and did not reflect housing developments in Alphington;
· the proposal did not comply with the design principles of the Alphington Development Brief and failed to respect the character and appearance of neighbouring residential properties;
· the Development Brief referred to dwellings not exceeding two storeys in height – this development had two and a half and three storey heights in some cases;
· the relationship with Markham Lane would be inappropriate;
· tree planting was inadequate;
· schools and the GP surgery were already oversubscribed and these as well as other community facilities would suffer increased pressure; and
· a re-design was required with lower density to more reflect Alphington Village.
Councillor Warwick, having given notice under Standing Order No. 44, spoke on the item. He raised the following points:-
· the area on the edge of Exeter had historical significance, particularly the location of Veitch Nursery and Markham’s Lane, formerly Hangman’s Lane, but much of the high quality agricultural land had been, or was being lost, to development;
· whilst more houses were needed, it was an excessively dense development with this part of Exeter, together with the land in Teignbridge, becoming an urban snowball for developers;
· local residents were genuinely concerned at the scale of the developments in the area and it was not simply a case of “not in my backyard”. There were significant biodiversity impacts and there would be yet more pressure on local amenities; and
· Shillingford Road required a dedicated pedestrian crossing.
Juliet Meadowcroft spoke against the application. She raised the following points:-
· the Alphington Village Forum understood that more houses were needed and that two sites in the village had been approved some years ago. The Forum was not fighting against the principle of development, but against the effects it caused, taking into account the surrounding area, the capacity of the local roads, and the existing residents. The application nearly doubled the density previously approved;
· the Alphington Development Brief was produced as a Supplementary Planning Document in 2014. Tilia Homes appears to have ignored this document, as well as the 74 objections from residents as they are not included in their Consultee Response Tracker. They had responded to 56 objections made by official consultees, but there was not one response to the residents’ objections. The new South West Exeter Local Centre would be at least a kilometre away;
· the Brief stated that the site must make an excellent contribution to the character and appearance of Alphington, but this would be impossible with 182 houses squeezed onto two small fields. It lacked a sense of place and did not integrate with existing development in the vicinity with a high density, tall blocks and tiny gardens, 22 of which were below the recommended size;
· there would be increased traffic congestion in the village with another 2,500 new houses being built nearby with no new infrastructure. Approximately 270 of these will be higher up on the same Shillingford Road, a narrow hill, just above the Tilia development, with another 900 houses further up this hill; and
· the Highways Authority did not look at the bigger picture, when all 6,000 new residents occupy their homes. The only bus service was unreliable and cycle paths did not and could not exist as the roads are too narrow and dangerous.
Ben Smith spoke in support of the application. He raised the following points:-
· within the Exeter City Council adopted Core Strategy 500 dwellings had been allocated south of Alphington. To date, outline approval had been granted for 234 plots, with 206 gaining a reserved matters approval, leaving 294 plots within the allocation. Reserved matters were sought for 182 dwellings with associated infrastructure, layout, scale, appearance and landscaping;
· there was a need for 1, 2 and 4 bed housing not only as affordable housing but housing that was also affordable by their design whilst still meeting the required standards as outlined within the Exeter Housing Needs Assessment;
· the scheme met the needs of the local population and, by providing 1, 2 and 4 bed homes, best use was made of the land providing 54 affordable houses and apartments;
· £4 million would be provided in Section 106 contributions and CIL payments;
· materials to be used would reflect the local area;
· the application met the required planning policy and the structure and design of the scheme followed the principles of the Framework Plan and Design and Access Statement;
· the County Ecologist, the Highways Officer and the Lead Local Flood Authority had not objected to the application; and
· the design of the scheme meets the local need, therefore the developer was in a position to provide 54 affordable dwellings, an increase of 19 over a scheme of 116 plots.
He responded as follows to Members’ queries:-
· approval had already been granted for a pedestrian crossing;
· it would not be a 100% Net Zero development but would be built to current Building Regulation standards including energy saving measures;
· ecological measures would include the retention of the hedge through the centre of the site, landscaping, provision of public open space and a dark corridor for bats along Markham Lane. There would be a five metre buffer to the east of the hedgerow with no housing provided in this location;
· the developer had met with local residents including members of the Alphington Village Forum and the web site has been updated following re-consultations on changes to the plans. It was considered that the urban design reflected the character of the village and the surrounding vernacular with a mix of red brick and render; and
· the scheme had a total site density of 43.75 dph, which was considered in keeping with that of development in the surrounding area.
Members expressed the following views:-
· the application should be refused on grounds of excess density, inadequate spread of social housing throughout the site, a design being more suitable to a city centre location and concerns with issues relating to infrastructure;
· whilst the density proposed could be accepted, concerns remain relating to impact on biodiversity and ecology, the small size of the gardens, a failure to reflect the original Alphington Development Brief as well failing to address the impact on road safety;
· following revisions to the submitted information the proposal was considered to be acceptable in accordance with local and national policy;
· there were no planning reasons to refuse and the benefits outweighed the disadvantages;
· not everyone required large gardens;
· contributions per dwelling to local amenities would be beneficial; and
· Alphington was no longer a small village on the edge of Exeter.
The recommendation was for approval, subject to the conditions as set out in the report.
The recommendation was moved and seconded and, following a vote, was carried.
RESOLVED that planning permission for reserved matters application for 182 dwellings and associated infrastructure, layout, scale, appearance and landscaping relating to the Residential development approved under application 15/0641/OUT (Revised plans) be APPROVED, subject to the following conditions:-
The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of five years from the date of the issuing of the Outline permission. In the interest of clarity this is 24 November 2026.
Reason: To ensure compliance with section 91 - 93 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the following approved plans:
- P22-1227-DE_05 Rev I Site Location Plan
- P22-1227_DE_02 Rev AA Site Layout
- P22-1227_DE_04 Rev H Materials Plan
- P22-1227_DE_06 Rev G Affordable Tenure Plan
- P22-1227_DE_07 Rev G Building Heights
- P22-1227_DE_08 Rev G External Works
- P22-1227_DE_09 Rev G Refuse Strategy
- P22-1227_DE_10 Rev J Parking Strategy
- P22-1227_DE_11 Rev G Adoption Plan
- P22-1227_DE_11 Rev G Movement Plan
- P22-1227_DE_14 Rev D Illustrative Street Scenes
- 3262.100.1 Rev G Landscape GA Sheet 1 of 5
- 3262.100.2 Rev G Landscape GA Sheet 2 of 5
- 3262.100.3 Rev G Landscape GA Sheet 3 of 5
- 3262.100.4 Rev G Landscape GA Sheet 4 of 5
- 3262.100.5 Rev G Landscape GA Sheet 5 of 5
- 3262.100.6 Rev G Landscape GA Complete Site
- 0645-A-101-P2 Longitudinal Sections Sheet 1 of 2
- 0645-A-102-P2 Longitudinal Sections Sheet 2 of 2
- 0645-A-103-P3 Plot Levels
- 0645-A-104-P4 Preliminary Section 38 Plan
- 0645-A-105-P4 Kerbing and White Lining
- 0645-A-106-P3 Materials Plan
- 0645-A-107-P0 Road Construction Details
- 0645-A-120-P3 Drainage Strategy
- 0645-A-0121-P3 Surface Water Catchment Plan
- 0645-A-0122-P4 Flood Exceedance Routing Plan
- Play Area Proposal 03 February 2023
- P22-1227_DE_03J House Type Pack February 2023
Reason: In order to ensure compliance with the approved drawings.
Construction Ecological Management Plan
No development nor clearance works shall occur on the development hereby approved until a Construction Ecological Management Plan (CEcMP) has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
The CEcMP shall include the following
a) Risk assessment of potentially damaging construction activities.
b) Identification of “biodiversity protection zones”.
c) Practical measures (both physical measures and sensitive working practices) to avoid or reduce impacts during construction (may be provided as a set of method statements).
d) The location and timing of sensitive works to avoid harm to biodiversity features.
e) The times during construction when specialist ecologists need to be present on site to oversee works.
f) Responsible persons and lines of communication.
g) The role and responsibilities on site of an ecological clerk of works (ECoW) or similarly competent person.
h) Use of protective fences, exclusion barriers and warning signs in line with the submitted Arboricultural Method Statement 1031-AMS-MU (February 2023).
Reason: To ensure protection of biodiversity during construction. This is necessary as a pre-commencement condition to ensure suitable measures are in place prior to work starting on site.
Hedgerow and Scrub Removal
No works relating to hedgerow or scrub removal shall occur until a license Dormouse license has been granted by Natural England. The works shall be undertaken in accordance with the details approved by Natural England.
Reason: To ensure suitable protection and mitigation for dormice.
Prior to works commencing on foundations details of phased delivery of Highway matters shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. This shall set out the phasing process and areas of delivery for each phase.
Prior to each agreed phase commencing details, including drawings and delivery timetables for estate roads, cycleways, footways, footpaths, verges, junctions, street lighting, sewers, drains, retaining walls, service routes, surface water outfall, road maintenance/vehicle overhang margins, embankments, visibility splays, accesses, car parking and street furniture shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
These aspects shall be constructed and laid out in accordance with the approved details, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To ensure a suitable design of the streets and highway network.
Pre-Damp Proof Course
No works shall occur above foundation-level until details, including type and colour, of all external materials to be used on the elevations of the houses and flats hereby approved have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
The development shall be undertaken in accordance with the approved details unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To ensure suitable materials in the interest of visual amenity and good design.
No works shall occur above foundation-level until details, including material and design, of all public and private boundary treatments are submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
The boundary treatment shall be installed in accordance with the approved details prior to first occupation or use of the respective area.
Reason: To ensure appropriate design and material choice in the interest of visual amenity.
No external lighting shall be installed on the site unless details of the lighting have previously been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority (including location, type and specification). The details shall include:
a) A map showing the “dark areas” that will be maintained on site.
b) An evidence based assessment of light levels of the development, including buildings, vehicle headlamps and street lighting, comprising a written report and accompanying drawings of the site with the levels of predicted illuminance and light spill in and adjacent to the “dark areas” shown by appropriate isolines.
c) Evidence to demonstrate that a light spill no higher than 0.5 lux will be achieved within the “dark areas”
d) Where c) is achieved either fully or in part through landscaping, details of the landscaping and its management to ensure it will maintain the “dark areas” in perpetuity. These details shall be incorporated into the details of landscaping and Landscape and Ecological Management Plan (LEMP) where applicable.
The lighting shall be installed in accordance with the approved measures and retained in that manner at all times thereafter.
Reason: To ensure lighting is well designed to protect the amenities of the area and wildlife.
Landscape Ecological Management Plan
Prior to first occupation of any dwelling hereby approved a Landscape Ecological Management Plan (LEMP), including long term objectives, management responsibilities and maintenance schedules for all landscape areas, other than small privately owned domestic gardens, shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The LEMP shall be carried out as approved at all times thereafter.
Reason: To ensure biodiversity gain and that satisfactory landscaping works are provided and maintained.
Prior to first occupation of any dwelling hereby approved full details, including location, design and materials of refuse and recycling stores shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
The refuse and recycling stores shall be installed in accordance with the approved details prior to occupation of each respective dwelling and retained solely for that use at all times thereafter.
Reason: To ensure suitable refuse and recycling storage in the interest of amenity and highway safety.
Prior to first occupation of any dwelling hereby approved full details, including design and materials, of secure cycle storage at a ratio of 1 space for each 1-bed or 2-bed dwelling and 2 spaces for each 3-bed or more dwelling has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
The approved cycle storage shall be installed prior to first occupation of the respective dwelling it serves and retained at all times thereafter.
Reason: To promote sustainable transport options for occupants.
Prior to first occupation of each dwelling hereby approved the relevant vehicle parking spaces shall be provided in accordance with the approved details. Allocated spaces in shared parking areas shall be clearly marked with the relevant allocation details. All spaces shall be retained solely for that use at all times thereafter.
Reason: To ensure suitable parking provision for motor vehicles to reduce impacts on highway safety.
Prior to first occupation of any dwelling hereby approved the approved surface water management system shall be implemented in accordance with the approved details and brought into use.
The approved surface water drainage details are:
- 06545/FRA/0001 Rev4 Flood Risk Assessment and Drainage Strategy (February 2023)
- 06545-A-0101-P2 Longitudinal Sections Sheet 1 of 2
- 06545-A-0102-P2 Longitudinal Sections Sheet 2 of 2
- Storm Sewer Design Criteria 12-02-2023
- 06545-A-0120-P3 Drainage Strategy
- 06545-A-0121-P3 Surface Water Catchment Plan
- 06545-A-0122-P4 Flood Exceedance Routing Plan
Reason: To prevent flooding and provide suitable on-site surface water management.
All rear service alleys shown on the approved plans shall see the gates with locks installed prior to first occupation of the relevant dwelling(s).
Reason: To provide security to future occupants.
The play area approved as part of this approval shall be installed in accordance with the details set out on approved drawing Play Area Proposal (dated 03 February 2023) unless otherwise agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority. This area shall remain solely for this use at all times thereafter.
Reason: To ensure suitable play facilities are provided by this development.
The development hereby approved shall be undertaken in accordance with the details set out in the submitted Silt Management Plan 06545-WR-A-P1 (February 2023) at all times.
Reason: To limit impacts during the construction phase.
In the event of failure of any trees or shrubs, planted in accordance with any scheme approved by the Local Planning Authority, to become established and to prosper for a period of five years from the date of the completion of implementation of that scheme, such trees or shrubs shall be replaced with such live specimens of such species of such size and in such number as may be approved by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To ensure long-term biodiversity net gain and mitigation from the scheme.
It is brought to the applicant’s attention that outstanding conditions remain on the Outline decision notice 15/0641/OUT and that this application does not discharge any conditions except for those required at Reserved Matters stage. Separate application will need to made to resolve those conditions.
In accordance with Paragraph 38 of the National Planning Policy Framework the Council has worked in a positive and pro-active way with the Applicant and has negotiated amendments to the application to enable the grant of planning permission.
The Local Planning Authority considers that this development will be CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) liable. Payment will become due following commencement of development. Accordingly your attention is drawn to the need to complete and submit an 'Assumption of Liability' notice to the Local Planning Authority as soon as possible. A copy is available on the Exeter City Council website.
It is also drawn to your attention that where a chargeable development is commenced before the Local Authority has received a valid commencement notice (ie where pre-commencement conditions have not been discharged) the Local Authority may impose a surcharge, and the ability to claim any form of relief from the payment of the Levy will be foregone. You must apply for any relief and receive confirmation from the Council before commencing development. For further information please see www.exeter.gov.uk/cil.
European Marine Sites
In accordance with Chapters 1 and 2 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, this development has been screened in respect of the need for an Appropriate Assessment (AA). Given the nature of the development, it has been concluded that an AA is required in relation to potential impact on the relevant Special Protection Area (SPA), the Exe Estuary, which is a designated European site. This AA has been carried out and concludes that the development is such that it could have an impact primarily associated with recreational activity of future occupants of the development. This impact will be mitigated in line with the South East Devon European Site Mitigation Strategy prepared by Footprint Ecology on behalf of East Devon and Teignbridge District Councils and Exeter City Council (with particular reference to Table 26), which is being funded through a proportion of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) collected in respect of the development being allocated to fund the mitigation strategy. Or, if the development is not liable to pay CIL, to pay the appropriate habitats mitigation contribution through another mechanism (this is likely to be either an undertaking in accordance with s111 of the Local Government Act 1972 or a Unilateral Undertaking)
The meeting adjourned at 19:10 and re-convened at 19:16.