Agenda and draft minutes
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Contact: Stephen Chard / Jessica Bailiss
There were no apologies received.
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of this Committee held on 17th November 2021.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 17th November 2021 were approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chairman, subject to the following amendment:
Item 26, Declarations of Interest: Councillor Richard Somner stated that he had given the following declaration of interest at the beginning of the meeting: He had been involved in conversations regarding the application (21/02112/FUL land at Lawrences Lane) due to his position as a Portfolio Holder at the Local Authority however, this would not influence his contribution at the meeting and he would take part in the debate on the item, but would abstain from the vote.
Declarations of Interest
To remind Members of the need to record the existence and nature of any personal, disclosable pecuniary or other registrable interests in items on the agenda, in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct.
Councillor Keith Woodhams declared an interest in Agenda Item 4(1) as he had campaigned against the development in his capacity as Ward Member and therefore predetermined the application. Councillor Woodhams reported that he would be leaving the meeting during the course of consideration of the matter.
Schedule of Planning Applications
(Note: The Chairman, with the consent of the Committee, reserves the right to alter the order of business on this agenda based on public interest and participation in individual applications.)
(Councillor Keith Woodhams declared an interest in the item as he had campaigned against the application in his capacity as Ward Member. He stated that he would be leaving the meeting during the course of consideration of the matter and would take no part in the debate or voting on the matter. Councillor Woodhams left the meeting at 6.35pm.)
The Committee considered a report (Agenda Item 4(1)) concerning Planning Application 18/00964/FULEXT in respect of the erection of 91 residential dwellings together with associated infrastructure and landscaping.
Principal Planning Officer, Mrs Emma Nutchey, introduced the report and highlighted the key points.
In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, Mr Simon Pike, Town Council representative, Ms Durber, objector, Mrs Laura Jackson, applicant and Councillor Jeff Brooks, Ward Member, addressed the Committee on this application.
Town Council Representation
Mr Simon Pike in addressing the Committee raised the following points:
· Thatcham Town Council objected to the application when it was first submitted in 2018 and this objection still stood.
· It was not felt that the application complied with West Berkshire Council’s (WBC) planning policy HSA5 for the site or CS15 for energy efficiency. Policy CS15 stated that from 2016 residential development should be zero carbon in line with Government aspirations.
· In 2021 the Government had published building regulation amendments, which delivered a 30 percent improvement on the 2013 standard. These regulations were not yet in force but this would be a legal commitment.
· The report pack stated that the applicant was committed to a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions and this was insufficient in complying with policy CS15 in light of the new regulations.
· The energy statement, which was made available on 25th January 2022, made statements that were untrue regarding the viability of heat pumps.
· As WBC had declared a climate emergency it was expected that the critical policy CS15 should be applied in full.
· Policy HSA5 required a landscape buffer to the side of the site where the Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre was. The Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) had stated the buffer should include areas of woodland and be planted to a minimum width of 15 metres. It should include both tree and shrub species to provide a multi-layer vegetation screen to the proposed development.
· The plans showed a minimum separation distance of 15 metres between the boundary and the properties however, trees and shrubs would only be planted along the boundary with the remaining being grass and a footpath. In many places driveways intruded into this width. The planted width of the landscape buffer fell well short of the recommendation in the LVIA and did not comply with HSA5.
· Regarding cycling, policy HSA5 stated that pedestrian and cycle linkages were expected throughout the site that linked to the surrounding area. National cycle route NC4 passed along Lower Way. The off road route ended abruptly at the eastern end of the site. Both Thatcham Town Council and the West Berkshire Local Access Forum had proposed an alternative cycle route ... view the full minutes text for item 4.(1)
(Councillor Woodhams rejoined the meeting at 7.51pm).
The Committee considered a report (Agenda Item 4(2)) concerning Planning Application 21/02012/FULMAJ in respect of the demolition of existing dwelling, erection of replacement dwelling.
Principal Planning Officer, Michael Butler, introduced the report and highlighted the key points.
In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, Mr Matthew Miller, agent and Councillor Alan Law, Ward Member, addressed the Committee on this application.
Mr Miller in addressing the Committee raised the following points:
· Mr Miller was a chartered planner speaking on behalf of the applicant.
· The application constituted a resubmission following a refused application for a replacement dwelling.
· Since the refusal, work had gone in to revising the scheme and adjusting the proposal to overcome the areas of concern. Firstly the proposal had been reduced in volume and bulk. It was now a proportionate replacement to the existing built form.
· Various technical reports had been provided in reference to the previous refusal reasons.
· Mr Miller stated that whilst there had been some debate regarding whether the existing boat house should be included within the volume of the replacement bulk built form, even when including the boat house the proposal was not disproportionate in terms of bulk and massing.
· There would be a noticeable reduction in hard standing and an increase in soft landscaping.
· The proposal was of high quality bespoke design and it would complement its surroundings particularly in comparison to the existing dwelling. The existing dwelling had limited design merit as it had a corrugated metal roof, which was visible from the A329 to the south.
· The improved appearance of the proposal and the fact that it would be set back from the A329 would result in an improved relationship to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
· Mr Miller stated that Members who attended the site visit would have seen the site from view points across the river however, it was considered that the view point from the A329 was also critical as the road experienced a high volume of foot fall. The proposal would improve the attractiveness from this view. The proposal would be set back and with the existing wall would mean the proposal would have limited visibility.
· Views from across the river were observed on the site visit during the winter. In summer months when planting was in bloom there would be significant screening of the proposal from the river view point. The proposal would result in a positive character impact.
· Whilst the CPRE had objected to the proposal due to visual harm, it had been demonstrated that the proposal would not be imposing to a harmful extent.
· Mr Miller stated that Members at the site visit would have also seen that the proposal would be located on a downward slope towards the river. This changing site level had been factored into the submission through the provision of detailed landscape and tree structure management information, to be further supplemented by condition.
· Mr Miller did not consider the existing residential curtilage ... view the full minutes text for item 4.(2)
This item was withdrawn.