Cllr Valerie Scott writes:-
An application has been made by Grove Homes (Devon) Ltd for approval of reserved matters following outline approval, granted on appeal, for a residential development of circa 8 dwellings, open space and associated infrastructure with all matters reserved apart from access and associated highway works (Application Ref: 4097/16/OPA). The application reference number is 3450/19/ARM.
The details submitted now show a scheme for 9 x 4-bedroom dwellings with no affordable housing. The illustrative masterplan for the outline scheme showed 3 x 3-bed terraced affordable units on site, 1 x 3-bedrooms, 3 x 4-bedrooms and 1 x 5 bedrooms, 8 dwellings in total. The 9th house is to the south of the new road. This land was previously shown as open space and allotments.
As this is a reserved matters application we cannot object to the principle of a housing development on this site but the details should accord with the principles set out in the Design and Access Statement (DAS), the illustrative masterplan submitted with the outline application and with policies of the Joint Local Plan and Bigbury Neighbourhood Plan.
I set out below some of my initial comments on the application and possible reasons for objection. We are having a meeting in the Memorial Hall, St Ann’s Chapel on Monday 25 November to discuss the application and would invite you all to attend. Please also let anybody else you know that might be affected by this proposed development or might wish to make representations to the District Council.
It would also be useful if Ringmore Parish Council and anyone living in or with a business in Ringmore could submit their representations.
Housing size and tenure
The proposed development does not provide a suitable mix of housing sizes, types and tenures that would be most appropriate in this area as required by Joint Local Plan Policy DEV 9: Meeting local housing need in the Thriving Towns and Villages Policy Area.
This policy seeks a mix of housing sizes, types and tenures appropriate to the area and as supported by local housing evidence. The most particular needs in the Thriving Towns and Villages Policy Area are:
i. Homes that redress an imbalance within the existing housing stock.
ii. Housing suitable for households with specific need.
iii. Dwellings suited to younger people, working families and older people who wish to retain a sense of self-sufficiency.
The Housing Needs Survey prepared as evidence for the Bigbury Neighbourhood Plan showed that the most need within the parish was for small (mainly 2 bedroom) dwellings with no need for large 4-bedroom houses. There was also a need to dwellings suitable for the elderly.
The policy does state that within rural areas all residential development of 6 to 10 dwellings will provide an off-site commuted sum to deliver affordable housing to the equivalent of at least 30% of the total number of dwellings.
The outline application did show 30% affordable housing provided on site in the form of 3 x 3-bedroom terraced properties but the agreed Section 106 Agreement and appeal decision did state that off-site affordable housing contributions could be made. This will not however benefit the affordable housing needs of those living in the parish.
Joint Local Plan Policy DEV9 also requires a mix of accessible housing units with at least 20% of units to meet national standards for accessibility and adaptability.
Scale and Design
Details of the design of the houses is another matter on which we need to comment. The details are to comply with the parameters which were set out in the Design and Access Statement (DAS) and as shown on the illustrative masterplan. The DAS states:
‘The height of houses is proposed as 2 storey. This strategy seeks to complement the existing built context in the village and ensures the scheme sits comfortably in its wider setting.
Houses should be a maximum of 9m to ridgeline and a minimum height of 8m to ridgeline’ Houses should be designed to a maximum width of 10m (wide frontage) and minimum of 4m. They should have a maximum depth (front façade to rear façade of dwelling) of 12m and a minimum of 4m (to be determined by location and frontage requirements).
House Type A (4B7P) (semi-detached) has a height to the ridge of 12m, a frontage of 11.1m and depth of 13m.
House Type B (4B8P) (detached) has a height to the ridge of 11m, a frontage of 19m and depth of 10m.
House Type C (4B7P) (detached) has a height to the ridge of 10.2m and 11m to the top of the gable, a frontage of 19m and depth of 15.2m.
House Type D (4B6P) (detached) has a height to the ridge of 10.2m, and 11m to the top of the gable, a width of 14.2m, and a depth of 15.3m.
All of these houses are considerably larger in scale than those shown on the outline scheme and they do not meet the parameters set out in the DAS. This is itself should be a reason to refuse the application.
In terms of design the details are very uninspiring and do not relate well to local vernacular set by the more traditional dwellings in the village. The three new terraced properties shown on the frontage of the applicants Design and Access Statement (DAS), provide a good example of well-designed new dwellings. The roof pitches are much too high at 45 degrees and do not respect the roof pitches of the existing properties and the new properties shown on the front page of the DAS.
The proposals show grey cladding to plots 3 and 4 which is likely to be a Cedral type of cladding which is unacceptable in this location.
On other houses it is stated that there will be timber or slate cladding with slate roofs but no indication of whether this is natural timber or natural slate. This does need clarification.
The proposed development by reason of the proposed density, height, scale and design of the proposed dwellings would not meet good standards of design, would be extremely dominant and intrusive in its townscape and landscape setting and does not have proper regard to the pattern of the local development and wider development context an surroundings in terms of style, local distinctiveness, scale, massing, height, density, materials and landscaping and character.
The proposed development would therefore be contrary to JLP Policy DEV10: Delivering high quality housing, Policy DEV20: Place shaping and the quality of the built environment, DEV23: Landscape character, DEV24 Undeveloped Coast and Heritage Coast, DEV25 Nationally protected landscapes and the Bigbury Neighbourhood Plan Policy BP7: General design principles for new development and Policy BP18: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Insufficient off street parking is provided to meet the needs of 9 x 4-bedroom dwellings. The proposals show mainly two car parking spaces per dwelling and in most cases car parking spaces are located in front of garages with the second space being within a garage which might be used for other general storage purposes. The Bigbury Neighbourhood Plan parking policy, recently approved by the Examiner, is for any dwelling of 3 bedrooms or more to have three spaces.
The proposed development is therefore contrary to JLP Policy DEV10 and Bigbury Neighbourhood Plan Policy BP27.
Location of additional dwelling
The additional ninth dwelling is located on land which was proposed to be kept open in order to provide an area of public open space, allotments and orchard. Apart from the loss of these open space facilities, referred to below, the siting of this dwelling will extend the built development further to the south of the village resulting in additional dominance and intrusion into the countryside and the area allocated as Undeveloped Land and Heritage Coast. The occupiers of this property will need to cross the new road to access the community facilities provided in the village resulting in additional pedestrian safety issues and the new vehicular access required for this additional dwelling will also cause traffic problems close to the junction of the new road and the B3392.
This land should remain open as previously proposed.
The extension of the built development as shown on the drawings submitted as reserved matters would be contrary to policies for the protection of the landscape, the openness of the AONB and the undeveloped and unspoilt nature of the Undeveloped Coast and Heritage Coast contrary to JLP Policies DEV20: Place shaping and the quality of the built environment, Policy DEV 23: Landscape character, Policy DEV24 Undeveloped Coast and Heritage Coast, Policy DEV25: Nationally protected landscapes and Bigbury Neighbourhood Plan Policy BP18: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Lack of open space
The outline application was described as being for the residential development of circa 8 dwellings, open space and associated infrastructure. The DAS stated that the proposed development would include community allotments and car parking, community orchard and informal public open space – 0.67 hectares (1.66 acres).
The proposed scheme shows no open space, no allotments and no visitor car parking. The area shown as an orchard is also considerably smaller than the area shown for open space, allotments, orchard and parking on the outline scheme, about half of the area originally shown, with the other half now used for the ninth dwelling.
This does not accord with the description of the approved outline application and is also contrary to JLP Policy DEV1: Protecting health and amenity, Policy DEV10: Delivering high quality housing, and Bigbury Neighbourhood Plan Policy BP16: Open spaces and recreation, which requires a new area of public open space to be provided as part of any new development of 8 or more units.
Loss of hedgerows and insufficient replacement and mitigation measures
The proposed development shows the complete loss of existing hedgerows along the eastern boundary to the B3392 and the northern boundary to the C252 with insufficient replacement of these as previously proposed on the outline application. The proposed scheme also fails to show new hedgerows along the whole of the western boundary and the eastern and northern sides of the new road. The proposed roadway is also opened up/widened to include a new tarmacadamed footpath and grass verge which is completely out of character with the narrow lanes with high hedgebanks which are a feature of the local area.
The proposed development would therefore result in a significant loss of existing hedgerows with insufficient replacement and mitigation measures. It would be extremely harmful to the natural beauty and landscape of the area, to biodiversity and to the character and appearance of the AONB and the Undeveloped Coast and Heritage Coast.
The scheme would therefore be contrary to JLP Policies DEV20; Place shaping and the quality of the built environment, DEV23: Landscape character, DEV24 Undeveloped Coast and Heritage Coast, DEV25 Nationally protected landscapes and Bigbury Neighbourhood Plan policies, Policy BP7: General design principles for new development, Policy BP18: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Policy BP19: Woodlands, trees, hedgerows and Devon banks, Policy BP20: Wildlife and Biodiversity, and Policy BP24: Transport and highways
Condition 6 of the outline application requires a detailed outdoor lighting scheme to be submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority. The applicants have not submitted any details pursuant to this condition but do state in their Design and Access Statement that the main lit areas (potentially) will be along the new road highway areas. At the outline stage Bigbury Parish Council raised strong objection to the possibility of any street lighting provided along the new road as this parish is within an intrinsically dark environment. There is no street lighting along the B3392 or the C252 and there are strong policies to resist any street lighting for any new roads in the parish.
The provision of street lighting would therefore be contrary to Joint Local Plan Policy DEV2 and Bigbury Neighbourhood Plan Policy BP7.
There may be other reasons for objecting to the scheme which I have not mentioned and one of the reasons for the meeting on the 25 November is to obtain the views of others. I hope therefore that you will be able to attend this meeting.
Cllr Valerie Scott
Chairman of Bigbury Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Tel: 01548 810336