Agenda item

21594/023/FUL/LTu - Searle & Taylor House, The Dene, Ropley, Alresford, SO24 0BH



Change of use from mixed use (retail, office and garage) to B1 Business (office use) [amended description]





Cllr Ashcroft re-joined the committee.


Change of use from mixed use (retail, office and garage) to B1 Business (office use) [amended description]


The Development Management Team Leader introduced the application and drew the committee’s attention to the Supplementary Matters where a further consultee comment had been received and officers had recommended an additional condition be added.


Various images were displayed including a site plan and parking plan.  The officer outlined the key issues in the determination of the application.  He explained that based upon the floor space, 35 car parking spaces would be required under the council’s adopted Vehicle Parking Standards.  The same had been applied to the existing use of the building and would require 34 car parking spaces.  As only 11 spaces are currently provided, there was clearly already a deficiency, but the applicant would provide a Green Transport Plan and significant weight should be placed on the need to support economic growth.


The officer’s recommendation was for permission.


The committee was addressed by the following deputees:


(1)  Mrs Wendy Holt spoke on behalf of objectors.


As set out in Appendix 5 attached to these minutes.


(2)  Cllr Brown addressed the committee on behalf of Ropley Parish Council.


As set out in Appendix 6 attached to these minutes.


(3)  Mr Nick Burrell spoke as the applicant.


As set out in Appendix 7 attached to these minutes.


The Chairman invited Cllr Louisson to open the debate as the local councillor.


The key issue was parking.  Whilst he would actively encourage employment, the site was in a rural area and with employees, came cars.  The building had originally been designed as a trade facility with manufacturing on site.  Whilst there would typically be 45 members of staff on site, in terms of the floor space available, it had the potential to house 100 employees with only 11 car parking spaces.  This would result in a significant impact on the amenity of local people. 


In response to some of the points raised during the deputations, the Development Management Team Leader confirmed that the applicant had proposed a Green Travel Plan in order to reduce the number of vehicles on the site.  It promoted car sharing and detailed obtaining parking permits for a car park in Alresford with employees acting as a shuttle service.  It also listed shower facilities be installed in the offices for those who had cycled to work.


The Director of Regeneration and Place said that the existing provision did not have the potential for a green travel plan whereas this application had the potential to improve that.  The requirement on site was also very similar to its current use and the Hampshire Highways Authority did not object to the proposal.  This application would make good use of the building and help Ropley’s economy.


Concern was expressed as to whether the Green Travel Plan would be enforceable.  The Development Manager Team Leader drew the committee’s attention to Condition 4 which required the approval of the travel plan and the use of the building had to be operated in accordance with that.  He confirmed that the condition would not be before the committee if it was not enforceable or complied with the test.  It would be down to the local authority to serve a breach of condition notice.


On balance, the committee supported economic development here and felt that the Green Travel Plan was key.  It was important that EHDC worked with the applicant to make the travel plan as robust as possible and was reassured that it would take enforcement action if there were issues in the future.


The committee voted on the officer’s recommendation for permission, subject to the additional condition included in the Supplementary Matters.


Following the vote, the recommendation was declared CARRIED, 12 Councillors voting FOR permission, 2 Councillors voting AGAINST permission and no Councillors ABSTAINING from voting.

Supporting documents: