Agenda item

29336/008/FUL/JonH - Janeland, Willis Lane, Four Marks, Alton, GU34 5AP

Mr Ray


Use of land for the stationing of caravans for residential purposes for 5 gypsy pitches with utility/day rooms (additional information received 23 Aug 2019 and 17 January 2020)





Use of land for the stationing of caravans for residential purposes for 5 gypsy pitches with utility/day rooms (additional information received 23 Aug 2019 and 17 January 2020)


The Principal Planning Officer introduced the application and updated the committee on an additional informative to adhere to safe working guidelines and a deed of covenant in relationship to works close to the pipeline crossing the site, which had been requested by Esso Ltd.


He addressed the issue of drainage and flood risk; the site was within flood zone 1 which were areas at low risk of flooding. The applicant had been asked to provide percolation tests and a drainage strategy to demonstrate that the scheme would not cause flood risk elsewhere. The drainage strategy proposed that all new hard surfaces would be constructed of a permeable gravel surface and surface water from the static caravans and day rooms would be directed to trench soakaways. Foul water would be directed to two existing cess pits under the existing hard surface area and one new cess pit would be installed on the northern side of the Esso pipeline. He confirmed that the Councils Drainage Consultant was satisfied that the proposed drainage strategy was achievable, a condition was proposed to secure the full design details of the drainage details.


He drew the committee’s attention to the supplementary matters which contained clarification over highway matters, amendments to the recommendations and further consultee comments from Hampshire Highway Authority.


He then referred to the principle of the development and referred specifically to the Joint Core Strategy CP15 and the National Planning Policy for Travellers Sites (NPPTS).


He addressed concerns raised in the deputations and questions submitted by members of the committee prior to the meeting.


In respect of the of the five-year land supply and the issue of the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) dated March 2017, Members were advised that this is an assessment of gypsy accommodation needs at a point in time and that it provides a base-line figure which was not a ceiling or a target.


In respect to a query on the weight to be given to the 5 year land supply position, the planning policy for traveller sites quantified the weight to be given to proposals in the absence of a 5 year land supply when considering temporary consent and that would be significant weight. However, that was not the case in determining this application. The committee was advised that having a 5 year supply did not weigh against this application.


A deputation stated that the District had until 2036 to identify just two remaining Gypsy pitches to reach the target set by the GTAA.  The Planning Officer advised that this was a misleading statement, as the GTAA was not a target. The question for decision makers was whether the site was suitable in planning terms. He advised that the application had to be determined in line with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicated otherwise.


He referred to the number of gypsy sites already in the District and these included 8 pitches 400 metres to the south-west of the proposed development, 2 in Alton Lane and one further pitch within Four Marks.


In addition, there were pitches in other parts of the District including Bentley, Liphook and Headley Down.


Concerns had been raised in respect of highway safety and these included the standard of visibility at the junction of Willis Lane with Headmore Lane and the visibility splays at the junction.


HCC Highways had indicated that they were satisfied two vehicles pulling caravans would be able to pass on the access track. In respect of visibility splays, HCC Highways had initially raised an objection, however following the provision of a speed survey this objection had been removed as the data demonstrated that reduced splays would be acceptable in this case taking account also of the speed of traffic emerging from the junction.


Concerns had been raised in the deputations over the potential for harmful noise and disturbance on the neighbouring properties of Southwood Farm and Hunters Farm, but this was not considered to be excessive or unacceptably harmful. No comments had been received from the nearby golf club. There had been a suggestion of installing a solid noise barrier, but Members were advised this would not be a reasonable condition.


In respect of ecology the Officer advised members that the County Ecologist considered no ecological survey effort was required as the site comprised primarily hardstanding and managed grass and that the boundary vegetation would be retained.


In respect of the fuel pipeline, confirmation was given that the proposed replacement pipeline was currently the subject of a Development Consent Order application and would be approximately 350 metres to the south of the site.


In response to a question about the size of the day rooms it was clarified that they were semi-detached, and each would be 40 square metres in floor area.


The committee had received written deputations which had been distributed to members of the Committee and published on the Council’s website prior to the meeting. These submissions were from:


(1)      Mr Brett, an objector.


As set out in Appendix 1 to these minutes.


(2)      Cllr J Foster, Chairman, Four Marks Parish Council.


As set out in Appendix 2 to these minutes.


(3)      Mr Green, the applicant’s agent


As set out in Appendix 3 of these minutes.


(4)      Cllr Tennyson, the local Ward Councillor


As set out in Appendix 4 of these minutes.


Following questions, the Chairman invited Cllr Thomas, Local Ward Councillor to open the debate.


Cllr Thomas remained concerned about highway safety and the dangers for members of the public, particularly children, walking to the schools and the village centre. There were no footpaths, the speed of vehicles could be in excess of 40 mph. She used the road regularly and visibility at the junction was extremely poor. She also believed that the design of the day room units could be better and felt the layout of the site was poor and could be improved with a less cramped and better designed site.


She then referred to Policy CP15, criteria A and said that she did not believe that it was a brownfield site.


Councillors debated how much weight should be given to policies CP19 and CP15, with some stating that the proposal was unacceptable due to its countryside location and the apparent lack of demonstration of a need. Officer’s advised, however, that it was not necessary for the applicant to demonstrate a need in this particular case and that the policy allowed for a countryside location.


Councillors noted that the site was well screened and was well maintained.


Members of the Committee were also concerned about highway issues and visibility as well speeding and the safety of pedestrians. 


Legal Services reminded Councillors of their duty to positively promote equality as pre-eminent in the decision-making.


The committee voted on the Officer’s recommendation for permission subject to conditions and the proposed additional conditions reported in the update sheets and a further condition ensuring the lines of sight are maintained free of obstruction and the additional informative.


Following the vote, the recommendation was declared CARRIED. 5 Councillors voting FOR approval, 4 Councillors voting AGAINST approval and 1 Councillor ABSTAINING from voting.

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