Agenda and draft minutes

Planning Committee - Wednesday, 8th September, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN. View directions

Contact: Callum Wernham  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist

Media

Items
No. Item

31.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted from Angus Ross and Bill Soane.

 

Gary Cowan attended the meeting virtually, and was therefore marked as in attendance, and was not able to propose, second, or vote on items.

32.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 280 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 11 August 2021

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 11 August 2021 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

33.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declaration of interest

 

Minutes:

Andrew Mickleburgh declared a personal interest in agenda item 38, on the grounds that he had sat on the Earley Town Council meeting which had considered this application. Andrew stated that he came into this meeting with an open mind, and would consider all presentations and representations prior to coming to a conclusion.

34.

Applications to be Deferred and Withdrawn items

To consider any recommendations to defer applications from the schedule and to note any applications that may have been withdrawn.

Minutes:

No applications were recommended for deferral, or withdrawn.

35.

Application No.211772 - Land at Winnersh Farm, Woodward Close, Winnersh pdf icon PDF 633 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposal: Full application for the construction of a new 150 place Special Educational Needs school with associated access, parking and landscaping.

 

Applicant: Reds 10 (on behalf of the Department for Education)

 

The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 21 to 70.

 

The Committee were advised that updates contained within the supplementary planning agenda included:

 

·           Minor amendment to the wording of condition 1;

·           Insertion of a list of drawings to be approved for condition 2;

·           Replacement condition 19;

·           Additional informative relating to fire regulations.

 

Matthew Garvey, agent, spoke in support of the application. Matthew stated that this application would meet the acute need of special education needs (SEND) provision within the Borough. Currently, many SEND pupils were transported outside of the Borough, and this application would help to meet this demand within the Borough. Matthew added that a full consultation had been undertaken, officer advice had been taken on board, and the DFE who were a funder of the project felt that the site was suitable. Matthew stated that a number of alternative site options had been discounted as they were considered unsuitable, and air quality and noise levels were considered acceptable for such a SEND school environment. Matthew added that key trees would be retained across the site, and acceptable levels of car parking spaces would be provided as part of the application. Matthew concluded by stating that the building would be net carbon neutral, in part due to the inclusion of photovoltaic panels and heat pumps.

 

Sal Thirlway, on behalf of Wokingham Borough Council (WBC), spoke in support of the application. Sal stated that this application would complement the existing SEND provision in the Borough of Chiltern Way Academy and Addington School. Sal added that this application would assist in providing a broad range of SEND provision within the Borough. Children being transported out of the Borough was not ideal, and allowing children to attend a school within the Borough would allow the children to be better prepared due to less travel time to and from school. Sal concluded by stating that this application would make positive impacts in terms of SEND resourcing strategy.

 

Paul Fishwick, Ward Member, commented on the application. Paul stated that the nature of this type of school would generate additional motor traffic, especially during the AM peak. This additional traffic would affect the single and only access junction of Woodward Close with the A329, which already queued at that time. Paul was of the opinion that the traffic modelling appeared to miss the western arm of Woodward Close, showing a zero traffic generation. Paul added that the proposed application would make the traffic situation worse than the traffic modelling suggested. Paul stated that the traffic modelling without the proposed application showed that new King Street Lane junction with Hatch Farm Way, Winnersh Relief Road, would be at capacity, and that this application would only add to the projected queues at this junction. Paul added  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Application No.211081 - Barkham Farms , Barkham, RG40 4EX pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Recommendation: Conditional approval subject to legal agreement and subject to receipt of confirmation from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government that they do not wish to call the application in for determination

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposal: Full application for EIA development for the proposed installation of a new 52ha solar farm for a temporary period of 25 years including underground grid connection between site and Electricity Distribution Centre, laying of internal access road, the erection of substation building security fencing and associated landscaping with approximately 2.9ha of tree planting for carbon sequestration

 

Applicant: Wokingham Borough Council (WBC)

 

The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 71 to 174.

 

The Committee were advised that updates contained within the supplementary planning agenda included:

 

·           Amendments to conditions 2, 3, 6, 8, 15, 16, 18, 24, 25, and 28 to deal with minor errors or the timing of discharge requirements during the phasing of development;

·           A note that an additional neighbour objection had been received, however it did not raise any additional issues that had not already been considered and addressed within the report;

·           Correction to the fourth and fifth entries on the resident objectors list to read Windmill Farm Cottage;

·           Correction to the last point under the heading ‘Principle of Development’ to refer to the Local Plan Update rather than the Local Plan;

·           Clarification that the measurements contained within paragraph 1(c) and 1(d) were length by width by height.

 

Ian Williams, neighbour, spoke in objection to the application. Ian stated that the application was contrary to national planning policy as it did not avoid the use of best and most versatile land (BMV land), and noted that the applicant considered the benefits of this project to outweigh this harm. Ian was of the opinion that the applicant had ignored elements of national planning policy and guidance, and quoted the Secretary of State by commenting that any proposal for a solar farm on BMV land should only be approved by the most compelling of evidence. Ian was of the opinion that the fact that the grade 3A land was Council owned was not satisfactory justification as to why the development should be located there. Ian added that little had been done to demonstrate that other sites were not suitable, or that the carbon benefit could not be achieved in other ways. Ian felt that the existing farm could not function viably under the proposals, and no diversification was being proposed. Ian stated that whilst it has been suggested that there was a large supply of suitable farming land within the Borough, no survey had been undertaken, and the information provided did not distinguish between 3A and 3B land, and suggested that there was a lack of grade 2 land in the area. Ian added that no cumulative impact assessment regarding the impact of the proposed development and other permitted developments on the supply of BMV land had been undertaken. Relating to heritage, Ian stated intrusive archaeological surveys had not been undertaken which would leave Members unable to undertake the balancing act as set out within the NPPF. In relation to ecology, Ian stated that the assessment of protected species, in particular great  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.

37.

Application No.210705 - Fishponds Close, Wokingham Town, RG41 2TZ pdf icon PDF 475 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval subject to legal agreement

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposal: Full application for the proposed erection of 2 no. industrial buildings (Use Class B2 and B8) comprising a total of 4 no. units together with associated infrastructure, parking and landscaping, following demolition of 2 no. existing industrial buildings.

 

Applicant: LGIM

 

The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 175 to 216.

 

The Committee were advised that updates contained within the supplementary planning agenda included:

 

·           Amendment to the red line boundary between application numbers 210705 and 201345 via an amended site plan, resulting in the loss of one accessible car parking space. The loss of this space was deemed acceptable by Highways officers and met car parking standards;

·           Correction to the eaves height stated within paragraph 11;

·           Amended condition 2 to include revised application plans and drawings;

·           Removal of condition 10;

·           Amended condition 13;

·           Amended condition 16;

·           Additional informative relating to additional consent.

 

Carl Doran queried whether the back to back distance was policy compliant in relation to concerns around overshadowing. Baldeep Pulahi, case officer, stated that given the distance of the proposals and the fact that they would be set back from the boundary edge officers were content that the residential amenity would be maintained.

 

Carl Doran commented that he hoped that the applicant would follow through with the proposed double the minimum provision of electric vehicle charging spaces.

 

RESOLVED That application number 210705 be approved, subject to conditions and informatives as set out in agenda pages 176 to 183, amended condition 2, 13, and 16 as set out in the supplementary planning agenda, removal of condition 10 and additional informative as set out in the supplementary planning agenda.

38.

Application No.212209 - 5 Shepherds Avenue, Earley, RG6 1AY pdf icon PDF 404 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposal: Full application for the change of use of amenity land to residential with formation of associated hardstanding. (Retrospective)

 

Applicant: Mr Amin

 

The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 217 to 230.

 

The Committee were advised that there were no updates contained within the supplementary planning agenda.

 

Tim Marsh, on behalf of the ACER residents’ association, spoke in objection to the application. Tim stated that the land in front of the property had not been adopted by Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) highways, and a resident of 50 years had told him that the strip of land had to be maintained by the owners. Tim added that paragraph 9 of the report stated that a number of properties on the road had paved driveways, however none had covered over their grass verges. Tim stated that should this application be approved, the proposals would risk the potential for the road to ever become adopted by WBC and could set a precedent for other properties within the borough. Tim queried whether the installed drainage had been checked to see if it worked, and commented that all other such drains in the area were backed up. Tim stated that policy CP3 mean that development must be without detriment to the adjoining land users and occupiers, and in his opinion this did not apply in this case as the removal of all soft landscaping had changed the visual green landscaped amenity.

 

Chris Bowring read out a statement on behalf of Mr Amin, applicant, in support of the application. Mr Amin stated that he was not buying the property in front of his home, and he was fully aware that this bit of land was not part of his property. Mr Amin added that the concrete in front of his property was broken, and this was the reason that he had placed new concrete at the front of the property. Mr Amin stated that the concrete had been refurbished due to having a disabled family member, to provide safer access to and from the property. Mr Amin stated that when he had purchased the property approximately five years ago, the area in front of the property was in a very bad condition with many potholes and a public path going through his driveway. Mr Amin, along with his family, had fallen on this surface several times which demonstrated how dangerous the situation was. Mr Amin stated that there were many other properties with tarmac at the front of the property, and he had spent nearly £3,000 on the maintenance of the footpath, despite not owning the land, for the safety of all residents including the disabled family member. Mr Amin added that a drainage system had been installed, and the water now flowed away into the main drainage system. Mr Amin stated that he had paid a professional company to tidy up land which he did not claim to own to make it safer, and had provided the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Application No.212164 - Lord Harris Court, Mole Road, Sindlesham, Winnersh pdf icon PDF 349 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposal: Full application for the proposed installation of a Non Return Valve and 24 hour storage cesspit to store effluent. (Retrospective)

 

Applicant: Ed Knott c/o RMBI Care Company

 

The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 231 to 248.

 

The Committee were advised that updates contained within the supplementary planning agenda included:

 

·           Updated condition 1;

·           Correction that agenda page 233 should refer to condition number 2 rather than condition number 3;

·           Updated consultation response from Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) Trees and Landscapes to recommend approval subject to condition 2.

 

Chris Bowring proposed an extension to the meeting of up to 30 minutes. This was seconded by Carl Doran and upon being but to the vote the motion was carried.

 

Paul Fishwick, Ward Member, stated that this was not an isolated dwelling, with the building adjoining a residential area. Paul was of the opinion that the applicant had not provided evidence of a blockage of the sewerage system, and there was no local evidence of issues relating to the foul sewerage systems. Paul added that there were issues of a foul smell every time the cesspit had to be emptied. Paul stated that he had photo evidence of multiple vehicles emptying the cesspit in a different location to the one pictured by officers which created access issues for vehicles. Paul felt that the cesspit was not acceptable for this area and the application should be refused.

 

Natalie Jarman, case officer, stated that construction work was still taking place on the new care home, which might explain the issues with the sewerage. Natalie added that the building was still connected to the main sewerage system and this was a backup solution.

 

Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey was of the opinion that the cesspit was not required, as a backup system should not be required for over a year.

 

Carl Doran queried whether there was any reason legally why the applicant could not use the cesspit as their main solution for foul waste, and queried whether it was a planning issue if the vehicles emptying the cesspit were blocking access on a corner of a road. Natalie Jarman stated that the size of the tank would make it very unlikely for it to be feasibly used as a main solution, and the intention was to use it in addition to the main sewerage system. Chris Easton, Head of Transport, Drainage and Compliance, stated that whilst he was unsure how often the cesspit was currently required to be emptied, once construction had finished the situation should settle down and become safer in regards to vehicle access.

 

Andrew Mickleburgh queried whether concerns relating to smell and the safety of road users when the cesspit was being emptied was a material consideration, queried why the cesspit has already been required to be emptied a number of time, and queried what the immediate consequences could be if the application was refused. Natalie Jarman stated that the existing care home at the site was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.