Agenda and minutes

Planning Committee - Wednesday, 29th March, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham, RG40 1BN

Contact: Arabella Yandle  Democratic Services Officer

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


An apology for absence was submitted from Councillor Chris Bowring


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 177 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 1 March 2017.



The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 1 March 2017 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

Members' Update pdf icon PDF 186 KB

There are a number of references to the Members' Update within these minutes. The Members' Update was circulated to all present prior to the meeting.  It also contains details of properties to be visited prior to the next Planning Meeting.  A copy is attached together with a letter from the Emmbrook Residents Association related to Item 115 on the agenda.


Additional documents:


Declaration of Interest

To receive any declaration of interest



Councillor Michael Firmager declared a personal interest in Items 113 and 116 as he was a member of the Planning Committee of Earley Town Council, but had not attended the meetings at which they had been considered.


Applications to be Deferred and Withdrawn items

To consider any recommendations to defer applications from the schedule and to note any applications that may have been withdrawn.


It was noted that:

Item 114 – 170317 – Land to the rear of 72 Old Bath Road was withdrawn by the applicant.


Application no 163058 - Hewden Plant Hire, Old Forest Road, Wokingham pdf icon PDF 207 KB

Recommendation:  Conditional Approval, subject to Legal Agreements

Additional documents:


Proposal: Full application for proposed erection of 43 dwellings (7 x 1 bedroom apartments, 11 x 2 bedroom apartments, 17 x 3 bedroom houses and 8 x 4 bedroom houses) together with associated access improvements, parking and refuse storage following the demolition of existing buildings.


Applicant:Ashill Land Ltd


The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in Agenda pages 15 to 46.


The Committee were advised that the Members’ Update included:


·         Proposed amendment to Condition 5 to clarify the number of parking spaces as 71;

·         Proposed updates to conditions 15 and 17;

·         Proposed deletion of condition 13 as it was covered in condition 23;

·         Clarification as to acceptable noise levels and noise attenuation schemes;

·         Clarification as to the percentage of affordable housing applicable to brown field sites;

·         Information on density and maximum building heights of surrounding developments;

·         Additional comments from the Emmbrook Residents’ Association.


Members had visited the site on 24 March 2017.


Kevin Morgan, Member of Wokingham Town Council for Emmbrook North, spoke against the application.  He stated that the plan did meet minimal regulations but by their very nature these were minimal and were leading to a lowering of standards.  He suggested that the size of parking spaces for some of the properties would make access to cars, rear gardens and for rubbish collection extremely difficult.


Robert Millen, Emmbrook Residents’ Association, spoke in opposition to the application.  He stated that the proposal for change of use was acceptable but that the plan proposed an unacceptable housing density and would lead to substandard amenity value.  He indicated that only 6 gardens met Council guidelines in terms of length, and queried the number of disabled and unallocated parking spaces. 


Tracey Puttock, Ashill Land, spoke in favour of the application, explaining the measures that Ashill Land had taken to work with the community on the development, and that there had been majority support.  She stated that, as a brown field site in a built up area, the density was not out of keeping and would not lead to a loss of amenity.   The amount of space allocated to parking met the Councils guide and a trip rate assessment had shown that any increase in vehicle movements would be insignificant.


Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, Ward Member for Emmbrook, spoke in opposition to the plan, stating that the location of a hump-back bridge close to the access road to the development would be a hazard.  She went on to suggest that, during construction, site vehicles should not park on the road and that parking, access, overhanging trees and garden length should all be addressed. 


In his absence, the Chair read a letter from Philip Mirfin, Member for Emmbrook, on the application.  He stated, that whilst on the face of it an attractive development and that changes had been made to the application following discussion with the developers, access to the development; the size of the parking spaces for the town houses, and garden lengths were still inadequate.


In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 112.


Application no 170368 - Loddon Junior School, Hillside Road, Earley pdf icon PDF 199 KB

Recommendation:  Conditional Approval

Additional documents:


Proposal:  Full application for the proposed erection of a part single, part two storey (double height hall) extension to the south of the existing main block. Refurbishment of existing reception/administration offices; alterations to existing hall to create classrooms, WCs and store; and conversion of existing PE store to group teaching room. Alterations to parking layout to north and south of site and alterations to playing field to include installation of a MUGA (multi-use games area) with ball fence.


Applicant:  Wokingham Borough Council


The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in Agenda pages 47 to 74.


The Committee were advised that the Members’ Update included:


·         proposed amendment to Condition 5 Drainage Strategy regarding drainage, and

·         clarification regarding the use of the MUGA, to whit that use would be restricted to day time.


Elizabeth Edwards, Resident, spoke against the application, stating that her property was immediately adjacent to the proposed MUGA site and that she had been subject to ongoing issues around flooding and damp due to run off and the difference in level of the existing surface in its relation to her property.


Piers Brunning, Service Manager, Policy, Strategy and Partnerships for Wokingham Borough Council, spoke in favour of the application.  He explained how demand for places in Earley Schools had increased due to the influx of young families into the area and that Loddon Primary School had been identified in a recent Task and Finish Group as suitable for expansion.  He indicated that it was expected that the additional places would be taken up by pupils who likely lived within walking distance and that the school’s Travel Plan would be updated to take into account the changes in pupil and staff numbers.  He stated that the improvements to the school, including a hall, MUGA and several new classes, met all current standards and would provide new and more modern facilities


David Chopping, Ward Member for Earley Ward, spoke in favour of the application, complementing the staff at Loddon Primary School for their work in catering for increasing demand.  He also thanked Council staff for their work and professionalism, and stated that the plan was an example of how much could be achieved through communication and co-operation.  He acknowledged issues around parking and traffic, but explained that the growth in numbers would only be visible over time as the increase would start in reception and follow through over the following years.  He suggested that most of the problems with parking and traffic were due to bad discipline and that measures could be taken to improve this.


In response to Member questions regarding drainage, the Case Officer stated that the MUGA was to be built into the existing hill so would not increase the height differential between the school playing fields and the surrounding properties.  She indicated that condition 5 in the update referred to drainage and that any scheme would need to demonstrate that the plan had not made the situation worse.  A SuDS plan would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 113.


Application no 170317 - Land to the rear of 72 Old Bath Road, Charvil pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Recommendation:  Refusal

Additional documents:


This item was withdrawn.


Application no 170217 - 3 Barker Close, Arborfield pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Recommendation:  Refusal

Additional documents:


Proposal:  Householder application for the proposed two storey side extension to existing dwelling, raising of garage roof to provide first floor habitable accommodation and part conversion of garage to habitable accommodation.


Applicant:  Mr David George


The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in Agenda pages 87 to 104.


Gary Cowan, Member for Arborfield, spoke in favour of the application and submitted a set of images to the Committee to illustrate his viewpoint.    He stated that the layout of the development was not linear in nature.  He indicated that other two storey extensions had been approved historically and went on to explain that the plan before the Committee had been designed to allow full access for an elderly relative and that any diminution in the design would negate its intended purpose.


In response to a Member query, the Lead Officer, Operational Development Management, stated that the relationship between the two properties in question was different to others on the street and that officers were concerned about the impact of the extension on number 5.  He indicated that an alternative plan had been proposed to limit any possible impact, but that had been rejected by the applicant.


Members discussed the item at length, suggesting that the plan was not out of keeping with other developments on the estate and that, as most other properties abutted each other and that the garden of number 5 was bigger than others in the street, the impact would be minimal and not out of keeping.  They felt that developments to allow elderly relatives to be cared for at home should be encouraged.


The recommendation put to the Committee to refuse the application was not supported.  As a result, an alternative proposal was received from Councillor Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey to approve the application for the reason that, although the plan did not wholly conform with guidance, any harm was outweighed by the amenity value.   This was seconded by John Kaiser.


The following conditions were attached:


·       The development should begin no later than three years from the date of the decision;

·       The development would be carried out in accordance with the plans in Agenda pages 87 to 104;

·       Materials used in the construction of the external surfaces would match those in the existing building, and

·       A condition regarding the process to follow if there is evidence of contamination in future.


Resolved:    that Application no 170217 be approved subject to the conditions set out above.


Footpath Earley 11 - Extinguishment of Footpath at Finbeck Way pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Recommendation:  Confirm Extinguishment

Additional documents:


Proposal: Extinguishment Order to extinguish part of Public Footpath No. 11 Earley


Applicant:  Wokingham Borough Council


The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in Agenda pages 105 to 110.


The Committee were advised that the Members’ Update included a clarification that the stretch of Footpath 11 under consideration was in Hillside Ward.


Resolved:     That


·         an Extinguishment Order for part of Footpath 11 be made, and, if no objections are received, confirmed, and


·         it be referred to the Secretary of State for confirmation.