Agenda and draft minutes

Planning Committee - Wednesday, 11th May, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN

Contact: Callum Wernham  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist

Media

Items
No. Item

94.

Appointment of Vice-Chairman

To appoint a Vice-Chairman for the remainder of the municipal year

Minutes:

It was proposed by Chris Bowring and seconded by Pauline Jorgensen that Bill Soane be elected as vice-Chairman for the remainder of the municipal year.

 

RESOLVED That Bill Soane be appointed vice-Chairman for the remainder of the municipal year.

95.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

 

The Committee thanked Angus Ross, who had recently stood down from the Council, for his long period of service on the Council and the Planning Committee. The Committee remarked on Angus’ experience, knowledge and understanding of the Planning process, and wished to pass on their thanks and best wishes.

96.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 228 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 13 April 2022

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 13 April 2022 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

97.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declaration of interest

 

Minutes:

Sam Akhtar declared a prejudicial interest in agenda item 102, application 220654, on the grounds that he was the Ward Member for the area and had made comments with regards to the application and had helped to mediate between interested parties. Sam added that he would leave the room for the duration of the Committee’s debate and subsequent vote.

 

Stephen Conway made comment with regard to agenda item 105, application number 220571. Stephen stated that this application was as a result of discussions involving himself to address the need to expand the intake of Wargrave Piggott school. Stephen added that his involvement in these discussions occurred at a fairly early stage of the process, and he would participate in the debate and the vote on this item.

98.

Applications to be Deferred and Withdrawn items

To consider any recommendations to defer applications from the schedule and to note any applications that may have been withdrawn.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No applications were recommended for deferral, or withdrawn.

99.

Application No.212717 - Dobbies Garden Centre, 166 Hyde End Road, Shinfield pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Recommendation: Conditional approval subject to legal agreement

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposal: Full planning application for redevelopment of the site to provide a new garden centre retail development incorporating restaurant/cafe, food hall and veterinary practice with ancillary works including car parking, access, outdoor display areas and landscaping, following demolition of existing buildings.

 

Applicant: Dobbies Garden Centres Limited

 

The Committee considered a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 11 to 66.

 

The Committee were advised that updates contained within the Supplementary Planning Agenda included:

 

·         Additional condition 39 in relation to gates and security measures;

·         Update to Shinfield Parish Council’s response to state that they were in favour of the proposed development as it would provide services to the parish.

 

Andrew Horrix, applicant, spoke in support of the application. Andrew stated that the garden centre had been purchased in 2006 and had grown to be a key part of the company’s estate over the last 16 years, with a strong customer base and strong ties to the local community. This scheme was first looked at in 2018 with a view to invest in the garden centre to give it a longer lease of life and a secure future for years to come. There was a fantastic team of staff that delivered customer services given the constraints of the site, which only offered an outdoor toilet whilst much of the site was single glazed. Additional technologies such as renewable infrastructure could not be incorporated with the current build. Andrew stated that the proposals would provide for shoppers and the local community, with a free community room available to book for events, a learning centre for children including access to seedlings, and provision of a more inclusive space with disabled parking being located closer to the entrance with additional improved accessibility. A thorough range of consultations had been undertaken including one to one sessions with neighbours which had resulted in modifications to the proposals. Andrew concluded by stating that the proposals would provide a store for the future which would continue to serve the community for years to come.

 

Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey queried whether additional passive electric vehicle charging points could be installed on the site for activation at a later date. Christopher Howard, case officer, stated that the current proposals complied with standards, and the store could look into additional electric vehicle charging points in the future. Chris Easton, Head of Transport, Drainage and Compliance, stated that 18 active and 18 passive electric vehicle charging points were being provided, and should building regulations change in the future then the applicant would be required to comply. Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey proposed an additional informative, encouraging the applicant the install additional passive electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This proposal was seconded, carried, and added to the list of informatives.

 

Sam Akhtar queried what level of additional employment would be generated by the proposals. Christopher Howard confirmed that 12 additional jobs would be created whilst the existing 26 jobs would be retained.

 

Bill Soane queried whether there would be a phased closure and opening of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 99.

100.

Application No.211777 - Toutley East, Land Adjacent to Toutley Depot, West of Twyford Road pdf icon PDF 874 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval subject to legal agreement

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposal: Outline application for up to 130 residential units and a 70 bed care home (all matters reserved except access to the site).

 

Applicant: Wokingham Borough Council

 

The Committee considered a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 67 to 126.

 

The Committee were advised that updates contained within the Supplementary Planning Agenda included:

 

·         Amended condition 45;

·         Correction to the approved plan referenced within condition 47;

·         Plan provided by the applicant showing projected flood levels, which had been accepted by the Environment Agency;

·         Correction that the scheme would be for up to 130 residential units rather than 120 as stated within the report.

 

The Committee were advised that additional condition 48 was also proposed, in relation to speed limits and speed reduction.

 

Imogen Shepherd-Dubey, Wokingham Town Council, spoke in objection to the proposal. Imogen stated that this application had caused significant concern, with a large number of objections received from residents. Imogen added that road safety was a major concern, with vehicles on the bridge travelling along the road at 60MPH not seeing the single exit from the site until they were close by, whilst the road was one step below the desired visibility standard for a 50MPH road. Imogen stated that pavement was only located on one side of the road, and felt that the proposed emergency exit needed to be available at all times or be made into a proper exit. Imogen stated that part of the site was located on a flood zone, and noted that the Environment Agency report had stated that the site was not suitable for such a development. Imogen added that there was no nearby public transport available, whilst the noise assessment had been carried out in August which was when noise levels were typically at their lowest and were not a fair representation. Imogen concluded by stating that a variety of Wokingham Borough Council’s (WBC’s) core policies had not been met including CP1, CP2, CP3, CP4 and CP6, and urged the Committee to refuse the application.

 

Phil Cunnington, on behalf of the applicant, spoke in support of the application. Phil stated that the site had been earmarked for development for quite some time, and had been included within the North Wokingham SDL when the core strategy was adopted back in 2010, and had been expressly promoted for housing under the recent Local Plan Update (LPU). Phil thanked planning officers for working proactively to get the proposals to a level whereby they could be recommended for approval. The proposals included residential units which would accommodate affordable housing to help meet the projected housing demand for the Borough within a sustainable location with good access to facilities and the Wokingham town centre. Phil stated that opportunities would be explored to reduce the development’s carbon footprint in accordance with WBC’s climate emergency declaration in addition to improving biodiversity, providing high quality open spaces and promoting job opportunities for local people within the construction phases. Phil added that the site would also deliver a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 100.

101.

Application No.213106 - Headley Park, Headley Road East, Woodley pdf icon PDF 554 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval subject to legal agreement

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposal: Full planning application for the proposed erection of 5 no. buildings for commercial development to provide flexible light industrial, general industrial, and storage and distribution uses, with ancillary offices, associated car parking, formation of new accesses, and landscape planting, following demolition of existing buildings.

 

Applicant: HE2 Reading 1 GP Limited

 

The Committee considered a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 127 to 196.

 

The Committee were advised that updates contained within the Supplementary Planning Agenda included:

 

·         Additional clarification regarding a potential calculation of employment opportunities created by the proposed development, and clarification that the scheme was in accordance with planning policy regarding economic development;

·         Clarification that the set back of the proposed development from the boundary would ensure the angle of view would not be significantly altered;

·         Reference to additional comment received after the publication of the agenda with regards to preservation of the building on the site due to its history.

 

Keith Baker, Woodley Town Council, spoke in objection to the application. Keith stated that Woodley Town Council’s Planning Committee had considered this application and had recommended refusal for a number of reasons. Keith stated that the current plans reflected parking provision for up to 28 articulated lorries, which was simply not appropriate and would overwhelm the highways infrastructure surrounding the site. Keith added that Viscount Way was not suitable for large volumes of traffic due to its width and proximity to a large number of residential properties. Keith stated that additional HGVs had been granted permission to the area recently as a result of an application from another company, whilst noting that this application would further add to this problem. Keith felt that the situation would be unsustainable on Viscount Way should this application be approved. Residents were also concerned that the additional noise and air pollution generated by this development would have a detrimental impact. Woodley Town Council’s Planning Committee noted that the Wokingham Borough Local Development Framework, CP1, advised that planning permission would be granted for development proposals that avoid areas where pollution including noise would impact on the amenity of future occupiers. Keith felt that the proposed building to the east of the site would be overbearing due to its height and massing to those neighbouring properties on Gemini Road, whilst operations taking place outside of regular business hours would be detrimental to residents on neighbouring streets.

 

Kai Meade, neighbour, spoke in objection to the application. Kai stated that the traffic assessment report provided by the developer did not consider any HGV movements within the report, whilst being incorrectly calculated and was a reason for refusal. The results of air quality testing within the surrounding area between November and January last year indicated that air quality levels were already breaching the WHO levels of what was considered safe, whilst the report added that further testing would be required within the summer months whereby pollution levels would be at least sixty-percent higher. Kai stated that residents were already suffering immensely due to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 101.

102.

Application No.220654 - 14 Chiltern Drive, Charvil pdf icon PDF 243 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sam Akhtar declared a prejudicial interest in this item.

 

Proposal: Application to vary condition 2 of application 212989 for the proposed erection of a single storey rear extension with 1 no. roof light following demolition of existing conservatory and existing rear extension (part retrospective). Condition 2 refers to the approved plans and the variation is to allow an increase in the height of the roof. (Retrospective)

 

Applicant: Mr Hargunus

 

The Committee considered a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 197 to 208.

 

The Committee were advised that there were no updates contained within the Supplementary Planning Agenda.

 

Mike Heath, Charvil Parish Council, spoke in objection to the application. Mike stated that everyone should expect that planning applications would follow the letter and spirit of the law, and it was his opinion that this application did not follow the spirit of the law. Mike stated that there had been a series of 5 planning applications and two retrospective applications had been carried out. Mike felt that the current property would not have been granted approval in its current form due to a variety of failings and mis-designs. Mike stated that a Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) planning enforcement officer had agreed that the property was in breach of their planning permission, which had still not been rectified to date. Mike added that this was the second of two retrospective planning applications, and understood that only one retrospective application should be allowed. Mike stated that this was an issue that concerned residents on a local level, and asked that the application be refused.

 

Danny Murphy, neighbour, spoke in objection to the application. Danny stated that a thin Perspex roof had been placed over the unauthorised structure in 2016, which was later replaced with felt which he had mistakenly not objected to at the time. In July 2021 the height of the boundary wall was increased with no notification, consent or planning permission. Danny added that the retrospective application included inaccurate drawings which did not show the changes on the western boundary. Danny was of the opinion that enforcement and planning officers knew of these differences however they chose to ignore them and instead approve the incorrect designs. Danny stated that predictive obtrusive angles of the roof structure were visible from the street. Danny felt that retrospective application upon retrospective application should not be considered in accordance with local planning enforcement guidance. Danny stated that his garden was very small, and any increase to the height of the neighbouring wall had a real and evidenced detrimental impact on his and his family’s amenity. Danny queried how planning officers were now recommending approval after an enforcement officer was shocked on his visit on January when stating that the development would never be signed off and requested it be rectified. Danny was of the opinion that this application had made a mockery of the whole planning process, and queried how an informed decision could possibly be made when previous plans had omitted key  ...  view the full minutes text for item 102.

103.

Application No.220570 - St.Crispin's School, London Road, Wokingham pdf icon PDF 289 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposal: Full application for the proposed erection of a two-storey modular

classroom unit to provide 4 no. classrooms plus additional office and WC facilities for a temporary period of two years.

 

Applicant: Wokingham Borough Council

 

The Committee considered a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 209 to 230.

 

The Committee were advised that the Supplementary Planning Agenda included an update to the WBC Environmental Health consultation response to ‘No objection’ rather than ‘No comments received.

 

Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey commented that the applicant should consider the installation of sprinklers within the proposed unit.

 

RESOLVED That application number 220570 be approved, subject to conditions and informatives set out in agenda pages 201 to 214.

104.

Application No.220501 - Emmbrook School, Emmbrook Road, Wokingham pdf icon PDF 432 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposal: Full application for the erection of a single storey flat roof modular building of 300m2 to provide accommodation for common room and study area and associated administration offices for a temporary period of five years.

 

Applicant: Wokingham Borough Council

 

The Committee considered a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 231 to 250.

 

The Committee were advised that updates contained within the Supplementary Planning Agenda included an indicative image of the structure.

 

Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey commented that the applicant should consider the installation of sprinklers within the proposed unit.

 

RESOLVED That application number 220501 be approved, subject to conditions and informatives set out in agenda pages 232 to 235.

 

105.

Application No.220571 - "The Piggott C Of E School", Wargrave Road, Wargrave pdf icon PDF 296 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposal: Full application for the proposed erection of a single storey modular classroom unit to provide 4 no. classrooms plus additional offices and WC facilities for a temporary period of five years.

 

Applicant: Wokingham Borough Council

 

The Committee considered a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 251 to 278.

 

The Committee were advised that there were no updates contained within the Supplementary Planning Agenda.

 

Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey commented that the applicant should consider the installation of sprinklers within the proposed unit.

 

RESOLVED That application number 22057 be approved, subject to conditions and informatives set out in agenda pages 252 to 255.

 

106.

Application No.211508 - Rosa Building, Mulberry Business Park, Fishponds Road, Wokingham pdf icon PDF 323 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposal: Full planning application for the proposed raising of existing roof of Rosa Building to create 11no. apartments to the second floor.

 

Applicant: Mr Schneck

 

Due to time constraints, this application was not considered.