Agenda item

Application No.193248 - Land North of Church Lane, Church Lane, Three Mile Cross

Recommendation: Conditional approval


Proposal: Full application for the proposed erection of a temporary compound to facilitate infrastructure works, including hardstanding, parking, fencing and gates, cabins and storage units. (Part retrospective)


Applicant: Southern Electric Power Distribution


The Committee received and reviewed a report, set out in agenda pages 137 to 158.


The Committee were advised that the Members’ Update included an updated description of the proposal to include mention of lighting and CCTV towers.


In line with the given deadlines, one public written submission was received for this item. This submissions was circulated to Members in advance, and noted on the evening. The submission as provided can be found below.


Rory Hollings, agent, provided the following submission in support of the application. “Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) is in the process of replacing its end of life Reading Main to Reading Town 132 kilovolt underground circuits running between the London Road and Vastern Road sub-stations, part of a multi-million pound investment to Reading’s electricity infrastructure. To enable these works to be undertaken several temporary compounds have been established for the siting of materials, equipment, machinery and welfare facilities. 


The planning application before you today is for one such compound located in land to the north of Church Lane near Shinfield, opposite the Pulleyn Transport depot. The compound was first established in July 2019 under the assumption that it constituted permitted development.  It has since been highlighted that this may not be the case.  Following dialogue with the planning team it was agreed that an application would be submitted in order to regularise the use of the site as a temporary compound.


Permission is sought to continue the use of the site as a temporary compound up until the end of Summer 2021. The compound enables SEPD and its contractors to continue working safely and help ensure that future electricity supplies are secured for those served by this key power line. The site has been successfully and safely operated to date with no known issues or complaints from local residents.


Following the completion of these infrastructure works, the compound will be demobilised, and the site will be returned to its original state as a grazed pasture field.


SEPD is committed to undertaking the infrastructure works and operation of the compound site safely and as a ‘responsible neighbour’ and any issues that are raised will be dealt with quickly and appropriately and to the satisfaction of all affected parties.


During the course of the application SEPD has liaised with the case officer to provide the required information to assist in reaching the recommendation before you today.  Where the possibility of harm has been identified, every effort has been made to mitigate this through design and collaboration with the Council. SEPD has worked to reach a suitable outcome to the satisfaction of all.


We respectfully request that the planning committee, in accordance with the case officer’s recommendation, approve the continued use of this site as a temporary compound to allow these essential infrastructure works to be completed in a safe, timely and economic manner.”


Brian O’Donovan, case officer, provided the following verbal updates with regards to conditions. Highways had visited the site and confirmed that they are happy with the visibility splay subject to some shrub clearance to one side, which would be required to be completed within the next 2 weeks. They were also happy with the suggested routing, and therefore they don’t require a further plan to be submitted. Therefore conditions 4 and 6 are suggested to change to a wording along these lines:

·           C4 - Within 2 weeks of the date of this decision visibility splays shall be provided for the access of the approved development measuring 2.4m by 120m, and shall be so designed that there is no obstruction to vision above 0.6 metre in height relative to the nearside edge of the adjacent carriageway over the whole of each vision splay area. Such splays thereafter shall be maintained free of obstruction to vision.

·           C6 - All traffic above 7.5T serving the development hereby permitted shall enter and leave the site only from the east via Church Lane and Brookers Hill and not via Church Lane to the west.


Members were asked in turn for any comments or queries on this application. Specific comments or queries are summarised below.


Simon Weeks commented that this application was in part retrospective, as the applicant believed that alterations were covered under permitted development rights. Simon added that permission was sought for 24 months temporary use by Southern Electric, and the use was expected to cease in the summer of 2021. The application was only before the Committee as the site was larger than 1 hectare.


Angus Ross queried why there was no application for a change of use, and how would the restoration of the site be managed. Brian O’Donovan stated that there was an associated change of use for the requested temporary period. Detailed comments had been received from the Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) landscape and tee officer, which had concluded that the land was of relatively low value. Using previous satellite images and the like, the site would be restored to as close to its original value as possible at the end of the temporary period.


RESOLVED That application number 193248 be approved, subject to conditions and informatives as set out in agenda pages 138 to 140, and amendments to condition 4 and 6 as verbally updated by the case officer.

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