Agenda item

Application No.212164 - Lord Harris Court, Mole Road, Sindlesham, Winnersh

Recommendation: Conditional approval


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, spoke in objection to the application. Paul 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 currently operational whilst the new care home was under construction, and it was understood that blockages had occurred during construction. Natalie stated that her understanding was that there would be overflowing of the manholes should this application be refused, and this was due to the relationship between where the new care home was located and the sewer system.


Gary Cowan stated that this building was not in a remote area, and in his opinion the provision of septic tanks in urban areas was very wrong, as these belonged in the countryside.


Stephen Conway stated that he had huge sympathies for local residents, as there appeared to be demonstrable harm in terms of smell for neighbouring residents. Stephen added that on the contrary, environmental health had not raised any objection to this application.


Pauline Jorgensen queried how long the tank would last prior to being required to be emptied. Natalie Jarman stated that the tank connected to the existing foul system, and an alarm was raised if the tank was required to be used and the tank was then due to be emptied within the next 24 hours. Natalie added that she did not have the information as to how long the tank would last prior to being completely full.


Carl Doran commented that this was a valid application for a backup system, however it appeared that this system was not being used as a backup. Justin Turvey stated that it was unlikely that the applicant would consider this their preferred method of disposal, and should this solution not be in place and the existing system was blocked then unpleasant ramifications could occur.


Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey felt that the application should be deferred to allow for Thames Water to carry out checks to the existing system. Justin Turvey clarified that Thames Water had raised no objections.


Justin Turvey commented that when the original application for construction of a new care home was approved, Thames Water raised the issue of capacity of the sewerage system. Justin added that whilst officers did not know how long the issue would take to resolve, there should be less frequent emptying of the tank after construction had been completed.


A number of Members raised concerns that a capacity issue relating to the sewerage system was identified at the planning stage of the new care home. Justin Turvey commented that Thames Water had suggested that the tank be installed. Chris Easton commented that it was common for developments to install oversized volume pipes to reach the foul pumping station at a slower rate, and this was a similar approach.


Gary Cowan commented that the report in front of the Committee had not raised the issue of capacity of the sewerage system either from Thames Water or Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) drainage. Gary added that a permanent solution needed to be sought to resolve any issues with the sewerage system on the site.


A number of Members had concerns regarding approving this application on a permanent basis, as the issue appeared to be related to construction of the new care home.


Stephen Conway proposed amending the proposed permanent permission to a temporary permission until 6 months after occupation of the new care home. This was seconded by Pauline Jorgensen, carried, and subsequently amended the recommendation.


RESOLVED That application number 212164 be approved, subject to conditions and informatives as set out in agenda pages 232 to 233, updated condition 1 as set out in the supplementary planning agenda, and amendment to agree only a temporary permission until 6 months after occupation of the new care home as resolved by the Committee.

Supporting documents: