Notes taken at the Planning Committee meeting held on 15th February 2015
Present: Lucy Gomes (Chair) Keith Cockerton Fiona Dean Rodney Haverson Tracey Warren Terry GreenwoodAlso in attendance: Charles Howard (Wiltshire Councillor) Michael Fowler (architect) and 31 members of the public.Apologies: David Dennis and Natalie Williams.Minutes: Jill Cockerton.Lucy Gomes opened the meeting at 5pm and explained that the single topic to be discussed at this meeting was the planning application for 15 houses at Station Yard. She asked for any declarations of interest. Keith Cockerton said that he had received a complaint from a member of the public suggesting that, in the wording of the notice about the meeting, he was biased against the planning application. He left the hall while the sub-committee discussed this. It was decided that the words 'prominent' and 'sizeable' were factually correct and did not suggest bias so Keith was invited back to take part in the meeting.Lucy Gomes introduced Charles Howard who explained the current situation and the next stages of the planning process. At this stage, Wiltshire Planning Committee was awaiting several technical reports and other relevant information. The deadline for comments is February 26th 2015 and, until that date, any member of the public can send comments to the address on the green notice on the telegraph pole near the proposed site. All comments received will be posted in full on the Council website. After this date, it will be decided whether to 'call in' the application for a deferred decision by eight Wiltshire Councillors and, if this is the case, there will be further opportunities for the public to comment. The target date for a decision is April 22nd but this may be later if the application is 'called in'. Lucy reported on several emails received that listed the following concerns:1.sewerage system overload2.water run-off3.traffic and pedestrian safety4.building within a conservation area5.using the old railway line, thereby making any reinstatement impossible.Several members of the public raised the following issues and questions about the proposed development.The lower part of the village has suffered from flooding several times due to a high water table and fifteen additional houses could increase the run-off levels to dwellings further down the hill.The mains sewerage system is old and can not cope with heavy rains currently. Fifteen extra houses feeding into the sewers would exacerbate the problem and possibly lead to more raw sewage flooding over the High Street. Wessex Water have acknowledged that the sewerage system needs a huge overhaul but there are no plans (or money) to carry out this work in the foreseeable future.The proposed roadways would not be adopted by Wiltshire Council and, therefore, would be the responsibility of residents. There are implications for nearby houses' privacy, including the concern that the ground floor of some of the proposed new houses will look directly into the bedroom windows of existing properties.There are implications for light pollution from street lighting and traffic pollution from increased traffic.The land from Station Yard drops quite steeply and there are concerns about possible subsidence through building work.The Station Yard area is home to a variety of wildlife including bats, deer and woodland birds. This habitat would be lost through the development.Traffic would increase at an already complicated junction, where Station Approach enters Cadley Road near to the junctions with Sunton, Saunders Meadow, West Farm Close and the main A338. This is also only yards away from a children's play area.Parking around this junction is already an issue at busy times for the village shop.The proposed development will be visible on the skyline. (In 2002 planning permission was refused for one house as it was on the skyline.)There would be an increase in traffic, including dustcarts, oil tankers, deliveries, removal vans etc.Station Approach will not be widened so there will not be enough room for two lorries to pass each other.There will be no footpath for pedestrians, including children walking to school.The need for more housing in the village was questioned.The school is already oversubscribed so there is no space for new children who come into the village.A high number of new homes are being built in the area but with no new jobs or infrastructure.Gardens in the vicinity are already waterlogged for parts of the year and increased run-off water would add to the problem.Ludgershall Town Council is working towards the town being a site of historical significance and further development of Collingbourne Ducis might have an impact on this.New guidelines are being introduced in April of this year that will mean the proposed site is outside the area of permitted development.It was requested that the Wiltshire Planning Committee carry out a site visit to look at impact issues.If permission is granted this could open the floodgates for other sites in the village with current industrial use to be developed for residential use. It was suggested that, if this were the case, then working together (with possible access from the mini roundabout) might be a solution to the traffic concerns. Michael Fowler responded to these concerns with the following comments.It is impossible to predict future developments within the village and, therefore, how they might be joined up.In 2005 planning permission was granted for fifteen houses at Bourne Works and nothing has changed since then.Wiltshire Council had no objections at this time so a precedent has been set.Although the development will be on the skyline, the plans have been amended to include more bungalows and no three-storey houses.It had been planned that the development would have its own sewage treatment plant but this had been rejected. All sewage will need to be emptied into the village main drains.The inability of these sewers to cope with additional flow was not a valid reason to prevent development. Wessex Water would have to upgrade and improve.The site currently has B2 (industrial) classification so is a 'brown field' site.An ecology survey was carried out and the only significant species found was slow worms. More trees would be planted.Michael acknowledged concerns about traffic but pointed out that county standards suggest no division between traffic and pedestrians and that they both share the same space. Having separate space for each was a 1960s philosophy.There is a shortage of houses in the village and 141 new homes are designated for this area. ( NB Councillor Howard pointed out that this number covers the wider Tidworth Community Area excluding Tidworth itself.)At a previous exhibition detailing a development of nine homes, 52% of village residents had been in favour of it and 65% in favour of more homes in the village. This issue of possible subsidence was looked into in 2005 and nothing has changed since then.In terms of proximity to existing properties, the proposed development complies with legal dimensions.A visual impact assessment has been made. The site is now more secluded and concealed as trees have grown since the last planning application.If this development went ahead there would be a '106' payment (possibly around £80,000) which is likely to go to the local school. Councillor Howard told the meeting that points raised would be fed back to the Planning Committee. The Parish Council had been asked to comment and this would also contribute to the decision-making process. Letters had already been received by Wiltshire Council, both for and against the development. Lucy Gomes drew the discussion to a close, thanking everyone for their contributions and encouraging all comments to be sent to Wiltshire Council. She acknowledged a comment from a member of the public that the majority of people attending the meeting lived close to the proposed site and had a particular interest.The meeting was closed to public comments at 6.15pm and the planning sub-committee resumed its meeting.