Minutes of the Planning Meeting held on the 7th September
Birdham Parish Council
Minutes of the Planning Committee of Birdham Parish Council
held on Friday 7th September 2012
at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall
Present: Cllr Tilbury (Chairman), Cllr Barker.
Ex-Officio: Cllr Finch (Chairman of Council)
Apologies: Cllr Leach, Cllr Cobbold (Vice Chairman), Cllr Grafham.
In attendance: The Clerk
P4-12 Declarations of Interests:
There were no declarations of interest
P5-12 Planning Applications:
i) Applications to be ratified.
BI/12/02374/FUL Lansdale Marine, Birdham Road, Birdham
This extremely careless application is riddled with spelling and grammatical mistakes and still refers to the site as being in Apuldram even though we pointed out this error in our response to a previous application. We did not object to the previous application but it was nonetheless refused by the Planning Officer because it was thought to be too intrusive into the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding natural Beauty. We disagree. This conversion is immediately adjacent to the two former barns which had been used for engineering and distribution businesses in recent years and then thoroughly converted to a base for a motor homes business and a chandlery. There have been complaints from some residents about the style and materials of the main buildings, the result has been that this remaining building has taken on a run-down appearance. Our concerns have been about the use of the building, the avoidance of intrusive advertising into an Area of Special Advertising Control, the effect on the neighbours at Birdham Farm of the bulk of the building so close to the curtilage, the parking and extra traffic movements and the screening of the building from the main road by the provision of a 1.8 metre hedge.
There is no doubt that this proposal will improve the present run down appearance. The proposed building will be two metres higher than the present building at 5.5 metres. The effect on the neighbours at Birdham Farm will be mitigated by the pitch of the roof to the rear of the building but will still exert a presence there. We note that there will now be windows on the south elevation, facing Birdham Road. We would wish to see two conditions here: the first, that the end wall of the building may not be used for advertising of any sort; and the second that the windows cannot be used for the display of any form of advertising. Because of its proximity to Birdham Farm we would object to any use which produces noise likely to disturb the neighbours who are only one metre away. We would wish to see clear conditions on the on-going problems of the double counting of parking spaces at this site, between the chandlery business and any office use of this proposal. We continue to oppose the use of parking spaces for retailing or advertising. This is also a gateway site to the village and over the years that it has been in development we have been unable to get the owners to take seriously the need to soften the image of the site through the provision of a suitable hedge of indigenous species which will be properly planted and cultivated and have some chance of survival. For this proposal we would be looking especially to the frontage from the gate to the curtilage behind the proposed building. Finally we would look for conditions on the colour palette and finishes to be used on the proposed building, to conform to the recommendation of the Chichester Harbour Conservancy’s Design Guidance for buildings within the AONB.
If these matters can be negotiated with the developer with some assurance of success the Parish Council will have NO OBJECTION to this application, consistent with our previous responses.
BI/12/02739/FUL Moorings, Westlands, Birdham
This is an application to amend designs approved under BI/12/01918/FUL which was itself amended previously. The issues for the Parish Council have been the amount of glass facing Chichester Harbour and the resultant danger of glare at some parts of the day, and the loss of amenity to neighbours.
Previous amendments have mitigated our concerns by the use of verandas and limitation on the fenestration at the east end of the building. This application involves some internal reorganisation and amendment to the roof design over the utility room at the east end of the building (not the west end as stated in the Design and Access statement).
The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.
It was resolved to confirm the decisions sent to DC Planning
ii) Applications to be decided.
BI/12/02941/FUL Broomsfield, Lock Lane, Birdham
The proposal is to replace an existing house (built 1947) and is to replace the present house with a new one in a completely different style. The proposal lies inside the Chichester Harbour AONB but outside the Birdham SPA The Policies which appear to apply here are RE1, RE4, BE11, H12 and parts of the Harbour Conservancy (CHC) Design Guidelines.
The proposal is for a Scandahus in the New England style which has been so popular. There are other houses of the same style in the extension to Lock Lane which leads to the Egremont Bridge (shown as Egremont Lane on the proposal) but this house is on the end of the row and will be much more visible when there are no leaves on the trees. The avenue of oak trees along the lane is TPO’d.
Policy RE4 and parts of Policy BE11 demand that the building be in sympathy with the landscape and enhancing the visual quality of the environment. We have concerns about this style of house in this particular prominent location.
Policies BE11 and H12 also refer us to scale. There must be concerns about this but they are difficult to assess because of the lack, until this week, of existing elevations with which to compare the proposal and dimensions to make comparison easier. The elevations, despite their articulation at some points appear quite bulky but that is partly because the drawing is two-dimensional. We have tried to assess the difference in footprint: the proposal is for 345 m2; we assess the present footprint at about 240 m2 but, because of the lack of dimensions stated above, this is an unreliable figure. It would imply an increase of about 30%. Without accurate dimensions it is impossible for us to assess the increase in the massing of the proposal. The CHC guidelines propose not more than 25%.
The question of colour is important. The whole house is on a brick plinth painted white, a colour we are trying to avoid in the AONB because of the way it intrudes into the visual quality of the landscape. The roof has red cedar shingles: these will tone down over a year or two. The cladding is shown as stained, sawn timber but no indication of colour is given. We would have concerns at any use of the New England blue in this location. “Dark” is not good enough; we complained about the uniformity of the black cladding on the new buildings at the Marina. The CHC guidelines also mention uniformity. There is a lot of glass and someone has obviously read the CHC guide and provided verandas nearly all the way round the building as suggested to mitigate glare. But we have concerns about the intrusion of lighting at night into the landscape. We would refer the applicants to the adjoining house (Broomfield Studio). With its muted tones, articulation, ample but not flamboyant amount of glass, it sits comfortably there despite its rural site.
We are pleased to see that all the walls and hedges are to be preserved. There is a thorough analysis and provision for bats.
We are not opposed to the redevelopment of this site but feel that there are major issues about this proposal which have to be thought through. Despite the late provision of exisiting elevations we still feel that we do not have enough detailed information to assess the change is scale and massing and the general effect on the visual quality of the landscape and must therefore OBJECT to the proposal in its present form.
BI/12/03080/DOM Dragonsfield, Westlands, Birdham
The Council notes that this proposal forms part of the extension of Dragonsfield and is for an oak carport 4.2 metres high. We have some concerns that this site is beginning to be very full but raise NO OBJECTION to the application. It is partially screened from the rear by a 1.8 metre close boarded fence and from the front by planting. We ask for conditions to maintain this screening and also that the carport cannot be sold separately from the main house and that no part of it can be used for residential use.
BI/12/02826/COU 1 Birdham Business Park, Birdham Road, Birdham
This is an application for a change of use of one of the units at Birdham Business Park from class BI to class B2. We understand that, although class B1 covers light industry, the applicant wishes to have general industry permission for steel fabrication work. The site lies at the northern end of the Park. The Park is outside the Birdham SPA and adjacent to the border of the Chichester Harbour AONB. The Policies which apply here are RE1 and BE11.
Our main concerns would be disturbance to residential properties and noise interference for residents and other users of the Park. The applicant proposes to take measures to provide improved sound insulation and this is a matter beyond our competence. We would note however that other premises of this type are not always fully enclosed, particularly in hot weather or at the time of deliveries and would expect that some conditions could be applied here and enforced. Also we believe that there should be a condition on the hours of use.
The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/12/ 02934/COU 20 Birdham Business Park, Birdham Road, Birdham
This is an application to store dinghies on green land at the south west corner of the Business Park and is part of a move of premises by the company within the Park toprovide for expansion by another company. The Park is outside the Birdham SPA and adjacent to the border of the Chichester Harbour AONB.
The site is screened on all sides. Photographs supplied with the application imply that the dinghy’s to be stored will be small. Our main concern would be for the safety of other users of the Park in high winds as this corner of the Park will be vulnerable to south west winds and we would like to see a detailed scheme presented to show how the dinghies will be secured when parked on the site. Conditions should also be placed on the owners of the Park to maintain all hedges and other windbreaks adjacent to the dinghy park in a good condition to preserve safety.
We have some concerns that the parking intrusion into this green area which was allowed under a previous application, referred to in this application, may begin to erode the green area here. We would point out that this green area provides a buffer zone between the Park and the access to residential properties to the south and also surface water drainage for part of the site.
The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/12/03015/FUL Widdicombe, Main Road, Birdham
This is an amendment to extant permission BI/08/02179/FUL for the replacement two storey dwelling. We did not object to the original application.
The major amendment is an increase in the ridge height by 1.5 metres. This would normally be grounds for concern but is acceptable on this site. We note that the District Archaeologist has drawn attention to the possibility of archaeology connected with the presumed Roman road from Bracklesham and we hope that there will be a watching brief at least to ensure that evidence is not lost.
Southern Water has expressed concerns about the disposal of surface water. The area at the top of Bell Lane suffered severely in the floods in June and the disposal of surface water is a major concern. We assume that a condition will be attached to any permission on this application to ensure the safe disposal of surface water into the ditch at the rear of the development site which must be in a state to take such water , including downstream of the site. We would like to know about any alternative suggestion for the disposal of surface water f the ditch is not practicable.
We note that there is considerable fenestration at the rear (north) of the property. We would wish to see a condition that that the screening afforded by hedging should be maintained at a height to preserve the privacy of neighbours when the property to the north is built.
On the assumption that these concerns can be met by negotiation the Council raises NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/12/03280/TPA 23 Longmeadow Gardens, Birdham
This is an application to reduce the crown of a black poplar tree which is subject to BI/97/00036/TPO. Responded to the previous application on this tree and objected to the felling of the tree. We are aware of the problems with black poplars as they grow older and are happy to abide by the advice of the District Council’s Tree Officer for work to be carried out in the interests of the tree to make it safe and maintain its role as a significant tree in the landscape.
BI/12/02921/ADV Birdham Service Station, Main Road, Birdham
Birdham Parish Council objected to the previous scheme for the re-branding of the service station by Shell. Our main concern was the amount of light pollution in the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We note with satisfaction that all lighting apart from on the main sign and for safety reasons under the canopy has been withdrawn. This application largely confirms that situation retrospectively.
There is one new aspect to this application in the proposed fascia panel to the deli2go rebranding of the shop. We note that the only lighting here, which will be below canopy level, is to the white lettering on a taupe background. This is acceptable.
We would point out that there is an advertising panel shown on the plans above the entrance to the car wash. This does not exist and is in any case quite unnecessary because the entrance is at ninety degrees to the road and the pumps and would be scarcely visible.
We assume that the “Welcome to your new Shell garage” freestanding display board is temporary and will be removed in the near future, allowing the “entrance” sign to be positioned properly.
The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/12/03284/TPO Church Lodge, Church Lane, Birdham
This is an application to fell a mature chestnut tree subject to BI/04/00041/TPO at the entrance to Church Lodge. The tree is clearly suffering from chestnut canker and the Council has NO OBJECTION to its removal. We would press the owner to replace the tree in due course with another indigenous species which will make a contribution to the landscape at this point.
It was resolved to authorise the Clerk to inform DC Planning of the decisions made.
iii) Comments on applications affecting Birdham.
D/12/02664/FUL Land at Southfields Close, Donnington
Birdham Parish Council wishes to associate itself with the comments made by East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish Council, Earnley Parish Council and Sidlesham Parish Council and OBJECTS to the above application to build 100 houses on land at Southfields Close, Donnington.
We would underline in particular the following considerations.
All the Parish Councils on the Manhood Peninsula consider that the cumulative impact of development has been ignored but must now form a fundamental principle for the consideration of planning applications on the Peninsula. It is simply not realistic to treat each application separately. Any application to build in Earnley, Bracklesham, East Wittering, West Wittering and West Itchenor contributes more traffic to the A286, all of which is funnelled through Birdham and Donnington, leading to the traffic queues described and documented clearly by the other Councils and these have now reached the point where further development is unsustainable on the ground of road infrastructure alone. Added to that are the problems of air pollution, documented by East Wittering and Bracklesham Council and which affect residents and drivers of vehicles.
Other elements of the infrastructure are also close to, at, or beyond capacity. Recent events have underlined the extreme problems of surface water drainage and waste water treatment. The provision of schools and medical services are stretched to the limit and ambulance and other emergency vehicle access to the Manhood is stretched to the limit.
Surveys by the District Council over the last ten years have repeatedly shown the value that local people – let alone visitors – place on the quality of the open countryside and the maritime environment. Building on the scale proposed at Donnington, especially when taken with applications in the pipeline further south on the Peninsula , threaten to destroy exactly what it is that people appreciate whether they live here or visit. The multiple dangers of the creation of a further dormitory area for Chichester, Portsmouth and Southampton are obvious.
Because of the lack of a Local Development Plan, the shifting sands of National Planning Policies and the difficulty of creating Neighbourhood Plans in this confused situation there is a particular danger – if not an expectation – that developers like Wates at Donnington will seize the opportunity to push through planning consents. Donnington may be only the first.
As we said in response to the consultation on the Core Strategy of the LDP last September:
“There is widespread concern about development on the Manhood Peninsula and this is mirrored by our consultation with Birdham residents. There is a need to protect the AONB, for both aesthetic and commercial reasons, and the homogeneity of village settlements. The unwillingness of planners to accept the severe problems caused to residents and businesses on the Peninsula by the need for upgrading and now the flooding of the A27 is thought laughable by local people and leaves them aghast. The inability or unwillingness of Southern Water to solve the problems at the Apuldram WWTW, and consequent discharge into the Harbour for three months of the year of sewage which has only undergone stage 1 treatment, endangers the health of riparian owners and sailors and the tourist economy. The run down nature of the local surface water drainage system puts the area in danger of flooding. Climate change makes building below the 5 metre contour probably unsustainable. The quantity of traffic on the A286, which is the main traffic artery for the western Manhood, endangers safety, encourages noise and air pollution and is a problem for the agriculture and horticulture industries. Further ribbon development along the roads on the western Manhood will only make matters worse. The residents of Birdham will take a lot of convincing that any development at all is sustainable until the infrastructure problems are solved.”
We remain unconvinced and regard with horror the idea that the west Manhood will have to contend with the consequences of 100 new homes at Donnington.
EWB/12/02461/FUL Land north of Beech Avenue, Bracklesham
Birdham Parish Council strongly OBJECTS to this planning application and supports the comments put forward by East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish Council. This proposed development at the southern end of a low-lying peninsula with one road and little local employment prospects other than in environmentally based tourism is UNSUSTAINABLE.
The site lies at the southern end of the Western Manhood Peninsula. Access to Chichester and the A27 is via the A286. As the single road leading from the A27 to East and West Wittering this road is frequently at a standstill on sunny days between April and October. On sunny days – midweek as well as weekends- journey times from Chichester to the Witterings (and the other way) can take up to two hours. Birdham lies on this route and residents’ lives already are considerably impacted by visitor traffic on the roads. As a result, residents have to plan their journeys carefully – avoiding certain times to travel to and from Chichester and not being able to use buses which get stuck in the traffic jam. Every new house built along this route, and particularly at its end, will aggravate this situation.
Employment and Environment
The western Manhood Peninsula is dependent on tourism for the bulk of its employment and economy. Highly-regarded by visitors as one of the last semi-rural, low key stretches of coastline in Sussex, the area (its shops, restaurants, camp-sites etc.) is sustained by tourism. Too much suburban development in the area will adversely impact the character and the environment visitors are attracted to.
There are few job vacancies in the area and new residents will have to seek employment off the peninsula thereby adding to the traffic issues on the A286. Few companies, other than tourism-related businesses, are likely to relocate to the peninsula because of the existing traffic situation.
Flooding/drainage and sewerage
The Environment Agency has confirmed that the site is only 4.5 m OD. Its low height above sea level and its location, close to the Medmerry Realignment Scheme, the Earnley Rife and the sea, mean that it is an unsustainable site.
The development is contrary to Towards ICZM and Policy SP14 – adopted as material planning considerations Chichester District Council and recognised by the Planning Inspector in the recent Madestein Glasshouse Appeal decision. No permanent housing development should be allowed below 5m OD.
In June 2012 more than 40 homes upstream from this site were flooded, and many households are still unable to return to their homes, including some Birdham residents. Flooding and drainage in Bracklesham and surrounding areas, including Earnley and Birdham, has worsened considerably in recent years. This may well have been exacerbated by the building of hundreds of homes to the east of Bracklesham during the last decade (some on land that previously had been designated a coastal and fluvial floodplain). Further applications for development in this vicinity will be extremely unpopular with local people.
P6-12 Decisions – To be noted.
BI/12/02075/FUL Birdham Nursery School Birdham C of E Primary School Crooked Lane Birdham Nursery School building. PERMIT
BI/12/02323/DOM Mr And Mrs Tyler Spinney Cottage Lock Lane Birdham
Detached carport building. REFUSE
BI/12/02351/DOM Mr Hugh Jefferson Cotswold House 6 St James Close Birdham
Proposed single storey side/rear extension, first floor side extension, new garage and side dormer with roof lights to north and south elevations. PERMIT
BI/12/02132/DOM Mr James Ireland Dragonsfield Westlands Estate Birdham
Proposed single storey rear extension. PERMIT
BI/12/02635/TPA Mr Richard Wheeler 23 Longmeadow Gardens Birdham
Fell 1 no. Black Poplar tree (T5) subject to BI/97/00036/TPO. REFUSE
It was resolved to note the delegated decisions made by DC Planning
P7-12 Date of next meeting.
3rd October 2012 – To be confirmed
There being no further business to discuss the meeting closed at 8.15pm
Signed ___________________________ Dated ____________________