Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of the 17th June 2013.
Birdham Parish Council
Minutes of the
Meeting of the Parish Council
held on Monday 17th June 2013
at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall
Present: Cllr Finch (Chairman), Cllr Barker, Cllr Hamilton, Cllr Grafham, Cllr Ayton, Cllr Churchill.
Apologies: Cllr Cobbold (Vice Chairman).
In attendance: The Clerk, Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC), Cllr Marshall (CDC) and approximately 97 members of the public.
18-13 The Chairman welcomed Cllrs Hamilton, Ayton and Churchill to their first Council Meeting as Co-opted Councillors
19-13 Public Question time in accordance with Standing Orders 1d -1l:
A resident asked if there why there was there was not an item on the agenda concerning the Neighbourhood Plan, to which the Chairman responded that as there is an extremely long planning part of the agenda this had been deferred until the July meeting.
A resident asked how a moratorium against any further developments could be supported. The Chairman responded that she had recently attended a meeting at which the Planning Minister had been asked the same question to which he replied that a moratorium was in fact illegal.
A resident challenged the suitability of Cllr Churchill being Co-opted as a Councillor as he was a member of a Compass, a left wing campaign group. He then asked for a poll of those present who felt that Cllr Churchill should not be a Councillor to which three responded. Cllr Churchill responded by saying that he felt he was well qualified to represent the residents of Birdham and had previously done so over a number of years.
A resident asked what the co-option process entailed. The Chairman asked the Clerk to explain the process, which he did.
20-13 Declaration of Interests:
Cllr Grafham declared a personal interest in item 7 planning application BI/13/01391/FUL.
21-13 Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 20th May 2013:
It was resolved that the Minutes of the meeting of the 20th May 2103 be signed as a true and accurate record.
22-13 To receive and approve a financial report:
i) The Clerk presented the financial report for the month and asked for the listed payments to be approved.
It was resolved to adopt the monthly financial report and to authorise payments as listed.
23-13 To receive from reports from Division Members of WSCC and ward reports from Members of CDC as appropriate.
Cllr Montyn (WSCC) reported that there was now a new web site (www.westsussexhighways.org) which contains useful information on the schedules of works to be carried out by the Councils contractors.
He went on to say that since the election, change had taken place resulting in a rather longer than usual settling down process.
A resident asked what the changes where to the planning structure and the suffix DOM planning applications. Cllr Marshall said that the PARC and the two Area Development Committees had been abolished and one committee, to be referred to as the Planning Committee, had been formed. The suffix DOM had been dealt with in minute 8-13 ii) paragraph 3 dated 20th May 2013.
Cllr Marshall went on to say that Local Plan Consultation period had now ended after a huge response. A Member Committee has been established to consider all comments.
24-13 Planning matters including applications and CDC delegated decisions:
i) To approve and sign the minutes of the Planning Committee of the 29th April 2013
It was resolved that the minutes of the Planning Committee held on the 29th April be signed as a true and accurate record.
Prior to the introduction of the next item the Chairman made the following statement to the Council and the residents present;
Before we look at the application for 15 affordable homes off Crooked Lane I would like to give some background for those of you who are not familiar with it.
A number of years ago Birdham Parish Council recognised the need for affordable homes for local people in Birdham. With the restriction on development outside the Settlement Policy Area (the red line) the opportunities for this were limited and the Parish Council asked the District Council to investigate a suitable site under the Rural Exception Policy, which we refer to as the H9 policy. The H9 policy allows for the building of no more than 15 social rented homes for local people in perpetuity. The term ‘exception’ refers to the location, which is outside the defined Settlement Policy Area, generally on agricultural land that would not be approved for market housing. The term ‘local people in perpetuity’ means all the homes would be for people with a defined local connection, and that if a tenant left the next tenant would also have to have a Birdham connection. In addition these properties could not be sold under any ‘right to buy’ scheme.
A large number of sites were assessed and owners consulted. In many cases the landowner was not ready to sell, not willing to sell or not willing to sell their land for £10K a plot, which is the maximum allowed. In other cases the issues of access, distance from the main village or size meant land was not suitable. This exercise was carried out on 2 occasions as none of the remaining sites were without problems. The social housing provider concluded that land was available for the right price on this site and in their opinion the problems with the site might be feasibly overcome.
In the meantime planning policy has changed, the local plan is in draft and Birdham has a Neighbourhood Plan in development. In addition a numbers of developers have come forward with applications, under the policy we refer to as the ‘FAD’, which include affordable housing (both rented and shared ownership). I have spoken to the district council, who have confirmed that these cannot be guaranteed for local people after the initial tenancy.
We are not here to debate the local need, which is established. We are not here to debate the rights and wrongs of the H9 policy or its replacement in the draft plan (policy 36). We must consider this application on planning grounds and whether our normal concerns on amenity, impact on the environment, land drainage and so-on have been addressed by the applicant in the context of current and draft policies.
I will allow residents to speak first and then I will ask councillors for their thoughts. If you wish to speak on this application please raise your hand and I will indicate who is to speak next. Please resist the temptation to repeat a point already made by a previous speaker and restrict your comments to no more than 3 minutes.
ii) Planning Applications to be Decided
BI/13/01391/FUL The Hyde Group Field north west of the Saltings, Crooked Lane Birdham
A considerable number of residents wished to speak to this application and their comments are summarised as follows;
Are the Council aware that an email obtained under the FOI says that the ownership of the entrance way is in the ownership of the vendor? This is totally untrue.
Would prefer a moratorium on all development until the neighbourhood plan is complete.
There is a need to rethink the requirement for affordable housing in that the Rowan and Tawny sites are likely to be challenged and sect 106 could be used to obtain the required number of affordable housing.
Will the Parish Council continue to protect the AONB as they have done in the past?
Access to the site is a big problem. CDC when asked to show this on their computers could not do so as their machines would not work. Had to have a paper copy in the end.
Child safety is of great concern in that the traffic in that area is not light especially during the school term and, with the nursery school moving onto the same campus the situation will become even worse. As a Parent I have great concerns.
Are the Parish Council going to object?
Is this social housing? Yes.
A reminder to the Parish Council of comments they had previously said concerning their support of affordable housing.
According to the application flooding does not occur, would therefore suggest that they speak to those residents in Crooked Lane who were flooded out in June.
Agree with the concept of affordable homes but suggest that this should be dealt with under the Neighbourhood Plan.
AONB are protected by law.
Concerned that the Parish council was being forced to go this route for financial reasons. The decisions should not be about the money.
Crooked Lane was bought forward as an exception site and under the NPPF AONB’s are protected.
How many empty houses are there?
How can the Parish Council assure us that they can deal with this without pre-determination of the outcome? How can the Parish Council approach this in a fair and just way? He had previously suggested that this should be dealt with by an independent body.
Developers believe that they are resolving the problem.
The Council is between a rock and hard place, there is a need for rented housing in perpetuity. This site may be affordable but it may not be right.
Residents do not trust the Councils to make a just decision and feel that the right decision will not be made.
Sure that the Parish Council has all of the reports concerning the flooding, traffic etc and will make its decisions based on sound knowledge of the area and in planning terms.
The land considered is a lovely meadow with wild animals and flowers that will be lost if this development goes ahead.
The difference between affordable and social housing was pointed out and although this was classified as affordable it was in fact much needed social housing. People in Birdham just cannot afford the deposits and costs of housing in Birdham.
There is a desperate need for this sort of housing in this village.
The Chairman then asked Councillors to give their views on the application.
Cllr Grafham said that he agreed with a lot of what had been said by the residents but Social Housing in Birdham is needed. BPC has to respond on planning grounds alone. He went on to say that the Council had objected to a number of applications and he would not want to see any further urbanisation of the village. He would vote against this application.
Cllr Barker also said that she agreed with a lot of what had been said however, on the positive side there are just fifteen units in the application and had other applications been for just fifteen the Parish Council may well have not objected. Cllr Barker said that she would be voting against the application.
Cllr Ayton said that he had studied this application and had agreed with a lot of what had been said by the residents. It was also a very narrow track, it was in the AONB and that flooding in the area is very bad. He also would object to the application.
Cllr Churchill said that the answers given on the Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire may well give some answers. The price of land was too high within the SPA and the local area. He said that the Local Plan had to fit with the Local Structure Plan which was in place.
Cllr Hamilton said that she had 19 years’ experience as a Parish Councillor in Esbourne and had dealt with two applications on H9 sites. On completion the residents were rather surprised at the quality of the housing and the friendships that had been built up.
Cllr Finch said that whilst she agreed with a lot of the comments made by the residents she stressed the fact that the Council would reach a decision based purely on planning grounds and despite what had been said the Parish Council received no finance from either principle authorities or developers. She went on to say that she had studied the emerging Local Plan and NPPF. The FRA attached to the application was totally inaccurate when it said that Crooked Lane did not flood. She went on to say that she was disappointed in the orientation of the site which she felt was in some way designed to mitigate the proximity and impact on its neighbours.
In conclusion this is an application to develop 15 affordable housing units on an H9 Exception site.
The site is outside of the existing SPA and well within the boundary of the Chichester Harbour Conservation Area AONB. The harbour is of national and international importance for nature conservation. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a wetland of international importance, a Special Protection Area for wild birds and a candidate Special Area of Conservation. The Harbour is of particular significance for wintering wildfowl and waders some of which are internationally important.
Development in an AONB is covered very clearly in the NPPF sect 11 para 115. NPPF Sect 11 para 116 quite clearly says that permission should be refused except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated that development would be in the public interest. Paragraph 116 also suggests that “….or meeting the need for it (the development) in some other way.”
It has been suggested that the application currently in train on other sites and sites that are already in the development stage would produce more affordable housing than that which would be realised by this application.
Should it be considered that this application meets the requirement of the NPPF Sect 11 para 115 and 116 then the design in terms of the orientation of the development must be re-examined. The current layout of the proposed development is an arrogant intrusion into the AONB which has probably been done to mitigate the detrimental visual intrusion onto what could be neighbouring gardens.
Concerns are also raised about the lack of understanding of the flooding situation in direct relationship to Crooked Lane which, according to the applications FRA, suffered no flooding problems during last year’s floods. Many who live in Crooked Lane are able to bear testament to the opposite view and are concerned that any further development will exacerbate the problems they have experienced.
An increase in traffic congestion has not, in the opinion of the Council, been properly addressed insomuch as the access/egress of the site is opposite the Birdham School with obstructed site lines.
Whilst Birdham Parish Council recognises the need for affordable housing in Birdham it resolved with one abstention to OBJECT to this application for the reasons given.
Proceeding to the next application residents were again given the opportunity to speak first.
BI/13/00316/FUL Birdham Pool Marina
It seems that when one moves from Wandsworth to the country one then sets about to try and change the country to Wandsworth after complaining about the noise of the chickens. If this application is allowed to proceed it will start a precedence that will end up as all housing.
It is a ship yard there should be no housing.
The owners have threatened restrictions and there have been confrontations.
It will change the character of the village and will end up losing jobs.
The marina is full of one man businesses and should not be allowed to get rid of them.
This is a very rare site which should not be wasted on housing.
The design requires changing to prevent accidents happening to children.
This application includes the installation of a rather tall and large crane.
This is a quintessentially English site and should not be allowed to set a precedent in order that Northshore should go the same way.
It is hoped that crane is not to replace the one shown in the church stained glass window.
Agree that the run down businesses should not be allowed to continue.
There is a lot of history in the Birdham Pool which is of national historical importance.
The marina should be allowed to improve.
The old crane is very noisy in operation, if it is allowed to be replaced will the new one be quieter?
If the residential properties do not get permission it is unlikely that the marina will be refurbished.
The Chairman then asked Councillors to give their views on the application.
Cllr Hamilton said that the marina was a very traditional business and should be protected. Any housing will be inside of the AONB which would be contradictory to the statements contained within the NPPF and there may well be restrictions on berth owners.
Cllr Churchill questioned the logic of the application and objected to the proposed housing on the site.
Cllr Ayton said that he believed it was the oldest marina in the country with a proud history that should be protected.
Cllr Barker was satisfied that berth holders were not in favour of the proposals as they stood. She also felt that there were a number of H & S implications to which she would object.
Cllr Grafham said that he was concerned at the inaccuracies in the Design and Access Statements and that housing on the site contrary to the NPPF makes it objectionable.
Cllr Finch was very concerned about the loss of businesses within the marina leading up to, during and post the application should it be successful. She also objected to the on-site housing.
This is an application to modernise the ancient ship yard of Birdham Pool Marina by the re-arrangement of the existing boatyard, the installation of a replacement modern crane, the re-arrangement of the existing marina layout, the relocation of the marina office, the provision of replacement workshop building and the conversion of an existing dilapidated office workshop building to 4 in no dwellings and the formation of a new Lockkeepers building next to the existing building and sanitary facilities for berth holders on the eastern side of the marina.
Whilst the modernisation to the marina is welcomed it is believed that this application goes too far. The marina is inside the AONB and outside of the SPA. The indication is that the program is to be financed by the sale of the 4 in no dwelling places and without permission for the four units the programme of works will not proceed. Undue and unwelcome pressure to achieve an aim that flies in the face of the NPPF Sect 11 para 115, 116, 118 and 119.
The modernisation of the workshops appears on the surface to be sound and would be welcomed however, there is little or no evidence to suggest that the consultation with the current users and small businesses has actually been carried out. In fact a number of occupiers came to the BPC Meeting on Monday the 17th June to find out what has actual been applied for and were horrified to find out the extent of the application and the likely impact on their businesses.
The replacement of the existing old crane is welcomed but concerns remain as to the impact on the environment and wildlife in this very sensitive area.
Birdham Parish Council feels that it has no alternative other than to OBJECT to this application.
The majority of residents left the meeting at this point. After settling down the meeting continued with the following applications;
BI/13/01455/DOM Oakdene Sidlesham Lane
This is an application to demolish an extremely unstable existing garden shed and replace with a detached garage.
The application would not impact greatly on the surrounding residents and would be almost hidden by hedging.
Birdham Parish Council raises NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/13/01350/DOM Creek Cottage Westlands.
This is an application for a proposed single story and a two story extension to an existing property. This is a large property on a large plot. The proposed application makes for a much more user friendly home. There appears to be no impact on the neighbours or the AONB.
Birdham Parish Council raises NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/13/01550/DOM 7 Alandale Road.
This is an application to alter the roof from hipped to gable roof and to include a large window in the gable end. Whilst the reason for the application is well understood it is felt that the windows is too large and out of keeping with the existing windows on that end of the house.
Birdham Parish Council therefore OBJECTS to this application.
BI/13/01630/DOM Well House Lock Lane.
This is an application to replace a rather dilapidated lean-to shed, solar panels and carry out various repair and maintenance works. All to be carried out on a grade ll listed building. It is important at this juncture to point out that an LBC Application for this work has not been received.
It is pleasing to see that the work has been highly specified to return this building to something of the original, whilst incorporating some modern elements of an environmental nature. Equally the re-use of existing and reclaimed materials is to be applauded.
Birdham Parish Council raises NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/13/01683/TCA West Bell House Bell Lane.
This is an application to fell 1 no willow tree. No reason is given for the felling however, Birdham Parish Council is content to pass the decision to the CDC Tree Officer who has the expertise to determine the reason for the application.
BI/13/01701/EXT Eloise Chichester Marina
This is an application to extend the permission granted to site a two storey house boat as a replacement boat in the Marina.
Birdham Parish Council resolved to defer this application for more information.
It was resolved to instruct the Clerk to forward the decisions of Birdham Parish Council to DC Planning.
iii) Delegated Decisions to be noted
BI/12/03403/FUL Mr Graham Hornsby Saxons Martins Lane Birdham
To vary condition 4 of planning permission BI/07/04227/FUL to allow retention of three windows in their current form. PERMIT
BI/13/00827/DOM Mr Gary Burn 1 Bell Lane Birdham
Single storey rear/side extension, to provide extension to kitchen, new downstairs reception and new bathroom. PERMIT
BI/13/01116/TPA Mr Richard Dale Tradewinds Lock Lane Birdham
Reduce crown extension to east and height by 2m and lift crown to 5m (above ground level) on 2 no. Oak trees (T1 and T2). Reduce crown extension to east and height by 2m and lift crown to 6m (above ground level) on 6 no. Oak trees (T3 to T8). All trees within Group G1, subject to BI/08/00174/TPO. PERMIT
BI/13/01117/TPA Dr K Zilkha Willow End Lock Lane Birdham
Reduce regrowth from previous ‘topping’ to suitable ‘growing point’ (0.5-1.5m) above point of ‘topping’ on 1 no. Ash tree (T2). Reduce crown extension to east and height by 2m and crown lift to 5m (above ground level) on 1 no. Oak tree (T3). Reduce crown extension to east and height by 3m and crown lift to 5m (above ground level) on 1 no. Oak tree (T4 ). All 3 no. trees within G1, subject to BI/08/00174/TPO. PERMIT
BI/13/00655/DOM Mr And Mrs C Bayliss 1 Pipers Mead Birdham
Single storey addition. PERMIT
BI/13/01058/TPA Ms Rachel Sampson (Bellway Homes – Wessex) Longmeadow Main Road Fell (down to 4m) 4 no. Black Poplar trees (T18-T21) subject to BI/97/00036/TPO. REFUSE
BI/13/01062/DOM Mrs Gillian Bumpsteed Davis Greenbanks Crooked Lane Birdham
The demolition of an existing side and rear extension and construction of a new single storey side and rear extension. PERMIT
It was resolved to note the delegated decisions.
25-13 Correspondence – Not previously circulated:
i) A letter had been received from Mrs Parks confirming her resignation from the Council with effect from the 27th May 2013.
ii) A copy of the Sussex Review
iii) A copy of the Local Council Review
26-13 Dates of Next Meeting:
17th June 2013 at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall
There being no further business to transact the meeting closed at 2120hours.
Signed ___________________________ Dated ____________________