Town Council Round-Up: Major Housing Proposals On The Table
August 7th 2014I wrote about a number of issues that came up in the town council meeting of 5th August, and the planning section of that meeting was equally busy.
In the public forum, James Whitla spoke out against an application for a number of buildings at 82 Mount Pleasant. This application is for 39 buildings, 33 sheds, and a pumping station. It also includes the demolition of two buildings, and the construction of a road which would turn the cul-de-sac of Spire View into a through road. Mr Whitla talked about how this would negatively affect Spire View residents due to access issues. "There's going to be 50 parking spaces," he said. "We don't feel that anything has changed from the first proposal."
Similar plans for this site came before the town council in June 2013, and were rejected by LTC and ELDC.
Councillor George Horton stated that he would call this application in so it has to be decided by full council at ELDC.
Hi-Lite SignsOn Ramsgate Road on the site of Hi-Lite Signs, ELDC has granted permission for a change of use. It's not clear from the road, but this site goes back quite a way, and plans were put in for 30 houses and two apartment blocks. According to the Town Clerk Linda Blankley, "just the front block has been granted permission".
The applicants don't need to submit an environmental impact report. According to ELDC documents, "the development will not result in significant effects on the environment as the proposal is of local importance only."
Southern Gateway planning appealThe outline planning permission for 970 homes on Legbourne Road will go to appeal before a planning inspector. This will take place at Tedder Hall on 25th November 2014, and will last for eight sitting days.
Mount PleasantWhen the council came to discuss plans for 82, Mount Pleasant the Mayor, Andrew Leonard, said: "It is as was. Nothing has changed and we would recommend refusal."
"The access on this road is going to be absolutely abysmal if it does go through," Councillor Sue Locking said.
"It would be a disaster if anything more was put on there," Councillor Gus Robertson said.
The town council voted to object to this proposal on the grounds of poor access, over-intensification, and the volume of traffic.
Quarry RoadLondon and Dowsby Properties applied for outline permission for 20 dwellings on land near to Rock Cottage on Quarry Road. The southern edge of this site borders the London Road cemetery, and in July 2013 the landowners applied for permission to coppice 36 trees on the banks of the quarry.
"We felt this was complete and utter overcrowding," the Mayor said of the outline application.
"We have looked at this before and refused it on over-intensification," Councillor Trevor Marris said. "We should refuse it on the same grounds as before."
In 2012 LTC turned down an application for 13 houses on the same site. This time, the town council voted to object.
Kenwick RoadLarkfleet Homes applied for outline permission for 107 homes on Kenwick Road, a considerable reduction from the 140 or so they originally had in mind.
"No, no, no," Councillor Eileen Ballard said. She cited over-intensification and a concern, and said: "The water pours down Kenwick Road."
"There is a flooding problem there," Councillor Brian Burnett said.
Councillor Robertson agreed, saying "The amount of water that comes down that hill is unbelievable."
Councillor Locking spoke of the time she lived in the Kenwick Road area, saying: "I got flooded out, and I was on a hill."
"This is a bad junction," Councillor Marris said.
The town council voted to object to Larkfleet's application. This plan, and the ones for 82, Mount Pleasant and for Quarry Road will go to ELDC for a decision.
Although these three applications are dwarfed by the plans for the Southern Gateway, they still amount to some 166 homes, which is larger than the development off Fulmar Drive that was approved last year on appeal.
The town council seems to be refusing every major housing development, but this is incompatible with planning policy at both district council and national level. Refusal seems to be the town council's default position, but I think this is dangerous because it will take the decision out of local hands. Some of these applications may be granted on appeal by the planning inspectorate. It would be better for the town if the least worst options went through, rather than whatever an outsider forced on us.
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