Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 

Note: Local authorities are now required to hold their meetings in person. This meeting will be held in the Council Chamber at the Municipal Offices. Due to current coronavirus regulations space at the venue is limited so where possible we would encourage you to watch this meeting online via the council's You Tube Channel :https://www.youtube.com/user/cheltenhamborough 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

There were none.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Cllr Barrell declared a non-prejudicial interest in item 5d.

3.

Declarations of independent site visits

Minutes:

Cllr Seacome had visited Loweswater Road and Hanna Court and was familiar with Pittville Pump Room.

Cllr Payne had visited all sites.

Cllr McCloskey had visited Villa Nova, Loweswater Road, Hanna Court and was familiar with Pittville Pump Room and the Oakley Farm site.

Cllr Oliver had visited Villa Nova, Loweswater Road and Oakley Farm.

Cllr Barrell had visited Villa Nova, Loweswater Road and was familiar with Hanna Court and Oakley Farm.

Cllr Baker had visited Villa Nova and Loweswater Road.

Cllr Fifield had visit Pittville Pump Room.

Cllr Barnes had visited Loweswater Road and was familiar with Oakley Farm.

4.

Minutes of last meeting pdf icon PDF 223 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 22 April 2021

Minutes:

The minutes of the last meeting held on 22 April 2021 were approved and signed as a true record.

5.

Planning/Listed Building/Conservation Area Consent/Advertisement Applications, Applications for Lawful Development Certificate and Tree related applications – see Main Schedule

6.

Villa Nova, Undercliff Terrace, Cheltenham 20/02296/FUL pdf icon PDF 343 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Planning Officer presented the report relating to the demolition of existing dwelling, garage and shed and erection of replacement dwelling and additional new dwelling with garaging.  The application was before committee at the request of Councillor Horwood, who initially raised concerns regarding access, flooding and land ownership. While some matters had been resolved, the request remained due to his concerns regarding access. An objection was also received from the Parish Council.

 

Ralph Guilor spoke on behalf of the applicant, explaining that they had bought the site when it was overgrown and in need of significant work, which had made it difficult for surveyors to enter the site. The original intention was to just refurbish Villa Nova but considering the amount of work needed to dispose of asbestos and get it to modern construction standards, it was cheaper to propose a replacement dwelling. The site had planning consent in principle for an additional dwelling, with plans submitted and revised following consultation. Three issues remained to be debated: the flood assessment situation, the width of the lane and the impact on the AONB. He clarified that because the site was overgrown, it had been difficult to draw boundaries, with vague hand-drawn land registry documents leading to questions over the boundary alignment, though neither affected the proposals. The flood risk assessment had been approved by the Planning Officers.

 

The ward member, Councillor Martin Horwood, spoke in objection, thanking the applicant and Planning Officer for their work in making significant changes to the application. However, residents had continued to express concerns, which he shared, particularly around flood risk and the possible loss of amenity in the road. Surface water was a particular concern due to the hillside location, as was fluvial flooding, which did not preclude development but required caution. The culverted part of the building under Undercliff Terrace had been flooded the day before the meeting, with the water aiming straight at Villa Nova, with only a crude concrete channel in front of the house to divert this which the application would remove. Ground water was also a concern, and he had seen it rising when he visited the site, and there was no schematic for an sustainable urban drainage system in the application. On the issue of road amenity, he acknowledged that the boundaries had become vague over time but noted that the 1922 and 1927 area plans made it clear that Undercliff Terrace was supposed to observe dead straight lines, which were still there in the shape of the buildings themselves. The applicant’s plans would not observe this, and would encroach on the common road area. He advised imposing conditions regarding the flood risk assessment and following the straight lines if the application were to be permitted.

 

In response to a member question, the Officer clarified that the comments from the architects’ panel were made with regard to the original scheme, and that they were not consulted again about the revised plan.

 

The Officer also responded to member queries regarding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

1 Loweswater Road, Cheltenham 21/00505/COU pdf icon PDF 276 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Planning Officer presented the report relating to a change of use of land at the rear of the property at 1 Loweswater Road to extend the garden land and subsequent residential curtilage.  The application was at committee at the request of Cllr Oliver due to the impact on the wider locality and any potential future development.  The Officer’s recommendation was to permit.

 

The Chair invited public speaker, Mr Rowe, who spoke in opposition to the application. Mr Rowe stated that the site had been designated as a green open space and maintained by the local authority for the past 50 years and quoted National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 97 that no existing open space should be built on.  He continued that in 2019 Ubico stripped the hedgerow around the perimeter of the site and local residents found out the site had been sold.  In 2020 the mature tree on the site was felled and Mr Rowe cited the Forestry Commission saying that mature trees generally required a felling licence and questioned if the authority had requested seeing this.  He also quoted Defra Hedgerows regulations in that hedgerows are worthy of protection if they are of wildlife value and he said dormice and slow worms occupied this site and that a biodiversity survey should have been carried out.  He pointed out the benefit of urban green spaces, not least from an environmental aspect,  and stated there were no planning reasons to support a change of use. 

 

The Chair invited ward member, Councillor Iain Dobie, to speak against the application.  Cllr Dobie reported that when the estate was developed small parcels of land were retained to create a pleasant visual buffer between the houses on Loweswater Road and Winton Road and to act as a habitat for wildlife.  This was the case until the applicant purchased the land from the developer in 2019 and subsequently a large tree and much hedgerow and greenery were removed.  Local residents had reported that the land had not been maintained to a reasonable level since it was purchased and that they very much wanted to retain their green spaces. They were further concerned that, if approved, this could set a precedent to allow other parcels of land to be purchased and developed resulting in further loss of amenity.  Other factors opposing this application were the height of the summer house and fencing; the street light and telegraph pole located on the land which if removed would make for an unsafe environment for local residents; conversion of part of the land to a parking space which would pose a safety issue; and the site being a natural haven for wildlife. Cllr Dobie further pointed out that the applicant had previously submitted two unsuccessful planning applications for this site and that there had been previous enforcement issues.  Residents were concerned that approval could facilitate a future application to turn the summer house space into a new property and Cllr Dobie requested that a suitablecondition be attached  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Pittville Pump Room, East Approach Drive, Cheltenham 21/00579/LBC pdf icon PDF 214 KB

Minutes:

The Planning Officer presented the report relating to the replacement of six cracked and unsafe floor slabs under the colonnade of the Grade II listed building Pittville Pump Room.  The application was before committee due to the property being owned by Cheltenham Borough Council.

 

A member pointed out that Pittville Pump Room was a Grade I listed building and asked that this be corrected.

 

In response to a member question, the Officer clarified that the slabs had been broken as a result of the works carried out to the building, with the machinery used having caused damage to the slabs.

 

There being no further questions or comments, the Chair moved to vote on the Officer’s recommendation to grant approval.

 

For : 11

Against : 0

Abstain : 0

 

GRANTED unanimously

 

9.

Hanna Court, St Georges Place, Cheltenham 21/00683/FUL pdf icon PDF 257 KB

Minutes:

The Planning Officer presented the report relating to the installation of secure pedestrian and vehicular access gates at the entrance into Hanna Court.  The application was before committee as Cheltenham Borough Council was the land owner and Cheltenham Borough Homes the applicant.

 

In response to member questions, the Officer stated as regards to access and turning, that Highways had reviewed it and not raised any concerns and that the development would be installed with access controls, so residents would have a fob, it would not be manual, and likewise deliveries would have access to a control panel to buzz.  The Officer also confirmed there was a pedestrian gate access and in reply to a further question on waste disposal / collection, he stated he could not exactly comment, but assumed Cheltenham Borough Homes had considered those issues.

 

There being no further questions or comments, the Chair moved to vote on the Officer’s recommendation to permit.

 

For : 11

Against : 0

Abstain : 0

 

PERMITTED unanimously

 

9a

Oakley Farm, Priors Road, Cheltenham 20/01069/OUT pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Planning Officer presented the report relating to the outline application for the development of up to 250 residential dwellings and associated infrastructure at Oakley Farm, Priors Road with approval sought for the proposed means of access to the site from Harp Hill.  The site covers an area of approximately 14.9ha and lies wholly within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). 

The application had been referred to Committee for determination following requests from several councillors due to the level of public interest, the scale and significance of the proposals and resultant harm to the AONB.  However an appeal against the Council’s non-determination of the application was lodged by the applicant on 14 April 2021. 

Members were therefore being asked to consider the Officer’s recommendation and putative reasons for refusal had they been determining the application in order to advise the Secretary of State of the Council’s views.  Members were reminded that the Council was not the determining authority for this application.

The Chair invited public speaker, Mrs Gregson, to speak in objection to the application on behalf of the Friends of Oakley Farm Pastures Slopes.  Mrs Gregson pointed out the Oakley Farm site was in the AONB and thus afforded the highest protection in planning terms and was not in the Development Plan.  She said Cheltenham like many other planning authorities, was struggling to meet its 5 year housing land supply and this speculative application was founded on that shortfall.  However new housing developments were in the pipeline and the temporary shortage of housing land should not be recovered by non-strategic speculative proposals such as this.  She suggested that the applicant might claim that because Cheltenham cannot provide a 5 year housing land supply, exceptional circumstances exist to allow development in the AONB.  However she stated that Cheltenham’s situation was not exceptional as some 30% of local planning authorities had a supply shortfall.   She stated that conserving and enhancing landscape and the scenic beauty of the AONB was of major importance when considering development within the AONB and that the overall landscape and visual effects of the proposal would result in significant loss of protected sloping pastures.  There was also the significant impact the development would have on the heritage assets of Hewlett’s reservoir.   She informed members that over 370 objections from local people had been received as well as from professional consultants.  The proposal was not in the public’s interest and she urged members to support the Officer’s recommendation.

The Chair invited Councillor Babbage, ward councillor, to speak in objection to the application.  Cllr Babbage commended the Officer on the very thorough and detailed report.   He stated he could not improve upon the comprehensive set of refusal reasons or better set out the strength of local concern about this scheme from the hundreds of objections from local residents.   He referred to the comments just made by the Friends of Oakley Farm and the strong planning reasons to refuse the scheme.    He highlighted a couple of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9a

10.

Appeal Updates pdf icon PDF 405 KB

Appeals updates for information.

Minutes:

A member asked when the committee would be able to debate the Oakhurst Rise series of appeals.  The Head of Planning stated there was no date at the moment as the appeal decision could still be challenged, but that he would be happy to have such a meeting about this outside of committee at the relevant time.

 

11.

Any other items the Chairman determines urgent and requires a decision

Minutes:

There were none.