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Agenda item

18/501745/REM - APPROVAL OF RESERVED MATTERS FOR APPEARANCE, LANDSCAPING, LAYOUT AND SCALE FOR PHASE 4 COMPRISING 71 DWELLINGS WITH ASSOCIATED INFRASTRUCTURE, PURSUANT TO OUTLINE APPROVAL 13/1749 - LAND TO THE EAST OF HERMITAGE LANE, MAIDSTONE, KENT

Minutes:

All Members stated that they had been lobbied.

 

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Planning and Development relating to application 18/501745/REM.  It was noted that:

 

·  This reserved matters application was originally reported to the Committee on 27 September 2018 with a recommendation for approval.  The layout details recommended for approval included a route (Option 3) through ancient woodland in order to link the site to earlier phases of the approved development.  The Committee deferred a decision to examine in more detail the impact of two route options within the layout.

 

·  The applicant carried out additional work on these options and the application was reported back to the Committee on 8 November 2018.  At that meeting, the Committee agreed to refuse permission for the reasons set out in paragraph 3.3 of the report.

 

·  Prior to the vote being taken, the Development Manager (a) advised the Committee that the proposed reasons for refusal were not sustainable and could result in significant costs against the Council at appeal and (b) issued a significant costs warning.

 

·  Since a significant costs warning had been issued, and the Committee agreed to refuse permission, the decision was deferred until the next meeting of the Committee pursuant to paragraph 30.3 (a) of Part 3.1 of the Council’s Constitution and paragraph 17 (a) of the Local Code of Conduct for Councillors and Officers Dealing with Planning Matters (Part 4.4 of the Constitution).

 

·  Counsel’s advice had been sought on the proposed grounds for refusal, the likelihood of success at appeal, and the financial implications.

 

·  The advice was that this was an application for the approval of reserved matters details pursuant to an outline application which was allowed at appeal by the Secretary of State who decided that a route (Option 3) through the ancient woodland to Phase 4 of the development was acceptable and that the compensation measures for the minor loss were acceptable.  Reserved matters approval could not now be withheld on a ground that had already been decided in principle at the grant of outline planning permission.  Otherwise, this would reopen an issue already decided, frustrate the permission that had been granted, and be unreasonable.

 

·  Officers continued to recommend the shortest route (Option 3) which involved the loss of a small amount of ancient woodland and which the Secretary of State had found to be acceptable at appeal.  However, there was also a route (Option 2) that avoided the ancient woodland, but resulted in a much longer road through the woodland as a whole.

 

 

 

 

·  The second part of the advice related to the grounds for refusal put forward by Members.  Since this was a reserved matters application, not a full application or an outline application, paragraph 175 (c) of the National Planning Policy Framework did not apply.

 

·  It was therefore the Officers’ advice that the Council’s reasons for refusal could not be sustained at appeal and that attempting to defend them would be unreasonable and expose the Council to a significant adverse costs award in addition to having to bear its own costs defending the appeal.  It was therefore recommended that the Committee should not pursue the reasons for refusal of the reserved matters details as advanced at its meeting held on 8 November 2018, and that it should approve the reserved matters details subject to conditions, and agree either route Option 3 or 2.

 

Mrs Poletti of the New Allington Action Group, an objector, and Councillors Mrs Robertson and Lewins (Visiting Members) addressed the meeting.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

1.  The reasons for refusal of application 18/501745/REM as advanced by the Committee at its meeting held on 8 November 2018 should not be pursued.

 

Voting:  6 – For  5 – Against  1 – Abstention

 

2.  Application 18/501745/REM be approved subject to the conditions set out in the report to the meeting of the Committee held on 8 November 2018 with the amendment of conditions 1 and 16 to reflect the Committee’s expressed preference for route Option 2 and that the Head of Planning and Development be given delegated powers to negotiate (a) the deletion of the footpath link which would run from the northwest corner of the development into the ancient woodland to link up with public footpath KB51 and (b) additional defensive planting to the woodland buffer, and to add or amend any necessary planning conditions as appropriate.

 

Voting:  6 – For  5 – Against  2 – Abstentions

 

Chairman’s casting vote in favour.

 

Note:  Councillor Kimmance joined the meeting prior to consideration of this application.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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