Agenda item

Planning Application CR/2022/0783/FUL - Station Forecourt, Three Bridges Station, Haslett Avenue East, Three Bridges, Crawley

To consider report PES/411aof the Head of Economy and Planning.




The Committee considered report PES/411a of the Head of Economy and Planning which proposed as follows:


Improvement works to railway station forecourt, including rationalisation of bus facilities with area for bus hub, car, cycle and motorcycle parking, taxi rank, and drop off/pick up areas; highway alterations; and the provision of public (pedestrian/cycle) access to eastern side of station from Station Hill including cycle parking, ticket machine and entrance building and revised depot and signal staff parking.


Councillors Ali, Burrett, Jaggard, K Khan, Mullins, Mwagale, Pritchard, Raja and Sivarajah declared they had visited the site.


The Principal Planning Officer provided a verbal summation of the application, which sought permission for improvement works to the railway station forecourt to promote sustainable forms of travel and to improve accessibility to the transport interchange. The works included the creation of new, enlarged and better quality public space across the whole of the site frontage along Haslett Avenue East; the rationalisation of the bus facilities with an area for a bus hub; car, cycle and motorcycle parking, taxi rank, and drop off/pick up areas; highway alterations; and the provision of public (pedestrian/cycle) access to the eastern side of the station from Station Hill including cycle parking, a ticket machine and an entrance building, with revised depot and signal staff parking facilities; and space available for public art.


The Officer updated the Committee that, since the publication of the report, the Environment Agency had requested several additional conditions relating to ground water and prevention of its contamination.  The Environment Agency had also requested several additional informatives which related to the new conditions and information on which those conditions were based.  Those new conditions and informatives concerned:

·        A Contamination Strategy.

·        A verification report demonstrating completion of works identified in the Remediation Strategy.

·        A Remediation Strategy for any potential previously unidentified contamination.

·        Surface water drainage.


In addition to the new conditions requested by the Environment Agency, the Principal Planning Officer had incorporated an additional informative regarding ongoing discussions with the station operatorsto explore alternative positions for the loading bay and had amended current Condition 4 as follows to clarify the position of the protective fences for trees:


Amended Condition 4:

“No development or site works of any description, including setting up works or storage of materials, plant or equipment, shall take place on the part of the application site that is on the eastern side of the railway unless and until all the existing trees/bushes/hedges to be retained on the site have been protected with fences in accordance with the details set out in the Arboricultural Report and the Tree Protection Plan. The protective fencing shall remain in position for the duration of the works.Within the areas so fenced off, the existing ground level shall be neither raised nor lowered and no materials, temporary buildings, plant machinery or surplus soil shall be placed or stored thereon without the prior written approval of the Local Planning Authority. If any trenches for services are required in the fenced off areas, they shall be excavated and backfilled by hand and any tree roots encountered with a diameter of 25 mm or more shall be left unsevered.

REASON: To ensure the retention and maintenance of trees and vegetation which is an important feature of the area in accordance with Policies CH3 and CH6 of the Crawley Borough Local Plan 2015 - 2030.

REASON FOR PRE-COMMENCEMENT CONDITION: Potential damage to trees could occur from site activity before development commences and therefore the agreed measures need to be in place before commencement of development.”


The report advised that, at the time of its publication, an Emissions Mitigation Assessment had not been completed.  The Principal Planning Officer informed the Committee that the Assessment had now been provided and concluded that the value of the emissions cost would be £8,063.  That money would be put towards one of the cycle routes identified in the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (namely Route C and/or D).  That money would be secured via a Section 106 Legal Agreement along with the Section 106 monies for replacement trees and a Traffic Regulation Order.


The Principal Planning Officer proposed the recommendation be revised to delegate the decision to permit to the Head of Economy and Planning to allow for the conclusion of the Section 106 Legal Agreement and then to subsequently grant permission subject to the updated conditions and informatives.


The Principal Planning Officer then gave details of the various relevant planning considerations as set out in the report and reiterated that the aim of the scheme was to improve sustainable travel options and improve the public realm.  The Officer advised it had not been possible to accommodate all requests made by stakeholders in their entirety which would be at the expense of other aspects of the scheme.  The Committee was advised that officers from West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and Crawley Borough Council’s Senior Environmental Health Officer were in attendance to assist in answering any questions from the Committee.


Paul Sharp, a local resident, spoke in objection to the application.  Matters raised included:

·        Road congestion due to the closing of one of the existing lanes could cause exits and accesses to be blocked, which may cause more accidents.

·        Concern relating to the assumptions made during traffic modelling.  Mr Sharp highlighted particular concern with regard to traffic levels potentially increasing along Chaucer Road and Grattons Drive.

·        Increased activity in the area may cause the air quality to deteriorate.

·        Pedestrians using the eastbound bus stop would be required to cross two-way traffic from the station, which seemed dangerous.


Collins Nyamupfukudza, Manager of Charlie’s Refreshments and Snack Bar, spoke in relation to the application.  Matters raised included:

·        The snack bar was situated in the station car park, and currently did not have an allocated parking bay for the pick-up or drop-off of goods.

·        An allocated parking bay would allow staff to access the snack bar without causing disruption to other users of the car park or being issued with a parking ticket.

·        The business was prepared to cover any associated costs.


Derek Kiernan, representing the Crawley Hackney Carriage Association, spoke in objection to the application.  Matters raised included:

·        Not allowing a right turn out of the station would negatively impact the taxi trade as it would increase journey times and prices.

·        It was not practical for taxi drivers to travel to the Paymaster General’s Roundabout and back to the station in order to travel eastbound.

·        Moving the taxi rank was unnecessary and could lead to increased fees for taxi drivers if it were moved onto land owned by the railway operator.


Peter Rainier, the agent (on behalf of the applicant), spoke in support of the application.  Matters raised included:

·        The Crawley Growth Programme set out that improvements to the station were necessary in order to meet the town’s needs, and the proposed application met those requirements.

·        The proposals provided improved bus facilities and access for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as visual improvements to the front of the station.

·        West Sussex County Council had concluded that the proposed road system and traffic flow fulfilled its requirements, and that there were no viable alternatives which would improve the station for all users.


John Cooban, a local resident, spoke in support of the application.  Matters raised included:

·        There were issues with the vehicular eastern access, but the scheme did provide substantial benefits to pedestrians and cyclists as well as public realm improvements.

·        The improved urban tree cover in a currently unattractive area was a positive, e.g. along the west side of the station.  Some of the proposed new trees, however, may encounter hostile planting/rooting environments, and therefore remediation groundworks were recommended to ensure healthy tree growth.

·        The proposed markings on the pedestrian/cycle paths would improve safety.


Gordon Easden, representing Crawley Walking and Cycling Forum, spoke in support of the application.  Matters raised included:

·        The current station layout (platforms, footpaths, and forecourt) was problematic and dangerous for many station users.

·        The proposed scheme offered safer access for pedestrians and cyclists, improved westbound traffic flow, reduced carbon emissions, an improved bus interchange and better impression of Crawley.

·        A minority of station users may be disadvantaged by changes to the eastbound access but overall, the new scheme provided improvements.


Councillor Atif Nawaz, Ward Councillor for Three Bridges, spoke in support of the application.  Councillor Nawaz confirmed that, although Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development, they were speaking in their capacity as Ward Councillor.  Matters raised included:

·        The current design of the station was unwelcoming and unsafe; the new scheme would create a better first impression of the town and benefit Three Bridges residents.

·        The pavement under the railway bridge was currently not disability accessible and needed to be made wider and safer.

·        The application supported improved access to the station by sustainable transport (e.g. via the bus hub), which would help contribute to the goal of net zero carbon emissions.


Councillor Brenda Burgess, Ward Councillor for Three Bridges, spoke in support of the application.  Matters raised included:

·        Currently the station was unattractive and not fit for purpose, including the vehicular access.

·        Removing one lane of traffic may help contribute to better air quality and lower pollution in the area, which would benefit all residents, including children.

·        The traffic modelling showed that traffic flow around the station would be improved.


Councillor Bob Lanzer, Ward Councillor for Pound Hill South & Worth, spoke in support of the application.  Matters raised included:

·        The application was a result of years of consultation and offered significant improvements, including pedestrian, cycle, and bus accesses and better air quality.

·        The reduction of three lanes of traffic to two and in turn the removal of the eastbound right-hand turn was not uncommon, as many dual carriageways only allowed exit via a left-hand turn.

·        Reliable computer-assisted traffic modelling had been undertaken which demonstrated that a very small percentage of all traffic movements from the station were right-hand turns which utilised the eastbound access.  The proposed scheme was therefore beneficial to the majority of station users.


Councillor Jennifer Millar-Smith, Ward Councillor for Maidenbower, spoke in objection to the application.  Matters raised included:

·        Maidenbower currently experienced significant traffic travelling west - removing a lane may further increase this traffic and in turn increase travel costs and air pollution.

·        The removal of the right-hand turn would cause road users travelling eastbound to either extend their journey time by an estimated 5-6 minutes, or encourage an increase in illegal manoeuvres on Station Hill when dropping off station users.

·        There were long-term issues with flooding under the railway bridge, which were likely to be exacerbated if the application was approved.


Councillor Kevan McCarthy, Ward Councillor for Pound Hill North & Forge Wood, spoke in objection to the application.  Matters raised included:

·        It was important to ensure that all station users benefitted from a new scheme; however, the loss of the right-hand turn was problematic for those living east of the station.

·        This change was also likely to negatively impact the taxi trade. Currently around 80% of Hackney Carriage hires in Crawley were from Three Bridges Station, with all of those journeys travelling either east or west.  The proposals would allow left-hand turns only, so travelling eastbound may greatly increase journey time and hire cost for the travelling public, as well as pollution.

·        The right turn into Hazelwick Avenue could be utilised as an exit from the station which would alleviate the eastbound traffic flow.


Councillor Tina Belben, Ward Councillor for Pound Hill North & Forge Wood, spoke in objection to the application.  Matters raised included:

·        The traffic modelling described in the report was undertaken at off-peak times - modelling carried out by Ward Councillors during peak times showed a greater number of right-hand turns than calculated by WSCC.

·        The lack of a right-hand turn and the removal of one lane along Haslett Avenue East would increase traffic which may extend backwards to the Paymaster General’s Roundabout, which would increase journey times for all road users in the area.

·        The report did not refer to the potential knock-on effect of increased parking on nearby residential roads.


The Committee then considered the application.  Following queries from the Committee, the following clarification was provided:

·        It would be possible to monitor the air quality along Billinton Drive once the development had been completed.

·        Staffing and hours of opening of the eastern entrance was a matter for the station operator and was not a planning consideration.  The issue would be discussed with the station operator should planning permission be granted.

·        The structural stability of the retaining wall along Station Hill, following the removal of the tress was not a planning matter, but was a structural issue for the landowner and Building Regulations.

·        The application proposed that a loading bay be located in front of the station and pedestrian area, although discussion was underway to explore a potential alternative location, such as to the side of the building in Williams Way.

·        It was normal procedure to delegate a decision to permit to the Head of Economy and Planning when permission was subject to completion of a S106 Legal Agreement.

·        The taxi rank at Three Bridges Station was currently located on land owned by WSCC Highways, however the application proposed that the taxi rank be re-located to land owned by the railway operator.  The landownership arrangements, and the possibility of the new taxi rank land being transferred to WSCC Highways, were to be discussed between the parties.

·        The replacement parking bays being provided at the proposed eastern entrance to the station would be for use by depot staff and would not be for public use.

·        The data collected and published by the Police relating to accidents in the station vicinity were correct, although it was likely that some accidents went unreported.

·        Traffic modelling did not assess all possible alternative routes for travelling eastwards, but it had shown that some people’s journey times would be increased.  It was noted however that updated travel surveys showed there had been a decrease in traffic numbers across the network since Covid.


The Committee debated the application at length and agreed that improvements to the station forecourt were overdue with it being well used as the main station for Crawley having direct mainlines to London, Brighton and Arun Valley.  It was acknowledged that improvements to the forecourt would not only benefit station users but also those travelling towards the Town Centre.  There was a consensus that the current layout, whilst dangerous for all road users, was especially dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.


Several Committee members argued however that, although the proposal held a lot of merit and there was an obvious need to upgrade the forecourt area of Three Bridges Station, some residents in Crawley would be adversely affected by some elements of the application.


Those Committee members held the opinion that the loss of the right-hand turn would negatively affect residents living to the east of the station, as using an alternative route would increase journey times, fuel and taxi fare costs as well as pollution and congestion.  Particular concern was expressed that many drivers would choose to travel along the smaller residential roads within the area, rather than using the main roads and it was felt that would increase risks to local residents.  In addition, those who objected strongly to the loss of the right-hand turn were of the view that traversing Haslett Avenue East towards Hazelwick Avenue (rather than turning around at the Paymaster General’s Roundabout) would be dangerous, and cause disruption to the flow of traffic along Haslett Avenue East.


Support was expressed for the proposed eastern entrance to the station, although many Committee members were disappointed that it was not served by a drop-off zone for passengers.  It was also argued that no traffic modelling had been undertaken on the impact a lack of a drop-off zone could have on creating potential delays, congestion or blockages to traffic and the lack of a drop-off zone could lead to dangerous manoeuvres along Station Hill and/or its junction with Worth Park Avenue / Haslett Avenue East.  Additionally, it was argued that the loss of the right-hand turn from the station was likely to encourage passenger drop-offs at the new eastern entrance with vehicles then travelling through the residential roads of Maidenbower, inevitably increasing pollution and congestion in the area and impacting air quality.


Other concerns raised included the ability for station users with limited mobility to be dropped off / picked up outside the station and then turn right, the lack of a drop-off area when a rail replacement service was provided by buses and the impact the reduction in the number of lanes under the bridge would have on congestion, pollution and the ease at which vehicles could exit Maidenbower from Station Hill.


Several other Committee members were in support of the proposal and were especially pleased that several pavements would be widened as part of the scheme, particularly as the pavement under the bridge was currently dangerously narrow and held the risk of pedestrians being clipped by the wing mirrors of larger vehicles.  The widening of the pavement serving the westbound bus stop was also supported as its current width increased risks for those waiting at the bus stop and pedestrians generally.  Several members of the Committee hoped that the removal of one lane under the bridge would ease the noise level for pedestrians and cyclists as the current level created an additional risk by causing a loss in focus.


Overall, the majority of the Committee felt that the benefits of the scheme outweighed its negative aspects.  Whilst it was established that retaining the right-hand turn would have been preferable, most Committee members appreciated that the decision to remove it had not been taken lightly and it would not have been possible to provide the level of improvement to the forecourt had it been retained.


At the request of Councillor Jaggard, and in accordance with General Committee Procedure Rule 13.4, the names of the Councillors voting for and against the officer recommendation were recorded as follows:


For the recommendation to permit:

Councillors K Khan, Y Khan, Mullins, Pritchard, Raja and Sivarajah (6).


Against the recommendation to permit:

Councillors Ali, Burrett, Jaggard and Mwagale (4).


Abstentions: (0).


With the vote being 6 for the recommendation to permit and 4 against the recommendation to permit, the proposal was therefore CARRIED, and it was




That the decision to PERMIT be delegated to the Head of Economy and Planning, subject to the conclusion of the Section 106 Legal Agreement, and subject to the conditions set out in report PES/411a, amended Condition 4 (as identified above) and the following additional four conditions and three informatives renumbered as follows:


New Condition 9:

“No development approved by this planning permission shall commence until a strategy to deal with the potential risks associated with any contamination of the site has been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority. This strategy will include the following components:

1.        Apreliminary riskassessment whichhas identified:

·          allprevious uses;

·          potential contaminants associated with those uses;

·          a conceptual model of the site indicating sources, pathways and receptors; and

·          potentiallyunacceptable risksarising fromcontamination atthe site.

2.        A site investigation scheme, based on (1) to provide information for a detailed assessment of the risk to all receptors that may be affected, including those off site.

3.        The results of the site investigation and the detailed risk assessment referred to in (2) and, based on these, an options appraisal and remediation strategy giving full details of the remediation measures required and how they are to be undertaken.

4.        A verification plan providing details of the data that will be collected in order to demonstrate thatthe works set out in the remediation strategy in (3) are complete and identifying any requirements for longer-term monitoring of pollutant linkages, maintenance and arrangements for contingency action. Any changes to these components require the written consent of the Local Planning Authority. The scheme shall be implemented as approved.

REASON: To ensure that the development does not contribute to, or is not put at unacceptable risk from, or adversely affected by, unacceptable levels of water pollution in line with Paragraph 174 of the NationalPlanning PolicyFramework and PolicyENV10 ofthe CrawleyBorough LocalPlan 2015- 2030.

REASON FOR PRE-COMMENCEMENT CONDITION: This condition is required to be pre-commencement to safeguard the health of construction workers and prevent any contamination on the site impacting into the surrounding area. The risks for neighbours, site workers and future residents and users of the site must be appropriately mitigated.”


New Condition 10:

“Priorto anypart ofthe developmenthereby permittedbeing broughtinto use,a verificationreport demonstrating thecompletion ofworks setout inthe approvedremediation strategyand the effectivenessof theremediation shallbe submittedto, andapproved inwriting, bythe LocalPlanning Authority. The report shall include results of sampling and monitoring carried out in accordance with the approved verification plan to demonstrate that the site remediation criteria have been met.

REASON:To ensurethat thesite doesnot poseany furtherrisk tohuman healthor thewater environment bydemonstrating thatthe requirementsof theapproved verificationplan havebeen met andthat remediationof thesite iscomplete. Thisis inline withParagraph 174of theNational Planning Policy Framework.”


New Condition 11:

“If, during development, contamination not previously identified is found to be present at the site then no further development (unless otherwise agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority) shall be carried out until a remediation strategy detailing how this contamination will be dealt with hasbeen submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The remediation strategy shall be implemented as approved.

REASON: To ensure that the development does not contribute to, or is not put at unacceptable risk from, or adversely affected by, unacceptable levels of water pollution from previously unidentified contamination sources at the development site in line with Paragraph 174 of the National Planning Policy Framework.”


New Condition 12:

“No drainage systems infiltration of surface water drainage into the ground is permitted other thanwith the written consent of the Local Planning Authority. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.

REASON: To ensure that the development does not contribute to, or is not put at unacceptable risk from, or adversely affected by, unacceptable levels of water pollution caused by mobilised contaminants in line with Paragraph 174 of the National Planning Policy Framework.


Conditions 9-14, as set out in report PES/411a, have thus been renumbered to be Conditions 13-18.


New Informative 5:

“TheEnvironment Agencyadvises thatin relationto Condition9:

A Preliminary Risk Assessment (Phlorum, ref 11754 Rev0, November 2022) has been submitted in support of this application and it is felt thatit has been carried out in accordance with relevant guidance. The PRA therefore satisfies Part 1 of the above condition. The PRA has recommended that further site investigation should be carried out (Part 2 of the above condition), which the EA is in agreement with. The EA now looks forward to receiving and providing comment on this submittedsite investigation.”


New Informative 6:

“TheEnvironment Agencyadvises that:

Only clean uncontaminated water should drain to the surface water system. Roof drainage shalldrain directly to the surface water system (entering after the pollution prevention measures).

Appropriate pollution control methods (such as trapped gullies and interceptors) should be used for drainage from access roads and car parking areas to prevent hydrocarbons from entering thesurface water system.

There should be no discharge into land impacted by contamination or land previously identified as being contaminated. There should be no discharge to made ground. There must be no direct discharge to groundwater, a controlled water.”


New Informative 7:

“TheEnvironment Agencyadvises thatin regardto thedisposal ofmaterials:

Contaminatedsoil thatis, ormust bedisposed of,is waste.Therefore, itshandling, transport, treatment and disposal is subject to waste management legislation, which includes:

·          Duty of Care Regulations 1991

·          Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005

·          Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

·          TheWaste (Englandand Wales)Regulations 2011

Developers should ensure that all contaminated materials are adequately characterised both chemically and physically in line with British Standard BS EN 14899:2005 'Characterization of Waste - Sampling of Waste Materials - Framework for the Preparation and Application of a Sampling Plan' and that the permitting status of any proposed treatment or disposal activity is clear. If in doubt, we should be contacted for advice at an early stage to avoid any delays.

If the total quantity of waste material to be produced at or taken off site is hazardous waste and is 500kg or greater in any 12 month period the developer will need to register with us as a hazardous waste producer.”


Original Informative 5 is renumbered to be Informative 8.


New Informative 9:

“The applicant is advised to continue discussionswith the station operators to explore alternative positions for the loading bay, with the aim of it being relocated from the front of the proposed pedestrianised forecourt area. Locations to the rear/side of the station building would be preferred.”

Supporting documents: