To consider report PES/412aof the Head of Economy and Planning.
RECOMMENDATION to PERMIT.
The Committee considered report PES/412a of the Head of Economy and Planning which proposed as follows:
Erection of 3 warehouse units (Use Class B8), associated external plant, car/HGV parking, site access, internal roads, boundary security fencing and hard/soft landscaping.
Councillors Ali, Burrett and Jaggard declared they had visited the site.
The Group Manager (Development Management) provided a verbal summation of the application, which the Committee had previously resolved to permit at its meeting on 20 July 2021. The application had sought permission for three buildings for storage and distribution use at a vacant site within the Manor Royal Employment Area, however had since been affected by Natural England’s Position Statement on water neutrality and therefore required further consideration. The addendum report set out that the development’s water usage would be considerably greater than prior to development as the site had been vacant. Mitigation measures were proposed in order to achieve water neutrality through a combination of on-site water efficiency measures (fittings and rainwater harvesting system) and off-site offsetting measures (through the Crawley Homes Water Neutrality Retrofit Programme).
The Committee was informed that several corrections and clarifications to report PES/412a were required as follows:
· The second line of paragraph 5.38 should read ‘informatives 1,2,3 and 8’.
· The second line of Condition 6 in relation to the PV Panel Glint and Glare Assessment was to be amended to be dated July 2021.
· The second line of Condition 12 was to be corrected to read ‘and not for any otheruse as defined by the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended), without the prior written consent of the Local Planning Authority’.
· The first line of Informative 5 was to be amended and should read Sussex Police.
The Group Manager then gave details of the various relevant planning considerations as set out in the report. Whilst the planning considerations and conclusions in the original report (Appendix A to report PES/412a) remained valid, the fundamental changes were to the proposed conditions as the development was substantially complete. The recommendation was therefore to delegate the decision to permit the application to the Head of Economy and Planning subject to the conclusion of consultation with Natural England on the Appropriate Assessment, the conclusion of the S106 Agreement, and the conditions set out in the report.
Hannah Swainston, the Agent (Quod), spoke on behalf of the applicant in support of the application. Matters raised included:
· The scheme would bring forward economic growth to Manor Royal and the town.
· Whilst the water neutrality solution had proven lengthy, it was now envisaged the proposal would result in a high quality scheme, offering employment in a key area with local benefits being developed through an Employment and Skills Plan.
· Financial contributions secured through S106 Agreements would assist in improving cycling and public transport infrastructures.
The Committee then considered the application. Committee members raised several queries, to which the officers provided the following clarifications:
· Further information was requested regarding water neutrality and the off-setting requirements. The Committee was informed that following a request from Crawley Homes, a review of various applications had been undertaken and the proposal had been deemed high priority in terms of economic benefits. As the net water demand for the development needed to be offset in order for it to be water neutral, this could be achieved from the Crawley Homes Water Neutrality Retrofit Programme, based on average occupancy of the homes being fitted equating to 86 dwellings. The cost of the retrofitting works was £24,596 which the applicant had agreed to pay as a contribution. This financial contribution would enable Crawley Homes to continue to invest in retrofitting its stock. The precise mechanism for the surplus water offsetting and agreement would be secured via a S106 Legal Obligation/Agreement.
· It was confirmed that the Water Neutrality Strategy indicated cross boundary co-operation and partnership working within the Sussex North Water Resource Zone.
· A question was raised regarding the solar panels and EV charging points. The Group Manager confirmed that the solar panels were installed on site and the EV charging points were scheduled, with both allowing for future proofing and sustainability.
· Committee members highlighted the innovative solutions to the unprecedented issue of water neutrality.
Delegate the decision to permit the application to the Head of Economy and Planning, subject to the conclusion of consultation with Natural England on the Appropriate Assessment, the conclusion of a Section 106 Agreement, and the conditions set out in report PES/412a (as amended).