To consider report PES/359cof the Head of Economy and Planning.
RECOMMENDATION to PERMIT.
The Committee considered report PES/359c of the Head of Economy and Planning which proposed as follows:
Erection of 85 affordable houses & flats, comprising:
18 x one bedroom flats
38 x two bedroom flats
9 x two bedroom houses
17 x three bedroom houses
3 x four bedroom houses
Access roads, car parking, sports pitch, open space & associated works (amended plans and description).
Councillors A Belben, Purdy, and P Smith declared they had visited the site.
The Principal Planning Officer (MR) provided a verbal summation of the application, which sought permission for a development of 85 units on part of the land at Breezehurst playing fields. The proposals included access via new roadways and a total of 140 parking spaces. Improvement works to the remaining section of the playing field and playing fields off-site were proposed to be secured via conditions and a Section 106 agreement.
The Officer updated the Committee that paragraph 2.3 of the report should make reference to the removal of five trees rather than three trees. It was also clarified that the wording of the recommendation was to become ‘to permit subject to the completion of the S106 Agreement and the following conditions’. The Officer then provided the following updates regarding the plans and drawings to be considered:
· Drawings 16 (House Type 4A Floor Plans & Elevations) and 17 (House Type 4B Floor Plans & Elevations) had been superseded;
· Drawings 18 (Apartment Block A – Ground & First Floor Plans) and 19 (Apartment Block A – Second Floor & Roof Plans) were corrected to revision P04, rather than P03;
· Drawing 24 (Apartment Blocks B, C, D & E – North & South Elevations) was correct to revision P05, rather than P04;
· Drawings 28, 29, 30, 31, and 32 (Street A, B, C, and D Elevations) remained relevant but were not to be included on the decision notice.
In line with the Council’s Virtual Committee Procedure Rules, three statements submitted by members of the public in regard to the application were read to the Committee.
Three statements from neighbours to the site – Hannah Wheeler, Myra Goodenough, and Nichola Godwin – raised the following matters:
· The green space had a community feel and was currently of benefit to many local residents who had concerns about the loss of the space and the future plans for the remaining section of the field.
· A lack of communication regarding the potential for development at the site.
· Concerns regarding the disruption, noise, and dust caused by building works, as well as the impact on traffic after completion of the development.
The Committee considered the application. Discussion ensued regarding the loss of a section of the playing fields and Committee members expressed sympathy for the neighbours affected by this. The Officer explained that Bewbush had a good provision of playing fields but that their quality and usability was poor. The works to the retained section of the playing fields would improve the quality of sports provision locally, and the Section 106 agreement would secure from the applicant ongoing financial contributions to the maintenance of the playing fields for 15 years. It was confirmed that the site was a key housing site as allocated by the Local Plan in 2015, which had undergone a consultation process in 2012. The Officer assured the Committee that permitting this application would not set a precedent for the construction of future developments on green spaces throughout Crawley as each site was considered on its own merits.
Regarding the timescale for the works to the retained playing fields, the Officer explained that this would be confirmed via a schedule of works as part of the Section 106 agreement and the conditions. It was estimated that the remaining section of the playing field would be upgraded after the erection of the dwellings as it would be used in part as a haul route to the site during construction to limit disturbances to neighbours by vehicle movements.
Other matters discussed were:
· The requirement for a Construction Management Plan and the need for dust suppression measures.
· Support for the provision of electric vehicle charging points – allocated to all houses and to at least 20% of communal parking spaces. The allocation of parking would be subject to control by the Council as the applicant.
· The withdrawal of Sports England’s initial objection, which was due to the proposals to improve the retained on and off-site sports pitches and the methods of ensuring the implementation of this.
· The location of the windows in the four blocks of flats close to the A2220 (Horsham Road). To mitigate noise from the road, it was proposed to have single windows in the majority of rooms which faced north-east, north, or north-west. These would provide natural light and an outlook. The small number of south-facing openings were to areas such as hallways and were likely to be non-opening to prevent noise issues for future residents.
· The path and area to the north of the site (between the proposed development and existing houses in Douster Crescent and Waterfall Cresent) was to consist of borders of open railings and newly planted trees, and would not be an alleyway or other confined space.
Committee members commended the 100% provision of affordable housing. The Committee also expressed support for the proposed layout and access, including the traffic calming measures.
Councillor Pickett left the meeting during the discussion and was not present for the vote on the item.
A recorded vote was taken on the recommendation in accordance with the Council’s Virtual Committee Procedure Rules. The names of the councillors voting for and against the recommendation, along with any abstentions, were recorded as follows:
For the recommendation to permit:
Councillors A Belben, Hart, Irvine, Jaggard, Mwagale, Purdy, Rana, and P Smith (8).
Against the recommendation to permit:
Councillor Ascough (1).
Permit subject to the conclusion of a Section 106 agreement and the conditions set out in report PES/359c (as amended).