Agenda item

53/21/0010 Outline planning with all matters reserved, except for principle means of access, for the erection of up to 80. dwellings, local centre, and access onto Dene Road, Cotford St Luke


Comments from members of the Public included;



·       This was a Greenfield Site that lies outside of the areas indicated for development within the Site Allocations and Development Management Plan of the Development Plan, and outside of the settlement boundary for Cotford-St-Luke;

·       Cotford-St-Luke was designated as a Minor Rural Centre in policy SB1 of the SADMP which explains that, “In order to maintain the quality of the rural environment and ensure a sustainable approach to development, proposals outside of the boundaries of settlements identified in Core Strategy policy SP1 will be treated as being within open countryside and assessed against Core Strategy policies CP1, CP8 and DM2 unless: A. It accords with a specific development plan policy or proposal; or B;

·       53/21/0010 goes significantly outside the boundaries of the settlement and does not meet exceptions A or B. The proposal should therefore be assessed against CP1, CP8 and DM2 and failed to meet all of those criteria;

·       The application failed against CP1 because of a lack of transport options such as regular bus services, meaning there were not sustainable transport links that residents will require to use facilities beyond the limited facilities available in the village itself. Policy A5 sets out appropriate travel times to facilities such as shopping and education via public transport and the development does not meet these. It fails CP8 as this is development of Greenfield Land which that policy seeks to “protect and where possible enhance” and states development within such areas will be strictly controlled in order to conserve the environmental assets and open character of the area which this application does not do. It fails policy DM2 which sets out appropriate uses for development in rural areas and it clear that residential development is not one of them;

·       If the councils position remains that it’s local plan has an adequate 5 year housing supply then they must reject this proposal, which makes only vague assertions about housing supply uncertainty but has no concrete evidence to suggest that the councils Local Plan does not adequately provide for this. No convincing argument has been provided to suggest that the council does not have an adequate 5-year housing supply. Even if there is a need to go beyond the areas indicated to secure an adequate 5 year housing supply then Cotford-St-Luke as a Minor Rural Centre, with limited transport links and facilities and having already had significant development in recent years, is not a suitable location for this;

·       Approval of this application would be tacit acceptance that the local plan does not contain an adequate 5 year supply, setting a precedent that opened the council to any number of unsuitable applications in rural villages like Cotford-St-Luke across the former Taunton Deane Council Area. Given the very clear and demonstrable conflict with numerous policies of the Development Plan and that there are no other material considerations that have been identified to outweigh such conflict, in accordance with Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act, planning permission should be refused;

·       Concerns with the landscape impact with intrusive build in the open countryside;

·       The building of a village centre would not be in keeping with the village rural settlements and would rip the heart out of the actual centre of the village where the shop, public house and Church were located;

·       Flooding concerns for the lower part of the village;

·       The Parish Council were against this intrusive development;

·       Previous site allocated for 30 homes had lapsed;

·       This was a sustainable site with the delivery of 80 family homes that would benefit from a local centre, allotments and extensive community orchard play area and associated drainage and highways infrastructure;

·       The development would include much needed 20 affordable homes;

·       The development would increase job opportunities on the village thus increasing the sustainability of the village;

·       Bio-diversity would be increase by a minimum of 10% with more sustainable modes of transport by providing each dwelling with an electric charging point and fund an electric car club which would be available to all residents in the village;

·       The phosphate mitigation strategy which accompanied the application had been approved by Natural England and would provide nutrient neutrality which would potentially involve permanently fallowing land within our ownership, however should credits become available in the first five years of the development consultees had agreed that this land could be returned to agricultural use, this would enable the scheme to deliver much needed homes in the short term and make an important contribution towards restoring the Council’s five year land supply which currently was in deficit of around 600 dwellings;

·       The scheme was the result of a significant amount of engagement with Officer’s and we had worked hard to develop a sympathetic and well designed scheme going beyond the level of detail which one would normally expect from an Outline application with lower densities and new planting around the periphery of the site creating a soft edge;

·       There were no technical objection from Consultees to the planning application. Highways, drainage and landscape and other consultees were satisfied;

·       County education had confirmed that there was capacity in the primary school and the scheme would make a financial contribution towards primary healthcare provision in the local area in order to mitigate the impact from additional residents;


Comments from Members included;



·       Concerns with the expectations of the electric vehicle hire scheme and how you would encourage the villagers to use it;

·       Concerns with how you increase the biodiversity of a green field site by putting a building on it;

·       Concerns with the lack of a five-year land supply and did this application trump the lack of it;

·       Undermines the local plan;

·       A new village centre would fragment the village;

·       Highway and local public transport concerns;

·       Concerns that this development was out of the development boundary;

·       Concerns with the loss of affordable homes;

·       Concerns that we were being asked to approve a site that we would not normally approve;



Councillor Lithgow proposed and Councillor Whetlor seconded a motion for the application to be REFUSED;


Reasons – The wording for the REFUSAL of this application would be decided with the Chair, Vice-Chair, and lead planner.


The motion was carried.


At this point in the meeting a 10 minute break was proposed.



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