Broadway Farm Planning Application
22nd May 2018
From Down Ampney Parish Council
Over the course of several days Ward Councillor David Fowles and DAPC Chairman have had meetings with CDC planning officers ( Cllr. Rob Hughes, Chairman of the Planning committee and Mr. Kevin Field, Senior Planning Officer), GCC Highways Manager and Mr. Jonathan Mullins, Head of Development, Sanctuary Group, to try and resolve the number of issues related to the Broadway farm development and the following report echoes results of those meetings.
1) CDC meeting on 16th May.
The Committee 's decision to 'PERMIT' the scheme effectively removed the 'rug' from under the Parish Council's feet. Given that DAPC had entered into meaningful dialogue with Sanctuary, the reason for the previous deferral, the decision was received with amazement and distress. Cllr Fowles demanded a meeting to review the process to which your Chairman was invited to comment.
As the application had been permitted, it was a 'done deal' in planning terms with no opportunity to appeal.
The Senior planning officer related the reasons behind the decision which came about as Sanctuary had threatened to appeal for non-determination, a process that would have taken some 6 months to establish an answer. Sanctuary's ploy of threatening appeal, albeit spurious, carried the day.
As a PC we expected a further deferment - however, not to be.
DF and Chairman advised CDC planners that we would seek to take this matter further.
The question of addressing amendments to the design layout was discussed including a reduction of 'affordable house'.CDC would be sympathetic to any alterations that satisfied DA's requirement and stated that current policy of the split of 'market salable homes to affordable' was policy (50/50%) but that may change when the 'emerging local plan' (ELP) - emerged.
WE now know that the ELP is to 'emerge' on the 21 st of June which would mean that, if Sanctuary were amenable, they could resubmit to reduce the excessive number of affordables in favour of full market value ones.
Again the CDC stated that they would be sympathetic to this.
We now know that Sanctuary were amazed and dumbfounded on receiving their consent as they fully expected a 'Refusal' on the grounds of 'Design'
The meeting ended with DAPC chairman stating that a firm complaint would be made to local MP and Housing Minister related to how Officers caused confusion to the voting Committee.
Meeting 18th May with GCC Highways Manager
During discussion related to surface water runoff from the development site, it was clear that no objection could be made to refuse connection to the public drains.It was apparent that Sanctuary had fulfilled its obligation to offer an attenuation scheme limiting the runoff quite drastically by installing a system of ponds and pumps to maintain a regular and controlled discharge.
There was no comment on sewage discharge into the village system as this was dealt with by Thames Water. Here again there has been no objection to a connection into the public system as law dictates that there cannot be a refusal. However, Sanctuary have still to convince Thames Water that our system can cope.
Both these matters are considered as 'compliance issues' and will therefore go to CDC planning Committee for approval as agreed.
Other issues were discussed relating to highways maintenance and a program of works were minuted.
Meeting 19th May with Sanctuary' Head of Development, Mr. Jonathan Mullins and Cllr. David Fowles
From the start of the meeting it was evident that Sanctuary had no need to liaise further on the issues related to the development but that they wished to keep open a dialogue between DAPC and themselves.
Whilst efforts were made to secure attention to agreements made at the previous meeting held in CDC offices, Mr. Mullins made it clear that he was under pressure from his Directors to deliver the development as permitted WITHOUT consideration to any alterations.
Both David Fowles and your Chairman made it plain that this would cause great upset within the village and that alterations could be made with little or no further expenSe. Also that CDC Planners were amenable to such alterations given that they wished to support our village requirements.
We then advised Sanctuary that the ELP was due to become effective on the 21st June. This would allow them to alter the percentage of affordable to market value housing should they so wish.
In doing so they could affect their Section 106 payment together with making a greater profit on the overall site.
It was clear that Mr. Mullins was not prepared to give any of our requirements consideration.
He did, however, state that he would go away and fully consider the cost implications of any alteration set against costs of undertaking additional works related to surface runoff and sewage connection and reapply to his Directors to try to see if they would concede on any matter.
The Next Step
Cllr Fowles and your Chairman are to try and engage with Mr. Geoffrey Clifton Brown, MP, asking him to intervene on the basis off the flawed consent issued by CDC to the developer.
A full brief has been sent to his office and we await a meeting.
Cllr Fowles is to discuss the CDC;s decision with the Director of Planning and Chairman of CDC to take advice on what, if anything can be done.
11th May 2018
Notes related to CDC Planning Committee meeting on 9th May 2018 on Broadway Farm.
1. Introduction This briefing note explains what happened at the planning meeting 9th May, why it happened, what has happened since and what the options are going forward to the next stage.
Given this document will be distributed to a wider audience than just the Parish Council, I have tried to explain some of the terminology to assist the process.
2. The background to the application and the decision to permit 17/03826/ REM
The Planning committee heard the same application that was heard and deferred from the April planning meeting. The officers written report issued prior to the meeting and the update presented at the meeting made it clear that the applicant did not wish to submit amended plans for this application and that they intended to appeal against the Council for non determination ( in planning law applications have to be considered and a decision has to be taken by a Planning authority within a certain time.) Up to the time of the meeting no appeal had been lodged.
The Case officer did make it clear that Sanctuary were in dialogue with DAPC and the minutes of our recent meeting had been sent to all Councillors before the meeting.. The Case officer said that whilst the applicant had no intention of amending the current application, he might consider putting in a fresh application after discussions with DAPC had been concluded.
Irrespective of this, Sanctuary wanted to get a conclusion to the application already in the system and so they decided to appeal to the Planning inspector to get a legal ruling on whether or not the failure to determine was legal. This a legal process and attracts significant costs and takes approx 6 months. If the applicant wins then sometimes a judge can award costs against the Council. This is a risky route to go down and sometimes backfires on Councils and applicants. Sometimes the threat of appeal can influence a decision and the Committee needs to be aware of this when determining an application.
The reason this application for Broadway farm was represented at the May meeting was because the time limit had expired and the applicant stated he was going to appeal.
At the meeting both the PC ( Geoff Tappern) and the District Councillor ( David Fowles) were allowed to present and they made it clear that there was an ongoing positive dialogue with Sanctuary which would result in a positive outcome for the community and that Sanctuary had indicated that they would then withdraw their appeal.We had expected this to be just an up-date report as indicated by Mike Napper in his e-mail 30 Apr 2018 at 09.45 which states:-
'Hi David. Just to clarify that, as can be seen by the planning reference, Claire has ensured me that there is a Committee item to provide an update of the application deferred from this month’s Meeting. There is no new or additional application. I hope that this is helpful. Kind regards. Mike Napper.'
The officers made it clear that the principle reason the application had been deferred was because of the arguments presented by the PC to the committee in April. These reasons were shared paths/roads, build materials and overall site layout. Despite those arguments and the decision to defer, it remained clear that in pure planning terms, it would be difficult and expensive to defend the appeal.
In parallel to this was the concern expressed by members that they could not determine the application without knowing what the proposals were for surface water drainage and sewerage discharge off the site. It had been agreed that this issue would be determined by a compliance application and did not need to come before the committee to be decided.
Consequently the committee voted to approve the application but with the clear understanding that the application together with the surface water and sewerage recommendations would have to be heard in front of the committee. Moreover no building could start until this was resolved and this is in the Appeal Inspectors conditions. This will give us another opportunity to give our comments. Voting was 7 for, 3 against, and 1 abstention. Two members sent their apologies.
3. The reasons for the decision
It is my view that the planning committee were not prepared to take the risk that the current application would go to appeal and CDC would lose.
That said, the committee were supportive of the dialogue with Sanctuary and the DAPC and hoped this would continue against the positive background of the application being permitted.
As the Ward member David Fowles strongly argued against this and said that the only reason the application was being discussed by Sanctuary was because it had been deferred and that it was wrong and naive to assume that Sanctuary would continue to negotiate having been given their planning decision. A permit decision would seriously undermine our negotiating position particularly anything that increased costs.
4. What has happened since?
Firstly Geoff Tappern and David Fowles have met Sanctuary, their contractors Betts Hydro, representatives of Highways and the Lead Local Flood Authority as previously agreed to look at the proposed surface water scheme.
Prior to the meeting the representative from Sanctuary stated that when he heard the decision of the Planning committee he was ' surprised and bemused' because he like us felt that the original application would be refused and that there was a good dialogue with the PC. They had also instructed their architects to look at a new overall site layout. Will this now continue? We hope to continue the liaison with Sanctuary.
He also made it clear that whilst he had sympathy with the DAPC's concerns he was under pressure to conclude the planning process and start building.
Today David Fowles Ward member has complained about the briefing and decision making process at the committee and has requested a meeting to be held next week with the Senior CDC planning officer, the Chairman of Planning, the Chairman of DAPC and himself as the award Councillor to review the process and to see what happens next.
At the same time the Chairman of DAPC had been in contact with Sanctuary in order to continue the dialogue.
5. What happens next?
There is a meeting with the CDC planning office to review the process and scope out options going forward
We are arranging a meeting with Sanctuary which will take place after the CDC meeting to see what could be salvaged from the earlier discussions.
There is a great deal of goodwill between Sanctuary and DAPC and real scope to make changes.
There is still pressure on Sanctuary to find a solution to the drainage and sewerage and they still have to go back to the committee to get the final sign off and agreement to start building. Sanctuary believe that they have a solution to both the surface and foul water problems and notes on this will be produced by Sanctuary.
The Parish Council together with the Ward member need to plan for these meetings and to see if it is possible at the next stage to get agreement to all the proposed revisions.
David Fowles. District Councillor.
10th May 2018
It is with the greatest regret that we need inform you that the Broadway Farm scheme received full Reserved Matter consent yesterday in its current form.
Your Parish Council had entered into dialogue with The Sanctuary Group a short time ago and some progress was being made toward a greater understanding of concerns raised by local villagers.
It was hoped that at the time Sanctuary may have taken heed of these concerns, but as full consent was granted the odds have shortened considerably.
The Planning sub committee, headed by Geoff Tappern together with our Ward Councillor David Fowles, made a valiant attempt to convince the Committee to either defer, or refuse, the application once again. But CDC officials made it plain that the Applicant was heading towards an appeal which they would surely loose and at cost.
Surprisingly, as we were led to believe that at this meeting the officers were expected only to be briefed on the ongoing discussions, the matter was put to a vote and approved.
Whilst the application is now a 'done deal' we are attempting to get the developer on side and retrieve what we can from a bad decision.
Geoff Tappern - Chairman Planning Sub Committee
Ray Jenkins - Chairman DAPC
22nd April 2018
Broadway Farm update.
Whilst Sanctuary have elected to appeal against 'Non-determination' of their planning application following the last meeting of CDC Planning Committee your Parish Council has been 'invited' to attend a meeting with Sanctuary in the presence of our Ward member Cllr. David Fowles at CDC offices at a date as yet to be confirmed.
WE hope that this will provide a forum in which progress can be made toward resolving issues between them and the village residents
The vote at CDC yesterday went against taking a decision to pass consent to the 'reserved matters' as the committee was not convinced that Sanctuary had done enough to provide detail over getting sewage and surface water away from the site. Similarly they were not happy that the company had not worked with the community to achieve an acceptable layout of dwellings.
This was very unusual in that the committee went against the planners recommendation and have insisted that the developers bring to the table proposals that will be considered by them and NOT by Thames Water or as a matter for 'compliance' by another body.
Councillor Jenkins would like to thank Councillor David Fowles for his support on this matter as well as Cllr Tappern and Matthews for the effort they put in preparing for their speeches representing Down Ampney Parish Council and the Village.
Santuary now have to go away and re-submit, the Parish Council will keep you updated.
6th April 2018
Attached is the Parish Council letter in response to the upcoming hearing for the Broadway Farm Application sent to all CDC planning councillors. Click Here
5th April 2018
The parish council is pushing to get the right outcome for the community and this is our latest response from CDC planning
Good morning, Cllr Jenkins and thank you for your message.
We certainly understand the strength of feeling in the local community regarding the above development, which has been evident since the submission of the outline application in 2015. We also understand the natural concerns regarding what will be a sizeable development in relation to the current size of the village. Nevertheless, the principle of the development and the amount of development was, of course, established by the Appeal decision in 2016. The current application is therefore solely to consider the details of the outline permission, rather than to reconsider the principle.
In terms of the issues in respect of the current application that have been raised in representations made by the community to the Council, the concerns have been fully and comprehensively expressed in writing. We are therefore fully informed of the issues insofar as they relate to the application proposals and the related planning policy considerations.
One of the major concerns clearly relates to surface water drainage and the Council’s Case Officer, Claire Baker, has been proactive in ensuring that the applicant is fully aware of the issue and has facilitated direct communication between the County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority, who are the Council’s technical drainage advisors on major development schemes, and the applicant. The issue raised is still under discussion in relation to the applicant needing to meet the requirements of the drainage condition attached to the overarching outline permission, which is a matter for the separate condition compliance application prior to the commencement of any development, in relation to which the local community are again be able to provide comments. As the drainage issue is not directly related to the matters for consideration under the current Reserved Matters application (i.e. details of appearance, landscaping, layout and scale), the application can now be presented to Planning Committee. If the outcome of the compliance application results in the need for revisions to a scheme previously approved under Reserved Matters, the applicant has been advised that a future application may be required to consider those amendments.
I am also aware that issues regarding land ownership have been raised, which are a legal matter between the applicant and the third parties concerned. Again, if the resolution of any dispute results in the need for the applicant to change the layout, a further application would be required.
Whilst we do meet with members of the local community, on such occasions we need to ensure there is a clear productive purpose in doing so. In this case, the representations from the local community, including from the Parish Council, have clearly set out the concerns to allow them to be fully understood by the Council’s officers and its consultees, and to ensure that they are before Members of the Planning Committee in their considerations. Please be assured that all of the representations relevant to the application are valued and are properly taken into account by officers in reaching their recommendations.
We welcome the engagement of the community in these matters and recognise its desire to ensure that the development is carried out in a way that respects the existing residents and the local environment. I hope that this clarifies our position, but if you nevertheless have any queries regarding my response, please contact me.
We have been advised by CDC that the Broadway Farm planning application to consider 'reserved matters' related to the development is to go to committee on the 11th April.
DAPC understand that GCC Lead Local Flooding Agency have withdrawn their objection related to surface water run-off subject to stringent conditions.
We await comment on sewage disposal conditions.
Your Council is to reiterate its concerns to CDC Planning Committee at the earliest opportunity.
For previous updates on the Broadway Farm please click here.
Sanctuary Group, a leading national housing and care provider, acquired the former Broadway Farm site in November 2016. We are excited to have this opportunity to bring additional high quality homes to Down Ampney and are committed to building properties that reflect the heritage of the village.
Sanctuary’s development team builds homes on a variety of different sites and is represented by two brands, Beech Grove Homes and Sanctuary Homes. Therefore over the coming months you may see both brands associated with the Broadway Farm site.
As a developer, before plans for a site can be confirmed feedback needs to be considered from both the local planning authority and the local community. Sanctuary acquired the Broadway Farm site from the Cooperative Group with existing outline planning consent for the development of 44 homes. The next stage is to develop full proposals to enable the submission of reserved matters planning.
There is still on-going investigation work, particularly around drainage on the site, which will inform the detailed design of the proposals. We are starting the design process to produce a scheme which responds to the findings of our investigations and is sensitive to local concerns.
I and other members of our development team have introduced ourselves to the Chairman, Peter Sillett, and colleagues on the Parish Council and look forward to working together with the community to deliver desirable new homes. Consultation will commence in the new year. Following the design and consultation process, Sanctuary will submit the reserved matters planning application, which will confirm our full proposal for the development.
In the meantime you may notice some activity on the site as we continue our investigations. We also intend to demolish the existing barns before the spring. A fence will be erected along our boundary to the rear of the site; however, please rest assured that access to the public right of way will not be affected.
Senior Development Manager – Sanctuary Group
**Update** - Just a quick courtesy note to say further to our January updates, our demolition contractor will be present on site from next week. Any issues please contact the Sanctuary
Group Direct. 01905 334547
Please see the attached note that summarises the main points of our correspondence with Sanctuary over Broadway Farm.
To see the correspondence with Sanctuary please click here.
Broadway Farm development - Introduction to Sanctuar