Recommended for Approval
The Head of Planning and Building Control recommended that in respect of application 3/19/1882/FUL, planning permission be granted subject to the conditions detailed in the report now submitted.
The Principal Planning Officer, on behalf of the Head of Planning and Building Control, said the proposed development would represent a 60% increase in size over the original building. She referred to an extensive design process that had resulted in an acceptable form of development which related well to the existing building.
The Principal Planning Officer said the application met a local recreational need and she referred to benefits in terms of health and wellbeing. Members were advised that the application constituted inappropriate development in the Green Belt due to its size and that there would be less than substantial harm to the character and appearance of the conservation area, due to the loss of mature trees to the west, but that the public benefits of the scheme were sufficient to outweigh the identified limited harm. She concluded by reminding Members of the recommendation for approval subject to the conditions detailed in the report submitted.
Mr Norman addressed the Committee in objection to the application. Mr Lindus spoke for the application. Councillor B Deering read out a statement from Councillor S Newton as the local ward Member.
Councillor P Ruffles highlighted the comments of the Landscape Officer and the suggested landscape conditions. He asked whether these suggestions would be adopted and incorporated into the conditions; whether a ward Member could work with Officers in respect of fulfilling the planning conditions; and whether the application would tie in with future emerging neighbourhood plans.
Councillor J Jones said the proposed development needed improvements in design in such a prominent location. He said the harm was not outweighed by the benefits and the Council should be promoting good design principles. Councillor D Andrews said that the design needed to be of a high standard because of the proximity of the site to a residential area. He said the Authority should be setting a high standard in respect of sustainability of design.
Councillor C Redfern said the external appearance of the proposed development was dour and disappointing. The Principal Planning Officer said that there would be landscaping to screen the western elevation. She commented on the standards for the building design and referred to policies in respect of carbon emissions.
Councillor T Page raised the matter of the thought process of the Landscape Officer. He referred in particular to the proposed landscaping and archaeological investigations.
Councillor B Crystall said he supported the principle of the proposed development. However energy sustainability was an issue and possible major refits might be required to make the proposed works carbon neutral. Heating and lighting cost reductions and a design that would allow retrofitting of features such as solar panels would improve the proposed development.
The Principal Planning Officer said the existing building was part of the problem in that it did not meet existing new model building regulations. A cost benefit and analysis had been carried out. The proposed development at (HERT3) Land West Of Thieves Lane, Hertford, SG14 2EJ did include heat pumps.
Councillor D Andrews said residents would welcome the opportunity for good health, reduced obesity and a heightened sense of wellbeing. He praised the solar design principles and the merging of the proposed development with the landscape.
Councillors J Jones and B Crystall made a number of comments in respect of the colour and design of the proposed development, bird and bat boxes, electric vehicle charging points and a schedule of planting for landscaping.
The Principal Planning Officer commented on the trees to the west of the proposed development. She also said that grey was not an inappropriate colour for a development of this nature.
Councillor D Andrews proposed and Councillor P Ruffles seconded, a motion that in respect of application 3/19/1882/FUL, planning permission be deferred to enable Officers to liaise with the applicant in respect of the visual impact and the sustainability of the proposed development.
After being put to the meeting and a vote taken, this motion was declared CARRIED. The Committee rejected the recommendation of the Head of Planning and Building Control as now submitted.
RESOLVED – that, in respect of application 3/19/1882/FUL, planning permission be deferred to enable Officers to liaise with the applicant in respect of the visual impact and the sustainability of the proposed development.