Agenda item

3/18/2764/OUT - Outline application for the erection of 14 residential units and 26 proposed car parking spaces (all matters reserved except access) at Hertfordshire County Council Depot, Station Road, Watton At Stone, SG14 3SH

Recommended for Approval


The Head of Planning and Building Control recommended that in respect of application 3/18/2764/OUT, 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 that this was an outline application and therefore all matters were reserved aside from the access.  Members were reminded that the site was located close to the train station in Watton at Stone, which was a category 1 village.


The Committee was advised that this site was previously used by Hertfordshire County Council for the storage of maintenance vehicles and associated materials.  The Principal Planning Officer explained that main issues for Members to consider were access, the principle of the development and issues around the loss of employment.


Members were also advised that other matters to briefly consider including indicative design and neighbour amenity.  As Watton at Stone was a group 1 village, it was expected to provide housing for the District up until 2033.  As such, the application was policy compliant as the site lay within the boundary of the village.


The Principal Planning Officer said that as this was a sustainable brownfield site, it was policy compliant in respect of policy DPS2.  She said all other matters in policy VILL1 regarding the character or the village could not be considered on an outline application.


Members were advised that the applicant had indicated that the site was not suitable for storage due to poor road access and due to the likely impact on nearby residential occupiers.  She said that the loss of employment could not carry much weight as the traffic impact of an Office use did not make this an attractive office location.  Hertfordshire County Council was content with the access off Station Road and there were 34 spaces proposed, which was over and above what was required given the situation of the site and the 25% reduction that could be applied.


The Principal Planning explained that the indicative design was in keeping with a group 1 village and the application was policy compliant in terms of the potential housing delivery.  She summarised a number of issues regarding Hazeldell, Great Innings South and Great Innings North.


Members were advised that discussions had taken place between the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) regarding climate change, run off rates and the management of a private culvert via a planning condition.  Mr Aknai addressed the Committee in objection to the application.


Councillor Beckett spoke in relation to his concerns regarding a very narrow access to this site.  He asked for clarification that all access for construction traffic would be off Station Road.  Councillor Kemp asked whether anything could be done as to the points made by the public speaker regarding building height to the east side of the proposed development.  He referred to the sustainability of the site due to its proximity to the railway station.


Councillor Kemp said that there were narrow pavements in Watton at Stone and footpaths in this area were not well connected.  He said that there could be an opportunity to improve this situation and provide shorter walking routes through Watton at Stone to support sustainable green transport.


Councillor Stowe asked whether Morymead Close was new and not an adopted road.  He asked whether the application could reasonably go ahead if this road was not adopted.


The Principal Planning Officer referred to the highways expertise that had been sought in relation to the proposed access.  She said that amenity and the height of the buildings would be assessed at the reserved matters stage.  She also stated that the matter of footpaths could be covered by the reserved matters stage of this development.


The Service Manager (Development Management) said that the issue of building heights should not be considered unless at the full or reserved matters stage of this development.


Councillor Beckett proposed and Councillor Buckmaster seconded, a motion that application 3/18/2764/OUT be granted subject to the conditions detailed in the report now submitted.


After being put to the meeting and a vote taken, this motion was declared CARRIED.


RESOLVED that, in respect of application 3/18/2764/OUT, planning permission be grantedsubject to the conditions set out at the end of the report.

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