Recommended for Approval
The Head of Planning and Building Control recommended that in respect of application 3/20/0413/FUL, planning permission be granted subject to the conditions detailed in the report now submitted.
The Service Manager (Development Management), on behalf of the Head of Planning and Building Control, said that the proposed development would be located within the footprint of the existing teaching block so that the school could continue to operate during construction.
Members were advised that temporary classrooms would be located to the west of existing school buildings on the existing tennis courts and adjacent to existing temporary classrooms that would be retained during construction.
The Service Manager said that the main issues for consideration were the principle of the development, design, the impact on residential amenity, highways impact and the management of flood risk.
Members were referred to paragraph 8.14 for design matters. The Service Manager explained that the design very much reflected the existing school buildings and said that the Landscape Officer had raised no objections.
The Committee was advised that strategy and indicative layout plans for the landscaping surrounding the site were submitted as part of the application and the detail of that landscaping was the subject of condition 5, and condition 6 covered the maintenance of approved landscaping details.
The Service Manager said that paragraphs 8.39 to 8.32 of the report addressed the sustainability of the building as he was aware that this was a concern of Members regarding school buildings. He said that the fabric first approach had been adopted and this included high levels of efficiency and measures to control Carbon Dioxide emissions, in line with policies CC1 and CC2. The matter of water supply was restricted by the various efficiency measures in the building as per the WAT4 policy.
Members were advised that condition 4 required the removal of existing and proposed temporary buildings on the site by the 21 December 2021, to reflect the expected period of construction. This was on particular importance due to the location of the site within the Green Belt and it was important that openness was maintained.
The Service Manager concluded by stating that no additional parking was proposed as there would be no additional pupils or staff on the site. Mr Robinson addressed the Committee in support of the application.
Councillor Buckmaster explained that, as the local ward Member, she had watched this school grow over a number of years and she would like this application to be approved. She said that with the 600 extra homes due in Sawbridgeworth, this application would future proof the school.
Councillor Buckmaster said that this was a very good school and she referred to the temporary blocks on the site. She mentioned the concerns of a resident of school lane and potential overlooking from classroom windows. She asked whether the windows of the proposed development would be obscured as was the case with the temporary classroom blocks.
Councillor Crystall said that the proposed development ought to meet exemplar standards but there was no information as to how far beyond Part L the energy standards were expected to be. He commented on the difference of 1.7 % between the target emission rate and the building emission rate and whether this was performance over and above the Part L standard.
Councillor Kaye sought clarification that the temporary classrooms would be on site for 18 months. The Service Manager stated that he did not believe that the new school building would have obscured glazing. He said that adopted District Plan policies CC1 and CC2 encouraged but did not insist upon energy performance beyond building regulation standards.
Councillor Jones commented on whether the target for completion by 10 December 2021 was enough time in light of the potential for future Covid-19 lockdowns. He said that energy efficiency was a consideration and he questioned how the proposed development performed in comparison to another similar school development he was aware of that was net carbon zero.
The Service Manager said that if construction was going to be delayed, a variation application to extend the condition deadline would have to be submitted. He referred Members to paragraph 8.31 of the report in that this said that the building design would reduce heat in the summer and reduce the need for heating in the winter. He said that policies encouraged but did not insist on this approach and the proposed development would be pretty good in terms of efficiency.
Councillor Jones referred to paragraph 8.29 and asked whether photovoltaic cells would be placed on the roof of the proposed development. The Service Manager explained that the fabric first approach did not include cells on this application.
Councillor Crystall sought further clarification on the green performance of the building including the potential use of grey water. The Service Manager said that details of green performance could get very technical in terms of how they we presented. He said that Officers would include comparisons in future reports for Members to consider.
Councillor Buckmaster proposed and Councillor Jones seconded, a motion that application 3/20/0413/FUL 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 3/20/0413/FUL, planning permission be grantedsubject to the conditions set out at the end of the report.