21 Jul 2010

Sunnyridge planning application gets extension

Residents will know there has been an application for 7 homes on the land adjacent to Sunnyridge in Randwick for over 3 years. See details of application here. It passed in outline before I was a councillor in 2006 and in my view should never have got planning permission.

Photo: View of an orchard in Severn Vale from Ash Lane, Randwick

Since then attempts have been made to extend that to 14 homes and residents, the Parish and others have challenged that plan successfully although that is being appealed. Last week the application had to return to Development Control Committee as they wanted an extension of time - the three years had run out - residents have once again campaigned but it was always going to be difficult.

As the District councillor of the neighbouring ward I made some of the following observations to Planning Officers below. Basically to stop the application we needed to evidence significant change relating to planning policies since the last application - I don't believe there are any significant changes and note that that is why I've said all along this was an extremely long shot. Even if DCC had objected I can see this would have gone to appeal and the District Council ending up paying costs.

As noted before, I am unhappy with this development on many counts and indeed accept many of the residents comments about this poor and wrongly placed development. It should not have been accepted originally. It is therefore with regret that I recognise that DCC maybe minded to go with the conclusions of the Officers report that there have been no significant changes since the original application.

I would like to note that there is a perception of increased traffic on Church road amongst many residents. While there have been no significant housing developments in the last three years, the A46 closure for repairs appears to have led to more vehicles discovering and using the route through Randwick to Gloucester. I would welcome Highways views on this as I note they have not responded yet. I certainly welcome conditions 20 and 21 to prevent additional accesses being created to any adjacent potential development site. The refusal for the application of 13 homes in January on the same site makes clear this site would be overdeveloped and impacting adversely on highways (ie contrary to HN8, GE3, TR1 and GE5).

On the issue of biodiversity I note the December 2009 report where an Officer concludes: "I recommend the application should be withdrawn pending a phase 1 ecological survey (and a detailed reptile survey) with mitigation proposals carried out by a suitably qualified person at an appropriate time of year in strict terms of the current circular advice. Failure to do so may result in a refusal."
It is a pity that biodiversity was not considered more in the original planning application. I note planning policy Statement 9: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation (PPS9) and the accompanying circular (ODPM 06/2005) would indicate that this could have been done.

However as Members will probably know, the developer of this site, has had diggers there in the last week or so and uprooted most of the vegetation and trees. I understand this is being investigated by Police and is not a matter for DCC. However in the light of this development and the Officers report, I would welcome any conditions DCC could make to improve or restore the biodiversity on the site.

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