Village Web Site Forum
Friday, April 2, 2010 09:15
Green Lane Appeal Decision in full
Inquiry held on 16, 17 and 18 March 2010
Site visit made on 18 March 2010 by Mark Dakeyne BA (Hons) MRTPI an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Decision date: 1 April 2010
Appeal Ref: APP/C2708/A/09/2098096
Land off Green Lane and Black Abbey Lane, Glusburn, Keighley BD20 8RP
• The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a failure to give notice within the prescribed period of a decision on an application for outline planning permission.
• The appeal is made by Muir Group Housing Association Ltd against Craven District Council.
• The application Ref 32/2008/9016, is dated 4 September 2008.
• The development proposed is the construction of 74 dwellings, access roads and car parking and provision of public open space.
1. I dismiss the appeal and refuse outline planning permission for the construction of 74 dwellings, access roads and car parking and provision of public open space.
2. The application was submitted in outline with access, layout and scale to be considered at this stage. I have dealt with the appeal on that basis.
3. A previous appeal decision1 for the same form of development was quashed in October 2009 following a High Court challenge on the ground that the Inspector failed to adequately consider the issue of affordable housing. Although that appeal has now been withdrawn and I am considering a separate appeal rather than a re-determination, I have taken into account the previous proceedings.
4. The Council failed to determine the application before me. However, it subsequently resolved that, had it been in a position to make a decision, it would have refused planning permission due to the impact of the development on the character and appearance of the landscape.
5. Taking into account the background I consider that the main issues are:
(1) the effect on the character and appearance of the landscape and the village having regard to the sites location outside the current defined settlement limits and the access, layout and scale of the proposal,
(2) the need for housing, including affordable housing, taking into account the lack of a 5 year housing supply, and,
(3) whether any detrimental effect on character and appearance is outweighed by the need for housing.
Character and Appearance
6. The appeal site comprises open pastureland intersected by dry-stone walls on the northern slopes of the valley of Holme Beck, a side tributary off Airedale. These landscape characteristics, described as “semi-enclosed intermediate landscapes: pasture with wooded gills and woodland”2 continue to the west of the site into large tracts of open farmland, including land which is contiguous with parts of the western side of Green Lane. However, the site is also set within the context of nearby built-development, including the main urban area of Glusburn immediately to the east, predominantly linear housing spreading along Colne Road to the south, a ribbon of cottages fronting Green Lane to the south-west, and more dispersed groups of dwellings lying to the north around Glusburn Green and Ryecroft Road. I would agree with the description of the site as transitional.
7. Developing the open farmland of the site itself with housing would lead to a significant change in its character and appearance. The fact that the site has maintained its well-tended agricultural character despite its urban fringe location would increase the perception of change. The proposal would blur the distinction between the settlement core, characterised by Victorian terraced housing and suburban estates, and the more rural enclave of Glusburn Green with its historic farmsteads. Whilst, there are no public routes crossing the site, the change would still be significant for residents adjacent to the site and those using nearby lanes and footpaths, including Green Lane and Ryecroft Road in particular.
8. The development would also be clearly seen from the network of footpaths and lanes on the southern slopes of the valley and from the local landmarks of Earl Crag and Lund’s Tower. The same can be said for much of the area, where sites on the valley sides are by their very nature open to views from one direction in particular. However, from these longer distance views the development adjacent to the appeal site provides a degree of enclosure. As a result the site is clearly distinguishable from the land to the west and many other locations near the settlement, where built development is generally limited to isolated farmsteads and dwellings.
9. The site lies outside the settlement limits of Glusburn as defined by Policy ENV1 of the Craven District Local Plan (LP). The limits were drawn fairly tightly around the built-up area when they became part of the adopted LP in 1999. As a result almost all open land around the settlement, including the appeal site, is defined as open countryside. In this respect the proposal would be contrary to Policy ENV1 as it would not fall within the types of development allowed by the policy. However, consideration needs to be given to the weight to be attached to Policy ENV1 which I will return to later.
10. In terms of the particular development proposal before me, the dwellings would be served off three separate access roads, with each phase having a different predominant character. In general terms the density of development would decrease up the hill in an attempt to reflect the differing characteristics of nearby development.
11. I find the principle of the approach to be appropriate given the varied nature of surrounding development and the benefit of splitting vehicular movements around the surrounding highway network. The layout would also allow the creation of a turning head at the end of Black Abbey Lane and provision of offstreet parking for some Green Lane residents. However, in my view, the layout is poorly ex3cuted. The enclave of terraced properties grouped around parking areas served by the lower access off Green Lane seeks to reflect the grid of terraced streets to the west whereas its immediate context would be the less formal layout along Colne Road and at the bottom of Green Lane, including the listed cottage at Harrison Place. In my view the lower phase would also be car dominated with parking areas in excess of 10 spaces.
12. The middle phase off Black Abbey Lane would generally follow the form of semi-detached housing on the approach road. However, it is not clear to me how this would build on local distinctiveness. I do not consider that the existing 1960s semis should form a basis for providing high quality housing. Moreover, the cul-de-sac terminates in a court of detached houses which would not appear to relate to a local form of development. They would turn their back on Green Lane and contribute to providing a hard edge to the development. The phase would, in my opinion, appear dominated by the access road and front garden car parking rather than the building layout.
13. So far as the upper phase is concerned, to my mind it has the characteristics of a conventional cul-de-sac of detached house suburbia with none of the attributes of local distinctiveness which can be seen in the organic built-form around Glusburn Green and Ryecroft Farm. The access road would not respect existing site features. Moreover, it has not been demonstrated how the scale and layout at the far northern corner of the site would respond to the position on the brow of the hill and the close relationship with smaller dwellings.
14. I also consider that the layout fails to respond to local character in other ways. By Design3 recommends that buildings on a sloping site should step up the hill. Some parts of the development would do this but the explanation in the architect’s statement that a series of plateaus is proposed would appear to run contrary to advice. I acknowledge that modern day highway requirements limit the scope for streets with steep gradients. However, I am not satisfied, from the information before me, that sufficient attempts have been made to work with the topography.
15. The dry-stone walls on the site reflect the historic field pattern and are an important landscape characteristic4. The Landscape and Visual Appraisal which formed part of the application suggested that such a feature should be retained as primary mitigation. Whilst recognising that most of the walls run up the hill and, therefore, give the designer a challenge, I consider that there would be scope to work with the field boundaries within the development, albeit with some breaches for access. Although the provision of walls within the development reusing the stone would seek to reflect local distinctiveness, the position of the walls would be dictated by the layout rather than working within the established field boundaries.
16. The preserved sycamore tree is shown to be removed as it would be close to Access Road 3. However, it was stated that the access road could be moved some 8m further to the south without compromising highway safety. It would also appear to me that the position of the tree is not accurately shown on the layout plan. Therefore, notwithstanding the views of the Arboricultural Consultant, I consider that the layout could be adapted to retain the tree which is an important local feature. Sensitive construction techniques could be utilised for any works within its crown spread. I have taken into account the reducing vitality of the tree and the scope for replacement tree planting within the development. However, I find that there is inadequate justification for the removal of a reasonably healthy tree.
17. The two access points onto Green Lane would incorporate conventional radii, road widths and footways. It was accepted that a more sensitive access design could be achieved which would be more responsive to the character of Green Lane. In my view the over-engineered solution would combine with the housing layout to unacceptably detract from the character of Green Lane.
18. The open space would comprise a number of distinct areas, two of which would allow cycle and pedestrian links within the development. A third area would be adjacent to Green Lane and would encompass the group of silver birches above the retaining wall. Otherwise the layout of the open space does not appear to be based on a landscape strategy. Provision would be made for a toddler play area. However, the precise location was not known. The layout would provide limitations in terms of space and natural surveillance for a play area. Facilities for older children are available at Glusburn Park which is more than 400m walking distance from the site. The route via Green Lane includes stretches without footways. The limitations of the open space add weight to my concerns about the proposal.
19. Concerns were also expressed about the scale of the development and the impact of lighting. Other than the specific point at paragraph 13, I find that two-storey development would be appropriate within the site. The marginally higher buildings at Plots 10 to 145 would be separated from existing smaller scale development by Plots 15 to 18 and open land and would not appear out of context. More lighting in the area would be a consequence of allowing development. The details could be controlled by condition to ensure a balance between highway requirements and sensitivity towards the surroundings.
20. In my view the Design and Access Statement does not adequately explain the design principles and design concept for the site and how it relates to its wider context. The appellants sought to support the scheme with further evidence and material. The subsequent justification does not convince me that the design for the site would be appropriate.
21. I conclude that the development would detract from the character and appearance of the landscape and the village having regard to the sites location outside the current defined settlement limits and the access, layout and scale of the proposal. I find conflict with Policy YH6 of the RSS as a high standard of design would not be achieved. Policy ENV10 of the LP, which seeks to safeguard protected trees, would also be breached. The previous Inspector referred to the preserved tree and dry-stone walls but did not comment on other aspects of the layout. I am not aware of the full extent of evidence that was before her but note that she found against the principle of the site for housing. I consider it necessary to consider the design details before me taking into account Government design policy and advice and conclude that the scheme would be inappropriate in its context.
The Need for Housing
22. Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (PPS3) advises that local planning authorities should ensure a continuous five year supply of deliverable sites identified through the development plan. The requirements for Craven are set out in The Yorkshire and Humber Plan Regional Spatial Strategy to 2026 (RSS). The district should plan for 250 additional dwellings per year between 2004 and 2026.
23. Craven has prepared a Core Strategy Preferred Options Draft 2007. After consideration of the document the Council has resolved that some 17% of housing requirements would be met in the South Craven area, including Glusburn, although the option has not been tested through full consultation and formal examination. However, for the purposes of the inquiry the figure represents a reasonable basis for deriving housing supply for the local area.
24. The main parties agreed that there is a housing supply shortfall in both the district as a whole6 and in the South Craven area7. Although the figures were questioned at the inquiry and reference was made to the downturn in the housing market I am satisfied, from the evidence before me, that they are based on a reasonably robust assessment of the position. Therefore, there is a significant shortfall in deliverable sites, including those identified by the current development plan.
25. There is also a significant need for affordable housing in Craven District and in South Craven in particular8. Recent provision has been limited, although further units are expected imminently at Greenroyd Mill. Although the local need was questioned I am satisfied from the documentary evidence that it remains substantial.
26. The proposal would contribute towards housing supply. The site would appear to be deliverable. In addition 40% of the housing would be affordable which meets Policy H4 of the RSS and the Council’s guidance9. The affordable element could be secured by a condition. I attach significant weight to the need for housing in the area, including affordable housing. Character and Appearance v Need for Housing
27. The housing development of this agricultural land would detract from the existing character and appearance. In this respect my findings are consistent with the previous Inspector. However, in order to meet the need for housing, including RSS requirements, it is inevitable that some greenfield sites will need to be delivered. There is insufficient land within the built-up areas or on previously-developed land to make up the shortfall.
28. The appeal site was part of a larger potential site before the Local Plan Inspector (LPI) who recommended that it be included within the settlement limits and be considered as a possible allocation. The Council did not accept the recommendation but the LP did recognise the need to review the development limits around 5 years after plan adoption to have regard to future development needs. This has not occurred.
29. As part of the evidence base for the Local Development Framework (LDF) the Council commissioned an Environmental Capacity Study (ECS). The published draft ECS of July 2007 identified the appeal site as one of several with potential development, taking into account a matrix of constraints. Indeed the appeal site (SC11) scored favourably in comparison to most other sites, emerging as a preferred location for development. The ECS is not a development plan document. Nor has it been adopted as supplementary planning guidance by the Council. It does not contain detailed site specific assessments and includes caveats. However, I have afforded it some weight taken together with the justification to Policy ENV1 of the LP, the LPI findings, the contents of the SHELAA10 and my own assessment.
30. The LDF is not sufficiently advanced to resolve the housing land shortage in the short-term. As a result I conclude that, in principle, the appeal site would be suitable to meet some of the significant need for housing land in the area and the need for affordable housing. The presence of significant areas of Green Wedge to the north and south of the settlement reinforces my conclusions. In this respect I attach more weight to the need to consider favourably planning applications11 than Policy ENV1 of the LP.
31. However, Paragraph 71 also requires that decision-makers need to have regard to the policies of PPS3 in considering planning applications. I conclude that the appeal proposal would not achieve high quality housing of an appropriate design. I do not consider that conditions could overcome my concerns due to deficiencies in the design of the layout and access which are matters before me. In my opinion a development could be designed for the site which met the need for housing, used the land efficiently but integrated with, and complemented, the local area.
32. The main facilities of the settlement are about 1km to the east. There are bus services to the north and south of the site within walking distance, although some linking routes would be on roads without footways. The A6068 is a busy road with narrow pavements in places. It is not attractive to pedestrians or a particularly safe route for cyclists. Taking these factors into account I have some reservations about the sustainability of the site. However, the proposal would meet the requirements of Policy T1 of the RSS. The development would incorporate internal pedestrian and cycleway links and a segregated route to Colne Road. A completed unilateral undertaking offers a financial contribution to bus stop improvement and cycleway provision. Moreover, it would appear to me that the site would be as sustainable as most other locations on the edge of the settlement.
33. The provision of three access points would split traffic movements between Green Lane and Black Abbey Lane and its approach roads. The submitted Transport Assessment indicates that the affected highway network and junctions would operate within capacity. Although Green Lane has the characteristics of a country lane, traffic speeds are generally slow and there have been few accidents. My own observations indicate that motorists drive appropriately. A reduction in on-street parking may be achieved as a result of the provision of a parking area for Green Lane residents. The evidence before me indicates that this would have overall safety benefits. The provision of some footways and parking bays to Green Lane would also improve highway safety. Black Abbey Lane has on-street parking, including vehicles that straddle the kerb. However, the evidence indicates that it would provide a suitable access for an additional 34 dwellings. Moreover, the provision of a turning head at the end of the road would be a benefit.
34. There have been several flooding incidents on Green Lane and around Colne Road in recent years. It appears that blocked culverts and drains have been the main causes. It was confirmed at the inquiry that the run-off from the site would be restricted to existing rates. Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency no longer object. Surface water attenuation would be provided. Although I recognise the concerns of local residents I am satisfied that the proposal would be unlikely to exacerbate flood risk, subject to controls over the details of the drainage system.
35. Concerns were expressed about the ability of other local infrastructure and services to cope with additional development. I noted the traffic conditions in Crosshills and on the A6068, in particular at peak periods. I observed that local railway station car parks were full during the daytime. Reference was made to the capacity of schools and health facilities. However, I do not consider that there is sufficient evidence before me to resist the development on such grounds. The LDF is the mechanism for linking future growth to infrastructure requirements. I was not made aware of any current development plan policies which would require contributions to infrastructure or local services.
36. Reference was made to the loss of the biodiversity value of the dry stone walls within the site should they be removed. I do not consider that this effect adds substantially to the harm although retention of the walls as part of a layout may have some ecological benefit.
37. The affordable housing would be provided in two clusters off Access Roads 2 and 3. Taking into account the scale of the development and management requirements I consider that the proposal would allow for reasonable integration of the affordable housing with existing and proposed market dwellings. There is no evidence that anti-social behaviour would arise as a result of the housing.
38. The development would be clearly visible from surrounding houses and impact on private views. However, I find that the development would not unacceptably affect the living conditions of neighbouring residents by reason of effect on outlook, privacy or light. The existing cottages near the access points would be subject to additional headlight glare but not to a significant extent. Any disruption during construction would be temporary.
39. The lack of a five year supply of deliverable sites, the provision of affordable housing within the scheme and the acceptability of the site for housing in comparison to other sites close to the settlement weigh significantly in favour of the development. However, I conclude that the particular design of the proposal would be inappropriate which would unacceptably impact on the character and appearance of the area.
40. For the reasons given above I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.
Appeal Decision APP/C2708/A/09/2098096
FOR THE LOCAL PLANNING AUTHORITY:
Martin Carter of Counsel Instructed by Gill Brown, Head of Legal Services, Craven District Council
Graham Woodward BA Dip LA CMLI Atkins
Alan Croston BA (Hons) MRTPI
Janet Dixon Town Planners Ltd
FOR THE APPELLANT:
David Manley of Queens Counsel Instructed by Patricia Blakemore of Walton and Co
Alison France ICE FIHIC AMIE MIHT MAME Sanderson Associates
Tim Davies ICE AMIE MIHT Paul Waite Associates
Paul Andrew Muir Group Housing Association Ltd
Frank Fawcett BA (Hons) Dip TP MRTPI Dip LA CMLI Fawcett and Fawcett
Hannah Smith BA (Hons) Dip TP MRTPI Arup
Madeleine Beaufoy Local Resident
Councillor Philip Barrett County and District Councillor
Mark Falshaw Local Resident
Lance Feather Local Resident
R Baker Local Resident
Roger Nicholson Chair of Glusburn and Sutton Parish Council
Verner Wheelock Local Resident
Patrick Hargreaves Local Resident
Andrew Glen Local Resident
Stewart Anthony Local Resident
Auriel Marsden Local Resident
Allan Butterfield Local Resident
Peter van der Gucht Local Resident
DOCUMENTS, PLANS AND PHOTOGRAPHS SUBMITTED TO THE INQUIRY
BY THE APPELLANT
1 Plan of existing dry stone walls Drawing No 6385/04
2 Proposed dry stone wall layout Drawing No 6385/03B
3 Perspective and Section at Site Entrance Green Lane
4 Unilateral Undertaking dated 18 March 2010
5 Objection to Local Plan relevant to appeal site including plans
6 Qualifications and Experience of Alison France
7 Response to Inspector questions on the Transport Assessment
8 Aerial Photographs of the appeal site and surroundings
9 Topographical Survey of the appeal site
BY THE COUNCIL
1 Consent Order CO/1726/2009
2 Suggested conditions (updated list)
3 Updated Appendix D: Figures to Mr Woodward’s Proof of Evidence
4 Page 40 of Landscape Character Assessment (Core Document 10 refers)
BY INTERESTED PERSONS
1 Submission by Mrs Madeleine Beaufoy
2 Statement by Councillor Philip Barrett including decision notice dated 23 March 2009, extract from SHELAA and photographs of Green Lane and A6068
3 Statement by Lance Tony Feather
4 Statement by Mr Baker
5 Statement by Roger Nicholson
6 Statement and Tables on Housing Supply by Verner Wheelock
7 Statement, Appendices and Photographs by Patrick Hargreaves
8 Statement, Appendices and Photographs by Andrew Glen
9 Statement by Stewart Anthony
10 Comments on Supplementary Statement of Common Ground by Verner Wheelock
11 Statement by Peter van der Gucht
Glusburn (ex Suttoner)
Thursday, August 26, 2010 07:45
|Many will be aware of an impending new planning proposal for Green Lane, Black Abbey Lane. It's to be submitted by
David Hill Chartered Surveyors of Skipton, on behalf of the landowners - Trustees of John Binns Settlement. It's being led by Matthew Binns.
It appears that letters have gone out to those who objected to previous applications for the site, and you may well have received one. The letters inform that the applicants are to hold a Community Consultation Event at Glusburn Institute on Weds 1st September between 3pm and 7pm. It is likely that the applicants have come under pressure since the last Appeal Inquiry to consult in the community. It's regrettable that this is at such short notice, with people still away on holiday. Also there appear to be no notices about it in Glusburn and Cross Hills, also to date nothing in the press about it.
Hopefully you will be able to attend the event and subsequently prepare to resume the battle over this crucial development proposal on green fields. Circumstances have changed since that last application for the site, with the coalition government's new strategies on planning and the dropping of the housing targets. Much though is unclear. However the position at Craven District Council continues to be a cause for concern. The Council appears still to be stretched, including in it's Planning provision, plus the new Local Development Framework appears to be no closer to resolution.
It could well be time to put into action the new government's ideas on communities having a direct hand on decision making on developments in their villages.
Friday, August 5, 2011 13:01
|I've received the following from Patrick Hargreaves (note the CDC policy change):
The Special Meeting of the Craven District Council Planning Committee to consider the latest Green Lane Planning Application is now re-scheduled and confirmed for:
Monday 15th August 2011 at 6.30pm at South Craven School - The Airedale Building.
PLEASE NOTE - In a change of policy at CDC, no written notification is to be sent to interested parties as in the past. There's been no notification of the policy change, so people may well not be aware of the rescheduled Planning Committee Meeting for Green Lane.
Please advise anyone whom you think might be interested.
There will probably be a site visit by members of the Planning Committee in the afternoon of the 15th.
The Airedale Building of South Craven School is at the top of the site near Fieldhead Drive. Entry should still be made via the Main School Entrance with parking in the school car park.
Anyone wishing for more information relating to the meeting and the procedure can contact Chris Waterhouse at Craven District Council :
Chris Waterhouse | Committee Officer | Craven District Council | Tel: 01756 706235 | Email email@example.com
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