Minutes of Extraordinary Meeting 4th May 2016

UPTON PARISH COUNCIL

Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting of Upton Parish Council

Upton Village Hall, Wednesday 4th May 2016 at 8.00 pm

PRESENT:  Dr R Lott (Chairman), Mr S Norman, Mr R Traynor, Mrs K Fletcher, Ms K Marshall, Mrs A Hoy (Clerk) and 40 members of the public

  1. Apologies for Absence – Mr S Fraser
  1. Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any personal interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any items under consideration at this meeting.  None received.

  1. Public Forum:  The meeting was closed to allow the public’s views on the planning applications under consideration to be heard. The previous planning application histories and objections were reviewed. Dwellings on this site had previously been refused, in 2002, 2003 and 2011 (withdrawn). The Chairman read out part of the applicant’s statement which mentioned that the application was in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Policy for Traveller Sites published in August 2015, that sufficient provision for Travellers should be made by local authorities, and that there was currently a need for thirteen such plots, three required immediately, within the Vale area.  However it was pointed out that the same documents state that local planning authorities should strictly limit new traveller site development in open countryside and should make use of brownfield sites or untidy or derelict land.  It also stated that there should be adequate schools, shops and other community facilities within reasonable walking distance, and such a site should not place undue pressure on local infrastructure, or be located in an area subject to flooding.  Inaccuracies in the application were also discussed, including the claim that the site is located outside the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was also pointed out that the application states the site had been identified by the Vale as “suitable for traveller sites”, but no evidence was supplied to support this claim.

Comments from the floor were universally against the application, citing the fact that the area in question IS inside the AONB and as such only developments that enhanced and conserved the natural beauty of the site should be approved.  Vehicular access onto the A417 was also considered to be of major concern, given the poor visibility when turning onto the Lynch Way. It was also noted that the site was within an area previously identified as at risk of flooding. Concerns were raised regarding the use of a Septic tank and where its content would end up in the event of a flood. Additionally it was pointed out that the site was outside the built up area of the village and would have no services within a practical walking distance. It was also pointed out the access to public transport was likely to disappear with the withdrawal of public subsidies.

The Chairman stated that although the applicant had stated that there was urgent need for at least 3 pitches, it was not clear at this stage whether this need had already been met by other sites and that this would be a line of enquiry.  He considered the application at odds with saved policies set out in the Local Plan 2011, proposed policies set out in the Local Plan 2031, the National Planning Policy Framework 2012, and the Planning Policy for Traveller Sites 2015. He pointed out that the NPPF took precedence over the Local Plan 2031 while it was still to be approved by central government.

Many parishioners were worried that if this application was granted, Traveller “activities” might spill out to the adjoining site behind the George & Dragon and the Lynch Way. A precedent might also be set that could see a further application for Traveller pitches on the adjoining site behind the George & Dragon. It was noted that Mr Wells had just been granted planning permission to convert this area from agricultural to equestrian use.

Much concern was voiced about the existing dangers of the A417 through Upton and the dangers that accessing this site would entail, given the very poor visibility on the bend.

Several people thought a Planning Consultant should be employed to fight the application.  The Chairman responded that it might be premature to incur such costs and that a consultant could be engaged if it looked as though the decision might go to committee. It was recommended that everyone present should make their views known on the Vale website before the closing date of 18th May.  The Chairman promised to circulate his notes on the relevant policy documents and  the editor of Upton News promised to publicise the matter and circulate to the mailing list.  The Chairman stated that were the planning officer to recommend Approval but sufficient objections were received, the matter had to go to the full Planning Committee, so it was important for everyone to voice their feelings.  Public Forum was then closed and the meeting reconvened.

  1. Planning Application:

            P16/V0885/FUL Development work at Maslina, Reading Road; replacement dwelling, garaging and landscaping.  The plans were discussed and a vote to FULLY SUPPORT the application was carried.  Clerk to advise the Vale.

P16/V0553/FUL – Land adjacent and rear of George & Dragon; Proposed traveller site with provision for three individual plots with hard standing and individual parking, sharing amenity space and bin storage areas.  The Council voted unanimously to OBJECT to the application for the following reasons:

The application is within North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and within Flood Zone 3 contrary to paragraph 115 of the NPPF, saved policy NE6 of the Local Plan 2011, Core Policy 27 of the Local Plan 2031, and Policy B Paragraph 13, Point g) of the Planning Policy for Traveller Sites.

In addition the site does not meet all the requirement set out in saved policy H22 of the Local Plan 2011 nor Policy H of the Planning Policy for Traveller Sites. It was not clear that there was any current need.

Accessing the site would require a dangerous manoeuvre across (known to be) fast moving traffic on a blind bend.

The Clerk was requested to advise the Vale accordingly and query with Cllr Janet Shelley why the site was supposedly considered suitable for a Travellers’ site.

            Appendix A – Schedule of payments

 

Description

Amount
   
UVHAT Hall Hire, Q2 30.00
TOTAL 30.00

Angela Hoy, Clerk

Tel:  01235 851726, 7th May 2016