Having reconvened and as highlighted at the commencement of the meeting, the Committee received a joint presentation for Planning Applications 19/00592/FUL and 20/01140/LBC.
Officers reported that with regard to:-
· Planning Application 19/00592/FUL – that there was an error in the contributions towards improvements to bus services as listed at the start of the main agenda report, and that a further 27 representations had been received, 26 in objection and one in support of the application.
· Planning Application 20/01140/LBC – that the Press notice published on 15th October 2021, expired on 1st November 2021.
· Planning Applications 19/00592/FUL and 20/01140/LBC - that there was a revised Recommendation.
· Consultee comments, Housing Strategy; and
that the applicant had circulated a briefing pack to all Planning Committee Members; as detailed in the published Committee Update, copies of which were provided to Members and published on the Council’s website prior to the commencement of the meeting.
Officers presented the report and in doing so drew Members’ attention to the revised recommendation, as detailed in the Committee Update. Officers further drew Members’ attention to the Location Plan and Aerial View slides, as detailed on pages 42 and 43 of the main agenda report.
Officers continued and informed the Committee that the proposed development comprised of the demolition of the existing modern industrial buildings on the site and the conversion of the retained Welfare and Administration buildings, to provide a total of 108 residential units. 9 units were proposed in the Administration building, 13 units were proposed in the Welfare building with the remainder of the dwellings new build.
In 2019 the Welfare and Administration building and the boundary walls, railings and gates fronting the highway were listed at Grade II and would therefore be retained.
The site lay within the Green Belt where there was a presumption against new development save for a number of exceptions outlined in Paragraphs 149 and 150 of the NPPF, these were detailed on pages 25 and 26 of the main agenda report.
There had been a large number of issues, which officers had worked closely with the consultants to address.
At the invitation of the Chairman, Mr. K. Fenwick, the Applicant’s agent addressed the Committee. Mr. P. Smith, on behalf of Hunnington Parish Council, addressed the Committee in objection to the application. Councillor M. A. Sherrey, Ward Councillor also addressed the Committee.
The Committee then considered Planning Application 19/00592/FUL, which Officers had recommended to approve.
In response to questions from Members with regard to the proposed contributions towards Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG),officers explained that Worcestershire CCG had referred officers to Dudley CCG as potential residents would travel to Halesowen for health care.
Members raised further questions in respect of flooding and expressed some concern as to how quickly residents would be notified and the time they would have to evacuate their properties. Page 15 of the main agenda report detailed that ‘This information indicates that the incoming surface water overland flow will take only approximately 10 minutes to fill up the basin located within the southern corner of the site (in front of the welfare building) before overspilling into the new road system’.
Officers informed the Committee that the proposal before Members had been thoroughly considered following the response received from North Worcestershire Water Management. Severe flash flooding was rare and the area was not located in a river flood zone.
Members further debated the affordable housing and vacant building credit information, as detailed on pages 31 and 32 of the main agenda report. In particular the net decrease in floor space negating the need to provide any affordable housing on the site; with some Members commenting that there should be an affordable housing contribution with a development of this size.
In response officers reiterated Part 8 – Affordable Housing and Vacant building credit, as detailed on page 31 and 32 of the main agenda report. Which referred to the re-use of brownfield land, where vacant buildings were being reused or redeveloped and any affordable housing contribution.
Members further debated the earlier concerns they had raised with regards to drainage on the site and potential flooding, more so with recent figures in heavy rainfall increasing in the last decade.
Members commented that there was a lot to commend in the application, however, as expressed earlier, Members were still concerned with the lack of affordable housing and the calculations made under the vacant building credit.
Councillor R. J. Hunter proposed an alternative recommendation that Planning Permission be deferred in order for further clarity on vacant building credit and the implication for affordable housing provision.
On being put to the vote, the Committee voted in favour of the alternative recommendation.
Having had regard to all of the information provided relating to Planning Application 19/00592/FUL, and Members having expressed their concerns with regard to the lack of affordable housing due to the vacant building calculations; Members agreed to defer Planning Application 19/00592/FUL.
Members further agreed that Planning Application 20/01440/LBC also be deferred.
a) that a decision on Planning Application 19/00592/FUL be deferred for further clarity on vacant building credit and the implication for affordable housing provision, and
b) that a decision on Planning Application 20/01440/LBC also be deferred.
At this point in the proceedings, the Chairman announced that the meeting be adjourned in order for everyone to take a short comfort break.
Accordingly, the meeting stood adjourned from 17:49pm and reconvened at 17:52pm.