Officers presented the report and in doing so highlighted that Planning Committee Members had previously considered a smaller proposal for 3 detached dwellings along the frontage of Ash Lane. This proposal was refused and subsequently dismissed at appeal, as detailed on pages 110 and 111 of the main agenda report.
This proposal was for the construction of No. 15 affordable (Discounted Market Sales Housing) dwellings including No. 3 retirement bungalows with associated provision for car parking, open space, landscaping and infrastructure works.
Officers referred to the following presentation slides:_
· District Plan Map
· Satellite View
· View of site from Ash Lane
· Existing Access from Ash Lane
· View of site from Hopwood Garden Centre Access
· Existing Site
· Proposed Layout
The application site related to a 1.3ha parcel of land located on the northern side of Ash Lane in Hopwood. The site was located in the Green Belt as defined in the Bromsgrove District Plan (BDP) and was within the Alvechurch Parish Neighbourhood Plan area and was located adjacent to but not outside of the defined Village Envelope of Hopwood.
At the parish level, Policy H1: Locations for New Housing Development of the Alvechurch Parish Neighbourhood Plan stated that new housing outside of Alvechurch Village was inappropriate development and would not be supported by national, local or neighbourhood level policies.
Members’ attention was drawn to the Five Year Housing Land Supply information, as detailed on page 112 of the main agenda report.
Officers further referred to the reasons for refusal, as detailed on pages 123 and 124 of the main agenda report.
At the request of the Committee, officers displayed the Proposed Streetscene, the Proposed Dwellings and Proposed Access presentation slides.
In response to queries from the Committee, officers confirmed that there were no footpaths in the vicinity and referred to Highways and Accessibility information, as detailed on pages 118 and 119 of the main agenda report.
Officers concluded that the proposal would be inappropriate development in the Green Belt, causing substantial harm to the openness, as detailed on page 123 of the main agenda report.
Officers further referred to the Applicants Case, as detailed on pages 121 and 122 of the main agenda report.
At the invitation of the Chairman, Mrs. J. Rees, addressed the Committee in objection
Mr. C. Whitehouse (via Microsoft Teams, the Applicant’s Planning Consultant, also addressed the Committee.
The Committee then considered the Application, which officers had recommended be refused.
Officers and Worcestershire County Council (WWC), Highways officer responded to Members questions with regard to no footpaths in the vicinity and virtual footpaths.
The WCC, Highways officer reiterated that WCC Highways had reviewed the application and that in the immediate vicinity Ash Lane did not benefit from footpaths and that there was not enough room to put in a segregated footpath and that a virtual footpath was not acceptable.
Some Members commented that having read and listened to the comments from WCC, Highways, the planning inspectorate decision at appeal and the objections from Alvechurch Parish Council; that they were in agreement with the reasons for refusal.
Officers responded to further questions in respect of the site being located outside a defined village envelope and reiterated the decision taken by the planning inspectorate to dismiss, the previous smaller proposal, at appeal.
In response to further questions with regard to the Affordable Housing element, which included discounted market sales housing, officers referred to page 117 of the main agenda report and in doing so highlighted the definition of ‘Rural Exception Sites’.
On being put t the vote it was
RESOLVED that Planning Permission be refused for the reasons as detailed on pages 123 and 124 of the main agenda report.