Agenda item

21/01626/REM - Reserved Matters Application of Phase 1, 149 residential units on land abutting Stourbridge Road/Perryfields Road, which is in line with the Outline Planning Permission for 1,300 dwellings (application reference 16/0335) allowed at appeal under reference APP/ P1805/W/20/3265948. The Reserved Matters application seeks consent in line with condition 1 for detailed matters of appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale.Land At, Perryfields Road, Bromsgrove, Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd


Officers clarified that the Reserved Matters Application was deferred at the Planning Committee meeting held on 3rd April 2023 for Planning Committee Members to carry out a Site Visit, in order to consider the footpath crossing at Perryfields Road. The Site Visit had taken place on 27th June 2023.


Officers informed the Committee that Outline Planning Permission was allowed at appeal, as detailed in the report. This also included the external access arrangements from the Kidderminster Road and Stourbridge Road.


This Reserved Matters Application was for Phase 1 of the site, for 149 dwellings and included 42 affordable housing units. Officers reiterated that the Reserved Matters Application was for detailed matters of appearance, landscaping, layout and scale, as detailed on page 47 of the main agenda report.


Officers presented the presentation slides, as detailed on pages 58 to 83 of the main agenda report. The scheme showed the road meandering through the site.


Provision of informal open space would be in the form of a multi-functional green and blue infrastructure corridor providing a variety of plant species and incorporating a sustainable drainage system adjacent to Battlefield Brook. With a smaller informal non-equipped open space area also proposed next to Perryfields Road.


The Access & Movement Parameters Plan showed the main movement route corridor, with the exact route to be agreed. The Inspector referred to the potential spine road in the Appeal decision and its intension to run through the site and be designed for speeds of 20mph to create an environment conducive to cycling and walking. It became apparent on this particular reserved matters application that a speed limit of 20mph would not be achieved on this indicative spine road. Therefore, negotiations had taken place to address this, and this had resulted in a layout that now showed the route meandering through the site to provide in built traffic calming measures in order to achieve the potential speed limit.


Officers referred to the Parameters Plans Access and Movement outline application presentation slide, and in doing stated that the route was very similar to the outline application and highlighted where it had been altered. Worcestershire County Council (WCC), Highways and Mott MacDonald supported the scheme.


Issues had been raised in respect of connectivity especially with Perryfields Road. Following negotiations, it was considered that a more direct link to Perryfields Road should be provided.


Officers further referred to the removal of hedgerow, as detailed on pages 43, 50 and 51 of the main agenda report.


The proposed layout had been subject to Independent Road Safety Audits (RSA).


Officers further referred to the Street Scenes and sample of house type slides, as detailed on pages 66 to 83 of the main agenda report.


At the invitation of the Chairman, Mr. J. Gerner on behalf of The Bromsgrove Society addressed the Committee in objection to the application. Mr. G. Dallas also addressed the Committee in objection to the application; and Ms. H. Martin, Senior Planner, Stantec, addressed the Committee on behalf of the applicant.


Members then considered the Reserved Matters application, which officers had recommended be approved.


Members commented that it had proved useful to carry out a Site Visit and had listened to the concerns raised by the public speakers. Councillor E, Gray stated that she knew the area very well and had looked at all of the paperwork provided, and she had a number of questions with regard to the wriggle road and why a straight road could not be kept and made a road safety road with speed limits of 20mph. Therefore, keeping people away from Broad Street and Crabtree Lane. Councillor Gray further stated that she had no objections to the houses being built but we appeared to be putting the needs and safety of future residents in these dwellings above the people in nearby streets. Mott MacDonald had stated in the report that monitoring of trip patterns in the Travel Plan are observed that differ significantly to those that were predicted. This in her opinion would be too late, as Phase 1 would be built. Therefore, something should be designed, from the outset, that was going to work, and she would like to see the original spine road reinstated and that this was something that residents in Sidemoor would ask for.


Officers stated that Members were tasked to consider the proposal as presented and not what could be.


Councillor Gray further commented that there were already issues with speeding and heavy traffic on Perryfields Road, hence a pedestrian crossing being installed.


In further response to Councillor Gray, Mr. G. Nock, Mott MacDonald stated that he had listened carefully to the public speakers and the concerns raised by Councillor Gray. Mr. Nock highlighted that care and attention was needed when balancing quite a few factors. With balancing any sections of a highway and layout in detail, there were four principle considerations: -


·         Maintaining safety for all users.

·         Maintaining functionality.

·         Ensuring that the section of the highway that will serve 150 dwellings was adopted by WCC, Highways in perpetuity.

·         Principle set by the Planning Inspectorate regarding the road to be designed for 20mph speed; and was also conducive to walking and cycling.


Balancing all of these was not an easy task, so it was balancing it in the most appropriate way. There were levels of undulation and by applying twists and turns to the road we find better compliance with the 20mph requirement; and it becomes self-enforcing. The layout conformed with the Planning Inspectorate and independent Road Safety Audits had been carried out. WCC Highways and Mott MacDonald considered what was before Members to be acceptable in planning terms.


Councillor S. Peters raised further questions with regard to the concerns raised by The Bromsgrove Society and in doing so commented that whilst understanding the need for the serpentine route to be adopted, that there would still be through traffic onto the Kidderminster Road and Stourbridge Road, and using this new spine road was totally unrealistic and most unfair to the residents of the new development to have traffic meandering through the estate. 


In response Mr. G. Nock further stated that at a point in time we would see a new route connecting north / south, a public route open to all traffic. With regards to the concerns raised with vehicles meandering round the bends, vehicle tracking had been undertaken and provided with the application which showed that larger vehicles (including refuse vehicles and buses) could navigate that section of the spine road in a safe and uniformed complied matter. He could not comment on the amenity impact but on a highway perspective that was supported.


Members raised further questions and concerns as summarised below: -


·         Why was this section of the spine road now meandering, why did the rest of it not need to be meandered? If you look at other things that WCC Highways were doing in Bromsgrove to make roads 20mph, there were other things to make roads 20mph.  Why was it absolutely essential that this section had to be meandered, when other methods could be used that were being used elsewhere.

·         If officers were sure that Phase 1 was correct, wasn’t it more convoluting when you get to Phase 2, why was all of Perryfields Road being closed off. Surely two convoluting routes, with traffic calming methods, would benefit the residents in all of the areas.

·         Cannot understand why you do not stick with the original straight route and keep Perryfields Road open, therefore dividing the traffic between two routes.


In response Mr. G. Nock, clarified that with regard to the first phase they were working with quite a few linear constraints, there were less linear constraints on other sections of highway, but not on Phase 1. Should each of these parcels be part of any future reserved matters applications, it would be for Members to decide. He did not believe the decision before Members tonight was with regards to the ‘stopping off’ of Perryfields Road; as this had already been determined by the Planning Inspectorate. The first section of 150 dwellings and the parameters looked at were maintaining functionality and safety and ensuring that this part of the highway could be adopted in perpetuity by WCC, Highways had been considered and had been verified by Mott MacDonald as the Council’s transport consultant.


Councillor P. McDonald stated that it would seem to him that the years we had been looking at this site, if we were going to pass anything or accept anything, we needed to get it right and we had to listen to local people who lived in the area.  The previous proposal was certainly better than this one, so we are not going to get it right if we accept this tonight.  


Officers clarified that the outline application had been approved through the appeal process and it set the parameters for this allocated site.   Members were being tasked to make a decision on the acceptability on this site, the access route through the site, the house types and design and setting of those dwellings.


Following on from this some Members commented that they could not agree with the ‘stopping off’ of Perryfields Road and by imposing this on the new residents of Phase 1, was unacceptable for the people who would be living there.


Officers stated that the information from WCC Highways and Mott MacDonald did not refer to the stopping up of the road, Members needed to be aware of this.


The question of what other methods were looked at was raised again, for example - islands and speed bumps.


Mr. G. Nock reiterated that the appropriate levels of horizontal design, in a residential area, were in accordance with the design guide and would be adopted by WCC Highways to be maintained in perpetuity. The Road Safety Audit had also considered it to be acceptable.


The Highways Officer informed the Committee that the design before Members fully accorded with their adopted Streetscape Design Guide and it also allowed the road to be adopted by WCC Highways. Some of the roads referred to by Committee Members were existing roads, being retro fitted and were not new roads, which were assessed under WCC Streetscape Design Guide.  Therefore, WCC Highways had deemed it acceptable, as had the Council’s independent consultants.  There were no reasons to refuse on highways grounds.


The Chairman drew Members’ attention to the Recommendations, as detailed on pages 55 and 56 of the main agenda report, and in doing so asked for a Proposer for those Recommendations.


Officers stated that in the absence of a Proposer, did Members want to follow a different Recommendation, as officers did not have any reasons for refusal.


The Council’s Legal Advisor commented that Members should not be confused with what had been agreed in the outline application by the Planning Inspectorate, Members were being asked to determine the Reserved Matters application as presented.  The feeling they were getting was that Members were looking at going against the officer recommendation; and if that was the case, a Proposer and Seconder was required along with clear and precise planning reasons for refusal.


In response to Members suggesting returning to the original spine road and looking at alternative traffic calming methods; officers reiterated that Members needed to consider and make a decision on the application before them tonight.


In response to the Chairman, the Highways Officer stated that there was nothing more they could add.  Members were being tasked to determine if the application before them was acceptable.  Members had heard from WCC Highways and Mott McDonald that the application was acceptable.


At this stage in the meeting, the Chairman commented it may be helpful if Members referred to the (laminated) information before them, ‘Material and Non-Material Planning Considerations’.


Members then stated that the meandering would have a design and visual impact that would not be acceptable.


Officers commented that this was not what they had heard from Members during the course of the meeting.  Members had expressed concerns with regard to highway issues and not visual impact.


Councillor E. Gray referred to the ‘Material and Non-Material Planning Considerations’ and in doing so stated, that the design was flawed and had a cumulative impact on the surrounding areas, which was unacceptable.  There would be highway impact on the surrounding areas and impact on the residents who already lived there, resulting in cumulative impact with speed and increase in traffic on the other roads.


Officers clarified that it was never going to be a straight road, but the only real change was the meandering to Phase 1 only. 


The Council’s Legal Advisor commented that Members were putting forward a highways ground for refusal.  The difficulty was that WCC Highways and Mott MacDonald had both said that the application was acceptable.  Should, this then go to appeal the Inspectorate would expect to see technical evidence supporting Members reasons for refusal.


The Chairman asked if the Alternative Recommendation was still for refusal, as proposed and seconded.


The Council’s Legal Advisor took the opportunity to further address the Committee and in doing so, stated that Members needed to be clear on the reasons for refusal, the impact on the highway and what would cause that impact.


Councillor E. Gray emphasised that it was all around the area, not just the new residents.  Whilst you were slowing traffic down to 20mph, the traffic would end up on other roads, which were already congested.  A new road going from A to B was being looked at, the whole of the area and the cumulative impact the design would have has not been considered. It was a congestion and a quantity issue.  Plus, the size of the vehicles that Members witnessed, on the Site Visit, going down that road. Speed restrictions could be introduced on other roads.


In response the Highways Officer informed the Committee that the cumulative impact of the development traffic had been assessed and taken into account at the outline stage. The spine road was never straight. The cumulative impact on the wider network with a 20mph spine road going through the site had been assessed and deemed acceptable by the Inspectorate at appeal.   


Councillor J. Robinson questioned again what other options had been looked at as evidence. 


Mr. G. Nock referred to the four principles he had highlighted during the course of the meeting with regard to balancing the constraints on site, the requirement of speeds of 20mph, the functionality and road safety element, with safety being paramount.  The residual and cumulative impact, with reference to those being severe on congestion was considered by the Inspectorate.  And that any unacceptable impact outside of this reserved matters application was also considered as part of the outline application by the Inspectorate.


Councillor J. Robinson raised the question again if other options had been looked at / examined and why this was the best option being put forward, he had not seen any evidence that other options had been looked at / examined.  Without this information he could not be assured that this was the safest route and therefore, without this information, he was unable to make the best decision on this application.


Officers stated that Members needed to make a decision on the scheme in front of Members, and whether it was acceptable or not. 


The Council’s Legal Advisor further clarified that the Members reasons for refusal were on highways grounds and that they disagreed with the officer recommendation; on the basis that Members were concerned that the current proposal would result in congested vehicle movement and would have an impact on that road.


On being put to the vote on the Alternative Recommendation, it was


RESOLVED that the Reserved Matters application be refused, for the reasons as detailed in the preamble above, with officers determining the final wording.   

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