Cllr D Hayward welcomed the members of the public to the meeting. He introduced the County and District Councillors and informed the members of the public the procedure to speak in the meeting. No members of the public wish to speak.
Present: Cllrs D Hayward (Chairman), L Bennett (Vice Chair), P Clark, D Coffin, I Houston, T Hunt and S Longdon.
In Attendance: Mrs T Chapman (Clerk), County Councillor M Hall and District Councillors M Lawrence, R Legg and 41 members of the public.
- Apologies for Absence
- Minutes from the Last Meeting
The draft minutes from the meeting held on 3rd & 23rd January were approved by the Councillors and signed by the Chairman, Cllr D Hayward, as a true record of the meeting.
- Declarations of Interest
- Report from the Planning Committee
Cllr D Hayward informed the members of the public the process by which West Dorset District Council notifies the Parish Council and neighbouring properties of the planning applicants.
- Planning Applications:
WD/D/17/000077 Land Adjacent to Tudor Cottage, Church Rd, Bradford Abbas. Erect 5 new dwellings, gate house, adaption of existing site access and associated garage buildings.
Cllr D Hayward noted the Planning Working Group reviewed the hard copy provided by WDDC and recommends the parish council objects to the application. He read aloud the statements / reasons the working group recommends objecting (see attached). The councillors unanimously voted to refuse the application. Cllr D Hayward will distribute the final statement for comments before it is submitted online. Action: Cllr D Hayward
District Cllr R Legg stated both he and District Cllr M Lawrence are on the Development Control Committee and will not make any comments concerning the application. He has requested the applications goes to Committee.
Cllr D Hayward informed the members of the public responses and comments from the public carry as much weight as those from the parish council. You are now required to register online in order to submit comments but the Clerk is happy to help anyone if needed.
WD/D/16/002626 2 Wessex Drive, Bradford Abbas. Single storey rear extension, with new principle entrance to existing building and removal of porch from front elevation. Resolved: No objections determined at the Extraordinary Meeting held on 23rd January 2017.
- Tree Applications
WD/CA/16/00534 Orchard Close, North Street, Bradford Abbas. 1 No. Thuja & 1 No. Lawson Cypress – reduce height b 4m. No objections.
WD/CA/16/00431 Chantry Cottage, North Street,Bradford Abbas. 2 No. Conifers – fell. No objections.
Cllr M Hall noted the landowners of the overhanging trees on North Street have been contacted by Highways. It was noted the residents have consulted a tree surgeon.
- West Dorset District Council Planning Notifications
WD/D/16/002626 2 Wessex Drive, Bradford Abbas. Granted
WD/D/16/001995 Mill Farm, Bradford Abbas. Refused. The Clerk mentioned she made contact with the agent suggesting a meeting possibly on site to see the progress. The Clerk forwarded an email from the owners who were happy to meet with the Parish Council on site. (As they were members of the public attending meeting the date can be set after the meeting and if not further planning applications are submitted during that time.)
WD/D/16/002651 Old Downs, Church Road, Bradford Abbas. Compliance with planning conditions
Cllr D Hayward and the Clerk attended an event in Dorchester concerning the upcoming digital online consultation. In April the Parish Council will no longer receive hard copies of applications from WDDC. The working group consisting of WDDC Planners and some Parish Councils considering the digital consultations noted they do not need a projector as their councillors look at the applications online or the Clerk contacts the agents to request a hard copy for the Parish Council to review. It was resolved to hold off purchasing a projector as budgeted at this time.
The Clerk has a new email address, email@example.com. It is not an updated platform for checking emails online thus the Clerk will continue to use Mozilla (a free software) on the laptop. For the near future the Clerk will use both hotmail.co.uk email address and the .gov.uk address as Mozilla allows for two email addresses to be used in the software.
- Planning Applications:
- Affordable Housing
Cllr D Hayward reported no further discussions with Hastoe has taken place. A representative from the BA Sports Club spoke to Cllr D Hayward concerning their interest in Affordable Housing. Further discussions are planned.
- Matters Arising / Actions Taken
Cllr I Houston put a notice in the Pennant informing residents how to contact the Parish Council via the website, the date of the annual parish meeting and the fingerpost story.
- Design Statement:
Cllr T Hunt reported the working group will draft some information for the March Meeting. Action: Cllr T Hunt
Cllr R Legg informed the Parish Council the Yetminster proposal for 90 houses off of Ryme Road by Gladman Developments was refused even though the West Dorset District Council does not have a full 5 Year Housing Land Supply. It was determined the allocations WDDC provided was a 4.9 or less plan falling short of the required 5 Year Housing Land Supply.
There is a potential site noted in the recently adopted Joint Local Plan (Oct 2015) that may affect Bradford Abbas. The Clerk has forwarded the email from Hilary Jordan, Corporate Manager – Planning (Community and Policy Development) on 7/2 that provides the link to the Issues and Options Consultation. There is drop in session on the 20th February at the Digby Hall in Sherborne.
The Clerk did not have time this month to contact Mr T Jacklin to discuss procedures in place for checking the defibrillators and reporting back to South Western Ambulance Services website. Action: Clerk
- Safe Cycle and Walking Route to Yeovil
Cllrs I Houston and P Clark drafted a document in Nov 2016 that Cllr D Hayward discussed with Mr Simon Greatorex Club Secretary of the Yeovil Golf Course as it was resolved at the January Parish Council Meeting the route that included property of the gold club was, for safety reasons, the best option for a walking and cycle path to Yeovil. Cllr I Houston will amend the “Investigating a safer cycle path to Yeovil” document to include comments from the January Meeting for Cllr D Hayward to forward to Mr Greatorex. Action: Cllr I Houston
- County Councillor, District Councillor and Officer Reports
Trees: All issues arising were covered under 4.2
Village Hall: Cllr T Hunt noted there has not been a meeting since October 2016.
Footpaths: No problems to report.
District Councillor M Lawrence noted six councils backed the change to create two unitary councils and on the 8th February the councils supporting the change will agree a proposal for the Secretary of State. If the proposal is accepted there is a possibility of a full election in May 2019. Cllr M Lawrence mentioned the Issues and Options drop in session on the 20th February that may be of interest to the Parish Council.
County Councillor M Hall discussed the safety issues concerning the drainage system on at the bottom of Bradford Hollow. It is too deep due to blockages and currently unsafe for walkers. The concrete blocks will remain in place. Smith’s Bridge safety railings will be repaired by outside contractors in early spring. He will keep the Parish Council updated to the possibility of DCC ceasing he bus service in the area and has begun to organise a petition to reverse the decision.
Cllr D Hayward noted the Clifton Maybank fingerpost will be reinstated in the next few day with only the two on Grants Hill to complete.
- Mirror Back Lane
At the January meeting Cllr L Bennett requested on behalf of the BAAHA (Allotment Association) if a mirror could be erected opposite the allotment access on Back Lane as it is difficult to see the oncoming traffic from the direction of Church Road. The Clerk contacted Network Rail for permission to install a safety mirror in the verge and received a verbal agreement from Ennis Innes Brown, Network Rail Property and Bridges. In order to received permission in writing it was requested the Clerk sends photos of the area. The Clerk will speak to a representative of the BAAHA in order to clarify which way the mirror is meant to be facing. Action: Clerk
- Any other Highways Matters
The Clerk noted the Highways Workshop the Parish Council was interested in attending was cancelled. In an email received (30/1) from Andrew Martin of Highways he noted he can arrange for a Community Highway Teams to contact the Parish Councils interested individually to discuss any issues that would have been raised at the meeting. Action: Clerk
- Report from Playing Field Committee
- Playing Field Inspection Reports
No issues were raised from the inspections reports provided by the volunteers.
The Clerk spoke to the leader of the Cubs concerning sanding and repainting the skateboard ramp (and possibly benches) for their community badge. The Parish Council will purchase the supplies needed once the date is finalised. Action: Clerk
- Playing Field Inspection Reports
- Financial Accounts
- Grants and Donations
- Accounts for Payment
The Clerk reported via email prior to the meeting the current account’s balance as of 3/2/17 is £3,650.37 less the o/s cheque £79.20 totalling £3,571.17
The deposit account balance as of 3/2/17 is £10,171.72
The only cheque to be paid the Clerk’s wage £192.33.
- Online Banking
The Clerk is now using online banking to check bank balances. In order to make payments or transfer money it is required by the Parish Council’s standing orders and the bank mandate all payments and/or transfers need to be authorised by two signatories. The Clerk is currently a signatory as well as Cllrs D Coffin, L Bennett and D Hayward. It would be best of one of the currently signatories would be willing to create a login on the account in order to approve the payments after each meeting and the payments are authorised by the Parish Council. Cllr L Bennett kindly volunteered to set up a login. The Clerk and Cllr L Bennett will meet to set this up online. Action: Cllr L Bennett & Clerk
- Grants and Donations
2017 Dorset Best Village Competition – The Clerk received notification of the annual competition.
- Items for the Pennant
Annual Parish Meeting Date, Contacting the Parish Council via the website, Best Village Competition, a thank you to the volunteers that keep the village litter free.
- Any Other Information/Items for March Agenda
Standing Orders, to be reviewed annually.
Date of Next Meeting – Tuesday 7th March 2017
7:30pm Bradford Abbas Village Hall Committee Room.
The meeting closed at 9:50pm.
The following is the document the Chairman read aloud for the meeting:
Planning Application WD/D/17/000077 LAND ADJACENT TO TUDOR COTTAGE, CHURCH ROAD, BRADFORD ABBAS
The Planning Working Group has considered the application and is now bringing its recommendation to the full council for a final decision.
The first consideration in any planning proposal is the appropriateness of the development to the area in which it is proposed to be sited; the style and finer points of design being secondary, and it is this aspect which has been our principal consideration. The application itself recognises the sensitivity of the site and provides a comprehensive Statement of Heritage Significance which seeks to justify the development on the grounds that it will enhance the Conservation Area in this part of the village, and indeed, that infilling this space with buildings will return it to its previous settlement pattern. Despite the level of detail provided, this is the only point it has to make.
The Working Group conclusion is that:
Overall the Statement majors on historical aspects drawing from well-known sources and does bring anything new or surprising to our notice, indeed, it contains some errors including an incorrect view with the wrong buildings that has nothing to do with the site in question. It skirts around some important planning considerations and relies overly on past history rather than the reality of the present.
We believe that it is important to consider what the site and surrounding area are now and how this area of the village as we know it would be affected by the proposed development. There is no point seeking to justify virtually complete infill of the site frontage, as the application does, on the basis that 250 years ago it was partly infilled by a barn and outbuildings. This is irrelevant as a planning consideration. Go back a further hundred years or so and it would have been an open space as now.
The site is recognised as being an important green space that links this part of the village with open countryside and for this reason has been designated as Land of Local Landscape Importance (LLLI), since it provides an important inter-relationship between the built environment and open countryside. When referring to LLLIs, Planning Policy SA6 states Development that significantly harms these special features and qualities or substantially detracts from the specific benefits will not be permitted.
The important point is that the LLLI green space and views should be available and enjoyed from the village, whereas in current ownership the views have been obstructed by overgrown boundary vegetation. The application seeks to dismiss this on the basis that if you went behind the proposed development you could still see the open countryside and that the now overgrown boundary vegetation would shield the development from neighbouring properties.
The proposed development is claimed to be neutral in its impact on the street scene and neighbouring properties. We do not agree. Two examples of similar developments that succeeded at appeal are cited as justification: Ashe Cottage in North Street and Ledras in Westbury. The former was carefully set back so as to minimise impact on this part of North Street and Ledras is a unremarkable 1960s bungalow surrounded by a concrete block wall that is to be replaced by two cottage style houses very much in keeping with surrounding properties, and therefore considered to be an improvement.
Contrary to what the application claims we believe that:
Policy SA20 Setting of Listed Buildings will apply in that the development will adversely affect the setting of adjoining listed buildings, and that overall SA21 Protection of Character or Appearance of Conservation Areas will also apply since the proposal will not preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the Conservation Area. We also believe it to be contrary to the intent of policies ENV4,ENV10 and ENV12 and since SUS2 (Sustainable Development) does not apply to developments of this kind outside of Defined Development Boundaries we believe that INT1 would preclude it for the same reasons.
In considering the residences themselves, we believe there is no need for further up-market housing in the village. The imperative is to build sustainable affordable properties that will ensure the continued viability of our community. It is for this reason that the Parish Council has been collaborating with West Dorset District Council on the provision of affordable housing, an initiative that has reached the stage of identifying suitable sites and holding discussions with land owners. It is possible that this may also include the establishment of a Community Land Trust giving the community a controlling interest and financial benefit in future housing provision. Although, as this application suggests, this site had previously been identified in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment as a sustainable location for housing, we had believed that as part of our discussions with WDDC they had been persuaded that it should be excluded as other more appropriate sites were being actively considered.
In addition we believe that the proposed development, which is outside of Defined Development Boundary, has implications for road safety in this already heavily congested area of the village. Given that it is for three and four bedroomed properties it has insufficient parking provision and this will inevitably lead to further on road parking in an already congested area serving the church, pub and village hall. This section of Church Road historically is prone to flooding and the playing field to the south in part becomes unusable in winter. The proposed development would remove a large area of natural surface drainage and risk further flooding on the land to the south.
We are also mindful that a previous application for two four bedroomed houses on this site (AN 1/N/82/59) was refused by WDDC and a subsequent appeal was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate. The grounds for dismissal were as our conclusion now; that the proposal would be detrimental to the street scene and result in loss of amenities for the village. Interestingly the Inspector also ruled that arguments regarding the previous presence of buildings on the site were irrelevant.
The Planning Working Group therefore recommends that the Parish Council object to the proposed development.