5 May 2021 – Minutes of the Barlaston Parish Council Planning Meeting

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Cllr P Fisher (Chairman), Cllr S Tudor, Cllr J Dando, Cllr D Bentley, Cllr C Hurst, Cllr A Hemming 

Also In attendance:

Mrs K St Leger (Clerk)
Cllr G Jones (Stafford Borough Council)

A member of the public

7:00 – 7:15  A member of the public made representation on the planning application 21/33687/FUL with regards to information obtained from Staffordshire County Council as the Lead Local Flooding Authority for the West Midlands.

The Clerk noted she had previously worked with the County Council to address the flooding on the land whereby a drainage system was implemented by the landowners. It was noted this exacerbated the possible flooding at Nursery Gardens due to the rise in water levels in the stream since works were undertaken.  It was resolved to include the response from the County Council to the Borough Council.

Cllr Jones had received a number of comments whereby it was expressed that he was in support of this housing application, however he is strongly opposed to the building of 42 houses, the field is a flood risk and this needs to be recognised.  He is having regular discussions with the Housing Officer of the Borough Council who is a key consultee as far as the Borough Council is concerned with regards to assessing the need for affordable homes.  She has been helpful in creating the situation whereby the applicants (who are fronting Stafford & Rural Homes) to go back and think again.  Their recent letter is in response to her request to demonstrate there is a need for the building of the 42 houses and is extensive and comprehensive. The Planning Case Officer is currently on annual leave, Cllr Jones will endeavour to liaise with the Housing Officer and Case Officer for further updates.

Cllr Fisher had submitted a request to the Clerk to forward the current information to Urban Vision for their opinion and to prepare a robust response.  Cllr Jones questioned Urban Vision’s expertise in the area of affordable housing and the Parish Council needed to be careful as a similar planning application in Stone got approved, we need to stick to the argument of affordable houses which is a specialist area. Cllr Fisher advised Urban Vision are planning experts and it was the wishes of the Parish Council to use them as they are serving us well in this matter.

Cllr Jones wished to clarify his position that he was opposed to this application and called it in on this basis.

Cllr Fisher clarified the planning committee resolved to embarked on a course of action to fight this application.  The Clerk advised a new piece of legislation came into force on 21 April 2021 being the Town and Country Planning (Consultation) (England) Direction stating in respect of residential development, a development where the number of dwellings to be provided is 10 or more or is on land deemed to be a flooding risk needs to be referred back to the Secretary of State for approval. We are working with Urban Vision to ratify that this application comes under this legislation. It was also noted Urban Vision undertook works including a meeting with the Borough Council free to assist the Parish Council to ensure the Neighbourhood Plan policies are adhered to. The Parish Council planned positively for affordable house allocation within the Lichfield Plan at the Wedgwood Memorial College site, which is due imminently and needs to be taken into account, together with planning approval granted at the back of Leeses Garage for retirement apartments and the bungalows on the Barlaston Park estate. The Parish Council are working very hard on this application and there are options open to us to fight this application without the requirement to spend large sums of money unnecessarily.

Gareth Jones advised the Parish Council did spend money with Urban Vision on the initial report which did not mention affordable houses.  The Clerk advised the reason it did not mention affordable houses was the fact that in order to build on green belt land you need to meet the 5 criteria set within the NPPF guidelines and this application failed to meet any of them, which means this should never have been considered for housing in the first place.  Affordable Housing does not ride rough shod over the NPPF and planning law.  Cllr Jones confirmed the Clerk was right in relation to green belt and it being a rural exception planning application relating to affordable housing, if it wasn’t for the affordable housing it would have been rejected by now.

Cllr Jones was questioned about a declaration of interest, he confirmed he had been appointed Vice Chairman of the Planning Committee for the Borough Council, there is no conflict in this case however it would mean that when this application comes up at the Borough Council he would declare an interest, there is a possibility he would be advised he would not be able to sit on the panel when this is discussed.  As he is against this application he would not be permitted to speak as he is against this application and would therefore be predetermination.  He believe strongly that there is already an application to build houses at Barlaston Park which has not been started by the applicant for this particular application, we need to be realistic as the Company have inputted a huge amount of investment at getting this planning application through, our best ally is the Housing Officer in this instance.

Cllr Fisher asked is the Housing Officer is in favour of 42 houses in Barlaston, Cllr Jones advised she made the comment this would never have happened if S&RH had not merged with two other housing associations as Stafford & Rural Homes worked closely with the Parish Council, this is no longer the case. The new organisation does not have this reputation, we need to counter this strongly.

Cllr Fisher advised their assessment for the demand for affordable housing was not accurate.  It is hoped the Housing Officer will give a strong rebuttal as will the Parish Council.  Cllr Jones agreed to keep the Parish Council updated. He withdrew from the meeting.

1          Apologies were received from Cllr’s O’Dunne and Philpott, it was resolved to accept these.

2          Declarations of Interest – Cllr Hurst declared an interest in Planning Application 21/33908/REM at Plot to Rear of 75 Longton Road.  Cllr Bentley advised he was standing for County Councillor.

3          Written applications for dispensations under the Localism Act 2011. There were no written applications for dispensation.

4          Minutes from 13 April 2021 planning meeting – the meeting was cancelled. The Parish Council approved the minutes of the meeting from 30 May 2021 as a true and accurate record.

5          Application 21/33687/FUL – Land between Old Road and Trent & Mersey Canal, Barlaston – noted above. The Clerk to submit the rejection notice including the report submitted from the member of the public.

6          Planning Application Reference 21/33743/FUL at Land at The Hollies 61 Longton Road, Barlaston described as erection of dwelling.  There were a number of highways issues which will be addressed by the County Council as the Statutory Consultee.

It was resolved not to object to this application however they must include Superfast Broadband provision as per the Neighbourhood Plan which is to be included within the planning application. It was also noted a bat survey needed to be undertaken which is missing from the application.

7          Planning Application Reference 20/33547/HOU at 22 Flaxman Close Barlaston, changes as follows:

  • Amended application description now reads “demolition of existing detached garage and construction of a two-storey side extension to existing dwelling”.
  • Amended plans from a detached two storey garage to a two-storey side extension to main dwelling.

The Parish Council had no objection to this planning application.

8          Planning Application 21/33908/REM at Plot to Rear 75 Longton Road Barlaston, it was resolved to reject this planning application on the grounds of inappropriate development in the green belt. It was noted the garden was passed in the outline permission, however this is green belt land which cannot be encompassed within the garden under NPPF para 143. The Clerk to inform the Borough Council accordingly.

9          Date of next Meeting – 1 June 2021