Minutes of the Additional Parish Council meeting – 12th October 2022

Minutes Uploaded on February 23, 2023


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Present: Cllr J. Arkell (Chair), Cllr L. Glazebrook, Cllr K. Morton and Cllr R. Theyer.

In attendance:   A. Pattenden GCC, M. Sparrow GCC, K. Tilling (Parish Clerk), 12 members of the public.

1. Welcome and Apologies:

Apologies were received from Cllr Awford and households from the Wharf.

2. Declarations of Interest:

Pursuant to the adoption by the Parish Council on 14th November 2012 of Leigh Parish Council’s Code of Conduct, effective from 14th November 2012 and set out in the minutes of 14th November 2012, Parish Councillors are invited to declare any interest they may have in the business set out on the agenda to which the approved Code applies. The following declaration was made: Cllr Glazebrook declared an interest in the planning application relating to planning application 22/00880/FUL and would not be included in the discussion.

The minutes from the August meeting have been circulated but are not due to be approved until the November meeting.

3. Coombe Hill Traffic Lights upgrade: GCC response to issues raised in planning application by Parish Council.

The Parish Council were contacted by Benjamin Richards, the Stakeholder Engagement Lead for the Atkins/GCC team dealing with the A38/A4019 traffic lights upgrade offering an opportunity to meet and discuss all the issues raised in the Parish Council’s response to the recent planning application. From that response, the Parish Council created a list of questions in preparation for the information share this evening, with a hope that they would all be answered. The meeting was then handed over to Andrew Pattenden from GCC Major Projects Team.  Mr Marcus Sparrow was also present and is the Case Officer handling the planning application. He was in attendance to hear what both GCC have to say and the parishioners. Mr Pattenden gave a brief introduction of his role, confirmed that a planning application had been submitted in June 2022 and that he was in attendance tonight as a result of the comments made by the Parish Council. Mr Pattenden did bring some large scales maps with him and the large scale one showing the position of all the new street lights was held up for people to see. After giving a brief outline of the project to date, he explained that the team are now working on the detailed design at this stage and following the Statement of Community Engagement. He invited people to ask questions along the way rather than wait until the end.

  • A key priority now is to develop greater safety for pedestrians and cyclist in the area, primarily due to the large influx of people caused by the two housing developments. Safer access to the pub and petrol filing station. Noted that there is now a strong focus on pedestrian safety that was not there at the start of the consultation.
  • A cycleway to the north. Although the proposed cycle path is currently limited to parts of Coombe Hill only, the aspirations of the County Council will see these cycle paths eventually joining up. The installation here will help to unlock the future development for cycle paths. The cycle path disappears on the A38 by the garage and re-appears on the A4019 below the bus stop. The most dangerous part of the junction does not include a cycle path. Why? Answer: limited to the scope of the work that could be achieved. Why not put a dedicated and direct cycle path through the housing estate then?
  • Improvements to drainage in the area including the introduction of an attenuation pond to help with flooding on the A4019.
  • Introducing the street lighting – under traffic guidance the Highways are required to provide lighting. They have delivered the minimum requirements. Residents do not want street lighting so therefore wanted to know how much street lighting would be required if he speed limit were reduced to 30mph through the junction.
  • Joined up thinking – shared information and sought information from Kendrick’s and Bovis. The team are in regular contact with them. The aim is for a safe and improved access for all.
  • Currently in discussion with some of the landowners. A small amount of land needs to be purchased for the scheme to go ahead.
  • Slip lane from Tewkesbury to Cheltenham will be extended. Cars currently cut through the garage forecourt when traffic is busy.
  • Using out of date data from 1998. GCC using Freight Transport Industry information based on a lorry of 13.6 metres. LTS have been running a trial period since 2005 using 18 metre lorries. A standard 8 wheeler has a large overhang at the back. Question whether any of the team have ever sat in a lorry, driven one or observed the traffic for a period of time at the junction. The shared space on the corner is possibly the most dangerous option that could be put forward. Changes in DVLA rules mean that HGV’s have to give way to cyclists but HGVs have blind spots. GCC asked why they are using out of date data. Mr Pattenden acknowledged the valid point about the size of vehicle users at the junction turnings.
  • Options to upgrade the work on the junction are very limited due to the number of properties that are very close to the roadway.
  • Mr Pattenden was asked what was the % of traffic increase when Junction 10 is fully opened up
  • How much less street lighting would be required if the speed limit was reduced to 30MPH through Coombe Hill
  • How will the new traffic lights be able to control the traffic any better than the ones currently in place especially during times when the M5 is closed and all the traffic has to travel through the Coombe Hill junction?
  • National Highways have currently raised an objection. It is understood that they have asked for a 3 month delay so that their concerns can be addressed. Parishioners unsure why there was a need to annex this part off and do first. Mr Pattenden explained that there was conflict with the swept paths information. Revised drawings have been produced and are ready for submission. He also explained that this upgrade is going to be delivered ahead of the Junction 10 work and the road closures that will happen during the construction period.
  • Why are the developers being allowed to put a children’s playpark next to a road expansion scheme? Social housing has also been located in that corner. Not only is there a greater potential for road accidents but an increase in pollution levels.
  • Current GCC maps do not match the Bovis maps when it comes to boundaries, hedges and footpaths. Which one is correct? Mr Pattenden explained that maps will be updated to reflect the correct access points for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • What compensation is being offered to the businesses located at Coombe Hill? Work last year dragged on from 5 weeks to 11 and caused severe financial hardship. If this scheme is going to last 9 months these businesses will close for good. Local people will not be prepared to sit in the long traffic queues to access these businesses when they can drive elsewhere relatively hassle free.

4a. To discuss planning consultation requests and consider responses for the following:

22/00880/FUL – Erection of a detached timber-framed infill dwelling, including associated access, parking and landscaping on land at Blacksmith Lane, The Leigh.

This application seeks to build a new timber framed dwelling on land next to Cyder Press Farmhouse and the annexed Mary’s Cottage. Cyder Press is a Grade two listed building. The part link building that joined these two together was removed in 2016 and the Parish Council pointed out at the time that the smaller cottage should remain annexed to the main farmhouse. The planning portal also showed that the Cyder Press/Mary’s Cottage was within 50 metres of two listed buildings 28/77 Cyder Press and 28/78 Daniels Orchard. The new information on the current planning application portal is only showing that Cyder Press is within 50metres. Perhaps this needs to be clarified. The LNDP has now been approved and this brings with it some support for infill developments. Policies and guidelines set out in the JCS and the Tewkesbury Borough Plan still take precedence over the local plan. Parish Councillors were reminded that material planning considerations are the key things that are taken into account when planning applications are considered (A development’s size and location, how it functions and its relationship with the immediate surroundings). More minor considerations include surface water and sewerage, vehicle and pedestrian access, other adjacent land owned by the applicant, details of any tree felling, materials to be used, design of the building and the direction it will face and what the applicant intends to use the development for. The site is adjacent to a listed building and the applicant has confirmed that there is already access to the land.  As with a number of other recent applications, the lane leading to this site is narrow and additional traffic is not welcomed.  The land is situated in flood zone two and the Landscape Protection Zone.  Whilst the proposal may not flood itself, access from the lane may be limited during wet periods. There is also the question of what will happen to the additional surface water and water treatment plant outfall during these periods of flood. Planning applications should not be judged as a popularity contest, or a reaction to an individual’s financial situation or personal circumstances. Therefore, to reiterate previous Parish Council comments that also apply to this application: “This road floods and there is photographic evidence to confirm this. The lane itself is narrow and additional traffic is not welcomed. There are issues with grey and sewerage water. There are no mains sewers within the parish and if the land around this site floods regularly may cause issues with certain treatment plants. This site is another centre point of the village. There is no existing building on this site and it will be next to a listed building and could affect its setting. The Parish Council understands why the land owner has applied for planning permission but wish to make it clear that the TBC policies and the LNDP are both applied to this application in the same way as all the other recent applications with the Leigh Village to ensure fairness and transparency.  The Parish Council are interested to see what Highways, the Conservation Officer and the Flood/Drainage experts have to say.

22/01003/FUL – Change of use of land for the provision of a mobile home for holiday let accommodation and conversion of 1st floor garage to holiday let accommodation, together with change of use of land for display of 20 solar voltaics at the Croft, The Leigh.

There are three separate aspects to this application. The application form primarily focuses on the installation of the mobile home with little reference to the other items included in this application.  The application is wrong in that it states that foul water will be connected to a mains sewer. To reiterate this point yet again – there are no mains sewers within the Parish.

Comments were made on the accommodation over the garage when the original application was made and during construction. The Planning Statement dated September 2022 does not reflect that this conversion has already taken place and there is currently an enforcement case pending (22/00078/ENFD) following a complaint made in April 2022. The complaint being that it is a property operating as a holiday let without planning permission/any record of it on public access and has been for the last year.  This is a retrospective request and should have been made clear in this application. It is disappointing to learn that the applicants have not followed their original planning permission that was granted in June 2020. This is an all too common occurrence and one that is not welcomed by the Parish Council.

The Parish Council are under the impression that the applicants will withdraw the planning permission already granted for the yurts and would like to replace them with one mobile home. The proposed mobile home is larger than the area that was the amenity block/bin store and has also moved slightly south so that it is in line with the garage/holiday let. The main dwelling, The Croft has been seriously extended and renovated over the last two years and parishioners have expressed concerns that the new proposals detract from the area and that of the house setting. The attached environmental report is now 2 years out of date and only refers to the yurts and not the new proposals. Concerns were raised over the location, size and lack of landscaping to screen it all from public view.  Since redevelopment of the site started, trees and hedges have been removed and nothing has been replanted. The yurts have been permitted which now provides the site with a fall-back position. It has already been established that holiday accommodation is permitted on this site; it is just a question of what and where. Concerns about drainage and foul water are still present and the Parish Council seek assurances that the current facilities on site are able to deal with this increased usage. The holiday lets show a move from seasonal letting to a potential for all year round letting. The Parish Council discussed the merits of two yurts verses a mobile home and decided that the mobile home was the preferred option of the two.

There is conflicting information about the solar panels. The information from the photovoltaic company refers to 10 panels but the application says that there are 20 (2 rows of 10).The final number needs to be clarified. Both the Parish Council and Borough Council are committed to meeting the challenges of climate change and recognise the important contribution made by solar installations towards achieving the Governments targets for renewable energy generation. TBC’s policy ENV3 applies to large scale ground mounted solar photovoltaic installations with a capacity of 50kW or more.  It goes on to explain that installations that are 50kW or less, or for the solar panels to be mounted on buildings or domestic microgeneration proposals, many of the ENV3 policy requirements will still be of relevance having regard to other policies within the wider Development Plan, in particular INF5, SD6 and SD14 of the JCS. This translates to the impact on the landscape and visual amenity of the locality together with a need to respect the historic environment with particular regard to the setting of any heritage assets within the area.  The agents Planning Statement clearly states that “The Croft is identified as a ‘non-designated heritage asset’ as defined by the Framework”. Concerns were expressed over the proximity of the row of solar panels to the PROW at the rear of the site (ALH12) and for a need to ensure that there is absolutely no public access to the panels or ancillary apparatus. It is recommended that these panels to be moved closer to the proposed developments rather than next to a PROW and in open countryside where it creates a visual intrusion.

4b. Tewkesbury Borough Council Street Naming and Numbering – New Street Names at the Bovis/Hitchins Site (Part parcel 0120), Tewkesbury Road, Coombe Hill).

The Parish Council has received details about the proposed road names for the new Bovis/Hitchins development site. The Parish Council has publicised the suggested names on the Parish Council website and encouraged residents to respond if they felt it necessary. The Parish Council has not wasted any further time engaging with the process following lessons learnt with the naming process for the Kendrick’s site.

5. Vacancy on the Parish Council

The paperwork or the vacancy has been prepared and is waiting to be published.  All the necessary paperwork including application form and supporting documents will be on the Parish Council website from tomorrow.  The closing date is Friday 4th November and applications will be considered at the Full Parish Council meeting on the 9th November.

6. LNDP – update.

This agenda item is to report and confirm that the Leigh Neighbourhood Plan went to a TBC Full Council meeting on Tuesday 27th September 2022.  A TBC Senior Planning Policy Officer has since confirmed “that the Neighbourhood Plan was adopted at the meeting of Full Council last week. We are currently preparing a decision statement which will be published on our website alongside the plan asap. Formal notifications will also be sent out when these are both available”. Once ‘made’ The Leigh NDP (Appendix A) will form part of the statutory Development Plan for the Borough and will be used to assist in determining planning applications within the relevant designated Neighbourhood Area. A made plan also removes the capping limit for CIL payments.

7. Any Other Business.

Parish Councillors discussed the need to raise a formal complaint regarding the handling of a planning application. It was agreed that a formal complaint be raised and focused on two main points:

  1. Whether the report and recommendations to the Planning Committee were unbiased and impartial given that the Planning Officer concerned had provided information and advice to the applicant since the submission of the application in May 2021.
  2. That permitting this development as an exception to planning policies, particularly given its Green Belt location, may create a precedent for further development in the vicinity.

Parishioners queried the publication of planning application green site notices as these do not seem to be displayed any more of it they are, in the wrong location. The Clerk agreed to ask for clarification from the Planning Department.

Parishioners also queried the legalities of creating new access to land from public Highways.  The clerk has already been in contact with the Enforcement Officer who had little helpful information on the subject.  The Parish Council will take this matter up with Highways to see what their view is on it.

As the parish starts to grow in numbers there is a need for the Parish Council to purchase a new laptop and mobile phone. This can be financed out of the CIL money.  The Clerk will look for some quotes and come back to a future meeting with more information.

Meeting closed 21.40