Minutes of the Additional Parish Council meeting on Wednesday 9th March 2022 at 7.30pm

Minutes Uploaded on May 4, 2022


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

In attendance:  K. Tilling (Parish Clerk), Cllr McLain and 3 members of the public.

1.Welcome and Apologies:

Councillors and parishioners were welcomed to the meeting. Apologies were received from Cllr Awford.

2. Declarations of Interest:

There were no Declarations of Interest required in relation to items on the agenda.

3.To discuss planning applications and consider responses for the following:

22/00146/FUL: 3 Pancake Corner, The Leigh, Gloucester. Erection of a single storey extension to front, side and rear. TBC’s request for public consultation arrived too late to be included in the February meeting and despite asking for an extension for a response, this was not granted by the Planning Officer. The Parish Council felt the need to record any known comments for the application regardless of meeting the deadline. It was felt that the proposed materials were satisfactory.  The closest neighbour to this property is owned by Severn Vale Housing so the Parish Council were of the opinion that an objection is highly unlikely. It was noted that they are building right up to the boundary which will prevent any through access to the back garden once the work is finished. A query was raised about the access to service pipes that probably run across the back gardens of all four houses.  There is a presumption that this house is on a septic tank like all other dwellings within the parish and therefore where is it situated and how will it be emptied? It was unknown whether these houses are connected to the sewage treatment works situated in Pancake Lane or have individual ones. This is probably a matter for building control.

22/00194/APP:  Land off A38, Coombe Hill, Gloucester. Approval of reserved matters application for up to 95 dwellings, associated infrastructure, ancillary facilities, open space, landscaping and construction of new vehicular and pedestrian accesses. The Parish Council have been waiting for this application, as it starts to fill in the detail of the Outline Planning that was granted on Appeal last year.  The Appeal decision confirmed that the application was made in outline with all matters reserved except for details of one (car) access onto the A38. The other details of internal access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale remain to be considered and are covered by Condition 1 of the Appeal decision.  The access for the 95 house is off the A38, only a few metres away from the new entrance into the Vineyards estate and at probably the steepest gradient of the field. Great practice for hill starts! The Parish Council foresee many potential problems with this access point. The location of this access point created confusion at the start of the Appeal. The developer had included a detailed drawing that showed one pedestrian and one vehicle access from the A38 into the site and the majority of the comments were based on this. The inspector decided to do the same. It is also noted that the old, until recently disused, entrance at the bottom of the field is to be used to bring items onto site.  Direct access from the A4019 has not been allowed as it is considered too dangerous for this stretch of road. The Parish Council understands that the Planning Inspector’s comments confirmed that access was not suitable in this location.

The Parish Council are pleased to see that there is no reference to street lighting on this site. This is a rural site where any form of street lighting is inappropriate and also disruptive to the nocturnal wildlife in the area. If lighting is introduced at any stage it will be strongly opposed. The Inspector confirmed that ’Condition 11 is necessary because Coombe Hill currently has no street lighting and the Parish Council is anxious to retain that rural characteristic; the condition would allow the Borough Council to give careful consideration to the characteristics of any lighting scheme’.

The Parish Council are extremely disappointed with the street scene designs.  They not only look very basic with no originality but also fail to fulfil the promise of a ‘Place Making Scheme’. These are bog standard houses from off the shelf designs that can be seen just a few miles down the road at Twigworth (and they look ugly there). The Urban Design Officers comments were dismissed despite being true. The Developers have managed to find two properties within the whole community (Walton Grange and The Old Police House) to justify their greed in building 2.5 storey houses in very prominent sections of the site both on the A38 and A4019. This is in direct conflict with the emerging Leigh Neighbourhood Development Plan and something that expresses the contempt of the developers and their disrespect of the existing residents. An urban design plonked in a rural setting is just not acceptable. There is no reason why low cost housing has to look cheap. This is supposed to create a new centre for Coombe Hill not an Inner city hub. The design should be made to fit in with its surroundings, not the area fit in with their designs. It is already being referred to as an urban slum in the countryside.

Landscaping is one of the reserved matters.  The Parish Council understands that there is a Unilateral Undertaking with the Borough Council which commits the developer to provide no less than 2.4 ha of public open space on site, and includes a LEAP. This undertaking also makes provision for the future maintenance of this open space but the Parish Council have not been made aware of its contents.  Condition 1 of the Appeal decision requires details of this landscaping management plan. The Parish Council are concerned that the green spaces, play area and pond will not be maintained sufficiently and do not wish to be burdened with this additional responsibility.

The Parish Council feels that more comprehensive landscaping could be done on the houses that face towards the A4019 which currently shows a row of unsightly 1.8 metre high fence panels highly visible from the main road. There needs to be a more open aspect as befits a rural estate together with more trees and planting in general.

Drainage details were not required at the Outline planning stage but Condition 8iv of the Appeal decision now requires a submission.  The Parish Council understands that there is a unilateral agreement that makes provision for a financial contribution in upgrading the Culvert.  There is scant detail about the ‘Pumping Station’. The chamber is not very large so are the developers using the pipes around the estate to contain any additional water? The drain just disappears off the plan. There is no detailed information submitted to show where this grey water is going. The flooding is not just related to the wrong size and location of the culvert. Recent excavation works on site have shown that water hangs in the field long after any heavy rain.  The occupants of the 95 houses will have little understanding about water conservation and will use it as if on a normal mains sewerage estate; their thoughts will not include where does my water go and what potential harm will it cause to others in the parish.

The Parish Council did note that there is a bungalow on the plan.  Tewkesbury Borough raised its own concerns about a new development providing access for all potential users, including people with disabilities. One bungalow is scarcely helping to meet this need and should be made to include more.

22/00152/FUL:  Sewerage Treatment Works, Pancake Lane, The Leigh. Upgrade of existing process plant and control equipment. Refurbishment of site compound, including access ways, man hole covers and kiosks. This planning application seeks to upgrade what is already there and also tidy it up and the immediate surroundings. The existing cabinet is to be replaced with a glass fibre one. The Parish Council did query why the existing one has not been maintained properly.  There are no known comments from the neighbouring houses and there are no objections from the Parish Councillors.

APP/G1630/W/22/3290655 (21/00063/FUL): an appeal for refusal of planning permission for Removal/Variation of Condition 1 (approved plans), Condition 8 (Protected Species Method Statement) and Condition 9 ( Demolition of Vine Tree Farm) of the planning application reference. 17/00478/FUL, to allow the original dwelling house on the site to be retained for use as a bat roost and ancillary storage in association with Evington Manor. at Evington Manor, Tewkesbury Road, Coombe Hill, Gloucester.

Parish Councillors confirmed there is long history of planning applications, Appeals and enforcements with this site. Until recently this location was known as Vine Tree Farm. This site has been taken to Appeal for a third time due to TBC’s failure to make a decision within the allotted time frame and that when they did finally make a decision, it was to refuse. It was refused on the following grounds:

  1. Retention of the original farmhouse results in an un-necessary built form and visual intrusion with the rural character of the LPZ.
  2. Retention of the original farmhouse results in net loss of flood storage volume from the functional flood plain of the River Severn.
  3. Insufficient information has been submitted to demonstrate that the dual use of the original farmhouse for ancillary storage and bat loft purposes, would not result in harm to biodiversity and could not be adequately mitigated or compensated for.
  4. The replacement dwelling was permitted in a rural location, outside of any recognised settlement boundary, where new residential development is strictly controlled by virtue of Section 5 of the NPPF

This dwelling has already been subject to two Appeal decisions and on both occasions the inspector was at pains to condition the demolition of the farmhouse – in 15/01007/FUL (APP/G1630/W/15/3140970) this was condition 11 and in 17/00478/FUL (APP/G1630/W/17/3187667) this was condition 9 and the Parish Council also notes that condition 9 made specific reference to the restoration of the original ground levels in the lower paddock. A parishioner confirmed that during the recent normal winter flooding in this parish it was observed that the flood water no longer enters this area and has taken a photograph. This could only be achieved by the on-going tampering with ground levels.  One Parish Councillor also noted that as part of the agreed conditions, the new dwelling was to incorporate ‘at least 8 bat slates into the structure of the new dwelling’. They did not think that this had been achieved and suggested that confirmation was required. If these have not been incorporated, why not? If they have then this clearly counters the argument for the retention of the original house. Reference was also made to the lighting of this property. At night the structure is well illuminated and can be seen clearly from the SSSI site. It is not conducive for nocturnal animals like bats. Local knowledge suggests that the bats moved away whilst the house was under construction and have not returned. It is understood that the previous comments submitted by Parish Council will automatically pass through to PINS but a supplementary comment will be added before the Appeal deadline. Parish Councillors felt that to overturn two previous conditions set by PINS Inspectors throws the validity of the remainder of the conditions into question.

22/00180/FUL: Wharf House, The Wharf, Coombe Hill. Extensions and associated landscaping works.

This application seeks to replace the existing gates with sliding gates and associated piers plus the installation of a new timber framed garage. Regrading the approach to the house together with a new oak framed porch. The existing stone facing will be removed and replaced with brick to match the rest of the existing house. At the back of the property, the small lean to by the kitchen is to be removed and replaced by a 2 story extension. Adjacent to this extension permission is sought for a new office and studio, Excavated into the slope and with a green roof. The Wharf is quite a tight community and there have been no known objections raised against this application.  Parish Councillors felt that very few people would be able to see most of the proposed works but are aware of the proximity to the SSSI site.  The introduction of the flood defence scheme some years ago will continue to help protect this property. There were no issues with the proposed works and it appears to be sensitive to its surroundings.

4.To provide a brief update on the Traffic Lights junction at Coombe Hill.

The Parish Council has received an update via email from Atkins regarding the traffic lights upgrade at Coombe Hill. They have been looking at the survey feedback and how they can refine the design in the past few weeks. They will be shortly submitting the planning application and once this happens and it has been validated they will be back in touch with the Parish Council. Once it has been validated, the Parish Council will have the chance to comment yet again on the proposals and residents will be encouraged to do likewise. If planning permission is granted they have offered to come back to the Parish Council and ask about ways to reduce the impact of the construction work. The contractor that is appointed will be asked to prepare a plan showing how they will manage the works and reduce disruption.  Work is pencilled in for the Autumn. The Parish Council hope that the contractors for this work use a more sophisticated system for their traffic management. It was also suggested that those leading this work have a long and meaningful conversation with the developers proposing to start building behind the petrol station. Some collaborative think is required to minimise disruption in this location.  Thought needs to be given to the storage of construction materials and machinery.  Now would be a good time to start looking at neighbouring land and negotiating with a local land owner to rent a field. They did this for the construction work at the Longford roundabout and it worked reasonably well.

 5.To provide a brief update on the Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Cllr Arkell was able to confirm that the Inspector has now looked at the LNDP submission and has written a report. We are now awaiting the report. Providing there is nothing majorly wrong, the document should be out for public consultation and vote very soon.

6.To provide a brief update on the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations.

The first meeting of the committee took place with a selection of parishioners to represent the different parts of the parish and different age ranges. It was agreed that there would be 2 events to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.  One on the Friday night and one on the Sunday afternoon. The Sunday afternoon will be like a posh tea party with a bouncy castle for the younger members of the parish. So far the following has been booked: marquee, disco, toilets and projector screen.  The idea is to have photos of the Queen taken during her reign showing on the screen during the Sunday event. Suggestions for the Sunday also include supplying scones with jam and cream and a drink to toast the Queen.  3 Choirs to be approached. Next meeting on 23rd March at 7pm at the Swan. The event will be free to those on the electoral role (and children that live in that dwelling). Other people are welcome to attend the event, adults and children but will be asked to purchase a ticket to help towards the costs. Details of the price will follow. There was little choice for a flat area large enough to take the marquee and provide parking, as well as be close enough for an electrical hook up.  So events will be held in The Leigh, in a field off the straight bit of road near Prospect House.

7.Any other business.

Storm Eunice and Western Power – Some houses in the Leigh and parts of Apperley were affected.

Cllr Morton confirmed that the Parish Council are now Digitally VAT enabled.

Reports of Fly Tipping in Wharf Lane – fence post etc. dumped both side of the narrow lane between the lights and the first house. Cllr Glazebrook to follow up.

Details have finally come through about the 2021/2022 pay scales. These have been settled just in time for the end of the financial year. The Clerk has undertaken some salary calculations for the RFO.

Meeting closed at 21.00pm