Minutes -13 June 2019


PRESENT Mr R Alden (Chairman); Ms L Allwright; Ms L Munn; Ward Cllr. Bowen; and Mr S Greetham.

IN ATTENDANCE Mr M Brown, RES Homes and Mr R Hewitt, Clerk. Nine (9) members of the public were present.

19/18 Apologies – None.

19/19 Declarations of Members Interest and Requests for Dispensation – None.

19/20 Election of Vice Chairman – Cllr. S Greetham was elected Vice Chairman.

19/21 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish
Members of the public present raised several concerns about planning application 191749/TD5 Land to north of Westbrook House, including character, design, layout, density, parking, access to the B4361, hedgerows, sight lines, speed limit and drainage.

19/22 Planning
191749/TD5 Land to north of Westbrook House, Richards Castle – Application for Technical Details Consent for Permission in Principle application 183388 (Proposed residential development of land for 9 no. dwellings, with associated hard and soft landscaping).

Mr M Brown, RES Homes provided an overview of the proposed development and kindly responded to questions about the application.

The parish council decided to object to the proposed plans on the grounds of poor design and layout, access and drainage.

• The design of the proposed houses is considered dull and uninspired, and not appropriate to the prominent setting and location of the site, which is a key gateway to the village with a diverse range of individual houses nearby. The proposed design is counter to NDP Policy ORC9 a) and b) in this respect.

In addition, the layout of the houses means the fronts of #4, 5 and 6 are facing the backs of #1, 2 and 3. This is considered poor design and will adversely affect the privacy of people living in #1, 2 and 3.

The density of housing on the development needs to be in line with that of surrounding plots. The nine dwellings proposed will mean the site is overdeveloped and will be contrary to the requirement for development to be “of a scale, massing, density… and layout compatible with the character, size and form of the particular part of the settlement within which they are located” (ORC9 b). To help put this in context, the other housing site in Richards Castle, which is more or less adjacent has four properties on .55 of a hectare (152296 Land at Spout House Field) and it is proposed in this application to put nine houses on .44 of a hectare.

Assuming two parking places per property in a rural location means there is no space for visitors to park and will prove challenging for three car households which is not unusual in houses with three or four bedrooms.

The layout does not support best use of solar gain potential from photovoltaic panels given the location of the site (ORC6a: Development proposals should… Utilis[e] physical sustainability measures associated with buildings that include orientation of buildings… and renewable energy infrastructure such as photovoltaic panels).

• The current location of the entrance via the county of Shropshire is unsafe and needs to be reconsidered as it is too close to the nearby bend in the B4361 which will obscure visibility. Moving the hedge back to try and create more visibility simply raises the question of who will be responsible for maintaining the hedge – the concern is that it will grow and block visibility in future years due to poor or intermittent maintenance.

Furthermore, the visibility splay line highlighted on the proposed site plan runs through the middle of the privately-owned hedge of the adjacent property, raising questions about how the sight line required by highway regulations can be achieved.

• The parish council requests that the developer consider moving the proposed access to the area by the stable block as this will allow for a better layout of houses where all properties can front onto the access road, and provide for much better visibility when joining the B4361, without the need to rip out the hedgerow or require additional future maintenance of a replanted hedgerow. As well as being a safer access due to improved visibility, access by the stable block will support ORC10 b) which states: “The vehicular entrance onto the adjacent road should be designed to reflect the rural character of the village; and ORC10 c) which stipulates that development should retain “as many natural features within or surrounding the site as possible”.

• The access road needs to be built to a standard which means it can be adopted by the appropriate highway authority.

• Constraints imposed by the topography and geography of the site include flood risk, water management and surface water run-off. The parish council believes the development should be neutral in this respect and asks that the planning authority in considering this application ensures that any drainage system does not increase the rate at which water flows into the brook from the site. The concern is that the attenuation tank will slow the rate at which water flows but still mean that the flow of water is greater than if the site remained undeveloped (ORC4: Development should not cause or increase surface water flooding… Opportunities to address storm flooding problems should be taken where available).

• The parish council is concerned that the drainage system is properly maintained to prevent flooding. Currently, it is understood that the developer intends to pass this responsibility to a management company made up of future residents. There needs to be assurance that the pipes will remain clear of silt and the throttle on the tank kept in good working order over the long term.

• The speed limit should be made a consistent 30 mph on the grounds of road safety. Currently, the speed limit is 30mph in Herefordshire, and changes to 40mph at the county boundary. Policy ORC9 e) states “There should be safe access for vehicles”, and a variable speed limit by the point of access is confusing for drivers.

19/23 Finance
The following payments were agreed: Hitrees, lengthsman (£357.60); Clerk, wages April-June 2019 (£547.20); and HMRC, PAYE Q1, 2019-20 (£136.60). The spraying of weeds on kerbs and edges by the lengthsman will be reviewed by Cllr. Greetham.

19/24 Parish council communications
It was agreed to continue to write a short summary of proceedings after each parish council meeting. Each overview will be drafted by an individual councillor, and the article fact checked by the clerk before it is submitted to Castle News. The minutes for each meeting are available to view on the parish council website. Contact details for members in Castle News will be updated.

The Chairman thanked the outgoing chairman, Mr P Owen, for his service to the community both as a councillor and latterly as chairman of the parish council.

The meeting closed at 9.04 pm.