SYDLING ST NICHOLAS PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the planning meeting held on 5 January 2015
Members Present: Mr C Legg (Chairman), Mr D Wareham (Vice Chairman), Mrs P Davies,
Mr C Fowler, Mr M Hole, Mrs L Percy, Mrs D Tucker.
There were approximately 60 members of the public present.
1. Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence.
2. Declarations of Interest
Mr Legg and Mr Wareham declared an interest in planning application WD/D/14/002962.
Mr Fowler was elected Chairman for the meeting.
3. Planning Application WD/D/14/002962 Land at Sherrins Farm (Grahams Yard); proposed residential development of 15 dwellings.
Mr Fowler explained that members of the public would be invited to make comments about the proposal, which would assist the parish council in its deliberations. Following this, the parish council members would discuss the application and make a decision as to whether to support or object to the application.
There were quite a number of comments and questions made by members of the public as well as some useful information provided regarding the planning process. The main areas of comment are listed below:
• Disappointment was expressed with regard to the large number of proposed dwellings. The results of a poll carried out by the Graham family’s previous consultants in 2013 had shown that the largest number of votes were for a development of 6-8 dwellings. It was felt that the current proposal would benefit only the applicants, to the detriment of the village.
• A number of questions / comments related to the affordable housing element of the application. Although 5 units have been indicated for this purpose it was not known how they would be allocated. The general view was that priority should be given to local people.
• One of the main areas of concern related to the location of the proposed access road, which would be shared with Dollens Farm. It was suggested that it would be a health and safety risk to mix
• domestic traffic with commercial and articulated vehicles, not to mention some 200 cattle twice a day. In addition, the view onto the road is very poor on the left hand side. Fewer properties would lessen, but not overcome, these issues. The proposal to narrow the road would exacerbate these problems.
• Comment was made about the proposed design of the dwellings, in relation to materials and layout.
• People were worried about the effect of such a large number of properties upon a village which already suffers from flooding and drainage problems. The drainage and sewerage systems were already operating at maximum capacity and it was felt that the consultants had not considered these risks sufficiently.
Following the public session, Mr Legg and Mr Wareham, together with a number of members of the public, left the meeting whilst the parish council made its deliberations.
The discussion reflected a number of points that had been raised earlier as well as some support for the application. It was agreed that the village needed more young people and that any affordable accommodation should be initially restricted to local people. The point was also made that the current state of the site is unattractive and that domestic use would be preferable to commercial.
After some debate the council, by a majority of 3 to 2 decided to object to the application. The reasons to be provided to West Dorset District Council were as follows:
“1. Highway safety
The proposed access route to the site is unsuitable taking into account the number of dwellings and the shared access with Sherrins Farm. A conservative estimate of 30 vehicles for 15 properties would entail an additional 60 journeys a day along a single track road. This road would be shared by large farm vehicles, many of them articulated and every encounter with vehicles travelling in opposite directions would entail one vehicle having to reverse up the road or onto the ‘main’ road. This would not only be inconvenient for all those concerned but is also a potential safety issue. The council believes that the mix of domestic and commercial vehicles would enhance the risks, particularly to the users of cars, motorcycles and bicycles. Cattle also go up and down the road twice a day for the majority of the year, which would cause delays to householders and unavoidably create a surface that is continually covered in mud etc.
In addition, the view from the left as one exits the proposed access road is very limited, due to a high bank and bend in the road. It is expected that most vehicles would exit to the left, in order to leave the village.
2. Impact of number of properties upon drainage / sewerage facilities and risk of flooding
The site is adjacent to the flood plain, which runs along the High Street. It is felt that a development of this size would have the potential to increase the risk of overflowing drains and surface water flooding within a location that already suffers from such issues, as well as a sewerage system that backs up onto the surface on occasions.
3. Design and layout
The parish council was disappointed to see that providing for a maximum number of properties within the location has taken precedence over an attempt to design a development that is more in keeping with a village location. The linear design is unimaginative and the properties, particularly the larger ones, have been given little ‘breathing space’.
4. Affordable Housing
Although the council supports the building of affordable housing, consideration needs to be given to its location. It is felt that due to the lack of many facilities within the village, including the complete lack of public transport, shop, doctor, pre-school or primary school, the location would not meet the needs of many potential applicants.
5. Refuse collection
The council also wishes to question if the proposed road would be adopted by the County Council.
There are some concerns about refuse collection from a private road if this is not the case.”