Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council's Planning/ Licensing Committee held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Wednesday 10 th February 2010.

PRESENT: Chairman - Cllr C K Langton

Members - Cllrs Mrs P Biggs, B Edwards, P Hames, R Osborne, together with 1 Parishioner and Mrs M Bailey, Torridge District Council

Apologies were recorded on behalf of Cllrs Mrs A Boyle, Mrs S Collins, Mrs M Cox, R Johnson, S Robinson, R Tisdale

1. Election of Chairman

It was agreed to agenda this item for the next full Council meeting.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the Town Council's Planning/Licensing Committee held 27 th January 2010 were approved and signed.

(Vote: Unanimous)

3. Local Development Framework Pre-publication Core Strategy Development Plan Document

Mrs Bailey advised the Members that the document currently being consulted on should be looked on as a first draft. There were a number of events taking place in Torridge and North Devon with the aim of publicising the document and obtaining views from Town Councils and the public. It was not intended for the document to go into too much detail. It was a sort of halfway house between the old County Structure Plans and the former District Development Plans. This had caused difficulty for people who were expecting to see, in some detail, where future development would take place. The document was intended to set out in broad terms both the housing growth and employment land growth and indicate where they should be. She advised that the next document to be produced would deal with the allocation of sites. The statutory consultation period on this first draft document comes to an end on 4 th March 2010. Following assessment of comments received the District Council would then produce another document for consultation which, following any amendments, would be sent to the Government Office. Mrs Bailey advised that the District Council had been obliged to consider sites put forward for development for housing purposes. The Officers were to investigate the submitted proposals which would be further considered using the strategic housing land availability assessment by an independent panel. Given the number of sites put forward it was thought that this process would result in the final document not being produced until early 2011.

Cllr Hames criticised the quality of the maps in the first draft and was concerned that no locations were shown. He found the public display confusing and there was not sufficient information on what the core strategy contained. He thought it would be helpful if the policies could be summarised. He thought it would be difficult to follow the concept of sustainability and at the same time find land for 10,000 homes to be built.

Mrs Bailey concurred with Cllr Hames' comments and she was personally concerned that the document is founded on housing led growth, whereas in her opinion in should be a community led growth. She had discussed this matter with the Government Office and had been advised that if they are able to prove that a balanced community approach with more emphasis on employment and community needs could be proven then they would seriously consider it. She also advised that the Planning Officers were having difficulty with infrastructure providers. However, matters were changing and gave an example of how the Health Service were now on board and discussing in some detail the required infrastructure to meet the growth demands of the plan. She was confident that the final documents would include infrastructure delivery plans provided in some detail and she emphasised that this document, in its final form, would not just be about housing. She thought that the emphasis for the future could centre on renewable energy and that the built and natural environment was this area's principal asset, which it was important not to change. She emphasised again that the plan was not just about housing.

Cllr Edwards questioned the number of properties to be constructed in Northam Parish during the planned period. Mrs Bailey advised that the total number was in the order of 1,000 but that 400 were already committed with existing consents so additional plots being sought were in the order of 550 and the actual sites to be identified would come out in the next document.

Cllr Hames expressed concern that the document was not strong enough in its defence of the rural gaps. Mrs Bailey advised that there would need to be some construction outside the existing boundaries, particularly in Appledore, if affordable housing need was to be met. She advised that there would be a green infrastructure plan which would emphasise the need to provide open spaces and nature reserves within the proposed new developments. It was recognised that although this is a predominantly rural area there is not a great deal of useable public open space. There is a lot of work to do on this and North Devon and Devon County had both offered to help.

Concern was expressed that developers find ways around their obligations to provide affordable homes. Mrs Bailey advised that currently Torridge work on the national standard which is that if the development exceeds 15 then 30% should be affordable homes. However, there is evidence that suggests that even small developments should be contributing towards affordable homes and this was to be further considered.

Cllr Hames pointed out that homes being constructed within the biosphere boundaries would be required to be constructed to energy level 4 and those outside to energy level 3. It was generally agreed that the best asset of this area is the environment.

4. Planning applications

1188/09 Land at Tomouth Road, Appledore Proposed erection of two houses and parking RESOLVED - Recommend Refusal. The Council maintains its previous objections to the development of this site. It is over intensive use of the land, problems of views into and out of a conservation area, problems of properties being overlooked, a loss of parking and the low cost proposals of the developer have no real meaning. Essential that the trees need to be maintained and new trees provided if development takes place. Concern that this is a form of creeping development.

(Vote: Unanimous)

0033/10 16 Myrtle Street, Appledore Proposed loft conversion, internal 0034/10 alterations, single storey rear extension and shed- RESOLVED - Recommend Refusal. The Council maintains its previous objections to the external works and are concerned that the new glazed balustrade will result in overlooking.

(Vote: Unanimous)

0038/10 17 Fordlands Crescent, Orchard Hill Proposed ramped access and wheelchair lift to front RESOLVED - Recommend approval.

(Vote: Unanimous)

0039/10 11 Eastbourne Terrace, Westward Ho! Proposed application for approval of reserved matters pursuant to planning permission 1/0438/2008/OUT for detached chalet bungalow and garage RESOLVED - Recommend approval.

(Vote: Unanimous)

0081/10 19 Sandymere Road, Northam Proposed extensions and alterations to existing dwelling RESOLVED - Recommend approval but concerned about possible overlooking at the rear and the precedent that will be set for the remaining bungalows of a similar design.

(Vote: Unanimous)

0083/10 24 Link House, Nelson Road, Westward Ho! Proposed replacement windows RESOLVED - Recommend approval but would favour repair or replacement with wood frames.

(Vote: Unanimous)

0088/10 7 Rudyard Way, Westward Ho! Proposed single storey extension, decking, garden shed and 2 no greenhouses and retrospective rear conservatory and porch RESOLVED - Recommend approval but regret the retrospective nature of part of the application and the decking does not appear to be shown on the drawings.

(Vote: Unanimous)