Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council's Planning/ Licensing Committee held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Wednesday 21st November 2007
PRESENT: Chairman - Cllr C K Langton
Members - Cllrs Mrs A J Boyle, Mrs S G Collins, A Eastman, B M Edwards, P Hames, R J Johnson,
R H Osborne, S Robinson together with 13 parishioners
Apologies were recorded on behalf of Cllrs Mrs M Cox and R W A Miller
1. Planning applications
1248/07 Proposed development at Richmond Dock, Newquay Street/Marine Parade, Appledore – Erection of 16 no apartments, 6 Duplex apartments, 2 houses, Heritage Centre on ground floor of one of the units and a new building for retail - RESOLVED – Recommend Refusal.
1249/07 Proposed restoration works to dry dock and works to curtilage walls, Richmond Dock, Appledore - RESOLVED – Recommend Refusal.
The Council considered each application separately and the following comments are the response to both:-
The fundamental reason for recommending refusal is that the proposals fail to properly consider and provide for this important listed structure. The conservation plan, a pre- requisite demanded by English Heritage, makes it clear that …………….
“ the best use for the site is one which allows for the repair and restoration of the listed dock structure to appropriate standard and provides for its future maintenance and interpretation to the public.
It would be helpful if the Local Planning Authority could set out in a planning brief the range of uses which would be considered acceptable for the site and the constraints on any new development.
It may be that the commercial potential of the dock as a dry dock should be more rigorously assessed than it has been hitherto. A commercial market appraisal could be required as supporting information to an application for listed building consent ”.
Given the requirements of the conservation plan, which presumably should have been provided before any design work was undertaken, the application must be premature. It is of concern that the dates on the drawings and other documents pre-date the conservation plan. How can you possibly consider what may be built unless and until you have to hand the constraints under which you are to work?
Turning now to the detail of the applications as submitted, the Council is concerned that there are many breaches of the Local Plan and the agreed Local Design Statements currently out for consultation; for example the buildings are too high, they do not, as is claimed, fit in with the local street scene, they are not designed for occupation in a normal acceptable residential manner i.e. they are clearly aimed at the holiday home market, the access and highway problems have not been properly addressed. Whilst the site is not within a conservation area it immediately abuts two important areas and this has not been properly considered in the design put forward.
There are concerns over flooding, the engineering reports on contamination and the geo-technical side are at this stage very superficial. Also the report by the engineers on the dock gates indicates that a final design or solution has not been arrived at. The application shows the dock gates reversed in order to provide a wet dock but you somehow have to allow for extreme high tides which would overtop the gates and attempt to open them. The conclusions of the engineers' report gives two options of leaving the gates the way they are or reversing them but there is a rider note to the effect that there may be other alternative options that would be worthy of further investigation. Is it not important that these options are known in order that consultation is meaningful and that English Heritage may be able to come to a conclusion?
It is noted that the engineers reporting on the flood risk assessment recommend in paragraph 5.1.1 that the gates be retained in their existing configuration.
It is again repeated that the Council strongly recommends refusal for these applications. The applicant has failed to consider the dock and its setting as the essential starting point for consideration of development, if any, that may be possible on this site. The District Council is urged to resist development of this site until such time as a planning brief has been prepared. It is to be hoped that the District Council will commission a planning brief and consult widely before its acceptance.