07 April 2015 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 7 April 2015 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Present: Cllr D Bretherton, D Butler, N Champken-Woods, A Dite, N Dixon (Deputy Mayor), M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, P Lambert, D Laver, J Matelot Green (Town Mayor), M Stiles and T Wyse.
G Hunt, Town Clerk
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer
H Stewart, Thame Town Council
J Dann, Planning Consultant
Prior to the start of the meeting the Town Mayor Cllr Matelot Green welcomed Graham Hunt to the Office of Town Clerk.
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Dodds (Personal) and Humphries (Holiday).
2 Declarations of Interest
Cllrs Champken-Woods and Stiles declared an interest in item 5: Elms Park as a member of the Music in the Park Committee and Governor of John Hampden Primary School respectively.
3 Public Participation
Mr Marianczak spoke on behalf of the Elms Petition Group against the planning applications for The Land at The Elms. Attention was drawn to the report on the Council’s website which appeared to be in draft, contained the wrong drawings and no mention as to the author. The revised planning applications did not confirm to the National Planning Policy Framework or the Thame Neighbourhood Plan. There was no reference to traffic generation both during the construction and after the dwellings were occupied. Councillors were asked to look at this application with due diligence with regard to the application documents created by the developer.
The proposal for three storey dwellings and the development of the east and south-eastern part of the site would have a detrimental effect on the Conservation Area and this view was echoed by English Heritage in their statement regarding the proposed development. The Thame Conservation Area Committee also agreed with the statement by English Heritage.
In conclusion the planning application did not comply with at least eight local planning policies including those within the Thame Neighbourhood Plan. Elms Park was donated to the people of the Town and was protected from any form of development. The Council was urged to recommend Refusal and reallocate the provision of 45 dwellings onto other development sites in the Town.
4 Land at The Elms, 32 Upper High Street
9364 – P14/S2176/FUL
Amendment No. 2
Jolande Bowater and Anthony Lewis spoke on behalf of the developer. The amendment to the original application provided a reduction in the number of dwellings on the site from 45 to 37 with an improvement in the mix of housing of which 40% would be affordable. There was also an increase in public open space to 1.3ha which excluded hedging and trees to all boundaries. Vehicle access to the site along Elms Road had been moved 4.5m to the east to preserve a mature tree.
Changes to the alignment of cycle and pedestrian routes through the development provided improved design and access to the open spaces, more notably opening up the access and views to Elms Park. The site provided a unique opportunity, in the centre of the town, to provide a high quality development influenced in design by The Elms.
In the autumn of 2014 a series of 40 trial trenches on site revealed no significant archeological finds. The revised scheme had raised no technical objections and complied with National Planning Policies and the Thame Neighbourhood Plan policies.
Jane Dann, planning consultant, presented the report to Council to assist in the consideration of the planning applications for development of Land at The Elms, Listed Building Consent and the revised outline application for Elms Park.
Policy HA4 in the Neighbourhood Plan allocated no more than 45 residential dwellings on The Elms site and identified heritage as a key issue, specifically the relationship of the development to the Listed Building and the wider Conservation Area. Policy consideration should be made to the development on the eastern and south-eastern side of the site. The assessment identified that some harm/loss would be caused to the significance of The Elms as a listed building, through loss of openness and the loss of a mature parkland tree. There would also be some loss of openness to Elms Park. This should be weighed against the public benefit provided by the open spaces and the pedestrian and cycle linkages which would create an open welcoming public open space.
The development would create key opportunities to enhance The Elms as a listed building, in particular its setting in relation to views from the site entrance on Elms Road and from the pedestrian and cycle routes that would link Elms Road to the Upper High Street. The revised proposals now complied with Neighbourhood Plan HA4 and subject to the quality of design and detail were capable of providing public benefit that potentially outweighed any harm/loss of significance to heritage assests. In respect of other Neighbourhood Plan policies the revised application was very close to policy compliant in relation to affordable housing.
After discussion Councillors were concerned with the three storey town houses which did not comply with the suggested 2 – 2.5 storey height in policy HA4, insufficient affordable housing, overdevelopment of the site including building outside the preferred boundary, traffic movement and the sensitivity of the Conservation Area. It was highlighted that the proposed plan therefore did not meet the requirements of the Thame Neighbourhood Plan.
i) Recommend Refusal
– Development to the south of the Listed Building
– Development too close to the Listed Building
– Three storey as opposed to 2.5 storey
b) Traffic generation, parking and safety (particularly during the construction phase)
c) Level of harm to the Conservation Area
d) Insufficient affordable housing
9365 – P14/S2395/LB
Amendment No. 1
In the light of no information being available from the Highways Officer at the County Council it was agreed to defer discussion of this item.
i) Discussion of the Listed Building application be deferred to the next meeting of the Planning & Environment Committee.
5 Elms Park, Park Street
9356 – P14/S2310/O
Amendment No. 1
As the refurbishment of Elms Park was linked with the development of The Land at The Elms it was agreed to defer a recommendation on this application. However, it was felt important that discussion continue with the developer in relation to the refurbishment and the allocation of unilateral and additional S106 contributions, agreed in the work already progressed by Helen Stewart with the developers.
i) Responsibility for future discussions with the developer regarding contributions to the refurbishment of Elms Park be delegated to the Town Clerk, in accordance with the framework provided by the planning application and with the support as necessary of the Open Spaces in Thame Working Group.
It was agreed that Cllr Stiles would represent Thame Town Council at the South Oxfordshire District Council Planning meeting on 22 April 2015 at which the above planning applications would be considered.
The meeting concluded at 7.58pm
Chairman, 28 April 2015