29 September 2015 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 29 September 2015 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Present: Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, N Champken-Woods, P Cowell, M Deacock,
N Dixon (Town Mayor), D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery (Deputy Mayor),
H Fickling, A Midwinter and T Wyse.
G Hunt, Town Clerk
J Collinge, TTC Planning Consultant
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Butler (Unwell), Lambert (Holiday) and Stiles (Holiday). Cllr Jones (absent without apology).
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest.
3 Public Participation and Public Questions
Public participation recorded at each agenda item.
The minutes of the Council meetings held on 28 July 2015 and 25 August 2015 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.
Cllr Fickling entered the meeting.
5 P15/S2823/FUL – Land Adjoining Park Meadow Cottage, Thame Park Road
Mr Aubrey-Fletcher spoke on behalf of the applicant in support of the planning application – Land Adjoining Park Meadow Cottage. It was always envisaged that the cottage would be included with the paddock thus providing an area suitable for 12 dwellings. The cottage was now to be retained by the land owner thus reducing the number of dwellings to nine.
With regard to affordable housing, the application was made prior to the West Berkshire vs DCLG case and was now not compliant. It would therefore be the intention of the applicant to provide three affordable dwellings on site plus one off site contribution.
With no opportunity to discuss proposals with the Town Council ahead of the submission of the application the applicant would be very keen to work through the concerns raised in the Council’s report but hoped the principle of the development would be supported.
Council consideration of this item then followed.
Discussion took place with concern raised on the number of dwellings proposed for the site and the proposed configuration which did not reflect the principles laid out in the Neighbourhood Plan. It was considered that nine dwellings on the site would not deliver an acceptable level of amenity for future occupiers and was overdevelopment. The proximity of the buildings to Thame Park Road and the gated access failed to produce the soft frontage that was expected.
b) Bad design
– layout not properly considered
– position of garages.
c) The principle of the Gate at the point of access to the site.
Plus points raised by the Town Council’s planning consultant as follows:
d) That the layout and form of the proposed development, particularly the gated access on to Thame Park Road, the loss of hedgerows and hedgerow trees and the proximity of plots 7 and 8 to the eastern boundary, would fail to respect the principles established in the Thame Neighbourhood Plan of providing a positive frontage to Thame Park Road that provides a ‘soft’ approach to Thame from the south, and a transition from open land to the built-up area.
e) That the scale, layout, density and form of the proposed development, together with the boundary treatments, extent of hard surfacing, lack of scope for meaningful soft landscaping and failure to demonstrate that the proximity of the proposed development would not prejudice existing landscape features, would result in an over development of the site that would further fail to respect the design principles set out in the Neighbourhood Plan or deliver an appropriate quality development for the site.
f) That the layout of the proposed development would fail to provide appropriate standards of amenity for future occupiers having regard to issues of privacy and overlooking and insufficient provision of private amenity space.
g) That the proposals fail to provide affordable housing.
h) That the proposals fail to provide financial contributions to local services and facilities.
6 P15/S2782/FUL – Thame Service Station, 67-68 Park Street
Mr Brockbank of Hunter Page spoke on behalf of the applicant in support of the planning application for Thame Service Station, Park Street to provide 20 retirement units. Thame Service Station was an important business within the Town which now needed to relocate to a larger site but still remain in Thame.
Over the last six months the developer had consulted with the Town Council in pre-application discussions and held a public consultation at the Town Hall. The result of these discussions was the application before Council for consideration this evening.
The proposals provided a new frontage to Park Street which reflected the traditional style of architecture found in the town with a mixture of bay windows, flat fronted properties, gables and gable dormers. No. 67 Park Street would be retained and refurbished together with the fire station frontage. With regard to the impact on the Conservation Area the current Service Station consisted of a number of utilitarian buildings which visually detracted from the area this development provided an opportunity rectify the situation and provide a positive enhancement.
It was not considered there would be an adverse impact on residents in Park Terrace with the proposed development set 13m away and the existing boundary being retained and enhanced with an extra hedgerow boundary.
With regard to parking each dwelling would benefit from one allocated parking space and provision had been made for visitor, buggy and cycle parking on site. If was felt the provision of affordable housing on the site would not be financially viable, however, a commuted sum would provide for affordable housing to be built on an alternative site.
Council consideration of this item then followed.
Members felt the development had been well designed and provided good accommodation for future occupiers. However, concern was raised regarding the lack of affordable housing on the site and the viability argument raised by the developer. The loss of employment land with no firm assurance that the business would remain in the Town was also a concern.
Subject to the following conditions:
a) Satisfactory assurance regarding the viability of affordable housing.
b) Satisfactory assurance that the existing business will relocate to a new site in Thame.
The meeting concluded at 7.15pm
Chairman, 27 October 2015