Venue: Council Chamber, The White House, Hockliffe Street, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 1HD
Contact: Committee Officer 01525 631920 & Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Schedule 12 of the Local Government Act 1972 requires a record be kept of the Members present and that this record form part of the minutes of the meeting. Members who cannot attend a meeting should tender apologies to the Town Clerk.
Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors K Cursons (substituted by Councillor T Morris) and G Perham (substituted by Councillor C Palmer) and from the Town Clerk.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
(i) Under the Localism Act 2011 (sections 26-37 and Schedule 4) and in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct, Members are required to declare any interests which are not currently entered in the Member’s Register of Interests or if he/she has not notified the Monitoring Officer of it.
(ii) Should any Member have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in an item on the agenda, the Member may not participate in consideration of that item unless a Dispensation has first been requested (in writing) and granted by the Council (see Dispensation Procedure).
Members were asked to declare any interests, including the nature of those interests, which they had in any of the items under consideration at this meeting.
Councillor A Dodwell declared a personal interest in having spoken to a number of local residents and business people regarding planning application reference CB/19/01241 (7-9 Church Square).
Councillor D Bowater advised he was a substitute member of the Central Bedfordshire Development Management Committee but, due to letters received from the public, would be speaking and voting at this meeting rather than at Central Bedfordshire.
Councillor V Harvey, although not a committee member and with no vote, advised a personal interest as a member of South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth.
QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC (3 minutes per person; maximum 15 minutes)
To receive questions and statements from members of the public in respect of any item of business included in the agenda, as provided for in Standing Order Nos 3(f) and 3(g).
A total of 26 members of the public attended the meeting, all in respect of planning application reference CB/19/01241/FULL (7-9 Church Square). Five members of the public spoke in opposition to the application. Concerns were expressed regarding matters including: the proposed design which was felt to be out of keeping with the historic conservation area, lack of holistic consideration for the whole site of land south of the High Street, overdevelopment of the site, concerns regarding transport, access and inadequacy of car parking, objection to a piecemeal approach to delivering development on land south of the High Street and the importance of a throughflow of footfall on the entire site with a clear link from Church Square through to Duncombe Drive.
Concerns were raised regarding the very narrow access onto Church Square, which might prove impossible for emergency service vehicles, as well as the impact of an increase in traffic in an area which was already extremely busy due to proximity to local schools, activity including weddings at All Saints Church, community events and ceremonial occasions such as Remembrance Day. It was noted that the 1003 Squadron Air Cadets had been granted the ancient right of Freedom of the Town which included the right to parade. It was noted that there were already difficulties for traffic in exiting from Bridge Street.
Concerns were expressed about the potential future impact on longstanding key businesses in the town, particularly The Golden Bell and The Black Lion, if residential development went ahead and resulted in future noise complaints. Despite a difficult climate for businesses, the town centre contained many successful and long established business uses and the vitality and viability of the town centre should be protected.
Members of the public were thanked for attending the meeting and urged to make sure their comments were also submitted to the planning authority within the consultation period.
To receive and approve as a correct record the minutes of the Planning and Transport Committee meeting held on 22 May 2019 (attached).
The Committee received the minutes of the Planning and Transport Committee meeting held on 22 May 2019.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Planning and Transport Committee meeting held 22 May 2019 be approved as a correct record and were signed accordingly.
To consider Planning Applications received (attached). An updated list will be issued on Friday 7June 2019 (if applicable).
The Committee reviewed applications received up until 7 June 2019.
The Committee gave careful consideration to planning application reference CB/19/01241 (7-9 Church Square). The application was briefly introduced by officers and included a reminder of the 2012 Central Bedfordshire Development Brief for land south of the High Street.
A number of views were expressed by members of the Committee. Although it was noted that the application was progress for land south of the High Street after a disappointing delay for a number of years, nevertheless the application itself was felt to be unsuitable for the parcel of land in question and possibly detrimental to the future development of the remainder of the site.
Members agreed that the proposed design was modern and utilitarian, which was out of keeping with the location in the heart of the historic conservation area and would present a jarring appearance. It was agreed that the noise impact assessment should have been done at a more suitable time, i.e. a summer weekday/evening rather than a winter weekend, and at third storey height rather than ground level.
In terms of the whole site of land south of the High Street, access and permeability were felt to be of crucial importance and that without a clear plan for the entire site, this application might curtail future development. Car parking was felt to be inadequate as despite the town centre location, the fact was that most households required two incomes and two vehicles. In addition, it appeared that no consideration had been given to parking for users of the commercial and other non-residential space.
Concerns were also expressed regarding the developer’s assertion that inclusion of social housing would make the development unviable, as well as the suggestion that no further archaeological investigation was needed, despite the advice of the Central Bedfordshire archaeology team and the fact that it was understood that the site had been in use for many centuries.
The Committee was given examples of other towns in which leisure uses had proven beneficial for regeneration of town centres but that it was crucial that the strategy for the whole site of land south of the High Street be considered, to ensure that the objectives of the 2012 development brief could be met.
Finally, the potential risk to important town centre businesses was felt to be unacceptable. It was agreed that if the planning authority was minded to approve the application, a deed of easement should be requested to protect businesses from the potential impact of any future noise complaints from residents.
It was proposed and seconded that the Committee recommend objection to the application for the reasons discussed. On being put to the vote, the motion was carried unanimously.
RESOLVED to recommend to Central Bedfordshire Council that objection be made to planning application reference CB/19/01241 (land at 7-9 Church Square) on the following grounds:
i) That the application would not adequately support the role that the town centre plays at the heart of the local community, ... view the full minutes text for item 14/P
(a) To receive a report regarding car parking and to consider the recommendations contained therein.
(b) To consider any matters relating to highways/transport (if appropriate).
The Committee received a report in respect of the potential to introduce a Traffic Regulation Order at the Mentmore Road Park and Memorial Gardens car park.
RESOLVED to draw down a maximum of £1500 from the Highways Schemes earmarked reserve (920/9056) for the purpose of creating a Traffic Regulation Order for the Mentmore Road Park car park.
To receive and consider any items of information received.
Councillor C Palmer advised the Committee that he would be speaking at the Central Bedfordshire draft Local Plan hearing on Thursday 20 June in respect of land north of Soulbury Road.
RESOLVED for Councillor Palmer to speak on behalf of the Town Council in respect of land north of Soulbury Road at the Central Bedfordshire draft Local Plan hearing on 20 June 2019.