Thursday, 18 October 2012

Planning Stamina

A super-long Planning meeting was expected last night, and that it definitely turned out, a little short of four hours long.

Getting the Site Visits out of the way, 96 Park Avenue Broadstairs was approved with little trouble. This might sound a little strange given the concern at the last meeting but in fairness the site needed to be looked at to be sure of the impact on the neighbours. East Kent College went better as well, with the Committee happy with the changes proposed since the last meeting. Obviously the Highways issues will continue to be an issue but it looks like real progress was made. Deferred and delegated to Officers with approval.

Onto the main agenda, where the former Chapel Hill Petrol Station came up first. Debate went on for sometime here over negotiating the Traffic Regulation Order (in short double yellows). I know the site well having stood for TDC back in 2007 in that ward and lived there for a number of years, walking past that site regularly. I know all too well the concerns that residents of Nash Lane have.

The decision to defer and delegate subject to negotiations over the TRO was understandable, along with the reaction from a local resident heard through the Chamber door for minutes afterwards. I'm not posting this to embarrass the resident but as I know with other applications in the past, neighbourly relations get put under intense pressure through these applications. Its a sad but unavoidable aspect of this Committee.

Mark Avenue, the Rifle Range at King George VI Park and Ethelbert Square, Westgate applications were approved without much to report on.

Onto 3 Lymington Road, which Simon Moores has already mentioned was deferred to be brought back with conditions. All three Ward Councillors were present. Majority opinion of the Committee seemed to be that so long as suitable sound insulation could be installed, it was suitable. There seemed to be a question mark over whether an offer had already been made on insulation. To be honest, if it had already been offered and the Officer simply forgot, then negotiations in the next few weeks or so should sort that one out without problems.

To talk about this trend of micro-pubs, while its classified the same as any other pub, its not the same thing, something the Committee understands all too well having dealt with similar applications already this year with The Chapel. Its not the same clientele and should be distinguished from a normal pub.

Onto Maurice House where the proposal to build a dementia unit on the site was deferred to be brought back with conditions. The argument on this one was not about the need for it because the need for it be very much beyond question but rather about whether the Green Wedge should be cut back a bit for it. For me its a special case. Its not like this is housing or a commercial unit and when you look at the height of the proposed development, I'm not sure what visibly is going to cause a problem, most of which will be behind the fence. I have no doubt this will be agreed next time round and quite rightly too.

Last item was the Port Control at Ramsgate. Universal disapproval. TDC will have to go back to the drawing board there. The big issue was over the location of this equipment on a grade listed building along with its size which at 10m is large. A number of Members asked that other sites be considered. In terms of policy the question for Members was similar to the Maurice House application of benefit/need versus impact. As welcome as the equipment is, the Committee felt the visual impact was too much.

Next week is Overview and Scrutiny with some meat on Localisation of Council Tax Discounts. As this has Budget implications not to mention the impact it could have the for the vulnerable its a big issue.

14 comments:

Tony said...

"Last item was the Port Control at Ramsgate. Universal disapproval."
Ridiculous decision

Anonymous said...

In what way Tony?

Tony said...

A chance for the Harbour to have the latest state of the art radar system, and they are willing to throw it away. I expect half of them never even knew a Port Control existed.

Tony said...

I see you've added more information to the Port Control segment. Could you direct me to where it's stated that the cafe building is listed, and what grade. I've searched the british listed buildings site, and for Ramsgate it say "East Pier, No.1 Slipway, Bollards and Victoria or Dover Stairs". Nothing about the cafe.

Tony said...

"As welcome as the equipment is, the Committee felt the visual impact was too much."
This comment is from those that passed the Turner warehouse building on Margate seafront.

James Maskell said...

You are correct Tony, the Port Control building is not directly listed, though that would be a moot point given it rests atop a Grade 2 listed Pier.

I added more because along with the comments here, I was emailed asking for more detail about the debate. I didn't think three small sentences covered it properly.

Tony said...

So was was one of the objections that it was being put on a listed building? If so someone was twisting the truth. Remember, the cafe has already been built on three times previously.

Tom Clarke said...

I think the term 'need versus impact' should be 'progress versus stagnation' as far as TDC are concerned. When I think of the beautiful old buildings that existed when I was at school that have now been replaced by charactless blocks of retirement flats, it is almost laughable that the planners at TDC have the cheek to talk of impact.

Could a radar system be any uglier than Arlington?

Tom Clarke said...

That should read 'characterless' before 'blocks.'

Tony said...

"a moot point given it rests atop a Grade 2 listed Pier." The West Pier is also graded, and the lighthouse that rests atop that has been designated as graded also, the cafe has not.

Tony said...

James, it may seem I'm having a go at you, but I'm not, I still seem to think of you as a Councillor. I assume you attended the Planning meeting, could you say what other site was put forward by RTC or Ramsgate Society.

James Maskell said...

For all the notes I took at that meeting, I didn't write down the alternative location. From memory I think it was on the West Pier. Michael Child will know better that location, having spoken to Cllrs.

The risk of losing £250k worth of equipment will focus minds. My feeling is that this might go the way the Richborough digester did, when Planning deferred it for a meeting then quietly approved it the next meeting.

Tony said...

Thanks for the info James, so it seems they (RTC) were quite willing to see it installed directly on the West Pier, which is listed. The mind boggles. Hopefully the Committee will come to their senses and your last paragraph becomes a reality.

Tony said...

James, have also put this on Michaels blog, but would be interested on your view, "Could you, or one of your readers advise on political procedure. I have just seen the minutes of the Planning Committee which included the Port Control item. I believe Ramsgate Town Council (RTC) put in an objection about the proposal. There are six members of RTC who are also on the Planning Committee, two who were not present but had substitutes, one of which put forward the motion for resiting instead of referral. My question is this, as they had put forward an objection as RTC should they, and the substitutes not have stated a Declaration of Interest and not have taken part in this item?"