Wednesday, 19 December 2012

When Planning Officers Don't Get It Their Way

As I commented only the other day amid local concerns that Westgate Tesco's was already a done deal that you should never say never, tonight's Planning meeting (previewed here) exhibited that perfectly.

Taken first was the proposed car showroom outside Minster. The recommendation was to refuse on grounds that its the countryside and the need for the development did not outweigh this protection. The Committee felt strongly, though not unanimously, that it didn't count as countryside as per the rules and that with the clearing up of the site it would have a positive impact on the area therefore the refusal motion was defeated and replaced with a motion to defer and bring back with appropriate conditions whilst minded to approve at the next meeting.

Next up was the Ellington and Hereson application where Cllr Chris Wells requested that no traffic working on the site would come through Merrivale Heights. The Committee very strongly agreed with this leading to a debate between Members and Officers of how best to do this. Officers didn't seem to be taking on board the point that the Committee really didn't want any traffic going through there and the offer to block only heavy goods vehicles point blank refused. In the end the point got through and the decision was made to approve subject to certain attachments. In short, any traffic going into the site will do so via Ramsgate Road.

Soper's Yard came up next where immediately after the Officer had spoken a motion was made that rather than decide on the recommendation in front of them, they would attend a Site Visit (to be held on 4th January) due to the complexity of this application and to decide it at the next Planning meeting. Fair enough.

With the Solar Park in Minster agreed without debate, the final Planning meeting of 2012 ended.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Planning - Soper's Yard Redevelopment

A short agenda with only four items but with plenty to talk about.

First up a solar park in Minster. Solar Parks are becoming a frequent visitor to Planning Committee with the last one considered only last month. This one is a much smaller one with little nearby residential properties to object to it. Can't see it being refused but I'm sure a few Members will complain about the loss of agricultural land. The saving grace for these developments is that once their time is up they will be considered to retain greenfield status once the equipment is removed.

Second is an application near to Mount Pleasant Roundabout brought by Independent Cllr Bob Grove. There's some history here and some enforcement action attached over misuse of the site. The report proposes refusal on the basis that its the countryside being developed on, this having been backed up in a previous planning appeal by the Inspector. In this case its a car showroom on offer this time and Im not certain on whether the Committee will go with the refusal here. 

Third up is Soper's Yard in Margate, called in by Ward Councillor Iris Johnston for support by the Committee but it has Officer's recommendation to refuse on several grounds. The application is an outline one and therefore this isn't the full job but even on principle, I'm concerned. There's an element of cramming in the 27 apartments and the report comes to the conclusion that this will result in substandard accommodation. There are also no plans for parking on site which when considering the area, could be a real problem.

The last application is about the 150 home development for Ellington and Hereson School, with a proposed amendment to the permission on highways grounds.