Harwich Town Council

01255 507211

9.30am – 1pm Monday, Wednesday & Friday

Planning Minutes 9th July 2014

to be held at
Long Meadows Community Centre, Long Meadows, Dovercourt
Wednesday 9th July 2014 at 6.30pm

Present: Councillors Calver, Flavell, Fowler, J Henderson, King, McLeod, C Powell, F Powell, Morrison, Thompson, Thurlow and Todd
In the Chair: Councillor Day
Clerk: Mrs Lucy Ballard
Also present: 0 members of the public and 0 members of the press

Public Question Time:
No questions

Cllrs Brown, I Henderson and Nicholson
Cllr McLeod – TDC Planning & Development Committee
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Planning meeting held on Wednesday 18th June 2014 (previously circulated) be approved by the Committee and signed by the Chairman as a true record.

  • MIN P120/13 and P006/14 – 14/00251/PREMGR
    Cllr Calver attended the hearing to represent HTC and confirmed that having been approved, those who objected to the application have a right to appeal through the Magistrates Court, however he proposes HTC do not appeal.
    RESOLVED: Not to appeal to the Magistrates Court.
Gary Guiver of TDC gave a presentation on the current status of the Local Plan.
He reported that TDC has to make revisions to the plan.  National planning rules have changed considerably; previously there were regional plans however, under the Localism Act 2011 these have been abolished and Councils now have to plan for their own housing needs.  Many of the plans submitted initially were rejected by the inspector, due to insufficient housing numbers being allocated.  The Assessment of need suggests 600-700 new homes per year and this was underestimated previously.  TDC now need to plan for 12000 new homes between now and 2031.  If an area cannot accommodate the housing required, each council is expected to liaise with neighbouring councils to take on the overspill.  In reality this has proved difficult as each area is pushed to meet their own required allocation.  A new Local Plan Committee has been set up at TDC to address these issues.  Any plan has to be published for consultation.  The Statement of Community Involvement tells people how TDC will go about consulting with stakeholders.  As part of this there is a requirement for builders to consult with the public.Cllr Day raised concern over the additional 900 houses expected for Harwich since the previous Local Plan and the various local issues which may prevent this (Bathside Bay not being developed, lack of employment, lack of suitable sites etc.).  The Planning Inspector has reported that Central Government have stated that housing provision is the main focus on improving the economy. EssexUniversity is expected to expand and attract businesses; the A133 bypass is also being looked at to free up land for housing allocation.Clacton will also be a focus for development.  Much of the development could be bungalows to accommodate the retired community moving to the area.  The care sector is also a focus, and it’s anticipated this will provide job opportunities.  It’s anticipated 4000 new homes for Clacton, but will also allow for Schools, Health facilities and industrial opportunities.  Weeley is also being investigated for development in terms of a major housing development and some employment land and will possibly attract commuters.  New job opportunities are unlikely to be commensurate with the number of new homes, due to some residents commuting out of town and some being retired.  In terms of Harwich (HRW), it’s felt that development helps support the economy, and it’s anticipated looking at around 1000 homes from the previous 450 allowed for.  Much brown field land will be included in that figure as well as those sites with existing planning permission or currently under development.  They are looking at Low Road, near to the newest housing development there.  Some green field land will also be released.  Employment is a difficult issue.Bathside Bay development shouldn’t be dismissed but shouldn’t be relied upon either. There will be a general effect of the increasing population on jobs and services.  HRW is attractive to the renewable energy sector, including spin-off businesses and opportunities are being looked into.  Horseley Cross is now included in the Local Plan.  About 700 homes planned for Lawford/Manningtree and Brightlingsea would have around 200. Up to 50 homes on a single site for larger villages in the district.  HTC concerns about protecting old industrial sites which have become derelict, being allowed to be used for housing (Delfords/SATO site).  HTC would welcome the protection of these sites.  Bernards site has already been lost.  Also concerned about the flood risk situation (Low Road).  The Council would welcome a preview of the suggested sites again.Cllr Morrison raised concerns about Brightlingsea and the single road in and out, also the A120 in and out of Harwich. The infrastructure needs to be established.  Gary Guiver said that if Bathside Bay went ahead, this would trigger substantial upgrades to the A120 but details are yet to be worked out. It’s likely to be prioritised behind the A133 (Weeley to Frating and Clingoe Hill).  TDC supports Horseley Cross and Harwich Valley.  If the University expands, it’s thought that the A133 will link with the A120 somehow.  Infrastructure policies will be updated in due course.
Cllr McLeod asked about ensuring funding is in place.  Gary Guiver said that we have the Assisted Area status in place which opens up funding opportunities.  He will check on available funding for social housing.Cllr C Powell raised concerns about reduction on local services.  The Government supports new developments with a new housing bonus.  The more houses we have the higher the Community Infrastructure Levy (former s106 funding).  With a proper Local Plan in place, Tendring will be better placed to attract more funding to support the additional infrastructure needs.

Cllr Flavell referred to the new rules to allow year-round occupation in holiday homes and asked if these could be offset against the allocation since they are making use of local services.  Gary Guiver said no as they are intended for holiday use, albeit on a year-round basis.

Gary Guiver said if the target for housing is not met then the area is vulnerable to speculative planning applications and it would be expected that these are approved.
Cllr Todd raised concerns that if HTC object to the housing allocation for each site, it will be dismissed because TDC have to meet the target.  Gary Guiver accepted this would leave the Council in a difficult position.  TDC would find it difficult to justify agreeing to a lower number of new homes unless there is a significant planning reason, rather than local preference.
Cllr Henderson raised concern that the new homes bonus scheme could be compromised if TDC turn down planning applications, which are then overturned by the Secretary of State.  Gary Guiver said there is incentive for local councils to approve planning applications but confirmed that if a refused application was overturned by the Secretary of State, the new homes bonus would be withheld.

Cllr Flavell asked if it’s possible to have what some cities are doing, by constructing residences above retail outlets.  Gary Guiver confirmed this type of home would come under some of the smaller developments, which are hard to anticipate growth.

Cllr Day raised concern that the revised plan will be pushed through quickly without proper public consultation.  Gary Guiver confirmed there are a further 3 Local Plan Committee meetings before the end of the year – July, September and November, when the Local Plan, which is to go out for consultation (early in 2015) will be ready.  He has confirmed that he will inform local councils about consultation opportunities and will liaise with the Clerk accordingly.

Cllr Calver asked about the provision for open space and leisure amenity and the possibility of losing some existing amenity.  Gary Guiver confirmed there is weight to be attached to the Local Plan to allow certain areas to be protected.  The most concern is with areas of agricultural land, as these are more attractive to housing developers.

Members discussed comments they would like to submit in relation to the Statement of Community Interest (SCI) including that exhibitions are needed for the public, and the way in which the consultation events are publicised.

HTC would also like the opportunity to have a meeting with an officer to discuss specific sites for allocation.  And, finally, to remove restrictions on deadlines which are deemed impossible to meet.
RESOLVED: To submit the above comments to Gary Guiver in relation to the SCI.

The Committee considered a schedule of planning applications for weeks ending 20th June, 27th June and 4th July.
RESOLVED: Recommendations in Appendix ‘A’ be submitted to Tendring District Council.

  •  Members noted approval of an of application 14/00515/FUL – Change of use for former Court House to caretakers living quarters and music school, Harwich Magistrates Court.
  • Members noted a discharge of conditions14/00086/DISCO, Conditions 7 (Archaeological works) and 11 (Site contamination investigation) of planning permission 12/00843/FUL, Pound Farm.
  • Members noted approval of an application 14/00457/FUL – Proposed change of use of former store to a 2 bedroom flat and alterations, Old Beach Stores.
  • Members noted a House holder prior notification 14/00805/HHPNOT – Erection of rear conservatory single storey pitched roof 4m depth overall height 3.16m, 227 Main Road.
  • Members noted an application 14/00796/TELLIC – installation of superfast broadband cabinet opposite Chevy Chase, Church Hill, Ramsey.
  • Members noted an application 14/00811/TELLIC – installation of electronic communications apparatus/development ancillary to radio equipment housing, Harwich International Port.
  • The Clerk informed members of a change of description to planning application 14/00711/FUL.
The next Town Planning meeting will be held at the 1912 Centre, Cow Lane, Harwich on Wednesday 30th July 2014 at 6.30pm.

The Chairman closed the meeting at 8pm

    Recommendations of the Planning Committee Meeting held on 9th July 2014
14/00757/FULMr Mahesh Mistry
35 Parkeston Road Dovercourt
Front extension to existing shop. 12 for and 1 abstentionObjection on grounds of 1. the increased shop frontage reducing parking capacity on the forecourt which would force additional on-road parking; 2. the proposed build would be forward of the building line for that stretch of highway, and 3. it’s a busy walk route for the local school children who cross the road adjacent to the shop.
14/00789/ADVMr & Mrs M McCready
The Goodlife Guest House 162 High Street Harwich
Projecting sign. Recommends refusal on the grounds that there is no need to advertise a business that doesn’t exist.
14/00828/FULMr M Gibbons
32 – 34 Kingsway Dovercourt
Proposed change of use into family entertainment centre. 8 for, 3 against and 1 abstention – no objection
14/00889/FULRoseville Projects Ltd
Fresh Fitness Health Club Hill Road Dovercourt
Variation of condition 02 & 10 attached to planning application 12/01445/FUL – Repositioning of 2 no. rooflights. Use of obscure glazing to each repositioned rooflight. No Objection