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Planning application for business park at Sidford is rejected

East Devon District Council has today refused permission for Fords’ application to develop a business park at Two Bridges Road, Sidford.

The reasons for refusal given on the EDDC website planning portal, are copied here for your information:

‘The Council hereby refuses permission to carry out the development described in the application and the plans attached thereto for the following reasons :

1. The application has failed to demonstrate how the quantum and mix of development and the parameters for its scale and massing could be incorporated into this rural location whilst reflecting both the local vernacular styles and reinforcing the existing landscape. Without robust landscape mitigation and an associated design code with adequate detail, the development would:

o result in harm to the landscape;
o make inadequate provision for green infrastructure; and

o fails to work sensitively with local habitats resulting in an over engineered appearance to the regraded stream and proposed flood attenuation ponds

It is considered that the proposal therefore fails to meet the requirement for the highest design and landscaping standards set out within the policy which allocates the site for employment development and fails to adequately respect the landscape which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and which should therefore be afforded the highest level of landscape protection. As such the proposal is considered contrary to national guidance and to Strategies 5 (Environment), 26 (Development at Sidmouth), 46 (Landscape Conservation), 48 (Local Distinctiveness in the Built Environment) and Policies D1 (Design and Local Distinctiveness) D2 (Landscape Requirements) EN5 (Wildlife Habitats and Natural features), of the adopted East Devon Local Plan 2013-2031.

2. The proposed development would use access routes that by reason of their inadequate road width (with unsuitable footway provision) and a potentially unsatisfactory junction, are unsuitable to accommodate the increase in traffic likely to be generated by the currently proposed quantum and split of employment uses. In addition the directional split of traffic generation has also not been justified. As such the proposed development is therefore considered contrary to paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework and Strategies 26 (Development at Sidmouth), and Policies TC7 (Adequacy of Road Network and Site Access) of the adopted East Devon Local Plan 2013 – 2031.

3. Insufficient information has been submitted to justify the noise assessment and its findings that are contained within the Environmental Statement. As such it is not considered possible to accurately understand or assess the likely amenity impact that the development would have on near neighbours or secure appropriate mitigation. As such the proposal is currently considered contrary to Policies D1 (Design and Local Distinctiveness) and EN14 (Control of Pollution) of the adopted East Devon Local Plan 2013 – 2031.

4. No mechanism has been submitted to secure necessary contributions towards or the management and maintenance of both the hedgerow bounding the proposed cycle route and the surface water attenuation and drainage scheme proposed. In addition there is no mechanism to secure the necessary junction assessment in respect of Sidford Cross which is likely to require an improved signal system and which falls outside of the identified strategic infrastructure list associated with the adopted CIL charging scheme. As such the proposed development is therefore currently considered contrary to Strategy 50 (Infrastructure Delivery) and Policies TC7 (Adequacy of Road network and site access), EN22 (Surface run off implications of new development) and D2 (Landscape requirements) of the adopted East Devon Local Plan 2013 – 2031.

NOTE FOR APPLICANT

Informative:

In accordance with the requirements of Article 35 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 in determining this application, East Devon District Council has worked proactively and positively with the applicant to attempt to resolve the planning concerns the Council has with the application.

However, the applicant was unable to satisfy the key policy tests in the submission and as such the application has been refused.


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DCC Highways reconsider their response to Fords’ planning application for a Sidford Business Park

Following a democratic deluge of informed comments, letters, photographs and relevant videos, the Head of planning, transportation and environment at Devon County Council has revised its response to Fords’ application for planning permission.

The recommendation is: “The road giving access to the site is by reason of its inadequate width and junctions unsuitable to accommodate the increase in traffic likely to be contrary to paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework.” The full text of the response is copied below*.

As reported in the Sidmouth Herald, Fords have just sold their plumbing and electrical business to Clearvac International and will be free to “focus on their property business interests”.

Of the 387 individual comments sent to EDDC – only two are in favour of the development.

*’County Highway Authority

Comment Date: Mon 19 Sep 2016

Observations:

The County Highway Authority (CHA) has considered the application in the light of the Local Plan Strategy 26 – Development at Sidmouth, and the more detailed information contained in the application.

It should be recognised that Strategy 26 allows for the provision of up to 5 hectares of additional employment land on the site with particular onus on B1 space (with any retail “ancillary to the primary use of each unit”).

The allocation site will be developed in 2 phases, the first 3 hectares in the southern part of the site, and the second phase of 2 hectares in the northern part of the site after the 5 year review, of the Local Plan, and only if the southern part of the site has been fully developed and at least 90% occupied for employment uses first. If the first phase has not been developed by the first plan review, then the employment allocation for Sidmouth should be re-examined. Furthermore, the employment site must be subject to the highest design and landscaping standards with extensive planting and wide buffers around the existing homes to minimise any amenity impacts. The proposed employment site will need to contribute a section towards the Sidmouth to Sidbury cycle route.

The CHA has concerns that the application with 40% B1, 30% B2 & 30% B8 will encourage greater numbers of large vehicles to the B8 element than originally thought and that this is in conflict with the required onus on B1 allocation as described in Strategy 26. This application actually puts the onus on B2 & B8, at a combined 60%, and the B1 element at 40%. Which the CHA suggests is not putting the onus on B1 allocation.

The B8 element has direct implications on the type and size of vehicles that will be attracted to the site and also on the suitability of the local highway network to cope with numbers of large vehicles accessing the site. In this case the lack of width of carriageway and the lack of suitable footway and/or footway widths on the A375 at School Street, south of the site, and at Sidbury, north of the site, means that the local highway network is not suitable for large vehicles that are likely to be attracted to the development.

The application has placed great store in the accompanying Transport Assessment (TA) that claims 15% of the development traffic will use the A375 north of the site through Sidbury. The CHA has concerns that this percentage is unlikely to be correct because this road connects to Honiton and the wider highway network of the A30 and A303 to the east and the M5 to the west. I do not know on what basis this assumption has been made nor how this percentage could be controlled in the future. Therefore more information on how this percentage figure has been derived is required.

I have enquired with my predecessor on the scope for the TA that was agreed by ourselves in 2011/12. It appears that the only thing that was discussed was the possible impact on the signalled junction at Sidford Cross. The existing widths of the A375 at School Street and at Sidbury or the possibility of rat-running at Fry’s Lane and Brook Lane does not appear to been requested by DCC at the time. However it is clear from the individual consultation responses that these elements should have been included within the TA.

The applicants TA was issued in February 2012, however I understand that vehicle queuing counts were undertaken by DCC in May 2012 which indicated larger stacking at the junction approaches than in the TA. It would appear that the more up to date DCC figures have not been used in the applicants re-issue of their original TA.

The CHA considers that even though the applicants TA appears to have been accepted by the Inspector at the Examination In Public of the Local Plan, this TA is now at least 4 years out of date and that a more up to date analysis is required to test the highway impact and existing highway conditions. Such analysis should encompass a revised and agreed scoping to include the existing A375 carriageway width at School Street, Sidford and in Sidbury, rat-running via Brook Lane and Fry’s Lane and new traffic queuing counts at all arms of the Sidford Cross signalised junction. The assumption of 15% north travel to and from the site through Sidbury should also be examined/justified in much greater detail.

It will be necessary to have a TA for the proposed 1st Phase with growth up to 5 years and another TA to include both the 1st and 2nd phases with growth from 5 to years. This would give a much fuller understanding of the traffic likely to be generated by the proposed development, in all its forms, and also the affect that this traffic will have on the surrounding local highway network and the wider strategic highway network.

The CHA is keen to introduce better pedestrian amenity at Sidford Cross junction and requests that this element is also looked at in detail by the applicant. This may require the introduction of electronic improvements to the signal system. However, this should not be at the detriment of queuing traffic to provide the pedestrian amenity.

Recommendation:

THE HEAD OF PLANNING, TRANSPORTATION AND ENVIRONMENT, ON BEHALF OF DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL, AS LOCAL HIGHWAY AUTHORITY,

1. The road giving access to the site is by reason of its inadequate width and junctions, unsuitable to accommodate the increase in traffic likely to be contrary to paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Officer authorised to sign on behalf of the County Council 19 September 2016 ‘

Note from SOS:
A video of last Wednesday’s gridlock in Sidbury has already had 2800 hits on the ‘Say No to Sidford Business Park’ Facebook page.
And well over 1000 people have already signed the 38 degrees petition. To add your name, go to https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/say-no-to-east-devon-business-park


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Pegasus Life documents do not give true picture of buildings proposed at Knowle, EDDC told.

The following letter appears on the Opinion page in the current edition of the Sidmouth Herald (16th September 2016) :

“Sir

I have emailed the Chief Planning Officer at East Devon District Council urging him, for the following reasons, either to recommend refusal of the PegasusLife application to build a giant retirement complex at Knowle Park, Sidmouth or to call for the applicant to re-submit with major changes:

1.recently uploaded documents show that PegasusLife have ignored his and the public’s concerns about the close proximity to a listed building of two massive 60-foot high apartment blocks on the park lawns and also about the massing, scale and bulk of the development in relation to the public park and to nearby residential properties.

2.new photomontages from the applicant show that the Design Review Panel’s report (submitted earlier but upon which EDDC is minded to justify approval) is based on false artistic impressions. The attached photomontage, for instance, taken from page 26 of PegasusLife’s new Design Access Statement (document 2391416), shows the height of the proposed buildings on Knowle Drive to be roughly twice that suggested in the artist’s impression.

Michael Temple, Sidmouth’

design-and-access2_page_26

SOS note: The author,Mike Temple,is a founder member of the East Devon Alliance, EDA, which since the May 2015 elections, has the lion’s share of the Independent Group at EDDC.