The planning application (15/0694/MFUL) for 13 homes around the existing Wainhomes site at Winchester Park in Feniton has today been turned down at the DMC Chairman’s delegation meeting in accordance with the planning officer’s recommendation.
This means that for the first time in probably four years there are no current Wainhomes planning applications hanging over the village.
The works at Winchester Park are almost finished, but there remains a considerable amount of tidying up to do in terms of roads and pavements, but also landscaping. When the site was given approval at appeal in 2012, Condition 8 called categorically for landscaping works to be undertaken in the first season following commencement of the works.
8. No development shall take place until a landscaping scheme has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority and these works shall be carried out as approved. The scheme shall include details of trees, hedges, shrubs, herbaceous plants and areas to be grassed together with details of any proposed walls, fences and other boundary treatments. The approved landscaping scheme shall be carried out in the first planting and seeding seasons following the commencement of the development and maintained for a period of 5 years. Any trees or plants which within that period die, are removed or become seriously damaged or diseased shall be replaced in the next planting season with others of similar size and species.
Much of this has still not been done.
A number of points raised in the officer’s report are of interest. The report will be available on line in due course, but I have picked out a few salient points below:
Unlike the three houses permitted at Sunny Lea, the scale of the development now proposed is greater. The appeal decision in 2014 resulting from the conjoined public inquiry into the four housing schemes […] is a significant material consideration in this regard. It represents an extremely thorough investigation and analysis of all the housing issues relating to the village and includes an assessment on the scale of cumulative growth.
In order to represent sustainable development it is impossible to regularly add small and medium scale housing scheme which in themselves can be seen to be of only limited significance without having sufficient services and facilities to cope and without damaging the social cohesion and fabric of an established community. While it is acknowledged that this is extremely hard to define it is nevertheless reasonable in recognising that this plays a role in defining whether development is sustainable. It is considered that while a further 13 houses is a modest addition it nevertheless places in further jeopardy the balance within the community, adding pressure on services and the ability within the community to adapt. As such it must weigh as a negative when considering whether the proposal represents sustainable development.
The centre of new Feniton is characterised by fairly modern residential development with only limited glimpsed views out to the countryside beyond. It is in this context that the views along Coventry Close and out through the allotment land, community play area and community hall are particularly important. For an area that enjoys a significant amount of public access, the views across this part of the application site are particularly important.
Being considered contrary to the adopted development plan and housing restraint policies within it, which can be afforded significant weight in light of the revised housing assessment and the delivery of a 5 year housing supply (plus buffer), it is not considered that there are any overriding factors which outweigh the policy objection that arises. As such it is recommended that the application is refused.
In addition, the Legal Department has been requested to instigate enforcement action against Wainhomes to ensure that Condition 8 (the landscaping clause) is now carried out.
This will be considerable comfort to those who have lived close to what amounts to a tip for builder’s rubbish for the duration of their time in Winchester Park … and for which they have paid dearly in management fees.