Brimhay Planner recommends approval: his full report

It’s no surprise, but it’s an appalling travesty nonetheless, one that makes you wonder in whose interest our planning authority acts.  As the Brimhay application tumbled inexorably towards a planning decision on July 1st, here is the planner’s report to the planning committee, representing approval.  We’ll pick over it soon, and we continue to oppose and to fight, but we thought you should see this [excuse the skronky formatting in places – importing from pdf is tricky]:

PLANNING APPLICATION REPORT
Case Officer: Tom Sylger Jones Parish: Dartington
Application No: 14/0142/15/F
Agent/Applicant: Mr Andrew Field
Applicant: South Devon Rural Housing Association Ltd, Mr S Prime, South Devon House, Babbage Road, Totnes, TQ9 5JA
Site Address: Development site at SX 7863 6192 Forder Lane, Dartington TQ9 6HT
Reason item is being put before Committee: The Ward Member, in view of substantial local opposition, has requested that the application is considered by Committee.

This map is reproduced from the Ordnance Survey material with the permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office © Crown copyright. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown copyright and may lead to prosecution or civil proceedings. South Hams District Council. 100022628. 2012 Scale 1 : 1250

This map is reproduced from the Ordnance Survey material with the permission of
Ordnance Survey on behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office ©
Crown copyright. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown copyright and may lead
to prosecution or civil proceedings. South Hams District Council. 100022628. 2012 Scale 1 : 1250

Recommendation

Conditional approval subject to the prior satisfactory completion of a Section 106 Agreement to secure the following:

1. Provision of 10[no.] standard parking spaces for staff and visitors to Humpty Dumpty
Nursery;and
2. Continuing use of the existing permissive footpath that runs between Brimhay Nursery
and Forder Lane;
3. Affordable Housing occupancy;
4. Phasing of Affordable Housing and Market Housing; and
5. Management of buffer between eastern hedgerow buffer and fenceline in accordance with specification detailed within the Landscape and Ecological Management Plan (LEMP).

Conditions (list not in full)

1. Standard time limit for commencement;
2. Accord with Plans, Drawings and FRA;
3. GPDO Exclusion;
4. Unsuspected Contamination;
5. On-site highway works in accordance with plans / drawings;
6. Construction Management Plan to be submitted and approved prior to
commencement;
7. Construction Method Plan to be submitted and approved prior to commencement;
8. Phasing Plan to be submitted and approved prior to commencement;
9. Surface water drainage layout and details to be submitted prior to commencement and
the approved details completed and operational prior to occupation;
10.Adherence to the Arboricultural Impact Assessment, Tree Protection Plan and
Arboricultural Methodology Statements;
11.Submission, prior to commencement, of a Lighting Strategy;
12.Renewable energy / energy efficiency details to be submitted and approved prior to
commencement;
13.Submission and agreement, prior to commencement, of a Landscape and Ecological
Management Plan.
14.Copy of a Dormouse European Protected Species Licence.
15.Adherence to measures within Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, and Bat Activity
Survey Report.

Key issues for consideration
The site is currently occupied by 18 one bedroom bungalows comprising 2[no.] bed sits,
1[no.] large bungalow (former wardens accommodation), and 15[no.] one bed bungalows.
None of the properties meet the Decent Homes Standard and the financial investment
required to renovate to an appropriate quality is disproportionate to the benefit that would
accrue. The landowner wishes to maintain as many Affordable Housing (AH) units on site
and has concluded that redevelopment in the manner proposed in the application represents an appropriate form of development in the context of the provisions of the Development Plan.

Alternative forms of redevelopment have been discussed with the applicant and with third
parties. At the time of writing the Council is not aware of any viable alternative that would
deliver the same level of benefits.

The site lies within the village of Dartington and is largely previously developed land. The
key issue is, therefore, whether there are significant and demonstrable adverse impacts that would outweigh the benefits of development.

Consideration of the documents submitted with the application and the responses received
from consultees and third parties has identified that potential impacts have been addressed
adequately with respect to the following matters.

• biodiversity
• flood risk
• air quality
• contaminated land
• traffic / highways
• landscape

A more detailed consideration is provided later in this Report, which concludes that there are no adverse impacts that would outweigh what are substantial social and economic benefits.

Site description
The site lies in the Parish of Dartington, sitting between Cott Lane to the east, Webbers Way Industrial Estate to the north-west and west and a residential estate to the south.

Forder Lane lies immediately to the north and north-west and currently provides access to
Forder Lane House, which sits immediately outside the application boundary to the southeast and is a two storey community building. Gidley’s Meadow, an estate road, lies to the south and also provides access to the locality. The eastern boundary is formed by a
woodland running along a stream. Humpty Dumpty Nursery and associated grounds, which
are used for children’s play, abuts the woodland to in the south / south-east.

18[no.] one-bedroom dwellings, collectively known as Brimhay Bungalows, currently occupy
the central part of the site. The western edge of the application area comprises landscaped
open land that is associated with the bungalows. The eastern part of the site comprises
landscaped open land that is also associated with the bungalows; and, beyond a post and rail fence, a semi-natural woodland that slopes with increasing steepness down to a stream,
which forms the eastern boundary of the application area.

The site contains several individual trees with the northern boundary (Forder Lane) largely
comprising a screen of hedgerow and mature trees, although there are some gaps around
the pedestrian access. There are several small ornamental trees located within the site. The eastern part of the site is a wooded area with many mature trees and with bushes and scrub at low level.

The bungalows roughly form a quadrant with gaps at each corner and are surrounded by grassed lawns on all sides. The central are is private gardens linked by paths and with a permissive footpath running through to join Gidley’s Meadow with Forder Lane. A row of small gardens is located on the southern side of the southern row of bungalows fronting the highway and Forder Land House.

The site is open to the south with a short tarmac access road opening into Gidley’s Meadow, which is the estate road to the south providing access for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

The southern and central part of the site is generally level although the northern area slopes gently down to the north east in the vicinity of an electricity sub-station and Coltwood House, a residential property, that sit outside the application area.

Forder Lane House lies immediately to the south west and outside the application area. This property will not be altered, other than benefiting from additional parking, as discussed later in this Report.

Forder Cottage, a Grade II Listed Building, lies to the north of Forder Lane and beyond a
substantial screen of mature trees. Lescaze Offices, a former Devon Longhouse and Grade
II Listed Building, lies north west of Forder Lane.

The site is not affected by any designations.

The Proposal
The application seeks the demolition of 18[no.] bungalows and redevelopment of the site with 32 residential units. The mix of properties is 12[no.] Affordable Housing (AH) units (one
bedroom flats), which would be 100% rented, and for which a local connection will be
required for occupancy; 8[no.] one, two and three bedroom flats, which would have shared
occupancy independent living for people with learning disabilities, which would be ‘supported housing‘; and 12[no.] open market houses.

The development would replace existing bungalows that do not meet the Decent Homes
Standard and need to be replaced. The properties are owned by South Devon Rural
Housing Association (SDRHA), which is a Registered Provider of Affordable Housing that is
regulated by the Homes and Communities Agency. Occupation is restricted to older people
in housing need, but as residents have moved out they have not been replaced due to the
poor quality of provision. Residents have no support services.

To summarise, the development would entail the loss of 18 AH units, the availability of which cannot currently be guaranteed in the long term, and their replacement with 12 AH units and 8 supported housing units with a level of assisted living (the ‘ROC’ building). The Torbay Development Agency has undertaken a review of viability and concludes that the applicant would receive no more than an acceptable level of profit.

The layout and design is led by the objective of maximising the number of AH units and
funding the supported housing. With a density of 42 dwellings per hectare, the proposed
development is at the higher end of what is typical, but the size, spacing and massing of the
buildings meets appropriate standards.

The properties are arranged facing inwards around an access road that would be a cul de
sac, although a permissive footpath would be retained to allow pedestrians and cyclists to
access Forder Lane to the north. Front gardens would be used for parking with new planting and hedges to provide landscaping.

Rear gardens would back onto existing hedgerows in the west and north and to the woodland in the east. Whilst the former would be enhanced with additional planting, the upper part of the woodland / scrub area would be cleared to create the gardens. A close board timber fence would be erected at the rear of these gardens to protect the retained woodland and provide a screen to limit light spill.

The ROC building would be situated adjacent to Forder Lane House on the opposite side of
the access road from Forder Lane, although through access from the Forder Lane car park
would not be possible for general traffic. The ROC building is three storeys. Following
discussion with Council Officers the design has been altered such that the eaves are not at a significantly greater height than those of Forder Lane House.

The site is well contained with limited views in or out. The aesthetic feel of being within the
site would, however, change from a low density to a high density development and open
space and habitat would be lost. When approaching from Forder Land via Forder Lane
House, the change would be limited; looking from a position just in front of the fence to the
Humpty Dumpty Nursery (outside the application boundary), the change would be noticeable in that views to trees on the boundary and outside the site, and which give a semi rural feel, would become limited.

In terms of design, whilst it is recognised that the Dartington legacy is important to the local
community there are no formally recognised character areas at the site and its locality. With
surrounding development ranging from industrial units and a housing estate to individual
properties in landscaped gardens (bungalows and more substantial properties), there is no
over-riding architectural style.
Additional parking would be provided to serve Forder Lane House and a separate application (reference 14/1135/45/F) has been submitted to create ten additional parking spaces at Humpty Dumpty Nursery. The latter is tied to this application through a s106 Agreement, the signing of which would be required ahead of the commencement of development.

The application is accompanied by the following documents:

• layout plan, with access details;
• cross sections, elevations, and floor plans;
• drainage plan;
• topographical plan;
• landscape plan;
• draft Heads of Terms for the Section 106 Agreement;
• Design and Access Statement;
• Flood Risk Assessment;
• Preliminary Ecological Assessment, including bat survey;
• Tree Survey, Tree Constraints Plan and Tree Protection Plan; and
• Phase 1 Contamination Assessment / Ground investigation

The Draft Heads of Terms accompanying the application sets out provision for parking,
retention of a permissive footpath, tenure of the AH units and phasing of the AH units and
market units. Open Space, Sport and Recreation contributions do not accrue due to the
number of dwellings falling below the threshold.

Consultations

South Hams District Council (SHDC)

The Drainage Engineer raises no objection, but requests conditions.

The Strategic Planning Officer raises no policy objection.

The Ecology Officer raised initial concern with respect to the loss of woodland and concern
with respect to the potential impact on bats. Based on further survey and additional
mitigation features secured during the determination period, there is no objection, however,
subject to conditions and S106 requirements.

The Environmental Health Section has no objection with respect to air quality and requests a standard condition with respect to contaminated land.

The Council’s Affordable Housing Team strongly supports the proposed development as it
provides much needed Affordable Housing (AH) in the Parish of Dartington. The Council has over 950 households on its housing register, Devon Home Choice and a key target in the Council’s Home Strategy is to increase the supply of AH for local people.

‘The existing bungalows at Brimhay are in a poor state of repair. Redevelopment would meet the Decent Homes Standard, which would include ensuring homes for the existing residents that are more affordable to heat and maintain. In the absence of grant funding the redevelopment is only viable through cross subsidy with market housing. 100% of the sales revenue from the sale of market housing would be used to fund the AH.

The scheme also meets the objective of the provision of accommodation for people with learning disabilities.’

The AONB Partnership makes no comment.

Devon County Council

The initial response from the Highways Authority was an objection on the basis that insufficient parking was proposed and there was inadequate information with respect to drainage in terms of a legal easement. The applicant submitted revised proposals that would deliver sufficient parking and the Highway Authority has removed its objection subject to a satisfactory legal agreement to secure appropriate drainage. The Highway Authority requests three conditions that are set out at the beginning of this Report and cover layout and surface treatment, and an accompanying Construction Method Statement; phasing of development; and the agreement of a Construction Management Plan prior to development.

The County Archaeology Officer (Historic Environment Team) does not consider that the
proposed development is likely to have a significant impact on any known heritage assets.

The County Strategic Planning Children’s Services raises no objection and no financial
payment is sought.

South West Water (SWW)
SWW has no objection subject to implementation in accordance with the FRA.

Environment Agency
The Environment Agency has no objection subject to Permitted Development Rights being
removed from Plots 10, 11 and 12 as this would prevent development within 3m of the
planting zone adjacent to the stream, which falls within Flood Zone 3; and a condition
requiring unsuspected contamination to be dealt with accordingly, if found.

The Environment Agency also recommends that provision is made to attenuate on site any
occurrence of excess surface water.

Natural England (NE)
NE has made no comment with respect to the detail of the application. Standing Advice is
given in respect of protected species.

Devon and Cornwall Police Liaison Officer
The Liaison Officer advises that the development should seek to achieve the objectives of
Secured by Design.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue
Fire and Rescue advises that the proposal will need to comply with the access provisions for emergency vehicles within the Building Regulations.

Representations
Dartington Parish Council (DPC)
DPC raises an objection that is detailed in a letter dated 11th March 2015 and, in so far as it
relates to ‘planning’ matters, is summarised:

• no input from the SHDC’s Design Panel;
• undermines the Neighbourhood Planning process;
• poor public consultation;
• reduced AH provision from 18 to 12;
• lack of parking and vehicular access issues and consequent impact on Gidley’s
Meadow;
• loss of amenity, in particular interrupts the important off-road pedestrian route to
Dartington Primary School;
• inappropriate design given character and proximity of a Listed Building;
• flood risk;
• biodiversity;
• energy efficiency;
• undermines social cohesion;
• more than 200 objections;
• there is an alternative community led proposal; and
• economic viability to be scrutinised

Letters of Objection
At the time of writing this Report some 50 letters / emails of objection and 202 signed /
addressed copies of a pre-printed card have been received. These are available on the
website. The objections can be summarised as follows and are substantially covered in the
comments submitted by Dartington Parish Council dated 11th

• local flooding, including risk to Forder Cottage (Grade II Listed);
March 2015:
• need certainty that damage will be repaired should this occur to highway during
construction;
• increased traffic (congestion, environment and safety);
• access arrangement and parking (safety)
• light pollution (adverse impact on neighbours, bats and owls);
• footpath link to shops;
• insufficient parking for residents and carers;
• scale of development and height of buildings inappropriate;
• reduction in AH units from 18 to 12;
• no lifts in the three storey building
• inappropriately large number of vulnerable people at one location;
• isolation of vulnerable residents;
• over development;
• loss of trees and green areas;
• missed opportunity to meet higher standards of design;
• tie in with Neighbourhood Plan;
• not viable and would not raise sufficient funds for the ROC building;
• loss of nursery play area;
• inappropriate design;
• inadequate consultation; and
• unclear / unmet objectives

Letters of Support
One letter of support for the development has been received. The letter emphasises that the use of brownfield land avoids development in the countryside; that it will provide work for the construction industry; that it will deliver housing more suited to contemporary needs, whereas renovation could not achieve this; and that it would deliver low cost housing in the absence of public funding.

Relevant Planning History
None.

ANALYSIS
Principle of Development
This is a Full Planning Application for the demolition of 18[no.] AH units and redevelopment
of the site for 32[no.] dwellings, including 12[no.] AH units and 8[no.] Social Rented
properties with assisted living.

The plans submitted with the application illustrate the main access point, which is Gidley’s
Meadow.

The principle of development at the site is not in question since the proposal is for
redevelopment for the same use.

Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 states that regard is to be had to the development plan for the purpose of any determination to be made under the
Planning Acts the determination must be made in accordance with the plan unless material
considerations indicate otherwise.

The Local Development Framework Core Strategy Policy CS1 (Location of Development)
indicates that the site, which lies within the village of Dartington, is an appropriate location for development subject to detailed planning considerations such as access to the site; the
scale, bulk and design of the proposal; and the effect on the neighbouring properties.

Sustainable Development
Paragraph 7 of the NPPF identifies three dimensions to sustainable development –
economic, social and environmental – whilst Paragraph 12 sets out twelve core planning
principles that should underpin planning decisions. These two paragraphs set the context in
which to consider sustainability. The three dimensions stated in Paragraph 7 are the
economic role, the social role and the environmental role. A consideration of these elements in the context of the Development Plan is set out below.

The Economic Dimension
Housing development is recognised as an important driver of economic growth. Economic
benefits would accrue to the construction industry from the proposed development. Once the dwellings were occupied there would be an increase in the level of disposable income from the occupants, which would be likely to be spent in the local area with some increase in the demand for local goods, services and facilities.

No adverse impacts have been identified with respect to the economic role.

The Affordable Housing Team has scrutinized the viability assessment provided by the
applicant and is in agreement that the level of AH and enabling market units is appropriate for the site and proposed development.

Economic Dimension Balance
Given the positive economic impact and that there is no evidence that the development
would result in any significant adverse economic impact, with respect this element of
sustainable development the balance is considered to be in favour of the development.

The Social Dimension
The Council’s Affordable Housing Team strongly supports the proposed development as it
provides much needed Affordable Housing (AH) in the Parish of Dartington. The Council has over 950 households on its housing register, Devon Home Choice and a key target in the Council’s Home Strategy is to increase the supply of AH for local people.

The existing bungalows at Brimhay are in a poor state of repair. Redevelopment would meet the Decent Homes Standard, which would include ensuring homes for the existing residents that are more affordable to heat and maintain. In the absence of grant funding the
redevelopment is only viable through cross subsidy with market housing. The principle of
cross subsidy is established in paragraph 54 of the NPPF. 100% of the sales revenue from
the sale of market housing would be used to fund the AH.

The scheme also meets the objectives of the Council’s Homes Strategy, which seeks to
enhance housing options and choice.

The AH units will be available to local people and market houses would be constructed to
fund the whole development. In addition, social rented units for up to 15 people would be
available within an assisted living facility. Given the NPPF priority (at paragraph 47) to boost significantly the supply of housing this provision carries significant weight in the balance.

In respect of the social aspect of sustainability a number of objections and concerns have
been raised. Dartington Parish Council and third parties have, amongst other matters listed
above, expressed concern with respect to increased vehicular movements leading to
additional congestion on highways and insufficient parking leading to a risk to pedestrian
safety; flood risk; and a loss of footpath link to shops. These impacts are considered later in
this Report.

Objectors have also pointed to adverse impacts with respect to social cohesion and that the
proposals should tie in with the Neighbourhood Plan.  The Council is aware that the local community is actively working towards a Neighbourhood Plan. In the absence of such a plan having been adopted, however, there are no criteria against which to judge the proposed development and the Development Plan takes primacy.

It is understood that a Neighbourhood Plan is likely to be issued for consultation in November 2015.

Concern has also been expressed with respect to the inappropriately large number of
vulnerable people at one location, and that this location is isolated from services and that
there would be an adverse impact on the Humpty Dumpty Nursery. The degree to which
these are planning matters is limited. However, in the interests of being comprehensive in
dealing with social concerns, it is reported that the Council is not aware that the Humpty
Dumpty Nursery would experience any adverse impact to its operation. Conversely to this
view the Council has requested and the applicant has agreed to provide additional parking to the benefit of the facility.

With respect to services for vulnerable people it is considered that the applicant has clearly
articulated that the objective is to maximise the re-provision of AH units and to provide an
assisted living facility for people with learning disabilities. Considering the condition of the
existing dwellings it is the view of Officers that the development would result in enhanced
provision for vulnerable people in a location with good access to services.

Objectors consider that the loss of green space and habitat is detrimental to the community.
It is noted, however, that the gardens and landscaped areas are privately owned and would
be replaced by, albeit in some instances smaller, similar provision. Objectors have stated
that the central garden area has been used by the public throughout the time the
development has existed as has the footpath through the development. Given that the
current legal status of the land is as privately owned and that the footpath is a permissive
route, this is an adverse impact that can be afforded only limited weight in the balance.
Impact on existing Infrastructure, facilities and services

Consideration has been given to the impact of development on infrastructure and services.
With respect to education Devon County Council has confirmed that there is capacity within
the Secondary and Primary Schools to cater for this development without any additional
funding being required from the developer; and that these schools are within safe walking
distance (Dartington Primary is 650m away, King Edward VI Community College is 1.9km
away).

The site is within walking distance of a good variety of services and facilities, including a bus route. Whilst many of the residents may have limited access / desire to use a car, it is
recognised that the application includes 12 market houses and that carers and visitors would also add to traffic movements. The issue of congestion is considered later in this Report and it is concluded that the development will not result in any significant adverse impact in this respect. The application also includes alterations to highway junctions and sufficient parking provision such that highway safety would be improved.

Impact upon Neighbours
It is considered that there is sufficient area to accommodate the development with a layout
that will not have any significant adverse impact on the residential amenity of the
neighbouring dwellings.

Objectors have identified light pollution as a particular concern. In this respect it is noted that the current use of the site generates light throughout the day and night; and that the design of buildings, notably the ROC building has taken reasonable measures to limit additional light pollution. This matter is picked up again with respect to ecology later in this Report.

Social Dimension Balance
The re-provision of AH units together with a supported living facility is considered to be
substantially beneficial. There is, however, a theoretical loss of 6 AH units. This loss is
significantly diminished since none of the existing properties meet appropriate current living
standards and their renovation is not viable. A reasonable alternative for the landowner
would be to increase the number of open market units and decrease the AH and assisted
living units.

Objectors have raised a number of amenity issues including parking, highway access, flood
risk and light pollution. The documents submitted with the application demonstrate that all
these matters can be addressed appropriately and no consultee raises any objection in these respects.

The balance of the social dimension of sustainable development is, therefore, that the
proposed development represents a substantial benefit and that there is a lack of harm from the other identified areas of concern. It is considered that the balance is positive in favour of the development.

The Environmental Dimension
With respect to the environmental role of sustainable development, the elements that are
considered to be especially relevant to the proposed development are impacts on biodiversity and surface water drainage.

Landscape Impact
The application is supported by a Landscape Management Plan and associated Tree
Protection Plan and Arboricultural Methodology Statement will be necessary prior to the start of the development. The detail of which trees would be lost and how additional planting would be provided at the periphery and landscape planting provided within the development are set out in these plans.

Whilst concern has been expressed by objectors with respect to the loss of part of the
woodland area to the east, the concern is a matter of ecological impact rather than
landscape. The landscape proposals are acceptable and would be secured through a
standard condition.

Biodiversity
A Preliminary Ecological Survey (Green Ecology October 2014) finds that the site is of low
ecological value in general, although some features are of greater conservation importance.
The defunct species rich hedge (northern boundary) is a local and national Biodiversity
Action Plan priority habitat that would benefit from the proposed improvement. The mature
oak trees within this hedge are also of local value and would be retained.

The mixed semi-natural woodland is of value providing habitat for dormice amongst other
wildlife. The proposed development requires the partial clearance of this area to provide
gardens for the houses on the eastern side. A close board wooden fence would be erected
at the rear of the gardens to establish a buffer between the fence, new and existing hazel
planting. Taking into account planting, the buffer, and securing ongoing positive
management for dormice (and other wildlife) through a condition for a LEMP and S106
clause, it is considered that the adverse impact on wildlife using this habitat would be limited.

The Ecological Survey acknowledges that the removal of some semi-natural woodland will
require a European Protected Species Licence for dormice. Accordingly, the LPA has
considered the proposal against the ‘3 derogation tests’ (with respect to requirements under
the Habitats Regulations). As has been detailed earlier within this report, it is considered that there is an Imperative Reason of Overriding Public Interest (namely the replacement of
existing bungalows that do not meet the Decent Homes Standard with new affordable and
supported housing units), there is No Satisfactory Alternative (improving existing unit would
be uneconomical), and the ecologist has indicated that taking into account mitigation and
compensation, that the Favorable Conservation Status of the dormice can be maintained.
Accordingly, the 3 derogation tests are considered met, and it is reasonable to consider that
the proposal will be successful in obtaining a EPS Licence.

Although the site lies just within the South Hams Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
sustenance zone for greater horseshoe bats (GHS), it should be noted that this sustenance
zone refers to a hibernation roost. The proposed development site is at the edge of the
hibernation roost sustenance zone (some 4km distant from the roost). Any foraging activity
over the winter months associated with the roosts would be confined to within 1km of the
roost. Accordingly, there is no potential for likely significant effect from this proposed
development on the South Hams SAC (as defined within the Habitats Regulations).
The Bat Activity Survey (Green Ecology November 2014) reports that the majority of activity
comprises bats commuting and foraging along the mature species-rich hedgerow that forms
the western boundary of the Site and the eastern edge of the woodland to the east of the site.

Passes by light averse bat species were recorded, however were in low numbers. Key
measures to avoid / mitigate for potential impact are incorporated into the proposed
development and including retention of the mature trees on the northern boundary (three of
which are the subject of Tree Preservation Orders – TPOs); to enhance the hedgerow
through new planting; to erect close board fencing; to direct lighting from the properties on
the west side of the development, particularly the ROC building; and to undertake monitoring of bat activity. The submission of a Lighting Strategy prior to the commencement of development is proposed as a condition, and adherence to measures within the Bat Activity Survey Report will be conditioned.

In addition impact avoidance would be necessary during the construction phase and it is
proposed to control this through imposing a condition requiring the submission of a
Construction Management Plan.

Heritage, character and visual impact
Forder Cottage, a Grade II Listed Building, lies to the north of Forder Lane and beyond a
substantial screen of mature trees. There is no inter-visibility between the setting of this
property and the application site. When accessing the proposed development from the north, the driver (vehicular access only to Forder Lane House) / pedestrian / cyclist would pass along a narrow, single carriageway, lane with substantial hedgerows and mature trees on either side. Initially passing Forder Cottage, which is on the right, glimpsed views may be available of that property in the winter. Travelling further along the lane, the application site lies on the left. During the construction phase, which would include creating a dedicated
permissive way and some clearance of vegetation, there may be a limited sequential impact
in respect to the aesthetic experience within the vicinity of Forder Cottage. The proposals
include, however, landscape planting at this point such that the impact in the medium to long term would be negligible with respect to the setting of Forder Cottage.

Lescaze Offices, a former Devon Longhouse and Grade II Listed Building, also lies north
west of Forder Lane. With intervening buildings and due to topography this historic asset
would not be the subject of any impact with respect to its heritage designation.
With respect to the test of paragraphs 126 to 134 of the NPPF and of s66 of the Planning
(Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and the need to give special
consideration to heritage assets, it is considered that there would be a limited adverse
sequential impact in the short term with respect to Forder Cottage in terms of the experience of users of Forder Lane. It is not considered, however, that there would be an affect on the setting of the Listed Building, which is preserved. In the medium to long term there is no impact on Listed Buildings, with the settings and character of both Forder Cottage and Lescaze Offices preserved.

It is recognised that the bungalows and the locality have an interesting character that clearly, judging by the strength of public opinion, make a contribution to the area; and it is recognised that the Dartington legacy is important to the local community. This legacy has been described by some objectors as being led by community / social interest. It is  considered thatthe overall objective of the proposal is certainly in keeping with this principle since it seeks to maximise the delivery of AH and to provide supported living to people with learning disabilities. Objectors consider, however, that in not retaining the character of the existing development in terms of its layout, massing and design, the proposed development is unnecessarily detrimental to the Dartington legacy. Representatives of the Community have prepared alternative plans that would provide the same number of units with a design and layout that they consider to be more inkeeping with the existing character and would include the retention of open space and the entire area of woodland. This proposal has been presented to the parties that control the land and, at the time of writing this Report, are not considered by those parties to be a viable alternative.

With respect to the application that is the subject of this Report, it is noted that there are no
formally recognised character areas at the site and its locality. With surrounding
development ranging from industrial units and a housing estate to individual properties in
landscaped gardens (bungalows and more substantial properties), there is no over-riding
architectural style.

Objectors have questioned why the proposed layout and design has not been reviewed by
the SHDC Design Panel. Committee will be aware that the Panel is available for innovative
design that does not adhere to existing design principles, but that it is not standard practice to take all applications to the Design Panel and there is no obligation to do so.

Surface Water Drainage / Flood Risk
The Environment Agency and Council Drainage Engineers are satisfied that the development can be satisfactorily accommodated on the site without having any adverse impact from surface water drainage subject to conditions ensuring the provision of a fully designed scheme.

Objectors have expressed concern with respect to the potential to increase flood risk at the
Grade II Listed Forder Cottage. Given the above and in the absence of any evidence to the
contrary, it is not considered likely that this on any other property would be subject to
increased risk.

Air Quality
There are no concerns with respect to air quality, other than possible emissions associated
with construction. A standard condition requiring a Construction Management Plan is
proposed.

Environmental dimension balance
No significantly adverse impacts have been identified.
Concern has been raised by consultees and objectors with respect to the treatment of the
northern boundary and the loss of part of the woodland. It is considered that the potential
adverse impacts can be addressed to a satisfactory extent through the avoidance, mitigation and compensation measures that are proposed as part of the development and as set out in the Landscape Plan and Tree Protection Plan. The impact would remain, however, moderately adverse.

Other environmental impacts have been described above and none are considered to be
adverse.

Sustainable development conclusion
In terms of the economic and social dimensions of sustainable development, it is considered that there are substantial benefits from the proposed development and that where adverse impacts in these respects can be identified, there is no evidence to suggest that they represent a scale of significant and demonstrable impact as would outweigh those identified benefits.

Furthermore, given the NPPF’s priority, the additional dwellings to be provided must carry
substantial weight in determination of the application.

Other matters
Traffic Conditions / Highway Issues
The Highways Authority has provided a comprehensive response to the application and
concludes that the proposed development is acceptable subject to conditions and works to
be carried out in accordance with plans that have been submitted.

Following an initial objection and in the light of concerns raised by numerous third parties,
additional parking is to be provided prior to construction to increase spaces available for
Humpty Dumpty Nursery and Forder Lane House.

Third parties have expressed concern with respect to the potential for construction traffic to
damage the highway. This is a matter that will be addressed through the requirement for a
Construction Management Plan.

Pedestrian and Cycle facilities
Pedestrian and cycle access points are illustrated on the submitted (revised) plans. The
principle and design of the routes are accepted by the Highway Authority.

Public Opinion
Considerable local opposition exists to the proposed development, with some 200 objections received. The Planning Authority will always consider the views of local residents when determining an application although the extent of local opposition is not, in itself, a
reasonable ground for resisting development. To carry significant weight, opposition should
be founded on valid planning reasons that can be supported by substantial evidence.
The concerns raised have not been set aside lightly and the Council is mindful of the content of the Localism Act 2011. The objections raised in respect of this application have been carefully and objectively taken into account in forming a recommendation to  Committee.

Consultation
Objectors have expressed disappointment at the perceived lack of engagement with the
community. In this respect the statutory requirement prior to issuing a planning decision is to allow three weeks consultation for consultees and third parties alike. This requirement has been met.

The Council encourages extensive and meaningful engagement with the public, but cannot
require this. The applicant has attended at least one public meeting and this is considered to be acceptable.

Land ownership
Third parties have questioned whether the applicant has control of the land. The Council has no evidence to suggest that this is not the case.

Third parties have questioned whether covenants affect the land that would prevent the
development in the form proposed. The Council has no evidence to suggest that this is the
case, which would, in any event, be a civil and not a planning matter.

The Planning Balance and Conclusion
The application seeks to demolish 18 bungalows that are AH units reaching the end of their
viable lifetime; and to replace them with 12(no.) AH, 12(no.) market houses and 8 flats (to
accommodate up to 15 people) within a supported housing facility.

For the reasons as set out in this Report it is considered that the proposal satisfies the three
dimensions of sustainable development. Given the view taken that the development is
sustainable the question to be considered is whether there are any adverse impacts that
would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposal when assessed
against the policies in the NPPF as a whole.

It is considered that of the objections raised by third parties, and as detailed above, the
applicant has demonstrated and consultees have confirmed that the proposed development
is acceptable.

Concern has been expressed by third parties with respect to the changed character of the
area and it is considered that this view has some merit. In addition a moderate adverse
impact is likely with respect to ecology, although this impact can be in part mitigated through condition.

In the balance of sustainability and in the absence of a viable alternative of development that would ensure the re-provision and enhancement of AH and social services, the substantial social and economic benefits are such that it is appropriate to recommend approval of the planning application, unless other matters indicate otherwise.

No overriding technical objections have been raised and the impacts of the development
have been assessed. There are no adverse impacts that would outweigh the benefits of the
scheme.

This application has been considered in accordance with Section 38 of the Planning &
Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.  This application has been considered in accordance with Sections 16,17, and 18 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990
Planning Policy National Planning Policy Framework
Paragraphs 6 -10; 11; 12; 14; 17; 28; 34; 36; 38; 47; 49; 50 112; 115; 118; 120 & 124
South Hams LDF Core Strategy
CS1 Location of Development
CS2 Housing Provision
CS6 Affordable Housing
CS7 Design
CS8 Affordable Housing
CS9 Landscape and Historic Environment
CS10 Nature Conservation
CS11 Climate Change
Development Policies DPD
DP1 High Quality Design
DP2 Landscape Character
DP3 Residential Amenity
DP4 Sustainable Construction
DP5 Conservation and Wildlife
DP6 Historic Environment
DP7 Transport, Access & Parking
DP8 Open Space, Sport and Recreation
DP9 Local Facilities
DP11 Housing Mix and Tenure
DP15 Development in the Countryside
Affordable Housing DPD
AH1 Affordable Housing Provision
AH3 Provision on unallocated sites
AH4 Mix and tenure of affordable housing
Open Space, Sport and Recreation DPD
South Devon AONB Management Plan
Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010
National Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006
Considerations under Human Rights Act 1998 and Equalities Act 2010
The provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 and Equalities Act 2010 have been taken into
account in reaching the recommendation contained in this report.

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