Planning Updates

December 2019
7F : 19/00368/FUL 19/00399/FUL

Feckenham Parish Council wholeheartedly supports the decision of the Local Planning Authority to refuse planning permission for Applications 19/00368/FUL and 19/00399/FUL. With regard to the current Appeal against these decisions, we reiterate the points made in our original objection and make the following additional observations, which we ask the Inspector to carefully consider.
1. The Appellant and his agent say that Policy 1 of the Borough Plan No 4 describes “The Presumption in favour of Sustainable Development”, and later in their appeal document they assert that both planning proposals amount to “Sustainable Development”. We point out that page 3 of the Joint Statement prepared by Bromsgrove District and Redditch Borough Councils in their “Response to Inspector’s Matters, Issues and Questions” document published on 4th March 2016 states:
“Feckenham is located further south in a largely rural area and has much fewer services and facilities (as evidenced in the Redditch Accessibility Study and Settlement Hierarchy document (CRD7.12); and is less accessible, in transport terms. Significant investment in highway infrastructure would be required to unlock this area for development, which at the present time, is considered very unsustainable.”
Page 4 of the same document also says:
“Whilst there is a section of Feckenham south of the B4090 in Open Countryside, significant investment in highway infrastructure, services, and facilities would be required to unlock this area for development, which at the present time is considered unsustainable”.
2. Furthermore, in this same context, the matter of vehicular access to the development site is of particular concern. The Parish Council significantly disagrees with the Highways Officer in his original assessment. The access “driveway” referred to in the application is an unmade track of only one vehicle’s width along its entire length. There is no scope for widening this access at any point and the appellant does not own the adjoining land for the majority of the length of the track. The track opens onto another unmade and un-adopted roadway (Moors Lane), which eventually joins the B4090. Increased vehicular use of this track would undoubtedly cause it to degrade and adversely affect users of the amenities (including Feckenham Village Allotments) and other land on either side. It should be noted that nowhere in the application is the route to and from the property to the public roadway clearly stated or shown on a plan.
3. Our conclusion, therefore, is that the whole site is not suitable for residential development because of very poor access and because, in any event, the whole area cannot be presumed to be sustainable. The local plan 4 clearly states that it is not a sustainable area.
4. With regard the setting of the development site and its proximity to the Conservation Area, we note that the Appellant and his agent assert that the views out of the Conservation Area are unaffected and furthermore that views from the open countryside into the Conservation Area should not be taken into account. We do not agree with either of these assertions because the Barn (and hence the new residential development) can be clearly seen from the gardens of several properties within the Conservation Area on the South side of the B4090 (these residents have already raised this issue in their original objections). Furthermore we are also unaware of any official guidelines that say that views from open countryside into Conservation should be disregarded. We believe that such views form an integral part of the Conservation Area Setting and, for example walkers into and out of the village along the various public footpaths in this area will clearly see the new bungalows within the barn together with their associated domestic paraphernalia. In our view this new residential development is likely to do some harm to these views and vistas. Furthermore we agree with the LPA that the design of these new bungalows falls well short of the Borough of Redditch High Quality Design SPD criteria.

In short it is hard to escape the conclusion that the decision to refuse the original planning applications was fully justified.

We ask the Inspector to carefully consider these important points, alongside the substantial case against the development already made by the LPA in its original Refusal Statement. We also invite the Planning Inspector to make a site visit to verify what we have said.

7F : 19/00368/FUL 19/00399/FUL
APP/Q1825/W/19/3236859 & APP/Q1825/W/19/3236863



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