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Agenda item


To consider planning application 22/0054 for the erection of 5 detached bungalows for people of the age of 55, with associated garages, landscaping and utilising existing access from Midgeland Road (via Birchwood Gardens).



The Planning Committee considered planning application 22/0054 for the erection of 5 detached bungalows for people of the age of 55, with associated garages, landscaping and utilising existing access from Midgeland Road (via Birchwood Gardens) at the former Baguley’s Garden Centre, Midgeland Road, Blackpool.


Ms S Parker, Head of Development Management, outlined the report and provided a summary of the application and details of the proposal. The application was in respect of land bound by Stockydale Road to the east, houses to the north and south, and the former Baguleys garden centre to the west. The site had an extensive planning history and Ms Parker provided a brief summary of this, drawing the Committee’s attention to an outline planning permission granted in 2012 for 36 dwellings covering both the application site and adjoining land. This had been granted during a time when the council had been unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land and consequently the ‘tilted planning balance’ had applied. Although reserved matters approval was granted in 2016, the permission was never implemented and lapsed in September 2018. By then, the Council was able to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply and the tilted planning balance no longer applied to override the policies which prevented development on Marton Moss. In 2019 planning permission was granted for 12 bungalows on the former Baguleys site as the site was previously developed land and in poor condition. The land outlined in the application remained as undeveloped greenfield land and the applicant was advised that development of this site would not be supported until a Neighbourhood Plan, identifying it as suitable for housing, had been adopted.


The current application sought planning permission for five bungalows each with an attached garage, and the bungalows would accommodate people over 55 years of age. Ms Parker drew the Committee’s attention to the Update Note, which stated that the garages had been repositioned to pull them away from Stockydale Road to alleviate the concern that they would appear overly-prominent in the street scene. Two garages would be linked, which would make two of the properties effectively semi-detached and in terms of design and levels of amenity and car parking, no objections were raised, biodiversity could be appropriately safeguarded for or compensated for and no undue impacts on environmental quality were anticipated.


The proposal did not generate a requirement for contributions towards local education or health provision and included sufficient public open space to meet identified needs. A financial contribution towards affordable housing would be required and the Committee was advised that until a Supplementary Planning Document was in place, there was currently no method with which to calculate a contribution.


The Committee was informed that nine representations of support, four of which come from residents of the new development on the old Baguleys site had been received. One representation had raised concerns about drainage and flooding and if the Committee was minded to approve the application then these could be dealt with by planning condition.


Ms Parker advised the Committee that despite the considerations in favour of the proposal the recommendation remained one of refusal as the legal starting point for the determination of planning applications was the Development Plan. Policy CS26 of the Core Strategy, which formed part of the Development Plan, precluded development (that did not accord with strict criteria) in advance of the adoption of a Neighbourhood Plan. There was currently no Neighbourhood Plan in place for the area meaning that the proposal was contrary to the provision of adopted Policy CS26 and the Council was not in a position of housing need, meaning that a tilted planning balance was not engaged.


The Committee was informed that a draft Neighbourhood Plan had been published for consultation and summarised the consultation and adoption process. Ms Parker noted that in accordance with the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework the weight that could be attached to the Neighbourhood Plan would increase as it moved through the process and at present, the plan was at too early a stage to attach significant weight to it. The applicant had been advised to hold the application in abeyance until the Neighbourhood Plan had progressed further, but had requested that it be determined under the current policy framework, meaning that the full weight of Policy CS26 of the Core Strategy had been applied. As previously stated and in the opinion of Planning Officers, the Neighbourhood Plan was currently considered to hold limited weight.


The Committee was respectfully recommended to refuse the application for the first reason set out in the officer report as the second reason had been addressed through the submission of amended plans. 


Ms J Fox, Fox Planning Consultancy, spoke on behalf of the applicant in favour of the application and informed the Committee that the previous permission had been for 22 two-storey houses and the current application was for a lower density of development, being five bungalows. The application was consistent with the aim and objectives of National Planning Policy, there had been no objections from the Marton Moss Forum, and there was community support in favour of the application.


Ms Fox advised the Committee that although the land was designated as greenfield, the land had previously contained buildings and therefore could be considered to be part brownfield. The site currently had a derelict appearance and was overgrown in places. In respect of the landscape management plan, retention of the 2.5 metre hedges on Stockydale Road would act as an effective buffer and soft boundary between urban development and Marton Moss. The impact on the street scene would be minimal and would respect the character of the existing development.


Ms K Bannister spoke in favour of the application on behalf of her parents who were residents on the existing development on behalf of other residents. She advised the Committee that residents were aware of the site’s planning history, expected that there would eventually be development on this land and welcomed the addition of five bungalows. At present fly tipping was taking place on this land, making the current residents feel vulnerable.


Ms Bannister informed the Committee that the Marton Moss Neighbourhood Forum was supportive of the additional five bungalows and that the application would support and enhance the area.


Ms Parker advised the Committee that planning officers did not agree that the application site could be considered to be part brownfield, that the site was thoroughly vegetated, and it was the site owner’s responsibility to maintain the land in a good condition.


The Committee discussed the application and the Chair noted that development was welcomed on the site, however this needed to be at the right time, once the Neighbourhood Plan was in place and the scheme could be supported by planning policy. The Committee acknowledged that the previous application was for 22 dwellings and that it could be some considerable time before the Neighbourhood Plan was approved.


At the invitation of the Chair, Mr I Curtis, Legal Advisor to the Committee, advised that the Committee’s starting point was Policy CS26 of the Development Plan and, in his view, since policy CS26 was specifically directed to Marton Moss and to the present circumstances, which were that a neighbourhood plan was in active preparation but had not been made, much weight could be given to the planning officer’s assessment and recommendation to refuse.


In response to comments made by the Committee, Ms Parker advised that the timeline for approval of Neighbourhood Plans was driven by the Neighbourhood Forum, not the Council and re-iterated the adoption process. If the Committee was minded to grant the application then this could set a precedent for other applications on Marton Moss to be submitted, before the Neighbourhood Plan was approved and in place.


The Committee acknowledged that Marton Moss was a sensitive area in which development needed to be controlled in order to protect green space. It was also noted that the Marton Moss Forum was supportive of the application and that it was rare to see an application in the area with public support behind it. However, the Committee acknowledged that an approval at this stage, prior to the due process of the Neighbourhood Plan, could set a precedent.



That the application is refused for the following reason:


1.      The proposals would occupy greenfield land and would not meet any of the specified circumstances in which new residential development would be acceptable within the Marton Moss Strategic Site in advance of the adoption of a Neighbourhood Plan for the area. As proposed, the development would have a significant and unacceptable impact upon the green, open and semi-rural character of this area of the Moss. No material planning considerations have been identified which would outweigh this conflict with policy. Whilst all applications must be determined on their own merits, an approval in this instance would make it harder for the Council to resist similar proposals in similar circumstances which would lead to a greater cumulative impact. As such, the scheme would have an unacceptable impact on the character of the Marton Moss Strategic Site and would be contrary to Policy CS26 of the BlackpoolLocal Plan Part 1: Core Strategy 2012-2027.  

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