on behalf of Fairlight Residents Association.
Market Garden Site
On 21st March around 60 residents attended the Fairlight Planning Committee to see the proposals for the Market Garden Site and to tell us what they thought about the proposals. Below you will see the comments we have submitted. If you have views on the
application, either for or against, it is important that you visit the Rother website and make them. You can also make comments by letter or e-mail. Find out how by using this link.
Chairman of Fairlight Parish Council Planning Committee
" Head of Planning
Rother District Council
Bexhill on Sea
Re: Application No. RR/2017/457/P - Market Garden Site, Lower Waites Lane
Construction of 16 houses together with
associated parking, access and wildlife area.
Fairlight Parish Council would have liked to see the former Market Garden used as a public open space or for community use, and knows that there is strong local support for such use. However, we acknowledge that the site is identified in Rothers’ Local Plan as suitable for housing development comprising at least 15 dwellings. We know that Rother must consider the present application against the provisions of the Local Plan and of the National Planning Policy Framework and we approach our response to the present application on that basis.
We acknowledge that the present plans address some, but not all, of our concerns expressed on the earlier application RR/2014/1868/P
1. Density of Housing and Design
1.1 The site is described in the application as being 0.63 hectares and in various supporting documents as 0.5 hectares. The discrepancy is
presumably because the garages are within the site but are not part of the developable area so the site should correctly be described as being 0.5
Points 1.2 –1.4 below appear to conflict with policy OSS4 clauses (iii) and (v) in the Rother Core Strategy.
1.2 It is Fairlight Parish Council’s (FCP) view that the proposed development is too dense for the site and unsuitable for the location which is characterised by bungalows with medium to large gardens, with the exception of Fairlight Gardens to the north of the site, which consists of flats.
The inspector in the 2005 / 2007 Public Inquiry into the then Local Plan concluded that the Market Garden Sites related to the housing to the south, rather than to Fairlight Gardens.
11.3 Overall the impression is of an urban estate dropped into a rural setting. The terrace of six houses, in particular, appears cramped and overbearing with little separation from the roadway. It is not clear from the plans submitted how the heights of the buildings in the proposal relate to nearby properties.
11.4 There are no single storey properties suitable for downsizing which is the main need identified for people moving within the village. is the main need identified for people moving within the village. See Fairlight Action Plan 2011 paragraph 10.2 and Rother policy OSS3(iv).
11.5 The proposal for remote refuse points is undesirable. While residents will keep the area around their individual refuse bins clean they are less likely to do so with a communal facility leading to litter on the development. The terrace has no suitable storage or charging facility for disability scooters.
In the event that Planning Consent is granted a planning condition is required relating to points 1.6 to 1.8 below
11.6 The plans appear to show lighting columns in communal areas. There is no street lighting in Fairlight. The proposed policy DEN7 requires that this issue be addressed by using lighting designed to minimise light pollution and glare and this needs to be enforced by a planning condition requiring any public lighting to be low level and low impact.
11.7 Drawing 662/030/P shows materials proposed for bricks, roof and eave tiles, windows and window cills which appear appropriate to the location and of suitable appearance. The use of these materials should be written into any planning consent.
1 1.8 There are 5 properties shown with a southern boundary onto the Lower Waites Lane stream. A planning restriction should be imposed to limit the height and type of fence that can be used to separate the gardens from the stream in order to avoid a wall of close boarded fencing being erected in future.
2.1 The number of spaces is inadequate at 36, including garages, given the lack of off-site parking. There is no possibility of on-street parking in the vicinity. Lower Waites Lane is too narrow for parking, Waites Lane by the Estate Agent is overcrowded already and it is almost impossible to see oncoming traffic when passing cars on the blind bend. Smugglers Way is too narrow and unsuitable. Even if ESCC Highways policy is satisfied by this arrangement it does not follow that planning requirements are satisfied. Policy OSS4 clauses (i) to (iii) is relevant in this context.
2.2 Parking spaces are too narrow, measured from the plan as 5m x 2.7m. While the standard for the UK is minimum 4.8 x 2.4m, this is inadequate given the growing size of cars and the tendency for four-wheel drive vehicles to be more prevalent in rural areas
2.3 There appears to be no provision for disabled parking. Given that the age profile for Rother shows that 44% of residents are aged 65 or older this seems unbalanced and in breach of policies OSS4(i) and TR4(iv).
Points 3.1 to 3.3 below need to be tested against Policy OSS3 (ii) and TR3 clause (ii)
3.1 Access to the site is extremely restricted with three possible access routes to the site each of which presents serious problems. It is stated that site access via the south west corner is designed so that traffic enters and exits the site via Smugglers Way. While this may discourage use of the top end of Lower Waites Lane it cannot prevent it. The Upper section of Lower Waites Lane, an unadopted highway, is very narrow to the extent that in most places two vehicles cannot pass. Access to Smugglers Way is also very narrow. The extent of widening possible remains inadequate to make this a safe junction, especially as there are no pavements. Smugglers Way and Bramble Way are not designed or suited to serve a development of this size.
3.2 The Trip Generation element of the traffic report bears no relation to the characteristics of this site. The location is described as “Suburban area Edge of Town”. The site is within a remote part of a village. It states that “for this category there are no village / freestanding sites in the database.” That being the case it is the wrong database to use for this report. It should be evident that a development of 16 properties with capacity for around 36 vehicles, and taking into account the growing trend for home deliveries, will have a very significant impact on this location. 3.3 The access point to the site is a bridge over the Lower Waites Lane stream. Given the volume of heavy construction traffic that would need access, this would need to be a bridge sufficiently strong to prevent damage to the stream bank. A structural engineers report should be required to ensure that the bridge has sufficient weight capacity to cope with the construction traffic.
In the event that Planning Consent is granted Policy TR3 should be applied to ensure that planning conditions are imposed in relation to points 3.4 to 3.6 below.
3.4 The necessary road widening works at Limenhurst (bottom end of Smugglers Way) are undertaken prior to work starting on site. According to the Traffic Report para 2.09 these have already been undertaken, but this is not the case, although land there is apparently set aside for this purpose
3.5 The road surface from the site entrance, to the start of the part of Smugglers Way maintained by the County Council, and identified by a row of granite setts across the road, should be repaired before, and maintained during, construction by the developer in order to cope with traffic movements, and properly surfaced with drainage provided before the new homes are occupied.
A method statement on safe access arrangements for the site should be provided by the contractor.
4. Sewage Disposal
4.1 The proposal for sewage disposal is unacceptable in its current form. It is stated that sewage will be disposed of via the 175mm public foul sewer in Lower Waites Lane.
4.2 It is stated that Southern Water has accepted that the sewer has sufficient capacity but this is based on a communication from September 2007 from Southern Water. This is inadequate as it is over ten years old, gives no evidence for the statement and has been superseded by more up to date information.
4.3 It is well known to Rother Planners, Rother Councillors and Fairlight residents that the sewer has inadequate capacity at present to cope with the existing flows and an additional 16 connections can only exacerbate this.
4.4 There are regular events when screened sewage is discharged via Combined Sewage Overflows into the Lower Waites Lane stream because of a blockage, leak or because the flow is over capacity. The screened sewage is deposited in the stream ultimately flowing along Stream Lane which is a highway. By means of illustration Southern Water records show over 150 incidents of this happening in the three years from 2012 to 2014 and an extra sixteen connections would exacerbate the problem.
The drainage system should be upgraded before further planning consents are given.
Policy SRM1 (i) refers.
5. Surface Water Drainage
5.1 We note that it is proposed that surface water drainage will be directed to a series of attenuation tanks designed to limit flow to the green field rate.
5.2 It is stated that a long- term maintenance plan for the attenuation system will be put in place overseen by a management company. While this would appear to protect the stream, it depends on the management arrangements remaining in place for the life of the scheme. We would want planning conditions put in place to enforce this.
5.3 The report by Sir Michael Pitt into flooding in England in 2007 identified poor maintenance of water courses and other assets as a major factor in flooding.
5.4 The developer should make a contribution to the cost of maintaining the Rockmead Road pumps which take excess water out of the cliff and help ensure its stability.
5.5 We would also wish to see a plan on how any pollution of the stream from, for example, oil, diesel or other toxic material would be dealt with, or damage to the stream bank would be managed during the construction phase.
6. Japanese Knotweed
6.1 The presence of knotweed has been identified in the centre and on the south-east corner of the site in the architects’ drawings but no statement on how it will be dealt with is included.
There should be a planning condition that a detailed management plan and method statement for
removal, with timescales, is required and it should be a condition of any consent that guarantees should be provided to buyers.
7.1 The proposal to protect most of the trees is welcome.
7.2 We have a concern that the removal of trees T1 and T4 which are on the bank of the stream may destabilise the banks and would want planning conditions imposed in any consent to prevent or mitigate the effect of this.
8. Protected Species
Points 8.1 to 8.3 below should be subject to planning conditions
8.1 Planning conditions are required on how badger setts and slow worms will be relocated to an appropriate area.
8.2 Locals believe that the number of badger setts have been underestimated and we believe that the Ecological Assessment should be reviewed by a body such as the Sussex Wildlife Trust.
8.3 No site clearance should be allowed during the nesting season.
9. Site Traffic
9.1 Should consent be granted for any development there are a number of traffic management issues and site management issues to be addressed through the use of planning conditions
9.2 It is unclear to what extent spoil will need to be removed from the site. It is clear that substantial deliveries of building materials will be required. This will provide a strain on the network of narrow village roads.
9.3 The only realistic route to the site is via Waites Lane, Shepherds Way, Bramble Way and Smugglers Way. These are narrow roads with difficult junctions and the potential for severe congestion.
9.4 An impact assessment is required to establish the effect that construction traffic will have and the highways authority should be asked to consider whether a temporary traffic management plan for the village should be implemented, including parking restrictions and limits on the times at which deliveries can be made to the site.
9.5 A condition survey of the route to the site should be required before any work commences with a requirement that the developer pays for the cost of repairs to damaged roads during construction and reinstatement to the original condition on completion of work.
9.6 Roads on the access route should be cleaned of mud and debris daily during the construction phase.
9.7 Residents have expressed concern about the potential for vehicle damage to property boundaries and water meters on the highway. The developer should be required to agree a schedule of condition on the access route to the site prior to work commencing to provide clarity in the event of any claim.
9.8 Due to the limited access to the site the contractor should be required to employ a banksman to control vehicle movements in and out of the site.
9.9 The contractor should be required to provide on-site parking for all contractors work and private vehicles within the boundary of the site at all times during the work.
10. Site Management
10.1 Any contractor appointed to carry out the contract should be required to sign up to the Considerate Constructors Scheme –
10.2 Should any consent be granted the developer should be required to appoint a full-time site-manager and provide their name and phone number during normal working hours to representatives of the Parish Council, Fairlight Residents Association, Fairlight Preservation Trust, Lower Waites Lane Maintenance Association and residents who live adjacent to the site. This will assist in early resolution of problems.
Market Garden Site Head of Planning objection letter 12.04.17.doc