South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18)

Comment ID 511
Document Section South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18) Rural Centres Land to the north of Wheathill Lane Text Block View all on this section
Respondent Milborne Port Parish Council View all by this respondent
Response Date 07 Oct 2019
Attachments
Comment
  1. PREFERRED OPTIONS C Headline Response
    • We cautiously approve site MIPO1 subject to a number of conditions
    • We continue to oppose site MIPO2,for a number of reasons including those set out in previous consultations, and as per the decision of SSDC itself of 23 September 2014 with regard to application number 14/01055/OUT
    • Given numbers already delivered and committed across South Somerset as a whole and Milborne Port in particular, we question whether there is rationale for nominating an alternative preferred option site in Milborne Port to “replace” MIPO2,.
    • We would prefer that further residential development arises from windfall accretions to the overall numbers (of which at least three are in process in September 2019, all of which have received the support of Milborne Port Parish Council).
    • Preferred alternatives to MIPO2 would be sites accessible via Gainsborough onto the A30 In particular the land at Wynbrook Farm and, by preference, provided access issues can be overcome, the Land north of Manor We also note the issue of the landscape classification for site E/MIPO/0003 off Goldings Lane, but given the relatively good access to this site, we believe that, on balance, consideration might be given to preferred status, subject to heavy qualification regarding landscape and heritage impact. There would have to be sensitive mitigation and protection of assets but this may be possible to achieve.
    • It might be helpful that the data analysed by the HELAA be “scored” and then the merits of all sites presented in a tabulated form across all the assessed areas set out in the RAG rating in the Sustainable Development Report, so that the echelon of preferred options could be made more It would also make it more understandable to residents, even where they did not agree the output.

C2 Land North of Wheathill Lane

C2.1. We  stress our “cautious” approval of the site as a preferred option, and that this is only subject to a number of conditions.

C2.2 Two Sites - The remaining eastern side of the site should be considered as a separate location to the western component that has already received outline approval.  The two sites have different owners and the remaining part of the site could only be delivered by means of a separate planning application. However (see C2.9) we would like to ensure that where the agricultural status of the, as-of-yet undeveloped, remainder of the site has been used for mitigation of the environmental impact on the component that has been given outline approval, that this mitigation is maintained in any proposal put forward for development of that remainder.  A similar approach should apply to landscape impact, given the location on the periphery of the village and the excellence of the views to and from East Hill.

C2.3 Access – We believe the site would be best developed as a cul-de-sac rather than a through road.

 

The Draft document infers that access should be through the outline-approved western sector of MIPO1.

We believe there are strong arguments for vehicle access via Wheathill Lane to the south, rather than through the already approved western half of the site (whose indicative layout does not provide for such access).  This would

  • limit the use of the roads through the residential components of both sites as “rat-runs” reducing the risk of unnecessary annoyance, and mitigating safety concerns, particularly for children, the impaired and the
  • Avoid the concreting over of the border between the two sites and hence preserving wildlife corridors , and maintaining the integrity of the surface water management infrastructure proposed for the approved western site
  • Maintain the existing public footpath which runs between the two sides of the site without the need for road

However, we also believe there are arguments access to be to the west via the outline-approved half of the site. In particular these focus around road quality for the increased levels of vehicular traffic that would arise from further development:

  • A southern exit point might increase the use of Wheathill Way-East Street-London Road for access to the These residential streets are very narrow, especially in areas where they have cars parked on-road on both sides (Wheathill Way) or on one side (East Street). The junction between London Road and the A30 is particularly poor, especially where the West facing sight line is blocked by the corner building.  Whilst poor, the North Street access point onto the A30 is better (and safer).
  • Even were all traffic to follow the realigned Wheathill Lane and then exit via Station Road/North Street onto the A30, Wheathill Lane itself is a narrow road, again especially where it has on-road

We therefore recommend that consideration be given by SSDC as to what the optimum means of access to this site might be, and why (with input from the Roads and Highways Authorities), for discussion with Milborne Port Parish Council and local residents.

C2.4 Playing Field – the playing field that sits as an inset on the southern boundary of the balance of the site should be maintained as a recreational facility

C2.5 School Extension – Consideration should be given as to whether the site might, in part, be used for an extension of the school (alternatively, this might incorporate the inset playing field).  It is close to the existing school site and would have relatively good general pedestrian access particularly once the western part of the site was built. If it is considered that an extension to the school might be located here (or perhaps a relocation of the swimming pool, and the use of its current site for an extension of the teaching part of the school), then it is likely that the pedestrian access between the two sites would need to be examined, with especial focus upon the provisions for the safe crossing of roads.

 

C2.6 Surface Water – We would be interested to see what SSDC’s view would be on surface water management.  The approved western half of the site will be using a new drain down Wheathill Lane, turning right down Wheathill Road and then out across the field at the end of East Street into the drainage system in the copse at the corner of that field.  However, the field in question is privately owned by the vendor of the outline approved site.

The topography of the eastern part of the site is below the level of the Wheathill Road turn off, and so surface water would need to travel uphill in order to reach it.  This may be achievable via appropriate pumping facilities but would presumably involve initial and ongoing cost to do so.  We would therefore anticipate attenuation facilities with ultimate drainage down Wheathill Lane and into the same unnamed watercourse at the foot of the topography.  Regulations will require that surface water run-off

is no worse at the site or its destination than is currently the case.  However, separating the two run-offs to different channels, even if the ultimate destination is the same, may well lead to a reduction in

overall risk.

C2.7 Parish Museum - the site immediately to the east of the remaining part of MIPO1 is a Parish owned property, which currently houses the Parish Museum.  It is anticipated that, at least in part, the Parish Museum will utilise the Community Hub building in the outline-approved section of MIPO1 for exhibitions, but the Museum as is will continue.  However, the use of the existing building is currently hampered by difficulties with parking, and it is possible that earmarking some space on the north side of Wheathill Lane in the remaining component of MIPO1 would enhance the functionality of the Parish Museum, which forms an important part of the Parish’s heritage and its educational and recreational infrastructure.

C2.8 Playing Fields Buffer Zone – the northern boundary of the undeveloped element of MIPO1 abuts directly onto the Memorial Playing Fields and there is a high likelihood of footballs and cricket balls continuing to clear the fence and land in the site.  We would therefore recommend that an appropriate buffer zone of undeveloped land be left in place to accommodate this and also to provide an ongoing wildlife corridor to mitigate the impact of development on the site.

The Parish Council owns a small parcel of land at the eastern end of this northern boundary and would give serious consideration to opening this up as a recreational space for the public, were it possible to install a public footpath through such a buffer zone. In particular, this might be a solution to an ongoing issue with dog fouling on the existing public footpath through the site, and on the Memorial Playing Fields themselves.

C2.9 Environmental and Ecological Impact – The agricultural status of the undeveloped remainder of MIPO1has been used in the environmental and ecological impact mitigation plan for the western component that has now received outline-approval.  Hence, to an extent, any further development of MIPO1 will impact not only the land upon which development occurs, but also that which has already been approved for development in the adjoining field.  We recommend that the environmental or ecological mitigation plan of any future applications for the balance of MIPO1 be required to

 

demonstrate that it accommodates both its own impact, and that presupposed in the approval of the western part of the site which was determined with the eastern part as agricultural in nature.

We would also note that, whilst the proposed built areas of the outline-approved western part of the site are of medium density, the remainder of the site has significant amounts of open and green space. We would recommend that the proposed layout of any proposed development of the remaining eastern part of the site be consistent with that applicable to the west, with plenty of green space.  Given that such a development would abut open countryside, and be the first built area in line of sight from East Hill and the Millennium Viewing Point, this requirement is made even more important.

C2.10 Business Use – We believe that development of the remainder of this site is likely to be the first major (in the context of a village such as Milborne Port) development following the Local Plan 2016- 2036 consultation exercise, and may even take place prior to formal adoption in 2021.  As such the recommendations on home/business use (B2.6); Parking (B4.5); and Internet Connectivity (B5.3) should be applied even prior to adoption.

C2.11 Footpath – the public footpath that runs along the eastern side of the outline approved component of the site, and would be at the western boundary of the remainder, should not be changed.

C2.12 Numbers – We see two separate lines of argument.  The remainder of the site is quite substantial, indeed likely equal to, or larger in size than the western half already given outline approval.  It may, therefore be possible that a higher number of houses could be borne by the site, and this should, we would hope, make it more commercially attractive, and hence make the accommodation of many of the various benefits to the village from improved Museum parking; expansion of the school; the Playing Field buffer zone; the extended layout with much green space on environmental and landscape impact grounds; and so on more viable.

However, these recommendations all require space, which, in turn, cannot therefore be used for residences.

We recommend that further consideration be given by SSDC as to whether 45 further dwellings is the right guideline expectation for the remainder of this site.  However, we believe that any increase in this number (indeed the use of this number at all) should not be undertaken without direct linking to the conditions we have outlined.