Bottisham Parish Council
Response to Planning Application 20/00296/OUM
Bottisham Parish Council does not support this planning application for the reasons outlined within this report
This application falls within land currently designated as green belt, which provides for general exclusion of development apart from exceptional circumstances.
Policy numbers 145 and 146 are well documented in the NPPF. We have previously supported in the 2015 Local Plan provision of affordable housing for local people on a limited area of green belt.
Part of the application also falls within the conservation area and the building envelope is also involved. During the review of the East Cambs Local Plan, we were explicitly assured by ECDC planning officers that it was not necessary to apply for Local Green Space designation, which would give a high level of protection for special green areas. We were informed that it already had a high level of protection, due to the Green Belt, Conservation Area and the village envelope, plus the Structure Plan statements. Any contemplation of a reversal of this position we feel goes against the previous statement.
Any development such as this would very significantly increase the number of houses, relative to the current size of the village, and we believe the infrastructure would not be able to cope.
There may or may not be demand more widely within East Cambs for retirement homes of this kind. However, we would argue that it should be located where there are large areas of brown and greenfield land without Green Belt status.
We are aware of the policies to provide protection to the Green belt and the applicable exceptions. The policy is there to protect Urban Sprawl, the environs of existing properties, biodiversity and especially to protect the character and needs of the community. It is well documented in the Green Belt, Structure plans and also recent planning appeals.
The need to protect the Green Belt was recognised by East Cambs, and then by the Inspector, during the recent appeal for planning permission on a very small area of Green Belt belonging to First Copy.
Any development in this area would be deemed as an encroachment and undermining of the rural character of the landscape and have an adverse effect on the neighbours and residents in other areas within the village and surrounding areas.
The Bottisham Surgery provides health care for two care homes in the village, plus a high dependency unit, placing significant demand on local GP resources. It was keenly noted at the parish council’s consultation that residents were concerned by the creation of a top heavy resident demographic. This would place a significant extra strain on medical resources and like facilities in the village.
It should be noted that Planning Permission has already been granted for 50 homes inBell Roadadding to the strain on local services.
At this stage there is no information on how the retirement village will be managed and this could seriously impinge on the care and health of the residents who come to live there. This should be clarified at an early stage, as the residents are not going to be the usual mix of ages. They will be in one particular group which would bring added requirements of support.
I am sure the Surgery will require further reassurances and information on how the care for emergencies and other care issues are managed.
These will apply not only for residents but staff, visitors and delivery vehicles. The public transport to other towns is considered inadequate and there is no bus service on Sundays or evenings. This will undoubtedly encourage car use by residents and be inadequate for staff who will be involved in shift work. This will bring extra traffic into the village
Staffing for such a venture will not come from the village, as the Care Homes within the village already have a high percentage of staff (including cooks, gardeners as well as carers and nursing staff) drawn from outside of the village. This will again cause an increase in traffic due to the poor public transport. This, at a time when East Cambs District Council is encouraging a reduction in the carbon footprint.
We have always questioned the statement from Anglian Water that there is adequate capacity. Residents in the area repeatedly comment on the early morning traffic of tankers removing effluent several times a week. If more houses are built, as well as the 50 already granted permission off of Bell Road, then it could be estimated an extra one or two tankers a week will be required - as well as increasing the strain on a sewage farm built for much lower volume. .
LANDSCAPE AND VISUAL IMPACT
We have previously commented on the Landscape and Visual Impact during several submissions on reviews in this area.
Green Belt policies and review in public, Local Plan, in particular the recent one, the review of the Structure Plan 1995. This concluded the area between the bridleway (now a public footpath) and The Grange (HiltonPark) is appropriately described as being high of landscape value and forms a clear cut, permanent and easily recognisable boundary for the Green Belt in the neighbourhood.
There is also a vista from the Nine Mile Hill to theSwaffham Road. This was referred to during the Consultation and opposition to the Nine Mile Hill application in 1991.
Any applicants will go to considerable lengths to reduce the impact of the proposal both in terms of layout, landscaping and usage. But, this will not overcome the detrimental impact on the area.
HIGHWAYS PARKING AND SAFETY ISSUES
This area already has traffic issues and we have installed traffic calming speed indicating displays within the area to ease some of them.
The traffic survey is misleading, as it was done during school holidays and at times when the village was quieter.
The area near to the Scout Hut on the High Street, close to the proposed access to the site, is a potential danger due to parking during school picking up times and when events are being held there. Visibility will be especially impaired for residents and visitors entering and leaving the site.
This area in the High Street and Beechwood Avenue have significant parking problems as it stands. The increased traffic flow coming from this new development will significantly increase the possibility of accidents. This will be particularly the case at pick up and drop off times at the primary school. Parking for visitors to the site could be an issue, leading to an increase of cars parked in the High Street and Beechwood Ave close to the primary school. These are already a dangerous place for children arriving and leaving.
Approaching the site along the High Street from the village centre, there are concerns that the visibility on entering the site is impaired due to a neighbouring property’s high wall.
The entrance to the play area has yet to be defined and there may be issues with ownership at the end of Rowan Close. However, if access is via Rowan Close, there will be issues with parking there – likely to be worse during school pick up time.
We received this application shortly before the Covid-19 restrictions, but managed to have a well attended meeting in order for the Village to see the plans. We were not however able to have a subsequent public meeting to discuss the feedback. However, the Parish Council has held an online meeting to discuss this. We have done our best to represent local views given the circumstances.
We oppose this application for the following reasons:
1. This proposal is not within the Policies of any of the exceptions to allow a departure from the Green Belt as allowed in the NPPF Para 145 and 146 and is also contrary to Policies: Growths 5, Env 1, Env 2 and Env 10 of the East Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2015 and also Chapter 13 of the NPPF.
2. Bottisham have always opposed any development in the Green Belt, unless in special circumstances. As a village we do not feel that these special circumstances have been demonstrated or that the land is suitable for development in the first place.
3. The need for this type of development for Bottisham has not been proven anywhere within the village. Any more large scale development in this village is not acceptable.
4. There are far too many imponderables in this application, even though it is outline. If this application is referred to Planning Committee we will further address them.
5. If this application is referred to Planning Committee, then we will inform the Village and also use our right to attend the meeting to speak.
6. We strongly urge this application be refused – most especially as it is in an area long recognised as deserving of protection. There is no demonstration of a local need for this facility in Bottisham.
Parish Councillor Representing Bottisham Parish Council