Agenda item

Planning Application 2019/1381/OTS Land South of 17, Elm Close, Wells, Somerset

To consider an application for Outline Planning Permission with some matters reserved for erection of up to 100 dwellings with public open space with only details of access considered.


That planning application 2019/1381/OTS be APPROVED in accordance with the Officer’s recommendation.

Votes – Unanimous in favour



Application for outline planning permission with some matters reserved for the erection of up to 100 dwellings with public open space with only details of access considered.

The Officer’s Report stated that this application had been referred to the Committee as it required approval of the proposals for phosphate mitigation. Other than phosphate mitigation, there were no changes in the development proposed. Conditions and obligations had been reviewed to ensure they remained suitable. Updated ecology information had been submitted and considered, to ensure a decision was made on the current site situation.

The Report continued that re-consultation had been undertaken with consultees as necessary to confirm the recommendation, conditions and obligations remained suitable. All other consultation comments remained relevant and were considered in the assessment.

St Cuthbert Out Parish Council had made a number of comments on the application including the following:

·      Contributions towards the 67 bus route are no longer required.

·      Agree that bus stop enhancements would be necessary in the local area as an alternative.

·      Request that the developer takes on delivery and installation.

  • Request a second bus stop be installed on the north side to facilitate Wells-bound traffic. Options to be explored.

Somerset Ecology had no objections and due to the lapse in time, an updated Ecological Appraisal was submitted in April 2023. Natural England stated that based on the information provided, the proposed mitigation strategy was acceptable.

There had been 1 further letter of objection from local residents since the previous Planning Board decision. Objections included insufficient social housing, insufficient infrastructure, services and facilities and water pollution.

The Officer’s Report advised that the overall thrust of Government Policy as set out in the updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was to encourage the delivery of sustainable development and required Local Authorities to significantly boost the supply of housing. The application reflected the emerging policy framework which covered the period 2006-2029. The application scheme offered a proposal which would provide 100 residential units, including the provision of affordable housing to respond to current policy requirements. In addition, the proposed means of access to serve the development was considered acceptable.

The Officer’s Report continued that the assessment of the application had not identified any other adverse impacts that would arise and the application scheme was considered acceptable including in relation to the landscape impacts; amenity of neighbouring residents and the locality generally; public safety of the surrounding highway network; ecological and environmental impact.

In summary, the Planning Officer recommended that that planning permission be granted, as a departure from the development plan and the recommendation was to delegate permission subject to completion of a Section 106 agreement.

The Planning Officer explained the application to the Committee with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation.

The Committee was then addressed by a representative of St Cuthbert Out Parish Council. He spoke about an extension to the cemetery and that this could not be covered under an S106 agreement. He suggested that one hectare of land be provided to preserve the green gap between Haybridge and Wells and to allow for future community facilities. He raised concerns that the S106 agreement had not yet been finalised  He requested that the application was not approved until the City and Parish Councils had been able to review the terms of the S106 agreement.

The next speaker was a representative of the applicant who made the following points:

·      Only the phosphate mitigation needed to be approved as the application had already been approved in January 2020.

·      40 of the 100 houses would be affordable housing.

·      There would be open space on site including a children’s play area, additional tree and hedgerow planting and ecological habitat provision.

·      An extension to the adjacent cemetery would be provided for.

·      Homes would be highly efficient.

·      There would be over £700k for expansion of local school provision and £24k for the Strawberry Line Society.

  • They would commit to providing offsite highway improvements and additional bus shelters.

Prior to the Member discussion, it was noted that as Councillor Helen Kay arrived during the course of the presentation, she would be able to participate in the discussion but not vote. Members made a number of comments including the following:

  • Even though it was an outline planning application there were many conditions attached. Concern that these could change between now and the reserved matters application.

·      Who would agree the details of the S106 agreement?

·      Why was it not possible to secure a community hall?

  • Could conditions be attached for solar panels or porous paving materials?

In response to the comments made, Planning Officers advised the following:

  • The controls over the delivery of the cemetery extension would be in the S106 legal agreement which would set out the time constraints.

·      The heads of terms for the S106 agreement were set out in the Officer’s report and from a process point of view Members and/or the Parish Council would be able to review the terms of the drafting of the legal agreement to reflect the agreed heads of terms prior to the agreement being finalised.

·      Conditioning the provision of a community hall would need to meet the test for planning obligations and it was not considered reasonable to put forward an obligation for a community hall.

  • Conditions for Ecological requirements were stipulated in Condition 23 which were added since the last application had been approved.

At the conclusion of the debate, it was proposed by Councillor Adam Boyden and seconded by Councillor Dawn Denton to approve the application in accordance with the Officer’s recommendation.

On being put to the vote the proposal was carried unanimously.


That planning application 2019/1381/OTS for outline planning permission with some matters reserved for the erection of up to 100 dwellings with public open space with only details of access considered at Land South of 17, Elm Close, Wells be APPROVED in accordance with the Officer’s recommendation.

Voting – Unanimous in favour


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