Agenda item

14/00857/R4OUT - Land at Guilsborough Road, Eye Green, Peterborough


The planning application was for a residential development of up to 55 dwellings on land at Guilsborough Road, Eye Green, Peterborough. The application also included means of access, open space and any associated works.


The main considerations were:

·    The Principle of Development

·    Transport

·    Noise

·    Ecology Impacts

·    Amount of Development

·    Local Services

·    Drainage

·    Section 106


It was officer’s recommendation that planning permission be granted, subject to the conditions set out in the report and the signing of a legal agreement.


The Planning and Development Manager provided an overview of the application and raised the following key points:

·         The application included an additional 0.74 hectares of land above the 2.44 hectares included in the site allocation. This 0.5 hectares would be lost from the surrounding Country Wildlife Site (CWS) if permission was granted.

·         Objections to the application were on the grounds of overdevelopment, resulting highways problems and detrimental impact on public services. Objections had been received from the Wildlife Trust and Buglife regarding the loss of habitat.

·         A transport assessment had been carried out and it was concluded that the A47 would not be affected. The impact on the nearby roundabout would be minimal.

·         The Council’s Wildlife Officer considered the loss of CWS to be acceptable if appropriate habitat was made available elsewhere. There would be no harmful impact on the adjacent nature reserve.

·         The impact on local services had already been considered during the site allocation process. The additional numbers had been considered and none of the relevant authorities had objected. It was estimated that the additional housing would only generate one additional pupil per school year.

·         This was an outline application. If the reserved matters application was unacceptable the number of dwellings approved may be less than 55.


Stewart Jackson MP addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:

·         Mr Jackson urged the Committee to reject the planning application before them for a more appropriate planning brief.

·         The Wildlife Trust and Buglife had objected.

·         Eye was the key service centre and a hub for new residential housing. The services would not be able to cope with additional users.

·         The 35 dwellings outlined in the core strategy was appropriate.

·         The proposal would impact on residential amenity and on traffic and parking in the surrounding area.

·         Mr Jackson suggested that the Committee should reject the application until the provision of school places had been clarified. He referenced an email from the Council’s education services which indicated that the school would be unable to accept an increase in pupil numbers.

·         Development was not objected to, however the proposal before the Committee was considered to be too dense.

·         Mr Jackson had received a significant number of objections from residents.


Dale McKean addressed the Committee in objection to the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:

·         He had been involved in the initial site allocations process and received feedback from local residents on the allocations proposal.

·         The buffer zones around the site were considered to be very important. The Section 106 agreement would not be able to mitigate for the loss of wildlife, but would simple move it elsewhere.

·         Mr McKean had been informed two years ago that the A47 was then reaching its capacity.

·         The core strategy would not have been approved for 55 dwellings instead of 35. The applicant should stay in line with the core strategy.

·         The local school would be unable to cope with the additional numbers. The cumulative impact of all the development taking place in the area would have an effect at the same time, rather than over several years.

·         The school did not want a three form entry. Residents had informed him that they couldn’t get their children into certain year groups.

·         The local residents were aware that the land had been allocated for 35 dwellings and had accepted this. They had not accepted a development for 55 dwellings.


Pippa Cheetham, Applicant, and Gail Revill, Agent, addressed the Committee in support of the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:

·         The scheme was 20% open space. 78% of the development would house 55 dwellings, which resulted in a ratio of 27 dwellings per hectare. This was comparable to other developments in the area.

·         The applicant was aware of the constraints of the buffer. The proposal before the Committee included 55 dwellings with the retention of a buffer and the footpath as well as providing an area of open space with a connecting route to the lake.

·         The dwellings that backed onto the A47 had been provided with large gardens to create a greater distance between the dwellings and the road. The gardens would be approximately 15 metres.

·         Acoustic fencing would be provided to mitigate any noise.

·         The CWS was designated recently and was identified as a potential site for wildlife. This type of landscape could be easily recreated elsewhere. As such the site could benefit from a better design and not leave a brownfield site at the front door of dwellings.

·         Three houses would be included on the CWS site.

·         The CWS was a private site at the moment. The development would be creating access to the habitat, so people would be able to enjoy it more.

·         There would be a single point of access developed by the lake to help ensure that safety for children was maintained.

·         The density, including open space, for a 35 dwellings development on a smaller site would be 14 dwellings per hectare. The proposed 55 development on the larger site would be 18 dwellings per hectare. This is below the 30 dwellings per hectare advised in the Council’s policy.


The Committee discussed the importance of the site allocation document. A Member of the Committee suggested that as consultation had been carried out for the allocation of 35 houses on a smaller site, and that this had been approved by an inspector, a development of 35 dwellings should be maintained. The increase to 55 houses was objected to by many residents and relevant consultees. The Committee asked for clarification.


The Head of Development and Construction explained that site allocation demonstrated that the Council had sufficient provision of land set out to reach its targets. It was not restrictive and land that was not included in the site allocation could still be developed. The application site did not currently support a population of wildlife, but had the potential to. As such, the Wildlife Officer and suggested the cultivation of a site elsewhere.


In response to questions from the Committee the Assets and Schools Place Planning Officer explained that one extra pupil in each year resulted from the additional 20 houses that came with the increase from 35 to 55. The total number of spaces required from 55 houses would be 19 pupils per year. The situation in Eye was no different than the rest of the city and the relatively small amount of increase in the school numbers would not make a significant difference.


Several Members of the Committee voiced concern about the increased size of the development and the affect this would have an overbearing impact, negatively impact biodiversity and infrastructure, and result in a loss of open space. Several other Members suggested that the proposal was well designed and was for up to 55 dwellings. The reserved matters application may be for a lesser number.


The Head of Development and Construction advised that that there may be a lack of evidence to refuse the application on those grounds.


A motion was proposed and seconded to agree that permission be refused, against officer recommendation, for the reasons that the development would extend beyond the site allocation boundary and that this would result in the loss of a potential wildlife habitat and biodiversity area. The motion was carried seven voting in favour, two voting against.


RESOLVED: (seven voted in favour, two voted against) that planning permission is REFUSED for the reasons set out below.


Reasons for the decision


The proposed development would extend beyond the site allocations boundary and would result in the loss of a potential wildlife habitat and biodiversity area.


Supporting documents: