The planning application was for the demolition of a timbre pavilion at Peterborough City Lawn Tennis Club, Park Crescent and the erection of two detached “Prestige” homes.
The main considerations set out in the reports were:
· Planning History
· Replacement Tennis Facilities
· Siting, scale and design
· Impact on residential amenity
· Impact on the character and appearance of the Conservation Area
· Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
It was officer’s recommendation that planning permission be granted, subject to the conditions set out in the report and a legal agreement for the provision of the replacement tennis facilities.
The Head of Development and Construction provided an overview of the application and raised the following key points:
· Previous applications on this site had been refused because of issues arising from the provision of replacement tennis courts.
· The most recent application was approved, with a condition attached that restricted occupation of the proposed dwellings until a time after replacement tennis courts were completed and operational.
· This condition resulted in developers being reliant on third parties. As such, no finance had been granted to the developers.
· Sports England had been approached regarding the matter and were happy with a new approach. It was now proposed to omit a placing restrictive condition regarding replacement courts on the development, and instead enter into legal agreement for these provisions.
· Concern had been raised by Ward Councillors regarding the two separate access points proposed. It had been suggested that a single access point would be safer and more appropriate.
· The Highways Authority had requested for each access to have sufficient visibility splays for pedestrians, as the site was located near pedestrian heavy areas.
· Planning officers did not consider pedestrian visibility splays to be necessary, given the nature of the proposal.
John Dadge and Bill Skead addressed the Committee in support of the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:
· The proposal was similar to the previously granted permission and was reflective of the surrounding area.
· The construction of the developments was planned to take place as soon as possible to release the funds to provide replacement tennis courts.
· Two separate access points had been proposed as the two dwellings were “prestige” in nature. The access points would be similar to the current situation and the majority of the hedging would be retained.
· The proposed legal agreement was already drafted and it was hoped that the tennis courts could be provided within a few months.
The Committee were pleased with the proposed solution to the issues regarding replacement tennis courts. Following the Highways Authority’s comments, concern was raised in relation to the width of the access points. The Head of Development and Construction advised that this could be addressed via condition.
A motion was proposed and seconded to agree that permission be granted, as per officer recommendation and an additional condition requiring visibility splays for each access. The motion was carried unanimously.
RESOLVED: (unanimous) that planning permission is GRANTED subject to:
· The conditions set out in the report;
· A condition to keep 2x2m visibility splays above 600mm clear for each access point; and
· A legal agreement which:
1. Required the Lawn Tennis Club to put the money from the sale of the site (less any commitments) in ESCROW and use the money to provide the replacement courts in a reasonable timescale; and
2. Allowed the City Council to access the ESCROW and use the money on the provision of replacement courts in the event that the Tennis Club fails to do so.
Reasons for the decision
The existing planning permission could not be built because the planning condition stating that no house can be occupied until the replacement courts are provided was preventing the scheme from obtaining finance.
Whilst it had previously been rejected by planning committee and at appeal because of the issue of uncertainty about the delivery of replacement courts, using a legal agreement rather than a planning condition must be looked at again as it was the only solution that was likely unlock the situation. Whilst not ideal given the potential risks, it appeared that it was the only viable solution and therefore officers were recommending approval of the application subject to the owner/applicant entering into a legal agreement for provision of the replacement tennis facilities.
With regard to the other aspects of the development, the proposal was acceptable having been assessed in the light of all material considerations, including weighing against relevant policies of the development plan and specifically:
· The redevelopment of the site with the 2 houses proposed was considered to be acceptable on this site.
· It was considered that the work would preserve the character and appearance of this part of the Park Conservation Area.
· It was considered that there would no unacceptable impact on the residential amenity of neighbours.
· It was considered adequate replacement tennis facilities could be secured by Private legal Agreement.
· The proposal was therefore considered to be in accordance with the NPPF, and Policies CS16, CS10, and CS17 of the Core Strategy, and Policies PP02, PP03, PP04, PP12, PP13, PP17 and PP16 of the Planning Policies DPD.