Agenda item

LONG LEE LANE, LONG LEE, KEIGHLEY - 20/05577/FUL

The Assistant Director, Planning, Transportation and Highways will present a report (Document “BE”) which explains a full application made for the demolition of dwellings and farm buildings and the construction of nine dwellings with associated landscaping and access road at Long Lee Lane, Long Lee, Keighley.

 

Recommended –

 

That the application be approved subject to the conditions set out in the technical report at appendix 1 to Document “BE”.

 

(Mark Hutchinson – 01274 434741)

Minutes:

The Assistant Director, Planning, Transportation and Highways presented a report (Document “BE”) which explained a full application made for the demolition of dwellings and farm buildings and the construction of nine dwellings with associated landscaping and access road at Long Lee Lane, Long Lee, Keighley.

 

The Assistant Director gave an overview of the application which was detailed in the report, showing photographs of the site and the adjoining area, as well as the elevations and an artistic impression of the proposed development.  He also summarised the representations that had been received. He stated that although this application had a relationship with the Redwood Close application, in that the applicant was the same, this application should be considered as a stand-alone application.

 

A late representation pertaining to the safety of road users and their ability to access Long Lee and the site was alluded to.

 

In relation to the presence of bat(s) on the site appropriate mitigation in the form of a licence would have to be applied for by the applicant.  The boundary walls would be retained and it was intended that any boundary treatment would be detailed in a separate submission from the applicant at a later date.

 

In terms of drainage and water run off these were considered acceptable together with the proposal meeting highway visibility requirements.

 

There was no affordable housing element proposed as the houses would be offered on a shared ownership basis to prospective customers, and the application was therefore recommended for approval, subject to the conditions set out in the appendix to the report.

 

In relation to a comment from a Councillor that the Coney Lane bridge was very narrow and that this could have an impact on the development, he ascertained what measures had been undertaken to alleviate this.  In response the Highways Engineer stated that some traffic would turn left to go to Harden or to right to Keighley, however the peak traffic flows were not massive and given the accident record was good in this area, as long as construction traffic was mindful of the low bridge, he did not feel that this development would cause undue highway safety concerns or significant additional vehicle movements.  

 

In response to a question regarding the bat(s) on the site and drainage issues, it was stressed that the presence of bat(s) was covered by separate legislation, and the onus was on the applicant to apply for a licence in order that any bat(s) on the site were protected.  In relation to the issue of drainage, surface water drainage details, flows and discharge levels would be submitted and agreed with the Council’s drainage section and appropriately conditioned upon submission of the details by the developer.

 

A Ward Councillor was present at the meeting and stated that the development in Long Lee and the surrounding areas as a whole must be considered alongside the unsuitability of the road and rail bridges at the bottom of Park Lane where it meets Coney Lane and the dog leg they create. This is one of several sites earmarked for development in Long Lee and they should not be allowed to go ahead without the issue of these bridges being addressed.

 

There was a constraint for many years on building in the area due to the bridges – several sites were earmarked on the housing plan in the mid-1990s, then safeguarded in 2005. The constraint was removed for some unknown and illogical reason in recent years which, is unwise at best as no improvements have been made to those bridges.

 

The Redwood Close site would be the second large development to go ahead in the village in as many years – the other being built currently at Long Lee Lane, locally referred to as the Park Lane development. That development of 61 houses was approved in November 2019. However, after concerns were raised the Committee deliberated over the highway constraints at Coney Lane bridge and decided that further residential developments in Long Lee should be put on hold until these constraints have been addressed. On the decision sheet, it was resolved that a footnote be added that any further development beyond that application would impact on access to Keighley over the Coney Lane bridge. This access application is indeed a further residential development, yet the Coney Lane and Park Lane rail and road bridges are still there, still flooding in the basin, still almost impassable by large vehicles, still being struck by lorries, still creating a dog leg, and still have not been improved. The Ward Councillor urged the Committee to reject the application on that point alone.

 

The latest ecological report, and residents, confirm there is at least one bat living in the barn. The barn was going to be retained in the original plans in 2017, when the preliminary ecological appraisal recommendation said: “It is recommended that the proposed development of the site incorporates a buffer of at least 10m between the farmhouse and barns and construction footprint to avoid any disturbance to bats which could be roosting in these buildings.”

 

In the latest plans the barn would be torn down, which would affect the bat’s protected habitat. The Ward Councillor urged Members to reject this development on the basis that there is at least one bat in that barn and no plan in place to protect it.

 

Long Lee is an area prone to surface water flooding, and water run-off from the field already flows into the back gardens of homes on Long Lee Lane and Linden Rise. The capacity of our sewers in a time of climate change and increased water volume is already a concern without adding a whole new estate’s run-off into them.

 

In the reports and submissions, Yorkshire Water and our own drainage specialist at the council were against the solution to waste water that has since been accepted. The site slopes at a steep angle on to the main route from Long Lee and surrounding villages into Keighley. Getting the drainage wrong will cause the council and other organisations major headaches regarding surface water flooding, gritting and ice, as well as mud on the road from any development, as we have learnt from the development further down Long Lee Lane.

 

Adept wrote the drainage strategy, and included an inspection and maintenance schedule in it. Who will be carrying out these inspections and making the repairs? Who is paying for them? And, crucially, will new home owners have the costs of repairing any faults, or will it be the council? Have our council gullies, clean team and been informed of the expectations laid out in the report.

 

In response to the issues raised by the Ward Councillor the Assistant Director stated that notwithstanding the issues that had been flagged up regarding the Coney Lane bridge, the two applications before the Committee would in total result in 41 houses being built which was a net reduction of 4 houses to the previous number proposed at outline stage for the Redwood Close application.  In addition, concerns around the Coney Lane bridge had been looked at over many years.  In relation to the bat(s) again as had been previously outlined, mitigation measures would have to be put in place by the developer, by law.

 

Another Ward Councillor spoke on objection to the application and stated that he agreed with all the points his fellow ward councillor had raised, and would now like to move on to issues with the design of the proposed development. Five gardens are within the overhead cable easement boundary, which is not acceptable. Concerns that the walkway leading between the two sites opens on to open grassland in the south. The ecological survey has advised to limit lighting and ensure it does not disrupt habitats, so as a result there is concern about safety, and anti-social behaviour.

 

However, the application says lighting is “to be specified”, which is an issue for the reasons already mentioned, and also because the council is about to invest millions of pounds in an LED lighting scheme. If the lighting in this scheme does not match the council’s plans, new residents to the scheme would potentially have to pay to upgrade them for the development to be adopted, or we’ll adopt it then the taxpayer would have to foot the bill of any upgrades. He urged that if this application is approved, that Members include lighting plans as a condition, with the council street lighting team and the police as consultees.

 

He also echoed the concerns of the police regarding plots 34 and 35, which do not seem to have been taken into account in the updated site drawings.

 

Regarding the grassland meadow, who is going to maintain this? Who is paying for it? The police have also raised these queries as potential issues. That the site plan shows mature trees when there are that many on the site, but that is an aside, it looks like a wasteland.

 

As someone who share’s my Ward Councillor’s passion about the climate emergency, I know there should be an EV charge point for every parking bay. EV charge points are not marked on the site drawings despite them being a condition of the previous application. This is of particular concern where the parking areas are away from the house as electricity supply will need to be provided.

 

Drilling has already taken place on the land, which caused land movement. One resident’s patio cracked the day the drilling took place, and a crack appeared on someone else’s house. They are genuinely worried about sink holes due to the old mineshafts under the land, and they are seeking clarification from this committee about where they stand legally if their houses are damaged as a result of this development.

 

They also make a good point that an incinerator may be built in Marley, at the bottom of the valley below Long Lee. Residents feel that the area may become far less popular as a result and wonder if people would even buy these houses?

 

The setting out of the application as two separate sites has been confusing, and the few people who did receive a letter or information about the plans did not realise there were two separate applications. So people living at the bottom of the site thought there were only nine houses in the new scheme – a vast improvement on the 45 originally proposed, and presumably reduced in size due to the access being turned down last time. The same could be assumed by the few people on Redwood Close who got a letter. Incidentally, that did not include the elderly resident whose house is directly beside the access entrance. The north site even bleeds on to the Glen Lee Lane application, as the gardens of plots 9-12 can clearly be seen on the lower site plans. Planning officers should take this feedback on board, as splitting it into two applications has been perceived by residents to have been allowed “by the back door” with minimal scrutiny.

 

A wide scale public consultation was undertaken at outline planning stage, but the access application was rejected for very good reasons, and the design of the site has changed considerably from the original indicative proposal. It demands consultation. The offer in the statement to give people the chance to comment after an application has been passed is, quite frankly, contemptuous.

 

In response the Assistant Director stated that the issue of the overhead cables had been looked at; however, any diversion would be expensive and it was intended that these would remain in-situ.  It was confirmed that there would be a footpath link between the two sites and that the lighting would be installed to the Council’s current standards for street lighting. In terms of the advertising and the confusion around it, it was stressed that the two applications had been submitted by the applicant in good faith, notwithstanding that a previous outline permission had been granted for the Redwood Close site.

 

An objector was present at the meeting and stated that the original application for 45 houses has now been split into 2, this development of 9 houses and another 32. However, as the plan is fundamentally the same, it appears this is purely a means of bypassing the original concerns and decisions made in respect of access.

Although the original application was approved in 2018, this is the only opportunity we have had to put our concerns forward to the planning committee. Despite our objections at the time, the previous decision being made without any notification to interested parties that would have enabled us to make representations direct.

Not only is this land unsuitable for housing, but the proposed number of dwellings is excessive for the area involved – it exceeds the development further down Park Lane. The design of the housing is totally out of keeping with adjacent properties which are a mixture of bungalows and 2 storey houses, not 3 storeys. This is itself a change to the 2018 proposal.

We already have problems with antisocial behaviour, particularly from youths from outside Long Lee/Thwaites Brow. We are more isolated as we are farther away from town, with less police patrols. There are already a number of snickets and dark areas between houses which encourages litter and burglaries; additional housing is going to exacerbate this, potentially creating a no man’s land in some places in the new development.

Due to the large number of bungalows in the area, a large % of the residents are elderly so will cause additional anxiety and suffering to these vulnerable people in particular.

Long Lee is historically and predominantly a rural area, surrounded by open moorland, fields and farmland. It is vital that the integrity of this is maintained and preserved. Long Lee is essentially a village environment, not a suburb of the heavily populated and built-up urban development of Bradford. Open space rather than built up areas is the ethos of Long Lee/Thwaites Brow and this environment and status must be protected for current and future generations. 

The area in question is an extremely steep field, water runs down here and pools in the lower part of the field. There was a small amount of drilling done last year to assess the quality of the land, potential for flooding, boggy areas etc. But this was done in the summer, during a particularly dry period so the findings are not representative of the reality. If housing is built here flooding is likely to those houses and existing adjacent houses.

What will be the impact of the building work, digging deep trenches etc – just the drilling I mentioned has damaged some properties. Cracks have appeared in patios.

What will be done to avoid this and to rectify any damage caused during or after the building work? What guarantee will be made that the cost of any repairs needed will be covered by the builders or council, not residents as house insurance policies will not cover this.

What measures have been taken to mitigate the possibility of subsidence in this area.

Where are the main utilities to be brought into the site from? Original plans showed a substantial amount of digging would be needed on Redwood to bring a water supply in.

How will the additional sewerage and rain water runoff be taken away – can the drainage/sewers cope? We have been led to believe these are already at capacity.

Building on this site will also have a detrimental impact on wildlife. There are bats in the deserted buildings and a number of owls have been seen and heard.

Affordable housing will attract young families. Whilst 9 houses will not greatly impact local schools, the full intended development will. Planning documents refer to a number of other available schools. However, none are within reasonable walking distance, particularly for primary school age children.

 

A further objector was present at the meeting and stated that any increase in road traffic access at the proposed entrance to the development site would pose a threat and danger to road and pedestrian users. The entrance is situated below the junction of Long Lee Lane and Harden Rd. Traffic approaching the entrance from Keighley has to effectively slow down for the junction and take an inside bend. I note that the Council previously preferred access at Redwood Close for the adjacent site development as a result of this. I cited in my previous objections 17/02809/MAO Land at Redwood Close that the Transport Statement stated that “there will be added pressure on the roads from increased vehicle use especially at peak times”. Statistics that were presented to support the application were out of date (2011) and thus inaccurate.  A further Road traffic survey was undertaken in the summer of 2020. These findings are even less a true reflection of normal traffic usage due Covid-19 travel restrictions (reduced work travel and school traffic). As a resident of more than 30 years I can assure the Council that road traffic has increased substantially (more so than the 20% guided by the DoT over the past 10 years). There has also been a number of vehicle incidents / collisions. The majority of which go unreported to the local Police. Hence, inaccuracy of statistics used. If the proposal was to go ahead there would need to be some measure of traffic reduction / calming such as a 20 mile zone and / altered junction. All of which would incur considerable cost. Additionally, Long Lee is at a significant elevation to be adversely affected by winter weather conditions which directly affects traffic.

What do the Council and/ or developers envisage to ensure the safety of local residents and road users?

What measures would be undertaken to protect and support the bat population.

In relation to the points raised by the objectors, the Assistant Director stated the type of housing in Long Lee was mixed and the proposed two storey dwellings would not be out of keeping.  In relation to the issue of anti-social behaviour, he stressed that the footway was necessary as it would provide a link between the two sites and therefore a balance had to be struck.

In terms of the protection of any bat(s) on the site, the Highways Engineer stated that street lighting could be altered so that the bat corridor is not affected.  In relation to the concerns raised regarding the Coney Lane Bridge in terms of the congestion, impact on the bridge and the upgrading of, it was stressed that it could be an issue that could be looked at by the Area Committee as suggested by Members, however it was not deemed appropriate to make a specific recommendation to the Area Committee, however the minutes of this Committee could be communicated to the Chair.

The applicant’s agent was present at the meeting and stated that the over the two schemes 28 houses would be offered as affordable rented accommodation, the remaining 13 on a shared ownership basis.  That a combined application had not been submitted as outline planning permission had already been granted on the Redwood Close site.  That both schemes would be delivered imminently and that detailed landscaping and open spaces were proposed.

The Chair stated that the provision of EV charging points should be conditioned.

In relation to the issue of damage to a patio, the applicant assured Members that the site team will deal with any issues raised by residents during the construction phase.  In addition, a bat survey would be done in accordance with the legislation.

A number of Members were minded to refuse the application on the grounds that the development would be detrimental to local residents by virtue of incomplete consultation; issues raised regards bat(s) on the site should be addressed prior to construction; highways concerns/issues affecting the Coney Lane bridge.  However, in the absence of substantiating valid planning grounds to refuse the application, it was therefore:

Resolved –

 

That the application be approved subject to the conditions set out in the technical report at appendix 1 to Document “BE”, together with the following additional condition:

 

(i)           Before the date of first occupation, each house of the development shall be provided with access to a purpose built EV charging point.  The charging points shall be provided in accordance with a scheme submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The scheme shall meet at least the following minimum standard for numbers and power output :- a Standard Electric Vehicle Charging point (of a minimum output of 16A/3.5kW) provided at every residential unit that has a dedicated parking space and/or garage. Buildings and parking spaces that are to be provided with charging points shall not be brought into use until the charging points are installed and operational and shall be retained thereafter.

 

Reason: To facilitate the uptake and use of low emission vehicles by future occupants and reduce the emission impact of traffic arising from the development in line with the council's Low Emission Strategy, policy EN8 of the Bradford Local Plan and National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

 

Footnote: That it be drawn to the  applicant’s attention the requirement to make an application for a licence regarding the bat(s) on site.

 

ACTION: Assistant Director Transportation Design and Planning

 

 

 

 

Supporting documents: