• 15 houses at West Hill refused

    7th December 2011 | News | Claire
  • Planning officers had initially recommended the scheme for approval last month.  And then at the last minute the application was withdrawn from the agenda following receipt of a planning inspector’s appeal report for an adjacent piece of land (Eastfield).

    The outcome of the inspector’s report, which dismissed an appeal by Blue Cedar Homes for 50 houses at Eastfield, on landscape quality grounds, was that planning officers considered the application for 15 houses at Westhayes to be subject to the same criteria that the inspector had applied to Eastfield.  In fact, planning officers considered that Westhayes could be described as a more valuable landscape as it is parkland – part of one of the old country estates in West Hill.  It is also adjacent to a public footpath.

    As one of the ward members, I spoke at yesterday’s Development Management Committee meeting.  I welcomed the officer’s report but I asked that another reason be added to the reasons for refusal.  Sustainability.  The planning inspector, David Prentis, who has considered the Eastfield appeal, had stated that ‘residents at the appeal site would be largely dependent on trips out of West Hill to access shops, employment, leisure and community facilities.’ 

    Mr Prentis was also of the opinion that as the bus stop served by most buses was 950m from the site, it was a distance which would discourage bus use.  This issue would be compounded by the frequencies and timings of the service.

    I had to leave the room after speaking for three minutes as I had a prejudicial interest in the application, given that my parents live nearby.

    My request to add sustainability to the reasons for refusal was not taken up, although the committee did unanimously, bar one, vote to reject the application.