• Tipton landowner wriggles out of open space pledge

    6th August 2013 | News | Claire
  • The application, from landowner, Taylor’s Catering Foods, was approved last summer, by EDDC’s planning committee.  It attracted dozens of objections from residents as it is proposes building houses on a steep prominent field, on land designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

    The field is outside Tipton’s built up area boundary, but obtained permission via the “exceptions” policy, which allows building outside boundaries providing that the number of dwellings does not exceed 15. Two thirds of the dwellings must be designated as affordable.

    The legal agreement change relates to the amount of public open space provided behind the 15 houses. Previously, the entire top half of the field behind the 15 houses was proposed to be public open space.

    But the applicant has successfully renegotiated this aspect, which means an area of approximately 1.7 acres directly behind the housing element of the field will now be fenced off and not available for public use. The public open space will now only include the very top section of the field.

    When I saw the confidential draft report for the meeting last week I fired off a fairly strong email asking for the decision to be referred to the planning committee, which would mean it was debated in the public domain, as it has obvious implications for the future of the site. 

    However, this request was refused because it is a legal matter, not a planning matter. And officers say that the applicant has already over-provided for the amount of space. 

    Planning officers told me that EDDC could not reasonably refuse the applicant’s request to renegotiate this clause.

    The change is not surprising in the least, however, it is very disappointing and confirms mine (and many other residents) suspicions that the applicant had no intention to build the scheme in the form it was approved in. 

    There were many of us who did not believe that the scheme was viable in its current form. My guess is that it won’t be long before we see a revised application.  I will communicate this to residents if and when it submitted.

    I have confirmed with the planning policy team that following last year’s local consultation process for future housing at Tipton St John, that the boundary around this piece of land will be drawn tightly around the housing element of the existing planning approval.

    This approach will be set out in the villages section of the local plan, which is set to come before the planning committee during the autumn.

    The main part of the local plan has now been submitted to the planning inspector and is expected to be considered by the inspector in November.

    For more information about how the decision was made see – http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/committee_gives_beauty_spot_application_green_light/

    Photograph: The field in question, viewed from Mallocks Close.