Fareham Borough Council is expected to receive legal opinion on Friday of next week concerning two issues, both associated with the Cranleigh Road planning appeal decision. The Council would want to take time to consider the ramifications of any possible legal challenges, simply because it is a huge step and has financial implications and therefore patience is necessary while Fareham Borough Council considers the report from its lawyers.
Considerations Fareham Borough Council will need to take into account:
To challenge the award of costs against Fareham Borough Council
Costs Decision / Discussion on the Ministerial Letter
1) Inspector’s conclusion ”IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Fareham Borough Council shall pay to Persimmon Homes South Coast, the costs of the appeal proceedings described in the heading of this decision limited to those costs incurred in dealing with the issue of housing land supply”
I think most of us would disagree with that statement. What is interesting the Inspector in the link above, addresses this now famous Ministerial letter. Very clear the Inspector has read the letter and believes the letter supports his position. The Council believes otherwise. Anyway, worth a read.
2) Legal basis to challenge the inspector's decision.
Paragraph 5 of the inspector's report is interesting:
Following the close of the inquiry, the Supreme Court issued a judgement1 concerning the interpretation of paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework (Framework) and its relationship with Framework paragraph.
The parties were given an opportunity to comment on the implications of this judgement for their cases. I have taken the judgement and the parties’ comments into account in coming to my decision
“Housing applications should be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Relevant policies for the supply of housing should not be considered up-to-date if the local planning authority cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites.” Link to that decision
On another issue
Paragraph 42 of the inspector's report
“Given that the site has been neglected for some considerable time, the presence of the badger sett and the submissions regarding its ecology, it attracts a medium value for its conservation interest
What a disgraceful comment.
44. I understand the concerns raised by residents particularly regarding the impact of traffic on congestion on the wider network and on Hatherley Crescent/Cornaway Lane at school dropping off/pick-up times. The planning application was accompanied by a robust Transport Assessment (TA) the scope of which was agreed with Hampshire County Council (HCC) as the Highway Authority (HA). In light of this study and its findings, the HA and the lpa, subject to the imposition of appropriate planning conditions, have no objection to the proposal on highway safety or traffic generation grounds. I have no reason to disagree with those conclusions
45. In terms of the impact on the wider area, the TA concludes that the capacity of junctions within the study area would not be significantly impacted upon and that the estimated marginal increases in queue lengths would not significantly impact on the operation of the highway network. Congestion occurring at school drop off and pick-up times is restricted to short periods of the day and occurs only on weekdays during term time. Given the location of the site directly abutting the school, the development would be unlikely to generate additional vehicular traffic to and from the school. In my experience, additional traffic generated by the development would only likely to have an impact during the short morning drop-off window. These impacts are not a reason to withhold permission. Ecology
46. The site is located some 350m from the Portsmouth Harbour Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which forms part of the wider Portsmouth Harbour Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar Site. The appellant submitted ecological appraisals and produced an Ecological Construction and Management Plan. Given the proximity of the site to the national and internally designated sites referred to above, there is potential for the development to affect the interest features for which they were designated
47. The appellant submitted to the LPA a Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA), which has been assessed by Natural England (NE). Based on what I consider to be a robust study, the HRA concludes that having regard to measures that could be built-into the scheme and a financial contribution to the Solent Recreation and Mitigation Partnership, significant effects are unlikely to occur either alone or in combination with the interest features of the SPA and Ramsar. In light of these finding, and similar to the conclusion reached by NE, I conclude that an appropriate assessment under the regulations14 is not required. Similarly, subject to the development being carried out in accordance with the details submitted with the application, NE indicates that the development would not damage or destroy the interest features for which the Portsmouth Harbour SSSI has been notified. Again, I have no reason to disagree with that conclusion
48. There is an active badger sett within the site, which the appellant proposes to relocate within the area of public open space to the west. Badgers and their setts are protected by legislation15. Whilst the LPA has no objection to the relocation, the developer would require a separate licence from NE to remove the Badgers. Whilst I note the concerns raised regarding the efficacy of artificial badger setts, they are, in my experience, in common usage and successful. I have no reason, in this case, to conclude there would be unacceptable harm or loss
49. From the representations made both orally and in writing, I am in no doubt that the appeal site is highly regarded by local residents and the adjacent primary school as an ecological resource. The school’s activities in introducing its pupils to the natural world are substantial and nationally recognised. Although the appeal site is privately owned and there is no public access to it, I recognise that the school views the site as a resource and an indirect source for the wildlife that inhabits the school site. Clearly whilst there would be some loss of habitat, this relates to many species that are common and widespread.
50. The proposed area of public open space albeit it would be divorced from the school grounds by a housing estate would be publicly available and could be laid out and managed as an improved ecological resource. Moreover, the tending and maturing of private gardens does provide a range of diverse habitats for a wide range of species. Whilst not a direct replacement the variety of habitats provided by private gardens would mitigate any impact on local ecology
Lost for words?
The Inspector in his report interestingly refers to the “The Navigator” appeal decision. 20th January 2015.
Although this not a surprise because Persimmon Homes refer to The Navigator report in their submitted evidence to the inspector and which formed a critical part of their argument for development at Cranleigh Road. On reading the Cranleigh Road inspectors report it is very clear he supports The Navigator inspectors findings.
Those of us who can remember will know the inspector came under a barrage of criticism for allowing the Navigator’s appeal.
The inspector report on Cranleigh Road says
“The Local Planning Authority was aware during the Navigator appeal in December 2014 that the Objectively Assessed Need - Push Document identified in the 2014 South Hampshire SHMA - Strategic Housing Assessment is materially higher than the Core Strategy - Fareham Borough Council Local Plan - local Plan -part 1."
The decision in the Navigator appeal, which was not challenged, (Keyword there, not challenged) was predicated on an acceptance that 2014 Objectively Assessed Need provided a more suitable basis for a 5-year Housing Land Supply calculation”.
The inspector goes on to say, and this is very important,
“I consider that the 5-year Housing Land Supply should be assessed on the basis of the PUSH April 2016 OAN - Objectively Assessed Need - Push Document"
The Cranleigh Road inspector fully endorses “The Navigator“ appeal decision”
The inspector's decision is due out anytime between now and the 25th August. The link below should be of interest to anyone curious in the Inspector's conclusions.
Residents who have made representations will receive an e-mail informing them of the outcome.
The Inspectors thoughts could have huge Implications for communities across Fareham in the short to medium term. Even if the inspector finds in favour of FBC there could well be ramifications in how Fareham moves forward their housing delivery projections.
On the other hand, the inspector may fully endorse FBC new homes delivery policy.....we wait to see. One thing is for sure, Fareham Borough Council, landowners, developers and residents will be eagerly waiting the Inspectors report. Link to the inspectors conclusions and to his full report will appear here.
Taken from The News article
"The PUSH figures are untested and should not be seen as a final housing target for the local plan. The council is pro-actively pursuing a number of developments with Welborne." Quote byPaul Stinchcombe, representing Fareham Borough Council.
From the Voice for Portchester Facebook page courtesy of Siobhan Paula Fox Houlihan
Cranleigh Road Appeal - update
I was there until 4pm today and it was long, sometimes not understood because of all the legal jargon going back and forth but here is just a round up if interested.
If there is any mistake I make here please let me know and I will edit this post. I don't pretend to know everything going on here and so am only human so am capable of mistakes. Please be kind if I'm wrong!
Welborne Village is well under massive delays in building works.
Make no mistake Welborne is going ahead - but very slowly.
FBC should have in place a 5 year plan for certain amount of houses - according to the government- Persimmon homes are arguing that because Welborne is so far behind you have to put houses up elsewhere. We are effectively taking some pressure off Welborne by building on lands near us.
Lots more applications to build other dwellings in this and surrounding area have been refused and they went through all of them scrutinised why.
So all very technical today. People who have registered to talk and voice their objections (like me) will talk on Thursday afternoon.
But I did leave today thinking - we have no chance. Let's hope tomorrow is a better day.
Hope this is of some help to you.
Snippets from "Fareham - Countryside or More Housing? - The Big Debate" Facebook page
The Council’s arguments seemed a mess, a bit wishy washy, vague. I felt Persimmons QC really had the chap from Fareham on the ropes. I’m hoping today will find out what the developer’s arguments are, go away and tomorrow come out all guns blazing; hmm why don’t I believe that? I expected FBC to do a lot better. There was a lot of technical stuff. I think FBC agreed they were not meeting their housing numbers but then were saying they’re delayed on Welborne but delay was temporary. I wasn’t impressed with the Council and several murmurs and gasps from the public. I know you and Chris Nixon would have been annoyed with the Council. Ps if this application gets through its not Persimmon we should blame. I would lay the blame at the Council’s door
Is it true FBC presented a portfolio/ folder that wasn't even indexed and that got short shrift from the inspector?
Indexed ha! If it was, Donald Duck indexed it. A lot of time was wasted flicking and scrabbling through various appendices and folders, it was farce. Based upon today I would say the developers had the better arguments, were better at highlighting Council failures e.g. the Navigator, they highlighted land at Lockswood centre and I would have expected the Council to have been a darn sight better organised and planned. I hope tomorrow goes better, it could go either way - the teacher from school did a good deputation
It seemed that the Council’s relying on Welborne and they downplayed the delay. Should have an impact on delivery. From what I heard they believed any delay was temporary and the Welborne CPO showed the Council’s commitment to Welborne. Causes for concern Persimmon’s legal team know their stuff and at times I felt they had the Council on the back foot. See what tomorrow brings.
I contacted Cllr's Bell and Walker regarding the letter that came through our doors recently. They had hoped to hear from residents who would be willing to attend and possibly speak at the inquiry. I was informed that although 300 letters had been delivered I was the only person to respond. This is a great concern to all of us who care about preventing infill developments on our precious green spaces. FBC are investing in this appeal by appointing a specialist planning QC and the local Councilors will be stating how opposed residents are to this development but that will look like an empty gesture if there isn't a resident's presence!
Please don't assume someone else will speak on your behalf, as clearly this isn't happening, no residents have come forward to attend or speak. This really is our last chance to make our voices heard and protect this space for the future. Cllr Walker has an inquiry-planning meeting on Wednesday April 19"‘. He desperately needs to hear from residents willing to speak and would like to arrange a pre meeting with those volunteers so that the messages have the greatest impact. Please take the initiative and contact Cllrs Bell or Walker on 02392 384943 immediately and offer your services, even if you do not feel able to speak up you can attend and at least demonstrate your support
Text supplied by Margaret Tolley
Cranleigh Road Appeal - Fareham Borough Council v Persimmon Homes
Persimmon Homes' appeal against the Council's decision to refuse its planning application will be heard by a Government Planning Inspector at a Public Inquiry on 25th April 2017, commencing at 10:00 am at the Council's offices. The appeal is likely to last for four days and residents can attend.
All comments previously made about the planning application have been sent to the Planning Inspector for consideration. If you have something else to say, that hasn't already been said, or if you haven't yet made any comments but would like to, the Inspector will normally allow you to speak.
If you want to speak at the Public Inquiry it is important that you are there when it opens on the first day (25th April) at 10:00am.
It is on the first day that the Inspector will ask if any interested people want to speak, register their names and tell everyone about the timetable and the order the proceedings will take.
Cranleigh Road, Portchester planning application
The amended outline planning application from Persimmon Homes South Coast sought to develop the land north of Cranleigh Road and west of Wicor Primary School
Fareham Borough Council Officers Final,Report to the Planning Committee - Recommendation - Refusal
Link to the original planning application 17 March 2015. The application was completed on 24 March 2016
Key issue - Five year land supply
Persimmon Homes South Coast thoughts on this important issue
Statement of Common Ground - 5 year Land Supply
The appeal dates for this development have been set for the 25th April to the 28th April. The proceedings will be held at the Council Offices starting at 10:00.
Both sides will be using Queen's Councillors so yet again the only real winner out of this will be the legal profession and the inevitable loser will be us, the ratepayers, whichever side wins.
After Cranleigh could this be the next part of Portchester to go?
Persimmon Homes have filed their statements to support their appeal against the refusal to grant permission for this estate. Among their reasons for appeal are the following statements:
Videos are on the videos page
The meeting was very well attended with over 220 people showing interest in what was happening.
It started with a presentation given by Kim Hayler of FBCs Planning Department, Basically it explained what has happened at this particular site in the site and how the appeal made by Persimmon Homes will be handled, time scales how to make representation.
The public were then invited to ask questions to which the chairwoman Cllr. Susan Bell, Kim Hayler and another member of the Planning Team attempted to supply answers. One thing that came out of one of the questions - GPs must make their own representation - is that if we want local services - Education, GPs, even the CCG then they MUST MAKE THEIR OWN REPRESENTATION to the inspector if they want any weight to accorded their views. The inspector will NOT approach them.
In some parts the sound recording is awful, unfortunately one of the microphones that they were using seemed to be playing up, after a little bit of massaging the quality is much better than I had expected except in the Unknown question but the answer was good video. Unfortunatley I couldn't do anything with that.
We have until the 29th of October to submit comments
By snail mail quoting ref. APP/A1720/W/16/3156344 to:
The Planning Inspectorate
Temple Quay Houses
2 The Square
or online at https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk quoting reference 3156344.
So if you wish to make your point you need to start now.
Link to The News article
Still waiting to hear the grounds of the appeal, which is important to know and who the inspector is. Once the inspector is appointed, he or she, will announce a timetable of proceedings.
The timetable will allow members of the public to express their thoughts. Residents should be aware if they have already submitted representations to the council when the planning application was considered by Council officers/ members of planning committee, then those representations will be considered by the inspector and form part of the appeal process.
Once we know the grounds of the appeal residents may wish to revisit their comments and update them. The actual appeal hearings could be some months away.
Developers web site
Looks like Welborne will come more and more into play unless our council extracts their digit the promise about it supplying so many of our future housing needs will prove completely undeliverable.
Quote from BJC's website.
Link to The News article
"With applications and their subsequent appeals for this site going back three decades, it is hardly surprising that people living around the Cranleigh Road area in Portchester
describe the ongoing situation there as a ‘never-ending war.’"
I said that I would resurrect this page if and when Persimmon raised their appeal. Well it seems that time has now come, apparently the appeal was raised yesterday.
During the last Executive Committee meeting the Mayor said that
"We live in exciting times". Trouble is this is the kind of excitement that we could do without.
It will be very interesting to see how hard our Council are prepared to defend their case. If you need to refresh your memory on what went on the original planning meeting the videos are here