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Southwell Town Council set to debate planning application for land at The Vineries, Lower Kirklington Road, again after objecting twice

Boundary disputes, tree removal and overshadowing houses are all set to be debated as a hotly contested planning application comes back before a council.

Plans for land to the rear of The Vineries, off Lower Kirklington Road, last came before Southwell Town Council on March 6 — and the authority continued to maintain its objections over persisting privacy fears.

It is set to be discussed again by councillors this evening (April 3).

The site plan as of March 18, 2024. Credit: White Ridge Architecture/Cameron Homes.
The site plan as of March 18, 2024. Credit: White Ridge Architecture/Cameron Homes.

The application - by Cameron Homes Ltd, Sir John Starkey, Keith Maxey, Katherine Maxey, John Judson, Ann Judson, and Richard Mullard - proposes a mixture of detached, semi detached and terraced properties and bungalows, with associated green spaces and children’s play area.

The site was granted outline planning permission for 45 homes, and an access to be created with a mini-roundabout on Lower Kirklington Road, in 2021.

It includes 31 open market homes, eight social rented homes, and six shared ownership homes.

The site seen from Lower Kirklington Road.
The site seen from Lower Kirklington Road.

Housebuilder Cameron Homes’ proposed properties would be brick-built with traditional detailing, have areas of render, Tudor-boarding, traditional canopies and door surrounds and brick garden walls.

The site is former agricultural land, allotments and an orchard, and was included in Newark and Sherwood District Council’s 2013 Allocations and Development Management Development Plan Document — designated for residential use with a landscape buffer on the western boundary with Kirklington Road.

Southwell Town Council had first objected to the reserved matters application in December 2023, as the initial plans for the site saw the five existing properties at The Vineries also connected to the access, meaning it would serve up to 50 homes.

This was rectified in drawings uploaded in February, and the council’s most recent objection was due to inconsistency in plans, design layout, ecology issues, flood risk and highways issues.

A number of neighbours also attended the meeting to raise concerns about the application — including Avondale Lane resident Tim Wendels.

The planned design of the homes. Credit: White Ridge Architecture/Cameron Homes.
The planned design of the homes. Credit: White Ridge Architecture/Cameron Homes.

Mr Wendels’ home was due to be 27m away from the house on plot 33 in the outline application, but in reserved matters drawings was just 12m away from a five-bedroomed house that was more than 25% larger than the previous one.

He claimed the shadow study had “zero credibility” as it showed no shadow would be cast on his property despite his own measurements suggesting otherwise.

A revised drawing has since been submitted by the applicants, with a different house style on plot 33, as well as a new shadow study which again shows no shadow crossing the boundary of the site.

Further concerns were raised by residents of Private Drive, next to the eastern boundary of the application site, relating to the ownership of the historic boundary hedgerow and privacy concerns — which remain disputed.

The proposed site layout as of February 2024. Credit: White Ridge Architecture/Cameron Homes.
The proposed site layout as of February 2024. Credit: White Ridge Architecture/Cameron Homes.

A comment submitted to the planning portal by the developer of Private Drive, ISP Developments Ltd, stated: “This boundary hedge was included within our planning application… we do not see how the same boundary can be part of another application whilst we have been maintaining it along with the residents of Private Drive.”

Philip and Margaret Tomkinson’s comment on the portal added: “Failure to insist on buffer strips and fencing would almost certainly result in two thirds of the 200 metre hedgerow being seriously damaged because it would form the boundary of private gardens and as such would not be protected by the Hedgerows Regulations Act 1997… if the developer’s boundary claim was allowed to stand, then the private home owners would be allowed to remove and replace the hedgerow with any choice of boundary construction.”

Privacy concerns were also raised on damaged areas of the hedge affording a clear view and no security between the site and Private Drive.

In the most recent site plan, submitted on March 18, the hedge remains within the boundary of the application site.

Another resident comment, from Martin and Louise Cooper, also noted there had been an ‘unacceptable’ 22% increase in the number of bedrooms on the site from the outline plan to the most recent drawing — as well as the inclusion of some properties with ‘upstairs studies’.

They also compared the layout of properties to the rear of Private Drive and Avondale Lane — since the outline plan they have respectively increased in size by 50% and 25%, and the amount of copse cleared has also increased.

A further comment was submitted to the portal by Peter Harris, who said: “Most obvious of the issues, is the felling of more trees in the coppice area that separates the larger houses in the lower right hand side of the site plan from the left hand side of the site plan, the RM (reserved matters) application compared with the Outline Plan. The size of the houses in the RM application in this right-hand side area has increased compared with the Outline Plan.

“The RM site plan proposes nine 5 Bedroom houses compared with none in the Outline Plan, whilst the number of 1 and 2 Bedroom houses has decreased. This is inconsistent with Southwell’s Housing Needs Assessment 2022, which states that Southwell does not need more 4 or 5 bedroom houses.

“I strongly object to felling trees in order to build more larger houses that were not in the Outline Plan.”

He also requested that submissions from Newark and Sherwood District Council’s Ecology or Tree Officers be added to the portal. These have not yet been published.

At the time of the previous objection there was an outstanding request from Nottinghamshire County Council as the highways authority for traffic calming measures on the main road of the site.

It also noted a missing turning facility for delivery vehicles, insufficient and improper bin collection points, and incorrect visibility splays.

These appear to have been rectified in the latest drawing, with ‘raised tables’ for speed control added along the main road, but a further comment has yet to be received from the Highways Authority.

At the last council meeting, when the application was discussed, Steve Perry raised concerns about the amount of concrete and hard surfaces included in the application despite the flood risks and suggested the council should be pushing for eco measures such as solar panels and water harvesting.

Gina Adams also raised concerns about the increase in beds and the strain this could put on services.

As the number of new dwellings hasn’t changed since the outline application the NHS has stood by its request for a contribution of £44,190 — and, in this request, made at the time of the outline application, it noted “all practices in the area are working at capacity” and the plan to provide care would likely be “reconfiguration or extension of existing premises or a new build that this S106 contribution will contribute towards”.

In correspondence in February, Southwell Civic Society claimed the planning application was a “muddle of contradictions and inconsistences” and outlined its concerns with ‘inconsistent’ drawings of boundary lines, lacking or unclear buffer strips along boundary hedgerows, and the housing mix failing to meet the requirements of Southwell’s draft Neighbourhood Plan.

What do you think? Should this be passed or rejected? Let us know your views in the comments below…

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