Planning application 173385 Land at Newcastle Farm Orcop

Appeal under Section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990

APPEAL REFERENCE … APP/W1850/W/18/3207671

Planning application 173385 … Land at Newcastle Farm, Orcop, Herefordshire, HR2 8SF

Proposed residential development of 3 dwellings

Orcop parish Council strongly objects to the above application because the proposed development of three residential dwellings does not demonstrate compliance with the following Herefordshire Council Local Plan Core Strategy Policies or the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF):

Herefordshire Council Local Plan Core Strategy policies SD1, LD1 and LD4

The above policies set out the key principals in terms of scale, layout and appearance of new development.  In summary these require proposals to demonstrate that the landscape and built environment have positively influenced design, scale nature and site selection.  The setting of heritage assets (including non-designated assets) should be protected and conserved wherever possible and enhanced under CP policy LD4.

The NPPF with its three dimensions to sustainable development (namely economic, social and environmental role) states in paragraph 6 that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, as defined in paragraphs 18 to 219 of the NPPF.

The NPPF confirms the importance and desirability of the significance of assets and, where harm would result, it sets out the relevant tests to be applied.  In the terms of sustainable design, policy SD1 requires new buildings to maintain local distinctiveness through the incorporation of local architectural detailing and materials, as well as respecting scale, height proportions and massing of surrounding development.

The proposal for three residential dwellings by virtue of its design, scale, mass and siting has not taken into account the form of layout, character and setting of the site and its rural location.  The proposal is not considered to make a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the rural location or wider landscape aspects.

As such, the proposed development does not comply with policies RA2, LD1, LD4 and SD1 of the Herefordshire Local Plan Core Strategy or the relevant aims and objectives of the NPPF.

Herefordshire Local Plan Core Strategy Policies SS1, SS4, SS6, RA2 and RA3

The proposed development is contrary to the above policies which seek to achieve sustainable development, as outlined in paragraphs 18-219 of the NPPF 2012.

Herefordshire Local Plan Core Strategy Policy MT1 and the NPPF

The above policy and the NPPF require proposals to provide safe access and demonstrate that the strategic and local highway network can absorb the traffic impacts of the development without adverse effect to the safe and efficient flow of traffic on the network or that traffic impacts can be managed to acceptable levels to reduce and mitigate any adverse impacts from the development.

The proposal is contrary to policy MT1 and the NPPF as the proposed development is accessed off an unclassified single-track road which is so narrow that it is not possible for two cars to pass.  The level of impact with regard to the increased traffic created by the proposed development would have an adverse impact on the road safety of Wilkes Row.

Herefordshire Local Plan Core Strategy Policies SD3 and SD4

The proposed development is contrary to policies SD3 and SD4 of the above, as there are a number of issues relating to “Sustainable Water Management and Water Courses”

Orcop Parish Council concurs with the following issues raised by local residents concerning drainage, water course, springs and sustainable water management:

CESS TANKS

Manufacturers of cess tanks state that the tanks produce bad odours continually from their vents and during emptying (around one hour per 13,500L) adding to what is already a problem in the village. The developer anticipates that the frequent emptying requirements of this system would require 68 tanker visits per annum i.e. more than one visit per week with each visit consisting of a tanker travelling down the single track lane and then taking between 45-60 minutes (with associated odour and noise plus fumes from the pumping operation) to empty the facility and then travelling back down the single track lane.  Taking into account the other 35 properties on Orcop Hill which use septic tanks requiring emptying once every 1-5 years, these three proposed new properties would increase tanker visits to the area by 80%.

The proposed tanks would be installed at a higher level on this steep, sloping site than those of neighbouring properties which would therefore increase the risk of pollution through spillage, leakage or flooding.

It is understood that previous restrictions on cess tanks which were contained in Herefordshire Council’s Planning SuDS handbook were amended at the time of this application so as to permit the use of cess tanks as a last resort in exceptional circumstances.  As cess tanks are not appropriate for close rural communities and these houses could be accommodated elsewhere in the parish, it is suggested that ‘exceptional’ does not apply in this case.

SURFACE WATER DRAINAGE

Surface water is proposed to be channelled into a short ditch at the bottom of the site which has no outlet – the ‘ditch’ is simply an erosion feature in the land.  It is therefore likely that water would flow on to the adjoining property.

DISTURBANCE TO UNDERGROUND WATER FLOWS

Major disturbance to underground water flows is likely to be caused when excavating 5m deep into the clay soil and bedrock for the house foundations and the proposed large tanks. This has been evidenced by several springs erupting from within and outside the site when holes were excavated for drainage tests.

BUILT FORM OF PROPOSAL

There has been no change to the design of the houses which overlook neighbouring properties and present an urban form of cul-de-sac development which is not appropriate for the character of the village.