Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Creation of a new pedestrian entrance and path to Nobles Rest (Kendal Civic Society).
Note – All Members of the Planning Committee were considered to have a personal, non-pecuniary interest in this item by virtue of the fact they were Members of South Lakeland District Council and some Members were also Kendal Town Councillors. The Planning Committee Members were not biased or predetermined and remained in the meeting, taking part in the discussion and voting on the item.
Note – The Planning Officer’s presentation displayed at the meeting had been circulated to Members and displayed on the Council’s Website on the day before the meeting.
The Planning Officer presented Planning Application No. SL/2020/0061 which sought planning permission for the creation of a new pedestrian entrance and path to Nobles Rest, Kendal, which was within Kendal’s Conservation Area. The application proposed a new footpath connecting Nobles Rest to the town centre which would be designed to meet the needs of those with mobility restrictions.
The Planning Officer displayed plans and photographs which outlined the proposals and stated that the applicant had described Nobles Rest as a ‘hidden gem’. He outlined the current access points to Nobles Rest and explained that the proposed new access would pass through an enclosed area of woodland. The new access would follow two paths through the trees; one would incorporate steps to navigate the changes in level and the second path would weave its way around the trees and would be free of steps and accessible to those with mobility restrictions.
The Planning Officer drew Members’ attention to the trees within the application site and he displayed further photographs. He explained that the site contained a small group of deciduous trees mainly ash, birch and sycamore. He informed Members that the applicant had indicated that no trees would be lost during the construction of the path, however, that the Council’s Arboriculturalist was of the opinion that some trees would be lost and he considered that the application lacked detail. The applicant had been reluctant to commission a more detailed arboricultural impact assessment at this stage and had asked if the matter could be addressed by a condition on any planning permission granted. The Arboriculturalist had further advised the Planning Officer that although the existing group of trees contributed positively to the immediate character of the area, their overall life expectancy was limited by their constrained growing environment. Furthermore the ash trees within the group were suffering from ash dieback and would have to be removed as soon as their condition presented a safety risk. The Planning Officer advised Members that overall it was considered that there would be short-term harm associated with tree loss, however it was proposed that a condition be recommended which would require further agreement to a landscaping scheme to include new tree planting and retention of existing trees where practicable.
In concluding his presentation the Planning Officer stated that the loss of trees would cause harm to the significance of the Conservation Area, however, it would be less than substantial harm in the terms established by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). In addition the public benefits would be significant, with the proposed path encouraging increased pedestrian access to one of the town’s important green spaces. The Planning Officer concluded that, in the long term, the proposals would certainly preserve, and probably enhance, the character of the Kendal Conservation Area, consistent with the Council’s obligation under section 72(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
The Planning Officer responded to questions raised by Members and informed Members that cycling was prohibited in Nobles Rest and therefore the proposed path was not intended for use by cyclists. In response to a question regarding the adequacy of the current signage, the Planning Officer confirmed that an informative could be included within the conditions.
Note – at this point in the proceedings the Chairman was advised that Planning Committee Member, Councillor Judy Filmore, Ward Councillor for Ulverston West and representing the Green Party, had become disconnected from the meeting. The meeting adjourned at 10.33 a.m. The meeting reconvened at 10.38 a.m., however, Councillor Filmore still having not been re-connected to the meeting, a further adjourned was proposed and seconded. The meeting adjourned at 10.39 a.m. The meeting reconvened at 10.45 a.m. when Councillor Filmore confirmed that she was able to see (where practicable) and hear all Members participating in the meeting and that she had not missed any of the presentation or discussion thus far.
The Planning Officer responded to further questions raised by Members and outlined the opportunities for biodiversity enhancements which included minimising tree loss and planting of replacement trees and new planting which aimed to achieve a net gain in biodiversity.
Members thanked the Planning Officer for the detailed and comprehensive report and the excellent presentation. Members gave consideration to the proposals and were fully supportive of the application. Members acknowledged that the applicant would be required to complete a bat survey of the trees and to submit, as outlined in the conditions, an aboricultural assessment of the impact of the proposed paths.
A motion to approve the application was proposed and seconded and a vote was taken on the application during which all Planning Committee Members confirmed that they had, without interruption, heard the full presentation and discussion on the item and it was
RESOLVED – That Director Customer and Commercial Services be delegated authority to grant planning permission subject to:-
a. completion of a bat survey of the trees and the incorporation of any necessary mitigation into additional planning conditions. If the survey proves that bats are present and that suitable mitigation is not possible in the context of the scheme as currently proposed then the application will be returned to the Planning Committee for further instructions; and
b. the following conditions:-
Condition (1) The development hereby permitted shall be commenced before the expiration of THREE YEARS from the date hereof.
Reason To comply with the requirements of Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by Section 51 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.
Condition (2) The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the following approved plans:
• Location Plan, 468/LP01
• Site Plan as Proposed, 468/SP01D
• Plans Existing & Proposed, 468/01D
Reason For the avoidance of doubt and in the interests of proper planning.
Condition (3) No development shall commence until a soft landscaping scheme has been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the local planning authority. The scheme shall include details of: (i) planting plans; (ii) existing trees to be retained (based upon a further arboricultural assessment of the impact of the proposed paths); (iii) written specifications and schedules of proposed plants noting species, planting sizes and proposed numbers/densities; (iv) an implementation timetable; and (v) a schedule of landscape maintenance proposals for a period of not less than five years from the date of completion of the scheme. Thereafter, the approved landscaping scheme shall be implemented and maintained in accordance with the agreed details and timetables.
Reason To ensure compliance with: (1) South Lakeland Core Strategy policies CS8.6 (Historic Environment) and CS8.10 (Design); and (2) policies DM1 (General Requirements for all development), DM2 (Achieving Sustainable High Quality Design), DM3 (Historic Environment) and DM4 (Green and Blue Infrastructure and Open Space) of the South Lakeland Development Management Policies Development Plan Document.
Condition (4) No development shall commence until a scheme demonstrating an environmental net gain in biodiversity associated with the proposed development, including management proposals for the lifetime of the development, has been submitted to, and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The scheme must be prepared in the context of the relevant advice in the Government’s Planning Practice Guidance and any other relevant best practice, and must incorporate the “Measures to enhance biodiversity” contained within the BIODIVERSITY ASSESSMENT – PHASE 1 HABITAT SURVEY REPORT, January 2020. Thereafter, the site shall be implemented and maintained in accordance with the approved scheme.
Reason To meet the requirements of: (1) policy DM4 (Green and Blue Infrastructure, Open Space, Trees and Landscaping) of the of the South Lakeland Development Management Policies Development Plan Document; (2) paragraph 170 of the National Planning Policy Framework.; and (3) section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.
Publication date: 27/07/2020
Date of decision: 28/05/2020
Decided at meeting: 28/05/2020 - Planning Committee