Trial Ground - Planning Meeting 27.06.2018 – Speech by Clive Miller
Land opp Kelways
Good afternoon everyone. As a local resident I previously objected to the development of this land at the outline stage on the grounds that the indicative layout at that time was very likely to result in an inappropriate and adverse impact on the setting of the listed Kelways complex immediately to the north - a distance of 15 – 20 metres away across the road, and also result in the loss of the parallel beech hedges, planted historically as an avenue to line up exactly and deliberately with the historic main entrance to the listed buildings and boundary walls and thus form an integral part of its setting.
I have always accepted that at least part of the site could probably be developed with housing without major harm occurring, but stated that the housing should be set much further back from the Kelways frontage and that the beech hedges should be retained for the most part by routing an internal access road across the site towards its rear southern edge.
Those detailed objections were apparently set aside at the outline stage on the grounds that being an outline application, approval was not being granted for the details, and the layout would have to be subject a further detailed application at which time the heritage and landscape impact could, and would, be considered fully.
Now that those details have been submitted, it is possible to assess the impact, which I consider to continue to raise these main two concerns which have still not been addressed;
1. The buildings still come too close to the Kelways complex, including its listed boundary walls, resulting in an adverse impact on the setting of those heritage assets. I consider that impact to be very substantial when seen from a variety of viewpoints at this site, prominently located at the gateway to the town. It is therefore contrary to all the various national and local policies which safeguard heritage assets from harm. These state that special regard must be had to the need to both preserve and enhance the setting of heritage assets as well as fit with local character.
2. The development will result in the loss of the beech hedges which comprise a very significant and prominent feature in the landscape. This will not meet the terms of Policy EQ2 of the Local Plan which seeks to create quality places, to conserve and enhance the landscape character of the area, to reinforce local distinctiveness and to respect the local context.
The grant of an outline consent does not mean that a reserved matters permission must necessarily be granted for 80 houses or that the whole of the application site should be built on. Having agreed the principle of some development it remains that the details must be acceptable; it is a legitimate matter for the committee to consider whether those details comply with national policies for the protection of heritage assets and with Policy EQ2 of the local plan. In my view they still do not. Thank you.