Agenda item

22/P/01846 - Westfield, Ockham Road North, East Horsley, Leatherhead, KT24 6NU


The Committee considered the above-mentioned full application for erection of a pair of semi-detached dwellinghouses, new access, landscaping and parking.


The application had been referred to the Planning Committee because it was called in by a Ward Councillor under the historic 7-day notification process.


The Committee received a presentation from the Senior Planning Officer, Morgan Laird.  The site adjoined ancient woodland to the rear of a site of nature conservation importance.  It was also well surrounded by residential development, located within the identified settlement boundary of East Horsley and outside of the boundaries of flood zones 2 and 3.  The proposed access was via Ockham Road North and would have two passing bays incorporated. 


Part of the house included a large area of glazing to the rear, but this would be orientated towards the ancient woodland.  Ecological reports were in place and the Surrey Wildlife Trust had not objected to the application subject to conditions.  The right-side elevation of the properties would face towards the dwellings that had been recently constructed at Kirkwood and therefore the two first floor windows would look towards the gardens of those properties.  To mitigate the potential for overlooking, a condition was recommended for those windows to be obscurely glazed.  The proposed dwellings when compared to the dwellings to the rear at Kirkwood were marginally taller at 200mm, but given their separation distance, this was not considered significant.


Whilst the dwellings were located outside of flood zones 2 and 3,  a safe means of escape would be provided as demonstrated by the Emergency Flood Escape Route Plan.


Permitted development rights were also proposed to be removed by condition as the development was with the 15-metre buffer zone from the ancient woodland.  Consultation with the Surrey Wildlife Trust had been extensive and resulted in a Great Crested Newt Management Plan along with a series of ecological reports. 


Planning officers considered that the proposed development would not result in harm to the character of the area.  Whilst it was acknowledged that the dwellings were set back from the existing building line, the dwellings were located outside of the flood zone and the proposal would not have a harmful impact upon neighbouring amenity or highways.  The application was therefore recommended for approval.


The Chairperson permitted the Democratic Services Officer to read out the Ward Councillors three-minute speech as Councillor Catherine Young was unable to attend.


The Committee noted concerns raised regarding the proposed development’s proximity to flood zone 2 and that by moving the dwellings further into the site would not minimise the risk factor.  Local planning authorities should ensure that flood risk was not increased elsewhere by introducing a pair of semi-detached houses and increased levels of hardstanding.  The proposal therefore failed the test of the Local Plan.  An emergency flood plan would not satisfactorily address the issue of flooding overall.  Concern was also raised that the Environment Agency had not been consulted. 


The proposal would also harm the local character and introduce a new type of built form of semi-detached houses into an area characterised by large-detached houses.  The proposal would also have a long narrow access way which would not be in accordance with Policy D8 of the Local Plan.  Its entrance was directly opposite a primary school which should be regarded as a sensitive location.  If the application was approved, the movement of construction traffic should be restricted around school pick-up and drop-off time. 


In response to the concerns raised by the ward Councillor, the Senior Planning Officer, Morgan Laird confirmed that the proposal was supported by a Flood Risk Assessment which was undertaken as part of the consultation.  It was maintained that it was not a requirement to consult with the Environment Agency owing to the dwellings being located outside of the flood zone.  In relation to the concerns raised regarding the proposals effect upon the character of the area, it was noted that there were already a number of semi-detached properties located close by and therefore the proposal was consistent with the character of the area.  Lastly, the County Highway Authority had not objected to the application, subject to the imposition of conditions.


The Committee discussed the application and noted that the garden on which the development was proposed was large.  The land was inset and not Green Belt and therefore no reason could be identified to refuse the development proposed. 


The Committee noted the ward councillors concerns regarding construction traffic and queried whether the hours of construction could be restricted during pick-up and drop-off times for the local school.  Planning officers confirmed that condition 3 related to an Environmental Management Plan which would address this issue and in addition a further bullet point could be added to stipulate that delivery times of construction materials would be agreed with the Council. 


The Committee noted further comments that the garden on which the development was proposed was huge and that the impact of two dwellings on this land was fairly minimal and was an effective use of the space.   It was queried whether the flood risk assessment had considered climate change which was confirmed by planning officers that it had been.  It was also confirmed that the S106 Agreement would be secured with the applicant to ensure the necessary contributions to mitigate the harm on the Thames Basins Heath Special Protection Area (TBHSPA).  It was lastly confirmed that construction workers had to abide by the construction badge which obliged them to collaborate with the local community in order to minimise any disruption caused by their activities.         


A motion was moved and seconded to approve the application which was carried.



















Cllr Richard Mills





Cllr Yves de Contades





Cllr Howard Smith





Cllr James Jones





Cllr David Bilbé





Cllr Vanessa King





Cllr Cait Taylor





Cllr Lizzie Griffiths





Cllr Bilal Akhtar





Cllr Gillian Harwood





Cllr Stephen Hives





Cllr Jason Fenwick





Cllr Sue Wyeth-Price










In conclusion, having taken consideration of the representations received in relation to the application, the Committee;


RESOLVED to approve application 22/P/01846 and that delegated authority be granted to the Executive Head of Planning Development to approve planning permission subject to a Unilateral Undertaking securing SANG and SAMM for Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area and associated conditions. 


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