Penarth Town Council planning committee last night deferred consideration of a planning application to build two four-bedroom detached houses in the grounds of the classic Penarth mansion “The Lindens” in Bradford Place.
When the application came before the committee last night, the committee chairman, Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell), said he had personally visited the site and found that the submitted plans bore “very little resemblance” to the actual site.
Cllr Thomas said the submitted drawings showed “rolling lawns” which did not represent the reality of the site. He proposed that the committee carry out a site visit to The Lindens before discussing the application and making a decision whether or not to recommend approval.
However a local resident Mr David Burnett, who objects to the scheme, attended the committee meeting and said that he would like to address the committee. Mr Burnett said his house was “at the bottom of the site” and had been the first and only house permitted by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to be built on the site. [ The Vale of Glamorgan Council used to own the site ]
Mr Burnett was concerned that the ultimate Vale Council decision on the new application appeared to be a “officers only” [ delegated] decision but he felt it should go before the full Vale Council planning committee because it was “such a sensitive and important site”. Cllr Thomas told him that was a matter outside the remit of Penarth planning committee.
Mr Burnett went on to remind councillors that a the bottom end of the site there were a significant number of trees which had Tree Preservation Orders placed on them . He said all previous applications to develop the site had been turned down on the basis of the damage that would be caused to the trees during construction. Mr Burnett said that if a house was built there would be “continuing pressure” to remove trees.
Mr Burnett also informed the committee that the site – as delineated by the developers – appeared to cover 33% more land-area than actually appeared in Land Registry records. The developers seemed to have included land which is already owned by Lindens residents, including an access road to some of their properties. He recommended that the Vale Council should reject the application as “totally unsuitable for that site”.
Cllr Thomas told Mr Burnett that he expected that the application would be “called-in” by a Vale of Glamorgan Councillor so that it would be discussed by the full Vale Planning committee.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) who is a “twin-hatted” councillor who is also a member of the Vale planning committee said his intention would be to “call in” the application if the Vale delegated planning officer dealing with it was “minded to approve” the proposal. Cllr Roberts also said he would also ask for an official “site visit” [ by the Vale Planning committee].
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said he was “a bit confused” because the Penarth Planning Committee had agreed to defer discussion of the proposals pending its site visit “so why” – he asked – “are we discussing it now?“.
Cllr Thomas ( in the chair) said “we’re not discussing it – we’re discussing the site visit”
Cllr Wilson said the committee had got to be careful. He said that if Penarth planning committee conducted a site visit “it might come back to this committee after the site visit”.
Cllr Thomas said the discussion of this application could be adjourned and resumed on location at the site visit itself . Cllr Wilson disagreed and said the discussion should be held in the council chamber .
Cllr Roberts said the procedure of adjourning the committee discussion and continuing it at a site visit had been invoked in earlier cases. The meeting could be completed at the site visit, he said.
Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said councillors had been given “inaccurate plans” and pointed out that the house belonging to Mr Burnett [ the member of the public who had spoken at the meeting] was not even shown on the applicant’s plans but was shown on the Land Registry plans .
Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said the committee had a local resident attending the meeting who was “very very concerned” . Cllr Williams said “I think we should put his mind at rest” . The decision on the application would, he said, not be made by Vale Council planning officers. Cllr Williams said committee members had information that the ownership of the land as recorded in the Land Registry did not tally with the developer’s drawings. A site visit would give councillors the “right information to make the decision”.
Cllr Thomas adjourned further discussion of the proposal for the development at “The Lindens” to the site visit.