Our Opinion of the Planning Application
Having reviewed the current application, the FOABG Committee had a number of concerns and submitted the following response:
‘The following comments are submitted on behalf of the Committee of the Friends of Ashby Bath Grounds:
1. We note that there is no reference in the Application to the policy requirements laid down in the Ashby Neighbourhood Plan. In particular, the Application is silent on the requirements of Policy S4.1 (National Forest Design Charter), Policy S4.4 (High Quality Superfast Broadband), Policy S4.5 (The provision of electrical car charging points), Policy S4.7 (Biodiversity), in particular there is no mention of the need to incorporate swift or bat boxes, green roofs, wildlife habitats or any reference to additional tree planting to offset the loss of mature grade A trees.
We also note that contrary to Policy H5 of the Neighbourhood Plan there is no provision for ‘affordable housing’ within the proposed development.
2. Developer Contributions: We note that there is no reference in the Application to contributions via a Section 106 Agreement to improvements in local infrastructure. At the very least, given that the development will have a significant impact on pedestrian movement from the South Street entrance of the Bath Grounds into the town centre, a contribution towards the provision of a pedestrian crossing at this point should be negotiated. In addition, we would have expected a commuted sum to be agreed as an ‘Allotment Provision’ in accordance with Policy NE3 of the Neighbourhood Plan.
3. Transport Statement: It would appear that this has been included in the Application in substitution for a ’Travel Plan’ which would have been expected with a development of this scale, is it the Council’s intention to request a Travel Plan?
We note that the criteria used in the Transport Statement to justify the adequacy of the car parking provision for the hotel is in conflict with information provided in the Planning Statement. In particular, the calculations in the Transport Statement are based on a 60 cover restaurant in the hotel whilst the Planning Statement talks about an 85 cover restaurant. Clarification is required on this issue, particularly having regard to the potential impact on car parking spaces for the hotel.
We have some concern regarding the adequacy of parking spaces for the residents, staff and visitors to the Senior Living Block. The 29 spaces allocated appear inadequate for a 45 apartment development of this nature. The ratio of spaces to apartments is significantly lower than the recently completed McCarthy & Stone development which is widely quoted in the Application as justification for this proposed development. We would ask the Council to consider this issue carefully as the viability of the development may be compromised by such a limitation.
The access for service vehicles to the Senior Living block would be via the southern entrance, with vehicles using the Bath Grounds car park as a ‘turning head’, with retractable bollards being used to create the necessary turning area. We believe that this will not be a practical or workable option, particularly when the car park is in full use by the cricket club. We would ask that the Council examine this aspect of the Application very carefully to ensure a solution can be found which does not adversely compromise the few car parking spaces that are currently available on the Bath Grounds car park.
We would also ask that measures are put in place to prevent vehicles parking along the full length of the southern access road.
Clause 3.29 of the Transport Statement states: ‘In accordance with the Leicestershire Highway Design Guide, cycle parking at hotels should be assessed on a site by site basis and the senior living development should provide one cycle space for every five dwellings. Hence a total of 6 cycle parking spaces are provided for the senior living apartments’.
Given that there are 45 senior living dwellings in the development, we suggest that there should be 9 cycle parking spaces provided.
4. Drawing No (08)012B is misleading in that it makes reference to a ‘public car park’ when there is no such provision in the proposed scheme.
The same drawing also indicates that the Listed stone boundary wall which is to be modified and partly rebuilt to create the southern entrance is topped with a fence of some description. We are not aware that this was part of the original wall and as such we do not believe it should be there. In addition, the wall appears much lower than its current height. This issue should be addressed to ensure that the wall is rebuilt to the original proportions having regard to the essential modifications to create the access.
5. Lighting and Security: whilst we note that the Applicant states that external lighting will be dealt with through planning detail, we would strongly suggest that the issue of external lighting, CCTV and other security issues are considered in detail and an appropriate scheme incorporated into the Application before it is considered by the Planning Committee. These areas have a recent history of anti-social behaviour and it would be remiss of the Council if they were to allow a scheme which didn’t remove the possibility of this issue reoccurring in the future.'