Installation of a Container to House Electrical Equipment along with a Distribution Network Operator Substation.
(Planning application number: P2020/2459/FUL)
Councillor Poyser, who had declared he would not take part in the consideration of Item B2 left the room for this item.
In the discussion the following points were made:
· The planning officer reported that Paragraph 7.3 should have corresponded with Section 9 and not Section 10 of the report.
· The planning officer stated that four additional representations had been received since the report had been written. The three objections and one submission in support of the application were all from people who had previously submitted representations in relation to this application and there were no new points made.
· The Chair stated that the applicant was appealing on the grounds of non-determination and the application was being considered by the committee so the committee could indicate what its decision would have been, had the applicant not already appealed. The committee’s indicative view would then feed-in the views of members to the appeal process.
· A planning officer stated that there was local concern that Ocado might unlawfully use the site. Enforcement officers were regularly monitoring the site and on the last visit, the site was not being used unlawfully. Enforcement officers would continue to monitor the usage and if unlawful use was implemented, enforcement action would be taken.
· In response to a member’s question about whether the applicant had provided rationale for the application for a substation, the officer stated that the rationale given by the applicant was that it was for existing use and the officer assessment was that it could be required for existing use. In response to concerns that the substation could be required for unlawful use, the legal adviser stated that possible future unlawful use was not a relevant planning consideration.
· A member queried whether, if planning permission was granted, this would enable or add weight to an enabling position in relation to a future planning application for a distribution centre on this site. The legal adviser stated that the decision on this application would not prejudice the decision on any future planning applications for the site.
· A member asked whether the nearby student housing block was designated as a noise sensitive premises and the planning officer confirmed that this was the case for both the student housing block and the school.
· In response to objectors’ concerns about the impact of substations on health, the planning officer stated that environmental health officers had advised that in line with International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidance, there were no health impact concerns about the substation.
· In response to an objector’s concern that the adjacent park would be dug up as part of the construction, the planning officer advised that this was not part of the application and the permission of the council would be required.
· In response to an objector’s concerns about light pollution from the site, a planning officer stated that light fittings on the site had been tested on a previous occasion, and that enforcement action had to be taken to dim the lights. There had been no breach of planning conditions but this had been a nuisance to neighbours. Since enforcement action had been taken, there had been no further complaints.
· A member raised concern that the applicant was not in attendance to answer questions.
· A member raised concern that internal works had already been undertaken.
· Members expressed sympathy with objectors and raised concern about the way in which applications for the site were being submitted.
· The Chair stated that the application had to be judged on its own merits and it appeared to be within lawful use.
That following consideration of the case officer’s report (the assessment and recommendations therein), the presentation to Committee, submitted representations and objections provided verbally at this meeting, the Committee resolved that it would have granted planning permission subject to the conditions set out in Appendix 1 of the officer report should the application have not been appealed to the Planning Inspectorate for Non-Determination.