MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF PYONS GROUP PARISH COUNCIL HELD ONLINE AT 7.30 PM ON TUESDAY 2 FEBRUARY 2021
Present: Mr H. Ray (Chairman), Mrs G. Dickson, Mrs L. Pugh, Mr I. Barber, Mr D. Bowen-Jones, Mr G. R. Vaughan, Mr D. Spooner, and Mr B. Thomas.
In attendance: Ward Cllr. M. Jones; and Mr R. Hewitt, Clerk. There were eight (8) members of the public present, including two members of the neighbourhood development plan review steering group.
2020/152 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Mr R. Murray, Mr M. Perruzza (Vice Chairman), and Mr R. Shubert.
2020/153 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND WRITTEN REQUESTS FOR DISPENSATION
Cllr. D. Spooner declared a comment submitted to the planning authority prior to the meeting in respect of amended and additional plans for 194106 Land to the south of Canon Pyon West of A4110.
2020/154 MINUTES OF MEETING
The minutes of the Meeting held on 5 January 2021 were agreed unanimously.
2020/155 REPORT OF THE WEOBLEY WARD COUNCILLOR
Ward Cllr. M Jones provided a report on Covid 19 in the county. Council tax is likely to increase by 4.99 percent with 3 percent of the increase earmarked for social care. Herefordshire Council is looking for more foster carers. Foster carers are exempt from council tax. The county council has more supported accommodation to help care leavers. Ward Cllr. Jones reported on recent planning applications and reported an incident where drain covers were found open at Canon Pyon.
2020/156 VIEWS OF LOCAL RESIDENTS
The lengthsman was thanked for going out and clearing drains during the recent period of heavy rainfall.
(Cllr. H. Ray left the meeting due to technical difficulties. In the absence of the Vice Chairman, it was agreed for Cllr. G. Vaughan to chair the meeting.)
(Cllr. D. Spooner left the meeting.)
194106 Land to the south of Canon Pyon West of A4110 – The erection of 10 no. dwellings and associated works. Re-consultation on amended and additional plans and/or documents.
Members of the public spoke against the planning application.
The parish council considers that the foul water drainage proposals make an already unsustainable proposal even more inappropriate for the location. The parish council has already set out why the proposed development should be refused in submissions made on 13 January and 10 February 2020, and these are still considered valid and appropriate reasons for refusal.
Turning to the amended plans and documents for foul drainage, the parish council believes that the proposed ‘solution’ has serious technical issues and constraints that make it unviable:
• The proposed sewage treatment works and associated drainage mounds are located to the rear of the development, and at the upper end, near to the rear gardens of existing properties next to the site. The noise and smell from the sewage treatment plant and drainage mounds, which will require pumps to push the effluent up hill, will cause undue disturbance and distress for the residents. In summer, the smell is likely to be worse, and the requirement to have pump(s) means the whole system will have a critical point of failure with the attendant risks to the residents, phosphates pollution of Size Brook and consequent water courses;
• Access will be required to service and repair the proposed sewage treatment plant and drainage mounds, and an ‘agricultural access’ has been partially set out in drawing 1741 P003. Hard standing or tarmac will be required to ensure access for maintenance vehicles during the wet winter months as the soil will be too waterlogged otherwise given the local conditions (and access will be required so that faults and issues can be fixed in a timely manner). Laying such materials will exacerbate the flooding problems already intrinsic to the site and highlighted in earlier submissions. This is because the hard standing will prevent the land absorbing water. As a result, the access road will make existing flooding events both more frequent and extreme and the location of the nearby sewage system will mean an unacceptable risk of pollution events as well as the flood risk to the proposed houses and water blocking the nearby A4110;
• Responsibility for maintenance is not clear. There is no guarantee it will be done properly and if neglected there will inevitably be faults, attendant smells and more pollution incidents; and
• The addition of the sewage plant, drainage mounds and access road/ lane will increase the size of the site significantly, causing irreparable damage to the character and amenity of the local landscape, and removing additional pasture.
In conclusion, the parish council believes there is no merit to the planning application as the site lies outside of the Neighbourhood Development Plan boundary at Canon Pyon and has significant constraints as set out in the earlier submissions, and above, which make it unsustainable. The proposed sewage treatment works and drainage mounds, far from addressing the constraints, would result in more and worse flooding, and introduce new constraints, including:
• Sewage/ pollution incidents caused by the increased risk of flooding from the building of an access lane, and
• Undue noise and disturbance to residents from smells and noise from the pumps and associated machinery.
For these reasons, and as submitted on 13 January and 10 February 2020, Pyons Group Parish Council urges that the planning application is refused.
(Cllr. D. Spooner re-joined the meeting.)
201780 Land adjacent to Saint Mary’s Church, Kings Pyon – Proposed erection of two houses completed with all necessary drainage and extended access drive and turning head. Re-consultation on amended and additional plans and/or documents.
Members of the public spoke against the planning application.
The parish council objects to the proposed development due to the inadequate access and failure to meet key criteria in NDP policies PG7 and PG9.
The proposed access from the public highway (C1092) is too narrow to support the traffic generated by an additional two properties. Believed to be just 2.4 metres wide at the narrowest point, the access lane is narrow for one vehicle, and there are no places where traffic can pass if going in opposite directions. According to Herefordshire Council’s Transportation Department, in their submission dated 5 August 2020, “the threshold for a ‘shared private drive’… is capped at 5 accesses serving no more than 5 dwellings”. Drawing PB2401 shows there are already 5 properties plus the church, each using the shared drive/lane for access (Church House, Claylands Cottage, Pentland, Church Cottage, the Old Post Office and St Mary’s Church). The addition of two new houses will mean 8 properties using the shared lane/ drive exceeding the threshold of five properties.
Residents already living on the unadopted lane report that oil deliveries mean the road effectively is closed for the duration of the delivery and maintain that Herefordshire Council collects refuse from the public highway where the lane joins the C1092. The parish council has been informed by local residents that Herefordshire Council’s refuse vehicles do not use the lane and collect by the C1092 near the post box, which is contrary to the application’s design and access statement: “… the weekly collection of waste takes place by reversing the vehicle onto the unadopted road…”.
Widening the access lane is not an option as there are private properties along one side and the other side is the wall with the adjacent Grade 1 listed church. It is understood that the proposed access was a dirt track until 20 years ago when local residents paid for it to be metalled and the access lane has remained unadopted to this day. The ownership of the lane and rights of access are understood to be disputed by local residents.
The problems caused by additional traffic using the inadequate, narrow, unadopted access lane off the C1092 should be sufficient reason alone for the planning authority to refuse planning.
In addition, the planning application does not meet criteria in NDP policies PG7 and PG9. Based on the comments above, it is clear that the development does not meet PG7 iii), which states that development should not adversely affect the road network in the area, including capacity, and on the living conditions of residents. PG7 v) and PG9 i) state that the amenity and privacy of neighbouring properties should not be adversely affected. The height of the site means the proposed dwellings will be overbearing relative to the lower neighbouring properties and overlook the existing dwellings. It will also adversely affect the setting of the Grade 1 listed church (PG7 vii).
The proposed site is on a greenfield site which extends unreasonably beyond the depth of neighbouring buildings (PG7 iv) and takes away a green space that contributes to the character of the village (PG7 vi).
Paragraph 126.96.36.199 of the Pyons Group Neighbourhood Development Plan states that: “Kings Pyon is a less sustainable location for development than other settlements within the Group Parish” and goes on to highlight the importance of identifying a local housing need that would “serve the purposes of social well-being”. Pyons Group Parish Council cannot see any evidence in the application of a local housing need at Kings Pyon as required in the NDP. The guidance of 18 percent has been more than met across the group parishes by the Pyons Group NDP.
The scale of the proposed development is unsustainable in the context of the settlement at Kings Pyon. The lack of public transport, shop, public house, village hall or any usual amenity associated with a village (save for the church) clearly shows why paragraph 4.6.5 states: “Kings Pyon does not possess any facilities” and only supports “some limited development” in accordance with criteria in PG7. In respect of public transport, the nearest bus service is at Bush Bank, a 1.5 mile walk along narrow unlit lanes with no pavement (and is appreciably further than the 1.3km highlighted in the application’s design and access statement). In contrast, Westhope is half the distance to the A4110.
Core strategy RA2 states that design and layout for smaller settlements identified in fig 4.15 (which includes Kings Pyon) should demonstrate particular attention to the form, layout, character and setting of the site and/ or contribute to the well-being of the settlement. The application does neither of these and nor does it reflect local demand or make use of a suitable brownfield site.
While there is a proposed foul drainage solution, it does not take adequate account of the topography of the site and proposes to drain towards higher land than the houses, which is clearly impractical and unsustainable. Further, the parish council has been informed that drainage from the site is part of a seasonal water course which eventually joins Wellington brook and so should be assessed in view of the county council’s phosphates policy in respect of the Lugg and Wye catchment areas.
For the reasons set out above, Pyons Group Parish Council urges that the planning application is Refused.
204447 Land adjacent to Arrow Cottage, Ledgemoor, HR4 8RN – Proposed variation of condition 2 of planning permission 182030 (Proposed new dwelling and detached garage) amendments to design – front bay window removed, bed 1 Juliette balcony moved from side elevation to rear gable elevation and some internal modifications including utility external door moved. The planning application was supported.
Herefordshire Council has granted planning permission for 203796 Crown House.
2020/158 CLERK’S REPORT
A report has been received about the coppicing of a hedge on Westhope Common. A response from Herefordshire Council to an enquiry on coppicing a hedge made in 2019 was noted. A draft licence for the mowing of the drainage area by the public open space at Canon Pyon has been requested. The River Lugg Drainage Board have introduced funding for works on waterways within the Board’s area.
The following payments were agreed: Friends of Westhope, donation (£120.00); and R Mills, supply of 50 sandbags (£216.00). A payment to the Clerk, direct mail for Regulation 14 public consultation notice (£277.86) was ratified.
2020/160 FIXED ENFORCEMENT CAMERA ON A4110, CANON PYON
Balfour Beatty have advised that West Mercia Safer Roads Partnership is responsible for fixed speed enforcement sites. A member of the public expressed concern that recent mobile speed enforcement on the A4110 was undertaken on a Sunday.
The parish council resolved to request that West Mercia Safer Roads Partnership install a fixed speed enforcement camera at Canon Pyon.
2020/161 NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT PLAN
The Clerk reported on the Regulation 14 public consultation (1 February-15 March 2021): A notice has been posted to 423 households and placed on noticeboards and the website; a consultation letter has been sent to statutory consultees and adjacent parish councils; and there will be two online NDP Forums in the next week. All documents, including response forms and links to join the NDP Forums are on the parish council website and a small number of printed copies are available on request.
The parish council noted the report and thanked the steering group and Clerk.
2020/162 HIGHWAY SIGNS AT WESTHOPE
The parish council noted that Balfour Beatty have advised that ‘No through road’ cannot be painted on the highway, and junction lining and existing SLOW markings on the highway can be requested to be done as part of maintenance. The following lining will be reported to Balfour Beatty:
• Renew white lines on the road to define the road layout by Holly Lodge as a T-junction; and
• Renew SLOW lining on road by Well Cottage.
It was agreed to request a quotation for the following signage from the highway authority, to be paid by the parish council under community commissioning:
• T junction sign warning of the Holly Lodge junction;
• New Westhope village name signs (x2) to include the tag PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY;
• Sharp bend sign to clarify the direction of the highway by Weedlands;
• Directional sign to mark the direction of Canon Pyon in the Square at Westhope; and
• Directional sign at Kinford junction to include A49, Canon Pyon and Wellington.
2020/163 FOOTPATHS/ HIGHWAYS/ LENGTHSMAN
Cllr. Vaughan, lengthsman coordinator, said the lengthsman has been in regular contact about flooding and drainage and is undertaking the ditching work agreed in the application for the drainage grant. Grit has been purchased from L Evans & Son for the gritting on Westhope Hill that is done by Friends of Westhope.
The parish council agreed to ask the lengthsman to look at what can be done to improve the ditches on the road to the church, and to raise the problem of water flowing down the A4110 off the hill with Balfour Beatty. Ward Cllr. Mike Jones kindly agreed to raise the matter with Balfour Beatty as well.
It was agreed to submit an expression of interest and annual maintenance plan to participate in the lengthsman and P3 footpath schemes in 2021-22. Consideration of the proposal to have a fixed location for storage of sandbags at Canon Pyon and proposal to sell the footpath maintenance equipment was deferred.
2020/164 WASTE COLLECTION POINT, WESTHOPE HILL
The early presenting poster provided by Herefordshire Council will be laminated and fixed to the outside of the collection point at Westhope.
2020/165 COMMUNITY RESILIENCE PLAN – Deferred.
2020/166 FUTURE OF MOBILITY
A response will be submitted by Cllr. G. Dickson.
2020/167 HALC TRAINING SCHEDULE
The training schedule for the period to 31 March 2021 was noted.
2020/168 LEAVE OF ABSENCE
The leave of absence for Cllr. N. Davies was extended for a further six months.
2020/169 MATTERS RAISED FOR NEXT MEETING (no discussion) – Wellingtonia tree at Kings Pyon and other trees believed to have been planted to mark the jubilee year of
2020/170 INFORMATION ITEMS – Noted.
Date of next online meeting: Tuesday 2 March 2021.
The meeting closed at 9.44 pm.