Decisions

Use the search options below to find information regarding recent decisions that have been taken by the Cabinet, Cabinet Members and County Local Committees. Also included are key decisions by officers and decisions made by officers under the urgent action procedure. You can also find decisions taken by the full Council and decision-making committees.

Decisions published

09/07/2019 - Planning Application: Waste ref: 694    Refused

Decision Maker: Planning Committee

Made at meeting: 09/07/2019 - Planning Committee

Decision published: 12/08/2019

Effective from: 09/07/2019

Decision:

WSCC/050/18/BK       Erection of replacement dwelling, including acoustic bunds along east, west and side boundaries.  Dan Tree Farm, London Road, Bolney, West Sussex, RH17 5QD.

 

6.1    The Committee considered a report by the Head of Planning Services (copy appended to the signed copy of the minutes).  The report was introduced by James Neave, Principal Planner, who gave a presentation on the proposals, details of the consultation and key issues in respect of the application.

 

6.2    Mr Alan Potter, specialist on waste planning policy on behalf of the applicant, spoke in support of the application.  Mr Potter declared that he recently worked with the County Council on annual reports on construction waste management capacity and the formulation of the current WLP.  The application is compliant with at least five out of nine criteria of Policy W8 of the WLP: it provides clear benefits; involves only material that cannot be recycled or treated and is suitable for the purpose; does not involve unacceptable impacts on natural resources or other environmental constraints, and does not sterilise mineral reserves.  The criterion requiring a genuine need to use waste material is about proposals not being advanced solely on the basis of providing outlets for waste; it should not be construed as a ‘need’.  The bund is not a waste development, it is only being heard as such because of the County Council’s insistence that it is.  The bund may be constructed of material that is not defined as waste.  Regarding criteria for amount of material, the design will minimise the amount used whilst achieving performance in noise mitigation.  The applicant was given no opportunity to demonstrate an identified need for disposal of inert waste.  The County Council itself predicts an exhaustion of recovery capacity in 2019-20, so the assertion that material could be otherwise managed through recovery is not supported by facts.  The application will help meet local needs.

 

6.3    Mr Peter Radmall, author of the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA), spoke in support of the application.  Design of the bunds must strike a balance between acoustic mitigation, the natural terrain, ease of construction and proportion of the residential land used.  Local topography is already extensively modified, mainly due to the A23 and there is acoustic bunding immediately to the south so engineered landforms are already characteristic in the area and the bund would not be incongruous.  Earthworks on the A23 have become densely vegetated and are readily assimilated into the landscape; vegetation on the proposed bund will soften the effect.  The current site contributes little to the character of the area.  The development will not affect the vegetated boundaries which already screen the site.  Development will be most visible during construction.  A planting scheme will be agreed.  Regarding the AONB Management Plan, the site has no bearing on settlements or routeways, supports neither woodland nor heathland and is not part of any historic field pattern, so does not impact on the character of the High Weald.  In terms of natural topography, the bunds may not replicate the natural undulating ridge-line but it remains intact beneath.  The development is of modest scale in relation to the size of the AONB, which local exhibits few of its special qualities in this locality.

 

6.4    Mr Simon Bareham, Director at Lewis and Co Planning, agent for the applicant, spoke in support of the application.  Noise from the A23 means neither the house nor garden will achieve satisfactory noise levels in accordance with World Health Organisation guidance.  Sealed windows and mechanical ventilation will not achieve noise reduction when using the garden; also, mechanical ventilation would increase energy use.  Acoustic bunds would provide a satisfactory residential environment.  The bunds do not need to be constructed out of inert waste but it would make more sense to use waste that would otherwise be diverted elsewhere.  Bunds would be a visibly superior to acoustic fencing.  The Environmental Health Officer recommends approval of the application.  Proposals are supported by numerous reports.  The recommendation is inconsistent in that the neighbouring site to the south [Bolney Park Farm] has an acoustic bund. The proposed bund is on residential land, is shorter, lower and less than half as wide as the bund to the south and it uses less than half the material, and it would result in a 6dB reduction in noise in the garden. The bund at Bolney Park Farm is on agricultural land and produces a 9dB reduction.  The justification for the bund in both applications is to improve acoustic quality.

 

6.5    Mrs Joy Dennis, local member for Hurstpierpoint and Bolney spoke on the application.  The site is higher than the A23, lined with woods and shrubs on the boundary including an Ancient Woodland to the north.  The neighbouring site to the south [Bolney Park Farm] is lower and its existing bund forms part of the landscape.  However, there are other equestrian centres in the area which don’t have bunds and get more noise.  To approve this application would be setting a precedent for other properties on main roads.  Bunds are not attractive in the context of the landscape and ancient woodland and it would take a long time for planting to establish.  The waste from existing building on the site would form only a small part of the 45,000 tonnes to be imported.  It was questioned when a minimal change becomes an overwhelming change.

 

6.6    In response to speakers, Planning Officers made the following points for the purposes of clarification – further points regarding the bund at Bolney Park Farm are noted in minute 6.7, below:

 

·           The existing planning permission for a dwelling was approved without bunds, indicating the noise environment is acceptable.

·           Approved plans of the bund to the south at Bolney Park Farm were shown to the Committee in order to provide context: the slopes are much less steep, bunds are wider, and they follow the linear features of the landscape, including the A23. The current application has much steeper sides, bunds are narrower and on one level. Each development must be considered on its own merits.

 

6.7    During the debate the Committee raised the points below and clarification was provided by the Planning Officers, where applicable:

 

Bunds at Bolney Park Farm

Point raised – Clarification was sought regarding the planning policy regime under which bunds at Bolney Park Farm were approved.

Response – The bunds at Bolney Park Farm were approved in 2012 prior to adoption of the current WLP and the policy relating to the deposit of inert waste to land.

 

Need

Points raised – The fact that the existing planning permission for a dwelling was approved without bunds negates the need to mitigate noise in the interests of residential amenity.  This is clearly disposal of waste because the site is not previously worked.

Response – None required.

 

Impacts on AONB

Points raised – This application is major development and in terms of the AONB it does not meet the exceptional circumstance test.  As to whether the development has a significant impact, because vegetation is not always permanent the bunds will be a prominent feature in the landscape when vegetation is sparse.

Response – None required.

 

6.8.   The substantive recommendation, subject to reasons for refusal as set out in Appendix 1, was proposed by Mr Patel and seconded by Lt. Cdr. Atkins and was put to the Committee and refused by a majority.

 

6.9    Resolved – That planning permission be refused for the reasons set out in Appendix 1 of the report, as agreed by the Committee.

 


09/07/2019 - Planning Application: Waste ref: 693    Refused

Decision Maker: Planning Committee

Made at meeting: 09/07/2019 - Planning Committee

Decision published: 12/08/2019

Effective from: 09/07/2019

Decision:

WSCC/004/19/RW     Extension to the restoration of the former claypit, including the remodelling of the existing landform to enable a change of use to agricultural land (permanent pasture), internal traffic management improvement measures and a proposed scheme of landscaping improvements and ecological enhancement.  Rudgwick Brickworks, Lynwick Street, Rudgwick, Horsham,
RH12 3DH.

 

4.1     The Committee considered a report by the Head of Planning Services, as amended by the agenda update sheet (copy appended to the signed copy of the minutes).  The report was introduced by James Neave, Principal Planner, who gave a presentation on the proposals, details of the consultation and key issues in respect of the application.

 

4.2     Mr Chris Whitehouse, NextPhase Development Ltd, agent for applicant. spoke in support of the application.  The robustness of the committee report and grounds for refusal were questioned.  The only technical assessment of landscape is the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA), submitted as part of the application; this is not acknowledged or referenced in the Committee Report, however, it notes that the impacts on landscape and visual receptors will be temporary and restoration will provide beneficial change including a cohesive landform, an increase in tree cover and improved views.  There is no justification or reason as to how and why the Planning Officer has drawn an alternative conclusion.  Mr Whitehouse stated that the application is restoration and clearly accords with each of the nine criteria for Policy W8 of the Waste Local Plan (WLP).

 

4.3     Mr James McClean of Restoration to Agriculture (for the landowners, the Harrison family), the applicant, spoke in support of the application.  The project is a gigantic recovery plan for 20 acres of abandoned, former clay pit and restoration of land to agricultural use to sustain existing farming operations.  Only 23,000m3 of the 85,000m3 of inert waste mentioned in the report (25%) will be infill to steep agricultural land, which is dangerous in some weather.  75% of the application deals with topographical changes, ecological enhancements and traffic improvements within the existing extant site, which is where the rest of the imported material will be placed.  The LVIA concludes the final landform will enhance views across the new meadows.  Woodland is already threatened; 16 trees have Ash Die Back and will have to be removed.  Bat surveys and checks have not noted bats in the 20 trees in the current woodland shaw; but mitigation measures and ecological enhancements have been developed anyway.  Contrary to the Planning Officer’s opinion, the applicant will use only the minimum amount of material necessary to achieve the objective; there will be no doming or mounding.  Operations have been conducted for 4-years with no complaints or statutory interventions.  The applicant has worked successfully with the liaison group and local community.  The Parish Council and Rudgwick Preservation Society support the application.

 

4.4        Cllr Richard Landeryou, Horsham District Councillor for Rudgwick and a Rudgwick Parish Councillor (formerly Chairman during the first three years of the infill of the clay pit), spoke in support of the application.  The landowners, whose farm is adjacent to the old Rudgwick Brickworks, have spent the last 4-years infilling the clay pit to return it to pasture for grazing.  The adjacent land/field contains a steep slope where it meets the reclaimed land – it is a health and safety hazard for turning tractors and is unfarmable in some weather conditions.  The proposal will eradicate the slope, bring it to the same level as the restored field and seamlessly joining the two fields, thereby bringing it back to agricultural use.  Removal of trees, most with Ash Die Back, will be mitigated by strategic planting along the existing hedgerow and a new area of woodland, resulting in a net increase in tree numbers.  Wetland will be enhanced.  Farming operations will no longer need to use Lynwick Street; a benefit to residents and road users.  The liaison group has addressed the original concerns about infill operations and traffic movements.  The application is supported by the Parish Council and Rudgwick Preservation Society.  There are no substantial or technical objections, subject to replanting and wetland conditions being imposed.

 

4.5     The Chairman read out the following statement from local member, Christian Mitchell, member for Broadbridge who was unable to attend:

 

“I am unable to attend.  But, please do record in the meeting that I support the application, which is contrary to the Officer's recommendation.

 

I have attended the Rudgwick Parish Council meeting tonight at 7pm [on 8 July 2019] and they support the application as correctly recorded in the report.  They do not uphold the concerns that are set out in the report.”

 

4.6    During the debate the Committee raised the points below and clarification was provided by the Planning Officers and Legal Officers, where appropriate:

 

Is the application considered recovery or disposal of waste

Points raised in favour of the application – this is a matter of interpretation of policy as to whether the proposal is recovery or disposal, and the applicant has proved that the application meets the criteria for Policy W8 of the WLP - that it does bring or restore land into beneficial agricultural use, some of which is steep and currently unusable.  It was also stated that the Officer’s assessment is academic rather than practical. 

Response - Sections 9.2 to 9.22 of the Committee Report sets out the policy criteria and Officer’s view which concludes the proposal is disposal, because it fails to satisfy the criteria of Policy W8. Principally it has not been demonstrated that the minimum amount of waste material would be used to achieve the benefits.  The proposed infill of the extension area would not be considered restoration and should be seen as land-raising as it would change the existing landform by deposition of material on an area of land that is undeveloped.  The infill of the former clay pit area is considered to be restoration because the extant permission will return the landform to as close as possible to what it was originally.

Points raised that support the recommendation to refuse - Policy W8 criteria are not fulfilled; the extension area is outside the original application site and so there is a lot of weight that can be given to the proposal being disposal of waste.  There is a fundamental difference between this application and the existing permission.  The infill to the north is greenfield not brownfield.  The existing woodland was unlikely to ever have been in agricultural use.  The objection by Horsham District Council was noted.

Response - The Committee Report sets out the benefits of the proposal, which have been weighed against the impacts. 

Other points - The judgement as to whether the application meets policy W8 of the WLP (recovery) as opposed to policy W9 (disposal) is finely balanced.  What is the minimum amount of waste that could be used for infill?

Response - Planning law requires a decision to be made in accordance with the development plan, which includes the waste local plan, unless material considerations suggest otherwise.  In relation to the minimum volume for infill, it was the Officer’s opinion that benefits could be achieved without the importation of the volume of waste proposed.

 

Landscape and ecology

Points raised – Concern was raised about the length of time it will take for new trees and vegetation to establish, noting that the existing understorey of vegetation below the trees is currently well established and that the WSCC Tree Officer has noted the loss of semi-mature oaks and vegetation.  The impact of the loss of trees along the bat foraging route was noted, however the impact is lessened due to the low number of sightings.  Clarification was sought on how long the woodland belt has been in existence; what the benefits referred to by Mr Whitehouse are, and whether there are there any preservation orders on the oak trees.

Response – Information is noted in paragraphs 9.11 and 9.20 of the Committee Report regarding habitat including the matter of replacement planting as well as the issues relating to Ash Die Back, ecology and bats.  The WSCC Ecologist is satisfied with the proposals, subject to biodiversity mitigation and enhancement measures.  The woodland belt has been in existence since at least 1850 and so this part has not been in agricultural use since at least that time.  Mr Whitehouse refers to the Combined Benefit Statement (available on the County Council’s Planning website); it is acknowledged that the proposal has some benefits, which are summarised in paragraph 9.2 onwards of the Committee.  There are no tree preservation orders on the oak trees.

 

Drainage - culvert

Point raised – How would drainage be affected and would the existing culvert be retained under the infill?

Response – The culvert will remain but will be buried under the infill.  The WSCC Drainage Officer has concluded that the proposals are acceptable.

 

Weight given to assessments and consultees’ views

Points raised – What weight has been given to the LVIA/technical assessments, and also the view of Horsham District Council?

Response - A review of the LVIA and other documents and assessment is undertaken by Officers and the views of consultees, including HDC (the objection was only confirmed recently), are sought and taken into account.  Officers’ conclusions are based on all information and consultee comments.

 

Support versus objections

Point raised – It was noted that the Horsham District Councillor supports the application in opposition to the view of Horsham District Council Officers.  It was further noted that the Parish and County Councillor support the application as well.  Also that Natural England, the Environment Agency and local residents have not objected and it is clear that the Liaison Group feel listened to.  Is lack of objection a material consideration?

Response – It is acknowledged that the site and the local liaison group are well run.  The responses of consultees are considered; however, Officers did not feel this overrides the impacts or accordance with the development plan.

 

4.7    The substantive recommendation, subject to reasons for refusal as set out in Appendix 1, was proposed by Ms Lord and seconded by
Mr S. Oakley and was put to the Committee and
refused by a majority.

 

4.8    Mr Barrett-Miles proposed the following motion:

 

It has been demonstrated that, on balance, there is a genuine need to use the waste material and that the amount of material to be used would be no more than is necessary to deliver the suggested benefits.  The site would be restored to a high quality standard and would be deemed to be acceptable with regard to impacts on the rural landscape.  The development therefore, accords with Policy W8 of the West Sussex Waste Local Plan (2014).

 

On balance, the proposed development would have an acceptable impact upon the locality by introducing an acceptable landform into a rural landscape that would maintain or enhance the countryside and recognise its intrinsic value and the landscape character of the area.  Thereby, according with Policies W8, W11 and W12 and W20 of the West Sussex Waste Local Plan (2014), Policies 25, 26 and 33 of the Horsham District Planning Framework (November 2015), and Paragraphs 127 and 170 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

 

And, that authority is delegated to the Head of Planning Services, in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-chairman of Planning Committee, to set conditions and informatives.

 

The proposal was seconded by Lt. Cdr.  Atkins, and put to the Committee and approved by a majority. 

 

4.9    Resolved – That planning permission be granted subject to conditions and informatives, to be delegated to the Head of Planning Services and agreed in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-chairman of Planning Committee.

 

4.10  The Committee recessed at 11.42 a.m.  The Committee reconvened at 11.55 a.m.

 


12/08/2019 - Appointment to an Outside Body - Littlehampton Harbour Board - Urgent Action CAB02 (19/20) ref: 692    Recommendations Approved

Outside bodies are external organisations, including formal or informal partnerships to which the County Council is a party, which have requested that the County Council appoints an Elected Member or a representative to them or to which the Council expects to make appointments. 

 

A vacancy has arisen on the Littlehampton Harbour Board which the Cabinet is responsible for making Member appointments to. 

Decision Maker: Director of Law and Assurance

Decision published: 12/08/2019

Effective from: 12/08/2019

Decision:

The Director of Law and Assurance, in consultation with the Leader and the Chairman of the Performance and Finance Select Committee, has used his delegated powers under Standing Order 3.45 to approve the appointment of Mr Bryan Turner to Littlehampton Harbour Board until the end of the Council term (May 2021).

Divisions affected: Littlehampton Town;

Lead officer: Monique Smart


07/08/2019 - A259 Littlehampton Corridor Improvements Land Acquisition HI12 (19/20) ref: 690    Recommendations Approved

A scheme is under preparation for improvements to the A259 near Littlehampton. The project includes dualling parts of the existing single carriageway and necessitates the use of land in the ownership of the County Council as well as land owned by other persons.

 

In January 2018, approval was given by the Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure (ref. HI25 17/18) for the use of powers available to the County Council to make Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) decisions as the best available option to acquire or make use of the land required by the scheme. The use of those powers was delegated by that decision to the Director of Law and Assurance who proceeded to exercise them.

 

The decision was intended to provide authority for the use of all of the statutory powers needed to give effect to the proposed acquisitions and arrangements in relation to land. However, some references to specific powers were inadvertently omitted from the report seeking confirmation of the authority to act. This report corrects those omissions and seeks ratification of decisions taken by reference to the powers not specifically cited in the original decision.

 

This decision is urgent due to statutory deadlines. The Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure has authorised that this urgent decision can be taken by the Director for Law and Assurance. The Chairman of the Environment, Communities and Fire Select Committee agreed that this decision is urgent and delay would prejudice the County Council’s interests.

 

Decision Maker: Director of Law and Assurance

Decision published: 07/08/2019

Effective from: 07/08/2019

Decision:

The Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure has approved:

 

(1)       That the decision taken in January 2018 (ref.HI25 17/18) be read and treated for all purposes as if it had included reference to ss 246 and 260 Highways Act 1980 when setting out the statutory provisions for which authority was being given to the Director of Law and Assurance in connection with the highway scheme described in the report on which the decision was based.

 

(2)       That all decisions taken by the Director of Law and Assurance on the authority of the earlier Cabinet Member decision (ref. HI 25 17/18) and up to the date of this decision are hereby ratified as a valid and proper exercise of delegated authority pursuant to that decision.

 

Divisions affected: Angmering & Findon; Arundel & Courtwick; Littlehampton East; Littlehampton Town; Rustington;

Lead officer: Tony Kershaw


06/08/2019 - Adoption of an Improvement Plan for Children's Services - CYP02 (19/20) ref: 688    Recommendations Approved

Following the Ofsted inspection of the County Council’s Children’s Social Care Services in February-March 2019, an ‘inadequate’ judgement was given in Ofsted’s report published on 8 May 2019. 

 

In responding to the judgement, the County Council must prepare an improvement plan that demonstrates its capability and capacity to improve children’s services to a satisfactory standard. The plan now presented for adoption is known as the Children First Practice Improvement Plan; this reflects the ambition to make the experiences and the voice of the child central to the future delivery of all children’s services.

 

It is supported by an investment plan which identifies the resources required to deliver the requirements of the improvement plan.

 

Following approval for the adoption of the Plan, it will be submitted to the Department for Education.  This will lead to a process, described in the report, which will determine whether or not the County Council should retain responsibility for the direct provision of Children’s Social Care Services.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Children and Young People

Decision published: 06/08/2019

Effective from: 16/08/2019

Decision:

The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People has approved:

 

1)      The adoption of the Children First Practice Improvement Plan for Children’s Services, for submission to the Department for Education.

 

2)      The commitment, in consultation with the Cabinet, to fund the investment required to deliver the improvement plan as described in the investment plan. The detailed governance and monitoring of the investment plan will be the subject of further consideration and approval.

 

3)      That a Children First Strategy be developed, to give broad strategic expression to the County Council’s aspirations for children, with the proposed strategy to be presented for further consultation and approval in due course, with the intention of launching it in October 2019.

Divisions affected: (All Divisions);

Lead officer: Garath Symonds


01/08/2019 - Contract Arrangements - In House Adult Social Care - AH5 (19/20) ref: 685    Recommendations Approved

As part of the ‘Choices for the Future’ In-House Adult Social Care project, the Judith Adams day centre in Chichester and the Chestnuts day centre in Bognor Regis will be redeveloped. The existing centres are under capacity, with maintenance and compliance issues and cannot be used to their full capacity. These redevelopments will allow for an increase in numbers from the Wrenford Day Centre, which will then be surplus to service requirements. 

 

A procurement will be conducted using an open book tender and a decision will be based on quality and cost. A pre-tender exercise will be undertaken to determine quality of contractors prior to inviting to tender.

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Adults and Health

Decision published: 01/08/2019

Effective from: 13/08/2019

Decision:

The Cabinet Member for Adults and Health has approved the allocation of funds from the ‘Choices for the Future’ capital programme for the first part of the day services rationalization programme (part A) which is estimated at £2.315m and the commencement of procurement, and the contract award be delegated to the Director of Adult Services and that the Wrenford day centre is declared as surplus to service requirements. 

 

Divisions affected: (All Divisions);

Lead officer: Simon Starns


01/08/2019 - Procurement Process for Housing Related Support Contracts - OKD13 (19/20) ref: 687    Recommendations Approved

The current housing related support contracts commissioned by the County Council end on 30 September 2019, further to the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health’s decision in December 2018 (Report Reference AH11 18/19).  These services need to be recommissioned based on the revised financial envelope for these services. 

 

To aid this process the council has rated the service using a RAG rating indicated the strategic fit with statutory duties and prevention.   Services rated as green are a high priority for continued funding, albeit with efficiencies.   These are services which support the Council’s statutory duties in relation to adults with complex needs and children.   The proposed approach for these services is a single tender re-procurement. 

 

Services rated red are unlikely to attract on-going funding as they do not meet statutory needs and work is underway to end this provision. 

 

Services rated amber are those services which have brought support as priorities across the district and boroughs and could form part of the Councils preventative offer.  The exact services commissioned will be subject to the outcome of a joint piece of work. 

Decision Maker: Executive Director People Services

Decision published: 01/08/2019

Effective from: 13/08/2019

Decision:

The Executive Director People Services has approved the following contractual arrangements from the 1st October 2019:

 

(1) The procurements of the eight HRS services set out in paragraphs 2.1 to 2.3 of the report for a contract duration of three years, plus provision for extension of up to two years.

 

(2) The procurement of the Change Live Grow (CLG) contract which supports ex-offenders for twelve months.

 

(3) A six month contract extensions for the remaining HRS set out in figure two of the report.

 

(4) The procurement of the remaining housing related support services set out in figure 2 of the report from April 2019, based on a contract duration of three years, plus provision for extension of up to two years

 

Divisions affected: (All Divisions);

Lead officer: Sarah Farragher