(Service Director - Planning Services) To consider the attached report.
The Service Manager for Development Management, A Marx, presented a report concerning the release of planning permissions for four applications previously granted by a Planning Committee.
The Service Manager stated that before granting planning permission for an application which was likely to have a significant effect on the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (EFSAC), the Council had to undertake an appropriate assessment which included consultation with Natural England. The view of Natural England was that any development within the District which resulted in increased vehicle movements on roads within 200 metres of the EFSAC was likely to have a significant impact on the EFSAC. In addition, it was also the view of Natural England that such impacts were best dealt with by a plan-led strategic solution rather than on a case-by-case basis. Consequently, a number of planning applications had been held in abeyance pending an acceptable air quality mitigation strategy.
The Service Manager explained that the Council had undertaken a comprehensive review of all the planning applications that had been held in abeyance, and had identified a number of applications as having no likely significant effect on the EFSAC. Decisions relating to a number of these applications made under delegated authority were issued between December 2019 and January 2020. The following four planning applications had also been identified as having no likely significant effect on the EFSAC, but they had been agreed by one of the Planning Committees subject to a legal agreement for a financial contribution or mitigation measures relating to the air quality of the EFSAC:
(i) EPF/1213/18 – Tower Nursery at Netherhall Road, Roydon. Planning permission originally granted by the District Development Management Committee on 28 November 2018.
(ii) EPF/0238/19 – Stapleford Farm at Oak Hill Road, Stapleford Abbotts. Planning permission originally granted by the Area Planning Sub-Committee East on 7 August 2019.
(iii) EPF/0621/18 – Tutein Farm at Grove Lane, Chigwell. Planning permission originally granted by the District Development Management Committee on 1 August 2018.
(iv) EPF/1424/18 – Land adjacent 240 The Broadway in Loughton. Planning permission originally granted by the Area Planning Sub-Committee South on 20 February 2019.
The Committee was requested to agree to the release of the planning permissions for the four applications in question, subject to the planning conditions as previously agreed, but not subject to a legal agreement relating to air quality mitigation measures only.
The Committee noted that the meaning of ‘significant impact’ was not clear; any additional traffic movements could be classed as ‘significant’. However, the Council had worked extensively with Natural England to obtain the release of these planning permissions, and this was a necessary process in order for the Council to meet its Local Plan housing targets.
(1) That planning permission be released for the following applications, subject to the planning conditions previously agreed but with no requirement to enter into a Legal Agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to secure financial contributions or other mitigation measures relating to the air quality within the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation:
(a) EPF/1213/18 – Tower Nursery in Netherhall Road, Roydon;
(b) EPF/0238/19 – Stapleford Farm in Oak Hill Road, Stapleford Abbotts;
(c) EPF/0621/18 – Tutein Farm in Grove Lane, Chigwell; and
(d) EPF/1424/18 – Land adjacent to 240, The Broadway in Loughton.