North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) has awarded grant funding of over £240,000 to a number of community buildings across the district.

Knebworth Scout and Guide Group was awarded £32,000 for essential maintenance to its circa 1950’s headquarters. The funding will be put towards roofing, paving and drainage repairs. It is hoped that further funding will be available from the Knebworth Village Trust, which provides capital grants to organisations which are wholly or mainly for the use of residents of the parish of Knebworth.

The Community Facilities Capital Grant funds will extend the lifespan of the buildings and will continue to help these facilities remain at the heart of the communities they serve.

The grant funding follows a commitment made by the Council in 2016 to make £1.2 million available over a four year period to help enhance and sustain community facilities across the District.

Other awards went to North Herts Minority Ethnic Forum, which was awarded £50,000 to help build an extension which will be used as a meeting room at their headquarters in Whinbush Road, Hitchin.

Baldock Arts and Heritage Centre was awarded £50,000 towards the conversion of the Old Fire Station, which is part of their building, into a new heritage area.

Hitchin Educational Foundation was awarded £50,000 towards the renovation of a derelict Scout hall on land between Bancroft and Grammar School Walk.

Pirton Village Hall was awarded £45,000 to build a multi-purpose room for community groups to use.

Barkway Village Hall was awarded £15,000 to create a new emergency exit and renovate their kitchen area.

Further information about the Community Facilities Capital Projects Fund, including how to apply for funding, can be found here: www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/community/grants/community-facilities-capital-projects-fund.

At the end of the hearing sessions on 27 March the Inspector set out the next steps in the EiP of the Local Plan. A note has now been prepared and this can be viewed in the examination documents ED130.

During the hearing sessions the Inspector asked the Council to complete a number of actions to provide additional information to the examination. Some of these actions have already been completed and the Council are intending to finish the remainder by the end of April.

The actions and the completed responses, as they become available, can all be viewed on the website through the following link: www.north-herts.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/localplan/local-plan-examination/examination-actions.

When the Inspector has all the documents arising out of the actions he will take a view on whether he requires any further information on any of the matters examined during the hearing sessions.

Where representors have not yet had the opportunity to provide written comments on documents provided by the Council, he will be inviting them to do so in May. As with hearing statements, representors will only be able to comment on documents that are relevant to the issues raised in their regulation 19 responses. The Programme Officer will contact all regulation 19 respondents in May to notify them of the details and deadline for the provision of comments.

The Inspector will then invite the Council to respond to these. The timetable for the proposed main modifications cannot be defined at this stage, but they will be subject to the normal six week consultation period. Following this my report will be sent to the Council to allow it to check the main modifications for factual accuracy.

As a result of the decision not to cease Area Committee Grants in the February Council Meeting when the Revenue Budget was agreed, residents of North Herts once again have the opportunity to apply for grants from Area Committees.

If you are a local charity, voluntary group or not for profit organisation you are eligible for a share of its almost £90,000 grant funding pot in 2018-19.

The Council provides grants to voluntary groups and not-for-profits through its five Area Committees. These can be used to launch a new project or advance an existing project to a new stage, as long as there is a positive benefit to the community.

Each Committee, which meet four times a year in June, September, December and March, is allocated an amount of grant funding to give to appropriate projects, depending on the population they serve.

To make an application:

  • Make sure you apply well in advance of when you will need the funding as the process can take a few months, taking into account the Committee meeting schedule.

  • Complete an application form and submit it along with your group’s latest accounts and Constitution.

  • You will then be invited to come along to a meeting to give a brief presentation to the Committee. Following which the Councillors on the Committee vote and you will find out if your application has been successful.

The process is simple and straight forward, but if you need any assistance our Communities team are on hand to provide help and advice throughout the process.

The next deadline to apply for funding is 5pm on Friday 4 May.

If you apply for this funding round and are successful, you would receive the funding around the end of June.

Many community groups in Knebworth have benefited in the past, including the Bowls Club, the Football Club, Knebworth Day Care the Twinning Association. New rules mean that Knebworth Parish Council, which has applied for, and been granted, funds in the past are now barred, because of a tightening up of eligibility criteria to exclude precepting bodies (the Parish Council can raise funds via Council Tax directly). This means that there has been a shortage of qualifying applicants in the past year: an opportunity for your group to apply this year.

To find out if your group might be eligible for grant funding, visit the Grants page on the NHDC website: www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/community/grants/area-committee-grants

Alternatively call the Communities Team on 01462 474226 or email Community@north-herts.gov.uk

Over our long, wet winter in our congested village with its inadequate parking facilities, one issue comes up time and time again. This is the anti-social habit of drivers parking with one (or more) pairs of wheels on the grass verge, turning it into a muddy wreck.

The solution is to contact:

  1. HCC – Herts Highways are responsible for putting bollards on grass verges as these areas are part of the highway. This is something you could approach Cllr Thake about as he could consider using his Herts locality budget to install some bollards in this location.

  2. The second option is to check if there are any road markings on the street that go past the premises, as technically such restrictions continue to the back of the pavement. If there are road markings in this location then I you could approach Jon Charter, Parking Service Manager to investigate the issue from a parking enforcement point of view. Jon’s contact details are as follows: Email. Jon.charter@north-herts.gov.uk, Tel. 01462 474358.

I know this is not a total solution, but it does give a few options.

Date of expiry of statutory period: 26.09.2017

Submitted Plan Nos

SE-760-01 SE-760-03 SE-760-02 SE-760-20C SE-760-21B SE-760-22A SE-760-23A SE-760-24A 6098-1 SE-760-25C SE-760 revA

1.0Site History

1.1There is no relevant site history.

2.0Policies

2.1North Hertfordshire District Local Plan No. 2 with Alterations (Saved Policies)

Policy 5 – Excluded Villages

Policy 26 – Housing Proposals

Policy 51 – Development Effects and Planning Gain

Policy 57 – Residential Guidelines and Standards

Supplementary Planning Documents

****Vehicular Parking at New Development

2.2National Planning Policy Framework

Core Planning Principles

Section 3 – Supporting a prosperous rural economy

Section 4 – Promoting sustainable transport

Section 6 – Delivering a wide choice of high quality homes

Section 7 – Requiring good design

2.3North Hertfordshire District Local Plan 2011 – 2031 Proposed Submission

****Policy SP2 – Settlement Hierarchy

Policy ETC7 – Scattered local shops and services in towns and villages

Policy T2 – Parking

Policy HS2 – Affordable Housing

Policy D3 – Protecting living conditions

Policy HC1 – Community facilities

Policy NE8 – Sustainable drainage systems

PolicyHE3 – Local heritage

3.0Representations

3.1 Environmental Health (contaminated land and air quality) – raises no objections, but recommends two conditions should contamination be found during constructions and to provide an EV charging point in the three storey building. An EV charging point specification informative is also requested.

3.2 Environmental Health (noise and other nuisances) – requests further information and advises.

“Until noise has been assessed and appropriate noise mitigation measures agreed I would not like to see this application approved. In light of the above comments, I consider it appropriate to require noise assessment(s) for this application to determine the noise mitigation measures (such as improvements to sound insulation of ceiling / floor / glazing, modifications to kitchen extraction system, barriers, etc.) that will be necessary to achieve satisfactory internal and external amenity area noise levels for all the proposed dwellings, including the first floor residential units in the Station public house, the proposed new build flats and the outbuilding conversion.” (Extract)

Environmental Health have been re-consulted on a submitted noise assessment report and I shall up-date Members of any further comments at the committee

3.3 **Waste Management **– “The New Dwellings section states that the storage of bins is shown on drawing SE-760-20. This drawing does not appear on the list. It also states that the collection point for the first block of flats is 29.5m, and the second one is 17.5m from the carriageway. As stated below, this is too far, 15m is the maximum recommended length.” (Extract)

“No development shall commence until further details of the circulation route for refuse collection vehicles have been submitted to the local planning authority and approved in writing. The required details shall include a full construction specification for the route, and a plan defining the extent of the area to which that specification will be applied. No dwelling forming part of the development shall be occupied until the refuse vehicle circulation route has been laid out and constructed in accordance with the details thus approved, and thereafter the route shall be maintained in accordance with those details.” (Extract)

3.4 County Highway Authority – Following an initial objection and the subsequent receipt of amended drawings, no objections are now raised and 5 conditions are recommended.

3.5 Planning Policy – “This scheme proposes to redevelop a brownfield site, with positive contributions of the scheme seen to outweigh any negatives of the scheme. There are no significant policy objections to this proposal.” (Extract)

3.6 Landscape and Urban Design – Raises no objections to the proposed scheme, but suggests the block of flats should be further from the footpath running down the side and that the opportunity to improve the street frontage to the PH, with some form of enclosure, should be taken.

3.7 Housing Development Liaison Officer – Prior to the receipt of amended drawings reducing the number of units to 10 - “Based on the provision of 14 new dwellings, the council’s affordable housing requirement is 25%, which equates to 4 affordable dwellings.

Within the overall 25% affordable housing the council requires a 65% rented/ 35% intermediate affordable housing tenure mix, in accordance with the proposed submission Local Plan, the 2016 Stevenage and North Hertfordshire Strategic Housing Assessment (SHMA) Update and the Planning Obligations SPD. This would equate to three rented units and one intermediate affordable tenure unit.” (Extract)

3.8 Hertfordshire Property Community Development – require the following to be secured by S106 Agreement.

• Youth Service towards art equipment at Bowes Lyon Centre(£129)

• Primary Education towards additional primary provision in Knebworth(£7,716)

• Library Service for Knebworth Library in order to develop the provision for IT users (£1,469)

3.9 Lead Local Flood Authority – “Infiltration tests have been carried out on site and results show that infiltration is not feasible. We acknowledge that there are no watercourses or surface water sewers within the vicinity of the site. Therefore the proposed drainage strategy is based upon attenuation and discharge into Thames foul water sewer utilising an existing connection restricted to the 2.5 l/s for the 1 in 100 year event.

However we require confirmation from Thames Water regarding the reuse of the existing connection to foul sewer and ensure that they are satisfied with proposed rates and volumes.” (Extract) The LLFA have been re-consulted following the advice of Thames Water.

3.10 Environment Agency – “We have no objection to the proposed development. However due to its location within our highest vulnerability groundwater area (Source Protection Zone 1), we have some advice for the applicant concerning their intention to dispose of surface water via soakaways.”

3.11 Thames Water – Were contacted following the advice of the LLFA.

“We’re writing to tell you that reference 17/01622/1 The Station, Station Approach Knebworth SG3 6AT potentially have minor public sewers within three metres of the proposed building work.

As we don’t have confirmation of the exact drainage arrangements for this property, we’ll contact the applicant or agent for further information.

We’ll ask them to enter into a build over agreement if the work is within three metres of a public sewer or one metre of a lateral drain.

This could be an approved build over agreement or, if the property owner meets all of the criteria required in our online questionnaire, a self-certified agreement.”

3.12 Knebworth Parish Council – objects to the application. Their objections in full are attached as an appendix to this report. In summary, the areas of concern are as follows:

  • The amount of development in the form of flats;
  • The density of development on the site;
  • Highways and access;
  • The loss of the public house in it existing form;
  • Visual impact.

The parish council were notified of the amended scheme, but their objections are maintained and in addition to the above are the following:

  • Flat above the pub is independent and not tied to the pub
  • Inadequate parking – the amended scheme loses 3 spaces and two spaces in the pub garden
  • The pub garden provision is still inadequate
  • Visibility splay across the pub car park does not demonstrate visibility on to the highway.

3.13 Local Residents – 239 comments have been received, 235 of which are objections. This includes a 27 page objection from Save Our Station Pub Action Group and an objection from CAMRA. There is 1 in support. The full comments are available to view on the Council’s website and include objections to the initial and amended scheme. The objections are summarised below.

  • Object to the loss of the public house
  • May lead to loss of only public house in Knebworth
  • Loss of a community facility
  • The retained public house is so inadequate that it would render its future use unviable
  • Site registered as an Asset of Community Value
  • The lack of proper servicing facilities
  • Too close to neighbouring residential flats`.
  • The lack of accommodation for a pub manager and lack of storage facilities would
  • adversely affect the success/viability of the retained pub.
  • Over development of the site
  • Insufficient parking
  • Insufficient amenity space for future residents
  • Flats would be visually intrusive
  • Flats would have overbearing impact on pub
  • Flats are of a poor design
  • Lack of information regarding hazardous materials and waste storage for pub
  • Revisions do not address noise and odour concerns
  • Flat above pub would be a House in Multiple Occupation

Local residents have been re-notified of amended drawings, those who have again written in maintain their objections.

4.0Planning Considerations

4.1Site and Surroundings

4.1.1The application site is The Station Hotel public house in Knebworth and all the land associated with it. It is located in Station Approach opposite Knebworth Railway Station. To the west lie flats 1 to 8 Wordsworth Court and to the south lies Bridge House and flats 50 to 72 in Deanscroft. Knebworth is an Excluded Village and The Station PH is a Building of Local Interest and a registered Asset of Community Value. The public house is currently vacant, save for a residential occupation for security purposes. It is the only public house in the village.

4.2Proposal

4.2.1The applicant’s agent advises that the existing public house is in need of refurbishment and that the proposed development of part of the site would enable the cost of this to be realised.

4.2.2The application has been amended through negotiation. A proposal to extend The Station PH and provide four flats at first floor level has been omitted. The scheme now shows the building to remain unaltered and an existing single flat is shown to remain at first floor level, with the intension that this would be the pub manager’s living accommodation.

4.2.3The pub has a large garden to the side and it is proposed to erect a three storey block of 9 x 2 bedroom flats here. Following negotiations, the height of the building has been reduced. The land given over to the flats has also been reduced, in order to retain more garden to serve the pub. The building is shown to be set back into the site with parking and some landscaping to the front. A new vehicular access onto Station Approach is proposed to serve this.

4.2.4Also, as part of the scheme, is a proposal to extend and convert the old store that lies between the pub and Bridge House, into a single, one bedroom dwelling, with a small garden to the side. An existing vehicular access would be used to serve this.

4.2.5At present, the existing car park that serves The Station PH, has a tarmac surface hard up to the site frontage with the footway. The scheme shows a strip of soft landscaping to this frontage in order to soften the appearance of the site. Supporting information submitted includes: an Odour Assessment, Noise Assessment, Sustainable Drainage Strategy, Initial Biodiversity Report, Design and Access Statement and Refuse Collection Strategy. Please see the drawings on the Council’s website.

4.3Key Issues

4.3.1The key planning considerations relate to:

  • The principle of the development
  • Any potential loss of the Asset of Community Value
  • The appearance of the scheme in its context
  • Residential amenity, existing and future
  • Parking and highway matters
  • Other matters.

4.3.2Principle of the development

Knebworth is designated as an Excluded Village in the North Hertfordshire District Local Plan No. 2 and a Category A village, where general development will be allowed within the settlement boundary, in the Proposed for Submission Local Plan 2011 – 2031. Knebworth is well served with services and facilities, including a choice of shops, cafes, school, doctors’ surgery, railway station and bus service. The site is well within the boundary of the settlement and close to these facilities. The construction of the development would provide some** employment. It would provide an increase in local residents to support local services, without the loss of the pub (more about this later). Future residents would not have to rely on the private car for transport. I consider that there can be no objection in principle to such development within Knebworth and that it is an economic, social and environmentally sustainable location for a small scale residential scheme**.

4.3.3Any potential loss of the Asset of Community Value

There is great concern among the people of Knebworth that this application either involves the loss of the public house or is likely to lead to its loss. I can clarify the first matter and confirm that the application does not involve the loss of The Station Hotel public house. The pub is to remain with the existing floorspace. The scheme first submitted showed an extension to the building to provide four flats above. Following negotiations, the extension with flats has been omitted. The building would remain as it is with a manager’s 3 bedroom flat above. A small rearrangement of the internal space at ground floor level does provide a separate entrance to the flat.

4.3.4The Station PH is a public house that is listed as an Asset of Community Value. This mean that the pub is considered to further the community’s social well-being or social interests and is likely to do so in the future. If and when sold, the local community will have a fairer chance to make a bid to buy it on the open market. The Government document *Community Right to Bid: Non-statutory advice note for local authorities *advises of the following:

The provisions do not place any restriction on what an owner can do with their property, once listed, so long as it remains in their ownership. This is because it is planning policy that determines permitted uses for planning decisions – it is open to the Local Planning Authority to decide whether listing as an asset of community value is a material consideration if an application for change of use is submitted, considering all the circumstances of the case.”

4.3.5The proposal does not include the change of use of the public house, but the scheme does include the loss of much of the large pub garden to a residential use. It is also the only public house to serve this large village. I therefore consider the fact that the pub as an Asset of Community Value is a material consideration.

4.3.6Government advice and local plan policies of particular relevance to this consideration are: the NPPF, Section 3 – Supporting a prosperous rural economy, none in the NHDLP No. 2 and in the emerging Local Plan 2011 – 2031 some limited weight should be given to Policy ETC7 - Scattered local shop and services in towns and villages and Policy HC1 – Community facilities. These seek to promote the retention and development of local services and community facilities, including public houses.

4.3.7It is, therefore, relevant to consider what effect the development would have on the future of the public house this includes considering whether the reduction in the size of the garden or the residential conversion of the store building would be likely to lead to the loss of the public house.

4.3.8The amount of garden proposed to remain to serve the pub would measure approximately 154 sq. metres. It was originally shown to be smaller, but negotiations have increased the remaining size of the garden. It would now be similar in size to the restaurant and two seating areas within the public house (on the proposed floor plans, the public space without the area labelled pool room). I have no evidence to suggest that this amount of garden would significantly prejudice a public house business from continuing here.

4.3.9The public house is a Building of Local Interest and the detached store building is included on this list. The store serves the pub and is located between the pub and Bridge House. It is an attractive small building with gable end abutting the footway. The proposal is to extend and convert the building into a one bedroom residential unit. A first floor would be created within the existing roof space to provide the bedroom. The ground floor would be altered internally to provide a kitchen/diner, shower room, hall and stairs. The proposed extension would be single storey and measure 3.3 metres by 4 metres and would provide a living room. The extension would be to the gable facing into the site. The existing sliding doors and attic door would be replaced with simple glazing units to provide windows and door. Two small rooflights would be installed in the roof slope facing the pub. A very small garden, bin storage area and car parking space are shown. The dwelling would just exceed the minimum standards for a 1 bedroom, two storey dwelling as set out in Technical housing standards – nationally described space standard (Dept. for Communities and Local Government).

4.3.10Some local residents have expressed concern that the loss of this store would adversely affect the ability of the Station Hotel to continue as a pub. The pub has alternative existing storage areas; within the cellar and an enclosed yard, which are shown on the submitted drawings. The applicant’s agent advises that this is sufficient for the business. I can see no sustainable planning objections to the proposal for this reason.

4.3.11CAMRA are concerned that the close proximity of the proposed dwellings would prejudice the ability of the public house to continue here, due to noise. The Council’s environmental services have been consulted and have requested noise and odour assessment reports to be submitted. These assessments have now been carried out by Accon UK Environmental Consultants and reports submitted. The odour report concludes as follows:

*“With respect to odour, it has been identified that a suitable mitigated extract system will be required for the kitchen. *

As the requirement for such systems is to maintain them on a regular basis in order to ensure that odour is reduced by its maximum potential, odour should not result in complaints from occupiers of the nearby proposed residential receptors in close proximity to the ventilation exhaust.”

Environmental Health has been further consulted and advice on this report has yet to be received. There will be an oral update of their comments at the Meeting. However, at this stage it would seem this matter could be satisfied with a suitable condition relating to the installation and maintenance of an odour extraction system.

4.3.12The noise assessment report carried out by Accon UK Environmental Consultants concludes that sound mitigation measures would be required and these could be provided in the form of appropriate insulation to floors/ceilings and building facades. Again, Environmental Health has been consulted and their further comments will be reported orally at the meeting. Subject to the advice of Environmental Health, it would seem satisfactory living conditions could be provided at this proximity to the pub. This being the case, the development would not prejudice the future of the business.

4.3.13Overall, I can see no sustainable planning objection to the proposed development on the grounds of leading to a loss of this Asset of Community Value.

4.3.14Appearance of the scheme

The application property is not a Listed Building and does not lie within a conservation area. It is, however, a Building of Local Interest. This includes the Station Hotel and the ancillary storage building. The scheme, as amended, proposes no external alteration to the Station Hotel. Alterations to the storage building are described in paragraph 4.3.9 above. The gable end fronting Station Approach would remain unaltered. The changes to the fenestration would largely use existing openings in the building, apart from two rooflights. The extension would largely be hidden from public view by the bulk of the existing building. With regard to the setting of the pub itself, a proposed planting strip to the front of the car park would improve the presentation of the site as seen from this part of the street.

4.3.15To the west of The Station PH lies a three storey block of flats known as Wordsworth Court, which gained planning permission in 2007. The large pub garden lies between The Station PH and these flats. It is mostly laid to lawn, with a petanque court towards the rear. Probably due to the pub having been vacant for a while, the garden does have a slightly neglected appearance, particularly the planting at the front. There is a large, mature tree within the site and very close to the pub. The tree makes a significant, positive contribution to the appearance of the site. The proposed scheme involves the removal of this tree. The retention of the tree would require a significant rethink of the scheme. It is located uncomfortably close to the existing building; the proposed landscaping scheme shows several new trees; and the benefit of providing more dwellings, in my opinion, out weight the retention of the tree.

4.3.16The proposed block of flats would be positioned towards the rear of the site, not coming further forward of The Station PH and set further back than the front elevation of Wordsworth Court. Following negotiations, the overall height of the building has been reduced to 9 metres high. This is 0.6 metres lower than Wordsworth Court. The front elevation has a symmetrical form, with four dormer windows to serve the second floor and a central inset gable feature, containing the front entrance. It would have a crown and half hipped roof. It would largely be finished in brick, with the feature gable and rear section in render. I can see no objections to the architectural style of the building, its height and position in the street scene.

4.3.17Similar to Wordsworth Court, the parking would be to the front of the building. The new vehicular access would be located central to the site frontage, with low level planting in beds of approximately 2.5 metres deep, either side. Parking spaces would be laid out to the sides and directly in front of the building. Further planting beds with trees are shown in front of the building, on either side. A planting strip with trees is shown running along the proposed boundary between the pub car park and the residential car park. Taking into account the layout of the residential site, which follows a similar pattern to the adjacent site and the amount of proposed soft landscaping, both to the residential site and pub car park, I can see no objections to the overall appearance of the development.

4.3.18Living conditions of existing and future residents

The proposed flats show side facing windows to serve a lounge and a bedroom on the east elevation that would face Wordsworth Court. In Wordsworth Court the only windows in this side-facing elevation are high level bathroom windows. I consider the relationship between these two properties would provide satisfactory living conditions for the occupiers of both.

4.3.19A three storey block of flats in Deanscroft lies side-on to part of the application site. There are two small windows per floor in this side elevation. The proposed flats would have two windows per floor in its rear elevation. I consider the staggered arrangement of the two blocks would be such that no significant loss of privacy would be caused for either.

4.3.20The existing first floor flat over the pub has two windows facing the proposed flats and these would serve a landing and a bathroom. The proposed flats would be at a slight angle to the pub. It would have a total of 11 facing windows, which would all serve lounges. Due to the nature of the facing windows in the pub manager’s flat and the angled relationship, I consider satisfactory levels of privacy between the two buildings would be provided at first and second floor level. At ground floor level, the pub has windows serving the restaurant and pool room in the facing side elevation. At this level, I consider satisfactory privacy would be achieved for the flats with an appropriate height fence along the dividing boundary.

4.3.21Consideration needs to be given to whether satisfactory living standards, including noise and odour could be provided for the flats at this close proximity to The Station PH. This also applies to the residential conversion of the store. The applicant has provided a professional Noise Assessment Survey and Odour Assessment Survey. The conclusion of both reports is that satisfactory living conditions could be provided, subject to conditions. These would relate to the insulation of the flats and maintained extractor units for pub kitchen. However, the Council’s Environmental Health Officers are being consulted on these reports and their advice, when received, will be reported orally at the Meeting.

4.3.22Overall and subject to the further advice of Environmental Health, at this stage, I can see no sustainable planning objections relating to the living conditions of existing or future residents. Members will be further advised at the Meeting.

4.3.23Parking and highway matters

The proposal includes a new vehicular access onto Station Approach, to serve the flats. This requires a visibility splay, which runs across the front of the pub car park. It is proposed to fill this space with low level planting to avoid obstruction by parked cars.

4.3.24To comply with the current car parking standards the flats would need 22 parking spaces. 16 are proposed. Parking for the existing flat over the pub and the converted store would be located to the rear of the building and would meet the current standards. The existing car park that serves The Station PH does not have marked bays. The proposed low level planting strip to the front of the site would lead to a loss of 1 or 2 spaces. When parking standards are not met it is relevant to take into account other factors such as the location of the development and how sustainable it is.

4.3.25The application site is located close to the centre of the village and is within walking distance of a choice of shops, doctors surgery, school, cafes and other services. It is also just across the road from the railway station on the Kings Cross to Edinburgh line. There is also a bus service. I consider this to be in a sustainable location and a relaxation of the parking standards are justifiable. The Station PH is on a bend in the road and double yellow lines are marked around this bend. It is noted that Station Approach turns into Park Lane after the bend and that this street is often heavily parked, due to its close proximity to the railway station. However, the county highway authority has been consulted and has raised no objections, subject to conditions. The NPPF advises that development should not be prevented unless highway impacts are severe. Recent appeal decisions have supported reduced or even no provision of parking spaces, if located within easy walking distance of a range of services and facilities. For these reasons, I consider an objection relating to insufficient parking would not be sustained at appeal**. I, therefore, raise no objections on highway grounds or due to insufficient parking provision. **

4.3.26Other matters

Concern is expressed by several local residents at the loss of the petanque court in The Station PH garden. It would be a loss of a facility, but on a small scale that would not outweigh the benefit of providing much needed dwellings.

4.3.27An informal footpath is currently used by the public that connects Park Lane with Deanscroft, at the rear of the site. It is proposed to retain and surface the path for the public at a width of 1.5 metres.

4.3.28Knebworth Parish Council has raised a concern about the density of the development. Apart from the parking, previously described, the development of the block of flats provides space for bin storage and cycle storage, soft landscaping and a garden area of 87 sq metres. I can see no sustainable planning objection on the grounds of over-development.

4.3.29As required for a site of 10 new dwellings, a S106 Agreement has been prepared to make the following contributions to services:

Primary education£7,945

Secondary education£4,447

Library services£1,567

Youth services£135

Waste collection

& recycling£364

The amounts have been worked out in accordance with Planning Obligations Guidance – Toolkit for Hertfordshire and North Hertfordshire. Members will be updated orally on the progress of this at the Meeting. A contribution towards affordable housing is not required following the reduction in residential units from 14 to 10.

4.3.30A waste storage point is shown in the car park, next to a landscaped area near the flats. Its location has been the subject of negotiation. It would be 2.5 metes further from the road than recommended by Waste Services. However, I consider the visual benefit gained by this location outweighs the slightly longer distance to travel on waste collection day.

4.4Conclusion

Any negative aspects of the proposal are minor and are outweighed by the benefits of providing the dwellings. There are, therefore, no sustainable planning objections to raise to the proposal.

5.0Legal Implications

5.1 In making decisions on applications submitted under the Town and Country Planning legislation, the Council is required to have regard to the provisions of the development plan and to any other material considerations. The decision must be in accordance with the plan unless the material considerations indicate otherwise. Where the decision is to refuse or restrictive conditions are attached, the applicant has a right of appeal against the decision.

6.0Recommendation

6.1That planning permission be GRANTED subject to the following conditions and the completion of a S106 Agreement for planning obligations.

1.The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of 3 years from the date of this permission.

Reason: To comply with the provisions of Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by Section 51 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

2.The development hereby permitted shall be carried out wholly in accordance with the details specified in the application and supporting approved documents and plans listed above.

Reason: To ensure the development is carried out in accordance with details which form the basis of this grant of permission.

3.Prior to the commencement of any work on site, the subject of this application, a landscaping scheme shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority and shall include the following:

oExisting trees to be removed;

oLocation, species and planting size of any proposed trees or plants;

oProposed maintenance to establish the trees and plants;

oAny fences, hedges, walls or other boundary treatment;

oLocation and materials of any hard surfaces.

The landscaping scheme shall be implemented as approved.

Reason: In the interests of the appearance of the completed scheme.

4.The approved details of landscaping shall be carried out before the end of the first planting season following either the first occupation of any of the buildings or the completion of the development, whichever is the sooner; and any trees or plants which, within a period of 5 years from the completion of the development, die, are removed or become seriously damaged or diseased, shall be replaced during the next planting season with others of similar size and species, unless the Local Planning Authority agrees in writing to vary or dispense with this requirement.

Reason: To safeguard and enhance the appearance of the completed development and the visual amenity of the locality.

5.None of the trees to be retained on the application site shall be felled, lopped, topped, uprooted, removed or otherwise destroyed or killed without the prior written agreement of the Local Planning Authority.

Reason: To safeguard and enhance the appearance of the completed development and the visual amenity of the locality.

6.Any tree felled, lopped, topped, uprooted, removed or otherwise destroyed or killed contrary to the provisions of the tree retention condition above shall be replaced during the same or next planting season with another tree of a size and species as agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority, unless the Authority agrees in writing to dispense with this requirement.

Reason: To safeguard and enhance the appearance of the completed development and the visual amenity of the locality.

7.Before the commencement of any other works on the site, trees to be retained shall be protected by the erection of temporary chestnut paling or chain link fencing of a minimum height of 1.2 metres on a scaffolding framework, located at the appropriate minimum distance from the tree trunk in accordance with Section 4.6 of BS5837:2012 ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction - Recommendations, unless in any particular case the Local Planning Authority agrees to dispense with this requirement. The fencing shall be maintained intact for the duration of all engineering and building works. No building materials shall be stacked or mixed within 10 metres of the tree. No fires shall be lit where flames could extend to within 5 metres of the foliage, and no notices shall be attached to trees.

Reason: To prevent damage to or destruction of trees to be retained on the site in the interests of the appearance of the completed development and the visual amenity of the locality.

8.Details and/or samples of materials to be used on all external elevations and the roof of the development hereby permitted shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority before the development is commenced and the approved details shall be implemented on site.

Reason: To ensure that the development will have an acceptable appearance which does not detract from the appearance and character of the surrounding area.

9.Prior to the commencement of any work on site, drawings showing the existing and proposed ground levels shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The work shall thereafter be carried out as approved.

Reason: In the interests of the appearance of the completed work and the visual amenities of the locality.

10.The development hereby permitted shall not be brought into use until the proposed access has been constructed and the footway has been reinstated to the current specification of Hertfordshire County Council and to the local Planning Authority’s satisfaction.

Reason: In the interests of highway safety and amenity.

11.Before the access is first brought into use 2.4 metres x 36 metres vehicle to vehicle inter-visibility splays shall be provided and permanently maintained each side of the access. Within which there shall be no obstruction to visibility between 600 mm and 2.0 metres above the carriageway level. These measurements shall be taken from the intersection of the centre line of the permitted access with the edge of the carriageway of the highway respectively into the application site and from the intersection point along the edge of the carriageway.

Reason: To provide adequate visibility for drivers entering and leaving the site. 12.The access shall be 4.1 metres wide.

Reason: So that vehicles may enter and leave the site with the minimum of interference to the free flow and safety of other traffic on the highway and for the convenience and safety of pedestrians and disabled people.

13.The access shall be constructed in a hard surfacing material for the first 5 metres from the back edge of the footway.

Reason: To prevent loose material from passing onto the public highway which may be detrimental to highway safety.

14.Prior to the first use of the proposal the parking and turning area as shown on drawing number SE-760 25 revision B shall be provided and appropriately marked out within the curtilage of the site. The turning area should kept free from obstruction and available for use at all times.

Reason: To allow vehicles to enter and leave the site in forward gear in the interests of highway safety.

Reason: In the interests of the living conditions of the occupiers and the viability of the public house business below 15.Notwithstanding the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 as amended no development as set out in Classes A to E of Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Order, (or any subsequent Statutory Instrument which revokes, amends and/or replaces those provisions) shall be carried out to the converted outbuilding referred to as Unit 10 on drawing No. SE-760-20C, without first obtaining a specific planning permission from the Local Planning Authority.

Reason: Given the nature of this development, the Local Planning Authority considers that development which would normally be “permitted development” should be retained within planning control in the interests of the character and amenities of the area.

16.Any conditions recommended by the Council’s Environmental Health Officer.

17.Any conditions recommended by the HCC Sustainable Drainage Systems Officer

18.The first floor residential accommodation shall only be occupied in connection with the running of the public house business at ground floor level, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the local Planning Authority.

19.The proposed rooflights to Unit 10 (store building) shall be of a conservation style unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

Reason: In the interests of the appearance of the Building of Local Interest and the visual amenities of the area.

Proactive Statement

Planning permission has been granted for this proposal. The Council acted proactively through positive engagement with the applicant during the determination process which led to improvements to the scheme. The Council has therefore acted proactively in line with the requirements of the Framework (paragraphs 186 and 187) and in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015.

** Informative/s**:

Construction standards for new/amended vehicle access: Where works are required within the public highway to facilitate the new or amended vehicular access, the Highway Authority require the construction of such works to be undertaken to their satisfaction and specification, and by a contractor who is authorised to work in the public highway. If any of the works associated with the construction of the access affects or requires the removal and/or the relocation of any equipment, apparatus or structures (e.g. street name plates, bus stop signs or shelters, statutory authority equipment etc.) the applicant will be required to bear the cost of such removal or alteration.

Before works commence the applicant will need to apply to the Highway Authority to obtain their permission and requirements. Further information is available via the website https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/droppedkerbs/ or by telephoning 0300 1234047.