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Planning and Transport Committee Report

By Councillor Andrew Lohmann chairperson of the planning and transportation committee.

This is a revised version of my report to the Annual Town Meeting in April 2002.

The committee meets every two weeks generally on a Monday. We also meet on the Friday morning before to look at plans and read associated paper work, make site visits, speaking to the applicants where possible with visits to others who we think may have planning observations to make. The committee meeting on the Monday evening makes its recommendations, after discussion and listening to any public representations. As statutory consultees we have the same consultation period as the public. Ultimately the Western Area Planning Committee determines the application often with decisions delegated to officer. The committee achieves a high degree of agreement with the borough council’s subsequent decision.

Again children of St. Matthew’s School decorated a Christmas special 284 bus. The 284 Saturday bus service is running successfully with KCC support. In November 2002 the KCC contract was renewed and we now have a super low floor bus operated by Metrobus. The times are 5 to 10 minutes later former Southlands’ service and the bus now also stops at Sainsbury. The Town Council underwrote the 284 Saturday bus briefly two years ago following a request by Southborough electors who carried out a feasibility study. KCC made the contract. Subsequently they continued financing the service.

Southborough and District Bus Users, which meets monthly, now deal with bus issues in Southborough. This group successfully took up the issue of poor legibility of bus tickets. A new bus shelter at Kibbles Lane was obtained following lobbing by SADBUS. We thank TWBC for permitting Town Councillor Scott to represent the town on the Public Transport Liaison Group. Cllr. Scott has also taken up issues for SADBUS. Recently we have been advised that the contract for the 151 service is to be re-tendered, and it was our view that we wish evening, and Sundays services to continue. We also asked that more disabled access buses be provided in our area.

As well as considering about 150 planning applications a year, plus Tree Preservation Orders the committee was able to influence TWBC in reducing parking restrictions in Colebrook Rd, imposed during the construction of the Hostel. The issue had been raised by residents, but has not been entirely resolved. You may have read about Parking Permit scheme proposed for part of Sherwood, High Brooms Station to Powder Mill Lane. The committee considered the implications, with scepticism. St. Matthew's School has recently seen the construction of a pedestrian crossing of Powder Mill Lane, which is an example of a proposal the committee was consulted on.

Since my report to the annual town meeting the inspector’s report into the retail outlet at the former Shell petrol station has been received Tesco’s, with inspector’s consent, will have completed construction of a small shop possibly by the time you read this. The main points pursued at the inquiry by the residents, Town, and Borough Councils were noise affecting neighbouring homes, highways access, and people crossing the road at a dangerous point. The inspector provided answers to all points saying in the highways case that it was not the responsibility of the planning process to be concerned about unsafe driving. Although I am not an expert on planning it also concerns me that there was no limit placed on hours of construction with the only justification being that a limit is unnecessary.

Sainsbury made an application for a small store on the site of the former Bell Public House. The committee had a split view on this application but the outcome was that we recommended refusal on highways grounds, and at the Clerks suggestion that the application is premature to the Local Plan. The committee has also pursued various highways issues, and will be considering problems connected with Transport on the A26 through Southborough. The committee also recommended approval of development plans for Holden House, Holden Corner.

FILE: stc02pl2.doc, 09-11-2002