Application for demolition of the existing Ram Jam Inn and redevelopment of the site to provide three drive-thru units (Use class A3/A5) and one drive-to unit (Use Class A1/A3) with associated parking and landscaping.
(Ward: Greetham; Parish: Greetham)
The Chairman adjourned the meeting for 5 minutes to allow Members to read the addendum report that had been received at the meeting.
Mr Robert Harrison, resident of the village of Stretton, addressed the Committee.
Mr Richard Huteson, agent for the applicant Godwin Developments, addressed the Committee.
During discussion the following points were noted:
· Mr Harrison asked the Committee to consider a more appropriate long term use for the site, in particular a ‘social community’ use, which would include the retention of the historic Ram Jam Inn. In addition, he wished the Committee to take on board the objections made by the Committee for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE) who felt that the proposals, because of the demolition and tree removal, did not satisfy the Rutland Core Strategy Policy which stated that new developments should maintain and wherever possible enhance the County’s environmental, cultural and heritage assets.
· Mr Huteson argued that the site had been redundant for a number of years and was in desperate need of regeneration. Options which included the retention of the Inn had been exhausted but as the building had become unstable, none were viable. The proposal fully accorded with the National Planning Framework and had had no objections from statutory consultees.
· Although Public Health England had given the power to Local Authorities to refuse fast food outlets on the grounds of concerns over rising obesity levels, this usually applied to outlets that were to be sited within 500m of a school and where a Council had adopted a specific policy on the matter. Rutland had no such policy in place and the proposed facility was to serve passing traffic on the A1 and would not attract school children.
· Members raised concerns about the increase of traffic and the safety of returning to the A1 via the short run off. Although there would be signage to encourage traffic to leave via the B668 road exit and join the A1 further down, this access was more convenient, being the shorter route, and could not be closed off as a right of way over it was retained.
· The nature of a drive through operation meant that there would be queueing traffic, which Members felt could be dangerous for those accessing the site.
· There had been no evidence in the last five years of any fatal accident at the site but the proposed development would be increasing traffic onto the A1 therefore increasing the likelihood of accidents.
· The long term viability of the site was not a planning consideration as the proposal needed to be considered on the current situation and not what might happen in the future.
· As there was anecdotal evidence that the apple trees were ancient varieties the Greetham tree warden was keen to try and graft some of the trees that were earmarked to be felled, onto new root stock.
· Mr Conde felt that there wasn’t enough information from Highways nor information regarding the ecology and archaeological nature of the site to support the application and would prefer that it was deferred.
· In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, it was not viable to keep even the façade of the building.
· The absence of the Ward Member, who was not present to speak on behalf of his residents, was noted.
· The development would provide for 88 parking spaces which was in excess of the recommended guidance of 66 spaces, based on one space per 14m2
However members felt that this number did not account for the number of employee parking spaces that would be needed to service 4 outlets as most would have to travel to work by car.
· Members queried what had dramatically changed since the previous application, which retained the Ram Jam Inn building, and this one which required its demolition. The question was posed as to whether the building had been deliberately allowed to go into disrepair so that knocking it down could be proposed.
· The design of the new outlets, although typical of other roadside facilities, was not typical of Rutland.
The Planning and Licensing Committee considered the report 2018/0539/FUL and the representations made. A motion was proposed by Mr Gale and seconded by Mr Oxley to reject the officers’ recommendation and the Committee resolved to REFUSE the planning application.
(9 in favour;1 abstention)
In accordance with the provisions of Procedure rule 11, paragraph 2 – Recording of Votes - Mr Conde requested that his abstention for the resolution be recorded.
REASON FOR THE DECISION:
The application was refused on the following grounds:
- Over development
- Design/visual amenity
- Loss of an historic building
- Loss of preserved trees
- No provision for employees parking and no evening bus service.