Minutes – 14 October 2020


PRESENT: Cllr. H Salwey (Chairman); Cllr. D Ayres (Vice Chairman); Cllr. A Cowell; Cllr. C Giles; Cllr. A Hall; and Cllr. R Smith.

IN ATTENDANCE: Mr R Hewitt, Clerk. There were two (2) members of the public present.

20/57 Apologies – None.

20/58 Declarations of Members Interest and Written Requests for Dispensation – None.

20/59 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish
Two members of the public expressed concern at the sight lines for the access to the proposed development on Land to the north of Westbrook House.

20/60 Planning
It was noted that Shropshire Council has yet to decide on application 18/04076/PIP for the residential development of nine dwellings. The parish council agreed to make comment to Herefordshire planning authority re: 202751/TD5 Land to north of Westbrook House, Richards Castle – Proposed variation of condition no.2 ‘approved plans’ and condition no.11 ‘drainage’ of planning permission ref: 191749/TD5 (Application for Technical Details Consent for Permission in Principle application 183388 (Proposed residential development of land for 9 no. dwellings, with associated hard and soft landscaping)), to refer to the revised plans previously submitted under the planning application but not identified in the Decision Notice”.

Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council has considered planning application P202751/TD5 Land North of Westbrook House as the site lies across the boundaries of Shropshire and Herefordshire. The parish council asks that the two planning authorities work together to address the key issue of highway safety that is raised by the proposed access to the development. As has been raised previously by both Richards Castle parish councils in respect of the previous application (191749), and is highlighted in representations by members of the public, the proposed access is flawed for the following reasons:

• The sight line towards Herefordshire is just 88 metres, a long way short of the 120 metres stipulated in national highway guidance for junctions in a 30-40mph zone. It also runs through the hedgerow of the neighbouring Herefordshire based landowner(s). From the drawing (6043-P-110 F) there is no provision made for seasonal growth, and the sight line appears to rely on the kindness of the neighbour(s) which is considered to be an unfair and unreasonable imposition. From the perspective of highway safety, it also effectively means that the proposed substandard 88 metre sight line cannot even be delivered in either the short or long term with any assurance.
• The proposed access from the site on to the B4361 will form a dangerous ‘staggered’ crossroads because of the nearby Park Lane junction. The parish council asks that the volume of large, slow moving tractors with trailers and bowsers accessing the nearby biodigester is given full and proper consideration. The biodigester is a rural industrial site that takes in many tonnes of waste material each year which is processed and the end product is then transported away. Recently, the biodigester received planning permission to increase the volume of inputs by two thousand metric tonnes per year. The majority of the tractors and bowsers going to and from the biodigester use the B4361 to access Park Lane.
• It should be noted that the 100 metre sight line to the north also falls short of the 120 metres required by national highway standards.
• The proposed access may in time serve more than nine properties given the layout of the site which allows access to develop the adjacent field. This makes it vital to get the access to the B4361 right at the outset and ensure that it meets national highway guidance. The B4361 in both directions has significant bends, including a nearby junction, and in the direction of Herefordshire, a blind dip in the road. The future safety and well-being of drivers and pedestrians in the future will depend on getting this right.

The parish council urges that the time is taken to look at the highway access concerns that have been raised and give them due weight as grounds for a refusal of the planning application.

20/03563/LBC Rectory Farm, Richards Castle, SY8 4EE. Removal of two internal walls affecting a Grade II Listed Building. The application for listed building consent was supported.

20/61 Proposal to commission ‘village gates’ at start of speed limit on B4361 above the village hall
A request by Richards Castle (Herefordshire) Parish Council to place village gates at the start of the 40mph speed limit by the village hall on the B4361 was considered. It was felt that the proposed location was not wide enough for the village gates to be effective, and concern was expressed at the cost of ongoing maintenance of the verge by the gates. For these reasons the parish council did not support the proposal.

20/62 consultation on government white paper, Planning for the future
The parish council resolved to submit a comment on the white paper via NALC as advised by the county association.

Richards Castle (Shropshire) Parish Council strongly supports the points raised in the letter from the Shropshire county association, SALC.

In addition, the parish council would like to emphasise the need to keep local communities involved in the planning process and to retain the right to object to inappropriate low-density housing. These are considered to be fundamental. Existing land banks held by developers should be taken into account and developers should be incentivised to build on the land they hold. Environmental standards are crucial. Development of brownfield sites needs to be prioritised over open countryside which requires protection. It is worth noting that there are plenty of brownfield sites in the countryside.

20/63 Next Meeting – The next scheduled online meeting will be at 7.30pm on Tuesday
17 November 2020.

The meeting closed at 8.28pm.