Planning Applications

Len Lowther made this Freedom of Information request to Sunderland City Council

The request was refused by Sunderland City Council.

From: Len Lowther

11 June 2013

Dear Sunderland City Council,

Planning Ref. No: 13/00249/FUL

Questions regarding Sunderland Local Planning Authority

1. Are rules/guidelines in place that the LPA have to follow when
deciding a planning application is delegated to a planning officer
as opposed to requiring a full planning committee decision?

2. If any serious mistake was identified in a planning application
approval will the LPA be required to revoke planning consent?

3. If objections are received during the public consultation period
does this not now warrant full committee decision of a planning
application?

4. If objections are received during the public consultation period
are the issues considered and the author replied to by the LPA?

5. If objections are replied to where as a member of the public can
I view the response/decision from the LPA?

6. Can a planning application be approved when the site plan shows
building development over public land that has not been mentioned
during the planning application?

7. If location plans submitted to the LPA show incorrect
information does this not render the application invalid?

8. As a member of the public where can I access planning conditions
placed on a planning approval?

9. Why are public right of way issues raised re Seaburn Shelter
Redevelopment not on the planning portal Ref. No: 11/03065/FUL.

Yours faithfully,

Len Lowther

Link to this

From: Solicitor - Freedom of Information
Sunderland City Council

11 June 2013

Re: Your request for information concerning: Planning Applications.

The Council aims to provide available information promptly and in any
event within 20 working days, unless, exceptionally, there is a need to
consider whether the information is exempt from disclosure.

Please note that there may be a charge for providing copies of the
information. If the cost of complying with your request in full exceeds
£450, we will ask you to reconsider your request, or to pay a fee before
the information is supplied. If a charge or fee is payable we will let you
know.

I will contact you again soon in connection with your request.

Please quote the reference below if you contact the Council regarding this
request.

Customer Request Number:  13 06 31

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Link to this

From: OCEFOI
Sunderland City Council

18 June 2013


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Dear Len Lowther

 

I refer to your recent request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.  I can confirm that the Council does hold this
information, as detailed below.

 

Planning Ref. No: 13/00249/FUL.  

Questions regarding Sunderland Local Planning Authority
1. Are rules/guidelines in place that the LPA have to follow when deciding
a planning application is delegated to a planning officer as opposed to
requiring a full planning committee decision?
2. If any serious mistake was identified in a planning application
approval will the LPA be required to revoke planning consent?
3. If objections are received during the public consultation period does
this not now warrant full committee decision of a planning application?
4. If objections are received during the public consultation period are
the issues considered and the author replied to by the LPA?
5. If objections are replied to where as a member of the public can I view
the response/decision from the LPA?
6. Can a planning application be approved when the site plan shows
building development over public land that has not been mentioned during
the planning application?
7. If location plans submitted to the LPA show incorrect information does
this not render the application invalid?
8. As a member of the public where can I access planning conditions placed
on a planning approval?
9. Why are public right of way issues raised re Seaburn Shelter
Redevelopment not on the planning portal Ref. No: 11/03065/FUL.

 

 

It is understood that points 1-8 relate to app ref: 13/00249/FUL and point
9 relates to app ref: 11/03065/FUL

 

1.       Guideline and procedures for delegated decisions

The decision as to whether a planning application is reported to Committee
is set out in the Council’s Delegation Scheme, a copy of which was emailed
to you by Planning Officer Philip Meldrum.

 

As part of this process the planning officer will follow a specific
procedure (please see procedure note attached). When assessing the merits
of a planning application the same consideration is given to applications
which are delegated and those which are to be referred to Committee.
Ultimately, the starting point for the consideration of all planning
applications is the development plan.

 

When considering any application for planning permission it is
particularly important to establish the acceptability of the principle of
development.  Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act
(2004) provides that:

 

'if regard is to be had to the Development Plan for the purpose of any
determination to be made under the planning acts, the determination must
be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations
indicate otherwise.'

 

The first test, and the statutory starting point is whether the
application is 'in accordance with the plan', which is a phrase that has
been the subject of debate in the High Court in the context of Section 54A
of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.  In his judgment of 31 July
2000 (R v Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council ex parte Milne), Mr
Justice Sullivan (as he then was) concluded as follows:

 

'I regard as untenable the proposition that if there is a breach of any
one Policy in a development plan a proposed development cannot be said to
be "in accordance with the plan”'

 

'For the purposes of Section 54A, it is enough that the proposal accords
with the development plan considered as a whole. It does not have to
accord with each and every policy therein.'

 

This Rochdale judgment is applicable to the interpretation of Section
38(6) of the 2004 Act and the Council must reach a decision, therefore, as
to whether the application is in accordance with the development plan when
it is considered as a whole.

 

The Unitary Development Plan (the UDP) was adopted in 1998.  On
commencement of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act (September 2004),
the policies of the UDP were automatically 'saved' for three years,
remaining in force until September 2007.  The Council subsequently
notified the Government Office of the policies it wished to retain and
confirmation from the Secretary of State of the agreed saved policies was
received on 4 September 2007. 

 

As of 27 March 2012, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) became
a material consideration in the determination of planning applications and
superseded a large number of previous planning policy guidance notes and
statements.  Paragraph 11 of the NPPF states that planning law requires
applications for planning permission to be determined in accordance with
the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. 
Paragraph 12 expands upon this and advises that the NPPF does not change
the statutory status of the development plan as the starting point for
decision making.  Proposed development that accords with an up-to-date
Local Plan should be approved.

 

Whether or not the development plan is up to date is a material
consideration in determining how much weight should be attached to the
relevant policies in the development plan in light of other material
considerations. In particular, Paragraph 214 of the NPPF states that where
the relevant provisions of the development plan were not adopted in
accordance with the provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act
2004 (which is the case with the Council's Development Plan which was
adopted in 1998), due weight should be given to the relevant policies of
the plan according to their degree of consistency with the NPPF.

 

Paragraph 14 of the NPPF provides that in respect of decision making:-

 

·         development proposals that accord with the development plan
should be approved without delay;

·         where the development plan is absent, silent or the relevant
policies are out of date, planning permission should be granted unless:-

 

(i)   any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably
outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies of the NPPF taken
as a whole; or

(ii)  specific policies in the NPPF indicate that development should be
restricted.

 

 

2.       Revocation of planning permission

Planning permission vests development rights in the land, and the local
planning authority has no power simply to withdraw a permission
unilaterally. Once planning permission has been granted, then any
revocation of the permission leave the applicant able to claim
compensation. The local planning authority has the power to revoke
planning permissions under Section 97 of the Town and Country Planning Act
1990 (as amended).

 

The power in Section 97 of the 1990 Act can only be used before
development is complete.  After that date, a local planning authority can
use a power to order discontinuance under Section 102 of the Act.
Confirmation by the Secretary of State is required under Section 103. 
Again, there is a liability to pay compensation under Section 115.

 

3.       Referral to Planning Committee

The receipt of representation (objections and/or letters of support) does
not warrant the application being referred to Committee for a decision. 
In this regard, only objections received from a statutory consultee would
result in a delegated application being referred to Committee for
determination.

 

4.       Replying  to representation

All objections are documented in the officer report and justification
provided where the grounds for opposing the development are material
planning considerations. Ordinarily, an objector would not be responded to
on the points set out in the correspondence. Should an objector to a
proposal require a response to the concerns that they raise then this
should be made clear in their objection correspondence, otherwise all
persons who have made representation to a planning application will be
formally notified, in writing, of the decision. 

 

5.       Application correspondence

All correspondence received, and replied to, as part of the formal
planning application process will be available on the application file for
public inspection.

 

6.       Development on public space

Planning applications can be made on any parcel of land regardless of
their use.  If an application is to be made on land which is outside of
the applicant’s ownership then the requisite notice must be served on the
land owner. In the case of the application referred to above, Certificate
B was served on the Council (Land and Property) as land owner of part of
the application site (open space). Reference as to the acceptability of
developing on the open space for the purposes of this application was made
in the officer’s delegated report. 

 

7.       Location Plans

All applications must include copies of a location plan based on an
up-to-date map. This should be at an identified standard metric scale
(1:1250 or 1:2500). Plans should identify sufficient roads and/or
buildings on land adjoining the application site to ensure that the exact
location of the application site is clear. 

 

The application site should be edged clearly with a red line. It should
include all land necessary to carry out the proposed development – for
example, land required for access to the site from a public highway,
visibility splays, landscaping, car parking and open areas around
buildings.

 

A blue line should be drawn around any other land owned or controlled by
the applicant, close to or adjoining the application site.

 

The Council is not aware that the site location plan submitted, as part of
this application, does not adhere to the above criteria. As such, the LPA
progressed the application on the basis of the information provided by the
applicant. The LPA had no reason to question any of the information,
including land ownership, provided by the applicant.

 

8.       Planning Conditions

Planning conditions, placed on a planning approval, are set out in the
decision notice which is available online for public inspection.

 

9.       Public Rights of Way (Ref: 11/03065/FUL)

Having reviewed the application file it would appear that the application
proposal sought permission to stop-up two public footpaths and create a
new ambulant staircase to the centre of the development. Such works were
included in the application description. The issue of the stopping-up was
raised in the Engineers comments, which are recorded on file, and also in
the planning officer’s report to Committee. 

 

I hope this is satisfactory.  If, however, you are dissatisfied with our
response to your request for information, you can ask for the decision to
be reviewed in reply to this letter.  The review will be removed from the
Directorate and coordinated by the Council’s Information Governance
Officer.   A request for review should be directed, by email to
[1][Sunderland City Council request email], by post or by hand addressed to;
Information Governance Officer, Governance Services, Civic Centre, PO Box
100, Sunderland SR2 7DN.

 

You are of course entitled to apply to the Information Commissioner at any
time, although the Commissioner will not usually investigate until the
public authority’s internal review procedure has been concluded.

 

Kind regards 

 
 
Julia Harper
Business Development Officer
Office of the Chief Executive
Sunderland City Council
Room 3.92 - Civic Centre
Sunderland
SR2 7DN
Tel: 0191 5611573 
Email: [2][email address].uk 

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Sunderland City Council request email]
mailto:[Sunderland City Council request email]
2. file:///tmp/blocked::mailto:[email address]

Link to this

From: Len Lowther

21 June 2013

Dear OCEFOI,
thank you for the reply.

Fitz Architects plan does not follow or adhere to the Marine Walk
Master Plan. Nowhere in the plan does it mention social housing or
an architects office. As it does not follow the plan can you please
advise me why it has been approved.

Fitz Architects office plan shows 8 work stations and a conference
room for 8 people but only one toilet, and no disabled access…
NO LIFT.

The best practice note on application of building regulations
CLEARLY states any new build has to be under 50m2 not to require a
lift even then only if low staff numbers, i.e. Under 5, practice
note on application of Building Regulations

Link:
http://www.labc.uk.com/Media/Default/lib...

I am of the understanding legislation requires this (new build)
must have a lift, plus male and female toilets split 60%/60% and a
disabled toilet.

Can you please explain why this application has been approved
without adherence to relevant legislation?

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther

Link to this

From: OCEFOI
Sunderland City Council

21 June 2013

Dear Mr Lowther

Thank you for your 2 emails to Philip Meldrum and I, dated 21 June 2013. May I advise that these have been passed to my colleagues who are dealing with your request.

Kind regards

Julia Harper
Business Development Officer
Office of the Chief Executive
Sunderland City Council
Room 3.92 - Civic Centre
Sunderland
SR2 7DN
Tel: 0191 5611573
Email: [email address]
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Leonard Lowther [mailto:[email address]]
Sent: 21 June 2013 07:06
To: Philip Meldrum
Cc: Toni Sambridge; DC; Cllr James Blackburn; Cllr Rosalind Copeland; Cllr Barry Curran; Cllr Ronny Davison; Cllr Bob Francis; Cllr Elizabeth Gibson; Cllr George Thompson; Cllr Denny Wilson; Cllr Paul Watson; Cllr John Wiper; Cllr Stephen Bonallie; Cllr George Howe; disability councilor; Cllr Melville Speding; Janet Johnson; DC
Subject: FW: 13/00249/FUL
Importance: High

Mr Meldrum
Fitz Architects office plan shows 8 work stations and a conference room for 8 people but only one toilet, and no disabled access...
NO LIFT.

The attached best practice note on application of building regulations CLEARLY states any new build has to be under 50m2 not to require a lift even then only if low staff numbers, i.e. Under 5, see attached guidance....ractice note on application of Building Regulations

I am of the understanding legislation requires this (new build) must have a lift, plus male and female toilets split 60%/60% and a disabled toilet.

Please read the attached file and accept this mail as an official complaint as to why you approved this planning application.

Regards Len Lowther

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Link to this

From: Len Lowther

25 June 2013

Dear OCEFOI,
Questions regarding Sunderland Local Planning Ref. No: 13/00249/FUL
1. Are rules/guidelines in place that the LPA have to follow when
deciding a planning application is delegated to a planning officer
as opposed to requiring a full planning committee decision?

In answer to your reply;
Marine Walk Master Plan states the following.

Narrowing and re-alignment of promenade road

Integration between vehicular, cycle and pedestrian traffic has
proved unsuccessful resulting in a number of points across the
masterplan area where significant conflicts between users occur,

However, the need to adequately accommodate day to day vehicular
traffic and access as well as other leisure and recreation uses, in
addition to the above, demonstrates a clear potential for conflict
to occur.

conflicts also exist between pedestrians using the lower promenade
to walk along the sea front and vehicular users using the road
which runs the length of the lower promenade

Conflicts occurring between vehicular
and pedestrian traffic and the previous attempts to remedy this
conflict have resulted in an environment which is cluttered and
lacks a clear hierarchy of routes

Question: the plan shows the road being narrowed is this still
going to be done as shown on the plan or has it now been rethought
due to this new development Ref. No: 13/00249/FUL

Question: How can the development of five houses / five retail
units and an office which shows eight work stations plus a
conference room for eight people reduce traffic flow in the area?

New access/ stairway

The steep pathways between Roker Terrace and Marine Walk make the
two areas feel remote. Access between the two will be improved with
a new stairway creating a direct link adjacent Bungalow Café.

Question: Marine Walk Master Plan states a new access / stairway.
Has this now been rethought due to this new development Ref. No:
13/00249/FUL

Delivery vehicle
This document sets a framework for
the regeneration of the Marine Walk Masterplan study area.
Developers should take note of the key principles that are
contained within the masterplan, and ensure that they are fully
reflected in all subsequent planning applications for development
in this area.

Question: Where in the Marine Walk Masterplan is it stated that
social housing and an elevated office is what the public asked for
or would be good for the development of the area?

Planning application requirements
Planning applications within the study area are to be accompanied
by documentation which fully assesses the implications of the
development upon the physical, historic and natural environment.
The Tyne and Wear Validation Checklist sets out the relevant
supporting documentation which will be required (this document can
be accessed at www.sunderland.gov.uk via the Development Control
web page).
Planning applications may need to be accompanied by the following,
however this should be verified by consulting the Tyne and Wear
Checklist:
􏰀 A Design and Access Statement indicating how the proposal fulfils
the requirements of this masterplan

The access statement on this application says nothing more than,
quote: (One of Fitz Architects main aims is to provide inclusive
access for all within all the buildings we design). That’s it the
total sum of access statement!

In accordance with government guidance, a Design and Access
Statement is required to accompany most new planning applications.
The purpose of Design and Access Statements is to describe and
illustrate the design thinking behind a proposal and to explain how
the proposed design solution has been informed by the key
principles of good design. Design and Access Statements for
development within the masterplan area should set out the way in
which a development will contribute towards meeting the
requirements of current policy, frameworks and guidance, including
this masterplan.

In particular,
the Design and Access Statement
should clearly
demonstrate that the development proposal has had regard to the
design principles set out in Section
5. All Design and Access
statements should be prepared in line with the City Council’s
Design and Access Statement Supplementary Planning Document.
Further advice can be provided by the City Council on request or
through pre-application discussions.

Question: why has a full and appropriate access statement not been
required for this planning application as required by above
guidance from Marine Walk Masterplan?

􏰀 A Transportation Assessment and Travel Plan

Question: Why has a detailed Transportation Assessment and Travel
Plan not been required for this plan proving the development will
not create a high increase in traffic flow?

􏰀 A site investigation report to assess ground stability and the
potential for mine gas in accordance with PPG14

Question: Why has an old ground stability report from a previous
planning application been accepted as suitable for this
development?

Question: I raised this issue with the environmental office and
informed them that ground gases are present in the area. The
Adventure Sunderland building suffers with ground gases as I have
explained yet a full and detailed recent ground stability report
has not been required before full planning approval. Why?

􏰀 A Flood Risk Assessment to assess the risks of all forms of
flooding to and from development in accordance with PPS25

Question: Why has a detailed flood risk assessment not been
required before this plan received full planning consent?

In accordance with government guidance, a Design and Access
Statement is required to accompany most new planning applications.
The purpose of Design and Access Statements is to describe and
illustrate the design thinking behind a proposal and to explain how
the proposed design solution has been informed by the key
principles of good design. Design and Access Statements for
development within the masterplan area should set out the way in
which a development will contribute towards meeting the
requirements of current policy, frameworks and guidance, including
this masterplan.

Question; Please inform me how this plan contributes towards
meeting the requirements of current policy, frameworks and
guidance, especially the masterplan. It will massively increase
traffic flow and car parking in the area and the need for delivery
vans to service the retail units how does this sit within the
Marine Walk Masterplan?

A Transport Assessment will be required for development proposals
which are likely to have significant transport impacts. Its purpose
would be to quantify and assess the impact of the proposals on
traffic movement and highway safety; to assess how the development
could be accessed by alternative transport modes and how such
alternative modes would be promoted.
A Transport Statement will be required when the development is
expected to generate relatively low numbers of trips or traffic
flows with minor transport impacts. Its purpose would be to cover
matters such as trip generation resulting from the development,
improvements to site accessibility, car parking provision and
internal vehicular circulation, traffic impacts of servicing
requirements and the net level of change over any current
development within the site.

Question: The plan shows provision for five car parking spaces! The
plan shows five houses / five retail units and an office which
shows eight work stations plus a conference room for eight people.
How can such a large development be approved when it only provides
five car parking spaces in the area. Apart from showing work
stations for eight people (8cars) you then have to consider clients
hence the provision of a conference room for eight people (8 cars).
Then five dwellings, most homes have at least two cars today
(10cars). Owner occupiers of five retail units plus staff. I run a
cafe in the area and we normally operate with 6/7 staff. Lets just
say minimum of 10 staff (10cars) Thirty Six car parking spaces
removed from public use in the area!!!

Question: Where in the planning application was this increase in
car parking space requirement raised or considered?

Question: The servicing requirements for the retail units has not
received detailed consideration. The Marine Walk Masterplan
identifies problems in the area regarding conflict between
motorised vehicles and pedestrians. The fact these retail units
will require daily delivers has not been mentioned or addressed
within the planing application. Why?

Question: As this plan is in conflict with all plans and policies
for development in the area is it the case that this plan will be
revoked?

Len Lowther

Link to this

From: Solicitor - Freedom of Information
Sunderland City Council

26 June 2013



Re: Your request for information concerning:  Planning Applications

 

 

 

The Council aims to provide available information promptly and in any
event within 20 working days, unless, exceptionally, there is a need to
consider whether the information is exempt from disclosure.

 

Please note that there may be a charge for providing copies of the
information. If the cost of complying with your request in full exceeds
£450, we will ask you to reconsider your request, or to pay a fee before
the information is supplied. If a charge or fee is payable we will let you
know.

 

I will contact you again soon in connection with your request.

 

Please quote the reference below if you contact the Council regarding this
request.

 

 

Customer Request Number:  13 06 86

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Link to this

From: Steve Hanratty
Sunderland City Council

23 July 2013


Attachment 2013 07 18 Road Narrowing Attachment.pdf
2.5M Download View as HTML

Attachment 2013 07 18 Validation Guidance Attachment.pdf
345K Download View as HTML


Dear Len Lowther

 

In the first instance it would be beneficial to explain the general right
of access provisions which are encompassed by the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. Section 1 of the Act states that any person who makes a request
to a public authority is entitled to be in informed in writing whether it
holds the information of the description specified in the request and if
that is the case to have the information communicated to them. With regard
to your recent request for information under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000, we have answered the questions where there is actually recorded
information available.

 

For the remainder of the questions, these will be treated as general
enquiries and will form part of a response prepared by Danielle Pearson to
a number of general enquiries and complaints that you have raised. The
responses to your questions are therefore detailed below in bold text:

 

Question 1: the plan shows the road being narrowed is this still going to
be done as shown on the plan or has it now been rethought due to this new
development Ref. No: 13/00249/FUL

The drawings within the Marine Walk Masterplan and Marine Walk Phase 2
public realm plans published for consultation last September both depict
areas where the road is to be narrowed.  Whilst minor amendments have
since been made to the scheme, the project will continue to deliver
carriageway narrowing interventions - as indicated in the attached
drawing.

 

Question 2: How can the development of five houses / five retail units and
an office which shows eight work stations plus a conference room for eight
people reduce traffic flow in the area?

It is not expected that the proposed development will reduce traffic
flow.  The promenade improvements are designed to allow for increased
visitor numbers and at the same time provide a design solution that
removes pedestrian and vehicle conflict, in accordance with the Marine
Walk Masterplan.

 

 

New access/ stairway

 

The steep pathways between Roker Terrace and Marine Walk make the two
areas feel remote. Access between the two will be improved with a new
stairway creating a direct link adjacent Bungalow Café.

 

Question 3: Marine Walk Master Plan states a new access / stairway. Has
this now been rethought due to this new development Ref. No: 13/00249/FUL

There is no recorded information available for this question therefore
this will be answered in due course as part of the general enquiry
response being prepared by Danielle Pearson.

 

Delivery vehicle

This document sets a framework for

the regeneration of the Marine Walk Masterplan study area. Developers
should take note of the key principles that are contained within the
masterplan, and ensure that they are fully reflected in all subsequent
planning applications for development in this area.

 

Question 4: Where in the Marine Walk Masterplan is it stated that social
housing and an elevated office is what the public asked for or would be
good for the development of the area?

The Marine Walk Masterplan is a planning document which describes the
aspirations for the area. It does not explicitly detail the full extent of
potential development \ redesign that will take place in the area and is
therefore indicative in nature. Private development proposals are
considered in relation to the extent the conform with or compliment the
objectives of the Masterplan and the Unitary Development Plan.

 

Planning application requirements

Planning applications within the study area are to be accompanied by
documentation which fully assesses the implications of the development
upon the physical, historic and natural environment. The Tyne and Wear
Validation Checklist sets out the relevant supporting documentation which
will be required (this document can be accessed at
[1]www.sunderland.gov.uk via the Development Control web page).

Planning applications may need to be accompanied by the following, however
this should be verified by consulting the Tyne and Wear Checklist:

􏰀 A Design and Access Statement indicating how the proposal fulfils the
requirements of this masterplan

 

The access statement on this application says nothing more than, quote:
(One of Fitz Architects main aims is to provide inclusive access for all
within all the buildings we design). That’s it the total sum of access
statement!

 

In accordance with government guidance, a Design and Access Statement is
required to accompany most new planning applications. The purpose of
Design and Access Statements is to describe and illustrate the design
thinking behind a proposal and to explain how the proposed design solution
has been informed by the key principles of good design. Design and Access
Statements for development within the masterplan area should set out the
way in which a development will contribute towards meeting the
requirements of current policy, frameworks and guidance, including this
masterplan. 

 

In particular, the Design and Access Statement should clearly demonstrate
that the development proposal has had regard to the design principles set
out in Section
5. All Design and Access statements should be prepared in
line with the City Council’s Design and Access Statement Supplementary
Planning Document. Further advice can be provided by the City Council on
request or through pre-application discussions.

 

Question 5: why has a full and appropriate access statement not been
required for this planning application as required by above guidance from 
Marine Walk Masterplan?

In accordance with previous government guidance, a Design and Access
Statement was required to accompany most new planning applications,
however the Government has recently raised the threshold for Design and
Access Statements so that now only applications for major development and
listed building consent must be accompanied by such a statement (a lower
threshold applies in designated areas). The Governments justification for
raising the threshold was largely based upon the fact that they consider
that the design merits and accessibility of smaller development proposals
can be adequately understood without the provision of a statutory Design
and Access Statement.

 

A Design and Access Statement (DAS) is a succinct report accompanying and
supporting an application to illustrate the process that has led to the
development proposal, and to explain the proposal in a structured way. The
level of detail required in a DAS depends on the scale and complexity of
the application and should be proportionate to the complexity of the
application. With reference to the ‘access’ element of the statement it is
important to note that this component relates only to ‘access to the
development’ such as public transport, general traffic and roads. It does
not extend to internal aspects of the development.

 

With specific reference to the Design and Access Statement which
accompanied the planning application in question I can confirm that having
reviewed this document it is evident that the author was aware of the
distinct difference between the development plan and its associated
policies and the Marine Walk Supplementary Planning Document. In
particular, the pages titled ‘Marine Walk Masterplan, Development
Parameters pg1 & 2’ of the statement makes specific reference to the
development plan (UDP) and the fact that the Marine Walk Master Plan is a
supplementary planning document. Therefore, it is apparent from the
content of the Design and Access Statement that Fitzarchitects understand
the hierarchy of planning policy in this area that being the development
plan as adopted planning policy and the Marine Walk Masterplan as adopted
supplementary planning guidance which aims to support and complement the
development plan.

 

􏰀 A Transportation Assessment and Travel Plan

 

Question 6 : Why has a detailed Transportation Assessment and Travel Plan
not been required for this plan proving the development will not create a
high increase in traffic flow?

Please see the attached Validation Checklist which provides information
upon the requirements of a Transportation Assessment and Travel Plan. It
is clear from the guidance that a development of the scale of the Fitz
Architect proposal does not warrant either.

 

􏰀 A site investigation report to assess ground stability and the potential
for mine gas in accordance with PPG14

 

Question 7: Why has an old ground stability report from a previous
planning application been accepted as suitable for this development? I
raised this issue with the environmental office and informed them that
ground gases are present in the area. The Adventure Sunderland building
suffers with ground gases as I have explained yet a full and detailed
recent ground stability report has not been required before full planning
approval. Why?

Environmental Health were consulted as part of the planning application
process and submitted a number of comments which have been taken on board
by the Council’s Development Management function in the form of planning
conditions attached to the Planning Approval Decision. The conditions,
(6,8,10,11,12,13, 14) will require site investigation, and desk top
studies which would identify contaminant issues and subject to findings
would require remediation statements, and remediation implementation plans
prior to development commencing. The conditions also address potential
issues around odours and noise. Details of Planning conditions attached to
the proposal can be found on the Council’s Internet via the following
hyperlink:
[2]http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/online-appl...

 

Applicants for planning permission often submit associated documents that
are not required as part of the planning decision process and the Ground
Stability report is one of these documents as it’s prime consideration is
in relation to Building Regulations.  Fitz Architects have appointed the
South Tyneside Building Control Team to assess compliance with Building
Regulation requirements, therefore any queries relating to building
control should be addressed to them.

 

􏰀 A Flood Risk Assessment to assess the risks of all forms of flooding to
and from development in accordance with PPS25

 

Question 8: Why has a detailed flood risk assessment not been required
before this plan received full planning consent?

All planning applications are checked on receipt against a series of
constraints to ascertain whether they require certain assessments to be
undertaken, flood risk is one of the constraints. In this regard having
reviewed the Flood Risk Constraints Map it would appear that the proposed
development is not within a highlighted flood risk zone, therefore a
detailed flood risk assessment was not required.

 

In accordance with government guidance, a Design and Access Statement is
required to accompany most new planning applications. The purpose of
Design and Access Statements is to describe and illustrate the design
thinking behind a proposal and to explain how the proposed design solution
has been informed by the key principles of good design. Design and Access
Statements for development within the masterplan area should set out the
way in which a development will contribute towards meeting the
requirements of current policy, frameworks and guidance, including this
masterplan.

 

Question 9; Please inform me how this plan contributes towards meeting the
requirements of current policy, frameworks and guidance, especially the
masterplan. It will massively increase traffic flow and car parking in the
area and the need for delivery vans to service the retail units how does
this sit within the Marine Walk Masterplan?

There is no recorded information available for this question therefore
this will be answered in due course as part of the general enquiry
response being prepared by Danielle Pearson.

 

A Transport Assessment will be required for development proposals which
are likely to have significant transport impacts. Its purpose would be to
quantify and assess the impact of the proposals on traffic movement and
highway safety; to assess how the development could be accessed by
alternative transport modes and how such alternative modes would be
promoted.

 

A Transport Statement will be required when the development is expected to
generate relatively low numbers of trips or traffic flows with minor
transport impacts. Its purpose would be to cover matters such as trip
generation resulting from the development, improvements to site
accessibility, car parking provision and internal vehicular circulation,
traffic impacts of servicing requirements and the net level of change over
any current development within the site.

 

Question 10: The plan shows provision for five car parking spaces! The
plan shows five houses / five retail units and an office which shows eight
work stations plus a conference room for eight people. How can such a
large development be approved when it only provides five car parking
spaces in the area. Apart from showing work stations for eight people
(8cars) you then have to consider clients hence the provision of a
conference room for eight people (8 cars). Then five dwellings, most homes
have at least two cars today (10cars). Owner occupiers of five retail
units plus staff. I run a cafe in the area and we normally operate with
6/7 staff. Lets just say minimum of 10 staff (10cars) Thirty Six car
parking spaces removed from public use in the area!!!  Where in the
planning application was this increase in car parking space requirement
raised or considered?

The Council’s Network Management team is consulted as part of the planning
application consultation process. Their comments relating to parking
provision for the proposal in question are available via the Council’s
Planning Public Access website which can be found via the following
hyperlink -
[3]http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/online-appl...

 

Please also refer to the attached Validation Checklist which sets out
threshold guidance that applications are considered against in respect of
the need for either a transport assessment, transport statement or travel
plan.

 

Question 11: The servicing requirements for the retail units has not
received detailed consideration. The Marine Walk Masterplan identifies
problems in the area regarding conflict between motorised vehicles and
pedestrians. The fact these retail units will require daily delivers has
not been mentioned or addressed within the planning application. Why?

There is no recorded information available for this question therefore
this will be answered in due course as part of the general enquiry
response being prepared by Danielle Pearson.

 

Question 12: As this plan is in conflict with all plans and policies for
development in the area is it the case that this plan will be revoked?

There is no recorded information available for this question therefore
this will be answered in due course as part of the general enquiry
response being prepared by Danielle Pearson.

 

I hope this is satisfactory.  If, however, you are dissatisfied with our
response to your request for information, you can ask for the decision to
be reviewed in reply to this letter.  The review will be removed from the
Directorate and coordinated by the Council’s Information Governance
Officer.   A request for review should be directed, by email to
[4][Sunderland City Council request email], by post or by hand addressed to;
Information Governance Officer, Governance Services, Civic Centre, PO Box
100, Sunderland SR2 7DN.

 

You are of course entitled to apply to the Information Commissioner at any
time, although the Commissioner will not usually investigate until the
public authority’s internal review procedure has been concluded.

 

Kind Regards

 

Steve Hanratty

Business Development Manager

Office Of The Chief Executive

Sunderland City Council

Tel: 0191 5617808

[5]www.sunderland.gov.uk

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Link to this

From: Len Lowther

31 July 2013

Dear Steve Hanratty,
The plan shows the road being narrowed is this still going to be
done as shown on the plan or has it now been rethought due to this
new development Ref. No: 13/00249/FUL

The drawings within the Marine Walk Masterplan and Marine Walk
Phase 2 public realm plans published for consultation last
September both depict areas where the road is to be narrowed.
Whilst minor amendments have since been made to the scheme, the
project will continue to deliver carriageway narrowing
interventions - as indicated in the attached drawing.

Minor changes. I hold my breath.

How can the development of five houses / five retail units and an
office which shows eight work stations plus a conference room for
eight people reduce traffic flow in the area?

It is not expected that the proposed development will reduce
traffic
flow. The promenade improvements are designed to allow for
increased visitor numbers and at the same time provide a design
solution that removes pedestrian and vehicle conflict, in
accordance with the Marine Walk Masterplan.

Agreed this development will massively increase traffic flow in the
area. Therefore pedestrian and vehicle conflict are more likely,
yet the engineers email simply says

I have drafted my comments on the above application as follows:-

NOTE - VEHICLE ACCESS
Marine Walk is currently subject to alterations and improvements as
part of the Councils Public Realm Master Plan.
The proposals are generally acceptable in terms of
parking/servicing arrangements.
The proposed residents parking bays will require provision for
footway crossing (vehicle access). This will also require removal
of the adjacent traffic calming pinch point. The applicant should
contact the Councils Planning Implementation Section tel 0191
xxxxxxxx. (Names removed) regarding co-ordination of these works.

Was a risk assessment undertaken to ensure road safety in the area?
If so why was it not mentioned in the delegated decision report?
The above statement is simply not adequate and does not reflect
concerns raised in the Marine Walk Masterplan regarding road safety
in the area, or raised in previous planning applications on Marine
Walk!

12/02651/FUL restricted to deliveries in a vehicle no bigger than a
transit van.

03/02413/FUL No deliveries shall be taken at or dispatched from the
site between 10.00hrs and 22.00 hrs to ensure the highway safety is
not compromised and to comply with policy T14 of the UDP.

Before the development hereby approved is brought into operation a
car parking management scheme in respect of thee premises known as
Marine Walk Public Car Park situate at Marine Walk Sunderland shall
be submitted to and agreed in writing by the Local Planning
Authority. The scheme shall be implemented and operated in
accordance with the agreed details, in the interests of highway
safety and to comply with policy T14 of the UDP.

01/01587/FUL No part of the development shall be occupied until the
off street parking provision has been constructed, surfaced, sealed
and made available in accordance with the approved plans. This
parking area shall then be retained and permanently reserved for
the parking of vehicles to ensure that adequate and satisfactory
provision is made for the off street parking of vehicles and to
comply with policy T14 and T22 of the UDP.

The above proves prior planning applications on Marine Walk were
subject to planning conditions to maintain road safety in the area.
Why have none of the above conditions been deemed necessary for
this planning application?

Marine Walk Masterplan 3.2: Integration between vehicular, cycle
and pedestrian traffic has proved unsuccessful resulting in a
number of points across the masterplan area where significant
conflicts between users occur, particularly at the southern end of
the study area.

Planning Policy Guidance 13: Transport’ (PPG13)
Paragraph 89 stipulates that: ‘travel plans should be submitted
alongside planning applications which are likely to have
significant transport implications, including those for’:-

1. All smaller developments generating significant amounts of
travel in, or near to, Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA’s), and
in other locations where there are local initiatives or targets for
the reduction of road traffic, or the promotion of public
transport, walking and cycling;

Why was a Travel plan not a condition for this proposed
development?

New access/ stairway

The steep pathways between Roker Terrace and Marine Walk make the
two areas feel remote. Access between the two will be improved with
a new stairway creating a direct link adjacent Bungalow Café.

Marine Walk Master Plan states a new access / stairway. Has this
now been rethought due to this new development Ref. No:
13/00249/FUL

There is no recorded information available for this question
therefore
this will be answered in due course as part of the general enquiry
response being prepared by Danielle Pearson.

There is recorded information on page 49 of the Marine Walk
Masterplan item no.11

Delivery vehicle

This document sets a framework for the regeneration of the Marine
Walk Masterplan study area. Developers should take note of the key
principles that are contained within the masterplan, and ensure
that they are fully reflected in all subsequent planning
applications for development in this area.

Where in the Marine Walk Masterplan is it stated that social
housing and an elevated office is what the public asked for or
would be good for the development of the area?

The Marine Walk Masterplan is a planning document which describes
the aspirations for the area. It does not explicitly detail the
full extent of potential development \ redesign that will take
place in the area and i therefore indicative in nature. Private
development proposals are considered in relation to the extent the
conform with or compliment the objectives of the Masterplan and the
Unitary Development Plan.

03/02413/FUL no. 10 The occupation of the two flats shall be
limited to employees associated with the bar/restaurant only and at
no time shall be occupied as separate private dwelling units, in
order to achieve a satisfactory form of development and to comply
with policy B2 of the UDP.

No private dwellings to comply with policy B2 of the UDP. Why has
this proposed development been approved going against policy B2 of
the UDP?

Planning application requirements

Planning applications within the study area are to be accompanied
by documentation which fully assesses the implications of the
development upon the physical, historic and natural environment.
The Tyne and Wear Validation Checklist sets out the relevant
supporting documentation which will be required (this document can
be accessed at
[1]www.sunderland.gov.uk via the Development Control web page).

Planning applications may need to be accompanied by the following,
however this should be verified by consulting the Tyne and Wear
Checklist:

A Design and Access Statement indicating how the proposal fulfils
the requirements of this masterplan

The access statement on this application says nothing more than,
quote:
(One of Fitz Architects main aims is to provide inclusive access
for all within all the buildings we design). That’s it the total
sum of access statement!

In accordance with government guidance, a Design and Access
Statement is required to accompany most new planning applications.
The purpose of Design and Access Statements is to describe and
illustrate the design thinking behind a proposal and to explain how
the proposed design solution has been informed by the key
principles of good design. Design and Access Statements for
development within the masterplan area should set out the way in
which a development will contribute towards meeting the
requirements of current policy, frameworks and guidance, including
this masterplan.

In particular, the Design and Access Statement should clearly
demonstrate that the development proposal has had regard to the
design principles set out in Section
5. All Design and Access
statements should be prepared in line with the City Council’s
Design and Access Statement Supplementary Planning Document.
Further advice can be provided by the City Council on request or
through pre-application discussions.

Why has a full and appropriate access statement not been required
for this planning application as required by above guidance from
Marine Walk Masterplan?

In accordance with previous government guidance, a Design and
Access Statement was required to accompany most new planning
applications, however the Government has recently raised the
threshold for Design and Access Statements so that now only
applications for major development and listed building consent must
be accompanied by such a statement (a lower threshold applies in
designated areas). The Governments justification for raising the
threshold was largely based upon the fact that they consider that
the design merits and accessibility of smaller development
proposals can be adequately understood without the provision of a
statutory Design and Access Statement.

A Design and Access Statement (DAS) is a succinct report
accompanying and supporting an application to illustrate the
process that has led to the development proposal, and to explain
the proposal in a structured way. The level of detail required in a
DAS depends on the scale and complexity of the application and
should be proportionate to the complexity of the application. With
reference to the ‘access’ element of the statement it is important
to note that this component relates only to ‘access to the
development’ such as public transport, general traffic and roads.
It does not extend to internal aspects of the development.

With specific reference to the Design and Access Statement which
accompanied the planning application in question I can confirm that
having reviewed this document it is evident that the author was
aware of the distinct difference between the development plan and
its associated policies and the Marine Walk Supplementary Planning
Document. In particular, the pages titled ‘Marine Walk Masterplan,
Development Parameters pg1 & 2’ of the statement makes specific
reference to the development plan (UDP) and the fact that the
Marine Walk Master Plan is a supplementary planning document.
Therefore, it is apparent from the content of the Design and Access
Statement that Fitzarchitects understand the hierarchy of planning
policy in this area that being the development plan as adopted
planning policy and the Marine Walk Masterplan as adopted
supplementary planning guidance which aims to support and
complement the development plan.

12/02651/FUL Design and Access Statement.
Access Component:
Inclusive Access, All elements of the building will be designed to
give access to all. Level access will be provided to the principal
entrance, and all internal doors will be wide enough to accommodate
wheelchair users. Ramps will be used where appropriate and can be
seen on AL (0)0200

There is no access component with the Design and Access Statement
for this proposed development. The reason why is clear and shall be
submitted to the ombudsman in due course. I ask why access and
egress from this proposed development did not receive scrutiny from
the delegated planning officer?

A Transportation Assessment and Travel Plan

Why has a detailed Transportation Assessment and Travel Plan not
been required for this plan proving the development will not create
a high increase in traffic flow?

Please see the attached Validation Checklist which provides
information upon the requirements of a Transportation Assessment
and Travel Plan. It is clear from the guidance that a development
of the scale of the Fitz Architect proposal does not warrant
either.

I have read the validation checklist and believe your statement is
incorrect for the following reasons.

Tyne and Wear Validation Checklist states:
Other matters such as site access, existing parking pressures or
the proposed number of parking spaces may need to be taken in
account when deciding if a TS, TA, TP or other supporting
information is required. The following list, which is by no means
exhaustive, may necessitate a Travel Plan to be submitted if, in
the opinion of the LPA, the development proposal would
Be likely to increase accidents or conflicts among motorised users
and non- motorised users, particularly vulnerable road users such
as children, disabled and elderly people;
Be proposed in a location where the local transport infrastructure
is inadequate – for example, substandard roads, poor
pedestrian/cyclist facilities and inadequate public transport
provisions
Marine Walk Masterplan 3.2 Integration between vehicular, cycle and
pedestrian traffic has proved unsuccessful resulting in a number of
points across the masterplan area where significant conflicts
between users occur, particularly at the southern end of the study
area.
There are many references to road safety on Marine Walk so once
again Why has a detailed Transportation Assessment and Travel Plan
not been required for this proposed development?
A Transport Statement will be required when the development is
expected to generate relatively low numbers of trips or traffic
flows with minor transport impacts. Its purpose would be to cover
matters such as trip generation resulting from the development,
improvements to site accessibility, car parking provision and
internal vehicular circulation, traffic impacts of servicing
requirements and the net level of change over any current
development within the site.

The plan shows provision for five car parking spaces! The plan
shows five houses / five retail units and an office which shows
eight work stations plus a conference room for eight people. How
can such a large development be approved when it only provides five
car parking spaces in the area. Apart from showing work stations
for eight people (8cars) you then have to consider clients hence
the provision of a conference room for eight people (8 cars). Then
five dwellings, most homes have at least two cars today (10cars).
Owner occupiers of five retail units plus staff. I run a cafe in
the area and we normally operate with6/7 staff. Lets just say
minimum of 10 staff (10cars) Thirty Six car parking spaces removed
from public use in the area!!! Where in the planning application
was this increase in car parking space requirement raised or
considered?

The Council’s Network Management team is consulted as part of the
planning application consultation process. Their comments relating
to parkingprovision for the proposal in question are available via
the Council’s Planning Public Access website which can be found via
the followinghyperlink -
[3]http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/online-appl...

Please also refer to the attached Validation Checklist which sets
out
threshold guidance that applications are considered against in
respect of the need for either a transport assessment, transport
statement or travel plan.

I have followed the link and did not find a risk assessment or any
other standard procedure to prove that road traffic management had
been properly addressed. I did find an email which, simply stated:

NOTE - VEHICLE ACCESS
Marine Walk is currently subject to alterations and improvements as
part of the Councils Public Realm Master Plan.
The proposals are generally acceptable in terms of
parking/servicing arrangements.
The proposed residents parking bays will require provision for
footway crossing (vehicle access). This will also require removal
of the adjacent traffic calming pinch point. The applicant should
contact the Councils Planning Implementation Section tel 0191
xxxxxxxx. (Names removed) regarding co-ordination of these works.

Hardly satisfactory. Can Sunderland City Council defend their
actions regarding road safety in a court of law if there was a road
traffic incident on Marine Walk?

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther

Link to this

From: OCEFOI
Sunderland City Council

31 July 2013

Dear Len Lowther

I acknowledge receipt of your email regarding further information in relation to development Ref. No: 13/00249/FUL and can confirm that an officer within the Council will respond in due course.

Kind Regards

Julia Harper
Business Development Officer
Office of the Chief Executive
Sunderland City Council
Room 3.92 - Civic Centre
Sunderland
SR2 7DN
Tel: 0191 5611573
Email: [email address]

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Link to this

From: Len Lowther

11 August 2013

Dear Sunderland City Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Sunderland City
Council's handling of my FOI request 'Planning Applications'.

Sunderland City Council should have replied with the information
requested.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

Yours faithfully,

Len Lowther

Link to this

From: Solicitor - Freedom of Information
Sunderland City Council

13 August 2013

Dear Mr Lowther,

I acknowledge your e mail regarding information provided in relation to
Planning Applications. I can confirm that this will be now be allocated
to an officer independent of the original decision to undertake a review
of the original response.

The review normally takes fifteen working days, however should there be
a delay you will be kept informed.

Regards

Darren Rigg
Information Governance Officer
Commercial and Corporate Services
Sunderland City Council
0191 561 1941
www.sunderland.gov.uk

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Link to this

From: Rhiannon Hood
Sunderland City Council

24 September 2013


Attachment L Lowther FOI review.doc
29K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Lowther
I attach my response to your request for review of the council's handling
of your requests for information.
Regards
Rhiannon Hood
 
Rhiannon Hood
Assistant Head of Law and Governance
Commercial and Corporate Services Sunderland City Council
Tel: 0191 561 1005
Email: [email address]
[1]www.sunderland.gov.uk
 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/

Link to this

From: Len Lowther

25 September 2013

Dear Rhiannon Hood,
If your reply is a refusal to supply a reply to my questions
please make the fact public by refusing my request.

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther

Link to this

From: Rhiannon Hood
Sunderland City Council

26 September 2013

Dear Mr Lowther
I have checked the website at the link below to check that my reply is published there in full, which it is. If you are having difficulty accessing documents on that site, I shall be happy to send you a hard copy, if you could please confirm the postal address at which you would like to receive this.
Regards
Rhiannon Hood

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Len Lowther

26 September 2013

Dear Rhiannon Hood,
Thank you. The request for information now shows as refused by
Sunderland City Council. I will retain this response for evidence
during the inevitable legal consequences.

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther

Link to this

Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Sunderland City Council only: