Agenda item

To receive questions from members of the public pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 9.


A question was received from David Hayes:


Re: Land east of High Beech Lane - Land Stability Condition 14.


Despite Portsmouth Wood Close and Drive residents making representations and comments to MSDC about land stability issues, dating from 2006 and certainly from 2014, residents are extremely alarmed to find these roads have been excluded from the crucial land stability Condition. Why were we given assurances from Jonathan Ash-Edwards and your drainage engineer, Scott Wakely that this Condition covered the entire site? MSDC must surely have known that the previous builder of Portsmouth Wood Close went into liquidation due to land stability problems?


Response from Cllr. Andrew MacNaughton, Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning:


Following representations from residents the Council included a condition on land stability. The Condition 14 refers to those roads which the Council considered would have the potential to be impacted by land stability issues.


I can confirm that Cllr Ash-Edwards did not make assurances that the condition covered the whole site and in fact in an email from him to residents he confirms that this condition cannot be amended retrospectively.


I also have an email from Scott Wakely to a resident where he confirms that the land stability condition does not cover the entire site.


A supplementary question was asked by David Hayes to clarity if the land stability condition will cover both sites; the access and the area for building. The Cabinet Member stated that it would cover only this particular site.


A question was received from Mary Samuel:


Are MSDC failing in their responsibility by not following government regulations (March 2014) regarding land stability, that require an assessment of ground instability and I quote, ‘before a detailed planning application is prepared’? Surely all nearby householders must not be excluded from the land stability Condition? Otherwise residents could face subsidence or land slippage problems and could ultimately seek redress in the Courts.  


Response from Cllr. Andrew MacNaughton, Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning:


Planning policy and guidance both state that where a site is affected by land stability issues, responsibility for securing a safe development rests with the developer / landowner.


The condition attached to the permission requires that “no development shall commence until details have been submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority regarding slope stability issues” and the development should only be carried out in accordance with the approved details.


We are waiting for a Slope Stability Report and Intrusive Ground Investigation works in relation to condition 14.


A supplementary question was asked by Mary Samuel as to why the developer had been allowed to proceed with intrusive work on site before the condition had been agreed. The Cabinet Member confirmed that a stop notice was issued as soon as the Council became aware that work had started prior to the condition being fulfilled.


A question was received from Hilary May:


Is MSDC going to allow the 'Temporary Stop Notice' on this site to expire in a few days’ time? If so, please explain how the developers will be able to continue their huge land excavations into this geologically unstable hillside with its shifting subterranean springs, without any reference to the land stability Condition? Bearing in mind, these excavations are right beside a busy road and very near to Portsmouth Wood residents' houses.


Response from Cllr. Andrew MacNaughton, Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning:


If Croudace carry out works beyond the parameters currently allowed for without discharging the necessary pre-commencement conditions, the Council can serve another Temporary Stop Notice.



The only works on site have been to deliver the access. The current Stop Notice has been effective because it has prevented work carrying on so that the Council can discharge the necessary conditions relating to the access works.


A supplementary question was asked by Hilary May to clarify if the temporary stop notice will expire in a few days’ time. The Cabinet Member confirmed that the notice was valid for 28 days and will then cease. If further work commences before the conditions have been fulfilled, then a new stop notice can be issued.