A reserved matters application for the first phase of a 214 home development on agricultural land in Minster has been approved.
Outline planning permission for the scheme was granted permission in September 2021 despite councillors’ concerns over traffic, school places, adequate medical facilities and the number of houses on the site.
The total application area is 34.67 acres, with proposed residential development and associated open space and services on approximately 32.27 acres and a reserve site of 2.40 acres proposed for the future extension to Minster Cemetery.
The land on the west side of Tothill Street, Minster, is owned by St. John’s College Cambridge and Spanton Farms Limited. The site is on a Special Protection Zone.
Barratt David Wilson Homes plan to carry out the first phase for 133 dwellings at the northern area of the site which will be accessed via a new junction onto Tothill Street.
An application for the layout of development, its scale and appearance, and the landscaping for the first phase was discussed by councillors last night (June 14).
Amendments to the plan include options for retaining the bridleway and hedgerow rather than infilling; height reduction on properties backing onto Fairfield Road and an increase in one bed flats from two to six. There will also be eighteen 2-bed houses, seventy-two 3-bed houses, and thirty-five 4-bed houses.
During the meeting the issue of Southern Water capacity was raised. The council planning officer said the aim was to have basins at the bottom of the site and swales along the boundary that would allow surface water to be contained until it was moved to the combined sewer system.
She noted that Southern Water had raised concerns over capacity in the area and would be carrying out a design assessment to outline where improvements to the network needed to be made. The developer would be responsible for paying for those improvements in regards to the new housing.
Cllr Mike Garner said there would be an ‘adverse impact,’ adding: “I am very concerned about that and it would be nice if (Southern Water) could supply a bit more of a detailed report to outline how to deal with this extra sewage and what impact it might have on sewage release into the sea already around our coast.”
Cllr Becky Wing also raised concerns about sewage and water capacity. She said: “We know the villages are serviced by their own water treatment plant and there are already capacity issues.
“(With) a significant percentage increase in the number of dwellings in the village of Minster we are heading for greater capacity issues and I would welcome greater details from Southern Water before making a decision.”
Cllr Wing said the requirement for sewer network reinforcement work at phased stages – with no occupation of properties until the issue is dealt with – was like “putting the horse before the cart” and questioned why the work could not be identified before building starts.
Senior planning officer Iain Livingstone said the water network issue was one that was dealt with under the Water Industry Act and agreements over the works would be made between the developer and Southern Water
Some 49 letters of objection from the public were received.
In 2021 councillors raised concerns that there would not be sufficient school places at Minster and the plan for new youngsters in the village to go to a proposed Manston Green primary school was inadequate with the risk that that school may not be built in time – or at all.
Councillors had also raised concerns that traffic mitigations to add an extra lane at the Tothill roundabout and pay £166,000 for junction work at Spitfire Way were not adequate to cope with a possible 200-300 more vehicles trying to enter and exit the village.
The phase one application was approved by councillors last night with 12 in favour, one against and one abstention.