APP2: application documents - amended
submitted 14 October 2020
amended 10 February 2021
Summary of changes
We have made simple but powerful changes to our original application. These changes have been made in response to information from the Council and reactions from local residents and to provide consistency with the policies of the Council relating to green separation. The changes are.
- Reduction in house numbers from 20 to 6.
- Reduction in built area from 0.8 ha to 0.28 ha.
- Access moved from Mills Lane to 2 x private driveways off Clive Hall Drive Drive, each serving three houses.
- Planting of a substantial new “green edge” to the Council’s concept of green separation, by building up a 4 metre width against the north east side of the existing line of overgrown hedge.
- Dedication of 65% of our land to “green separation”, subject to recreational use and possible limited use as allotments, as permitted by Policy NH/1.
Documents submitted with planning application 14 Oct 2020
Design and Access Statement
This is the document usually produced by the architect to explain how he/she has set about designing their scheme. Today, most of the text comes from either a planning consultant or the client. We have tried to avoid the usual pitfall of turning it into a poetic glorification of our proposal, but I’m not certain that it has passed the “wince” test! Despite that, we do think we have hit a winner with our proposal for “eco-“ homes. Massive insulation and triple glazing means Winter need not be so dark – nor so cold!
You might read in other documents listed below the basic proposition that the Council failed to provide a sufficient green gap within the vastness of Northstowe, so they snatched what is now our little paddock, with other land, instead. There are multiple legal issues around that but ultimately, we have decided to compromise and that is what we do in this amended application. We are asking for just six Luvli homes to fill about half an acre within the line of the settlement. Then we are leaving over an acre as part of the prized “green separation”.
Concept, Context, Mission
This is an explanation of who we are and what we want to do. It is not a document “on the list”. We have made an application in outline only, so without this additional information, SouthCambs might assume that we shall deliver yet more red brick boxes. On the contrary, we are dedicated to storing our carbon in timber, providing extraordinary energy efficiency, simple, elegant design and affordable houses. Over the coming months, we hope to persuade many rural local authorities to accept Luvli Homes in their districts as the perfect tool to soften local objections.
In South Cambridgeshire, this document is seriously essential. The combination of the lower lying land and coastal movement over the centuries have contributed to constant human settlement almost everywhere. The guardians of our heritage are strict and well funded. They are also supported by a large academic fraternity and vast number of charities and pressure groups. That results sometimes in a certain arrogance. The risk of a “big dig” is carried by even the smallest developer. We guess that the number of shards of pottery, neatly labelled and stored somewhere in the UK, would probably fill several Amazon warehouses. (Ed: enough cynicism – we could barely drag you away from Must Farm. Archaeology is about adding to our understanding of our world and not about reassembling broken dinner plates.)
An interesting area to read about in our “Conservation Area Re-assessment” is the importance of “Ridge and Furrow”. In 2005, the Council’s secret conservation advisory group decided that sub-surface changes in the soil structure, visible only from aerial photos when the ground was dry, were a precious phenomenon, which should be preserved as part of the expanded CA. To create this new category of historic value before any archaeologist did so was an amazing achievement.
The bosses here are the County Highways people. Their science is hard and data driven. Their prime purpose is to keep us alive, so their word is law. However, there is not much scope for technical disagreement at our modest level of work. Their requirements are mostly in writing and well known so there is nothing left to negotiate. We do as we are told - more or less. Professional plans duly provided.
The Longstanton Conservation Area Re-appraisal
This is our own Longstanton Conservation Area Re-appraisal. It consists in 22,000 words of incomplete research data relating to the origin of the expansion of the Conservation Area in 2005 and the subsequent history. If you are local to Cambridgeshire, you may even find it as exciting as a short novel. We would love to hear from you for any:
Expansion from your memory - just reminiscences would be interesting
To fill in detail that we have missed, particularly dates, names and times.
Affordable Housing Statement
We are going for a deal here. We think our proposal is a great concession to SouthCambs without bankrupting us. However, we have more recently discovered that Longstanton Parish Council is desperate for a new civic building. We think that is something we would like to support but even with our minimal overheads there is a limit to what we can contribute. We hope the PC can persuade SouthCambs to cut this obligation out and leave us to help the PC in a really useful project.
Commentary on inspectors report first draft NAAP
This is another of our own reports. By 2007, SouthCambs was well on the way to producing what is now the Northstowe Area Action Plan. After non-stop internal discussion, they sent their final draft to the Minister for the necessary approval. This document is our commentary on what the Minister’s two inspectors reported. In it, we have pointed up some of the demands of the inspectors which resulted in the many inconsistencies in the policies of SouthCambs and how SouthCambs have managed cunningly to circumvent what the inspectors pretty much demanded. The document is an intriguing insight into a conflict between central and local government. We have included it as an application document because it constitutes irrefutable evidence of the motivation and falsehoods contained in the Council’s earlier Conservation Area Appraisal and the Council’s extraordinary subsequent determination to stick by that ridiculous document ever since.
Longstanton Heritage Statement
An authoritative, factual report by one of the top heritage experts in the country. An absolutely neutral statement with no criticism of the Council, leaving it to the reader decide whether and how this present application could affect the historic environment.
After we have submitted these documents, we don’t get another chance to state our side of the discussion. It’s not supposed to work like that, but it does. So here we have set out what should happen. OK, it’s mostly very boring stuff.
Northstowe and the Green Gap
One of the three pillars which supported the Council’s refusal of our first application was that we would intrude into the green space between the village and the new town. On appeal, the Inspector did not support the Council on this. If you read our paper here, you will see why. We cannot say more without resorting to unseemly language!
Site and location plan
A simple and obvious requirement.
Infiltration report Geosphere Environmental
A simple and obvious requirement.
Sustainable (surface water) Drainage Report
A simple and obvious requirement.
Phase 1 Habitat Survey
A simple and obvious requirement. We understand the necessity and accept the requirements. Because the natural world has changed not at all in relation to our site, we have obtained the permission of our adviser to reuse the same report as we submitted four years ago. However, this time around, we are committing to spend a great deal more money on additional landscape work.
Landscape Visual Impact Assessment
A simple and obvious requirement. We firmly believe that our small scheme will enhance and provide interest to the views from around the site. Provided the County Council can be persuaded to leave the hedge on Mills Lane frontage to grow to a height of at least 2.5m, the development will be virtually invisible from any point. In any event, we believe it is likely to be a more interesting view, with or without the hedge, than an uninterrupted view of whatever appears as part of Northstowe phase 3 in the course of the next two years.
We have persuaded our architect to exercise his imagination on eco-superlatives, loads of light and many clever points when you get to see the interiors, but from the outside our Luvli homes will be quietly different but not startlingly dramatic. The clad largely in timber, they will fit the surrounding environment somewhat more comfortably than the homes of our immediate neighbours. Through their jointly owned management company, residents will also be able to enjoy leisure time on the additional acre of green sward, preserved for ever against the Triffids expected by the Council to erupt from Northstowe at any time.
Isometric view of proposal
This is just a single image to show how our six houses snuggle into the built edge of Longstanton.
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