Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The Hamptons - Planning Inspector's Report

Below is the full text of the report to the Secretary of State for Communities and
Local Government by the Planning Inspector (John Woolcock BNatRes(Hons) MURP DipLaw MPIA MRTPI):



Report APP/P5870/A/08/20887O2
File Ref: APP/P5870/A/08/2088702

Phase 4b/5c, The Hamptons, Green Lane, Worcester Park KT4 8PL
・ The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against
a refusal to grant planning permission.
・ The appeal is made by St James Homes against the decision of the Council of the London
Borough of Sutton.
・ The application Ref:A2008/59974/FUL, dated 30 June 2008, was refused by notice dated
13 October 2008.
・ The development proposed is construction of 184 new dwellings, including 59 affordable
units, roads and landscaping comprising; twenty nine 1 bedroom apartments, fifty nine 2
bedroom apartments, six 3 bedroom semi-detached houses, twenty six 3 bedroom
terraced properties, four detached 4 bedroom houses, twenty semi-detached 4 bedroom
houses, thirty six terraced 4 bedroom houses, and four 5 bedroom detached houses,
together with garages, surface and basement car parking, cycle and refuse facilities and
the installation of 62 ground source heat pumps.
Summary of Recommendation: The appeal be allowed, and planning
permission granted subject to conditions.


Procedural Matters

1. At the Inquiry an application for costs was made by St James Homes against the
Council of the London Borough of Sutton (LBS).1 This application is the subject
of a separate Report.

2. The appeal was recovered for determination by the Secretary of State by letter
dated 4 November 2008. The reason for this direction is that the appeal involves
proposals for residential development of over 150 units, which would significantly
impact on the Government's objective to secure a better balance between
housing demand and supply and create high quality, sustainable, mixed and
inclusive communities. However, no matters were set out about which the
Secretary of State wished to be informed.

3. The application was accompanied by an Environmental Statement (ES).2 I
requested a note on land contamination remediation and the ground source heat
pumps, which identified specific references in the ES.3 No submissions were
subsequently made at the Inquiry regarding the scope or content of the ES and
arrangements for its publicity. I have considered the evidence presented and
representations made to the Inquiry as forming part of the environmental
information as defined in the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact
Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999.

4. The parties dealt with the proposal, up until the Inquiry, on the basis that this
application for full planning permission was, nonetheless, a part of the original
outline scheme permitted for The Hamptons redevelopment. Assessments were,
therefore, based on the appeal scheme providing an additional 147 dwellings.
However, the fact that the outline permission expired prior to the date of the
appeal application emerged at the Inquiry. As a result, the appellant proposed
an alteration to the scheme to increase the number of affordable houses from 59
to 63. I deal with this in more detail later, and as a preliminary matter in both
my conclusions and recommendations.

5. A planning obligation by way of agreement, signed and dated 19 May 2009, was
discussed at the Inquiry. This provides for affordable housing, a travel plan,
sustainable transport initiatives, along with contributions towards education,
primary healthcare, and sports and recreation.4 It is considered in more detail
below.

The Site and Surroundings

6. The appeal site comprises 3.68 ha of previously-developed land, located some
700 m north-east of Worcester Park town centre. It has been used for the
stockpiling of material and a site office during construction works for The
Hamptons. This is a redevelopment of the former Worcester Park Sewage
Treatment Works, which now provides for residential development, along with
community facilities and open space.5 The site has been the subject of extensive
remediation for soil contamination.6 Phase 4b/5c, along with previous phases, is
shown on Figure 3.1 of the ES.7 The Hamptons has a distinctive architecture
based on a New England theme. It incorporates high standards of design, and
includes attractive landscaping and features. The horse-shoe shaped built area
bounds a large open space called Mayflower Park, with an extensive area of
balancing ponds and wetland to the north of the Park.8 More details about the
local area are set out in the Statement of Common Ground (SoCG), Planning
Application Statement and ES9.

7. The local road network is shown on Figure 4 of the Transport Assessment (TA).10
This also indicates bus routes and stops, and the relationship of the appeal site to
railway stations at Motspur Park and Worcester Park. A limited part of The
Hamptons is accessed from Boscombe Road to the east, which provides various
links to the A24. The remainder of The Hamptons is served from Green Lane,
which joins Central Road at a signalled junction. Central Road becomes Cheam
Common Road to the east, and Maiden Road to the west (within the Royal
Borough of Kingston upon Thames (RBK)). They form part of the A2043, and a
link between the A24 and the A3, both busy routes for traffic getting into and out
of London.

8. Green Lane is a residential road with traffic calming measures including speed
cushions, chicanes and a 20 mph speed restriction. It provides for on-street
parking in places. Only two slight accidents have occurred at the signal
controlled Green Lane/Central Road junction in the last five years, and only one
in Green Lane. Phase 4b/5c has a Public Transport Accessibility Rating (PTAL) of
1b, out of a range of 1-6, which represents low accessibility to public transport
(based on catchments of 640 m for bus services and 960 m for rail services).
The appeal site is between 900 - 1700 m of Worcester Park railway station,
which is served by South West Trains with services between London Waterloo
and Guildford/Dorking. Journey time into London is about 30 minutes and there
are about six trains per hour during peak times. A number of bus services
operate in the vicinity of the appeal site and these are set out in Table 3.4 of the
TA.11 Transport for London (TfL) notes that whilst the site's low PTAL is
recognised, it has been demonstrated within The Hamptons that there is a
particularly high rate ofjourneys to work via public transport, primarily by
train.12

Planning Policy

9. The site is part of the former Worcester Park Sewage Treatment Works, which is
allocated in the Sutton Unitary Development Plan, adopted in 2003 (UDP) under
Policy OE16 for residential, nature conservation and recreational uses. Policy
G/TR5 provides for the assessment of the full transport impact of new
development, including the traffic generated and the effect on the present and
potential availability of public transport and its capacity to meet increased
demand. Policy TR18 provides that planning permission for new development
would not be granted unless (i) LBS is satisfied that the proposal would not
adversely affect existing and proposed transport infrastructure or services,
including public transport and walking and cycling facilities; or (ii) improvements
considered necessary to overcome any adverse impact would be secured by
agreement or undertaken as part of the development.13 Other relevant policies
are listed in the SoCG.

10. Policy 3C.1 of The London Plan Consolidated with Alterations since 2004
(February 2008) (LP) concerns the integration of transport and spatial
development.14 Policy 3C.2 requires consideration of existing transport capacity,
both at corridor and local level. It adds that where capacity is not sufficient to
allow for travel generated by proposed developments, and no firm plans exist for
a sufficient increase in capacity to cater for this, development proposals should
be appropriately phased. Policy 3C.3 deals with sustainable transport. Other
relevant policies are listed in the SoCG.

11. Supplementary Planning Document Affordable Housing provides that LBS will
normally seek to achieve at least 40% affordable housing when negotiating on
individual sites.15 The SoCG lists other relevant supplementary planning
guidance, including advice about; planning obligations, education contributions,
transport assessment and travel plans, and creating locally distinctive places.16
Planning History

12. Outline planning permission for redevelopment of the former Worcester Park
Sewage Treatment Works to provide 480 dwellings together with community and
parking facilities, provision of open space and new access from Green Lane and
secondary access from Boscombe Road, was granted on 11 December 2002.17
This expired in December 2007, prior to the appeal application, which is dated 30
June 2008. The redevelopment has been implemented by means of a series of
reserved matter approvals, full planning applications and a successful appeal,
which together resulted in an increase in the total number of dwellings to 498.
To date, 461 dwellings have been completed and occupied. More details about
the planning history of the site are set out in the SoCG.

13. An application for 184 dwellings on the appeal site, and the installation of 8 wind
turbines in Mayflower Park was submitted in August 2007. It was recommended
for approval by officers, but refused by Members at a meeting of the
Development Control Committee in December 2007. With the exception of the
wind turbines this scheme was similar to that proposed in the current appeal. It
was refused on highways, noise nuisance and social infrastructure grounds.
Reason (1) states:

"The proposed development, would lead to an increase in traffic movements
on a busy and important road network that is already heavily congested and
with junctions operating at, or beyond, capacity, thus resulting in increased
traffic queues and delays and giving rise to conditions prejudicial to highway
safety and contrary to the Council's Unitary Development Plan Policies G/TR5
and TR18 and Policy 3C.2 of the London Plan 2004."18
An appeal was lodged, but subsequently withdrawn on 15 December 2008.

The Proposal

14. The application considered by LBS was for the construction of 184 new dwellings,
including 59 affordable units. Boscombe Road would provide access for 9
dwellings, 175 dwellings would be accessed off Green Lane, with a permanent
barrier preventing vehicle movement (except for emergency vehicles) through
the site.19 A total of 261 car parking spaces, at about 1.4 spaces per dwelling,
are proposed, with specific provision for visitors (12 spaces) and disabled persons
(18 spaces). Cycle parking would be provided in accordance with TfL's standard
of 1 cycle space per apartment, or in garages or secure sheds for houses. In
addition to the 62 ground source heat pumps, it is anticipated that 1,100 m2 of
solar panels would be fitted on apartment/house roofs. It is estimated that a
maximum of 25,000 m3 of excavated material from construction and soil
remediation may need to be removed from the site.20 A Travel Plan (TP) is
proposed, which would include travel information, walking, cycling, public
transport and car initiatives.21 The obligation includes contributions towards offsite
cycle routes and parking, a new link between Green Lane and Worcester Park
Railway Station, and to LBS's sustainable travel initiative Smarter Travel Sutton.


15. The appellant sought to alter the scheme at the appeal stage, by amending the
description of the proposed development to specify 63, rather than 59 affordable
units.22 All other details would remain unchanged. This suggested change arose
from the revised position, agreed by LBS and the appellant, at the Inquiry, about
how affordable housing provision should be determined, having regard to
relevant policy, and how credit should be calculated for affordable housing
already provided within that part of The Hamptons completed to date.23
Reasons for Refusal


16. The application was the subject of a Delegated Report dated 13 October 2008.2A
The heading indicates that this is the "Report of the Executive Head of Planning,
Transportation and Highways". Two reasons for refusal were given; concerning
highways and climate change. I deal with the highways reason for refusal first.

17. The text of the report states at Conclusions and Recommendation (paragraph
6.1);
"The application does not demonstrate that the proposed development; would
not lead to an increase in traffic movements on a busy and important road
network that is already heavily congested and with junctions operating atf or
beyond, capacity, thus resulting in increased traffic queues and delays and
giving rise to conditions prejudicial to highway safety contrary to the Council's
Unitary Development Plan Policies G/TR5 and TR18 and Policy 3C.17, 3C.21
and 3C.23 of the London Plan 2004."
However, the Reasons for Refusal in the box at the start of the Report indicate
the first reason for refusal to be;
"The proposed development, would lead to an increase in traffic movements
on a busy and important road network that is already heavily congested and
with junctions operating at, or beyond, capacity, thus resulting in increased
traffic queues and delays and giving rise to conditions prejudicial to highway
safety. In addition, the proposed parking and access arrangements and other
initiatives do not promote sustainable transport would result in an increase in
parking pressure or congestion for the surrounding road network contrary to
the Council's Unitary Development Plan Policies G/TR5, TR18 and TR20 and
Policy 3C.17, 3C.21 and 3C.23 of the London Plan 2004."
LBS's decision letter, dated 13 October 2008, states that the first reason for
refusal is;25
"The proposal does not provide sufficient information to be able to determine
whether the development would lead to an increase in traffic movements on
the road network(s) that are currently heavily congested with functions (sic)
operating at, or beyond capacity, thus resulting in increased traffic queues,
delays and giving rise to conditions prejudicial to highway safety contrary to
the Council's Unitary Development Plan Policies G/TR5, TR18 and TR20 and
Policy 3C.17, 3C.22 and 3C.24 of the London Plan 2004 (amended 2008)."
It was apparent at the Inquiry that there are no written records to explain these
changes in wording. The parties have dealt with the appeal on the basis of the
reason for refusal given in the decision letter, with the exception of thereferences to the London Plan. LBS indicated in its Statement of Case, dated 15
December 2008, that notwithstanding the policies cited in the delegated report
and reason for refusal, the relevant London Plan policy in this case is Policy 3C.2,
and that the first reason for refusal would be defended with reference to this
policy.


18. The second reason for refusal, with respect to climate change and mitigation,
referred to the Energy Statement not investigating the hierarchy of decentralised
energy options, doubt about assumptions used to calculate CO2 savings from
solar thermal collectors, and compliance with relevant policy. Discussions
continued post decision, and an Addendum Note to Energy and CO2 Statement,
dated 8 January 2009, was submitted by the appellant.26 This was reviewed by
LBS's energy consultants, and LBS indicated by letter dated 14 January 2009 that
the additional information satisfactorily addressed the concerns expressed in the
second reason for refusal. It added that LBS would be willing to confirm this in
the SoCG and on that basis not to pursue the second reason for refusal at the
Inquiry.

Other Agreed Facts

19. LBS and the appellant have reached a measure of agreement on many issues in
this case. These are set out fully in the SoCG, but include the following;
- no dispute about design and layout,
- no adverse impact on the occupiers of surrounding properties,
- acceptable level, mix and tenure of affordable housing, along with
appropriate sustainable and accessible homes,
- no dispute about open space, amenity space, play space and landscaping
provision,
- car parking provision accords with standards,
- risk of flooding would not be increased.
Interested parties in some cases take a different view, and details are set out
below.

20. LBS and the appellant agree that improvements to local traffic control signals are
proposed, but there is some dispute about the timing of implementation, which I
return to later. TfL's Bus Priority Unit are promoting and funding a scheme to
link two pelican crossings, the Central Road/Green Lanejunction and the Maiden
Road/Station Approach junction under a SCOOT traffic management system.28
Buses would be fitted with transponders to facilitate signal times in the SCOOT
area to be adjusted in real-time to enable buses to progress through the network
as quickly as possible. The TA states that SCOOT would also benefit all traffic on
the network, particularly outside the peak periods.29 The scheme proposed here
was described by RBK as one short term improvement"... to link the operation of
... signals ... to facilitate a more continuous through flow of traffic along this
section of the A2043, rather than one where traffic might be stopped at all these
signals in isolation."30 LBS did not adduce any evidence to dispute the
appellant's understanding that at the time of the Inquiry SCOOT had been
partially installed, but not yet commissioned.31

21. The TA states that the scenario on which traffic predictions are based also
includes an adjustment which is proposed to the signal timings at the Maiden
Road/South Lanejunction to reduce the green time for the South Lane approach
from 10 to 7 seconds during the morning peak.32 LBS does not dispute that this
alteration is proposed.
The Case for the Council of the London Borough of Sutton
The main points are as follows

22. The reason for refusal is well founded. UDP Policy OE16 requires development
for this site to be assessed against Policy TR18. The evidence submitted by the
appellant is inadequate to make the kind of assessment necessary in order to
ascertain whether or not the development is acceptable.

23. The TA points out that congestion on Central Road during peak periods results in
queues which block thejunction with Green Lane.34 The TA notes that it was
agreed that no growth be applied to the background traffic used in the modelling
because the potential for growth is severely constrained given that "the A2043
through Worcester Park is currently operating close to capacity during peak
period."35 The appellant's transport expert, in answering questions about the
previous scheme for substantially the same development advised the Committee
that; "traffic congestion was caused by the traffic lights on Central Road and
there were delays of 20-25 minutes at the Green Lanejunction, but they might
be 45 minutes on occasion".

24. The calculations in the TA are erroneous because they assess the increase in
traffic on the basis of an additional 147 dwellings.37 The revised figure submitted
at the Inquiry of a 2% increase in the PM peak and 1.8% in the AM peak
represents a considerable increase to the stated impact of 1.5% in the AM peak,
which appears in the TA.

25. The TA compares the existing position with the addition of the development,
SCOOT and the adjustment proposed to the signal timings at the Maiden
Road/South Lanejunction. However, neither SCOOT nor the alterations to the
signals at Maiden Road/South Lanejunction are part of the appeal scheme. A
true assessment should have compared the existing position, and proposed
position, without SCOOT. A similar exercise could then have been done with
SCOOT installed. SCOOT is intended to deal with existing congestion on the
network, but the appeal scheme treats it as its entitlement to take up the extra
space created by SCOOT in the assessment ofjourney times.

26. In many situations the level of impact under consideration in this case would not
be an issue. However, the network here is already operating at or above
capacity. Credible evidence is required about the impact on local infrastructure.
The network is sensitive to minor levels of increase in traffic. The DTO Modelling
Guidelines indicate an exponential increase in the rate of delay above 90%
degree of saturation. It adds that atjunctions operating close to zero practical
reserve capacity, even small reductions in capacity can result in a significant
increase in delay.38 The appellant employed a sophisticated VISSIM model to
assess the impact to a high level of precision.39 However, this has not been
achieved because of modelling flaws and errors, some more fundamental than
others.

27. The modelling discloses an extraordinary situation. The TA suggests that the
addition of the development improves the journey time in the AM northbound
peak for cars and buses. It also advises that the exit blocking on Green Lane
modelled only a 5 minute (281.3 seconds) queue in the AM peak. This is at odds
with the exit blocking problem acknowledged by the appellant.40 The VISSIM
results are not in tune with the actuality on the ground, but this lack of
correlation did not result in the appellant revisiting the accuracy of the model.

28. Other problems with the model are that the junctions on the A24 and A3 were
not modelled despite LBS's existing and previous advisers, along with TfL41 and
the DTO Guidelines42, all pointing to their inclusion. The appellant's unorthodox
approach to certain aspects of the modelling has not been justified in any written
reports. No validation report has been produced, contrary to DTO Guidelines.
Evidence given to the Inquiry by the appellant that the numerous errors in
modelling "do not matter" is not supported by the need for accuracy, again as
stressed in the DTO Guidelines, especially with regard to the relationship between
delay and degree of saturation.

29. The model uses a parameter for lane changing of 9 sec/m instead of 3 sec/m,
where this relates to the only length of the network, albeit only 7% of it, which
includes an area of lane change. It cannot be argued that this is irrelevant where
the network is congested, because the DTO Guidelines refers to more variability
the more saturated a network becomes, and adds that this occurs because small
changes (e.g. lane changes) have a more significant impact in a congested
network than in an un-congested one.43

30. Given the existing saturation it was essential to produce a robust model to assess
the real impact of the additional traffic. Contrary to guidance, this has not been done. It cannot be considered that the appellant's evidence provides sufficient information to assess the traffic impacts of the development.

31. Traffic impacts are a key issue here, which are capable ofjustifying dismissal of
the appeal. There must be a point at which further impact on this heavily
congested network will not be acceptable. It is not appropriate to rely on the
implementation of SCOOT and a TP. There is no guarantee that SCOOT will be
implemented, or to a particular timescale. Furthermore, if SCOOT was not
already necessary it would not be installed - it does not provide a justification for
the development scheme. Given the existing queues at the Green Lanejunction
SCOOT cannot make any measurable difference. There is no evidence to
demonstrate what the actual impact of the development would be on exit
blocking at thisjunction, either with or without SCOOT.

32. The TP may well provide a reduction in car travel, in the order of 10% if
successful, but this does not address the impact of the remaining traffic on the
network.44 Nor does it deal with how saturated and congested networks impact
on the safety of road users and their behaviour.

33. In response to my question, the Council indicated that the proposed amendment
to the scheme at the appeal stage to increase the number of affordable units
from 59 to 63, would not be a significant change to the proposal. However, if
this alteration was not accepted by the Secretary of State, the appeal should be
assessed on current policy, and should not take credit from the existing
development as was initially proposed. A scheme which provided for only 59
affordable units would not meet the affordable housing requirement.
 
The Case for St James Homes

The main points are as follows.

34. Completion of The Hamptons development, which is of the highest standard, by
the appeal scheme, which is a coherent and consistent design, would be in the
interests of the proper planning of the area.46 It would be compliant with UDP
Policy OE16, which includes provisos about open space and views, but has no
ceiling on housing numbers or proviso on transport implications. The
improvements to the Green Lane/Central Road junction required by the
supporting text to Policy OE16 were undertaken as part of the completed
development. UDP Policy G/HSG2 prevents allocated sites from being developed
for any other use. UDP Policy TR18 requires an assessment of whether, first, the
proposal does not affect existing transport infrastructure. If it does, then next
the alternative of improvements is available for consideration, but there are no
adverse effects here, and there is no ground of refusal from LBS which says that
there are. LP Policy 3C.2 concerns transport capacity. It provides that where
there is not sufficient capacity and no firm plans for a sufficient increase in
capacity, phasing is to be ensured. If there was a capacity issue here, Policy
44 CD9 paragraph 2.5 states: "The potential for TPs to make a real contribution to the
achievement of sustainable transport objectives is considerable, with modal shifts of 10% to
20% now clearly evident in the UK."


35. It is regrettable that most of the Inquiry time was taken to address criticism of
the VISSIM model, especially as the model is an aid to analysis, and not a
substitute for rational judgement, and that programmers may take different
approaches to analysis.47 A number of differences between the experts were
agreed or categorised as insubstantial.48 Matters claimed to be Mess substantial1
included queue counter and data collection points, the number of random seeds
for queue lengths and queue length intervals. However, queues and queue
lengths are not required for validation, and a queue length interval of 15 minutes
was scoped by LBS. Comparison of projected queue lengths with observed is not
a valid exercise because DTO guidelines do not require it.49 The 95 percentile
shows a much more valid fit with the queue that is exceeded for 5% of the
time.50 LBS has not presented a model to the Inquiry. The lack of error files is
of no weight and can be rejected. There were on average approximately 10
vehicles in 90 minutes which could not access the network in the model. That is
statistically robust and those vehicles are probably at either end of the 90
minutes and not significant to the central peak hour, or at all.
 
36. Matters about the model claimed to be 'reasonably substantial' included observed
queue lengths and journey time reconciliation, but care should be exercised
about the measurement of queue lengths, and there is no substance in this point.
Saturation flows, and their reconciliation with observed flows was also raised.
Table 3.3 of PoE2.1 has obvious flaws which may arise from the difficulty of
calculating from the screen flows. With appropriate adjustments there is overall
a good fit between observed and calculated flows. More generally, it is not the
usual practice to require details of the degree of saturation flows in a scheme of
this scale, as is evidenced by no such material being required by TfL in the
SCOOT process. TfL requested that traffic capacity assessments were
undertaken at the A2043'sjunctions with Maiden Way and London Road, but
details about the small impact on these junctions from the proposed development
(albeit based on an additional 147 units) were submitted in response and there is
nothing to indicate that this did not address TfL's initial concerns.51
 
37. Six areas are claimed to be 'substantial'.

(1) Despite the error which arose
because of the failure of the suppliers to update lane change values consistently,
this parameter is important primarily for modelling multi-lane roads such as dual
carriageways and motorways. Only 1% (153 m) of the modelled network is dual
carriageway and so this would make no difference here.

(2) LBS believes that
additional side streets should be incorporated to model the extent of rat running.
However, there is no technical evidence from LBS about rat running, and it has
not been raised as an issue by LBS, or TfL and RBK in the 2007 application.

(3) Modelling queue lengths is considered by LBS to be inadequate. It is agreed that
queue lengths are notoriously difficult to measure accurately, because depending
on vehicle speed it is problematic to define what might best be described as
'moving queues'. The model is robust because it has a queue length of 144 m on
an approach of 384 m, and journey times are properly preferred as the
appropriate tool to validate models.

(4) The setting of the gap out time is
claimed by LBS to be inappropriate. This is wrong because of a failure to
distinguish between 'gap out' (headway) and 'extension time'; the former is the
time between vehicles which, if it becomes large enough, it will let the lights
change; the latter is the notional time to allow a vehicle through signals which is
added to the green signal cycle time up to a maximum. In the peak hours
examined here it can be expected that there will always be that maximum, so the
extension time/gap out time is academic and insubstantial.

(5) LBS claims that
the pub car park demand in every cycle is significant.52 It is not, because it was
a characteristic of the regime that was present on the day of assessment and so
required to be replicated. In practice additional signal time would be available
and so a worst case scenario has been modelled and the commissioning of
SCOOT would rectify this.

(6) The parties disagree about the use of Reduced
Speed Areas (RSA) in the model. But an adjustment is necessary, otherwise the
model would be invalid because it would factor in a free flowing 30 mph journey
over the network, which empirical work says does not happen. There are several
ways to replicate slow moving traffic in the model, but RSA was adopted as an
accepted method.
 
38. It is not appropriate to argue that if the elements of criticism of VISSIM are
individually found to be not substantial, that cumulatively the model is flawed.
The criticisms outlined above are characteristics of the model, not flaws. If LBS's
advisors had substantial points then during the six months of their instructions
they should have checked by running VISSIM. This has not been done. The
appellant's version of the model is usual, acceptable and persuasive. It can be
relied on to corroborate thejudgement that the traffic arising from the proposed
development would be small and would have no significant affect on the highway
network.


39. There is no policy basis for a moratorium or absolute bar on development which
would bring traffic onto Central Road. An increase of 24 vehicles turning right
out, and 7 turning left in at Green Lane/Central Road in the most relevant AM
peak is a very insubstantial amount.53 RBK declares no concern. TfL did not
require extensive justification work on the benefits of SCOOT 54 and RBK
considers that the linking of various sets of traffic lights would improve traffic
movement along this section of the A2043.55 The TP is directed to the whole of
The Hamptons and has the capability to reduce the output of vehicles. If the TP
reduced vehicle trips generated by The Hamptons (with a total 645 units) by
10% during peak hours, the net increase in flow from an additional 184 units,
above the 2010 base flow in the AM peak, would be 20 vehicles or 1.2%.56 The
contribution to Smarter Travel Sutton would help to reduce car travel. The
combination of SCOOT and the TP potential for improvement would provide substantial mitigation of any increased traffic. This has not been properly taken
into account by LBS.


40. The ground of refusal is predicated on implications for highway safety. However,
this is not borne out by the accident record, with only one reported accident in 5
years. A traffic increase in the order likely here would have no impact on
highway safety.


41. LBS invokes TA 79/99 Traffic Capacity of Urban Roads51 to bolster up an
argument that Central Road is unable to accommodate any more traffic, but this
is inappropriate here. TA 79/99 is a guide, which takes no account of
roundabouts, junctions and crossings, and so is a very crude tool. Nevertheless,
it indicates a capacity between 1470 and 1550 vehicles per carriageway. The
greatest one-way flow measured on Central Road is 1182, some 6.1% below
capacity. There is no basis for using two-way flow.


42. Practical merits of the appeal scheme, in addition to policy compliance, include
the following; the architectural necessity to complete the development; the need
for new market and affordable homes; the suitability of this previously-developed
site, along with the lack of any other option for it other than housing; the
absence of any moratorium on development at Worcester Park; and the benefits
of the TP. There is also an assurance that the scheme would be built out.58 On
energy efficiency, the scheme incorporates ground source heat pumps, and so
would satisfy the 20% saving of CO2 emissions required by LP Policy 4A.7. The
GLA confirmed by email dated 17 September 2008 that all outstanding issues had
been resolved.59 Appropriate provision for the permitted 498 dwellings has been
made, and the obligation would provide satisfactorily for the additional need for
social infrastructure arising from the appeal scheme, including education,
healthcare, sport and recreation. Discussions with the Primary Care Trust (PCT)
have indicated that The Hamptons is not a suitable location for a new GP
fin surgery. u

43. Turning to the proposed amendment to provide 4 extra affordable dwellings, the
appellant agrees with LBS that the overall scheme would be substantially the
same, with only a change of tenure and no change to any other elements. The
change from freehold to shared ownership would be de minimis. The
qualification within the description concerning the number of affordable units
does not go to the root of the application. Dealing with the appeal on the basis
of the amended scheme would not be prejudicial to the interests of anybody. If
this is not accepted by the Secretary of State, the matter should be considered in
the round, as the parties are agreed.61 A pragmatic position should be adopted,
particularly as the Section 106 obligation is a contractural position, which would
require 63 affordable units.

The Case for Interested Persons

44. Paul Burstow. the local Member of Parliament, is concerned about an excess of
units above that originally granted in 2002, especially the impact of the proposed
development on local infrastructure and air quality. The main points are as
follows.62

45. The local road network is unable to cope with the volume of traffic. The earlier
phases of The Hamptons have already compromised the local road network.
There is concern about the harmful effects on local trade of any increase in
congestion along Central Road.

46. New data has come to light concerning pressure on local infrastructure,
particularly schools. This has revealed that there will be a shortage of primary
school places in LBS. There has been a 24% increase in births in the Worcester
Park Ward between 2004/5 and 2006/7. In September 2008 all reception classes
in LBS primary schools were full, and RBK is experiencing similar pressure for
places. There is evidence that the proportion of children born in the area taking
up places in reception is increasing.

47. There is not sufficient local primary health care provision. There is evidence that
6 out of 10 residents of The Hamptons have to travel up to 3 miles to see a GP,
compared with the average distance to the nearest GP in the LBS of 0.52 miles,
and 0.88 miles in England.

48. Central Road has been designated as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)
due to high levels of pollutants.63 Vehicle emissions account for a large
proportion of local air pollution, with NO2 and fine particulates (PM10) of main
concern. There is a likelihood of Government air quality objectives being
exceeded. Development that would have a significant adverse impact on local air
quality should not be permitted unless appropriate mitigation measures are in
place.

49. In answer to my question, Mr Burstow indicated that waiting lists indicated a
need for affordable housing in the area.

50. Cllr Smith represents St James Ward in RBK, but appeared at the Inquiry as a
local resident. He considers that many local residents who live near to the
appeal site, but outside LBS were not aware of the proposal. Central Road is
heavily congested and workjointly by the authorities to re-phase traffic signals
will make very little difference. Whilst he did not know the capacity of the local
school, he was aware that RBK had had to provide an extra 8-9 classrooms, and
that there was a waiting list at Green Lane School.

51. Cllr Gordon-Bullock, is one of three Ward councillors representing Worcester Park
Ward, in which the appeal site lies. He is concerned about the lack of GP
provision in Worcester Park, along with a lack of amenity space provision and
transport difficulties. The main points are as follows.64

52. A GP service is needed on this site to serve the expected population of over
1,000 people at The Hamptons. The alternative surgery at West Barnes is too
distant and will only take new patients as old patients leave. The PCT should
make provision at The Hamptons, not in an existing surgery that does not meet
the immediate needs of the residents of Worcester Park for a doctor.

53. The last phase of affordable housing was agreed on The Hamptons despite not
meeting LBS's minimum standards for amenity space. There have been
problems with anti-social behaviour. The affordable housing has many families
with young children and there is inadequate play provision. Mayflower Park is
not suitable for young children and suitable space is needed adjacent to this
phase of housing so that children can play in a secure environment within earshot
of their parents. A petition with 29 signatures calls for adequate amenity space,
both for this phase and the phase of housing in which the signatories live.65

54. Since 2006, when Cllr Gordon-Bullock was elected, the biggest area of complaint
from residents has been traffic congestion in Central Road and Green Lane, which
exceed their design capacity. Even on a Saturday morning traffic can be backed
up on Cheam Common Road and it would normally take about 20-30 minutes to
negotiate the road at this busy time. The bus operator has found it difficult to
manage a timetable for the express bus route because of congestion. More
traffic would only exacerbate existing high levels of toxic exhaust fumes and
particulates. Officers from TfL and LBS have said that any changes would be
cosmetic and that if there is any advantage it would merely have the effect of
displacing traffic from the Ewell By Pass to the A2043.

55. Mr Pettit is a resident of Worcester Park and a member of The Hamptons
Residents' Association. The Association believes that infrastructure has struggled
to cope with the existing number of dwellings and that the addition of further
units would push it to breaking point in a number of areas. The main points are
as follows.66

56. Weekday mornings can be tortuous on Green Lane and Central Road. Ajourney
time of 45 minutes to the Maiden roundabout (2 miles) is not uncommon.
Evenings are as bad with queues tailing back from Central Road to the Maiden
roundabout from 1700 - 2100 hours. It is claimed that the appeal scheme would
not generate large numbers of cars, but it would add to a road already at
breaking point. Most of the traffic is not due to residents of The Hamptons, so
there has to be a much broader strategy to alleviate the issues. Token gestures,
such as free Oystercards, car club and a couple of free online grocery deliveries
will not alleviate congestion.

57. Access to Worcester Park station is impossible for wheelchairs or pushchairs.
Upgrading the walking route to Motspur Park station, which has more frequent
trains, should be investigated. Cycle parking at Worcester Park has to be secure.

58. The Association shares the concerns of others, outlined above, about the
provision of local healthcare and the need to increase the number of GPs
covering the Worcester Park area.

59. Any future development of The Hamptons should take account of the needs of all
age groups in redesigning and reorganising Mayflower Park. The current play
equipment is unsafe and does not cater for children within the 8-15 year age
group. The Association has concerns about the appellant's track record on
delivering on its promises to residents. If permission were to be granted it
should be made conditional on the developer meeting all of its commitments
under the agreed Section 106 agreement.

60. Mr Elvey is chairman of the Worcester Park Residents' Association. He reiterated
concerns expressed by others about traffic flows, rat runs and air quality.
Shopkeepers have said that trade has fallen because of congestion. Green Lane
primary school is bidding for extra funds for additional facilities. Secondary
school students have to travel a considerable distance as there are no secondary
schools in Worcester Park. The appellant indicated at the Inquiry that there is no
upper limit for the development. Residents are furious about the creeping
enlargement of The Hamptons, and consider that a total of 645 dwellings would
be too many.67

61. Mr Hookway. a local resident and retired Borough Commander of the Fire
Service, is concerned about creating what would be effectively a large cul-de-sac
that would affect attendance times of front line fire appliances on emergency
calls because of pinch points, on-street parking and gridlocking at peak periods.
He believes that the proposal would result in a significant and unacceptable
deterioration in traffic flows in the locality.68

62. Dr Bartlet-Jones is a resident of Green Lane and a research chemist. He
expressed concern about the treatment of contaminated soil and cited Cambridge
Monographs on Cancer Research. Boreholes have revealed toxic metals and a
number of known carcinogens, and there is concern about transporting
contaminated soil by vehicles using Green Lane.69 Flooding might be
exacerbated by more hard surfaces and because of membranes used in land
contamination remediation. His statement includes photographs of queuing
traffic on Green Lane at 0800 hours and he stated that he does not open his
window at this time because of exhaust fumes.70

63. Cllr Butt, a retired Chartered Surveyor, who represents Worcester Park Ward,
reiterated some of the concerns outlined above about traffic and social
infrastructure and stressed the strength of feeling against this proposal. With
respect to the proposed ground source heat pumps, the proposed technology has
not been designed and the appellant was unable to say how they were to be
installed and with what consequences. Cllr Butt was also critical of consultation
about the scheme.71

Written Representations

64. At the appeal stage 12 representations were submitted; including concerns about
traffic congestion, noise pollution associated with recent development increasing
travel times and rat running, inadequate car parking provision, flooding of Green
Lane, effects on water supply and utilities, adequacy of local health and
education services, the outlook of neighbours, safe remediation of contaminated
soil, and the proposed energy strategy.

65. At the application stage 83 letters of objection were submitted, which referred to
many of the issues raised above.72

Conditions and Obligations

66. The main parties agreed suggested conditions in the event that the appeal was to
succeed and planning permission to be granted.73 The round table discussion at
the Inquiry resulted in some amendments to the agreed wording.74

67. Conditions concerning landscape and external materials would be necessary in
the interests of the appearance of the area. However, remediation of
contamination would be better dealt with by means of a separate condition,
rather than be incorporated into a landscaping condition. Means of enclosure,
refuse storage, measures to design out crime, along with visibility splays and
parking provision would be required for amenity and safety reasons. Cycle
storage would need to be provided to minimise the use of private cars. Specified
access to either Green Lane or Boscombe Road, along with a permanent vehicle
barrier, would be necessary in the interest of road safety on the local road
network. A construction method statement and restricted times of construction
would be necessary to safeguard the amenity of local residents. Details would
need to be approved for solar panels and ground source heat pumps because this
information is not included in the application. The parties agreed that the
scheme should achieve Level 3 rating for the Code for Sustainable Homes
Assessment.

68. Drainage would need to be approved in the interests of the amenity of the area.
Conditions were suggested concerning land contamination, but the parties agreed
at the Inquiry that the wording was drafted with the outline permission in mind.
Given that this has expired, the parties had no objection to the imposition of the
model conditions.75 The integration of the scheme within the overall Hamptons
development, so as to maintain the distinctive and high standard of design,
would amount to exceptional circumstances that would warrant the restriction of
permitted development. Provision of children's play provision and additional play
equipment would be necessary to provide recreation facilities for future
occupiers. Whilst not suggested by the parties, it was agreed at the Inquiry,
given possible alterations to ground levels, that details of finished floor levels and
ground contours should be submitted for prior approval, so as to safeguard
amenity and the appearance of the local area. Minor alterations to the suggested
wording would be necessary to accord with the advice in Circular 11/95 The Use
of Conditions in Planning Permissions.

69. I asked at the Inquiry whether any other conditions would be considered
necessary. None were suggested. No one indicated that they thought
implementation of the appeal scheme should be conditional on completion of
SCOOT or the alterations to the signals at the Maiden Road/South Lanejunction.

70. The planning agreement under section 106 of the 1990 Act would address some
matters not covered by the suggested conditions.76 It sets out comprehensive
provisions to ensure that 63 dwelling units would be allocated as affordable
housing. It provides appropriately for compliance with a TP, which includes
funding towards local cycle parking provision, along with a new cycle connection
to the railway station from Green Lane, and funding towards improvement of the
cycle route network to Morden Park, Morden town centre and Motspur Park.77
The TP includes funding sustainable transport initiatives; with obligations and offsite
sustainable travel initiatives totalling £424,550.78 The agreement provides
for an education contribution of £255,729, primary healthcare contribution of
£258,000 and sports and recreation contribution of £306,280. There is nothing
to indicate that these contributions are not necessary and reasonable to comply
with relevant policy.

71. The following conclusions are based on the evidence given at the Inquiry, the
written representations and my inspection of the site and its surroundings. In
this section the figures in parenthesis [ ] at the end of paragraphs indicate source
paragraphs from this report.

72. The Council's Delegated Report dealing with the application includes some
drafting inconsistencies, but I consider that the parties have adopted the correct
approach to the appeal by relying on the decision letter, albeit with the revised
policy reference included in London Borough of Sutton's (LBS) Statement of
Case. [17]

73. I believe the main consideration here to be the effects of the proposed
development on highway safety and transport infrastructure. I have also
considered the energy strategy, which was agreed by the main parties, along
with matters raised by the third parties; the effects on local infrastructure, air
quality, land contamination, amenity space, flooding, living conditions of local
residents and design. [2, 18, 44-65]

74. There is nothing to indicate that the Environmental Statement (ES) does not
accord with the El A Regulations. I consider that appropriate and adequate
information has been provided to assess the environmental impact of the appeal
proposal. The Transport Assessment (TA), along with the supplementary
material submitted to the Inquiry, provides, in my view, sufficient information to
determine whether the proposed development would lead to an unacceptable
increase in traffic movements on the road network. [3, 20, 24, 39]

75. The proposed amendment to the appeal scheme at the appeal stage to increase
the number of affordable units from 59 to 63 would not substantially alter the
proposed development. I consider that it would be a minor change that would
not be prejudicial to the interests of any other party. No objections were raised
at the Inquiry to dealing with the appeal on the basis of this amendment. I find
no grounds to reject the amendment proposed at the appeal stage. If the
Secretary of State takes a contrary view, and determines the appeal on the basis
of the scheme as originally submitted, then I consider that the appeal should be
dismissed, because a scheme which only provided for 59 affordable units would
not comply with relevant policy for affordable housing, where there is an
identified local need. Furthermore, the permission would not be consistent with
the planning obligation, dated 19 May 2009. [4, 11, 15, 33, 43, 49, 70]
Highway safety and transport infrastructure

76. The appeal site lies within a suburban area, where the local road network is
subject to congestion at times. Local testimony to this includes references to
journey times of 45 minutes to the Maiden roundabout, some 2 miles, being not
uncommon; and that it normally takes about 20-30 minutes to negotiate the
Central Road/Green Lane junction at busy times. This order of delay was
confirmed by the appellant's traffic expert in advising an LBS committee on an
earlier application for a similar development. There is local concern that
congestion has a harmful effect on local trade along Central Road. There are also
submissions that it has affected bus timetables. However, there is no evidence
that the area has a poor accident record. [8, 23, 40, 45, 54, 56, 64]

77. I do not consider that TA 79/99 Traffic Capacity of Urban Roads is a very useful
guide in the circumstances which apply here, because it is not sensitive enough
to local details aboutjunctions and crossings. However, the Transport
Assessment (TA) states that the A2043 through Worcester Park is currently
operating close to capacity during peak periods. On my site visits, I saw
evidence of intermittent exit blocking at the Central Road/Green Lanejunction,
and I experienced delays in travelling along Central Road in both the morning
and evening peak hours. [23, 41]

78. The appeal scheme would add 175 units to the existing dwellings accessed off
Green Lane. Traffic projections submitted to the Inquiry were based on an
additional 184 units. The increase in flow at the Central Road/Green Lane
junction from 184 units above 2010 base flow is predicted to be 31 vehicles
(1.8%) in the AM peak and 42 vehicles (2.0%) in the PM peak. Increases of this
order of magnitude in many situations might be within normal daily traffic
fluctuations, and so would not be significant. However, a network can be
sensitive to minor levels of increase in traffic, and DTO Modelling Guidelines
indicate an exponential increase in the rate of delay above 90% degree of
saturation. In such circumstances even small reductions in capacity can result in
significant increases in delay. There is also concern that creating such a large
cul-de-sac in a congested area would affect attendance times of emergency
service vehicles. [14,24,26,61]

79. There is substantial evidence that traffic congestion and delay is a problem in
Worcester Park. It was apparent to me on my site visits that exit blocking at the
Central Road/Green Lanejunction can, at times, results in long delays, frustrated
drivers and innovative manoeuvres to negotiate the junction. However, the
authorities have initiated measures to try and address this recognised problem.
A SCOOT traffic management system is proposed, which would co-ordinate the
phasing of two pelican crossings, the Central Road/Green Lane and the Maiden
Road/Station Approach junctions. An adjustment is also proposed to the signal
timings at the Maiden Road/South Lanejunction to reduce the green time for the
South Lane approach during the morning peak. I consider that there is a
reasonable prospect that these initiatives will come to fruition in the near future.
I find, therefore, that it was appropriate to incorporate these in the TA. [20, 21,
25, 31, 34]

80. Some local opinion believes that re-phasing traffic signals would make very little
difference, because Central Road is so congested. Others consider that this
would be cosmetic, with any advantage merely displacing traffic from other busy
routes. I consider that in assessing the likely performance of SCOOT more
weight should be given to the views of the responsible authorities because these
would have been informed by professional advice. Transport for London (TfL)
was sufficiently confident about its effectiveness that it did not require extensive
justification work or any micro-simulation modelling of its predicted effects. The
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames (RBK) considers that the linking of
various sets of traffic lights would improve traffic movement along this section of
the A2043. I also observed that whilst sometimes delays appeared to be due to
vehicles backing up from constraints elsewhere along the route between the A3
and A24, the proximity of this group of signals near to the Central Road/Green
Lanejunction and their independent phasing seemed, at times, to result in exit
blocking and congestion unrelated to the remainder of the network. I am
satisfied that there is considerable scope here for linked signal phasing, which
would platoon traffic and create gaps, to improve traffic flow, notjust outside
peak periods. I have considered the likelihood of any benefits of improved signal
phasing being taken up by traffic on the wider network diverting from more
congested routes. The changes proposed here might result in anew equilibrium
being established in the wider network. Nonetheless, it seems to me that the
benefits to the local network would be likely to be significant, even if the
improvements gave rise to some adjustments on the wider network. [20, 39, 50,
54]

81. The appeal site has a low Public Transport Accessibility Rating (PTAL), but it is
between 900 - 1700 m from a railway station with frequent services to London
Waterloo and Guildford/Dorking. High rates ofjourneys to work via public
transport, primarily by train, have been demonstrated at The Hamptons. The
obligation includes contributions towards off-site cycle routes and parking, a new
link between Green Lane and Worcester Park Railway Station, and to LBS's
sustainable travel initiative Smarter Travel Sutton. There is considerable
potential for improved cycle links to encourage those who can to leave their car
at home. LBS acknowledges that the Travel Plan (TP) may well provide a
reduction in car travel in the order of 10% if successful. If this were to be
achieved, vehicle trips generated by The Hamptons (with a total 645 units) would
be reduced by 10% during peak hours, and the net increase in flow from an
additional 184 units, above the 2010 base flow in the AM peak, would be 20
vehicles or 1.2%. The contribution to Smarter Travel Sutton and other
sustainable transport initiatives would help to reduce car travel, especially as it
seems to me that the scale and nature of The Hamptons development provides
potential for significant community involvement and participation in such
schemes. I agree with the appellant that the combination of SCOOT and the TP
potential for improvement would provide substantial mitigation of any increased
traffic attributable to the appeal scheme. [8, 14, 32, 39, 57]

82. I have given substantial weight to local evidence about traffic congestion and its
effects on the community, and had full regard for the advice in the DTO Mode/ling
Guidelines about the increasing rate of delay associated with high degrees of
saturation. Nevertheless, I am not convinced that the appeal proposal, given the
proposed mitigation measures, would make the situation here significantly worse.
There is no compelling evidence that it would substantially add to the risk of
accidents or impair highway safety. [8, 32, 40]

83. The appellant employed a sophisticated micro-simulation model, VISSIM, to
assess the impact of the proposed development and improvements to the
network. LBS considers that this lacks precision because of modelling flaws and
errors. However, LBS acknowledges that some of these are more fundamental
than others. [26, 35]

84. LBS considers that the model discloses some anomalous results, in circumstances
where it believes that the existing saturated network makes it essential to
produce a robust model. LBS is also critical of the lack of a validation report.
However, modelling is dependent upon thejudgements made by the modeller,
for example in the use of Reduced Speed Areas, and is subject to imperfections
such as might arise with the difficulty in quantifying queue lengths. Substantial
information about the model was available to LBS and its advisors, and so the
absence of a specific validation or error report does not, to my mind, invalidate
the model. A number of LBS's criticisms were agreed to be less substantial'.
The appellant acknowledges that calculating from screen flows might have
resulted in flaws in reconciling saturation flows with those observed. LBS
considers that thejunctions on the A24 and A3 should have been modelled. TfL
initially requested traffic capacity assessments were undertaken at the A2043fs
junctions with Maiden Way and London Road, but appears to have been satisfied
on this point by further particulars submitted by the appellant. [27, 28, 30, 35,
36]

85. The lane change value used was one of six areas considered by LBS to be
'substantial' in terms of constructing a robust model. An error in updating this
parameter was acknowledged, but the length of dual lanes in this stretch of road
is confined to a small section near to a signal controlled junction. Given the
acknowledged congestion, I do not believe that it would have a significant effect
on the modelled outcome. Rat running on side streets was cited anecdotally, but
there is no technical evidence about it before the Inquiry. I have no doubt that
drivers will seek ways to avoid congested junctions, but there is nothing to
indicate that this is a matter that would have necessitated modelling additional
side streets. Measuring queue lengths is problematic because it is difficult for
those recording the data to assess vehicle speeds in assessing what might best
be described as 'moving queues'. However, I prefer the appellant's evidence
here that the modelling is reasonably robust and that journey times are
appropriate tools here for validation purposes. I also accept the appellant's
explanation about the disputed terminology concerning extension time/gap out
and I am satisfied that this would, in any event, be academic in peak hours
where congested traffic would influence such signal changes. The way the pub
car park was modelled would mean that in practice additional signal time would
be available for SCOOT to optimise phasing. I concur, therefore, with the
appellant that a worst case scenario has been modelled. It also seems to me
that the technical dispute about the use of Reduced Speed Areas (RSA) in the
model to replicate slow moving traffic does not go to any issue about the validity
of the model. There are a number of ways to model this, and there is nothing to
indicate that using RSAs was an unreasonable choice in the circumstances which
apply here. [29, 37, 60]

86. I concur with the appellant that the VISSIM model should be used as an aid to
analysis and to help inform judgement, and so should not, by itself, be definitive.
In my view, the VISSIM model, although it might not be perfect, adds confidence
to myjudgement (paragraph 81 above) about the traffic impact of the proposed
development. [30, 35]

87. Taking all the evidence in the round, I do not consider that the proposed
development would have an unacceptable adverse effect on highway safety or
transport infrastructure. I find no conflict with London Plan Policy 3C.2
concerning transport capacity. The proposal would not be contrary to the
provisions or underlying objectives of UDP Policies G/TR5 or TR18 regarding the
transport impact of new development. [9, 10]

Other matters

88. The energy strategy agreed between the main parties includes ground source
heat pumps and solar panels, which are both well established technology. I see
no reasons to come to a different finding about compliance with relevant energy
policy. The installation of the heat pumps and solar panels are matters that
could reasonably be the subject of a detailed scheme required by a planning
condition. [14, 18, 42, 62, 63, 67]

89. There is considerable local concern about the effects on local primary schools and
the distance secondary school children would have to travel. However, the
proposal includes contributions in accordance with LBS's guidance, and it would
not be reasonable to require school provision for this scheme to address wider
changes in local demographics, which might have a more general affect on school
catchments. [42, 46, 50, 60, 64, 70]

90. Accessibility to local GP services and healthcare provision was also raised.
Discussions with the Primary Care Trust have indicated that The Hamptons is not
a suitable location for a new GP surgery and so a financial contribution would be
appropriate. [42, 47, 52, 58, 64, 70]

91. There is local concern about additional traffic affecting air quality. Central Road
is a designated Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). LBS's Air Quality Action
Plan Review and Assessment Progress Report 2008 states that the required Air
Quality Action Plan (AQAP) has an overall aim of reducing levels of nitrogen
dioxide (NO2) and particulates (PM10), the main sources of which are emissions
from vehicles. LBS is concerned that there continues to be exceedences of
National Air Quality Objectives for both PM10 and NO2. However, the Report
states that significant progress has been made in implementing the AQAP,
including Smarter Travel Sutton, which is a medium to long-term initiative and so
its impact on air quality may not be apparent for some time. Given the number
of vehicles likely to be generated by the proposed development, I do not consider
that the proposal would add significantly to air pollution, especially as the scheme
includes contributions to sustainable transport initiatives, such as Smarter Travel
Sutton, which LBS considers an important factor in the AQAP achieving its aim of
reducing levels of PMi0 and NO2. I find no basis for rejecting the appeal scheme
because of its likely impact on air quality. [14, 48, 54, 60, 62, 70]

92. Land contamination and remediation were considered in the ES. The issue is well
documented. There is nothing to indicate that any necessary remediation of the
appeal site could not be addressed by the model conditions. The detailed design
of the proposed ground source heat pumps would need to safeguard against any
pollution, but this could be dealt with by conditions. [3, 6, 62, 68]

93. I do not share local concerns about amenity space provision. Scope exists within
the scheme to provide suitable open space, recreation and play provision for the
proposed development. Again, it would be unreasonable for this scheme to be
required to make provision for any existing needs or to redress any deficiencies
in amenity space arising from other phases of The Hamptons. Amenity space
provisions to serve the proposed development would be a matter that could be
appropriately dealt with by the obligation and suggested conditions. [53, 59, 68,
70]

94. The scheme has been designed to reflect the high standards of the previous
phases of The Hamptons. I consider that it would complement the existing
development, with adequate separation distances to safeguard living conditions
of existing and future occupiers. Construction might result in some disturbance
at times, but this would be for a limited duration and could be minimised by a
condition requiring approval of a construction method statement. Local concern
about flooding could appropriately be addressed by a planning condition requiring
a drainage scheme to be approved. There is nothing of substance to indicate
that likely problems with water supply or other utilities would justify dismissing
the appeal. [34, 64, 68]

95. There is local concern about consultation and publicity for the proposal during the
processing of the application. However, the ES and Inquiry were properly
publicised. This is not a matter which should be influential in determining the
appeal on its planning merits. [3, 50, 63]
Conditions and obligation

96. I consider that the conditions suggested or agreed at the Inquiry, with some
minor alterations, would be necessary to mitigate the impact of the proposed
development. They would also reasonably relate to the proposed development
and would address many of the issues raised by third parties. On the evidence
adduced, the alterations to the phasing of existing traffic signals envisaged in the
TA are likely to be implemented in the near future. No one suggested that it
would be necessary for any planning permission to be conditional on the
completion of SCOOT and alterations to the phasing of signals at the Maiden
Road/South Lane junction. I do not take a different view. [66, 67, 68, 69]

97. It was suggested that if permission were to be granted it should be made
conditional on the developer meeting all of its commitments under the agreed
section 106 agreement. However, any contributions would need to be
proportional to the nature and scale of the proposed development, not seek to
deal with other or outstanding matters. There is no reason to doubt that the
provisions included in the obligation accord with the advice in Circular 05/2005
Planning Obligations. [59, 70]

Overall conclusion

98. There is considerable local opposition to the proposed development, due at least
in part, to what is perceived as the creeping enlargement of The Hamptons. The
Hamptons Residents' Association considers that local infrastructure has struggled
to cope with the additional dwellings permitted to date, and that the appeal
scheme would push it beyond breaking point. However, I am satisfied that the
proposal would make efficient use of previously-developed urban land in
accordance with the guidance in PPS3 Housing, without an unacceptable impact
on local infrastructure. [55, 60, 63, 64, 65]

99. I find that the proposal would accord with the development plan, and that there
are no other material considerations which would indicate that the appeal should
be determined other than in accordance with the development plan. I conclude
that the appeal should be allowed and that planning permission should be
granted for the amended scheme, with appropriate mitigation measures, as
outlined above, and set out in full in the Revised Description of Proposed
Development and Schedule of Conditions 1-30, along with the list of Plans,
included in this report.

Recommendations

100. I recommend that the Secretary of State determines the appeal on the basis of
the amended scheme submitted at the appeal stage, which would provide for 63
affordable units, as fully described above. In the alternative, I recommend that
the appeal should be dismissed because a scheme for 59 affordable units would
not comply with relevant policy for affordable housing, and would not be
consistent with the planning obligation, dated 19 May 2009.

101. I recommend that the Secretary of State finds that the Environmental
Statement complies with the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact
Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999, and that sufficient
information has been provided to assess the environmental impact of the appeal
proposal.

102. I recommend that the appeal be allowed and that planning permission be
granted for the amended scheme, subject to conditions.

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