Agenda item

Application DM/2022/00331 - Development of commercial units suitable for use classes B1, B2 and B8 plus associated external works. Land at Severn Bridge Industrial Estate, Pill Row, Caldicot


We considered the report of the application and late correspondence which was presented for refusal for the reason outlined in the report.


The applicant’s representatives, Emily Armstrong and Neville Shaw, attended the meeting by invitation of the Chair and outlined the following points:


·         The applicant owns 36 units totalling 257,000 sq. ft. at the Severn Bridge Industrial Estate. Currently, there is no available space.


·         New lettings have recently been secured of over 37,000 sq. ft. bringing the estate to 100% occupancy.


·         A further five tenants have been retained totalling 40,000 sq. ft.


·         Enquiries have been received from new and existing businesses that wish to expand into this location and increase employment levels.


·         This development is seen as a space for start-up businesses.


·         The application is targeting a floor area of approximately 32,000 sq. ft.


·         Current take up figures equates to six months of supply and it is anticipated that the development will be let within six months of completion.


·         Over 100 jobs have been secured within the current site and it is anticipated that at least 60 jobs will be created once the buildings are operational.


·         The applicant would like to engage with local supply chains throughout the development and to work with local employment agencies to provide jobs to local people throughout the construction phase.


·         Following discussions with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Local Planning Authority (LPA) it had been agreed that the applicant would take river flood modelling of the site in relation to the adjacent Nedern Brook with the purpose to determine whether the development of the site would have any off-site flooding impacts on adjacent land in extreme storm events.  The modelling exercise proved to the satisfaction of all stakeholders that there would be no significant off-site flood related impacts even in extreme storm events and accounting for future climate change.


·         In order to meet NRW criteria of no off-site flooding, the modelling exercise undertaken created a balance between limited raising of site levels in order to minimise on site flooding in extreme events and also avoiding any off-site flood impacts in such extreme events. The applicant considers that this balance has been achieved with this modelling exercise with flood depths over the site varying between 0.9 of a metre.


·         NRW’s review of the modelling exercise noted that flood depths in areas of the site in extreme events were in excess of the allowances that are provided as guidance in TAN 15. Although the model flood depths and extreme storm events are in excess of the maximum flood depths identified in TAN 15, it is within NRW’s powers to treat TAN 15 as indicative and not mandatory.


·         NRW currently elects to treat these flood depth allowances as a firm requirement which is why it has objected to this development.


·         The NRW historic flooding database indicates that the site has not previously flooded.  No recorded historic flood events have been identified in the modelled reach of the Nedern Brook.


·         The site will remain dry in all but the most extreme conditions and is one of the last sites to flood in the local area.


·         There will be no significant off-site flood related impacts from the development of the site.


·         In terms of mitigation of on-site flooding in an extreme storm event, the NRW flood warning telephone service will provide 48 hours’ notice of a flood event providing ample time for the evacuation of operatives from the site.


·         There will be no increased flood risk off the site and the development fall in line with all the mandatory requirements of TAN 15.


Having received the report and the views expressed, the following points were noted:


·         Support was expressed for the application subject to proper maintenance of the sluice gate and waterways which would mitigate the risk of flooding in this area.


·         It was considered that the applicant had done everything to mitigate any flood risk to the premises and to manage the water produced on site and where it goes.


·         The Head of Planning informed the Committee that the application has been presented to Planning Committee at his behest.  This is an allocated site within the Local Development Plan and has been allocated for employment and commercial purposes.  However, there is a flood consideration as outlined in the report.


·         Some Members considered that a decision in respect of the application should be postponed to allow representatives from NRW to express their view on this matter.


The Senior Development Management Officer responded, as follows:


·         NRW had raised no concerns regarding the Source Protection Zone on the basis that the site would be SuDs compliant.


·         Litter and ongoing management of the site is outside of the application site, and we, as an authority, would not have control over this matter.


·         This is an outline application. Therefore, active travel details are currently not fixed.


·         The Flood Consequence Assessment (FCA) that had been submitted has not been able to satisfy NRW regarding the requirements of TAN 15. However, it has been demonstrated that there is no adverse impact off-site.


·         NRW is a consultee and has provided comments accordingly and would not participate in Planning Committee meetings.


·         The adjoining land is outside the application site so does not fall within the scope of this application.


·         It is for the applicant to put in place any necessary measures to minimise flood risk. There would be no liability for the Local Authority in respect of this matter.


·         The applicant informed the Committee that future maintenance of the drainage system is outlined in the Flood Consequence Assessment (FCA).


It was proposed by County Councillor D. Rooke and seconded by County Councillor M. Powell that application DM/2022/00331 be approved.


Upon being put to the vote the following votes were recorded:


For approval             -           12

Against approval      -           1

Abstentions               -           2


The proposition was carried.


We resolved that application DM/2022/00331 be approved and that the decision be referred to Natural Resources Wales (NRW).  If NRW does not object to the decision, draft conditions would be presented to the Delegation Panel for approval.






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