Collaboration smooths passage through planning

Tackling technical issues as early as possible can strengthen development proposals and maximise a scheme’s chances of a more straightforward journey through the planning process.  In a recent application in Surrey, Motion was able to bring drainage, flood-risk and transport expertise to Earlswood Homes’ team of consultants, helping the housebuilder to gain approval for its largest scheme to date.

Despite an application being initially turned down at the local level, Earlswood Homes was eventually granted permission at appeal to build 40 new dwellings at Haroldslea Drive in Horley.  The winning proposals will deliver a sensitively designed scheme of family homes, which is sympathetic to the surrounding area and in a highly accessible location.

Billy Clements, Earlswood Homes’ Development Director, takes up the story.  “We knew that transport and flooding issues would be sensitive locally and that we needed to put forward a robust case, so Motion was brought in to join our team of consultants.  We had some understanding of their collaborative approach and knew their experience of working with the County Council would be vital.”  Billy adds, “This input proved to be invaluable as the process turned out to be smooth and uneventful in respect of transport, highways and flooding.”

Reducing flood risk

Motion Director Neil JaquesMotion Director, Neil Jaques, recalls some of the infrastructure challenges.  “As a small part of the site fell within Flood Zone 2, the planning application needed to address the sequential test, even though most of the development is located within Flood Zone 1.”  The sequential test assessment concluded that there were no reasonable available sites in areas with a lower risk of flooding that would be appropriate for the development.

A strategy was put forward to reduce the risk of flooding and to improve the current, poorly maintained drainage network.  Partial infiltration was proposed as a means of surface-water discharge, with infiltration occurring at shallow depths throughout the site.

Neil explains, “Permeable paving layers will be used to drain the site and cellular storage crates will be placed beneath the central carpark.  Control chambers will restrict flows to meet existing greenfield runoff rates.”

Good connections

Billy Clements is keen to emphasise the site’s proximity to amenities and job opportunities.  “It’s a highly sustainable location.  Future residents will enjoy easy access to Horley town centre and railway station, primary and secondary schools, and major employment hubs such as Gatwick airport.”

Motion Director, Andrew Whittingham, says, “A particular aspect of our work was to ensure that the site was suitably connected to the surrounding network of pedestrian, cycle and public transport links, including upgrading adjacent Public Rights of Way (PRoW).”

Illustration courtesy of Omega Architects

An abridged version of this article first appeared in Issue 24 of Insight

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