Agenda item

APPLICATION NO. 2016/75591/FUL Felnex Pipework


Installation of underground heating pipes, electrical cabling, communication cabling and associated works to allow transfer of hot water and high speed data through a decentralised energy network.


The Committee considered a report on the above application for the installation of underground heating pipes, electrical cabling, communication cabling and associated works to allow transfer of hot water and high speed data through a decentralised energy network.


Councillor Crowley asked for details regarding the pre-application advice received by the application from the Case Officer, and asked what measures would be put into place to negate the fact that the application site falls on a floodplain. Andy Webber, Head of Planning, confirmed that the only advice given to Barratt Homes was following the LPA’s screening of their application for an Environmental Impact Assessment. There was no pre-application advice as such, merely an ongoing discussion about the need for this application following the grant of the Felnex reserved matters application in September 2017.  In respect of flooding, Officers advised that these details were conditioned as part of the previously approved section 73 application in July 2016 and in addition the Environment Agency had raised no objections to this applications. Following a question from Councillor Shields, Andy Webber confirmed that the prospect of the Energy Recovery Facility being decommissioned was in the distant future and uncertain and that planning applications had to deal with the situation in the present.


Councillor Nick Mattey, an objector, addressed the meeting under Standing Order 31, and Steve Mellor, the applicant on behalf of Barratt Homes, replied.


The principal issues raised by Nick Mattey were:-


  • The presentation suggests that the pipework could work both ways, however the housing estate is unlikely to have the capability to produce heat.
  • The application is to prepare the Felnex Estate to connect to SDEN, which Sutton council has an interest in as the principal shareholder.
  • SDEN Ltd, the adjacent site, would not be able to expand West and it is difficult to gauge the carbon footprint should it expand, something that has not been considered in this application.
  • It is not clear whether there would be enough energy developed within the Felnex Estate site to run autonomously, thus creating a reliance on the SDEN site, extending its necessity beyond the predicted lifespan of 25 years.


The principal issues raised by Steve Mellor were:-


  • Pipes do not usually require planning permission, however the application included pipes that would carry hot water which is an anomaly in planning policy.
  • There is no policy requirement on the applicant to give preference to any one energy supplier. The application does not describe what the source would be.
  • The provision of a DEN was stipulated within the existing Section 106 agreement.


Councillor Crowley asked for clarification on whether there was any kind of agreement or intended agreement with SDEN Ltd or the London Borough of Sutton on who the supplier would be. Steve Mellor confirmed that no decision had already been made, and that if there had been, a commercial agreement would not be a material planning consideration. Councillor Whitham asked what was going to be done locally to ensure archaeological survival, Steve Mellor referred to the site’s previous owners who had discharged the archaeological conditions already. John Qualtrough, the authority’s Legal Advisor present at the meeting, confirmed that although the council had an interest in the application, there were multiple options for suppliers to the pipeline and that the Planning authority would not consider this to be a relevant planning consideration.


A poll vote on the officers’ recommendation to grant permission was held in accordance with Standing Order 31.4, when there voted:


To grant (8)                Councillors Samantha Bourne, Muhammad Sadiq, Hamish Pollock, Jason Reynolds, Margaret Court, Vincent Galligan, Graham Whitham, Kevin Burke,


Against (2)                 Councillors Tony Shields and Tim Crowley


Resolved: That planning permission be granted for application No. 2016/75591/FUL, subject to the conditions, reasons and informatives imposed by the Planning authority.

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