Agenda item

20211551 - 90 Cross Lane East, Gravesend, Kent DA12 5HB


Resolved that the application be APPROVED Planning Permission with the following conditions: -


1.               Approved Plans


2.               Soft Landscaping Scheme


3.               Vehicular Crossover / Dropped Kerb Installation


4.               No gates are to be installed on this driveway.




The Committee considered 20211551in relation to 90 Cross Lane East, Gravesend, Kent DA12 5HB.   The applicationwas for the creation of a dropped kerb for vehicle access onto west side of the property to facilitate vehicle access to the front of the property.


Cllr Morton left the Council Chamber for a short period of time but because she missed the presentation she was unable to vote on this application.


The Team Leader (Development Management) introduced application 20211551 to the Committee and highlighted key points from the report.


  • The application site comprises of a chalet type bungalow dwelling on the southern side of Cross Lane East which is a classified road (C Class) and the existing dwelling has a driveway at the eastern end which serves a garage.
  • The immediate locality is residential in character with several surrounding dwellings having off road parking to the front of their dwellings.  Further east of the site is a parade of shops and hot food outlets around the Echo Square roundabout.
  • A recent site visit has identified that works have been undertaken to accommodate the new driveway and associated hard standing.
  • In section 6 of the report it sets out the planning merits of this proposal and paragraph 6.2 and 6.3 of the statement sets out the key consideration for this application; namely

whether the proposed new vehicular access and the associated front garden parking/hardstanding facilities and alterations to the front garden boundary are appropriate and acceptable in both in highway safety terms and amenity terms and in relation to adopted policy.

  • In paragraphs 6.5 to 6.8 of the report it confirms that there is sufficient depth to provide parking spaces on the site and Gravesham Highways Officers raised no objection to the parking being provided. 
  • In paragraph 6.13 to 6.15 of the report it outlines the Kent County Council Crossover team is unlikely to support the second dropped kerb for the site. Furthermore, Saved Policy T5 in the Local Plan First Review (1994) actively discourages the creation of new accesses to local distributor road to the main highway network.
  • The impact of this second vehicular access would also result in there being a loss of two on road parking spaces (depending on size of the vehicle)
  • In summary, it is considered the development is contrary to local and national policies as set out in paragraph 6.15 of the report.
  • In paragraph 6.15 of the report it sets out the character and appearance of the site prior to works commencing on site.
  • Notwithstanding the neighbouring sites, which currently have hardstanding in the front garden facilitating vehicle accesses fronting the highway, by virtue of the significant loss of soft landscaping at the site is considered harmful to the character of the street scene.  The existing soft landscaping has recently been removed resulting in a net loss of biodiversity. This is contrary to Section 15 of the NPPF (2021), which states that developments should result in a biodiversity net gain.
  •  In summary, whilst the proposal is considered to safeguard the amenity of future occupiers, as well as neighbouring properties, it is considered that the proposed hardstanding will significantly reduce the soft landscaping within the front garden, which positively contributes to the character and appearance of both the property and wider street scene. Additionally, the hardstanding results in a nett loss of biodiversity on the site.


In response to Members questions on the clarification of the application, the Team Leader (Development Management) explained that:


  • If this application were to be approved there would be a nett loss of two on street parking spaces and Members are to judge from the report if they regard that as significant.
  • Cllr Mulheran visited the site and one of those lost on street parking spaces would be accommodated on the current driveway and the other space could park between the dropped kerbs.
  • There are a number of properties in that road with two dropped kerbs.  The Team Leader (Development Management) explained these were historic applications that were granted. The 2021 NPPF and 2014 Core Strategy along with the Planning Practice Guidance is different guidance from 2014 when other properties gained and were granted planning permission for a dropped kerb.
  • With regards to the loss of soft landscaping and biodiversity that has already happened and the applicant could remove those bushes without applying for permission. If the works were not in connection with a driveway.
  • The Vice Chair asked if the applicant was not a Councillor would this application be called in and the Team Leader (Development Management) explained the application would have likely to have been delegated but all Councillor applications are determined at Planning Committee.


The Committee heard the views of a public speaker in favour of the application.Following theaddress bythe publicspeaker, Membershad theirquestions answered:  


  • There have been changes to Echo Square and there is now no entry to Cross Lane East from the east and most drivers assume it is a one way street which it is not and drive very fast.  If an additional dropped kerb was positioned on the other side of the driveway it would improve the safety aspect of leaving the property and would increase the visibility splays.
  • The applicant explained they always reversed onto their driveway as it would be too dangerous to reverse straight out onto the road.
  • The Chair confirmed that the primary reason for this application seemed to be centred on improving safety of pedestrians and the applicant. If you increase the visibility, there is far greater time to act. 
  • The applicant did not wish to reduce the greenery at the front of the property but required better visibility. The bushes that were removed have been replanted in the back garden.


The Committee heard from Cllr Tony Rana, a Ward Councillor for Whitehall who was in favour of this application. 


Cllr Tony Rana had noticed that there are several double driveway properties in the Ward.  The area is very busy and traffic levels are very high especially as Cross Lane is one of the main arteries in Gravesend along with Sun Lane, Whitehall Road and Parrock Road. 


There are quite a few residents in the area that have complained about the volume of traffic, damage to their vehicles and cars parking on the pavements and Cllr Rana is in favour of off-street parking which protects the owners, pedestrians and their vehicles.


This additional dropped kerb would be beneficial as it would take at least one more car off the street.  Cross Lane East is a two-way road rather than one way. 


The Chair reminded the Committee that if they were to approve this application, the applicant would still need to submit an application to Kent County Council to gain permission for a dropped kerb.  It would be a separate consideration for KCC.   


TheTeam Leader(Development Management)fielded questionsfrom Membersand  the following discussions were had:


  • Members discussed the soft landscaping and biodiversity and would this have an impact on the additional dropped kerb. Members thought that removing soft landscaping would improve visibility. Other neighbouring properties do not have extensive greenery and hedges do not require permission to cut down.
  • To increase the size of the driveway could be beneficial in the future if an electric charger were installed.
  • Although Members can make a decision of what is front of them, the ultimate decision lies with Kent County Council for agreeing a dropped kerb.
  • The Team Leader (Development Management) reminded Members that in the NPPF and Core Strategy a big policy change regarding biodiversity has happened since 2014 and Members have to decide if they are happy with the biodiversity net loss.
  • The Assistant Director (Planning) confirmed the biodiversity impact that was mandated in 2019 will become mandatory in 2023 and a full survey will be conducted. As the works were completed before this the fact that the bushes were removed and replanted into the back garden would not be enough evidence. 
  • The Assistant Director (Planning) reminded Members that although the Gravesham Highways Officer did not find any reasons to refuse this application, Kent County Council highlighted concerns, particularly, in relation to the secondary vehicles access to the site where one already exists.  If Members felt that materially and from the representations that approving this application would significantly improve the highway safety Members should be minded to approve this application.
  • Members discussed the safety of pedestrians, road users, the applicant and highways safety issues.
  • The Vice Chair recommended from his own personal experience of the road he had heard enough to help satisfy this application should be approved with conditions.  Kent County Council would then make the final decision.  This was seconded by the Chair.
  • The Team Leader (Development Management) reminded Members that conditions would need to be added if they were to approve this application.
  • The Chair agreed and thought there should be some dialogue with the applicant about the agreed landscaping scheme. The Chair would also want to include a condition that states that the original driveway is not blocked off.


Resolved that the application be APPROVED Planning Permission with the following conditions: 


1.               Approved Plans


2.               Soft Landscaping scheme


3.               Vehicular Crossover / Dropped Kerb Installation.


4.               No gates are to be installed on this driveway.




Approved:       7 Members

Abstention:      1 Member

Cllr Morton was not present for this presentation and, therefore, did not vote.


Note:   (a) John Caller (Applicant – in favour) addressed the Committee.

            (b) Ward Councillor Tony Rana spoke with the leave of the Chair


Supporting documents: