Minutes of the Special Planning Meeting, Wednesday 9th June 2021

Minutes of the Special Planning Meeting held on Wednesday 9th June 2021
at 7.15pm, at St. Mary’s Church, Longstowe.

Present: Cllr Peter White (Acting Chairperson)
Cllr Geoff Hemmins
Cllr Ben Holland
Sharon Brown – Clerk

Also present: Ms Pat Ayton.

There was positive interest in seeing the gardens of Longstowe Hall open to the public. However, some concern was expressed about the use of Park Lane for exiting and the projected number of vehicles.
Cllr Tumi Hawkins, Cllr Mark Howell and Cllr Barbara Cooper.
Cllr Bevan had previously declared an interest in the planning application under
consideration and thus absented himself from the meeting.
Reference: 21/01868/FUL Proposal: Use of the Car Park, Stable Courtyard Building, Listed Garden and Marquee to include use of Premises for Opening of the Gardens of Longstowe Hall to the Public. (The two uses would not run concurrently). Expansion of Overflow Car Park, Stationing of 2 x Relocatable Ticket Kiosks and Covered Cycle Racks within the Grounds and Use of Existing Access onto Park Lane for Exiting in conjunction with the Open Garden Events Only.
Public Access Link: https://applications.greatercambridgeplanning.org/online-applications/PLAN/21/01868/FUL

In principle, Longstowe PC has no objections to the opening of the gardens of Longstowe Hall to the public, with certain reservations.

Discussion centred around: the possible erosion of verges in Park Lane; the structure of Park Lane in relation to projected vehicle movements; the area for parking; hours of opening; number of open days per year. The general consensus was that the estate and its surroundings needed safe-guarding into the long-term future. It was recognised that Cllr Bevan, the owner / applicant seems to have this aim in mind and as with past initiatives is looking to find a sensitive balance between the estate, village, local residents and environmental needs.

It was noted that a combined entrance / exit or new exit onto the A1198 would be difficult and possibly dangerous. It had been indicated to Cllr White that notices would be erected such that residents of Park Lane would have vehicle right of way priority. It was thought that most people on leaving would drive straight to the A1198 junction, with fewer vehicle coming through the High Street. As Park Lane is narrow and currently any heavy / large vehicles cut up the verges and they are often re-made by the residents, these would need protection to maintain its present ‘country lane’ aspect. Additionally, the grassed triangle junction with the High Street was noted as narrow, so would need signage and the edges would also need protection.

There was some concern that the field (to the north of the stable exit) set aside for increased parking is extremely large, but it was appreciated that this could allow for rotational management to prevent erosion and wear and tear of the grassland. It was noted that on the occasional open garden days already held for charities, that this same field was used. The proposed prior booking system was thought to be key to the overall, sensitive management of the enterprise.

It was considered that opening the gardens would quite possibly lead to a further application to provide amenities such as a café / tea-room / gift shop. However, such a possibility was thought to have less impact on the village, as present old stable buildings might accommodate this.

It was felt that the hours and number of days of opening needed clarification. That the gardens could beneficially be open for longer in the summer and for less time in the winter was accepted. It was proposed that 4 pm closing in winter, with 6-7 pm in summer would be acceptable. Whilst looking for a specified number of days per week opening, it was thought up to three or four open days per week were possibly suitable, with fewer, perhaps 2 days in the winter, in relation to both increased vehicles in the village and erosion of grassland parking.

It was agreed that clarification would be sought on the above concerns, together with assurance that mitigating conditions would be attached to any granting of the planning application.

Signed by: …………………………………………Chairperson Date: ………………..