Agenda item

Harefield Hospital, Hill End Road, Harefield - 9011/APP/2018/1854

Retention of hospital waste store (Retrospective Application) with new boundary hedge planting.


Recommendation: Approval


RESOLVED: That the application be refused, subject to delegated authority to the Head of Planning and Enforcement, in conjunction with the Chairman and Labour Lead Member.


Retention of hospital waste store (Retrospective Application) with new boundary hedge planting.


Officers introduced the report and noted the addendum. It was confirmed that this item was previously deferred by Committee, and since this deferral, security at the site has been improved and low-level planting has taken place which would take two to three years to mature and cover the store. Members were also informed that a suitable alternative location for the store was sought, but no other site was considered viable for the waste store.


A petitioner spoke in objection the application, and noted that over 200 people had signed petitions to oppose the proposal. Local residents were concerned that clinical waste was being stored so close to housing, and that the waste store was situated in Green Belt land within the Harefield Village Conservation Area. Members heard that dense planting detracted from the locally listed hospital buildings, and was too close to the boundary. The petitioner also expressed concerns about odour, and noted that any smell was too much for local residents. Councillors heard that nothing had changed since the previous deferral except for increased security, and another location was suggested, but nothing had happened. To conclude, the petitioner stated that the application was a health risk, nuisance and eyesore for local residents and should be refused.


A representative of the application addressed the Committee and noted that alternative sites had been considered but there was no other suitable site for the waste store, as it was a 24-hour facility with a huge volume of waste from a ward that was treating seriously ill patients. The waste store was proposed at this location as the previous site took too long to reach for nurses and this was a detriment to the patients. Councillors heard that waste store could now only be accessed by a swipe card and the doors were on a timer to prevent vermin or ingress to the facility. Furthermore, if there was any risk to critically ill patients from the waste store, it would not be situated there, and collections were now timed for minimum disturbance.


Responding to questioning from the Committee, the applicant’s representative confirmed the original plan for a four-bed ward extension and waste store was changed to accommodate six-beds, and as such, the waste store had to be moved from the facility. Open land opposite the current site was considered but this would lead to waste being moved an extra 30 yards over an access road for ambulances and a bus route, and it was important to ensure nurses were away from the unit for the minimum time possible. Members asked whether there was access to water at the storage facility, and the applicant’s representative stated that he did not think this was the case.


The Ward Councillors for Harefield were in attendance at the meeting, and addressed the Committee.


Councillor Jane Palmer stated that although the hospital was a big part of the community, this application directly affected residents. The houses opposite the site were affected by odour, particularly in the summer months, and the store was too close to the edge of the residential area. Members heard that there was huge opposition from local residents to the application in the conservation area, and the application should be refused and the waste store moved to a more appropriate site.


Councillor Henry Higgins noted that the building was inadequate, and not suitable for the Green Belt or a Conservation Area. Members heard that a large shed was not the best way to deal with this waste, and the Committee was urged to reject the application.


Councillors agreed that the decision was very difficult, as the Committee was asked to support the operational efficiency of the hospital at the detriment of local residents. Members noted that the waste store was a large building that conflicted with the Locally Listed building and is detrimental to the area in planning terms, and hedging and planting would not make the problem disappear.


The Committee sympathised with the hospital, but noted that the location of the waste store was too close to the residential area and there was no way to minimise its impact due to its size. Members expressed concerns over the lack of washdown water at the site and odour, and agreed that an alternative site for the waste store was preferable


Members confirmed that, ideally, they would have been able to support the hospital and noted another location may be acceptable, but this application was unacceptable in planning terms due to its size, bulk and location, and the adverse impact it had on the Conservation Area and Locally Listed building.


The Committee then moved, seconded and unanimously agreed the officer’s recommendation, subject to delegated authority to the Head of Planning, Transportation and Regeneration to confirm the reasons for refusal.


RESOLVED: That the application be refused, subject to delegated authority to the Head of Planning, Transportation and Regeneration, in conjunction with the Chairman and Lead Labour Member, to confirm the wording regarding the reasons for refusal.

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