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Agenda item

Schedule

To consider the accompanying Schedule of Planning Applications and proposals, marked Appendix “A”.

Decision:

Parish and Reference

Address

Decisions

Item/page

number

 

Badgeworth

 

 

 

18/01295/OUT

Fortitude Birdlip Hill Witcombe Gloucester

Refuse

3/425

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Brockworth

 

 

 

19/00678/OUT

18 Westfield Road Brockworth Gloucester Gloucestershire

Deferred for site visit

5/442

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Down Hatherley

 

 

 

19/00674/FUL

Caerleon Brook Lane Down Hatherley Gloucester

Permit

4/436

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Dumbleton

 

 

 

18/00770/FUL

Saberton Farm Beckford Road Dumbleton Evesham

Permit

1/404

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Gotherington

 

 

 

19/00476/FUL

Part Parcel 5778 Malleson Road Gotherington Cheltenham

Delegated Permit

2/413

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Highnam

 

 

 

19/00873/TPO

Allotments Oakridge Highnam Gloucester

Consent

10/465

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Innsworth

 

 

 

19/00915/FUL

Unit J1 Innsworth Technology Park Innsworth Gloucester

Permit

7/455

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Maisemore

 

 

 

19/00941/FUL

6 Persh Way Maisemore Gloucester Gloucestershire

Refuse

9/461

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Staverton

 

 

 

19/00918/FUL

St Clair Cottages Staverton Cheltenham Gloucestershire

Permit

8/458

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Woodmancote

 

 

 

19/00863/FUL

Bushcombe House Farm Bushcombe Lane Woodmancote Cheltenham

Permit

6/449

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Minutes:

35.1           The Technical Planning Manager submitted a Schedule comprising planning applications and proposals with recommendations thereon.  Copies of this had been circulated to Members as Appendix A to the Agenda for the meeting.  The objections to, support for, and observations upon the various applications as referred to in Appendix 1 attached to these Minutes were presented to the Committee and duly taken into consideration by Members prior to decisions being made on those applications.

18/00770/FUL – Saberton Farm, Beckford Road, Dumbleton

35.2          This application was for change of use of former wholesale plant nursery to builders’ yard; conversion of existing barn to office use; erection of storage buildings; retention of tile manufacturing operations; and installation of associated infrastructure.

35.3          The Planning Officer advised that the application related to Saberton Farm, a former horticultural nursery located to the west of Dumbleton, adjacent to the A46 and Beckford Road.  The site lay within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Flood Zone 1.  The proposal was for the change of use of the site to a builders’ yard and tile manufacturer with various other works including two new storage buildings, the conversion of an existing stone barn to an office and re-covering of a number of existing poly-tunnels.  The applicant had advised that the site was required for the relocation and growth of their business and that no other alternative suitable sites had been found.  The main issues in the consideration of the application were the principle of the development, impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, ecology and highway safety.  In terms of the principle of development, the application proposed an employment-generating use within the open countryside in conflict with Joint Core Strategy Policy SD1 which set out appropriate employment types and locations; however, it was noted that the National Planning Policy Framework was more supportive of employment uses beyond existing settlements which met local business requirements and this needed to be weighed in the benefits of the scheme.  Whilst the proposal would introduce more built development, the application also proposed the removal of uncharacteristic Leylandii belts and the installation of additional native tree and hedgerow planting.  Additional details in respect of the external storage of materials had been received and were set out in the Additional Representations Sheet, attached at Appendix 1. The heights and locations for external storage were considered appropriate and would be adequately screened from the wider area and, subject to compliance with conditions, it was considered that the scenic beauty of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty would be conserved.  The submitted reports indicated that the site was of limited ecological value; however, a Brown Eared Bat had been recorded in the stone barn which was proposed for conversion.  Having had regard to the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations, it was considered that, subject to compliance with conditions, the proposal would have no detrimental effect on the conservation status of the bat.  Highways England and County Highways had confirmed there would be no adverse impact on the highway network and there would be no increased flood risk on the site or elsewhere.  Whilst there was a conflict with Joint Core Strategy Policy SD1, and the proposal would introduce change and development in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it was considered that the harms were outweighed by the economic and environmental benefits of the development, particularly considering the current condition of the site.  As such, the Officer recommendation was to permit the application, subject to the conditions set out in the Officer report with the amendments and additional condition on the Additional Representations Sheet.

35.4          The Chair invited the applicant’s agent to address the Committee.  The applicant’s agent indicated that he was pleased the application was being presented with a recommendation for approval and commended Officers on coming to that positive recommendation.  He advised that the proposal would enable a local employer and long established business in the Winchcombe area to consolidate its existing operations and provide a platform for future sustainable growth.  The company specialised in restoration and heritage work and had restored some of the most prestigious listed buildings in the local area and wider south-west region since it had been established in 1968.  The application site was the former Dumbleton Nurseries which was an intensive wholesale plant nursery that had sat redundant since the early 1990s and the proposed development would return the site to a positive employment-generating use.  Paragraph 117 of the National Planning Policy Framework stated that planning decisions should promote the effective use of land and Paragraph 84 identified that planning decisions should meet the needs of local businesses and communities in rural areas and that, in certain circumstances, development would need to be carried out on sites outside of recognised settlement boundaries, as was the case for this particular proposal.  In addition, Joint Core Strategy Policy SD1 generally provided support for development that promoted the growth of existing businesses and the supporting text in the Joint Core Strategy identified that the three authorities sought to support economic growth in the Joint Core Strategy rural area and to take a positive approach in encouraging growth and development of new and existing enterprise so there was clear support for this type of development at both national and local planning policy levels.  The site’s location in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was acknowledged and the applicant had been mindful of this in the design of the proposed scheme, taking steps to ensure that it conserved and enhanced the site’s contribution to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The applicant supported the Officer comments that the site presently had a negative contribution to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty due to the remnants of the former use and, going forward, the applicant committed to measures to secure new native planting, removal of non-native species, habitat enhancements and planning conditions to secure control over external storage locations and limitations on site lighting.  The applicant also agreed with the Officer in that the proposal would conserve the landscape and scenic beauty of the area.  Overall the proposal accorded with the principles of the National Planning Policy Framework and the development plan; there was clearly strong planning justification to support the proposal and he wholeheartedly endorsed the Officer recommendation.  He hoped Members would agree with the findings of the report and respectfully urged the Committee to grant permission for the scheme.

35.5          The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be permitted in accordance with the Officer recommendation and, upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be PERMITTED in accordance with the Officer recommendation.

19/00476/FUL – Part Parcel 5778, Malleson Road, Gotherington

35.6           This application was for the erection of nine residential dwellings and associated vehicular access.

35.7          The Planning Officer advised that this was a full application for the erection of nine dwellings located on the western edge of the village of Gotherington.  The site comprised agricultural land and, whilst it was not located within any designated landscape areas, it was situated adjacent to the Special Landscape Area to the east.  It was a strategic site within the adopted Gotherington Neighbourhood Development Plan and was also identified in the emerging Tewkesbury Borough Plan Preferred Options, under Policy RES1, for around six dwellings.  The proposed development would be laid out with the majority of the dwellings in linear form, facing onto Malleson Road, and the site would be accessed from Malleson Road via a new access point with pedestrian access connecting from the existing footpath to the east.  The proposal would provide a mix of two, three, four and five bedroom detached and semi-detached dwellings comprising five house design types with a mix of materials.  The detached plots would include detached double garages and off-road parking spaces and the semi-detached plots would have off-road parking.  The application required a Committee determination due to an objection from the Parish Council on the grounds that the proposal conflicted with Policy GNDP02/1 of the Gotherington Neighbourhood Development Plan in terms of the number of units on site.  The main issues to be considered were set out in the Officer report which concluded that, on balance, the scheme was acceptable; therefore, notwithstanding the Parish Council objection, the Officer recommendation was to permit the application.

35.8           The Chair indicated that there were no public speakers for this item.  The Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  A Member noted that the Gotherington Neighbourhood Development Plan set out that, on sites of five or more dwellings, a range of tenures, house types and sizes of dwellings would be required, including - where viability allowed - a proportion of affordable homes to meet the housing needs of households with a connection to Gotherington Parish.  She questioned whether the Committee could insist that affordable housing was provided in this particular location given that Page No. 420 of the Officer report stated that the development was not classed as ‘major development’ and therefore was not required to deliver affordable housing.  In response, the Technical Planning Manager advised that the Gotherington Neighbourhood Development Plan had been made before the most recent version of the National Planning Policy Framework, and prior to the adoption of the Joint Core Strategy, and Officers were of the view that the thresholds within those documents should be preferred in this instance.  The weight to be attributed to any material consideration was down to the decision-maker, i.e. the Committee, but Officers considered that the housing need in Gotherington was likely to have been met by other developments.  In his view, there was nothing to justify the lower threshold and strong evidence was needed to the contrary if this was to be given greater weight.  The Member went on to explain that she had been a resident of the area for the last 25 years and had seen the level of support for the Gotherington Neighbourhood Development Plan which had been reflected in the large turnout for the referendum that had resulted in the plan being made.  The housing need survey for Gotherington was out of date and Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (GRCC) was currently looking at conducting a new survey.  No affordable housing was being provided on the new development opposite the site but, based on the number of residents, she believed there would be a need for affordable housing in the village and she proposed that the application be permitted in accordance with the Officer recommendation, subject to an amendment to secure the provision of affordable housing in accordance with Policy GNDP04 of the Gotherington Neighbourhood Development Plan.  With regard to the site opposite, the Technical Planning Manager confirmed that affordable housing was being provided on a 50/50 split with 10 dwellings on site and the remainder as an off-site contribution.  He explained that, whilst it was an option for Members to permit the application subject to an amendment as had been proposed, his advice would be that a deferral would be more appropriate in order to consider evidence of local housing need, such as the housing waiting list and Section 106 Agreements relating to other developments, in order for Members to make an informed judgement.  In response to a query as to whether that information would be readily available, confirmation was provided that it should be, although the Technical Planning Manager was not aware of the timescales for the new housing need survey being conducted by Gloucestershire Rural Community Council which was likely to take a longer amount of time.  The Member indicated that the existing housing needs survey, which would have been used in the determination of the application for the development opposite the site, was out of date which was why new surveys were being conducted across the borough to establish the need for each village, particularly in rural locations.  Not everyone was aware that they needed to register which was why the survey was so important and she did not believe that information currently available to bring back to the Committee would be up-to-date and her view was that it was clear already that more affordable homes were needed. 

35.9          In response to a query as to whether the proposal was specific enough, the Technical Planning Manager explained that Policy GNDP04 of the Gotherington Neighbourhood Development Plan stated that “…on sites of five or more dwellings a range of tenures, house types and sizes of dwellings will be required, including, where the viability allows, a proportion of affordable homes as defined in the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 Glossary to meet the housing needs of household with a connection to Gotherington Parish”, as such, a starting point for negotiations would be for 40% affordable housing in accordance with the Joint Core Strategy; if that could not be secured, the application would be brought back to the Committee.  The proposal to permit the application, subject to an amendment to secure the provision of affordable housing in accordance with Policy GNDP04 of the Gotherington Neighbourhood Development Plan, was duly seconded.  Another Member raised concern that the Gotherington Neighbourhood Development Plan had been disregarded by Officers and he felt there was little point in having such Plans if they were going to be ignored.  He empathised with the proposer of the motion and indicated that he was supportive of a mix of housing on developments but he raised concern as to what grounds could be put forward by the Council if the applicant appealed.  In response, the Technical Planning Manager advised that the Gotherington Neighbourhood Development Plan was part of the development plan.  The Joint Core Strategy, which also formed part of the development plan, had been adopted after the Gotherington Neighbourhood Development Plan and Policy SD12 had a threshold of 11; however, a more recent material consideration had been introduced in the current version of the National Planning Policy Framework which changed the threshold to 10 dwellings.  This was the approach which had been taken by Officers, and the reasons for that were set out in the Officer report, but it was within Members’ gift to take an alternative view as had been put forward by the proposer and seconder of the motion.  Upon being taken to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be PERMITTED in accordance with the Officer recommendation, subject to securing the provision of affordable housing in accordance with Policy GNDP04 of the Gotherington Neighbourhood Development Plan.

18/01295/OUT – Fortitude, Birdlip Hill, Witcombe

35.10        This was an outline application for the demolition of an existing log cabin and the cessation of the extant log cabin development and erection of a new single dwelling (including means of access).  The application had been deferred at the Planning Committee meeting on 16 July 2019 to request that the applicant provide details at this stage in respect of reserved matters of appearance, layout and scale and the extent of the residential curtilage.

35.11        The Planning and Enforcement Team Leader (South) confirmed that the application had been presented to Planning Committee on 16 July 2019 with a recommendation to refuse but had been deferred by the Committee to request that the applicant provide details at this stage in respect of reserved matters of appearance, layout and scale and the extent of the residential curtilage.  In response, the applicant had chosen not to amend the application in accordance with this resolution and had instead submitted a number of ‘illustrative’ revised plans - including a site plan showing a reduced red line / curtilage for the proposed dwelling and a series of ‘illustrative’ plans of a contemporary style dwelling - together with a supporting statement.  The illustrative plans showed an example of a large contemporary style two storey dwelling that would be partially set into the contours of the site and the supporting information included a commitment to build from a mix of natural stone, timber boarding, and render with aluminium-framed windows and a significant amount of glazing.  In the supporting statement, the applicant confirmed that he would be happy to have a condition imposed that would ensure any future reserved matters application must accord with the proposed scale parameters restricting the floor space, height, curtilage and building materials of the proposed development and an annotated plan showing maximum ridge heights had been provided. 

35.12        The Officer opinion was that the additional details did not do what Members had requested in their resolution in July which was to provide full details of the appearance, layout and scale at this stage.  Whilst it may be possible to impose a condition restricting scale parameters and requiring subsequent reserved matters to reflect the submitted 'illustrative plans', these crucial details would still be required to be provided through a further reserved matters application; therefore Officers did not feel this would give Members certainty they would be permitting an exceptionally high quality design that they considered was necessary for a dwelling in this location within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Such a condition may also present limitations for future applicants in terms of alternative design solutions that may prove to be more acceptable. As such, the Officer recommendation was to refuse the application.  It was noted that the Parish Council had been re-consulted and maintained its previous objection and a further three objections had been received from local residents.

35.13         A Member noted that the Badgeworth Parish Council had objected to four dwellings on the site; however, this proposal was for one dwelling and she sought an explanation.  The Technical Planning Manager clarified that there had been a number of previous applications on the site and the Parish Council had stated that it objected to the current application for a single dwelling for the same reasons as it had objected to the previous application for four dwellings.

35.14        The Chair invited the applicant’s agent to address the Committee.  The applicant’s agent indicated that, during the July Committee, it was apparent there was not necessarily an objection to the principle of a dwelling on the site but Members had wished to defer the application to seek further clarification over the likely design.  A reduction in the size of the curtilage had also been suggested.  Since that time, they had been working positively to provide further illustrative detail to address those comments and provide the Committee with some certainty over design quality.  It had also been noted that there had been some concern that allowing a single dwelling could set a precedent for further development on the site and he confirmed that was absolutely not the intention and the applicant would be willing to enter into a Section 106 Agreement with the Council to ensure there would only ever be one dwelling on the site; this was a firm offer and was all that could be done to address that point.  The applicant’s agent went on to explain that, prior to formulating the plans, a meeting had taken place with the Planning Officer to discuss the way forward and a substantially reduced curtilage had been agreed which was 44% smaller than the lawful curtilage of the site.  The remainder of the site would be returned to countryside land which would be secured by condition.  During that meeting they had also discussed the use of a contemporary design that would be partly sunken into the contours of the land to reduce height.  The package of illustrative plans provided showed exactly that – the side illustration showed the dwelling sunken into the land and would essentially appear as a single storey structure from that view.  The materials included Cotswold stone, timber and zinc which were all high quality.  The plans also showed a 115% reduction in floor space – less than half the consented built form – which represented a major improvement to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The applicant was also offering a set list of scale parameters to be conditioned which limited the height to that shown on the plans and gave the Council further control, although it was noted that the Council would ultimately have control of the details through the reserved matters.  The applicant’s agent reiterated that the site had lawful consent for 10 log cabins which could be completed at any time; this was not welcomed locally and the site had always been seen as problematic so it was within everyone’s interest to finally secure a solution.  He respectfully suggested that the proposal before Members - with the assurance of high quality design, a limitation on height, the return of almost half of the land back to countryside and a Section 106 Agreement to ensure there was never more than one dwelling on the site - was all that could be done to demonstrate the acceptability of the scheme.  Finally, the Planning Officer had confirmed in March, in writing, that the application was finely balanced at that time; this was before the Council’s shortage in housing supply was known, before the curtilage had been reduced by half and prior to the provision of more detailed plans – if it was finely balanced then, surely the balance must now have tipped in favour of the proposal given the concessions that had been made.  The applicant’s agent felt this really was the best opportunity to close this chapter and deliver a positive solution. The applicant had gone above and beyond to address the points raised and he hoped Members would grant the scheme so that everyone could finally move on.

35.15         A Member questioned whether it was possible to give permission in principle, subject to more detailed plans, as he could understand both the Officer point of view in terms of wanting to secure a high quality design, and the applicant’s point of view in terms of not wanting to waste time and money on a detailed application which could be refused again.  In response, the Technical Planning Manager clarified that the application was for outline planning permission which would effectively grant the principle of development.  Members had felt there was a possibility that there was a suitable scheme for the site which would outweigh the harm to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but this needed detailed consideration; at its meeting in July, the Committee had given the applicant an opportunity to come back with that detail but the applicant had chosen not to take it.  Whilst it was a matter of judgement, Members had not felt they had enough information to permit the application and Officers did not feel that level of information had been submitted to demonstrate the high quality and sensitive design they felt would be appropriate on the site.  The Legal Adviser explained that Members were being asked to weigh the harm of an isolated dwelling in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty based on very scant detail.  Members had tried to rectify that position at the meeting in July by asking for more details at the outline stage that would normally not be required until the reserved matters stage - without that information it was difficult to make a judgement.

35.16         A Member noted that the applicant’s agent had stated that the applicant would be willing to enter into a Section 106 Agreement to ensure that there could only ever be one dwelling on the site and he questioned whether that could be guaranteed.  In addition, a query was raised as to what would happen with the two parcels of land that had not been included within the curtilage of the site should that land be sold and someone else wish to build upon it.  The Technical Planning Manager advised that, should Members be minded to permit the application, the Section 106 Agreement would require the existing planning permission for log cabins on the site to be rescinded but what it could not do was prevent further applications coming forward in future and those applications would need to be considered on their own merits.

35.17        The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to refuse the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the development be permitted.  The proposer of the motion indicated that it was his recollection that the majority of Members had felt that a single dwelling would cause less harm to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty than the extant permission for 10 log cabins and would negate the problems caused by multiple vehicle movements during the day and at night.  If outline planning permission was granted, the applicant would be required to submit a reserved matters application so Members would be provided with the details at that stage and would have a say in the final design - he would be reluctant to refuse the application and give control to the applicant should they win a subsequent appeal. 

35.18         During the debate which ensued, a Member expressed the view that the applicant had not done what had been requested by the Committee and she would not be comfortable granting an outline application, and effectively giving permission for the principle of the development on the site, without the detail to ensure that the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty would be protected.  She also pointed out that the Council’s housing land supply was not a relevant consideration in this instance due to the site’s location within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  A Member wholeheartedly agreed with these comments.  Another Member shared the view that there was insufficient information to grant permission for the scheme; she was passionate about the fact that any homes built in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be of outstanding design and she felt that the application should be refused until the appropriate detail had been submitted for Members to make an educated decision. 

35.19         A Member drew attention to the resolution from the July Committee meeting and indicated that this had not required the applicant to actually submit a full application, rather it asked the applicant for further information in order for Members to gain a better understanding of the proposal and, in his view, this was what had been submitted.  He was aware that dwellings had been permitted in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in other parts of the borough, such as Cleeve Hill, and there had been an appreciation that they needed to be of exceptional design; however, the whole point was that the details would be decided at the reserved matters stage – the outline stage was about accepting the principle of development on the site and he did not see why the application should not be permitted.  The Technical Planning Manager explained that the difference was that this proposal was contrary to policy.  Officers had taken the view that policy should only be overridden if there was an understanding of exactly what was being permitted and that was what he believed was required by the previous Committee resolution.  Members needed to decide if they had enough information at this stage to be able to grant planning permission and to be convinced that the design would be of such quality that it would have an acceptable impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The Member felt that not being able to permit an outline application without having full details went against the principles of the planning system and, whilst he took the point being made by the Technical Planning Manager, he reiterated that the Committee had not asked for a full application, rather an indication of the kind of property that would be built should permission be granted.  The applicant had given an assurance that only one dwelling would be built on the site and a number of Members had previously indicated that the principle of the development would be acceptable if the building was of exceptional quality as this would replace the existing log cabin and would remove the possibility of the extant planning permission for 10 log cabins being fully implemented – all Members were being asked to do at this point was to confirm the principle of a single property on the site, all other matters were out of their control until the reserved matters stage.  As he had previously mentioned, he was aware of other proposals that had been granted planning permission in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so this was not a unique situation and he questioned what mechanisms were available for this application to pass through the planning process in an acceptable manner.  In response, the Technical Planning Manager confirmed that the process itself was straightforward in terms of granting outline planning permission subject to conditions; however, Officer advice was that this was not appropriate in this instance due to the history of the site and the importance of the location within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Notwithstanding this, it was for Members to make a judgement as to whether they had enough information to be certain that what would result from the proposal would be an acceptable form of development sufficient to grant permission contrary to policy.

35.20        A Member felt that the situation was becoming increasingly confusing and she wished to seek absolute reassurance that, if outline permission was granted, the Committee would have ultimate control over the design of the property.  The Technical Planning Manager explained that, whilst he could ensure that any future reserved matters applications were brought to Committee, the applicant would have the right to appeal a refusal so he could not give reassurance that the Council would retain ultimate control over design.  Another Member raised concern that an awful lot of time seemed to be being spent on trying to overturn the Officer recommendation when the applicant had not done what had been requested of them by the Committee and his opinion was that the application should be refused on that basis.  A Member expressed the view that, if applicant wanted to build a high quality house which was genuinely for their own personal use, they would be willing to submit the detailed information that had been requested.

35.21         The Technical Planning Manager advised that, should Members be minded to permit the application in accordance with the motion put forward, he would recommend the inclusion of conditions in relation to commencement of development; the design being in accordance with the scale parameters submitted; drainage; parking; access; landscaping; ecology; materials; and removal of permitted development rights.  The proposer and seconder of the motion to permit the application confirmed they were happy with the suggested conditions and requested that a condition also be included around sustainable design policies.  Upon being put to the vote, the motion to permit the application was lost.  It was subsequently proposed and seconded that the application be refused in accordance with the Officer recommendation.  The proposer of the motion expressed the view that the application did not represent a design of exceptional quality and was not outstanding or innovative as required by the National Planning Policy Framework.  Upon being taken to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be REFUSED in accordance with the Officer recommendation.

19/00674/FUL – Caerleon, Brook Lane, Down Hatherley

35.22         This application was for demolition of a garage and construction of one residential dwelling (amendment to scale and curtilage).

35.23         The Planning Officer advised that the site lay within a strategic allocation for residential development and was not within the Green Belt.  The proposal would result in sub-division of the plot into two smaller plots; however, the property would have parking to the front and a rear garden.  The property would be set back from the building line of Caerleon and would use similar design features.  It was considered that the proposal would have an acceptable impact on existing neighbour amenity, parking, manoeuvring and access and the Officer recommendation was to permit the application.

35.24         The Chair invited the applicant’s agent to address the Committee.  The applicant’s agent explained that the application sought permission for an additional dwelling on an existing residential plot on the southern side of the A38.  Whilst the site currently appeared to be within open surroundings, it was noted that it actually formed part of the Joint Core Strategy strategic allocation for Twigworth and would therefore be set within and amongst a large scale housing development once the site was fully built out.  The main development of 725 dwellings within the allocation had planning consent and the detailed applications were now coming forward.  It was also material to note that another application of 74 dwellings had consent within the allocation and a further application of 32 dwellings directly adjacent to the site was also under consideration.  As such, the principle of housing in this location was clearly acceptable, subject to the property respecting the character and layout of the wider strategic allocation.  Ultimately the new dwelling would be set among the North Gloucester urban expansion and fully complied with policy in principle.  The applicant’s agent recognised that the Parish Council had some concerns and, whilst he sympathised with its views, he respectfully pointed out that their comments were not substantive matters that could lead to refusal in this case.  Firstly the suggestion that the site lay within the Green Belt was not the case; whilst the site was previously within Green Belt, it had since been removed following adoption of the Joint Core Strategy and the Twigworth strategic allocation and, for this reason, development on the land and the sub-division of the plot was not contrary to the Neighbourhood Development Plan or the Joint Core Strategy.  The key consideration for the application was whether the new dwelling would fit into the wider layout of the housing scheme, without compromising the comprehensive delivery of the masterplan.  As set out within the Officer report, the proposal involved the subdivision of a plot and the dwelling would be sited so it would integrate acceptably.  He went on to advise that the design and layout reflected the character, scale, density and layout of surrounding development in the area and fully met the design expectations of the Joint Core Strategy.  The relationship with the neighbouring plot would not result in overlooking, loss of light or overbearing impact.  Furthermore, the development would make use of the existing site access which fully complied with highway authority standards and County Highways had no objection.  He agreed with Officers that the application accorded with the housing policies of the development plan and hoped Members would feel able to fully support the application.

35.25         The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be permitted in accordance with the Officer recommendation.  A Member queried whether a map was available to show the area that was outside of the Green Belt and the proximity of the safeguarded land.  The Technical Planning Manager advised that he did not have a map with him but provided assurance that the site was outside of the Green Belt and not within the safeguarded land. 

35.26         Upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be PERMITTED in accordance with the Officer recommendation.

19/00678/OUT – 18 Westfield Road, Brockworth

35.27         This application was for four proposed dwellings and associated amenity space, vehicle access and parking.

35.28         The Planning Officer advised that this was an outline application for infill development comprising four dwellings - two detached and a pair of semi-detached houses - with access and scale for consideration at this stage.  The site formed part of the rear gardens of No. 16 and No. 18 Westfield Road and was enclosed by residential development.  The principle of development was acceptable.  The site was at a slightly lower ground level than land to the north and the indicative layout showed the two storey side elevation set back from the northern boundary with 11 metres separation from the rear boundary to the south-east.  It was considered that there would be no significant harm in terms of loss of light, privacy or overlooking and this could be further secured in the design of the scheme.  It was noted that the character of development in the area was mixed and the dwellings would not be visible from the streetscene; whilst the development was relatively dense, there was sufficient separation distance between properties and adequate amenity space.  Members were informed that County Highways had no objection to the proposed access.  As such, the application was recommended for permission.

35.29         The Chair invited the applicant to address the Committee.  The applicant indicated that he was speaking on behalf of the owners of No. 16 and No. 18 Westfield Road as well as his own family members.  He explained that his grandfather had developed the houses in the road on land owned by his great-grandfather in the early 1900s; both houses were originally owned by family members and No. 16 had been in continuous ownership of his family since it was built.  When the homes had been constructed they had large gardens reflecting the shape of the original field, to provide flowers, fruit and vegetables and for leisure use – there was a tennis court in the rear garden of No. 16 for many years.  He explained that the gardens were now too large and, rather than see them deteriorate further and become a nuisance, it was better to put them to productive use, hence the application.  The four houses had been designed sensitively to fit in with the surrounding development and the character of the area with particular attention being given to the relationship with surrounding houses.  The access had been designed to be in the centre of the site to minimise its effect on neighbours.  The design met the Council’s guidelines and policies and there was no statutory objection to the development.  The application would provide another four quality houses in an area where there was strong demand and he respectfully requested that permission be granted.

35.30         The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be refused due to its size, scale and overbearing impact.  The proposer of the motion raised concern regarding the size of the plot and the lack of turning room for the number of vehicles that would be generated by a development of four large houses.  She also questioned how refuse vehicles would gain access.  In her view the houses themselves were far too big for the plot and bungalows would be more appropriate.  She pointed out that the Officer’s report did not mention the Hedgehog Trust which was located across the road and was in desperate need of mature gardens like the ones currently on the site.  The seconder of the motion agreed that this would be overdevelopment and the site had not been identified for infill development within the Tewkesbury Borough Plan.  Another Member felt that it might be beneficial for Members to visit the site to assess the concerns raised and it was proposed and seconded that the application be deferred for a Site Visit on that basis.  Upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be DEFERRED for a site visit to assess the concerns in relation to the size and scale of the dwellings, the impact on surrounding properties and the suitability of the vehicular access.

19/00863/FUL – Bushcombe House Farm, Bushcombe Lane, Woodmancote

35.31         This application was for the proposed siting of a single holiday log cabin unit (revised scheme to application reference 16/00907/FUL).

35.32         The Planning Officer advised that the site was located within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the mid-slopes of Cleeve Hill opposite Bushcombe Farm House.  In a previous appeal decision, the Inspector had given more weight to the National Planning Policy Framework in terms of tourism and the proposal was only acceptable in terms of the holiday let use.  The Inspector had considered the design of the building would accord with the general characteristics of the surrounding landscape; however, in dismissing the appeal, had concluded that the removal of vegetation and opening up of the site to provide safe access would make it more visible.  The applicant had sought to address these concerns by cutting back and removing vegetation; County Highways considered that the required visibility splays could be achieved and the Planning Officer felt that an appropriate level of screening remained.  The site was not in agricultural use and was in close proximity to woodland, therefore the development was required to contribute in terms of biodiversity.  In light of the appeal decision and the alterations to the vegetation to provide the visibility splays, the Officer recommendation was to permit the application, subject to conditions.

35.33         The Chair invited the applicant’s agent to address the Committee.  The applicant’s agent explained that, as set out in the Officer report, a previous application for this development had been submitted in 2016 which had been unsuccessful at appeal; however, the Inspector had been very clear that the only reason for refusal was a concern that the required visibility splays would have necessitated the removal of the mature boundary treatments fronting Bushcombe Lane thus opening up the site to prominent views.  In fact, the provision of the visibility splays would not have resulted in the removal of the boundary treatment at all and the Inspector’s assumption was likely to have been due to a lack of detail on the plans for which the applicant must take some responsibility.  Since that time, the required visibility splays had been provided on site with only very minor cutting back of the overhanging vegetation and the County Highways Officer had confirmed they met its requirements.  This had been achieved without having to remove the boundary as had been assumed previously and the site remained adequately screened.  Whilst the Parish Council continued to object to the proposal, there were no substantive grounds to refuse the application.  The Inspector had found the application acceptable in all other respects – it was an appropriate location for tourist accommodation, the holiday cabin was well-designed and respected the character and appearance of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty without causing any other adverse environmental impacts.  The National Planning Policy Framework was clear in its support for the growth of the rural economy and the tourist industry and the opportunity to increase the choice and availability of tourist accommodation in this location was given great weight by the government.  On that basis, he asked Members to accept the Officer recommendation to permit the application.

35.34         The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be permitted in accordance with the Officer recommendation.  A Member noted that recommended condition 3 set out that the proposed holiday unit would only be occupied as a holiday unit by any individual family or group for no more than two months in any one period of twelve months and he questioned whether this was a normal limit as two months seemed a long time for a holiday.  In response, the Technical Planning Manager confirmed this was a standard period as it was a reasonable expectation that some people were able to take extended holidays beyond one or two weeks.  The Chair stated that he worked for a company that restored historic houses for holiday let and, from that, he was aware of a two month period for occupations to remain holiday use.

35.35         Upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be PERMITTED in accordance with the Officer recommendation.

19/00915/FUL – Unit J1, Innsworth Technology Park, Innsworth

35.36         This application was for the retention of an industrial storage building (Class B8).

35.37         The Planning Officer explained that a Committee determination was required as the Parish Council had objected to the proposal on the grounds the building may be overdevelopment, was not in keeping and was taking up parking space.  Whilst these concerns had been considered, it was a relatively small scale building within the existing technology park and did not extend beyond the existing developed area.  Furthermore, it was of similar design to surrounding buildings at the site and there had been no loss of parking.  Overall the storage building was considered to be of a suitable size and design and there was no detrimental impact on the visual amenity of the area.

35.38         A Member noted that building had been completed in 2017 and she questioned why it had taken two years for an application to be submitted.  The Technical Planning Manager advised that the Enforcement Team could only respond when they became aware of issues and, whilst the building had been up for some time, it was in the middle of the technology park and had not come to Officers’ attention until 21 August 2019 so the application had been brought to the Committee as soon as practicable.  A Member felt this did not answer the question as to why it had been allowed to be built and he suggested that it might be necessary to increase resources within the Enforcement Team.  He wished to bring to the Committee’s attention the plans to extend the technology park as part of the Joint Core Strategy, with the A40 link road running behind -  it was hoped that new developments could be conditioned to take Heavy Goods Vehicles away from B roads and onto the A40, with access via the new link road, but this building would hamper that.

35.39         The Vice-Chair in the chair indicated that there were no public speakers for this item.  The Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he invited a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be permitted in accordance with the Officer recommendation and, upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be PERMITTED in accordance with the Officer recommendation.

19/00918/FUL – St Clair Cottages, Staverton

35.40         This application was for a proposed drainage outfall for foul and storm water in connection with approved site 18/01125/FUL.

35.41         The Chair indicated that there were no public speakers for this item.  The Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he invited a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be permitted in accordance with the Officer recommendation and, upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be PERMITTED in accordance with the Officer recommendation.

19/00941/FUL – 6 Persh Way, Maisemore

35.42         This application was for the erection of a children’s playhouse and climbing frame in the rear garden (resubmission of application 18/01129/FUL).  The Committee had visited the application site on Friday 15 November 2019.

35.43         The Technical Planning Manager explained that this application had originally been presented to the Planning Committee on 18 June 2019 where Members had resolved to delegate authority to the Technical Planning Manager to permit the application, subject to the satisfactory completion of the consultation process in respect of the revised plans that had been submitted; however, following that consultation, further objections had been received from the occupiers of the neighbouring property and the application had been brought back to the Committee on 20 August 2019 following a Committee Site Visit.  Members had considered that the proposal was unacceptable on the basis of overbearing impact, overlooking and loss of privacy and the application had subsequently been refused.  Since that time, there had been some changes to the proposal and the amended scheme showed that the structure would be moved from the centre of the garden to the corner of the site, away from the boundary of the main objector to the north of the proposed playhouse.  The structure itself had also been amended with a screen proposed around the entire platform so access to the playhouse was via three small holes giving access to the monkey bars, the ladder adjacent to the frame and the slide from the platform.  The rope walk across the top of the monkey bars was not proposed to be retained and the plans also showed a reduction in the height of the structure that had been built, principally through the lowering of the roof pitch.  A condition had been suggested requiring obscure glazing to a certain standard where necessary and the screen meant that the structure would not be clearly visible from the surrounding garden; as such, Officers considered that the scheme overcame the previous refusal reasons.

35.44         The Chair invited a representative speaking on behalf of the neighbouring residents to address the Committee.  The representative explained that the structure could not be classed as a children’s playhouse, rather it was a large garden shed on a raised platform that was regularly used, not only by a child but by the teenagers and adults also living at the property.  The new application had been supported with new plans and changes of siting and dimensions and a compromise had been made in that the apex of the roof would be lowered slightly by 26 centimetres; however, the platform would remain at the same height as the current structure with the monkey bars higher than before.  The proposed screening of 1.8 metres had never been requested by the neighbours as a compromise and would clearly make the structure more overbearing and intrusive – this had been taken into account by the Committee at the meeting in August.  The new plans showed the proposed screening as closed timber cladding with entry and exit gaps to allow access to the platform, slide and monkey bars and, by its very nature, would make it appear like a wooden watchtower.  He asked that Members take into consideration the well-documented history of the structure and the fact that it had previously been refused on the grounds of overlooking and intrusion of privacy.  He considered that the new application was an attempt to bypass the Enforcement Order which remained extant and required full compliance by 11 November 2019.  The new plans were unacceptable as they showed that moving the structure around the garden would make no difference; it would be even more overbearing due to the cladding and there would still be issues with privacy because of the gaps and the raised monkey bars.  He urged Members to consider the impact on the neighbouring property and the overlooking that had already been suffered for over 12 months.

35.45         The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be refused on the basis of overbearing impact, overlooking and loss of privacy.  The proposer of the motion indicated that the revised proposal had made little difference and failed to overcome the previous refusal reasons, therefore, the application should be refused on the same grounds.  A Member felt they were being misled by the applicant in the description of the development as a children’s playhouse.  Another Member noted that the structure was being re-sited to lessen its impact and he welcomed the proposal which he felt was positive in terms of encouraging children out of their bedrooms and into more healthy outdoor activities which was what gardens should be being used for in his view.  Whilst a Member shared the opinion that children should be encouraged to go outside more, she pointed out that the occupants of the neighbouring property also had a right to enjoy their garden and she felt that the playhouse could have been built in a more sympathetic way.  She had been on the previous Committee Site Visit and had found the height to be excessive, which was difficult to appreciate from the photographs, so she would be interested to see the impact of the reduction.  A Member agreed with the point that the neighbouring residents should be able to use their gardens in peace.

35.46         In response to a query as to the likely outcome if the application was refused and went to appeal, the Technical Planning Manager advised that the structure was still subject to an Enforcement Notice and Officers would seek to ensure compliance with the terms of that Notice, should the application be refused – that would remain the case regardless of whether the applicant chose to appeal the decision.  A Member indicated that she had expected that the height of the standing platform would have been reduced on reapplication and she questioned whether that was the case.  The Technical Planning Manager clarified that the height of the standing platform had not been reduced as the applicant had sought to address the issue of overlooking through the screening of the platform although, as had already been referenced, the Committee had previously noted that could have the effect of making the structure appear larger.

35.47         Upon being taken to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be REFUSED on the basis of overbearing impact, overlooking and loss of privacy.

19/00873/TPO – Allotments, Oakridge, Highnam

35.48         This was a tree preservation order application to crown lift an Oak tree by removing its lower secondary branches to give a clearance of approximately three to four metres from ground level and remove deadwood from the tree.

35.49         The Tree Officer advised that the application was being presented to the Committee because Tewkesbury Borough Council was the applicant and the proposed works were to trees owned by the Council.  The application sought consent for works to crown lift a protected Oak tree by selective removal of mainly lower secondary branches to give a clearance of approximately four metres from ground level and to remove deadwood to ensure safe access to and from the allotments.  These works were part of the Tewkesbury Borough Council winter maintenance programme and, as set out in the report, were considered to represent good arboricultural practice.

35.50         The Chair indicated that there were no public speakers in relation to the application.  The Officer recommendation was to grant consent for the application and he invited a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be granted consent in accordance with the Officer recommendation and, upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be GRANTED CONSENT in accordance with the Officer recommendation.

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