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Agenda item

21/00068/FUL - Manor Farm, Main Street, Wormington

Minutes:

72.32        This was an application for the conversion of existing agricultural buildings into one no. dwelling and associated internal and external alterations, and provision of associated private residential garden area and vehicular driveway, parking and turning areas

72.33        Prior to commencing her presentation, the Development Management Team Leader (North) explained that there were two applications in relation to this property, the full application now being considered and a second related application relating to listed building consent  and it was her intention to cover both together in this presentation.

72.34        The Development Management Team Leader (North) explained that Manor Farmhouse was a Grade II listed building of 17th century origins located centrally within Wormington. There were a number of agricultural buildings located to the south of this which formed the perimeter of the original yard and a compact historic farmstead.  This included a Grade II listed Granary towards the eastern side of the yard, as well as an extensive range of traditional agricultural buildings, including the application building towards the western side of the yard, which were considered to be curtilage listed. Farm operations had been relocated away from the original farmyard leaving a number of buildings redundant, including the existing agricultural building subject to this application. To the south of the complex was a collection of large modern agricultural buildings which served the current farming enterprise. The application site was located within the Cotswolds AONB. The planning and listed building consent applications proposed the conversion of one of the existing curtilage listed agricultural buildings within the western range into a two storey dwelling and associated internal and external alterations. This was a red brick building with a natural blue slate roof covering. All existing openings on this building were located on the eastern elevation, facing onto the central yard area. The application included the submission of a structural report which confirmed that the principle structure was in good condition throughout and would not require any major structural alteration to convert to a dwelling house. The other buildings towards the south and east of the yard would remain unconverted and in agricultural use. The Conservation Officer raised no objection in principle to the conversion of the buildings to residential use and considered that, overall, the details of the conversion of the buildings were sympathetic to their character.  Part of the adjacent historic shed would also be utilised as garaging and a lobby in a manner that would preserve its character. Therefore  the application for listed building consent related solely to the physical works to the listed building which were considered to be acceptable, and it was recommended that listed building consent was granted consent subject to conditions.The associated full planning application, which also appeared on the schedule, further proposed the provision of a private residential garden within the central yard area for future occupiers of the proposed residential unit, which was proposed to be bounded by a 1.8 metre high hedge. It also proposed the provision of a vehicular driveway, parking and turning area, utilising the existing vehicular access. The proposed provision of a residential unit in isolation within the existing farmyard and the provision of any domestic paraphernalia within its associated amenity space within the central yard area was considered to be problematic in terms of the impact on the character and amenity of this historic farmyard. Whilst this would not be prominent from public vantage points by virtue of the surrounding buildings, the proposal would nevertheless adversely impact the visual amenity of this central open space which was important to the character and amenity of this historic farmyard.  It was considered that the visual impact of an enclosed garden taking up a prominent proportion of the former working yard would appear alien and uncharacteristic in this particular context. Further, the Conservation Officer recommended refusal of the planning application on the grounds that the proposed subdivision of the yard would have an adverse impact upon the viability of other vulnerable listed buildings in the group by virtue of the impact upon their setting, in particular the Grade II listed Granary. The harm generated to both the setting and the future preservation of the buildings themselves would be less than substantial but would not be outweighed by any resultant public benefit. In addition, it was considered that the proposal would have an unacceptable impact on the residential amenity of existing and future occupiers of the existing dwelling at Manor Farm and the proposed dwelling in terms of privacy and noise and disturbance resulting from continued use of the adjoining outbuilding for garaging for Manor Farm itself. Further, whilst the proposal would only add limited additional vehicle trips, it had not been demonstrated that the proposal would have an acceptable impact on highway safety.  For the reasons given within the Officer’s report, it was concluded that the adverse impacts of granting planning permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the limited benefits, when assessed against the policies in the Development Plan and the NPPF. It was therefore recommended that planning permission berefused.

72.35        The Chair indicated that there were no public speakers for this item and the Officer recommendation was to refuse the application.

72.36        A Member questioned the Local Highways Authority representative as to whether he had visited the site and what specifically the highway concerns were in relation to the safety of exiting this site particularly in the light of the fact that there was quite a wide pavement at the access point. The representative from the Local Highways Authority indicated that he had not visited the site as he was not the Officer who had prepared the recommendation but he had seen photographs of the proposed access point and the concern related to exit visibility which was very restricted; there was a wide footway at the bottom of the driveway but the view was that any vehicles waiting to turn out of that site would need to straddle that footway. Visibility of vehicles on the road would be limited which would impact on any vehicle pulling out of the access and there would be very limited visibility of any pedestrians given the location of existing buildings and where those buildings were positioned next to the footway. The Member indicated that if the Committee was considering permitting this application then a site visit would be worthwhile as she believed that access to and from this site was achievable, there was a wide footpath and in village locations people drove over footpaths to gain access to the highway. This was a very quiet village and she was disappointed with the Highways objection in relation to the statement that this was a very rural location and reliance would be on the motor car; the Tewkesbury Borough Plan was at a very advanced stage and in that plan the Council set out it aspirations that there would be opportunities for housing in rural locations. Clearly this meant that unfortunately because of the lack of bus services in rural communities, there would be reliance on cars but with new technology advancing in relation to electric cars then it was most likely that this was going to be a sustainable form of transport in the future anyway. As far as she was aware the Local Highways Authority had not made any objection to the Tewkesbury Borough Plan in relation to the rural housing policies and therefore she could not understand the relevance of the statement in relation to reliance on the motor car in respect of this application. Clearly in respect of this application the Conservation Officer obviously had some objections to the proposals but she wondered whether these could be overcome with revised plans dealing with the main areas of concern highlighted by the Conservation Officer; particularly since he was happy with the listed building consent for conversion of the building to residential and the main issue seemed to be in relation to the garden. The Development Management Team Leader (North) indicated that in respect of conversions sometimes there was appropriate access to amenity space and sometimes there were less options for this to happen so it was not absolutely essential in every scenario that private community spaces were afforded to individual dwellings especially in some rural locations where there was good access to the public rights of way network and open green space. On this basis, the Member questioned whether a delegated permit would be appropriate if the applicant could produce revised plans in relation to the outdoor amenity. The Development Manager indicated that the amenity area was one concern but of similar concern was the impact on the wider complex of buildings so he was of the view that it would be difficult to look for an amended scheme on this application as an appropriate scheme would have to address the wider complex and the other buildings. He was of the view that the Conservation Officer’s main concern was that the proposal looked at this building in isolation without addressing what this meant for the other listed buildings on the site in particular the Granary; whilst amended plans may be achievable to address the amenity concerns this was not the case in respect of the conservation concerns relating to the wider site and the listed buildings on it which would require a comprehensive scheme. On this basis the Member questioned whether it was possible to defer this application for investigation into what could be done in relation to the other listed buildings in this area as she was of the view that as the Conservation Officer was happy to grant consent for the conversion of this building and the problem was the impact on other buildings then perhaps the applicant could be given the opportunity to have a look at what could be done in this respect and if nothing could be done then it come back with a refusal at a later date but at least the applicant would have been given the opportunity to address the concerns of the Conservation Officer, having got this far it would be a case of giving the applicant some extra time to consider the points made at today’s meeting. The Development Manager indicated that this could be done if it was the wish of the Committee to take a more positive approach then this was something that could be achieved. Accordingly the Member indicated that it was her view that the access arrangements were acceptable and were no different to many others in rural locations and therefore she proposed a deferral of the application to allow the applicant to consider the Officer concerns in relation to amenity and impact on other buildings in the compound to see if these concerns could be overcome with revised plans. Prior to seconding the motion, a Member raised whether a site visit could be added as well, and a discussion ensued in relation to site visits and the potential removal/further easing of COVID-19 restrictions that may come about on 21 June given the changes already in effect from 7 May, but the Chair indicated that with all this still uncertain, this was a matter for another time and upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED           That the application be DEFERRED to allow the applicant to consider whether the concerns in relation to amenity and impact on other buildings in the compound could be overcome.

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