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Agenda item

21/00144/PIP - Box Farm, Stockwell Lane, Woodmancote

PROPOSAL: Application for Permission in Principle for the Construction of 1 Dwelling.

 

OFFICER RECOMMENDATION: Approve.

Minutes:

72.44        This was an application for Permission in Principle for the construction of one dwelling. 

72.45        The Planning Officer advised that the application site was located to the north side of Stockwell Lane, in Woodmancote. The site comprised part of the garden of the farmhouse of Box Farm, which lay to the east. There were residential properties to the west of the site and the Mill and Liberty Farm were located to the south side of Stockwell Lane.A public right of way ran from Stockwell Lane to the west of the farm to approximately 90 metres to the north of the site. The site was located within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.The permission in principle consent route was an alternative way of obtaining planning permission for housing-led development which separated the consideration of matters of principle for proposed development from the technical detail of the development. The permission in principle consent route had two stages: the first stage established whether a site was suitable in-principle and the second, ‘technical details consent’, stage was when the detailed development proposals were assessed.The scope of the first stage was limited to  location,  land use and amount.  Regarding location, Woodmancote was a ‘Service Village’ as defined by Policy SP2 of the JCS. The site did not fall within an allocated area in the village.  Woodmancote did not have a defined development boundary, so a degree of judgment was necessary regarding whether the site was within the village. The site was part of the garden of Box Farmhouse and was within the residential curtilage. Recent appeal decisions had considered this area as a ribbon of development formed by a collection of detached dwellings set within spacious plots that extended along the lane away from the main body of the village. Given that the view of Inspectors in recent appeal decisions regarding development radiating from Woodmancote and that there was existing development to the east, west and south of the site, the development would be viewed within the context of existing built form and would not appear divorced from the settlement. Therefore the proposed development site was considered to be within the built-up area of the village.The Council did not have a five year housing supply therefore paragraph 11 of the National Planning Policy Framework was engaged.  The framework clarified that planning polices for housing would be judged out of date where, inter alia, the local planning authority could not demonstrate a 5-year supply of deliverable housing sites. Footnote 6 to paragraph 11 also clarified which policies in the framework provided a clear reason for refusing. As the site was within the Cotswold AONB, a judgment must be made as to whether the proposal would protect the AONB, and whether any impacts provided a clear justification for refusing permission.The NPPF made clear that great weight should be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in AONBs, which had the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty.  However, the framework did not place a blanket restriction on all development in the AONB and a single dwelling was not considered major development.The site was on the north side of Stockwell Lane with residential properties to the west and farmhouse to the east. The site formed part of the garden of the farmhouse with a small orchard to the north west. To the south lay the dwelling of Liberty Farm which was allowed at appeal in 2015. The southern boundary of the site was screened from Stockwell Lane by a boundary hedge. The site would be visible from the public realm however, within the context of existing development. The site would be screened from the north in part by the orchard and due to topography of the site views would be directed beyond the site to the open countryside to the south. The visual impact of the development from distant views would not be considered prominent or substantial due to its relationship with existing development with limited harm to the AONB. The tilted balance was engaged. Given the Council’s current land supply shortfall, and in light of the above, it was considered that there would not be any adverse impacts that would significantly or demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the scheme.In terms of land use, the guidance set out that housing led development was an accepted land use for the permission in principle application process. It was considered that, subject to suitable design, a dwelling could be accommodated on the site, along with any associated outdoor amenity space and on-site parking provision. The site had access onto Stockwell Lane and the highways authority had raised no objection to the principle, access details would be considered at the technical details stage. The site formed part of the garden land associated with the farmhouse of Box Farm and it had a domestic appearance, a dwelling would not appear out of character in this location and of limited harm to the AONB given the setting. No objections were raised in respect of noise and nuisance and the County Archaeologist also advised that there were no archaeological constraints that would prevent development on the site. It was not considered that any harms arose which would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the, albeit limited, benefits of the proposal in this case subject to securing appropriate details at the technical details consent stage. It was therefore recommended that permission in principle was granted.

72.46        The Chair invited the applicant’s agent to address the Committee. He advised that the application was recommended for approval by the Case Officer and as the agent who has submitted the application on the applicant’s behalf, he wished to briefly re-iterate the CaseOfficer reasons for recommending approval. As the Case Officer had quite rightly stated in the Committee report, an application for permission in principle could only be determined on three main issues: location, land use and the amount of development. Considering the land use was already residential and the amount of development was the smallest quantum that could be applied for, the only issue that required discussion was whether the location was acceptable in principle. In terms of location, JCS Policy SD10 supported residential infilling in villages such as Woodmancote. Therefore, in terms of the location of the development, it must firstly be determined whether the development could be deemed as infill, and secondly whether it was considered to be within the village. As to whether the development was infill, he explained that residential infill development was simply the act of constructing a house in between two other houses. In this case, the house would be positioned in between Box Farm and Beech Cottage, which is 40 metres to the west. This 40-metre gap, which was over 130 feet, was more than enough room for one additional dwelling. JCS Policy SD10 supported infill development specifically on under-developed plots that were well related to existing built development, which was an accurate description of the site. SD10 also advocated maximum density compatible with good design, which would be easily achievable on a plot this large. Therefore, based on the criteria set out in Policy SD10, the development was definitely infill. In respect of the site being within the village, he explained that the site was located towards the eastern end of the village. Although the village had a higher density of modern dwellings towards its western end, historic maps revealed that the village was developed around Stockwell Lane and this remained its historic core. The site was located outside the Conservation Area but was still considered part of the original linear development of the village along Stockwell Lane. Consequently, even though the western end of the village had a higher density than the historic core to the east, the lower density dwellings of Stockwell Lane at the eastern end of the village were still considered to be very much a built-up part of the village. The Case Officer had quite rightly highlighted recent appeal decisions regarding development radiating from Woodmancote along those lanes and it was notable that there was existing development to the east, west and south of the site. The development would be viewed within the context of existing built form and would not appear divorced from the settlement. The Parish Council was of the view that this part of Stockwell Lane lay outside the boundary of the village. However, at the present time there was no adopted defined settlement boundary and for Woodmancote and the site was clearly within walking distance of the village and the amenities it had to offer. So, not only would the development constitute residential infill development within a village, but it was also a location where future occupants would be able to access facilities in the village without relying on car journeys, thus making it a sustainable location for a new dwelling.

72.47        A Member referred to the Officer report which stated that Woodmancote did not have a defined development boundary but in the Tewkesbury Borough Local Plan, as stated, Woodmancote was a service village and therefore it would have a settlement boundary. It appeared that RES 3 and RES 4 were being applied to this particular application; RES 3 referred to very small-scale developments in rural settlements in accordance with Policy RES 4 which was there for non-service village status settlements. The Member sought clarification on what policy was being applied for justification of this development bearing in mind the Parish Council’s objection to the proposal. The Development Manager indicated that primarily JCS Policy SD10 was the adopted policy in respect of this development although RES3 and 4 were referenced and strictly were not fully on point with this application they had been taken in the round and applied to policy SD10. Bearing this in mind, along with the appeal decisions that had been referred to, the view had been taken that certainly at this stage the site complied with Policy SD10. Even if RES3 and 4 were adopted and the proposal was considered not to comply with them the site would be looked at in the context of the five year land supply position and the presumption in favour of sustainable development therefore the presumption would be that permission be granted. A Member indicated that he understood that significant weight should be attached to RES3 and 4 whereas minimal weight could be attached to SD10 and he sought clarification on this point. The Development Manage indicated that as SD10 was part of the adopted development plan it should be afforded great weight in the context of the presumption in favour of this development whereas RES3 and 4 were yet to be adopted and therefore would attract lesser weight.

72.48        It was proposed and seconded and, upon being put to the vote

RESOLVED           That Permission in Principle be APPROVED in accordance with the Officer recommendation.

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