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Agenda item

20/00553/FUL – Starvealls Cottage, Corndean Lane, Winchcombe

PROPOSAL: Construction of replacement dwelling and associated works, following demolition of existing dwelling. Change of use of additional areas of land to residential garden.

 

OFFICER RECOMMENDATION: Permit.

Minutes:

7.19          This application was for construction of a replacement dwelling and associated works following demolition of existing building and change of use of additional areas of land to residential garden.

7.20          The Development Management Team Leader (North) advised that this application related to Starvealls Cottage, a detached stone dwelling located to the north of Corndean Lane.  The building had originally been built as two farm labourers’ cottages but had since been converted to a single dwelling.  The dwelling occupied an isolated but prominent position on the hillside and was located within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Whilst the building was not listed and was not within a Conservation Area, the Conservation Officer considered it to be a non-designated heritage asset as defined by the National Planning Policy Framework.  The application sought planning permission for the demolition of the existing residential building and its replacement with a two storey dwelling which would be constructed from natural materials such as stone and slate.  The proposal also sought change of use and conversion of an existing outbuilding to an ancillary pool house with construction of an associated natural swimming pool and terrace as well as change of use of several areas of agricultural land to residential curtilage with the creation of two attenuation ponds to serve the dwelling.  Members were informed there was substantial planning history associated with the site; the site had previously been granted a Lawful Development Certificate at appeal which determined that works to the building had lawfully started to extend the existing property under permitted development rights.  It was noted that the extant permitted development scheme would be much larger than the existing building.  Officers had concluded that, whilst the proposed new dwelling was larger than the detached dwelling it sought to replace, the principle of the proposal was consistent with the thrust of the National Planning Policy Framework.  The impact of the loss of a non-designated heritage asset had been carefully considered and, although the applicant had demonstrated there was a permitted development scheme that would retain some of the fabric of the building, it would eradicate important features creating a large, ill-planned building in a prominent setting in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  It was therefore concluded that, on balance, the public benefit of establishing a large, high quality designed building in this sensitive location would outweigh the loss of the non-designated heritage asset in this instance.  The impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty would not result in a clear reason for refusal given the permitted development scheme that could be achieved.  It was noted that additional bat survey work had been required, the results of which had only been received the previous day and, given that the Council’s Ecological Adviser had not yet had the opportunity to fully assess the details of the survey, the Officer recommendation had been changed to delegate authority to the Development Manager to permit the application subject to comments from the Council’s Ecological Adviser.

7.21          The Chair invited the applicant’s agent to address the Committee.  The applicant’s agent noted that the additional email she had sent to the Committee had been included on the Additional Representations Sheet, attached at Appendix 1.  Members would note from the Officer’s report there had been no technical objections to the scheme and, at the time of writing, the only outstanding matter was the additional bat survey which had taken place at dusk on 4 June 2021 and the updated survey report had been submitted, albeit only the previous day.  The updated survey did not change the conclusion of the report and the proposed mitigation measures involved creating a new bat loft within the reinstated historic byre and the installation of bat boxes on retained trees to the south of the dwelling.  There had been no objections from any local residents or users of the public right of way; the only concern that had been raised was from Winchcombe Town Council which was not in relation to the dwelling per se but to the precedent that might be set if the application was approved.  The applicant’s agent explained that, as set out in her email included in the Additional Representations Sheet, due to changes in legislation, the mechanism that allowed such large extensions at the property could no longer be used at similar sites within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  A 24.5 metre deep, two storey basement extension had started to be built off the east elevation of Starvealls Cottage in 2018 which had met regulations at the time and the appeal Inspector had confirmed that extension could be completed.  The applicant’s agent felt everyone would agree that the extension overwhelmed the existing cottage and was, simply, ugly.  The applicant would prefer to build something that was more appropriate for a site within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so the main justification for the current proposal was that it would be of far superior, and more appropriate, architectural design than the permitted development extension and would have significantly less impact upon the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Notwithstanding this, granting permission for the current proposal would in no way set a precedent as suggested by the Town Council because this unique set of circumstances could not be replicated.  All other matters had been covered within the Committee report and had resulted in a recommendation to permit the application.

7.22          The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to delegate authority to the Development Manager to permit the application subject to comments from the Council’s Ecological Adviser, and he sought a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be deferred for a Planning Committee Site Visit in order to assess the impact of the proposal on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The proposer of the motion was of the view that, in light of the comments made by the Town Council and the Conservation Officer report, it would be appropriate to visit the site which was very prominent within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  He felt that the photographs and plans did not do it justice and it was important that any works to the building were done in a sensitive way in order to protect the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

7.23           Upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be DEFERRED for a Planning Committee Site Visit to assess the impact of the proposal upon the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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