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Agenda item

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

PROPOSAL: Conversion of existing agricultural buildings into one dwelling and associated internal and external alterations; and provision of associated private residential garden area and vehicular driveway, parking and turning areas.

 

OFFICER RECOMMENDATION: Refuse. 

Minutes:

13.29        This application was for the conversion of existing agricultural buildings into one dwelling and associated internal and external alterations. The application was deferred at the Planning Committee meeting on 20 April 2021 to allow the applicant to consider whether the concerns in relation to amenity and impact on other buildings in the compound could be overcome.  The Planning Committee had visited the application site on Friday 16 July 2021.

13.30        The Development Manager was pleased to advise that, following negotiations, these particular concerns had been overcome.  Officers had found that the most obvious way to achieve that was to simply remove the offending amenity space from the plans and he confirmed amended plans had been received to reflect that.  The Committee report also mentioned potential impacts on future occupiers with vehicles passing in front of the barn; however, it was understood that the intention was for the applicant’s grandson who worked on the farm to occupy the dwelling so there would be a degree of caveat emptor for further occupiers who wished to purchase the building.  On that basis, refusal reasons 1 and 2 set out in the Committee report had been removed from the recommendation leaving only the highways reason for refusal which Members on the Planning Committee Site Visit no doubt would have taken a view on.  The Officer perspective was set out in the report and the recommendation remained that permission be refused on highway grounds.  If Members were minded to permit the application, Officers would recommend various conditions to confirm the plans and to address contamination, materials/architectural details, ecological mitigation in line with the submitted report, restriction on new lighting and an electrical vehicle charging point.  The County Highways Officer had made a suggestion that a condition be included around vehicle storage but Planning Officers considered that was catered for in storage associated with the conversion.

13.31        The Chair invited the applicant’s agent to address the Committee. The applicant’s agent explained that the project involved the sensitive conversion of a well-constructed brick built barn within original farmyard.  Due to the demands of modern farming and the need to innovate, the farm operations had moved away from the yard and, as a result, the barn was now redundant.  A scheme had been prepared to provide the building with a new lease of life to ensure the sustainability of the structure for the future whilst retaining its character.  Furthermore, as the conversion only involved works to existing buildings, the rich character of the surrounding area would not be affected.  The scheme had originally been visited in 2019 and a pre-application had been submitted at that time when the principle of conversion had been deemed acceptable from a planning and heritage perspective.  Suggestions made by Tewkesbury Borough Council within that feedback had been addressed prior to a planning application being submitted in 2020; this had involved further investment in the scheme including structural and ecological investigations.  During the initial application, issues had been raised regarding the impact of the amenity space on the existing courtyard and the granary building and that scheme had subsequently been revised with further information supplied to provide evidence of the historic subdivision of the yard area.  The Parish Council had not raised any objection to the scheme; however, the applicant had been informed that the scheme would not be supported at Officer level and the decision had therefore been made to withdraw the application.  The proposals had been reconsidered by the applicant following the withdrawal of the application and some minor alterations had been made to the appearance of the building but it was felt that the overall scheme as it had been proposed offered an extremely sympathetic solution that protected the future of the building and the surrounding area.  The scheme had been resubmitted in early 2021 in the hope that the benefits of the scheme would be recognised.  The applicant’s agent pointed out that the Parish Council had objected to the application despite having raised no objection to the original proposal.  The listed building consent for the conversion had been approved at the Planning Committee meeting in April 2021 and this application had been deferred to allow relevant parties to discuss the scheme and develop a sensible solution to overcome the concerns raised.  Following the Committee, a meeting had been held between the Planning Officer and the applicant’s agent to discuss the scheme as a whole.  Potential solutions had been discussed during the meeting and the applicant’s agent was hopeful that the minor alterations now addressed the concerns of Planning Officers and the Parish Council.  He confirmed that it was intended that the accommodation would be used by the applicant’s grandson who was an employee of the farm and, although not recognised by planning policy, it was felt important for the younger generation to have the opportunity to reside within the village and maintain the family tradition of farming the local area.  It was worth noting that Wormington was a fine example of an unspoilt farming village and preserving the farming traditions for many years to come was paramount to protecting its charm.

13.32        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 application be permitted subject to conditions to confirm the plans and to address contamination, materials/architectural details, ecological mitigation in line with the submitted report, restriction on new lighting and an electrical vehicle charging point.  The proposer of the motion indicated that, following the Planning Committee Site Visit, she believed that County Highways had been overambitious in relation to the highway safety issue as Wormington was very much a rural village with very little traffic and the village lane was not a highway.  She was disappointed that County Highways had objected to the proposal on the grounds that it did not offer genuine sustainable transport choice as Tewkesbury Borough Council aspired to enhance the vitality of rural settlements.  The seconder of the motion indicated he was happy to support the proposal in light of the comments made by the Development Manager and the conditions that had been suggested.  Another Member who had attended the Planning Committee Site Visit indicated that he had arrived on site early and had counted two vehicles within a space of 45 minutes so he did not feel there was any highway danger whatsoever. 

13.33        Upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be PERMITTED subject to conditions to confirm the plans and to address contamination, materials/architectural details, ecological mitigation in line with the submitted report, restriction on new lighting and an electrical vehicle charging point.

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