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Agenda item

21/00342/FUL - Back of Eldersfield Close, Winchcombe

PROPOSAL: Removal of condition 4 (electric vehicle charging point) of planning application 20/01044/FUL.

 

OFFICER RECOMMENDATION: Permit. 

Minutes:

19.59        This application was for removal of condition 4 (electric vehicle charging point) of planning application 20/01044/FUL. 

19.60        The Planning Officer advised that the proposal was to remove a condition from an existing permission granted at the end of 2020 requiring the installation of an electric vehicle charging point to a new garage.  A Committee determination was required as Winchcombe Town Council had objected to the proposal on the basis of its strong support for Policy TRAC9 of the emerging Borough Plan, relating to plug-in or ultra-low emission vehicles.  No letters of representation had been received in relation to the proposal.  The Parish Council’s concerns had been considered; however, it was the view of Officers that the proposal would be reasonable in the context, considering the scale and location of the development and following a consultation response from County Highways which had raised no objection to the removal of the condition.  For the reasons outlined in the Committee report, Officers felt that the condition attached to the permission did not meet all of the required tests for a planning condition and its removal would have a negligible impact on carbon emissions in this instance.  As such, it was recommended that the application be permitted.

19.61        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.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be refused on the basis that the removal of the condition would fail to encourage sustainable travel and healthy communities.  The proposer of the motion expressed the view that the condition had clearly been considered necessary when the application had been determined and he questioned why it should be removed at this stage.  During the debate which ensued, a Member questioned whether there was any electricity in the garage currently and the Planning Officer advised there was no existing power to the block of garages.   A Member was of the opinion that one of the main considerations when determining the application and including the condition should have been whether there was an existing electricity supply.  He felt that the government was not doing enough to support local planning authorities in terms of the provision of electric vehicle charging points – this was one way people could try to circumvent the system and the Planning Officers had to assess the application based on the relevant planning policies and guidance which was the reason for the recommendation to permit the removal of the condition.  In response to a query, the Planning Officer explained that her understanding was that, at the time of the application, the applicant had lived behind the block of garages on the main road but had since moved to another property in Winchcombe.

19.62         A Member drew attention to Page No. 255, Paragraph 7.4 of the Committee report which stated that the proposed garage would not necessarily be used for the storage of a vehicle and was likely to be used for general domestic storage purposes.  In her view this was completely the wrong assumption to make and, if the issue with parking on housing estates was to be resolved, people should be encouraged to use garages to store vehicles, not for overspill storage – if there was a way this could be enforced, things would be much more straightforward.  The Development Manager understood all of the comments that had been made and both sides of the argument; however, in this particular case, the circumstances had changed since planning permission was granted as the applicant no longer lived close by, furthermore, there was no electricity supply to the building so the most pragmatic approach would be to support removal of the condition in this instance.  The seconder of the motion to refuse the application queried whether there was an electricity supply in the main road and he presumed there would be a reduction in car parking space on the estate if the garage was not being used for vehicle storage.  In response, the Development Manager advised that it was a fair assumption that there was an electricity supply to the street as it was a housing estate.  He was not aware of any particular issues in terms of the loss of a car parking space; County Highways had assessed the application and had raised no concerns.  In addition, he pointed out that it was not possible to say for certain that the building would not be used for vehicle storage.  The proposer of the motion to refuse the application expressed the view that provision of an electric vehicle charging point would not be that onerous and there was government funding available to assist with installation. 

19.63         Upon being put to the vote, the proposal to refuse the application fell.  It was subsequently proposed and seconded that the application be permitted in accordance with the Officer recommendation and, upon being taken to the vote, it was

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

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