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Agenda item

20/01111/FUL - Hillend Farm, Hillend, Twyning

PROPOSAL: Demolition of three poultry sheds and erection of two dwellings and detached garage.




19.64        This application was for demolition of three poultry sheds and erection of two dwellings and detached garage.

19.65        The Planning Officer advised that the existing site comprised the Grade II listed main farmhouse together with a grouping of brick ancillary rural buildings which benefitted from extant permission for reconstruction to create two holiday cottages, plus an annex to serve the main house.  The site also included three redundant former poultry sheds.  The current proposal sought to demolish the poultry sheds and replace them with a courtyard development of two new dwellings.  The proposal also included provision of a new detached brick garage and store to serve the main farmhouse.  With regard to the principle of development, the proposal did not comply with criterion 3 of Joint Core Strategy Policy SD10 as the buildings were last utilised for poultry farming and agriculture and forestry uses were excluded from the National Planning Policy Framework’s definition of previously developed land.  Nevertheless, the site was not isolated – being well-related to the existing properties of Hillend which was, itself, part of the wider settlement of Twyning and with existing built development to the east, west and south - therefore the proposal was considered to represent infilling in accordance with criterion 4 (ii) of Joint Core Strategy Policy SD10 and the principle was considered to be consistent with the spatial strategy of the development plan.  As had been mentioned, the main house was Grade II listed, as such, there was a requirement for the scheme to preserve the setting of Hillend Farmhouse in accordance with Section 66(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Area) Act 1990, the National Planning Policy Framework and Joint Core Strategy policy on heritage assets.  The Conservation Officer considered that the originally submitted scheme, which comprised a more contemporary palette of materials, would result in a neutral impact on the setting of the listed farmhouse.  A revised proposal had subsequently been put forward with a more traditional palette of red brick, larch timber cladding and plain clay roofing tiles and the Conservation Officer considered that to be more appropriate as the resulting scheme would meet the high bar of enhancement to the setting of the heritage asset in the context of the National Planning Policy Framework.  On the basis of the revised scheme, the application was recommended for permission.

19.66        The Chair invited the representative from Twyning Parish Council to address the Committee.  The Parish Council representative explained that the Parish Council objected to the application for six reasons: the proposal would create two new isolated houses in the open countryside outside of the residential development boundary; the development was contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework, Joint Core Strategy and emerging Tewkesbury Borough Plan and did not meet the exceptions in Policy EDP1 of the Twyning Neighbourhood Development Plan; the development would set a precedent for wider local development which would adversely affect the local community and residential amenity; the height, scale and massing of the building would have a significant impact on the sensitive rural location and neighbouring properties; there would be extensive works within the curtilage of the listed historic farmhouse setting and the immediate area could be overburdened by traffic and parking as outbuildings were already used for holiday lets; and the overdevelopment of this historic location with a new building footprint outside of the adopted development boundary would have significant environmental impacts and could not be considered sustainable.

19.67         The Chair invited a local resident speaking in objection to the scheme to address the Committee.  The local resident wished to draw Members’ attention to the letter written to the Council by the Inspector of the emerging Tewkesbury Borough Plan and he quoted “separately from the process to identify allocations in the Tewkesbury Borough Plan, a number of other sites have been given planning permission since the Joint Core Strategy was adopted, some on appeal.  As at April 2020, with the allocations to be included in the Tewkesbury Borough Plan and taking existing completions and commitments into account, a total provision of 9,337 dwellings has now been identified leaving a reduced shortfall of 563 to be met through the Joint Core Strategy review for the period to 2031”.  The Inspector went on to say that, with the overall figure, Joint Core Strategy Policy SP2 provided for about 1,860 new homes in the two rural service centres and 1,038 dwellings in the service villages, thus more than meeting the Joint Core Strategy service village requirement.  The local resident felt it was clear from this most recent statement that service villages did not require more housing other than that already allocated in the emerging plan; in the case of Twyning, the Council agreed as there were no further allocations for Twyning within the plan.  The Council had been very supportive of the Twyning Neighbourhood Development Plan in refusing three recent applications, two of which were now at appeal with the other expected within the next few days – he noted that another application would be submitted within the next few months.  Although this was a small application, it was important from a precedent perspective and he asked Members to apply the same considerations to this application which was outside of the Twyning Neighbourhood Development Plan and the Tewkesbury Borough Plan development boundary and could not, in any regard, be considered infilling.  Members would know that the five year housing land supply calculation remained undefined, even in the High Court, and previous appeal decisions were not binding.  The Inspector had regarded it as not essential to ensure a five year housing land supply at the time of adoption of the Borough Plan given the figured identified in his letter.  This was just part of the developers’ attempt to use its interpretation of the five year supply and lack of a local plan to further burden service villages with more development – Twyning did not need more housing.

19.68        The Chair invited the Development Manager to read out a statement from a local Ward Councillor.  The local Ward Councillor wished to object to the application on the grounds that it was contrary to the Twyning Neighbourhood Plan and outside the residential development boundary.  Policy GD1 of the Neighbourhood Plan stated that new housing outside the development boundary would only be allowed if certain criteria had been met and, as stated in the Committee report, those had not been met.  Furthermore, Twyning was defined as a service village in the local plan and the site was not identified as a housing site allocation, nor located within the defined settlement boundary.  The Planning Inspector’s preliminary comments on the local plan clearly showed that service villages did not need additional houses, therefore, he believed the application should be refused.

19.69        The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  A Member noted that the Twyning Neighbourhood Development Plan had been adopted in April 2018, and had therefore been part of the development plan for more than two years, so she asked for clarification as to whether Paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework was in play.  The Development Manager clarified that, whilst the policies within the Neighbourhood Development Plan were not out of date, the provision at Paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework did not apply because the Plan was more than two years old, as such, the tilted balance was relevant in this instance.  In response to a query, the Planning Officer clarified that the proposal was considered to be infilling as opposed to extending the service village boundary by virtue of the fact there was development to the east, west and south of the plot.  A Member noted that the Committee report stated that comments were awaited from County Highways and he asked if those had been received.  The Planning Officer explained that no comments had been provided for inclusion in the Committee report or the Additional Representations Sheet; however, County Highways had been engaged in the pre-application discussions and had raised no objections – no changes had been made to the proposals since that time. 

19.70         It was subsequently proposed and seconded that the application be permitted in accordance with the Officer recommendation.  The proposer of the motion recognised that Twyning, as a service village, had already seen a lot of development but unfortunately there was no planning reason to refuse the application.  Upon being put to the vote, it was

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

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