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Agenda item

Agenda item

21/00559/OUT - The Newtons, School Road, Apperley

PROPOSAL: Outline application for the erection of one dwelling with all matters reserved for future consideration except for access.




32.48        This was an outline application for the erection of one dwelling with all matters reserved for future consideration except for access.  The Planning Committee had visited the application site on Friday 15 October 2021.

32.49        The Development Manager advised that the application related to a parcel of land on the western side of School Road in Apperley, immediately north of the detached dwelling known as The Newtons.  To the north was an agricultural track and beyond were the rear boundaries of No. 1 and No. 2 Westview.  An amended indicative plan had been received in response to concerns relating to layout; however, he clarified that the plan was illustrative only and was not proposed to be approved as all matters were reserved except for access – the plan was merely to show what could be achieved.  The site had some relevant planning history and he advised that permission in principle for the erection of one dwelling had been refused and the subsequent appeal dismissed for a site to the rear of The Newtons which included part of the application site.  More recently, outline planning permission had been granted for the erection of one dwelling with all matters reserved.  The main concerns submitted by the Parish Council and local residents related to the extension of the site previously approved into part of the site where permission in principle had been refused and use of the agricultural access and its impact on neighbours.  In terms of the larger application site, there was not considered to be significant additional landscape harm arising from the proposal – Members would see the rear boundary line of The Newtons was proposed to continue along the rear of the proposed site before it met the properties in Westview.  County Highways had considered the proposed intensification of the new access and had raised no objections.  The intensification would result in more traffic using the access but, given the agricultural use, it would not, in Officers’ view, cause undue impact on the neighbouring residents.  It was also noted that the Environmental Health Officer raised no objections to the proposal.  As such, the Officer recommendation was to permit the application.

32.50        The Chair invited a local resident speaking in objection to the application to address the Committee.  The local resident indicated that she was speaking on behalf of the villagers who would be impacted by the proposal, none of whom objected to the building of the property on the site but who did have concerns that two other contentious planning issues had been bundled into this application which, in their opinion, did not allow proper scrutiny and examination.  The two issues were: the widening of the farm track to a six metre road and the incorporation of pastureland into the curtilage of the residential property.  In terms of the track, the Parish Council strongly objected to the width increase due to the close proximity of a school safety zone, bus stops and sub-station, and questioned why a smaller farmer with only grassland, a dozen cows and a few horses needed such a wide track.  The width being asked for was way beyond that stipulated as necessary in the Manual for Gloucestershire Streets.  The local resident explained that the concerns were threefold: firstly, the track went through the back garden of the proposed property which begged the question of who would buy such a property in the future; secondly, there was a clear disregard of conditions for farm tracks with dual use with residential property which required a separation of the rural track from residential and demanded certain distances from the property; and thirdly, the most concerning aspect of the track was the impact on No. 1 Westview which would become surrounded by a six metre road on three sides – the track had grown from a two metre grass ransom strip at its entrance in 1998 when No. 1 Westview had been purchased to the now proposed six metres.  The local resident suggested that the solution would be for the track to be subject to a separate planning application so that County Highways could apply the correct technical requirements for a dual use track.  In terms of the issue around the pastureland, the local resident indicated that there had been three separate applications in recent years to re-zone the pastureland into domestic use; those applications had all been refused by Planning Officers.  The last application in 2019 had been subject to appeal which was dismissed by the Planning Inspector in 2020.  The local residents strongly contested the assertion at Page No. 186, Paragraph 8.3 of the Committee report, that the application site was located within the development boundary and they had submitted a map showing the actual boundary.  On that basis, they asked Members to consider why the applications regarding the pastureland had all been refused, yet only a matter of months after those decisions it was now considered acceptable to encroach on the land.  If the Committee had any doubts, the way to resolve this was to request separate applications for the track and pasture.  With regard to the property itself, a full application could be submitted which would cause no issues with local residents on permitted development land. 

32.51        The Chair invited the applicant’s agent to address the Committee.  The applicant’s agent advised that the applicants were not the owners of the land when planning consent 19/01218/OUT was granted for a single dwelling on the plot; however, given the application for a dwelling on their own land was refused, and a family member was looking to build a home in the village, this presented an opportunity for them.  As adjoining landowners to the plot, they felt they could improve the layout and access arrangements to avoid creating a further access off School Road as well as improving the existing agricultural access.  As Members would have seen on the site visit, the existing agricultural access was very narrow by today’s machinery standards and very tight against the residential boundary to the north.  The access was essential for the agricultural business as it was the only owned access to the land and building behind.  Regardless of the size of the farm business, farm machinery was the size it was and that could not be changed.  The proposal before the Committee therefore addressed the dual access issue and squared off the plot in line with the other residential properties on School Road; neither of those proposals could have been included in the original consent as the land was not owned by the then applicant.  The two changes balanced the area sacrificed at the side of the site to allow the single access with the additional garden area to the rear.  The exact layout was yet to be determined but, by adding that area, the rear of the house could be moved forward to match the existing building line along School Road and a parking and turning area could be located to the rear.  The site levels would need careful consideration at the reserved matters stage but the applicant’s agent confirmed there was absolutely no intention to position the house at the back of the plot on the highest point.  This application was in outline so all of the design, layout and landscape details would be dealt with at the reserved matters stage when Officers would have a further opportunity to ensure development on the site was appropriate.  The conditions proposed by Officers mainly encompassed the details as required at the reserved matters stage.  The applicant’s agent pointed out that there were no statutory objections to the application and there would be no increase in the amount of agricultural traffic using the road; the dwelling would be a self-build project for the applicants which would provide their family member with a home.  The fallback position, should Members be minded to refuse the application, was the existing consent for a dwelling and a second access with a dropped kerb would be created off School Road.  The house would need to be positioned slightly further back to provide a parking and turning area in front of the dwelling and there would be no change to the agricultural use of the existing track.

32.52        The Chair indicated that 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 permitted, subject to the removal of condition 14 in relation to cycle storage provision.  A Member sought clarification as to whether this was a self-build application as he did not see that mentioned in the Committee report.  He also queried whether Page No. 187, Paragraph 8.13 of the Committee report, around housing land supply needed to be amended in view of the Development Manager’s earlier comments.  In response, the Development Manager clarified that the application had not been promoted on a self-build basis and, in terms of the five year housing land supply, as he had stated previously, the Council’s position remained as set out in the Committee report and the published five year housing land supply statement was robust – certainly Officers did not agree with the contention that the five year supply was around two years or less.  The Member indicated that Mr Justice Dove had disagreed with two sites which he did not believe to be achievable and, that being the case, the Council could only demonstrate a 1.82 year housing land supply.  The Legal Adviser clarified that the judgement did not consider what sites should be in or out, but was focused on the question regarding oversupply and the part the Member was referring to was probably an extract that appeared in respect of the appeal Inspector’s decision.  The Member indicated that his reading and interpretation was different but he was happy for Officers to give an explanation of what they thought it said.

32.53        The Chair indicated that he had been on the site visit and had not seen a problem with the application; however, he could not recall being advised at any point then that the track would be made into a six metre wide drive and he could not see how there would be room for that and a house on the site.  Another Member agreed that the width had not been mentioned and he noted there was no comment from County Highways.  As such, he queried whether it was possible to deal with the access via a separate application or if authority could be delegated to the Development Manager to permit the application in order for the applicant to come up with a more satisfactory access.  A Member indicated that she was equally disturbed about the proposed size of the track and she felt there may be plans afoot to develop the field but she appreciated that could not be taken into consideration at this stage.  The Development Manager advised that two separate applications could have been submitted but they had not been and Members had to determine what was before them.  If Members had concerns about the width of the track, they could defer the application for further details and could request that the layout be unreserved in order to obtain greater clarification on the access.

32.54        Upon putting the motion that had been proposed and seconded to the vote, it was

RESOLVED           That the application be PERMITTED, subject to the removal of condition 14 in respect of cycle storage provision.

Supporting documents: