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Agenda item

Agenda item

22/00245/FUL - Peak View Cottage, Green Lane, Witcombe

PROPOSAL: Erection of a detached dwelling with separate garage.




43.24        This application was for the erection of a detached dwelling with a separate garage.  The Planning Committee had visited the application site on Friday 13 January 2023.

43.25        The Planning Officer advised that, as set out in the Additional Representations Sheet, attached at Appendix 1, the applicant had submitted a supporting statement following the publication of the Committee report but that had not changed the Officer recommendation.  In addition, comments from County Highways had now been received and there was still an objection with regard to insufficient visibility at the proposed access.  Members were advised that the application related to land to the north-west side of Peak View Cottage with the built-up area of Witcombe to the north – the site was not considered to be within or adjacent to the built-up area.  The dwelling would have an oak frame with natural stone walls and a sloped roof. A Committee determination was required as the application had been called-in by a Member to assess the acceptability of the proposal given its location within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The Officer recommendation was to refuse the application, as set out in the Committee report.

43.26         The Chair invited the applicant to address the Committee.  The applicant advised that they were looking to build their dream family home, a sustainable oak framed house.  The house would not be visible from outside of the immediate site and would have no adverse impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The site was an obvious infill plot being “an under-developed plot well-related to existing built development” and clearly complied with Policies RES3 and RES4 of the Tewkesbury Borough Plan.  Unfortunately, the Planning Officer disagreed and was recommending the application for refusal for three reasons.  The first reason was that the site was not within, or adjacent to, the built-up area of Witcombe; however, the applicant argued that the site was within the continuous built form of the village of Witcombe and, even if that was not the case, Policy RES3 stated that it would be considered acceptable where development was very small-scale at rural settlements in accordance with Policy RES4; RES4 did not require the site to be in a village, only that it was well-related to existing buildings within the settlement.  The second refusal reason was that backland development created a cluster which was considered inappropriate.  The applicant pointed out that two other houses further along Ermin Way were also set back from the road and there was a specific example of backland development further along Green Lane.  The area was made up of a diverse mix of residential dwellings in varying locations and plot sizes.  In terms of refusal reason three, it was suggested the proposal would result in overlooking of the garden of The Landers but the applicant explained that the proposed house would only overlook the front garden and driveway, not the private rear garden which included a swimming pool, patio and lawned area.  Planning guidance set out that front gardens and driveways were not sensitive areas for overlooking and the owners of The Landers had raised no objection.  In terms of highways, the applicant had addressed concerns from County Highways in June 2022 but had only seen the response at 9pm the previous day.  The access was already in use by three properties and would continue to be used by only three properties as it would no longer be used by Peake View Cottage.  County Highways had previously given permission to the owner of 2 Red Cottages to create the access, build a garage and run a motorcycle repair and parts business with customers using the same access.  In summary, the applicant considered that the application was policy compliant, the hidden house would have no adverse impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the design and materials related well to its setting.  The super insulated shell, built from sustainable materials would produce a highly energy efficient home which the applicant felt was exactly the type of new build that Tewkesbury Borough should be championing and she hoped Members would agree.

43.27         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 on the basis that the site lay within the built-up settlement of Witcombe; it would respect the character of the area; it would not have an unacceptable impact on the amenity of the property known as The Landers; and the visibility splays at the proposed access were acceptable given that it was an existing access already in use.  The seconder of the motion noted that the Committee report did not state that the proposed dwelling was a self-build and the Planning Officer advised that, although it was not in the description of development, it was included on the self-build register; however, she stressed that it being self-build did not override other policies.  A Member understood that the Council was required to have a certain number of self-build properties so it would have been helpful to Members to know that was the case and he asked for that information to be included in future.  The Development Management Team Leader confirmed that it was a material consideration in terms of the self-build register but it did not need to be on the register to count towards the Council’s numbers.  Another Member understood that Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) could not be raised against self-build properties so, if the applicant had indicated that CIL was not payable, Officers should be aware that the dwelling would be self-build at the point the application was submitted. 

43.28         A Member indicated that he could see no reason in principle why the motion to permit the application should not be supported; however, the applicant had mentioned overlooking of ‘The Landers’ and it was difficult to work out from the plan where the front and rear gardens were located.  The Planning Officer explained that the private garden area was to the rear of The Landers and the overlooking impact would be to do with the front wing where there would be glazing overlooking the dwelling and amenity space to the side.  The Landers did have other areas of private amenity space but her professional recommendation was that there would be some overlooking into the private amenity space.  She clarified that, although the current occupiers of the property had not objected to the proposal, that did not mean future occupiers would find it acceptable.  The Planning Officer also indicated that there was an objection on technical grounds which also formed part of the refusal recommendation.  Another Member drew attention to Page No. 101, Paragraph 8.68 of the Committee report which stated that the development was liable for CIL because it created a new dwelling and she asked for clarification on that point.  The Development Management Team Leader indicated that she would need to check the application form and, if there was an error, that would be rectified if Members were minded to permit the application.  A Member pointed out that the literature from the Secretary of State and the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities around self-build legislation set out that it was part of the local planning authorities’ duty to grant planning permission.  In terms of the highways objection he accepted there would be issues if this was a new access but the access was already there and being used by others so he did not consider that to be relevant.  The Development Management Team Leader reiterated that self-build was not an overriding consideration and the application would still need to be determined in the planning balance.  In this case, other issues came into play which Officers considered were overriding in terms of recommending the application for refusal.

43.29         A Member asked what conditions Officers would recommend if Members were minded to permit the application and the Development Management Team Leader advised that standard conditions regarding commencement of the development and the development being carried out in accordance with the plans as well as more information regarding materials and site levels should be included.  Another Member indicated that she was supportive of the highways objection as it was a very fast road and she asked whether Peak View Cottage had another access given that it would no longer use the existing access as part of this proposal.  The Planning Officer confirmed there was another access for Peak View Cottage via Green Lane. 

43.30         Upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be PERMITTED on the basis that the site lay within the built-up settlement of Witcombe; it would respect the character of the area; it would not have an unacceptable impact on the amenity of the property known as The Landers; and the visibility splays at the proposed access were acceptable given that it was an existing access already in use, subject to conditions in relation to the commencement of the development, the development being carried out in accordance with the approved plans and further details regarding materials and levels.

Supporting documents: