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Agenda item

Agenda item

23/00477/FUL - Land to the South of Blacksmith Lane, East of Cyder Press Farmhouse, The Leigh

PROPOSAL: Erection of a 1.5 storey, one bedroom, oak-framed dwelling.




33.35        This application was for the erection of a 1.5 storey, one bedroom, oak-framed dwelling. 

33.36        The Development Management Team Manager (East) advised that the application site related to a parcel of land to the south of Blacksmith Lane, The Leigh. The site had an existing access from Blacksmith Lane, to the northeast of the site, and featured many established trees and boundary hedgerow, as identified within the submitted tree survey. To the west lay Cyder Press Farmhouse, which was a Grade II listed building. The land was separated from the main building by Mary’s Cottage, a detached annex building within the curtilage of the listed building. The dwelling would have a bedroom and bathroom in the loft and would be constructed with an oak frame, painted black, with brick and weatherboard walls, slate roof tiles and oak-framed windows and doors. The building was in the form of a traditional timber weatherboarded building but with a flat roof extension down one side.  The application was recommended for refusal for the reasons stated within the Committee report.  As set out in the Additional Representations Sheet, attached at Appendix 1, since the publication of the Committee report the Council could not currently demonstrate a five year housing land supply and the application of Paragraph 11(d) of the National Planning Policy Framework had been assessed and considered in the planning balance in terms of this proposal.  Whilst a single new dwelling would contribute to the shortfall, it would be negligible and the harms identified were considered to outweigh the benefits of the scheme.  The site was considered to be in an unsustainable location and there would be harm to the setting of the listed building, as well as landscape harm.  Furthermore, there were highways issues in terms of substandard access and questions over whether adequate visibility splays could be achieved. Updated ecology and tree assessments were required in order to fully assess the proposals.

33.37        The Chair invited the applicant to address the Committee.  The applicant explained that she had withdrawn her previous application in January, based on the Conservation Officer’s comments, and had incorporated all of the recommendations, reducing both bulk and height - with a smaller footprint on the same site and the same access, the previous surveys and tree reports remained relevant.  According to The Leigh Neighbourhood Development Plan, priority was given to existing residents; it asked that houses were aesthetically in-keeping and provided infill between existing houses and she believed this application ticked all of the boxes.  The site was a small strip of land that was bought by the previous owners of Cyder Press Farm in the 1980’s to extend their garden, with a wood store, chicken run and large concrete pig sty. In the 1990’s it had become a substantial vegetable garden with two greenhouses and two sheds.  In 2017, she had removed most of the vegetable garden and two greenhouses as they were too much to manage and it had been laid to lawn with smaller vegetable plots and two sheds ever since.  She had made a pre-planning application to Tewkesbury Borough Council in 2019 to build an art studio with occasional sleep-out. The Conservation Officer had agreed, subject to obtaining the appropriate planning permission, that a structure measuring 4m x 6m, with substantial glazing to the south side, would be acceptable. The applicant indicated that, whilst she was now seeking residential use, the application was based on the confidence she had gained at that meeting.  She wanted to build a sustainable timber frame house with an electric car charging point, a self-contained sewage system, a heat pump and drainage on site, thus allowing her to live a simple life with a reduced carbon footprint.  She had already established a nature reserve on the south side of the site and planted 400 trees and, if she was able to build her house, this land would remain within the title.  She indicated that the list of previous applications in the Committee report related to Cyder Press Farm as a whole, not the site she was referring to.  Unfortunately, her experience with the planning office has been unorthodox and, should she need to appeal, she would be using a documented timeline that would look like sharp practice in a commercial situation, for example, her application had been validated within hours of being submitted, but her agent was not notified and they were told it was too late to go to Committee but then given only a few hours to put her case together, she was then told that her letter of representation, sent on 20 July, was too late for the Committee meeting.  In conclusion, she hoped Members would support her vision for a small project that was considerate, well thought through and put the environment at the forefront of planning.

33.38        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 refused in accordance with the Officer recommendation.  A Member indicated that he could not see any stairs within the plans and the Development Management Team Manager (East) explained that the application had been amended to include a first floor, making it 1.5 storey, and it appeared that the plan of the first floor had been omitted from the Committee report.  Notwithstanding this, the internal layout of the building did not have to be determined through the planning process.  A Member sought clarification of the date of the appeal referenced at Page No. 215, Paragraph 8.7 of the Committee report, and was informed the Inspector’s decision had been issued on 3 September 2021 – the tilted balance had been engaged at that point which was the same situation as currently.  The Member questioned whether that was before or after the adoption of the Tewkesbury Borough Plan and was advised it was before, with the Tewkesbury Borough Plan having been adopted in June 2022; however, the plan was emerging at that point and the policies within the emerging plan had been taken into consideration, albeit with less weight.  The Member indicated that Tewkesbury Borough Plan Policy RES4 allowed small scale development and she could see no reason why The Leigh should not be considered within that context; however, she appreciated that Officers did not feel that the scale and form of this particular property was appropriate for the area – Policy RES4 stated that it needed to be proportionate to its size and function.  On that basis, she was not adverse to a planning application if the plans could be changed to address the concerns.  In response, the Development Management Team Manager (East) advised that, as set out in the Committee report, there was an issue with the building in terms of its impact on the setting of the listed building but there were also locational issues – the Inspector had given Policies RES3 and RES4 notable weight despite the tilted balance being engaged, thus considering it an unsuitable location, and Officers continue to recommend refusal on sustainability grounds.  A Member asked if the applicant was on the self-build register and was advised that, as far as Officers were aware, she was not.

33.39        Upon being put to the vote, it was

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

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