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Agenda item

Agenda item

23/00874/FUL - Part Parcel 8019, Chargrove Lane

PROPOSAL: Agricultural access onto Chargrove Lane – revision to application ref: 22/01375/FUL.




51.24        This application was for agricultural access onto Chargrove Lane – revision to application ref: 22/01375/FUL.  The Planning Committee had visited the application site in relation to the previous application in June 2023.

51.25        The Senior Planning Officer drew attention to the Additional Representations Sheet, attached at Appendix 1, which referenced representations from a member of the public, the local Ward Councillor for the area and the applicant’s agent - the latter pointed out an error in the report in that the applicant accepted the visibility splay would be 60 metres in total but there was not currently 60 metres of hedge within the visibility splay due to extensive gaps, as such, reinstatement, albeit in a different position, would result in a net gain of hedgerow.  Furthermore, the Additional Representations Sheet set out that an additional condition had been proposed by County Highways which would be added to the decision notice should Members be minded to permit the application.  The Senior Planning Officer indicated that Members would recall a previous version of this scheme was refused by the Planning Committee in June of this year.  That application included a more substantial access suitable for articulated cattle trucks and a hard surfaced turning circle inside the field.  The turning circle was no longer proposed and the access was to be used by tractor and trailer only, hence a smaller and less conspicuous field opening.  That said, there remained significant opposition, largely due to the creation of a 60 metre visibility; Chargrove Lane was also a popular walking route in an attractive landscape setting.  Officers acknowledged the recommendation to permit the application was perhaps finely balanced, though adequate mitigation in favour included realignment of the hedge and more targeted strengthening of the existing hedge outside of the visibility splay.  Furthermore, the historic estate railings on the edge of Chargrove Lane were to be retained.  Overall, Officers considered landscape harm was adequately reduced and mitigation was appropriate, to the extent that principal reasons for refusal of the last scheme had been overcome.

51.26        The Chair invited the applicant’s agent to address the Committee.  The applicant’s agent indicated that Members may recall the previous application for an access in this location as confirmed by the Senior Planning Officer and advised that the previous access design was to provide entry and egress for an articulated cattle truck to allow the farmer entrance to the field for loading and off-loading; that application was refused due principally to landscape concerns.  The application before Members was a revised scheme for a new agricultural access reduced and scaled back for tractor and trailer access only.  As before, this would allow for safe entry and egress on to the lane by farm vehicles and machinery.  The location of the access had been chosen for functional and safety reasons. The vehicles and machinery using the access would be for grass cutting in summer months, off-loading of cattle feed, animals, and transportation of portable cattle handling pens. As such, there was a very real need for this access.  The revised design proposed landscape mitigation, including additional tree/copse planting to the south and north, and hedgerow reinstatement along the field boundaries. The hedgerow planting would add to the existing using diverse native species and he reiterated this would result in a net gain as confirmed by Officers.  Natural crushed stone would be used for the access area, sourced from local quarries to reflect the muted tones and palette of the local landscape character.  This access would be no different to any other agricultural access, being consistent with others present within the countryside.  As such, the applicant’s agent disagreed with objectors when stating it would be visually harmful.   It was noted that no objections had been raised by the Council’s Ecology Officer or County Highways.  In summary, this was simply an application for an agricultural access into an agricultural field and Officers correctly acknowledged that it was not inappropriate development within the Green Belt; the positive recommendation and detailed assessment in the Committee report was welcomed and he urged Members to permit the application and support a local farmer and his business.

51.27        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 in accordance with the Officer recommendation.  The proposer of the motion expressed the view that it was important to support the effective operation of an agricultural business in the area.  In response to a Member query, the Senior Planning Officer advised there was an existing access; however, it tended to be blocked by cars on the other side of the road.  In response to a further query regarding tree planting, Members were informed that the landscaping plan suggested there was one Oak tree and several Maple trees. 

51.28        Upon being put to the vote, it was

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

Supporting documents: