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Decisions published

20/08/2019 - Schedule ref: 3936    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Planning

Made at meeting: 20/08/2019 - Planning

Decision published: 09/09/2019

Effective from: 20/08/2019

Decision:

18.1          The Technical Planning Manager submitted a Schedule comprising planning applications and proposals with recommendations thereon.  Copies of this had been circulated to Members as Appendix A to the Agenda for the meeting.  The objections to, support for, and observations upon the various applications as referred to in Appendix 1 attached to these Minutes were presented to the Committee and duly taken into consideration by Members prior to decisions being made on those applications.

19/00269/FUL – 10 Columbine Road, Walton Cardiff, Tewkesbury

18.2           This application was for construction of a new place of worship and provision of associated vehicular access and parking area, cycle store, landscaping and drainage.  The Committee had visited the application site on Friday 16 August 2019.

18.3          The Planning Officer advised that the application was for a place of worship and associated infrastructure and the plans before Members had been revised following consultation.  Various conditions had been suggested for inclusion on the planning permission.  The application site was a vacant parcel of land in the context of the existing Wheatpieces local centre and had extant planning permission for a day nursery for up to 24 children which had never been implemented; the application before Members was for another use which was considered acceptable within the context of a community area.

18.4          The Chair indicated that there were no public speakers for this item.  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.  A Member raised concern regarding traffic, particularly during school term time, and he questioned how an acceptable highway safety impact would be achieved.  In response, the County Highways representative explained that a site visit had been carried out with the Parish Council which had highlighted the highway safety concerns.   He advised that the retail area would be used for parking as well, which was more than generous, and the survey that had been carried out to assess the parking on a worst-case scenario basis had demonstrated there would still be opportunities for on-street parking that would not cause a highway issue.  It was also noted that County Highways would be looking to formalise the zigzag markings as part of the extension to the school which was coming forward.  It was not considered that access to and from the school would be adversely impacted by the proposal, or that it would result in any significant highway safety issues.  In response to a query regarding noise abatement, the Planning Officer advised that, as set out in the Officer report, the Environmental Health Officer had looked carefully at the proposal and was satisfied that noise, both within the building itself and externally via the air conditioning unit, could be attenuated.  It was noted that no conditions were proposed in terms of the hours of operation and Officers were happy that any issues that did arise could be dealt with satisfactorily under noise nuisance provisions.

18.5          Upon being put to the vote, it was

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

19/00422/APP – Land Adjoining Gretton Road, Gotherington

18.6          This was an approval of reserved matters application for access, scale, appearance and landscaping pursuant to outline planning permission reference: 16/00336/OUT. 

18.7          The Planning Officer explained that the application sought approval of the remaining reserved matters following previous approval of the layout by the Planning Committee in January 2018.  The current application built upon the design statement submitted at the outline stage and the previously approved layout which would provide six detached units fronting Gretton Road with a further four dwellings set to the rear part of the site.  The proposed appearance, scale and landscaping were considered acceptable in the context of the village, as set out in the Officer report.  County Highways had now confirmed there were no objections on highway safety grounds or to the proposed access arrangements, subject to conditions.  The proposal was therefore considered to be acceptable and the recommendation was that the application be approved subject to the conditions set out in the Officer report and on the Additional Representations Sheet, attached at Appendix 1.

18.8          The Chair invited the applicant to address the Committee.  The applicant indicated that this was the third time he had been required to address the Committee in relation to the long running saga on this relatively small site.  The site had first been promoted in the Parish Council’s draft Neighbourhood Development Plan over four and half years ago when the Parish had sought 25-27 houses on the site as a preferred location.  After local consultation, an outline application had been submitted in 2016 for 27 dwellings; however, in accordance with a request from the Council’s Urban Design Officer, this had subsequently been reduced to 10 dwellings.  The Parish Council had not been happy with this change and had opposed the application but planning permission had been granted in November 2017.  As the Urban Design Officer was unhappy with the illustrative layout, reserved matters details had been submitted solely for the siting of the dwellings and, despite opposition from the Parish Council, this application had been approved in January 2018.  The remainder of the reserved matters application had been prepared by an experienced planning consultant who had also prepared two or three other recently approved housing schemes in the village, and specialist advice had also been sought in relation to highways.  Consultation had taken place with the Urban Design Officer and together they had come up with the scheme before Members today.  Notwithstanding this, it was still being opposed by the Parish Council, hence its referral for Committee determination.  He believed that the application had been carefully prepared and considered to generate an attractive, low density housing scheme on the edge of the village, using a layout and floorplans which had already been approved and he urged the Committee to approve the application in accordance with the Officer recommendation in order for the scheme to finally come to fruition.

18.9          A Member noted that the Parish Council had objected to the application as this did not accord with the Neighbourhood Development Plan and she questioned why this was the case and where the scheme did fit in.  In response, the Planning Officer explained that the site was an allocation in the Neighbourhood Development Plan and the Parish Council had raised concern with regard to the size and scale of the buildings which it considered did not fit with the character of the village; however, Planning Officers’ felt that the charm and character of the village was partly due to the variation in scale of existing properties and a mixed housing scheme, which included two storey, houses and bungalows, was considered appropriate in this location.  The Member indicated that a lot of the new houses in Gotherington used Bradstone type bricks but the photographs seemed to show red brick and she questioned what materials would be used.  Clarification was provided that materials would be controlled by condition and would require further approval by the Local Planning Authority so the comments made in relation to the colours could be taken on board.

18.10         The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation had been changed from delegated approve to approve, subject to conditions set out in the Officer report and on the Additional Representations Sheet, and he sought a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be approved in accordance with the Officer recommendation and, upon being put to the vote, it was

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

19/00135/FUL – Bishop’s Leys Farm, Butts Lane, Woodmancote

18.11        This application was for the erection of a detached dwelling with an integrated garage.  The application had been deferred at the Planning Committee meeting on 16 July 2019 for a Committee Site Visit which had taken place on Friday 16 August 2019.

18.12        The Planning Officer indicated that Members would have received a letter from the applicant’s agent and it was important to note that the appeal decisions referenced had been allowed in a very different context.  The 2012 version of the National Planning Policy Framework had meant that, in those cases, the presumption in favour of sustainable development was engaged; this was no longer the case as the National Planning Policy Framework was now very clear that, where there was landscape harm in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the tilted balance did not apply.  It was therefore wrong to suggest that the appeal decisions quoted indicated that planning permission should be granted in this case. 

18.13         The Planning Officer went on to advise that the application was for a two storey, four bed detached dwelling with an integrated garage on land adjacent to Bishop’s Leys Farm.  The site lay within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and was a triangle parcel of land between the drive serving the farm and a track to the stables to the south east.  The proposed dwelling would be set into the slope of the site with a ridge height of 105.35m, which was slightly lower than the existing dwelling, and would be built from Cotswold stone walls with a plain tile or slate roof.  Whilst the proposal included some traditional features, the detailed design was not reflective of the high quality expected in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The site lay outside of a defined settlement boundary within the Tewkesbury Borough Plan Pre-Submission Version and, as stated in the Officer report, Policy RES4 set out criteria for proposals for very small scale residential development within and adjacent to the built-up area of other rural settlements and did not consider gardens, paddocks or other under-developed land within the curtilage of the buildings on the edge of settlements as acceptable.  Policy RE5 gave consideration to the effect of the development on the form, character and landscape setting of the development and the Planning Officer advised that this was Cotswold escarpment, rural in character and more closely associated to surrounding farmland.  It was therefore considered that the proposal would significantly change the character of this part of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and its limited benefits were insufficient to outweigh the conflict with the Council’s adopted policies and harm to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

18.14        The Chair invited the applicant’s agent to address the Committee.  The applicant’s agent advised that the application related to land forming part of the garden of Bishop’s Leys, a large detached dwelling that sat within a row of houses along Butt’s Lane, Woodmancote.  Woodmancote was a defined Service Village and was expected to take some proportionate growth over the plan period which had not yet occurred; in fact, Woodmancote was perhaps now the only Service Village not to have delivered anywhere near its quota.  Nevertheless, this application was proposed under the ‘infilling’ provisions of the Joint Core Strategy, a policy which promoted infilling in the wider villages of Tewkesbury Borough, not just the Service Villages.  He pointed out that the Planning Committee had granted an infill dwelling in the village of Stanton only a few months earlier under this provision and he was sure Members would agree that was a far smaller and far more remote location than this.  Similarly, that site was within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it was clear there was no fundamental barrier to some small-scale housing in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; the policy existed in recognition of the fact that there was a need to allow some development in rural areas to support rural communities.  In his opinion, this was an obvious case of infilling – the dwelling sat in a row of housing and would be of similar size to that of its surroundings; the Officer report confirmed that it was not isolated in the context of the National Planning Policy Framework, as such, he failed to see the problem.  Notwithstanding this, within the space of just a few months, the Council had gone from reporting a 5.3 year housing supply to one of between 2.7 and 4.3 years; bearing in mind the Joint Core Strategy was supposed to provide 20 years’ worth of housing, the fact this was potentially as low as 2.7 years spoke volumes in his view.  The Council’s position could be best summed up by the Officer report which set out that the five year supply was a rolling requirement and required enough housing to be delivered year upon year through flexible interpretation of the policy – it was clear to him that the restrictive interpretation of the policy had caused the Council’s current situation.  The applicant’s agent indicated that Members would be aware of a number of small-scale developments that had been granted by the Council, or at appeal, in Stockwell Lane and Bushcombe Lane at Woodmancote the last time the Council had an undersupply; in all of those cases, the Inspector had found the need to boost housing outweighed any limited impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and some of those sites had been greenfield land.  He felt there was a need to change the mindset that only large scale developments could meet the housing supply requirements and, had there been positivity towards some of the smaller proposals such as this, the Council may well still have a five year supply.  The last time the Council was in this position it had resulted in 1,000 houses at Bishop’s Cleeve, 200 or more in Winchcombe and close to 100 in each of the villages of Gotherington, Alderton and Twyning and he was afraid those types of schemes would inevitably be back at the forefront if the supply was not kept ticking over with smaller schemes like this which were more palatable to communities and delivered more quickly.

18.15        A Member drew attention to Page No. 254, Paragraph 4.6 of the Officer report and questioned whether there was any update in relation to the Council’s five year housing land supply.  He also queried what stage the annual monitoring report was at and when definitive figures would be available.  In response, the Technical Planning Manager explained that, as set out in the Officer report, the latest published figure was 4.33 years and when the annual monitoring report was published in the next couple of weeks it was likely that this would increase very slightly to around 4.38 years.  Clearly others would try to take the Secretary of State’s comments in respect of the appeal decision relating to land at Oakridge, Highnam as the position; however, for reasons that had been explained previously, Officers felt the Secretary of State was wrong and the figure of 4.33 was the right one.  In response to a query as to the relevance of the five year supply to this particular application, the Technical Planning Manager explained that it was a material consideration that must be taken into account and the Council could not currently demonstrate a five year supply; however, Officers believed that the difference between this case and the appeal decisions referenced by the applicant’s agent in his speech was that, in terms of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the approach taken with the previous National Planning Policy Framework was that if policy was out of date, the tilted balance applied whereas under the current version of the National Planning Policy Framework which had been updated in February 2019 there was a different approach in that, if there was harm to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – as there was in this case – the presumption in favour of sustainable development did not apply and there was no tilted balance but the assessment on that would be on the normal balance.  The fact that the Council could not demonstrate a five year housing supply was relevant; however, a lot of Inspector’s had made clear that a single dwelling did not carry much weight in terms of permitting applications against policy as one house did not deal with the shortfall effectively.  The Technical Planning Manager did not necessarily agree with the applicant’s agent that permitting lots of single dwellings in different locations was the right approach, particularly as Members had recently agreed to publish the Tewkesbury Borough Plan for consultation which, along with the Joint Core Strategy, would address the shortfall.

18.16         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 any harm to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty could be mitigated by using traditional materials that would be in keeping with the surrounding area.  The proposer of the motion felt that the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was the main crux of the debate and, in his view, it did not have to comprise only fields or trees but could also include Cotswold stone buildings.  The seconder of the motion made reference to the tilted balance and expressed the view that the visual impact of the proposal would be limited and the dwelling would help to meet the objective to support the rural economy and would contribute to the local community.  Another Member indicated that he had requested a Committee determination for this application due to the loss of appeals which had not found a single dwelling to be intrusive in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  In response, the Technical Planning Manager reiterated his advice that the tilted balance was not in play for the reasons he had given and as set out in the Officer report.  In terms of benefits, the single dwelling appeal decisions had clearly shown that these would be minimal and should only be given limited weight.  The proposer of the motion had stated that the crux of the application was the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; however, another important consideration was emerging and existing policy in the Joint Core Strategy and Tewkesbury Borough Plan.

18.17         A Member sought further information regarding the lost appeal that had been referenced in terms of the reasons for that decision being overturned.  He drew attention to the site location plan at Page No. 259/A of the Officer report and pointed out that, as Members would have seen on the Planning Committee Site Visit, there were a number of other potential housing plots.  He was concerned that permitting this application could lead to this becoming a ribbon development which was not wanted in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The Technical Planning Manager advised that the Stockwell Lane and Hillview Stables appeals had been determined when there was a presumption in favour of sustainable development and that had very much been in the Inspector’s mind when making those decisions.  The appeal decision in respect of The Waltons was a matter of judgement - the Officer recommendation had been to permit the proposal as there was considered to be an acceptable relationship with the existing settlement and that there would be no undue impact on the landscape.  He stressed that applying the same tests would not always result in the same judgement.  In terms of the Badger Bank appeal, this differed from the current proposal as the existing building had been granted planning permission as a conversion.  He reminded Members that each site had different merits and two of the appeal decisions, in 2015 and 2017, had been determined under previous government guidance where there was a presumption in favour of sustainable development that did not apply now.  Should Members be minded to permit the application, the Planning Officer recommended the inclusion of conditions in relation to commencement of the development; drawing numbers; materials details; window details; additional site levels plan; landscaping; biological enhancement measures; and a construction management plan.  The seconder of the motion questioned whether a condition should also be included to ensure the ridge line did not exceed the existing building and the Planning Officer clarified that the proposed ridge height was very similar but could be controlled through the site levels.  A Member queried what was meant by biological enhancement measures and was advised that because of the nature of the area, it may be possible that bat or bird boxes would be needed to improve biodiversity of the site and this condition would cover such requirements. 

18.18         Upon being put to the vote, the motion to permit the application was lost.  It was subsequently proposed and seconded that the application be refused in accordance with the Officer recommendation and, upon being taken to the vote, it was

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

18/01129/FUL – 6 Persh Way, Maisemore

18.19        This was a retrospective application for the erection of a playhouse in the rear garden.  The Planning Committee had visited the application site on Friday 16 August 2019.

18.20         The Technical Planning Manager clarified that the Committee had resolved to delegate permission for this application at its meeting on 18 June 2019 - the application had not been deferred as incorrectly stated at the start of the Officer report.  Since that time, however, there had been further strong objections from the neighbours - summarised in the Officer report - and he understood that Members had also been written to separately.  He drew attention to Page No. 262, Paragraph 5.7 of the Officer report, which referred to a low picket fence between the neighbour’s property and their neighbour on the opposite side, and clarified that this was in fact a close-boarded fence, approximately one metre in height, as Members would have seen on the Planning Committee Site Visit.  Planning permission had been delegated subject to the satisfactory completion of the consultation process in respect of the revised plans and he explained that the current plans did not represent what had been constructed on site.  Measurements had been taken on the site visit and the distance from the common boundary was 2.4 metres as opposed to three metres.  The height shown on the original plans when the application was first submitted was 3.99 metres and the amended plans showed this as 3.63 metres; however, measurements taken on Friday had shown the structure to be 4.16 metres high and the height of the platform in front of the structure would be approximately 1.6 metres.  It was noted that the monkey bars shown on the floor plans, but not on the elevation plans, now also had a rope bridge so there was also a walkway across them which Members would have seen on the site visit.  Given that the structure was already in place, if Members agreed that the playhouse should be permitted, they would need to be clear as to whether that was in respect of the structure as it stood with a need for further amended plans, i.e. 4.16 metres in height, or as per the submitted amended plans, i.e. 3.63 metres, and whether the position and location, with the as built just over half a metre closer to the fence, was acceptable.  The key issue was the impact on neighbouring properties and strong objections had been received from one of the neighbours.  Members would have seen the relationship between the playhouse and the neighbouring properties on the site visit, and from the photographs and plans, and it was a matter of judgement as to whether it was acceptable in terms of overlooking and if it had an overbearing impact.  The Officer recommendation was that, on balance, planning permission should be granted.

18.21        The Chair invited a representative of a local resident speaking in objection to the proposal to address the Committee.  The representative indicated that the application referred to a child’s playhouse but it was clear that the structure was currently also being used by three teenage boys and adults living at the property.  The playhouse had been designed and constructed by a registered building company that had required planning permission and the subsequent retrospective planning application had been rejected by Planning Officers on the grounds that it was clearly overlooking and an invasion of privacy.  After many months of corresponding with the Planning Department, compromises had been suggested to make it less of an intrusion including a reasonable request to reduce the height of the structure and have a flat, as opposed to an apex, roof but those requests had been rejected by the applicant.  In the meantime, the structure had been rebuilt with an even higher platform and additional handrails and climbing walls, as the Planning Committee would have seen on the site visit and from the photographs submitted.  The playhouse now towered over the boundary fence and had a major impact on the lives and privacy of the neighbours.  Furthermore, the structure no longer complied with the revised plans and dimensional drawings submitted in June and had been increased in height to over four metres.  He noted that the applicant had been working with the Planning Officers to make some compromises and that the application was being recommended for permission; however, he opposed this on the basis that the original application had been rejected due to overlooking and invasion of privacy and yet the building was now a much more imposing structure that dominated the garden more than when it was first constructed.  He reiterated that the building was now even more overlooking and even more of an invasion of privacy for the neighbours which had impacted on their family life and the leisure time spent in the garden.  He asked that the Committee refuse the application as no significant effort had been made to change the original decision and he made reference to Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1988 which stated that everyone had a right to respect for privacy and family life.

18.22        The Chair invited one of the local Ward Members to address the Committee.  The local Ward Member indicated that he did not intend to go into detail as this had been covered by the previous speaker and Members had visited the site so would be well aware of the impact of the playhouse on the neighbouring properties.  He reiterated that the actual build was contrary to the amended plans, both in terms of height and distance from the boundary, and included a walkway as opposed to monkey bars.  Should Members be minded to permit the application, he asked that consideration be given to proposed privacy screening or obscured glazing; whilst it was a nice looking playhouse, it was in an elevated position with a platform of approximately 1.6 metres and therefore was prominent and incongruous.  He made reference to Section 12 of the National Planning Policy Framework and Policy SD14 of the Joint Core Strategy and questioned whether the proposal had been successful in terms of ensuring there was no harm to the amenity of neighbouring occupants.  The temporary nature of the design was reflected in the Officer report and he wished to flag up that there was no guarantee it would be removed as the children grew up and the structure could potentially continue to be used by adult members of the family.  The key issue for consideration of the Committee was its overbearing and intrusive nature and he pointed out the need to look at Policies HOU8 and SD4 in terms of unacceptable impact, in this instance, size and overlooking.

18.23        The Chair sought a comment from the Technical Planning Manager as to what a privacy screen might entail should Members be minded to permit the application and attention was drawn to recommended condition 4, at Page No. 263 of the Officer report, which would require details of screening to the raised platform to be submitted to, and approved by, the Local Planning Authority.  The Technical Planning Manager indicated that no details were available as yet but it would need to be at least 1.7 metres high and extend beyond or around the corner of the platform; it was to be borne in mind that the result of that may be that the playhouse appeared larger as a structure and that could potentially create another issue.  In response to a query, he confirmed that, should Members be minded to permit the application, it was possible to specify the dimensions of the screening but condition 4 currently left this open for Officer judgement.  Another Member sought clarification regarding the Human Rights Act 1988 and whether that was a material consideration for the Committee.  In response the Legal Adviser confirmed that the Human Rights Act 1988 was a material consideration when determining applications and would effectively be taken into account as part of the judgement in respect of amenity issues such as overlooking and overbearing impact.  In response to a query regarding whether complaints about overlooking had been received in respect of the existing summerhouse in the neighbouring garden when that had been constructed, the Technical Planning Manager indicated that he had no details about whether there had been any objections at that time; however, it was noted that the neighbours could have done something about that in terms of planting but had chosen not to do so.  A Member queried whether it was possible to review the structure of the playhouse to move the platform to the rear as that could resolve the issues in terms of noise and overlooking, although possibly not in respect of visual impact.  The Technical Planning Manager indicated that this could be discussed with the applicant if Members so wished, although it had been suggested by Officers during the application process and the applicant had been keen for the application to be determined by the Committee in its current state.

18.24         The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to delegate authority to the Technical Planning Manager to permit the application, subject to amended plans to reflect the structure as built, and he sought a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be refused as it would have an overbearing impact and would adversely affect the amenity of the adjoining properties in terms of overlooking and loss of privacy.  The proposer of the motion indicated that the playhouse was very overbearing and, in his view, the proposed screening would make that even worse.  The applicant did not seem to have taken on board Planning Officers’ advice and he would not feel comfortable granting permission.  Upon being taken to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be REFUSED as it was considered to have an overbearing impact and would adversely affect the amenity of the adjoining properties in terms of overlooking and loss of privacy.

18/01202/OUT – Part Parcel 3538, Church Road, Maisemore

18.25         This was an outline application for up to 25 dwellings (consisting of 15 self-build and 10 discounted market houses) together with access and associated works such as footpath links to village hall and play area (all matters reserved).

18.26        The Planning Officer advised that the application site comprised a field of approximately 1.4 hectares located to the north of Maisemore.  A public right of way bordered the small watercourse to the north of the site beyond which lay the Landscape Protection Zone.  The Grade II listed buildings of Maisemore Court and St Giles Church were situated approximately 120 metres and 195 metres to the north respectively.  The Officer report provided an assessment of the principle of development and all other material planning considerations, and extra information - including a rebuttal letter - was included within the Additional Representations Sheet, attached at Appendix 1.  She clarified that the revised indicative layout plan had been amended to include annotations referring to additional tree and structural landscaping along the watercourse which could be subject to a condition; existing landscaping to be integrated into the new scheme; and a new two metre wide footway over the watercourse and potential footpath improvement, subject to owner consent.  Members should also have received a late representation from one of the local Ward Members for the area who had commented that a Committee Site Visit would be beneficial to assess the proposed development in the local landscape.  Officers accepted there was a duty to grant sufficient permissions for self or custom build housing and, given the information in the Additional Representations Sheet, they agreed that this should be attributed some weight in the overall decision; however, based on the significant and demonstrable harms identified in the Officer report, the application was recommended for refusal.

18.27        The Chair invited the applicant’s representative to address the Committee.  The applicant’s representative indicated that Maisemore was a Service Village with a good level of employment and a sense of community and history which meant it was a place that families wanted to live.  Development was expected – and indeed required – for continued vibrancy and to support services and facilities.  This scheme was for up to 25 homes but Members would recall recently allowing a greater level of development in the smaller settlement of Coombe Hill.  He went on to point out that heritage and landscape concerns had been identified and it was accepted that these were important issues; however, the heritage harm was described by Officers as “less than substantial” and there was no harm to the fabric of the listed buildings with the concern relating to the extent of the gap between the Church and Maisemore Court – which occupied an elevated position – and the main part of the village which lay below and to the south.  He felt that the important separation would remain and that the sensitive development of the site would not result in any real harm to the significance of the heritage assets.  The closer northern field adjoining the Church was prominent, elevated, visual and sensitive, and therefore most important, and that prominent land was not part of these, or any other, proposals.  He explained that the site was being promoted through the Tewkesbury Borough Plan and was closely related to the village and adjoined the Village Hall.  When viewed from the Church and Maisemore Court, those parts of the site visible through filtered landscape features were viewed in the context of the backdrop of the built form of the village – he pointed out that the site would be best assessed through a Committee Site Visit.  Housing supply was in crisis nationally and locally and, although there was debate regarding the level of local deficiency, it was agreed that there was a less than five year supply within Tewkesbury Borough.  The local affordable housing position was even worse and this scheme would deliver 40% of the homes as discounted market sales housing allowing first time buyers the opportunity to get a step on the housing ladder.  The remainder of the houses would be self-build and it was noted that, as of yesterday, the self-build register contained 74 with confirmed local connections – the number was greater than the previous week and continued to grow so, like other aspects of housing, self-build need was outstripping delivery.  The Officer report recommended refusal on the basis that the harms of the scheme outweighed the benefits but he argued that the harms would be modest and would be mitigated at the approval of reserved matters stage which remained in the Council’s control.

18.28        In response to a Member question, the Chair confirmed that it was open for a site visit motion to be made.  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 Office recommendation.  The proposer of the motion advised that the Tewkesbury Borough Plan Working Group had considered the site during the preparation of the Plan and had dismissed it as unsuitable for the reasons set out in the Officer report.  She was supportive of self-build properties provided they were in the right place but she did not believe this was the correct location.  A Member questioned how self-build schemes were assessed and monitored to ensure that they were truly self-builds and whether developers were able to self-build or if this could only be done by individuals.  The Technical Planning Manager indicated that self-build was a relatively new concept and some Councils had tried to frame the position whereby only single dwellings in a garden, or similar, could count as self-build; however, this had been rejected through an appeal decision.  Some authorities would only consider individuals who submitted a self-build scheme and signed a Section 106 Agreement to tie them into building the property themselves but there were also situations whereby an individual may wish to appoint someone to build the property for them to live in.  If only those with a legal agreement were counted, the number of self-builds in the borough would be in single figures.  As the Planning Officer had stated, there was a duty to grant planning permission to meet a certain need on the self-build register and that had to be weighed in the planning balance.  Tewkesbury Borough Council was not currently meeting that need but, in terms of the current application, Officers considered that the benefits of the proposal - including the self-build element - were not sufficient to outweigh the identified harm.  A Member sought clarification as to the self-build target within the Joint Core Strategy and how many had been delivered.  He also questioned how confident Officers were that an appeal could be defended and what the likely costs would be.  In response, the Technical Planning Manager advised that the Planning Policy Team was working on a report for publication that would also be provided to Members.  In terms of a potential appeal, he confirmed that Officers would not recommend refusal if they did not feel it was defendable; however, he was unable to put a figure on the likely costs without researching historic appeals.  A Member questioned whether there was a legal definition of self-build and the Legal Adviser explained that self build and custom housing did not distinguish between someone physically building their own house and commissioning a house to be built for themselves.  The legal definition was: “the building or completion by individuals, associations of individuals or persons working with or for individuals or associations of individuals, of houses to be occupied as homes by those individuals”.

18.29         During the debate which ensued, a Member indicated that he was generally supportive of individual or small scale developments where the scheme had been well thought out and that seemed to be the case here.  He felt that a significant weight should be given to the affordable housing element and he would not be prepared to support a refusal.  A Member indicated that he shared this view and considered that the additional information provided by the applicant’s agent, set out in the Additional Representations Sheet attached at Appendix 1, had helped to convince him of that.  He noted there had been no objections to the proposal from County Highways, the Council’s Environmental Health Officer, Natural England, Severn Trent Water, the Lead Local Flood Authority, the Council’s Flood Risk Management Engineer, or the County Archaeologist; nor from the Council’s Tree Officer and Housing Enabling Officer, subject to condition.  There had been an objection from the Council’s Urban Design Officer on the grounds that it was not an appropriate location for development but he did not agree on the basis that Maisemore had been identified as a Service Village.  He indicated that he would have liked to have visited the application site to put the development into context as he believed it complied with Policies SD12 and SD4 of the Joint Core Strategy.  If the Council continued to refuse applications such as this he failed to see how it would achieve a five year housing supply and, in his view, this proposal was in keeping with the surrounding area and would have no adverse impact on heritage sites as with the development at Highnam that had been recommended for approval.  A Member pointed out that there was a small business area to the right of the Grade II listed St Giles Church which had previously been extended so there was already evidence of development on the site.  Another Member asked for legal advice as to what was stopping developers from seeking planning permission for self-build properties and the Legal Adviser indicated that it was not clear that self-builds were not being permitted and built, in particular as regards single dwelling applications, but that what was essential for the monitoring was to ensure in some way that there were developments meeting the demand on the register.  The Head of Development Services clarified that self-build properties were exempt from Community Infrastructure Levy but that meant the property could not be sold on within a certain timeframe so there were processes in place for monitoring and flagging this up to Officers.

18.30         The proposer of the motion pointed out that the Joint Core Strategy and Tewkesbury Borough Plan required 880 dwellings to be delivered across the Service Villages; Maisemore had been given an indicative requirement of 41 dwellings and 52 dwellings had been committed over the plan period – this was sufficient for Maisemore and meant that, if planning permission was granted for another 25 dwellings, this would be disproportionate based on its size and the facilities it could offer to residents.  She drew attention to Page No. 267, Paragraph 2.2 of the Officer report which set out that the Landscape Officer considered that development would significantly alter the parkland setting and have a detrimental impact on the character of the area.  Whilst there were important merits of self-build properties, they needed to be in sustainable locations and she urged the Committee to refuse this proposal.  A Member pointed out that the Committee had recently permitted an application for residential development of 40 dwellings at Coombe Hill which had only limited facilities and that had not been considered to be disproportionate so he failed to see why that should be a reason in this instance.

18.31         Upon being put to the vote, there was an equal number of votes for and against, and on the Chair exercising his casting vote, it was

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

19/00320/FUL – Land Adjacent to 53 Parton Road, Churchdown

18.32        This application was for a proposed new dwelling on land adjacent to No. 53 Parton Road.

18.33         The Planning Officer advised that the site was located on a corner plot adjacent to No. 53 Parton Road and Meadow Way in Churchdown within an established residential area.  The proposal was for a new two storey, three bedroom semi-detached dwelling erected in the side garden of No. 53 Parton Road.  The plot measured 7.2 metres wide and was rectangular in shape taking in the full length of the rear garden.  An existing garage in the rear garden would be demolished and a new parking space provided along the rear boundary with a footpath-only access to the front of the property.  The proposed dwelling would be approximately 92 square metres and would match the size and style of the existing property.  The proposed dimensions of the property were 9.6 metres long by 5.9 metres wide with a total ridge height of 8.3 metres to match No. 53.  It was noted that the first floor would be rendered with a brick ground floor also to match No. 53.  No. 53 would retain its vehicle access and parking at the front of the property but, in order to alleviate some of the concerns raised, the access would be moved further to the south east, away from the mini-roundabout, and the existing driveway would be blocked off. 

18.34        The Chair indicated that there were no public speakers for this item.  The Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  It was proposed that the application be refused on overdevelopment grounds but there was no seconder for the motion.  It was subsequently proposed and seconded that the application be permitted in accordance with the Officer recommendation.  A Member asked for a comment from the County Highways representative as he could not see one in the Officer report.  The County Highways representative indicated that this application was subject to standing advice on design which was why there was no comment from County Highways in the report; notwithstanding this, the proximity to the roundabout was not considered unsafe.  He had been looking at a similar application in another part of the county earlier that week and was clear that if an access was to be stopped up this would be made permanent e.g. level with kerbs etc.  Any concerns regarding use of the access would be addressed should they come forward, although he thought this was unlikely.

18.35        Upon being taken to the vote, it was

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

19/00550/PIP – Land to the West of A48, Minsterworth Village, Hygrove Lane, Minsterworth

18.36        This application was for permission in principle for residential development of up to six houses.  The Committee had visited the application site on Friday 16 August 2019.

18.37        The Planning Officer advised that the site was located adjacent to the property known as Sharnbrook along the western edge of the A48, to the edge of the built form, and adjacent to the proposed settlement boundary in the emerging Tewkesbury Borough Plan.  The site measured 0.40 hectares and was rectangular in shape.  As this was a permission in principle application, the main considerations could only be in relation to location, land use and range of dwellings in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017.  It was noted that further details on permission in principle were included in the Additional Representations Sheet, attached at Appendix 1.  All details such as layout, design, scale, mix and type, landscape and access would need to be covered within a technical details consent application.  She advised that the original application form stated that the proposal was for six to nine dwellings; however, Officers felt that this would not fit the linear pattern of development within the village and the applicant’s agent had submitted amended details for between four and six dwellings.  It was noted that there was a Grade II listed milestone along the frontage of the application site and, whilst its exact location had not yet been determined due to the overgrown nature of the boundary hedge, the Conservation Officer had indicated that this needed to be identified and protected which would be a matter for the technical details stage.  In addition, County Highways had raised concern that it could not be established whether a safe and suitable access could be achieved as no technical reports, such as speed surveys, visibility etc. had been submitted; again, this was a matter for the technical details stage rather than this initial permission in principle stage.

18.38         The Chair indicated that there were no public speakers for this item.  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 refused on the basis that the site was outside of the residential settlement boundary and was not included within the Joint Core Strategy or the Tewkesbury Borough Plan.  A Member raised concern that this was the first planning in principle application that had been brought to the Committee for determination and he felt that further details were needed in order to make an informed decision - without information on size, scale etc. he would be minded to support the motion to refuse the application.  The Chair indicated that he shared these concerns and was unsure how the introduction of planning in principle applications would simplify and speed up the planning process as was intended; nevertheless, the process was available and the application was before the Committee for determination.  The Technical Planning Manager explained that the application had been considered in terms of the five year housing land supply position and he clarified that the tilted balance did apply in this case.  A similar approach had been taken with other schemes in Minsterworth and, for similar reasons, it was felt that the broad principle of development in this location could be supported based on the tilted balance.  He stressed that this was not to say there would not be objections when the details were submitted and, whilst access had been mentioned, he reiterated that it was not something which could be considered at this initial stage.  The Legal Adviser reiterated that permission in principle had been introduced in June 2018 and was about establishing the principle of development i.e. in this case was this location suitable for a development of four to six dwellings.  A Member noted that the details of the proposal would need to come forward should the permission in principle application be granted and she questioned whether that application could be refused if the Council was able to demonstrate a five year housing land supply at that point.  In response, Members were advised that, once granted, permission in principle lasted for three years.  A Member expressed the view that, once the principle had been established, it would be very difficult to stop.  Another Member drew attention to the comments made by the Conservation Officer in relation to the Grade II listed milestone and questioned if that would be an appropriate reason for refusal.  The Technical Planning Manager indicated that his advice would be that this would form part of the technical matters that would come further down the line and could not be included as a refusal reason at this stage.  In terms of location, this was very much a policy issue, as set out in the Officer report; the site was not within the village boundary and was contrary to Policy SD10 of the Joint Core Strategy but the Council was not able to demonstrate a five year housing supply so the tilted balance came into effect.

18.39         A Member raised concern that granting permission in principle could give false hope to the applicant that their proposals would sail through the application process.  The Technical Planning Manager indicated that his view was that it could potentially give “hope” value to land which would not come to fruition, although he was not talking specifically in relation to this particular application.  The Legal Adviser clarified that, once permission in principle had been granted, the location had been established as being appropriate for development; whilst it was not the same as outline planning permission, once outline planning permission had been granted, approval of reserved matters applications were only refused if the technical details themselves were unsatisfactory and that would similarly be the case for these applications.  In response to a query, the Technical Planning Manager confirmed that there was a right of appeal for permission in principle applications and one was currently in process in relation to a site in Minsterworth.

18.40        In response to a query regarding highway concerns, the County Highways representative indicated that his advice must be that Members have these discussions at the technical matters stage; however, he was also concerned that permission in principle was giving false hope that suitable access could be achieved.  Nevertheless, the decision should not be predicated on highway issues.  A Member indicated that she was confused as to the interpretation of the assessment of location and was advised that this must be considered in the context of the development plan and whether it was a designated area e.g. Green Belt or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  On that basis, a Member reiterated that the site was not included within the Tewkesbury Borough Plan and she believed that development in this location would encroach into the countryside and have a detrimental impact which she felt was an appropriate reason to refuse the application.  The proposer and seconder of the motion to refuse the application indicated that they would be happy to incorporate this into their proposal. 

18.41        In response to a query regarding the tilted balance, the Technical Planning Manager clarified that Paragraph 11 of the National Planning Policy Framework and the tilted balance were engaged and the presumption in favour of sustainable development applied, therefore, the application should be granted unless there were any adverse impacts which would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.  If Members were minded to refuse the application, they would need to be very clear about the reasons for doing so.  He indicated that he would be reluctant to include the setting of the listed milestone as it was not possible to say with certainty at this stage that its existence would mean there were no circumstances in which housing would be permitted in this location.  He was also mindful of the fact that the Committee had previously granted planning permission for five houses next door to the Apple Tree Public House in the village so it would be difficult to say that there would now be unacceptable harm which could not be overcome in terms of this proposal. 

18.42         Upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED          That the application be REFUSED on the basis of location which was contrary to the Joint Core Strategy and Tewkesbury Borough Plan and would result in unacceptable encroachment into the open countryside.


04/09/2019 - Garden Town Programme ref: 3943    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Executive

Made at meeting: 04/09/2019 - Executive

Decision published: 09/09/2019

Effective from: 04/09/2019

Decision:

1.         That the progress made to date on the Tewkesbury Garden Town Programme be NOTED.

2.         That the Junction 9 Area Member Reference Panel be DISBANDED.

3.         That the creation of a new Tewkesbury Garden Town Member Reference Panel, together with the Terms of Reference attached at Appendix 2 to the report, be APPROVED, subject to the following amendments to those Terms of Reference:

·           under ‘Constitution and Powers’ add the word ‘Ward’ to ‘Members for Tewkesbury South’;

·           the quorum of the Panel shall be five Members of which at least one will be a Ward Member.

4.         That the progress to date  on the West Cheltenham (Cyber Central) Programme, including the award of Garden Village status, be NOTED.

5.         That authority be delegated to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Lead Members for Built Environment and Finance and Asset Management and the Head of Finance and Asset Management, to agree and enter into appropriate arrangements and other partnership documentation to progress the West Cheltenham Garden Village Programme on terms approved by the Borough Solicitor.


04/09/2019 - Waiver to Contract Procedure Rules ref: 3942    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Executive

Made at meeting: 04/09/2019 - Executive

Decision published: 09/09/2019

Effective from: 04/09/2019

Decision:

That the use of a contract waiver in respect of the purchase of a 12 tonne narrow access vehicle be NOTED.


04/09/2019 - Review of Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Council Tax Discounts ref: 3940    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Executive

Made at meeting: 04/09/2019 - Executive

Decision published: 09/09/2019

Effective from: 04/09/2019

Decision:

That the proposed public consultation on a Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2020/21 be undertaken during the period 16 September to 25 October 2019, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, subject to the amendment of consultation question 4 which currently offers the responses ‘strongly agree’; ‘agree’; ‘neutral’; ‘disagree’; and ‘strongly disagree’ but then asks for further information if the respondent has answered ‘yes’.


04/09/2019 - Financial Update - Quarter One 2019/20 ref: 3939    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Executive

Made at meeting: 04/09/2019 - Executive

Decision published: 09/09/2019

Effective from: 04/09/2019

Decision:

That the financial performance information for the first quarter of 2019/20 be NOTED.  


04/09/2019 - Executive Committee Forward Plan ref: 3938    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Executive

Made at meeting: 04/09/2019 - Executive

Decision published: 09/09/2019

Effective from: 04/09/2019

Decision:

That the Committee’s Forward Plan be NOTED.  


04/09/2019 - Economic Development and Tourism Strategy 2017-21 ref: 3941    For Determination

Decision Maker: Executive

Made at meeting: 04/09/2019 - Executive

Decision published: 09/09/2019

Effective from: 04/09/2019

Decision:

That authority be delegated to the Deputy Chief Executive and the Head of Development Services, in consultation with the Lead Member for Economic Development/Promotion, to make amendments to the Economic Development and Tourism Strategy 2017-21.