Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Carole Oliphant Member Services Manager
Link: audio recording
Members to note the Virtual Meeting Protocol
The Committee had before it, and NOTED, the *‘Protocol for Remote Meetings.
Note: *’Protocol for Remote Meetings’ previously circulated and attached to the minutes.
APOLOGIES AND SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS (00.05.26)
To receive any apologies for absence and notices of appointment of substitute.
There were no apologies or substitute members.
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME (00.05.32)
To receive any questions relating to items on the Agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
Note: A maximum of 30 minutes is allowed for this item.
1. Mrs Hill spoke in relation to item 12 on the agenda, land north of Town Farm, Burlescombe. My questions relate mainly to the ancient boundary hedge. Context very quickly, Blackdown Environmental conducted an ecology assessment report in February 2018, the plan then was for 13 houses and Blackdown’s understanding was that the ancient hedge would remain intact as per the design proposals. They refer to the boundary hedge along Old Road as species rich, potential to be categorised as an important hedgerow under the Hedgerow Regulations Act 1997. There also exists a Devon biodiversity and geodiversity action plan from Devon County Council with policies to protect the hedgerows. Blackdown’s views can still be viewed on MDDC Planning portal. It was never updated dated but revised in July 2019. That has significant differences from plans report in 2018.
Can Officers explain why they have not met the requirements of the Hedgerow Regulations Act 97 by requesting an up-to-date assessment to address the ecological, botanical and heritage importance of the ancient boundary hedge?
Can Officers also explain why they failed to reconsult the ecologists (as the ecologists advised in the report) and or ensure an opportunity for a revised consultation response addressing the now proposed removal of 55 metres of the boundary hedgerow?
Can Officers explain why they did not ensure this was done?
The Ecologists wanted retention and protection of this historically important hedgerow. Can Officers explain why MDDC subsequently recommended Approval on a Revised Scheme that would destroy it?
Can Officers explain the discounting of the documented historic background to the Boundary Hedge from Devon County’s Historic Records team, reference to the Domesday, and the hedgerows importance?
You say there isn’t sufficient reason to recommend refusal on its own but MDDC has failed to address these issues and failed to conduct a proper survey of the impact. So it leaves the authority in danger of a breaching the Hedgerow’s Regulation Act of 1997 and the Environmental Impact Regulations too.
Would Councillors not agree that the hedgerow’s historic origins and in particular the Ecologist’s requirements for retention and protection of this Boundary is an additional and valid Reason for Refusal as is the imminent adoption of the Local Plan which puts this site out of the settlement limit?
2. Mrs Hill spoke on behalf of Cllr Lewis Worrow from Burlescombe Parish Council, in relation to the same item (as he had not been in attendance at this point in the meeting).
The preservation and importance of Burlescombe’s Grade I listed church and its setting is now listed as a reason for Refusal, supported by MDDC’s Statutory duty under Section 66 of the Planning Act of 1990 and Policies DM27 and DM25.
The starting point for Appeals Inspectors in cases such as these is a ’strong presumption against granting permission’ if there is any harm to the heritage asset itself or its setting.
This Application does not overcome or negate even ‘less than substantial’ harm to the setting of the ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS UNDER THE CODE OF CONDUCT (00.25.44)
Councillors are reminded of the requirement to declare any interest, including the type of interest, and reason for that interest at each item.
Members were reminded of the need to declare any interests when appropriate.
Members to consider whether to approve the minutes as a correct record of the meeting held on 17TH June 2020
The minutes of the meeting held on 17th June 2020 were agreed as a true record.
CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS (00.27.55)
To receive any announcements the Chairman may wish to make.
The Chairman had the following announcements to make:
· She informed the meeting that item 14 on the agenda - Tree Preservation Order 20/0003 – Land at Meadow Park, Willand, Devon had been deferred
· She informed Members that Lucy Hodgson would be leaving the authority after 16 years and she thanked her for her support of the Planning Committee and wished her well for the future
DEFERRALS FROM THE PLANS LIST (00.30.20)
To report any items appearing in the Plans List which have been deferred.
There were no deferrals from the Plans list.
To consider the planning applications contained in the list.
The Committee considered the applications in the *Plans List.
Note: *List previously circulated; copy attached to the signed Minutes.
a) 20/00189/FULL – (Conversion of agricultural building to dwelling, retention of office building with temporary use as living accommodation while barn conversion takes place, erection of garage/carport and summerhouse at Land and Buildings at NGR 279660 98291, Brookdale, Neopardy).
The Area Team Leader had informed the Committee that a completed Unilateral Undertaking had been received from the applicant providing a financial contribution towards Air Quality Management in Crediton.
He outlined the contents of the report by way of a presentation highlighting the location, the block plan including the proposed landscaping and the existing and proposed plans.
He explained that the application was seeking approval to convert an agricultural building into one dwelling. The log cabin on site was the same dimensions as a caravan and would be converted to an office building once the main house was completed.
He provided the Committee with a background to the previous Class Q approval for the site which approved the change of use of the agricultural building to 2 x 4 bedroomed dwellings. The prior approval allowed the applicant to live in a temporary building on site under permitted rights.
He explained the appeal decision of Mansell v Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council (2017) and deemed that an original decision of the Class Q application (2 x 4 bedroomed dwellings) would be a fall back position if the current application was refused and went to appeal.
The Area Team Leader stated that the revised application of one dwelling would reduce the amount of traffic and that the building would be completely off grid with extensive tree planting. He stated that the one neighbouring property would not be overlooked and the log cabin would be repurposed into an office building once the conversion was complete.
Consideration was given to:
· The fall back position if the application was refused and went to appeal
· The log cabin would be converted to offices once the conversion was complete and could not be used as self contained residential accommodation
· The footprint of the proposed building was the same as the original
· Legislation which determined when Class Q could be applied for and possible restrictions through condition
· The views of the applicant who stated that the log cabin would be used as offices for his business once the conversion was completed and that he intended for this to be his forever home built to the highest quality
· The views of the Parish Council who were against the application and felt that the original application would have improved the area but the proposed dwelling was too large for 2 people and questioned the need for offices on site
· The views of the Ward Members with regard to the large mobile home on site that was built without requiring separate planning permission, that the proposal was not betterment when 2 buildings were reduced down to one, that it exceeded the ... view the full minutes text for item 31.
List attached for consideration of major applications and potential site visits.
The Committee had before it, and NOTED, a *list of major applications with no decision.
It was AGREED that:
· Application 20/00832/MOUT (Land at NGR 295372 113642 Bolham Road Tiverton Devon) be brought before the committee for determination, no site visit was requested
Note: *list previously circulated and attached to the minutes.
To receive for information a list of recent appeal decisions.
The Committee had before it, and NOTED, a *list of appeal decisions providing information on the outcome of recent planning appeals.
Note: *list previously circulated and attached to the minutes.
At the Planning Committee meeting on 17th June 2020, Members advised that they were minded to refuse the above application and invited an implications report for further consideration.
At the Planning Committee meeting on 17th June 2020, Members advised that they were minded to refuse the above application and invited an implications report for further consideration. The Committee therefore had before it an *implications report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration setting out the implications of refusal.
The Planning Officer explained the implications report highlighting the reasons for refusal that members had identified at the previous meeting:
· Number of developments in the area
· Suitability of this particular business in this particular area
· Impact of noise on site and the number of hours worked
He explained that Public Health had appraised the application and that they concluded that subject to restrictions on hours that the impact could be adequately mitigated.
He informed members that the north end of the site had been determined as in the fringes of the North Devon Biosphere, a UNESCO-designated reserve, that officers had considered this and that with regard to the scale and nature of the proposed development within that portion of the site that the proposed conditions were adequate.
He addressed the points submitted by the Ward Member at public question time:
· Alternative sites had been investigated within a 3 mile radius not 3km
· Members should only consider the noise impacts of the application site and not from other locations
Members requested confirmation of the additional and updated conditions which had been presented at the previous Committee meeting.
The Planning Officer confirmed the additional and updated conditions as:
· Additional Condition - No external lighting shall be installed on site unless details of such lighting, including the intensity of illumination and predicted lighting contours, have been first submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority prior to its installation. Any external lighting that is installed shall accord with the details so approved.
· Amended reason for Condition 3 - To allow the Local Planning Authority to retain control over the future use of the site, in the interests of visual and residential amenity, in accordance with policy DM2.
· Amended Condition 4 - The building hereby approved shall be used for purposes falling within Use Class B1(a) or (b) only and for no other purpose (including any other purpose in any Use Class of the Schedule to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, or in any provision equivalent to that Class in any statutory instrument revoking and re-enacting that Order with or without modification), or any other use permitted under the provisions of Article 3 of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)(England) Order 2015 (or any Order revoking and re-enacting that Order with or without modification).
· Amended Condition 6 - No external lighting shall be installed on site unless details of such lighting, including the intensity of illumination and predicted lighting contours, have been first submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority prior to its installation. Any external lighting that is installed shall accord with the details so approved.
It was ... view the full minutes text for item 34.
At the Planning Committee meeting on 17th December2019, Members advised that they were minded to refuse the above application and invited an implications report for further consideration.
At the Planning Committee meeting on 17th December 2019, Members advised that they were minded to refuse the above application and invited an implications report for further consideration. The Committee therefore had before it an *implications report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration setting out the implications of refusal.
The Principal Planning Officer explained the implications report highlighting the reasons for refusal that members had identified at the previous meeting:
1. The impact of the proposal on the historic hedge/wall
2. The impact of the proposal on the historic location
3. The impact of the proposal on the setting of the Grade I listed church
4. The lack of pavements in the area and the narrowness of the roads.
He explained that the first two reasons for refusal could be combined as they dealt with the same. He explained this would leave 3 reasons for refusal:
1. The impact of the proposal on the historic hedge/wall & The impact of the proposal on the historic location
2. The impact of the proposal on the setting of the Grade I listed church
3. The lack of pavements in the area and the narrowness of the roads.
He further explained that reason 1 could be considered as a reason for refusal as this was a revised application but he would go into more details about this later on in his presentation. He explained that reason 2 could be considered as a reason for refusal and the Conservation Officer would give further details but reason 3 was not supported by Highways and therefore was unlikely to succeed.
He explained that a further reason for refusal could be considered as the application site was now deemed to be outside of the settlement limit as confirmed in the published Mid Devon Local Plan review which carried substantial weight for a reasons for refusal.
The officer then went on to address the questions raised at public question time:
· Under section 6 of the Hedgerow Regulations planning applications were exempt from needing to be being considered so carrying out planning applications is deemed to be accepted and does fall to be considered under that regulation
· An Ecology assessment was submitted with the previous application it identified the potential for the hedge to be an important roadside hedge. Natural England were consulted on the application at every stage and the LPA should be reasonable in their requests for additional information from applicants, not putting them to any additional expense unless absolutely necessary. Given that the application was being refused and therefore there would be no need for the roadside hedge to be removed it was not considered proportionate to request additional survey work be undertaken. Where protected species are likely to be removed a licence is required from Natural England before works can progress. This is a requirement outside of the planning system.
· The issue of the loss of the hedge in the current application was addressed in the officer report to committee in December 2019 and ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
To receive a report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration regarding this Tree Preservation Order
The Committee had before it a * report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration regarding the above application.
The Area Team Leader outlined the contents of the report via a presentation highlighting the location of the tree , photographs of the tree from various locations and the tree itself.
Consideration was given to:
· The views of the agent who stated that the tree was structurally poor and only some of the issues had been addressed by the tree officer and that the tree had many defects. The applicant was not looking to clear the site of all trees
· The Ward Member who said the challenge to the TPO was unnecessary and it was not to stop development but that the Parish Council were looking forward to development plans for the site be being brought forward. The tree had historic significance.
· Confirmation from the Council’s Tree Officer to the age of the tree and how many years of useful life were remaining
· Whether the tree was safe
· The rooting system of the tree
· Responsibility for the tree
RESOLVED that the Tree Preservation Order be confirmed.
(Proposed by Cllr F W Letch and seconded by Cllr L J Cruwys)
Notes: *Report previously circulated copy attached to the minutes.
To receive a report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration regarding this Tree Preservation Order
This item was deferred as stated in minute No 29
ACCESS TO INFORMATION - EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC (04.00.02)
It may be necessary to pass the following resolution to exclude the press and public having reflected on Article 12 12.02(d) (a presumption in favour of openness) of the Constitution. This decision may be required because consideration of this matter in public may disclose information falling within one of the descriptions of exempt information in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972. The Planning Committee will need to decide whether, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption, outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
To consider passing the following resolution so that financial information and legal issues may be discussed.
Recommended that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 respectively of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) and paragraph 5, information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.
Prior to considering the following item on the agenda, discussion took place as to whether it was necessary to pass the following resolution to exclude the press and public having reflected on Article 15 15.02(d) (a presumption in favour of openness) of the Constitution with the following issues being raised:
· Legal advice with regard to information pertaining to individuals, financial and business affairs and legal professional privilege
· The financial and business affairs of the company and that much of that information was confidential or had been provided as such
· Members needed to be have a full and frank debate on the issues which should take place in closed session
The Planning Committee decided that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.
It was therefore:
RESOLVED that: under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 namely information relating to any individual; paragraph 3 respectively of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) and paragraph 5 namely information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.
(Proposed by the Chairman)
Prior to going into closed session the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration provided answers to questions that had been asked at public question time:
Public Question response Higher Town, Sampford Peverell
· It is for Committee to instruct Officers over defence of reasons for refusal.
· As a public inquiry, consultants have been secured on behalf of the Council to defend the Council's position and will appear as expert witnesses and have submitted their proofs of evidence.
· The wording of policy SP2 in full, the Inspector's report on the Local Plan and its adoption status are material considerations at the appeal and the Council's case at appeal will take these into account.
APPEAL - APPLICATION 17/01359/MOUT - OUTLINE FOR THE ERECTION OF 60 DWELLINGS AND CONSTRUCTION OF NEW VEHICULAR ACCESS ONTO HIGHWAY TO THE WEST OF THE SITE - LAND AND BUILDINGS AT NGR 302469 114078, HIGHER TOWN, SAMPFORD PEVERELL
To consider a report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration and the Head of Legal Services (Monitoring Officer).
Returning to open session:
The Planning Committee RESOLVED to continue with the defence of the appeal of Application 17/01359/MOUT in accordance with the current position.