Venue: Phoenix Chamber, Phoenix House, Tiverton
Contact: Carole Oliphant Member Services Officer
ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
To elect a Chairman for the remainder of the municipal year 2021-2022
Councillor L J Cruwys MOVED, seconded by Councillor E J Berry that Councillor P J Heal be elected Chairman of the Planning Committee for the remainder of the municipal year.
As there were no other proposals, Councillor P J Heal was duly elected Chairman of the Planning Committee for the remainder of the municipal year.
APOLOGIES AND SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS (00-02-10)
To receive any apologies for absence and notices of appointment of substitute.
There were no apologies for absence.
To note the protocol for remote meetings.
The Committee had before it, and NOTED, the *Hybrid Meetings Protocol.
Note: *Protocol previously circulated and attached to the minutes.
Members to consider whether to approve the minutes as a correct record of the meeting held on 8 September 2021.
Subject to an amendment to the title of the 4th speaker in public question time – removing ‘Mr’ and replacing with ‘Dr’, the minutes of the meeting held on 8 September 2021 were agreed as a true record and duly signed by the Chairman.
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME (00-07-41)
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.
Mr Matthews referring to Item 10 (Langford PV Solar Array) on the agenda stated that: The officer states the supposed benefits to the local population. But there are none. Most of the money will be spent in China and specialist contractors will be brought in to do the work. Do you agree that there will be very few, if any, local jobs, that there will be a loss of agricultural land and farming, a loss of our beautiful landscape, a loss of tourism, wildlife disruption, and an impact on deer?
Mr Matthews (speaking on behalf of this wife) and again referring to item 10 asked: Do you agree that poor quality, low nutritional grass and weeds will grow under and between the solar panels and that, as experience has shown, sheep grazing will not be continued and in fact grass mowing and use of herbicides will become necessary? Photos showing sheep in solar farms are just for propaganda purposes.
Dr Bratby again referring to item 10 asked 2 questions:
1. Can you provide an update on the investigation into how the two words "high grade" appeared in the minutes of the meeting of 14th July?
2. The Implications Report gives a warning about the implications for Mid Devon District Council of an appeal if the committee refuses this application. Are you aware that Devon CPRE has considerable experience at appeals, whether by public inquiry, hearing or by written representation and Devon CPRE would support MDDC in the event of an appeal?
Mrs Wheeler referring to the same application stated: In its submission of November 22nd 2019 Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) recommended to guarantee bio diversity impact and soil improvement a fully qualified habitat restoration ecologist should be involved throughout. Mid Devon’s welcome conditioning of an ecological clerk of works does not of itself meet that criterion. Can we be assured that should the application be accepted DWTs specific stipulation will be adopted and if not why not?
Mr Roland Smith referring to the same application stated that: We are all very well aware of the current energy crisis, which stems from gas price hikes and an increasing reliance on gas-fired power stations to cover for the poor performance of unreliable renewables such as wind and solar. Do you not consider it madness to build more solar farms and make the energy crisis in the future even worse?
The report states “The social and economic benefit of providing for the average electrical needs of 10,077 homes in the Mid Devon area. Do you not agree that his is not true as the solar farm will be supplying to the distribution network, not specifically to Mid Devon? It will contribute to the national demand for electrical energy to the paltry extent of 0.016% of average demand and absolutely zero after sunset when demand is at its highest?
A question asked before but which remains unanswered: can you tell us why the Officer maintains that the development will cut greenhouse gas emissions ... view the full minutes text for item 94.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS UNDER THE CODE OF CONDUCT (00-20-55)
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.
CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS (00-21-03)
To receive any announcements the Chairman may wish to make.
The Chairman paid tribute to the outgoing Chairman and thanked her for her tremendous work as chairman of the committee and he was grateful that she had decided to remain as a member of the committee.
DEFERRALS FROM THE PLANS LIST (00-21-55)
To report any items appearing on the Plans List which have been deferred.
There were no deferrals from the Plans List.
To consider the items in the Plans List.
The Committee considered the applications in the *Plans List.
Note: *List previously circulated and attached to the minutes.
Applications dealt with without debate.
In accordance with its agreed procedure the Committee identified those applications contained in the Plans List which could be dealt with without debate.
RESOLVED that the following applications be determined or otherwise dealt with in accordance with the various recommendations contained in the list namely:
a) Application 21/00787/FULL – Erection of 2 residential flats – adjacent to 24 and 24A Siddalls Gardens Tiverton be approved subject to the conditions as set out in the report.
(Proposed by the Chairman)
Note: Cllr L J Cruwys requested that his vote against the decision be recorded.
Reason for the decision – As set out in the report
b) Application 21/00787/FULL – Installation of concrete ramp and railings to front access – 49 Bilbie Close, Cullompton be approved subject to the conditions as set out in the report.
(Proposed by the Chairman)
Reason for the decision – As set out in the report
APPLICATION 19/01679/FULL - CONSTRUCTION OF GROUND MOUNTED SOLAR PV PANEL TO GENERATE UP TO 49.9MW (SITE AREA 60.78HA) AND BATTERY STORAGE FACILITY TOGETHER WITH ALL ASSOCIATED WORKS, EQUIPMENT AND NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE - EAST OF LANGFORD MILL AND TYE FARM, LANGFORD (00-27-00) PDF 461 KB
To consider an implications report of the Consultant – Development Management, with regard to this application.
At the meeting of 14 July 2021, the Committee were minded to refuse the application and requested that an *implications report be produced to consider the reasons for refusal.
The Consultant for Development Management recapped on the history of the application and the previous reports that the committee had considered and the reasons for deferral. He requested that members consider the update sheet: the proposed amended reasons for refusal and a further representation.
He then supplied responses to questions raised in public question time:
· With regard to the investigation, this was ongoing and expected to be completed by the end of the month
· With regard to the CPRE offering assistance should an appeal be lodged, he thanked them but advised them as a third party they could apply to the Planning Inspectorate as a rule 6 party.
· With regard to the site visit – some members did visit the site and that all members had taken account of all the issues raised within the report and were familiarr with the site
· With regard to the visual impact of the proposal, this had been addressed within the report
· With regard to sheep grazing – sheep did graze fields with PV arrays
· With regard to supposed benefits to the local population – the bullet points in the report covered all of the objections, however the officer had looked at the benefits as part of the planning balance
· With regard to the loss of agricultural land and whether farmland should be used to produce top quality meat and dairy products rather than low grade energy – he referred to the report and the high carbon footprint of meat.
· With regard to questions from Mr Smith, he stated that the application had been assessed in line with the latest planning policy and guidance and that the report highlighted the benefits of the proposal
· With regard to a detailed and realistic forecast of what the solar farm would likely generate in different conditions, this was not required in support of this application and for further information the applicant may be able to assist with this
· He informed the meeting all the other information requested was available within the report.
The officer then outlined the contents of the report highlighting by way of presentation the site location and layout of the proposal which included plans of the siting of the panels, and the plant and battery storage. He provided photographs from various aspects looking towards the site and existing and photomontage views of the site. He then outlined the 3 reasons for refusal outlined within the implications report and revised in the update sheet.
The officer then explained in detail the following:
· The possible adverse impact on the landscape, explaining the contents of the Landscape Visual Impact Assessment submitted by the applicant and how this had been considered against the Council’s Supplementary Planning Document on Solar PV Developments in the Landscape (2016).
· The possible adverse impact on the Grade II* listed property - Langford Court and ... view the full minutes text for item 99.