To consider an implications report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration regarding the above application; Members at the meeting on 18 April 2018, were minded to refuse planning permission, but a final decision was deferred pending consideration of this implications report.
The Committee had before it an * implications report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration regarding the above application; Members at the meeting on 18 April 2018, were minded to refuse planning permission, but a final decision was deferred pending consideration of this implications report.
The Area Team Leader outlined the contents of the report stating that the only additional information to that discussed at the previous meeting was that the agent would be submitting an application for the revised location of the slurry pit. He informed the meeting of the current application site, the relationship between the dairy and the location of the slurry pit, the plan which identified the pipe line, the access and photographs from various aspects of the site. He explained that if Members were to refuse the application then enforcement action would be required and that this had been added to the recommendations before Members as requested.
Consideration was given to:
· Possible enforcement action and the process that would have to take place
· Possible noise issues from the proposed pumping of slurry via a pipeline
· The continued impact of the slurry pit on the neighbouring properties
RESOLVED that the application be refused on the following grounds that:
The slurry lagoon and earth bank surrounding it, by reason of its size, scale and siting in close proximity to the neighbouring properties at Mardles Gate and Manor Croft, is considered to adversely affect the residential amenity and the living conditions of these neighbouring occupants. Furthermore, and given the close proximity to the aforementioned residential properties, the members of the Planning Committee remain unconvinced that the scope of the mitigation measures as proposed as part of the planning application proposal are sufficient to address the odour nuisance and air quality impact in a robust and satisfactory manner and would therefore continue to contribute to the scope of the un-neighbourly impacts that would arise from the scheme as it is proposed. On this the application scheme is considered to be contrary to Policies DM2, DM7 and DM22 of Mid Devon Local Plan Part 3 (Development Management Policies) and guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework.
Having regard to the provisions of the Mid Devon Development Plan and all other material planning considerations in accordance with Sections 172 and 183, Town and Country Planning Act 1990, (“the Act”) delegated authority be given to the Group Manager for Legal Services to take all such steps and action necessary to secure the restoration of the land to its former condition which would at the same time redress the unauthorised use of it to store slurry. This may include the issue of an enforcement notice and prosecution and/or direct action in the event of non-compliance with the notice. The reason as recommended for serving the notice is set out above.
Delegated authority be given to the Group Manager for Legal Services, in consultation with the Group Manager for Development Management, to make a decision on whether a stop notice should be issued to require the cessation of the use of the slurry lagoon in anticipation of full compliance with the requirements of the enforcement notice, subject to the Group Manager for Legal Services being satisfied that it is expedient to issue a stop notice, having regard to an assessment of the costs and benefits of such action and whether there is an essential need to safeguard amenity or prevent serious harm to the environment.
(Proposed by Cllr P J Heal and seconded by Cllr F W Letch)
i) Cllr P J Heal declared a personal interest as he knew the objectors and also made a declaration in accordance with the Protocol of Good Practice for Councillor dealing in Planning Matters as he was had spoken to local people regarding the matter;
ii) Cllr F W Letch declared a personal interest as he knew the objector and also made a declaration in accordance with the Protocol of Good Practice for Councillor dealing in Planning matters as he had been lobbied by local residents;
iii) The following late information was reported: Additional Information from applicant:
I refer to our earlier correspondence and discussions regarding this application.
I have now had the opportunity to look at and consider your report for the planning committee meeting on 16 May and I felt it might be useful to have my further observations on that which you can if you wish report to members of the planning committee.
I comment as follows:
1. Reason for refusal 1
1.1 The wording for the refusal is clearly contrary to your recommendation for approval as set out in the previous report to committee. The reason also is contrary to the recommendation made by your public health officer.
1.2 It appears that committee members are unconvinced that the scope of the mitigation measures as proposed are sufficient to address any odour nuisance and impact on air quality in a robust and satisfactory manner. The fitting of a cover across the lagoon and importation and extraction of dirty water from the lagoon in accordance with the management plan submitted as part of the application will in my opinion overcome such concerns. Should there be a breach of any of the conditions that you proposed then appropriate enforcement action by service of a breach of condition notice could be implemented.
1.3 I am instructed that in the event that the committee refuse the application next Wednesday an appeal should be lodged in very short order against that decision, the basis of the argument to be presented will be fundamentally that a negotiated compromise to overcome concerns had been agreed with the council.
1.4 My client has also commissioned me to try to secure planning consent at an alternative location some 250 metres to the southwest of the current site in accordance with the preliminary plan that I have previously sent you.
1.5 A topographical survey for that site has now been completed and I hope to be able to produce a design for the lagoon and to submit a formal application to you within a period of approximately 15 working days.
1.6 Because of the distance of that alternative location from the closest residential property and also because of intervening features such as ground levels, hedgerows, tree planting, etc. and prevailing wind direction, it is not considered necessary for that lagoon to have a fitted cover. In this regard my client draws attention to the other unauthorised slurry lagoon just along the road which I gather has now been recommended for consent without a cover.
1.7 In terms of timescale, I would hope that if the application for the alternative location can be submitted to you before the end of May your authority may be able to reach a decision on that before the end of July. That would then just about give time for the construction of the new lagoon prior to the autumn season when storage facilities for slurry will again be required at the farm holding.
1.8 In the event that planning consent is granted for the alternative location the appeal against the present location would then be withdrawn.
2. Threatened enforcement action
2.1 I am instructed that in the event that an enforcement notice is served by your authority against the current lagoon I am to appeal that on Ground A - planning consent should be granted subject to installation of a fitted cover and subject to conditions relating to the odour management plan, possibly also on the basis that the requirements of the notice exceed what is required to remedy the breach of control and also against the time for compliance set out on the notice.
2.2 I would respectfully suggest that as there is more than adequate time left under the 4-year rule the matter of serving an enforcement notice could be delayed until the issue of the alterative location has been resolved. That would save both parties considerable time, trouble and costs.
3. Service of a stop notice
3.1 The service of a stop notice against the existing lagoon could prove to be disastrous for the farming enterprise and have very significant and major financial implications. I would urge that very careful consideration should be given by officers of the council to that matter and I am instructed that should you feel it necessary to have a further meeting or discussion with regard to the potential implications of such action I am to assist you as far as possible.
4.1 Both I and my client are aware that there appear to be a number of unauthorised slurry lagoons on dairy holdings within Mid Devon. Those have resulted because of changes in farming practice. Traditionally (as I am sure you know) animals were wintered on straw bedding but that is no longer the case.
4.2 I know that some slurry lagoons have been granted planning consent and I personally was involved in a major proposal for such a facility a few years ago at West Sandford but equally I am aware that some lagoons on farms in the area have been constructed without planning consent because farmers believed that their construction was permitted development not requiring planning permission.
4.3 My client is one such farmer and had it not been for the close proximity to an agricultural worker’s dwelling which was until recently not occupied in accordance with the condition, it is perhaps questionable whether the matter would ever have come to the notice of your authority. That would appear to be the case with many other such lagoons in the Mid Devon area. Notwithstanding the above, my client is keen to try to resolve the issue of his essential slurry lagoon with your authority as swiftly as possible.
iv) *Report previously circulated, copy attached to minutes.