Erection of 1 no. dwelling and associated landscaping.
Defer for further information.
As Mr Briscoe had declared a predetermination he withdrew from the committee and took a seat in the public gallery.
This application was discussed having been deferred by the Committee at their meeting on Wednesday 9 June for a site visit. A site visit took place on Monday 9 August.
Mr Mew presented the report to the Committee. He drew the Committee’s attention to the Agenda Update Sheet which acknowledged that the Westbourne Neighbourhood Plan had now passed referendum and carried significant weight. However, he explained that this change did not alter the report conclusions and as such the application was recommended for approval.
Mr Mew confirmed that the development was established through paragraph 80(e) of the National Planning Policy Framework 2021(NPPF) and was not contrary to the Neighbourhood Plan.
Mr Mew explained that para 80 of the NPPF 2021 had replaced para 79, the main difference was that innovative had been removed from the previous requirement to be truly outstanding or innovative.. He confirmed that the development did still meet the policy requirements by being ‘truly outstanding’ and ‘significantly enhancing the local area’
Mr Mew highlighted the site location and proposed layout, including the site access and proposed biodiversity enhancements.
The Committee received the following representations;
Mr Richard Hancock – Parish Council Representative
Mr Roy Briscoe – Objector (upon completing his representation Mr Briscoe withdrew from the room)
Mr Jonathan Braddick – Supporter (statement read by Fiona Baker)
Mr Rob Hughes – Agent (statement read by Fiona Baker)
Officers responded to Members’ comments and questions as follows;
With regards to other similar comparable projects within the district; Mr Whitty informed the Committee that he was unaware of any other projects that have been developed under para 80(e), he did acknowledge that this was a unique project and the standards required for a development under this policy are exceptionally high.
On the matter of how sustainable the development is given that any occupant would be required to have their own transport; Mr Mew explained that para 80(e) can only be applied to development in an isolated location, therefore it is accepted that occupiers would be required to have their own transport.
On the matter of whether para 80 (e) superseded other policy; Mr Whitty confirmed that para 80(e) did not supersede other policy, he explained that through this policy the principle of the development is establish, but consideration is given to other policy and how it applies to the development.
On the matter of the land classification; Mr Whitty confirmed that the land was grade 3 agricultural land.
On the matter of the design of the proposed development; Mr Whitty explained that this is a subjective matter and what one person ‘likes’ differs significantly from what another individual ‘likes’, he advised the Committee that they were not been asked to consider whether they liked the design, but the whether it met the requirements set out in para 80(e). The design had been considered by an independent Design Review Panel, who on their second review has agreed that it does meet the requirements set out in policy.
With regards to the development being unsuitable for the proposed location; Mr Whitty explained that para 80(e) could only be applied to development within an isolated location.
On the matter of the site access and visibility splays (particularly to the right when exiting the site); Mr Whitty acknowledged that there was a pinch point, and drew the Committee’s attention to a layby that would allow for vehicles to pass. With regards to the visibility splay he confirmed that WSCC had commented as the responsible authority and raised no concerns. In addition, he explained that the access was on a raised slope which would allow those exiting an elevated view of any traffic on Woodmancote Lane. He also reminded the Committee that this was an entrance to a single dwelling and how it was engineered should reflect that, it would not be appropriate for an entrance similar in style to that of a larger development site to be installed.
On the matter of why the entrance had not been located further along the lane; Mr Mew explained that an area of ancient woodland was located along this stretch.
With regards to how much of the current access level would be retained; Mr Mew explained that any proposed level changes had been clarified with the agent and confirmed that there was minimal change at the access point.
Acknowledging member concerns regarding highway issues and potential discrepancies between submitted plans; Mr Mew agreed to go back to WSCC highways and raise the concerns with them for further comment.
On the matter of how the design would raise the standard of design within the rural area, given concerns raised that the design was not sensitive in design to its surrounding landscape or keeping with other buildings; Mr Whitty highlighted the design concept and that the proposed landscaping had been developed in line with existing field boundaries and was therefore, in his opinion, sensitive to the existing landscape.
Ahead of the vote and in response to members concerns regarding the proposed application, Mr Whitty advised members to consider, that if they chose to refuse to the recommendation; on what grounds are they refusing the application, officers have acknowledged concerns regarding highways and therefore he would advise the Committee to consider deferring the application for further information, as a refusal could is likely to result in an appeal.
In a vote the Committee refused the recommendation to Defer for Section 106 then permit subject to no objection from Natural England.
In response to a question form the Chairman, Mr Whitty confirmed that the applicant could appeal on the grounds of lack of determination, however, if the Committee chose to defer and the application is considered at the next Committee meeting, he believed that the aithrority wouldl still be able to control the decision.
On the matter of whether the same Committee members could reassess the application again at a future meeting; Ms Golding confirmed that they could, Committee members are well trained and as long as they have an open mind and are able to listen and consider further advice, then they can reassess the application
The Chairman proposed that Committee defer the item to allow officers time to gather further information on the site access (and related highway concerns) and negotiate with the applicant to further demonstrate how the design will ‘further enhance’ design within the wider area.
Cllr Bowden seconded the proposal
In a vote the Committee agreed the recommendation; Defer for further information on both the site access (and related highway concerns) and how the design will further enhance design within the wider area.
The Committee took a ten minute break.