Agenda item

Proposed erection of 3 no. dwellings (in lieu of Prior Approval for three dwellings, subject of application 21/00788/COUNOT).


It was reported that this planning application was before the Planning Committee as the proposed development would conflict with the requirements of the Development Plan, principally Policy SPL2 (Settlement Development Boundaries) of the Tendring District Local Plan 2013-2033 and Beyond Section 2 (adopted January 2022) being located outside of any defined settlement development boundary and has a recommendation of approval.


Members were informed that this proposal of dwellings was sited in slightly different locations and resulted in a combined total of 65.5sqm additional footprint, however this was not considered to be materially different to the development approved under prior approval 21/00788/COUNOT. The overall height of Plots 1 and 2 were broadly the same as the existing building, with Plots increased but not to a significant extent.


The Committee heard that there were no significant issues with respect to neighbouring amenities or harm to trees, and there was sufficient parking provision. In addition, no objections had been raised by ECC Ecology subject to conditions. Whilst ECC Highways had objected on the grounds there was a lack of visibility splays information, due to the nature of the site and potential level of activity the existing use provided, as well as the fallback position, it was not considered the impact on the local highway network would be significantly harmful.


The Committee had before it the published Officer report containing the key planning issues, relevant planning policies, planning history, any response from consultees, written representations received and a recommendation of approval.


At the meeting, an oral presentation was made by the Council’s Planning Team Leader (JJ) in respect of the application.


There had been no updates circulated to the Committee prior to the meeting.


Mollie Foley, the applicant’s agent, spoke in support of the application.


Steve Pryer, a member of the public, spoke against the application.


Matters raised by Members of the Committee:-

Officer’s response thereto:-

Is there a fallback position on the footprint of the existing building?

*The Officer showed the changes on the screen*

Is the fallback conversion of the existing building on the current footprint?

Yes, that is correct. 

When the Class Q application was made, was there any discussion of Ecology? E.g., Bats, and other protected species.

Bio-diversity information was not available initially.

If the fallback position did not exist, would you be recommending approval?

It is unlikely that Officers would have recommended approval for three new builds in the countryside outside the Settlement Development Boundary of Great Oakley.

Given the new bio-diversity ecology information, what is the legal ability to convert existing buildings given that protected species are present?

Yes, realistic proportion exists, therefore fallback position is given considerable weight. ECC Ecology “holding objection” has been overcome, as little evidence of bats and barn owl activity exists and given the qualified ecologist’s belief that the current buildings are not suitable for protected species.

Would it be legal to convert given the presence of bats in some of the buildings?

Under Class Q – Ecology is not a major consideration, but the Council does have a duty under the Wildlife Act. This was considered in making the original Class Q application. Therefore, Officers have nothing to hand to say there is not a realistic proposition to implement the prior approval. Acknowledgement that mitigation measures may be an issue for the applicant in the future. Weight to be given to the fallback position is for the decision maker based on the material facts presented in each identical case.

If these buildings were brought forward as a non-designated heritage asset, how would it be viewed?

Officers fully acknowledge that these buildings have historic value but are not protected legally by listing.  These have not been considered to be non-designated heritage assets.  The application must be considered on its current merits. Officers have not consulted Place Services Heritage Team as the buildings are not listed.

Any change in Highways matters from the fallback position?

Nothing has changed. Visibility splays are acceptable. Parking provision is acceptable and impact on highway network is low.

Could you expand on reference in Section 6.54 that site is not located within a Drinking Water Safeguard Zone?

Section 6.54 explains the context and thought process of Officer to justify using a package treatment plant and a soakaway and it was considered acceptable.

Does this site need a soakaway and where will it go?

Yes, it does. Soakaway provision will be covered by Building Control under the Building Regulations.

SPL3 (Suitable Designs) – Does this application meet the criteria of that Policy, given the loss of these historic farm buildings? Also given the increase in the size of the buildings.

Not statutorily listed but accept the historic nature. With SPL3 it comes down to the design of the proposed buildings. The merit of the proposal outweighs its negatives in the opinion of the Officers but it’s down to Members to make their own judgements.


Following discussion by the Committee, it was moved by Councillor Harris, seconded by Councillor Everett and:-


RESOLVED that, contrary to the Officer’s recommendation of approval, the Head of Planning (or equivalent authorised Officer) be authorised to refuse planning permission for the development due to the following reasons:-


“The erection of 3no. dwellings (in lieu of Prior Approval for three dwellings) would, if approved, result in increased footprint, massing and forward projections directly adjacent to Stonehall Lane and fails to enhance the setting of the locality. Moreover, the appearance would consist of excessive use of cladding out of character in an area where the use of brick is currently the predominant material.  Collectively the new development would harm visual amenity, not be in keeping with prevailing rural character and fails to maintain local character and distinctiveness or enhance the location compared to the existing building with retained historic features and materials.  Therefore, the development is considered to conflict with the development plan including policies SPL2 SPL3, SP7, PPL3 as well as the NPPF including Section 12. Achieving well-designed places.”


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