Agenda, decisions and minutes

Development Committee - Thursday, 29th September, 2022 9.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices. View directions

Contact: Lauren Gregory  Email:

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Cllr A Fitch-Tillett, Cllr A Yiasimi and Cllr A Varley.




There were no substitutes in attendance at the meeting.  


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 328 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of a meeting of the Committee held on Thursday 1st September 2022.


The minutes of the Development Committee meeting held Thursday 1st September 2022 were approved as a correct record.



(a)     To determine any other items of business which the Chairman decides should be   considered as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


(b)     To consider any objections received to applications which the Head of Planning was authorised to determine at a previous meeting.





Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.  The Code of Conduct for Members requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest.  Members are requested to refer to the attached guidance and flowchart.


Cllr V Holliday declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda Item 8, PF/21/1878. She advised that she had taken guidance on this matter and had been informed that she could participate in the meeting and that could vote on the application.


Cllr A Brown declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda Item 8, PF/21/1878, for the same reasons as outlined by Cllr V Holliday.


Bacton PF/21/1878 - Proposed ground mounted solar photovoltaic array and associated infrastructure; Land East of Bacton Gas Terminal (known as Seagull's Field), Paston Rd, Bacton. pdf icon PDF 578 KB


The DMTL introduced the Officers report and recommendation for approval subject to the outlined conditions. He advised that since the publication of the Agenda, the pre-commencement conditions set out on p.39 had been agreed and signed on 20th September.


Further, the DMTL advised that the Officers recommendations had been updated to reflect feedback from the Highways Authority with the inclusion of an additional condition which would mitigate against glint and glare from the solar farm on larger vehicles. Should Members be minded to approve, final wording would be delegated to the Assistant Director for Planning.  


The DMTL noted following the agenda publication questions had been received regarding the detailed contained therein. He clarified that the 12% figure detailed related to the electric generated by the Solar Project resulting in a 12% forecasted decrease in the amount of energy supplied to the gas terminal from the National Grid. Additionally, he informed Members that an online petition on objecting to the proposal been received with 580 signatories, the basis of the objection was detailed in p.21 – 23 of the Officer report. 


Public Speakers

Fiona Hollis – Objecting

Damian Baker (RenEnergy Ltd)– Supporting


  1. The DM relayed a statement from Cllr W Fredricks who was unable to attend the meeting. Cllr W Fredricks welcomed the opportunity for residents to give their views on Seagulls Field and noted it had been a long process. She affirmed that the local authority wished to work with residents and ensure their voices were heard by decision makers.


  1. Cllr G Mancini-Boyle commented that his concerns regarding the anti-glint coating applied to the panels had been addressed, and that he considered the solution acceptable. He noted that objections had been raised relating to unwanted criminal activity and asked if Officers had any knowledge of theft or damage to other Solar Arrays.


  1. The DM affirmed that he was not aware of any criminal damage to the 150mw of Solar Arrays located within the District, including any theft of cables. He advised that the project would make a significant difference to the site and that the proposal was supported by NNDC Policies and aligned with the Councils Climate Emergency declaration.


  1. Cllr V Holliday noted that there had been much opposition from the community and considered that the benefit of the 12% energy generation was quite small. She stated that she did not agree with Officers assessment that the proposal was supported by NNDC Core Policies nor did she agree that the proposal required its specific setting within the undeveloped coast.


  1. Cllr N Lloyd provided clarity over the concerns surrounding the potential for criminal activity, and stated that the site was protected by armed Ministry of Defence Police 24/7. He thanked Officers for their comprehensive report and commended Officers and the Applicant for working together to produce the proposal, noting it was perhaps the longest set of conditions he had ever seen for a planning proposal. Cllr N Lloyd considered that the 12% energy use figure was a significant reduction  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.


Walcott - PF/22/0738 - Use of agricultural land as a seasonal car park from June to October (inclusive) each year for Mr and Mrs H Barringer. Walcott Beach Car Park, Coast Road, Walcott. pdf icon PDF 469 KB


The SPO introduced the Officers Report and recommendation for approval subject to conditions. He advised of a slight amendment to the wording of the proposal for the seasonal car park to start operation from May, and not June as detailed.


The SPO took Members through aerial images of the site, site plans including entrance and egress routes, flood risk maps, and photographs of the area. He advised that the site was estimated to provide 138 spaces as agreed with NCC Highways. Whilst the site was located within a flood zone, Officers had worked with the Environment Agency who were satisfied that there would be no significant risk to life by consequence of the proposal.


The SPO reiterated the highways conditions stipulated in the recommendation and assured Members that if they were minded to grant permission, all conditions must be satisfied before the applicant would be able to commence operation in 2023.


Public Speakers:

Rebecca Barringer – Supporting 


  1. The Chairman expressed her disappointment that the Local Member, who had called the item to Committee, was absent and had failed to submit a written statement in his absence. She reminded Members of the expectation to attend or submit a written representation for applications they refer to Committee.


  1. Cllr R Kershaw commented that he was familiar with the site located on a busy part of the coast and of the challenges surrounding on street parking. He stated he was surprised that this item had been called to Committee, as he considered the proposal to be sensible, remedying an existing problem, and it had the support of the local village. Cllr R Kershaw proposed acceptance of the Officers recommendation for approval subject to the outlined conditions.


  1. Cllr P Heinrich seconded the proposal and stated that it was a desperately needed facility in Walcott, in an acceptable location, well designed and well managed.


  1. Cllr L Withington spoke in support of the application, and acknowledged the community support it had received. She recounted her experiences at Walcott helping eldering relatives in and out the car during busy periods, and affirmed that this was a much needed facility which would benefit the local economy.


  1. Cllr V Holliday noted the positive aspects of the proposal but considered that as the Council was working towards being carbon-neutral, the number of car journeys to the coast should be discouraged. Instead the Council should consider operation of a park and ride facility into Walcott as the long-term vision was for fewer car movements and not more.


  1. Cllr N Pearce noted that car parks often sparked controversy, but agreed with Members that there was a need for a carpark in Walcott.


  1. Cllr A Brown expressed his support for the scheme which he considered to benefit the community, and concurred with Members experiences of the chaos along that section of road during the high season. He asked if Highways were considering a review of parking restrictions on the road, particularly opposite the proposed entry and exit points.


  1. Cllr G Mancini-Boyle asked if electric  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.



Additional documents:


  1. The DM introduced the Development Management Performance report and spoke to improvements of both Major and Non-Major Performance with 95% of Non-Major performance agreed within time and 92% of Majors agreed in time.


  1. The PL updated Members of the S106 obligations detailed within the report and confirmed that both the Sea Marge and West Raynham agreements had been completed, with revised paperwork sent out to Scottow Enterprise Park. She advised that those appeals shaded at the top of the report were held in abeyance due to Nutrient Neutrality.




(a)         New Appeals

(b)         Inquiries and Hearings – Progress

(c)         Written Representations Appeals – In Hand

(d)         Appeal Decisions

(e)         Court Cases – Progress and Results


  1. The DM introduced the appeals report and invited Members questions. He advised that the Planning Inspectorate had not reached many decisions within the last few weeks and the Council were awaiting the outcome of several cases. With regards to those appeals which had been decided, one of which had been withdrawn, and the other dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate as the appeal had been considered to be out of time. This decision was made weeks later after the Council had already dedicated resources in defending its decision.


  1. Cllr A Brown stated that the delays within the Planning Inspectorate Service were dire, and noted that this was not getting much attention within the press.


  1. The DM advised that the Planning Inspectorate were addressing resourcing issues but there was a backlog due to capacity issues. He commented that NNDC were limited in what it could do to remedy the situation and that it was in the best interest of the local authority, applicants and interested parties, who were increasingly frustrated, that these matters be resolved.


  1. Cllr R Kershaw commented that he could not see the situation improving given that the government were seeking spending efficiencies in the short and medium term.


  1. Cllr L Withington noted that at the Overview and Scrutiny meeting held the day prior, it was established that the public often didn’t know the role of the planning authority and the Planning Inspectorate. She considered it would be beneficial to explain the process and clarify that the delays were caused by the Planning Inspectorate and not by NNDC.


  1. Cllr N Pearce agreed that there was millage in explaining the decision making process to the public, particularly given the increase in the number of appeals.


  1. The Chairman affirmed that it was the democratic right for those who had their applications refused to appeal the decision, and noted the growing number of appeals where applicants did not like or understand why there application had been refused. She reiterated the challenges of the Planning Inspectorate in being understaffed, and inundated with appeals. The Chairman expressed her support in the Council producing an explanation document to broadly outline what happens with planning applications.


  1. The ADP drew comparisons with the Planning Inspectorate to that of an apex predator. He reminded Members that the number of applications approved by the local authority was extraordinarily high, the statistics of which would be provided to Members as evidence in an enhanced update. He commented that the increase in the number of appeals was symptomatic of the problem and that the current planning system was sick and ailing, and did not have the capacity of the experienced members within the profession to support the complexities it was dealing with. He affirmed that a review and investment was needed in the planning process, and noted the increasing number of issues. The ADP remarked that the Arcady appeal had been very poorly handled by the Planning Inspectorate, and such situation was likely to repeat itself. The ADP stated his frustrations of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.



To pass the following resolution, if necessary:-


 “That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I of Schedule 12A (as amended) to the Act.”