Agenda, decisions and minutes

Development Committee - Thursday, 26th January, 2023 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 V Holliday, Cllr N Pearce and Cllr M Taylor.





Cllr H Blathwayt was present as a substitute for Cllr V Holliday with Cllr J Rest present as a substitute for Cllr A Fitch-Tillett.



MINUTES pdf icon PDF 335 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of a meeting of the Committee held on Thursday 8th December and Thursday 22nd December 2022.

Additional documents:


The Minutes of the Development Committee meetings held on the 8th and 22nd December 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 A Brown declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 8, PF/21/3458, and noted that Members had been in receipt of communication from the applicants agent. With respect of item 12, LA/22/0542, Cllr A Brown advised he was the Local Ward Member.


Cllr L Withington declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 8, PF/21/3458, and advised that she had attended a site meeting a few years prior but did not consider herself pre-determined.



Fulmodeston - PF/21/3458 - Erection of two one-bed tree houses with external works and servicing (to include biorock drainage system and solar panels) at Land at Woodland, Browns Covert, Hindolveston Road, Fulmodeston pdf icon PDF 511 KB




The SPO – JS introduced the Officers report and recommendation for refusal. She advised that the application was for the provision of two self-contained treehouses within Swanton Novers Wood on the Astley Estate to be used as visitor accommodation as part of a proposed farm diversification and tourism venture scheme.


The Case Officer outlined the site location which was contained within a current commercial woodland for timber extraction, and the proposals relationship with its setting including proximity of the Swanton Great Wood and Little Wood. The SPO- JS highlighted the floor plan and proposed elevations for each of the treehouses, and commented on the use of materials consisting of galvanised steel frame, large, glazed openings on the south east and north west elevations where the solid external element (kitchen and bathroom pods) are externally clad with larch.


The SPO-JS offered photographs to better inform the Committees understanding of the site, its viability from the meadow and public right of way. With respect of access to the site, the Case Officer advised that parking was not proposed to be adjacent to the units, rather it was some 220m away. Once cars had parked off the main drive from the Hindleveston Road, it was proposed that wheel barrows be made available to guests to transport belongings. Access to both tree houses followed pre-existing logging tracks. 


In conclusion, the SPO-JS reiterated the Officer recommendation for refusal, and advised that the proposal was considered contrary to policy EC7, EC1, SS4 EN2, EN 4, EN 9 and CT5 of the North Norfolk Core Strategy, paragraphs 105, 130, 134 and 174 of the NPPF and the principles set out in the North Norfolk Landscape Character Assessment 20221 and the North Norfolk Design Guide.


Public Speakers

Lord Hastings – Supporting


Members questions and debate


i.          The Local Member – Cllr V FitzPatrick – thanked Officers for their work on the application, but disagreed with their assessment for refusal. He contended that the application title of ‘treehouse’ belittles the intention to offer off-grid, sustainable holiday accommodation, and having attended the site, he argued that the Development would add interest and usage to the woodland site. With regard to its location, he contended that whilst it was situated away from services, this was part of the holiday homes attraction as a secluded, tranquil location which arguably wouldn’t work in an urbanised setting. Further, Cllr V FitzPatrick placed weight on the sustainable intentions of the proposal both in its construction and intended mode of operation, and in the economic development which would provide the Astley estate another, diversified, income stream during challenging economic times, supporting the development of the estates low impact farming methods, increase its biodiversity and increase its woodland. The Local Member considered that the proposal would help to place North Norfolk on the map  ...  view the full minutes text for item 96.


Sheringham - PF/22/2901 - Erection of a 396 kWp solar car port and associated infrastructure - The Reef Leisure Centre, Weybourne Road, Sheringham for North Norfolk District Council pdf icon PDF 315 KB


The SPO – JB introduced the Officers report and recommendation for approval subject to conditions. He established the location of the site, its relationship with neighbouring businesses, site plan, elevations and dimensions of the car ports. It was considered that the impact of the Norfolk Coast AONB was minimised with the proposal being suitably obscured by the Reef Leisure Centre.


Whilst the application may not be valued for its visual merits, it was considered significant for its positive impact and alignment with the Councils Climate Emergency declaration and green aims, offering environmental and renewable energy benefits. The energy provided to the Reef would be weather dependent, and subject to demand from the reef at any one time.


Members’ questions and debate

  1. Cllr L Withington – Local Member for Sheringham North speaking on behalf of Local Member Cllr C Heinink (Sheringham South) - spoke favourably of the application, noting that the Town Council had not objected to the application and that they too had declared a Climate Emergency in June 2019. She agreed that placement of the Reef aided to shield the carpark from the AONB, minimising the visual impact and harm caused.


  1. Cllr J Rest asked how many panels the proposal would consist of, and if the panels would be larger than the conventional sizes used on domestic roofs. The DM advised there would be 966 PV modules of standard size (referenced in the design access statement) with a combined surface area of 1896 square metres. 


  1. In response to questions, the SPO – JB advised that there would be no storage facility proposed as part of the scheme.


  1. Cllr N Lloyd advised that whilst the proposal would not offer the full complement of electricity to operate the Reef, when at full demand all power would be diverted to the Reef though there were some electric vehicle charging points associated with the application with the wiring already installed. Acceptance of the proposal had the potential to have a significant reduction on the running costs of the Reef, and an arrangement would be put in place with the operator (Everyone Active) to ensure a reasonable price for the energy produced. Having attended several similar sites across the UK, he considered such proposals as being very popular, offering shade to cars in the summer, and protection from inclement weather at other points of the year. Cllr N Lloyd affirmed that these types of project were essential to meet the Councils net-zero pledge in 2030, and so proposed acceptance of the Officers recommendation.


  1. In response to questions from Cllr G Mancini-Boyle, the DM advised that the panels would be anti-glare.


  1. Cllr R Kershaw seconded the Officers recommendation for acceptance.


  1. Cllr P Heinrich expressed his support for the recommendation and commented it was a pity that solar panels could not be insisted upon all new developments.


  1. Cllr H Blathwayt considered this a positive proposal which would have the added benefit of offering shade to cars, and dogs waiting in cars. He agreed with Cllr  ...  view the full minutes text for item 97.


Sloley - LA/22/1910 - Retention of internal and external alterations to facilitate conversion of barn to dwelling, The Old Workshop, Sloley Road, Sloley, Norwich. & Sloley - PF/22/1909 - Conversion of barn to dwelling (retrospective), The Old Workshop, Sloley Road, Sloley, Norwich pdf icon PDF 361 KB




The SPO – JS introduced the Officers report and recommendations for LA/22/1910 and PF/22/1909 which were presented together. She affirmed that sites location, floor plans, elevations, relationship with neighbouring properties and heritage. The SPO – JS advised that the key issues for consideration were design and impact upon heritage assets and amenity, and it was confirmed that the Conservation and Design Officer raised no objection to the proposals, and considered that there would be no harmful impact upon the designated heritage asset as a whole.


The SPO-JS updated the Committee with regards to PF/22/1909 and advised an additional condition be applied that any relevant conditions be be-imposed from extant approval. Further, she affirmed an Advisory note that the approval does not cover the unauthorised garage and boundary screening and a further planning application will be prepared and submitted to the Local Planning Authority for consideration within 6 months of the date of this decision to address any outstanding issues.


Public Speaker

Dr Michelle Lyon – Supporting


Members questions and debate

  1. The Local Member – Cllr G Mancini-Boyle – expressed his disappointment that Sloley Parish Council had objected to the application for not being in accordance with listed building regulations and yet had not sent a representative to the meeting. The Local Member noted the submission and views offered from the Conservation and Design Officer conflicted with those offered by the Parish Council.


  1. The SPO-JS advised that the Conservation and Design Officer had provided there professional judgment, and concluded there would be no significant harmful impact enough to recommend a refusal. Whilst it is disappointing when works are not undertaken in accordance with an approved plan, Members were being asked to consider these applications on their merits.


  1. Cllr J Toye reflected on the Officers report, photographs of the site, and lack of objections raised. He noted the applicant’s representation that the proposal was to regularise the application. Cllr J Toye affirmed there were acceptable schemes and so proposed acceptance of the Officers recommendations for both applications.


  1. Cllr G Mancini-Boyle seconded both of the recommendations.


  1. Cllr P Heinrich expressed his support for the viewed supplied by the Conservation and Design Officer, with the alterations not detracting from the look and feel of the heritage building.




That Planning Application LA/22/1910 be APPROVED subject to conditions to cover the matters listed below and any others considered necessary by the Assistant Director – Planning


· Approved Plans

· Re-painting of meter boxes within 3 months of the date of decision in a colour to be agreed with the LPA.


 Final wording of conditions to be delegated to the Assistant Director - Planning.



EDGEFIELD - LA/22/0542: - Works associated with conversion of part of barn to additional bedroom for annexe and part for home office and plant room; installation of solar panels pdf icon PDF 384 KB


The SPO- RA introduced the Officers report and recommendation for approval. He advised a correction in the report, noting that some details related to the other application (PF/22/0541) which was pending decision with delays owing to nutrient neutrality and not approved as stated. The Case Officer affirmed that nutrient neutrality did not affect the proposed application before the Committee.


The SPO-RA confirmed that sites location and aerial view of the property; providing context for the proposals relationship with neighbouring properties and key infrastructure within the historic setting, as well as site plans, elevations and photographs.


The Main issues for consideration pertained to the impact on the heritage asset (Policy EN 8 of the NNDC Core Strategy) with the SPO-RA confirming that the Senior Conservation and Design Officer raised no objection to the internal works and rooflights to the rear, and considered there to be ‘less than substantial harm’ as set out by the NPPF when weighed against the public benefits of the proposal; renewable energy and sustainability of the rural location.


On balance, Officers considered the proposal acceptable subject to condition, and noted it would be conditioned that the solar panels be removed if they were no longer needed.


Members questions and debate


  1. The Local Member – Cllr A Brown – raised a procedural issue, firstly whether the site was located in the Broads Conservation Area as this had not been listed as a constraint. Second, whether it was appropriate to consider this application separate to PF/22/0541.


  1. The PL advised there was no legal grounds for the two applications to be assessed independently, though understood Cllr A Browns concerns from a practical perspective that usually when there is a listed building application and a planning application they are considered together.


  1. Cllr A Brown reflected ongoing discussion with how to manage planning applications pending nutrient neutrality, and expressed concern that assessing the proposal was a departure from how the council had handled such applications. The Local Member welcomed renewable energy progress, and noted the application sites within the Glaven Valley Rural Conservation area which he trusted had been dually considered by the Officers. Cllr A Brown proposed acceptance of the Officers recommendation.


  1. The DMTL – CR noted that it was unusual to have a listed building application and a planning application considered separately, and agreed with guidance offered by the PL that there was no legal impediment why this could not happen. Officers considered in the interest of expediency and dealing with applications that there was no reason to delay determination of the listed building application.


  1. Cllr P Heinrich sought clarity if the application related solely to the barn/annexe. The Chairman confirmed it was just this application.


  1. Cllr G Mancini-Boyle asked if new solar panels would be installed, as the latest models could be recycled when they had come to the end of their lifespan. The DMTL – CR advised that the panel specification was not known, but assured Members that the panels would be removable, ensuring the panels did not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 99.



Additional documents:


  1. The DM introduced the Development Management Performance report (Page 63 of the Agenda Pack) and spoke favourably of Officers performance and noted the figures included the Christmas Closure period. The introduction of the back office system had affected the 24 month period which was expected to improve as time those impacted months fell out of the subject timeline. The DM advised nutrient neutrality had delayed decision making, but that Officers remained keen to clear cases. It is anticipated that the planning improvement plan would soon be introduced, with Officers reviewing processes and procedures to offer applicants assurances applications were being considered in an efficient manner.


  1. In response to questions from the Chairman, the DM advised that new staff were starting with the authority the following week, one a senior planning Officer and the other the S106 Officer. The DM advised he would circulate an updated structure chart to Members.


  1. Cllr G Mancini-Boyle asked additional information be covered in the report. The DM advised that report was in the process of being updated which would include data on  the average length of time for applications, and others, which would aid to manage expectations of applicants and for the public. This additional data would offer the Committee a greater insight into the planning services work.


  1. Cllr A Brown expressed his thanks for Planning Officers for their hard work, and noted the continued high performance as outlined in the data provided.


  1. The PL commended Planning Officers for their work in reviewing development certificate applications, which was difficult work requiring detailed research and surveys and was often very time consuming.


  1. Regarding the S106 report, Cllr R Kershaw thanked the PL for her hard work with Scottow Enterprise Park and relayed feedback from the applicant.


  1. The PL advised that the draft unilateral agreement for the outstanding S106 was with the applicant lawyers. With regard to the Crisp Maltings site in great Ryburgh, the PL advised that this was far progressed.


  1. The DM in response to questions from the Chairman, advised that the Council were consulting with the applicant the list of conditions, and were clarifying the position with Natural England. He advised he was confident that these matters could be satisfied.


  1. Cllr G Mancini-Boyle noted some issues with applicants and members of the public who were understood to have failed to register to speak at various meetings. He asked if the Portfolio holder or Customer Services Manager had been invited to explain the process. The DM advised he would investigate and follow up.


  1. Cllr A Brown raised a concern that that he had not been contacted by Officers, as the Local Member, before the agenda publication to advise that an application in his Ward was coming to Committee. The DM advised he would ensure that Officers were notified when it was there responsibility to communicate with Members, and that this process be followed.


  1. Cllr R Kershaw commented that he considered the planning service improve and reflected that he had been consulted on all applications within  ...  view the full minutes text for item 100.



(a)         New Appeals

(b)         Inquiries and Hearings – Progress

(c)         Written Representations Appeals – In Hand

(d)         Appeal Decisions

(e)         Court Cases – Progress and Results


  1. New Appeals



  1. Inquiries and Hearings

The DM advised that the Arcady appeal for Cley-next-the-sea had been heard that week and was understood to have concluded, pending a response from the Planning Inspector in the coming weeks.


  1. Written Representation Appeals

The Chairman noted the 3 applications for Fakenham – ENF/21/002, PO/21/2584 and PF/21/3158 and asked for an update. The DM advised that the Council were awaiting instruction from the Planning Inspectorate.


Cllr A Brown identified ENF/20/0095, and commented that the applicant had submitted a new planning application PF/22/2767 for a modified scheme. He noted that ENF/20/0095 had been refused in May 2021 and went to appeal in October 2021. Cllr A Brown expressed his disappointment and concern with the extended delay as it was recommended that written appeals take no more than 30 weeks, and challenged the Authority to engage with the Planning Inspectors on these delays.


  1. Appeal Decisions

The DM spoke to the Councils strong record at appeal and noted that only one of the five appeals had been upheld by the Planning Inspector.




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.”