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TO RECEIVE APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DETAILS OF ANY SUBSTITUTE MEMBER(S)
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors P Heinrich and Dr C Stockton. One substitute Member was in attendance as shown above.
The Chairman proposed that Councillor Mrs A Fitch-Tillett be appointed Vice-Chairman for the meeting in order to provide support in the absence of the Vice-Chairman. This was seconded by Councillor A Brown and RESOLVED unanimously.
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of a meeting of the Committee held on 10 December 2020.
The Minutes of a meeting of the Committee held on 10 December 2020 were approved as a correct record.
ITEMS OF URGENT BUSINESS
(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.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
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.
NORTH WALSHAM - PP/20/0160: Permission in principle for the demolition of the existing buildings on site and the erection of four dwellings with associated parking and gardens and an extension of 30mph speed limit; Land East of Bacton Road, North Walsham, NR28 0RA; for Cincomas Ltd PDF 242 KB
The Major Projects Manager presented the report and highlighted the issues that could be taken into account when considering permission in principle. He recommended refusal of this application as set out in the report.
David Taylor (supporting)
Councillor E Seward, local Member, stated that it had always been accepted that the site was outside the designated settlement boundary. However, there was residential development on two sides of the site, good proximity to town centre facilities and public transport, and the site could not be described as remote or isolated. Development would have no adverse visual impact on the countryside, and the demolition of the existing ugly agricultural building would be a great improvement. There was no local opposition or material highway concerns, and the suggested footpath could be provided. He stated that National Planning Policy Guidance recognised that decisions should follow policy, but also that local circumstances should be taken into account to reflect the character, needs and opportunities of each area, and advice from a planning lawyer had stated that brownfield sites could be brought back into reuse even though they were not within the settlement boundary. He considered that there would be no planning harm given the modest scale of development, it would make better use of the site and there were no material highway issues. He considered that there were sufficient benefits to outweigh any technical conflict with policies SS1 and SS2, but emphasised the need for clarity as to the reasons for departing from policy given the interests that had been expressed in building in the Countryside surrounding the town.
Councillor N Lloyd stated that he had been the former Ward Councillor for 8 years and knew the site very well. He accepted that the site was within the designated Countryside area, but it was completely surrounded by residential development, a farm and a holiday park. He considered that the site was brownfield, and the Government was pushing towards making it easier to develop such sites. The existing building had been vacated by businesses that had moved on, and the site as it stood was ugly. He considered that there could be a net biodiversity gain in developing the site with planting included. He stated that he would vote against the Officer’s recommendation as he considered that planning policy did not fit the actual circumstances and he did not consider that the Countryside would be damaged by developing the site.
Councillor J Toye asked the Committee to consider if more weight could be attached to policies EN2: enhancing the landscape and settlement character, and EN8: enhancing the historic environment, and requested guidance from the Officers as to the correct interpretation.
Councillor R Kershaw stated that he had been surprised at the amount of development surrounding this site, which was only 10 metres north of the speed limit on the approach to the town. He considered that the existing building was an eyesore and there would be no harm in its demolition. He considered ... view the full minutes text for item 56.
The Interim Development Manager presented the report and referred to the slide presentation that had been circulated to the Committee prior to the meeting. He recommended approval of this application as set out in the report.
Tim Bartlett (Cromer Town Council)
Councillor T Adams, local Member, considered that the proposal did not preserve or enhance the character of the Conservation Area and the applicant had not justified the use of the proposed materials or considered more suitable alternatives. He considered that the Heritage Statement lacked the necessary level of detail and was a poor appraisal of the heritage contribution of the building, its features or group value. The building was in a prominent corner location on a principal route through the town, within the Conservation Area and close to locally listed buildings. He considered that the proposed materials would be a garish contrast with the brickwork. He expressed concern that the Conservation Area Appraisals were not valued in the way they had been in the past, as the erosion of character was becoming profound and this part of the Conservation Area was particularly suffering due to the cumulative impacts of such changes. He referred to an appeal case against the refusal of a similar proposal in a similar location, which had been dismissed by the Planning Inspector. He questioned why such changes were considered to be appropriate in this case but not on the opposite side of the road. He considered that good quality timber would be much more appropriate.
Councillor Mrs A Fitch-Tillett supported the views of the Town Council and Councillor Adams. She considered that the Conservation Area should be protected. In addition, having declared a climate emergency, the Council should not be encouraging the use of plastic. She proposed that the application be refused.
Councillor A Brown also supported the views of the previous speakers. He was concerned that the report appeared to suggest that policy could only be rigorously enforced if a building were listed, whether or not it was in a Conservation Area, and questioned how the character and environment of Conservation Areas could be best protected if the Council did not enforce policy uniformly within them. He considered that comparisons with nearby buildings that had reverted from wood to plastic were misguided, as the subject building was in a prominent location, the windows were at street level and he considered that plastic windows would not support the character of the building. He referred to the views of the former English Heritage that replacement windows were not necessary and that insulation could be achieved by augmenting existing windows. He seconded the proposal.
The Chairman reminded the Committee of the need to vote firstly on the Officer’s recommendation.
Councillor N Lloyd supported the Officer’s recommendation in this case. He considered that the benefits of double glazing for the occupants outweighed the aesthetics. He trusted the officers to manage the sympathetic replacement of the windows.
Councillor N Pearce supported refusal of this application. He referred ... view the full minutes text for item 57.
(a) New Appeals
(b) Inquiries and Hearings – Progress
(c) Written Representations Appeals – In Hand
(d) Appeal Decisions
(e) Court Cases – Progress and Results
(a) NEW APPEALS
The Committee noted item 9(a) of the agenda.
(b) INQUIRIES AND HEARINGS - PROGRESS
The Committee noted item 9(b) of the agenda.
Holt PO/18/1857 - The Major Projects Manager reported that a decision was still awaited.
Cley-Next-The-Sea ENF/18/0164 – Site notices would be posted and local people would be alerted as to how they could take part in the virtual hearing.
North Walsham ENF/18/0339 – Negotiations were taking place for a planning application to be submitted, which would allow the activity to be controlled by suitable conditions. The Planning Inspectorate had been requested to allow more time by the Authority and the contraveners. The Ward Members, the Portfolio holder and Chairman would be updated on the outcome of that request.
The Chairman referred to difficulties in the Planning Department with staffing levels because of illness etc. The Assistant Director of Planning explained that staff were now returning to work.
(c) WRITTEN REPRESENTATIONS APPEALS - IN HAND
The Committee noted item 9(c) of the agenda.
High Kelling ENF/16/0131 – The Planning Inspectorate was being pressed for a date to undertake a site inspection and local Members would be kept informed.
Wiveton PF/19/0856 – At the request of the Chairman, the Assistant Director of Planning explained the details this case, which related to the retention of a mast which was required to be removed under the terms of the planning permission, effectively retaining two masts on the site.
(d) APPEAL DECISIONS
The Committee noted item 9(d) of the agenda.
Field Dalling PO/19/1249 – The Assistant Director of Planning gave an outline of this case. He stated that the outcome was very disappointing and would need to be borne in mind in discussions with agricultural consultants in the future. In effect the Inspector had allowed a retirement property for an existing agricultural worker and a new dwelling for an essential worker at the site.
The Chairman stated that she had previously assumed that agricultural workers’ dwellings were associated with livestock.
(e) COURT CASES – PROGRESS AND RESULTS
The Committee noted item 9(e) of the agenda