Agenda, decisions and minutes

Development Committee - Thursday, 21st October, 2021 9.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices. View directions

Contact: Linda Yarham  Email:

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Councillors N Pearce, C Stockton, A Varley and A Yiasimi.  Three substitute Members were present as shown above.



To approve as a correct record the Minutes of a meeting of the Committee held on 23 September 2021.


The Minutes of a meeting of the Committee held on 23 September 2021 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



(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.






P Heinrich

Knows Mr Stibbons, Chair of Paston Foundation and had worked with him on education projects 20 years ago.




NORTH WALSHAM - PO/20/1251 - Former Sports Ground - Erection of up to 54 dwellings with public open space, new vehicular access, landscaping and associated infrastructure (Outline application with full details of the proposed means of access only. Details of layout, scale, appearance and landscaping are reserved for future determination) pdf icon PDF 450 KB




The Major Projects Team Leader presented the report by remote link. He recommended approval of this application as set out in the report.  A copy of the visual presentation had previously been forwarded to the Committee.  He displayed an additional plan showing the existing open spaces in North Walsham.


Public Speaker


Nick Moys (supporting)


Councillor N Lloyd stated that the land had been bequeathed to North Walsham almost 400 years ago.  The land had recently been used for a triathlon and was open to the public occasionally for that purpose, although it had been unused for most of the time since it was fenced off in 2017.  Flooding was a regular issue in North Walsham due to the amount of building that had taken place in the town.  There did not appear to be any drainage proposals in the application and he did not trust Anglian Water’s view that there would be no issues.  He considered that the hedgerow should be retained and that the existing levels of biodiversity should be protected.  He considered that the current level of biodiversity was unlikely to return to the replacement hedging due to the development of the site.  He referred to the concerns regarding the existing road and footway and the high level of opposition from local residents, including the Town Council.  He questioned the need for additional housing in this location as there was no threat to the Council’s housing supply and the emerging Local Plan would provide for at least 1800 more houses, which would include a percentage of affordable housing.  Whilst he supported the amount of affordable housing provided by this application, he considered that there would be much more coming to the town in future years and there was a question as to how much more development North Walsham could take.  In his view, this proposal was unsustainable.  He considered that the development should be viewed as an exceptions scheme, there was insufficient mitigation for the loss of open space and he disagreed with the Education Authority that education land would not be necessary, given the large number of additional dwellings planned for the town in the future.  Existing sports facilities were already struggling to cope with demand.  He noted that there was no mention of climate change in the proposal or any detail of the type of dwellings that would be built.


Councillor P Heinrich stated that the land was not used for sport, nor had it been for some time.  He considered that the proposed landscaping mitigated against the loss of open space and could potentially bring more biodiversity to the area.  He was particularly concerned regarding the footpaths and pedestrian access into the town.  There was a clear need for a link onto Weavers Way and onto the footpath to the rear of Trackside Park, but this would not feel safe at night and pedestrians would use the footpath along Station Road.  This path was narrow, necessitated the crossing of Norwich Road and visibility was poor.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.




The Assistant Director for Planning presented a report that set out performance in relation to the determination of planning applications in both Development Management and Majors teams on the basis of speed and quality of decisions against national benchmarks. 


At the request of Councillor R Kershaw, the Assistant Director for Planning updated the Committee on vacancies and recruitment.  Whilst recruitment had been quite strong, there was an issue in recruiting senior or experienced officers.


Councillor A Brown asked if the number of applications for which extensions of time were granted would reduce significantly as the pandemic subsided, and what the benchmark would be in percentage terms as the service transitioned towards more normality.


The Assistant Director for Planning explained that there was an improving situation with fewer live applications on hand and improvements in performance, so there should be a reducing need to seek extensions of time.  Performance in respect of extensions of time would be discussed with individual officers through the Team Leaders, but it was too soon to set a percentage commitment for the service as a whole.  The aim was to drive down the requirements for extensions of time and make as many decisions as possible within 8 or 13 weeks.  This was being hindered by other external factors such as delayed receipt of consultation responses.


In response to a question from Councillor Brown regarding training on the Uniform system, the Assistant Director for Planning explained that the project group was now satisfied that the Uniform system was stable and that progress could be made towards decommissioning the Acolaid system.  Training was being offered on the GIS mapping on Uniform, with new training being offered to newly recruited officers.  There had been an issue with the training launch and the fact that most officers were working from home, which restricted the opportunities for learning on the job and sharing experience with colleagues.  Training needs would be identified through the appraisals process.


The Development Management and Major Projects Manager explained that he would be reviewing processes and procedures across the Development Management and Major Projects Teams as part of his team plan.  This would include a review of how Uniform was working and how processes could be improved to help officers deliver timely decisions. 


Councillor J Toye stated that staffing and recruitment, and increasing workload and enforcement, appeared to be an issue across the country.  This was not only within planning departments but also in the consultation areas.  However, it was necessary to acknowledge the improvement in performance, the hard work that had been put in to achieve that improvement, and the workload that was still carried by the officers.  This was a significant achievement with the background of the software issues, pandemic, training and remote working.  It was important to continue to work together and share any concerns.  He thanked the officers for their good work.


The Chairman stated that she echoed Councillor Toye’s comments.


Councillor G Mancini-Boyle asked if any further consideration had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.



(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.




The Committee noted item 9(b) of the agenda.


Cley-next-the-Sea ENF/18/0164 – the Assistant Director for Planning informed the Committee that the matter had been further delayed as the appellants had now submitted three further planning applications.  Discussions were due to take place with the agents regarding this matter and concerns had been expressed to them that the mediation process related to a single application.  The Committee would be updated at the next meeting regarding the additional applications and the local Member would be kept informed.




The Committee noted item 9(c) of the agenda.


Councillor J Rest stated that the appellant for Fakenham PF/21/0192 and LA/21/0193 had informed him that the Inspector had recently carried out a site inspection.




The Committee noted item 9(d) of the agenda.


The Assistant Director for Planning stated that more appeal decisions were now coming forward from the Planning Inspectorate.


In response to a question from Councillor J Toye, the Assistant Director for Planning explained that Cromer ADV/20/1701 had been allowed as the Inspector had come to a different judgement from the officers regarding visual amenity issues.




The Committee noted item 9(e) of the agenda.