Agenda item

DILHAM - PF/21/1478 - Conversion of agricultural building with associated external alterations to indoor swimming pool for private hire at Agricultural Barns, Oak Road, Dilham, Norfolk, NR28 9PW


The DMTL introduced the Officers report and recommendation for approval. He noted that the application was referred to Committee by the Local Member, Cllr N Dixon, and that the applicant was a serving Cllr (Cllr L Paterson).


The key issues arising from the application related to matters of Highways concerns. However, the Highways Authority having considered the application determined that they had no objections to the application subject to the imposition of conditions, the contents of which were detailed in the Officers report.


One of the core matters which had taken time to resolve related to how the backwash water would be removed from the swimming pool, and how the hot tub would be managed to ensure the effluence did not drain into protected nearby sites. The DMTL advised that the associated water would be drained to a tank which would be taken off site for treatment.


The DMTL affirmed that updates to the NPPF had no material implications for the application.


Public speakers


Fergus Bootman – Supporting


Members debate and questions.


      i.        The DM recited a statement prepared by Local Member, Cllr N Dixon, who was unable to attend the meeting. Cllr N Dixon wrote that whilst he recognised the need for appropriate regeneration of redundant agricultural assets and the potential contribution it makes to the local economy, he was also very aware of the potential harm it can cause to the local environment and infrastructure - in this case the local road network.


His concern reflected that expressed by residents in very rural and remote locations about the incremental use intensification of repurposed agricultural sites and buildings accessed from a local road network never designed for such a degree growth in traffic. Moreover, public confidence that their concerns aren't properly weighed by Planning Authorities often stops residents from formally expressing their concerns. Cllr N Dixon acknowledged that, individually, applications such as this don't cause severe harm; but argued that when taken together, adjacent, or related development collectively can reach a severe level of harm. In this case, Highways judgement is that severe harm would not be caused; however, whether that's true or not won't be known until the development is in place and then it's too late to prevent the harm continuing. He considered that the harm in this case arises in the form of reduced road safety (caused by excess speed and traffic volume) from road narrowness, restricted vision on sharp bends, lack of footways and poor junction alignment on both the access route from the A149 and that via Honing.


     ii.        The Local Member – Cllr G Mancini-Boyle, stated he was satisfied with the conditions proposed for the discharge of water, and commended the Highways Authority’s suggestion for the implementation of a traffic management plan and booking scheme for the facilities to control the volume of traffic.


    iii.        The DMTL confirmed that the booking system had been conditioned (Condition 11).


   iv.        Cllr P Fisher advised that he attended an event in an adjacent field the week prior for the Canal Trust, which amassed hundreds of cars and thousands of people. He considered that the local roads were adequate with the availability of passing places to support this level of traffic, and that he would be surprised if the numbers attending the swimming pool were larger than those attending the recent event.


     v.        Cllr A Brown noted that there had been little objection to the application, and that whilst the scheme was located in the designated countryside under policies SS1 and SS2, policy EC1 supported the repurposing of farm buildings and diversification provided such schemes supported agricultural enterprise, as was the case with this application. With regards Cllr N Dixon’s comments about sustainability, Cllr A Brown noted that policy EC7 would be satisfied. He asked officers about the process of the EPSN license detailed on p.42. Cllr A Brown proposed acceptance of the Officers recommendation for approval.


   vi.        The DMTL advised that this was a Natural England License which related to works which could impact protected species. Condition 4 detailed the events should the license not be granted by Natural England. However, the DMTL confirmed officers considered the non-granting of the license to be highly unlikely.


  vii.        Cllr V Holliday asked if the glass proposed would be ‘smart glass’ noting condition 3 that the manufacture specifications would be checked by the Planning Service. She considered that there was a significant amount of glazing proposed when compared to the original building and noted the impact this may have on light pollution. Further, she asked what the mitigation would be should the tank fail.


 viii.        The DMTL advised that the glass proposed was not ‘smart glass’ the details required were for heritage and design purposes due to the historic architectural interest of the building. Officers had proposed conditions relating to tank failure and what course of action should be taken, these were detailed in condition 8. 


   ix.        Cllr J Toye thanked Officers for their report and balanced work. He seconded the Officers recommendation for approval.


RESOLVED by 13 votes for and 1 against


That Planning Application PF/21/1478 be APPROVED in accordance with the Officers recommendation.



The meeting was adjourned at 10.04am and reconvened at 10.07am

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