Agenda item

WEST RAYNHAM - PF/23/1004 - Demolition of existing workshop and construction of new dwelling at West Raynham Auto Clinic, Massingham Road, West Raynham, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 7AJ


The PO-AN introduced the Officers report and recommendation for refusal. She affirmed the site’s location and relationship in its local setting. West Raynham was not identified as a service village and therefore, for policy purposes, it is designated as Countryside. The garage is located in close proximity to both the former RAF West Raynham and a bustling business park hosting 13 businesses. In conjunction with the neighbouring enterprise park, the garage is located near the former RAF West Raynham where 13 buildings hold a Grade II listed building classification. The Conservation and Design Officer considered that the proposed development would have no adverse impact on the environment surrounding the Grade II listed buildings to the south.


The Committee were provided with images of the site, existing and proposed floor plans, and elevations.


The PO-AN advised that the main reasons issues for consideration were:


·         The principal of development

·         Design, layout, scale and massing

·         GIRAMS

·         Nutrient Neutrality


As the proposed dwelling was located within the designated Countryside, there is a general presumption against residential development. As future occupiers would be dependent on the car in order to access services, the proposal was not considered to be a sustainable development. Further, a single dwelling in this location was unlikely to significantly enhance the local rural community's vitality. The modest contribution in terms of economic and social benefits would outweigh the strategic policy conflict. Officers consider that there is no justification to this dwelling in the Countryside which would be contrary to policies SS 1 and SS 2 of the North Norfolk Core Strategy.


The proposed development, by virtue of the building's overall size and scale and location would result in an unsympathetic form of development, appearing to be out of place and excessive for the available plot, particularly concerning its proximity to the neighbouring property on the left, with a mere 2-meter separation between them. The constraint of the width of the proposed plot would result in the new dwelling being in close proximity to the existing neighbouring dwelling to the left, which would constitute an overdevelopment of the site, providing a cramped form of development.

The proposed dwelling was not considered suitably designed for the context in which it is set. Accordingly, it is considered that the proposed development would be contrary to policy EN 4 of the North Norfolk Core Strategy.


The PO-AN acknowledged that the site lies within the Zone of Influence of several European sites. The proposed net gain of one dwelling would trigger the requirement for a financial contribution towards the strategic mitigation package in accordance with the Norfolk Green Infrastructure and Recreational Impact Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (GIRAMS).


The applicant had failed to demonstrate that the proposed development would not result in adverse effects, either alone or in combination on the integrity of European Sites arising as a result of the development including in relation to recreational disturbance. In the absence of evidence to rule out likely significant effects and in the absence of suitable mitigation measures to address likely significant effects, Officers had concluded that the proposal would be contrary to the requirements of policies SS 4 and EN 9 of the North Norfolk Core Strategy.


Additionally, as the proposed development comprised of overnight accommodation that falls within the catchment of the Broads Special Area of Conservation and Ramsar site [and the River Wensum Special Area of Conservation] and is likely to have an adverse impact on European Designations requiring mitigation in relation to nutrient enrichment. Based on the net gain of one dwelling, the development proposed is considered to be a qualifying development and subject to Nutrient Neutrality requirements. The Case Officer advised that the applicant had failed to demonstrate that the proposed development would not result in adverse effects, either alone or in combination, on the integrity of European Sites arising as a result of the development including in relation to nutrient enrichment. In the absence of evidence to rule out likely significant effects and in the absence of suitable mitigation measures to address likely significant effects, the proposed development was considered contrary to Policies EN 9 and EN 13 of the adopted North Norfolk Core Strategy, and approval of the application would conflict with the legal requirements placed on the Local Planning Authority as competent authority under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended).


The PO-AN advised, having considered the benefits and the harm associated with the proposal, together with the policy conflicts that are outweighed by the benefits, officers recommended refusal of the application.


Public Speakers




Members questions and debate


      i.        Cllr L Paterson endorsed the Officers report and so proposed acceptance of the Officers recommendation for refusal.


     ii.        Cllr L Vickers asked Officers to clarify policy surrounding sustainable development. She reflected that North Norfolk was a largely rural district with many residents living in villages and who were reliant on their car. In an ideal world residents would be able to cycle or make use of public transport, however this wasn’t practically possible at present. With respect of the design, she considered the scheme would be better a visual replacement than the run-down garage and was concerned that if left unattended the site would become an eyesore. Cllr L Vickers sought confirmation who was responsible for GIRAMS payments.


    iii.        The PO-AN advised it the applicant was responsible for GIRAMS payments.


   iv.        The DM accepted Cllr L Vickers comments about the rural nature of the district and the reliance on private vehicles to access day to day services. As a Local Planning Authority the Council sought to encourage development in more sustainable locations through the Local Plan and the emerging Local Plan.


     v.        Cllr L Vickers stated, that whilst she was 100% behind the ideal and the intention of sustainable development, the consequence of not building in villages would result in the dying off of those villages.


   vi.        Cllr G Bull noted that the application site was currently a functioning garage, therefore any car use by occupiers of the proposed residential development would be offset by current usage, given there would be significantly more car movements to a garage than a single dwelling. With respect of the design of the scheme, he did not consider the proposal was in keeping with the neighbouring property or sympathetic with other properties in the village.


  vii.        Cllr P Fisher noted that Officers advise that the application was in contravention of many of the Councils own policies. He seconded the recommendation for refusal.


 viii.        Cllr M Hankins reflected on the Councils’ policy to convert disused properties into residential developments. He thanked the Officer for their report, and expressed his concern that the application was not well prepared as it failed to address several policies. He enquired if the application would have been considered more favourably if it were more professional. 


   ix.        The DM advised that the applicant sought to demolish the building and rebuild. Had the application been for conversion of the existing building this would have been a different consideration as such a planning application would have been permissible in policy terms under NNDC Core Strategy Policy SS2 (provided certain criteria were met). He affirmed that the ‘red line’ in policy terms was the objection on Nutrient Neutrality and GIRAMS which rendered the scheme non-negotiable else it be unlawful. If it were matters of principle and design the application may have been considered in a different manner. The DM advised that, should the Committee be minded to refuse the application, that the applicant may decide to appeal the decision, and/or resubmit a revised application.


     x.        Cllr C Ringer considered the application was limited in detail. Setting aside critical policy conflicts, and stated that he was not opposed to the siting of a dwelling in this ocation provided one could be better assimilated within the local setting. He asked, with respect of Nutrient Neutrality, whether the emptying of the septic tank into the main sewage conflicted with Nutrient Neutrality guidance.


   xi.        The DM advised that either way sewage was disposed would affect Nutrient Neutrality. The additional Nutrient load would need to be addressed, and the applicant had failed to demonstrate how they would do so through the application.


  xii.        Cllr C Ringer confirmed whether there were options available to the applicant to mitigate Nutrient Neutrality.


 xiii.        The DM advised that should the waste be taken to a package treatment plant that there would still be some outflow from the plant, which whilst cleaner, would not be totally clean. Manufacturers of package treatment plants were working to address issues of Nutrient Neutrality and were putting forward measures to combat such problems. With respect of the proposed application, the applicant had proposed discharge via the foul network.


RESOLVED by 8 votes for and 2 abstentions.


That Planning Application PF/23/1004 be REFUSED in accordance with the Officers recommendation.

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