Agenda item

BINHAM - PF/19/0456 - Demolish old reading room building and erection of one and a half storey detached dwelling and detached garage with storage above, including part retrospective alterations to existing section of front boundary wall; Land east of no.5 (former Reading Room), Langham Road, Binham, NR21 0DW for Mr Bircham


Conditional approval.


Public Speaker


Jerry Stone (supporting)


The Senior Planning Officer stated that the Human Rights section of the report should refer to refusal and not approval.  She presented the report and displayed plans and photographs of the site, including a plan of the visibility splay which would be required but was not part of this proposal.  She advised the Committee that a long term family connection was not a material planning consideration.  She recommended refusal of this application as set out in the report.


The NCC Highways Officer explained how visibility splays were assessed.  He stated that in this case the visibility fell far short of the requirements for roads of this nature and he maintained his recommendation for refusal.


Councillor R Kershaw, the local Member, stated that the Parish Council fully supported the application, which would allow someone to move back into the village who could not otherwise afford to do so, and would remove an eyesore.  The applicant was giving up a right of way with no visibility and the proposed splay would be safer.  Although the Highway Authority would not allow the erection of a mirror on highway land, the land on the opposite side of the road was owned by the applicant and a mirror would face north west and would not reflect sunlight.  He considered that the applicant had done all he could to fulfil planning and highway requirements.


Councillor P Fisher referred to the site inspection and stated that he could clearly see another Member’s car whilst it was still within the site.  He asked if more consideration could be given to the new Local Plan which would identify Binham as a Growth Village.


The Head of Planning stated that the emerging Local Plan was in its very early stages and it could not be given significant weight.  The current Local Plan policies had to be applied to the application.  Officers did not share the Local Member’s view with regard to the benefits of the proposal.  The Council had a five year land supply and the site was not considered to be an otherwise sustainable location which could be considered for infill development.


Councillor Mrs A Fitch-Tillett stated that she had driven onto the site and did not have a problem with the access.  She referred to an application at Alby which had been approved against highway advice a few years previously, although Members had to take personal responsibility if there was a problem as a result of the decision.  She also referred to the NPPF and asked what weight could be given to it in respect of rural villages.


The Head of Planning stated that national planning advice required sites to be assessed against sustainability criteria.  There would be a small amount of economic benefit from the building of the dwelling and bringing new residents into the village, but this was limited.  As the Council had a five year land supply it would add little if anything to the land supply issue.  There were environmental issues with regard to the loss of the wall.  Officers considered that there were issues which prevented the site from being an otherwise sustainable location.


The Principal Lawyer advised that it was very rare that personal circumstances would amount to a material planning consideration.  He advised caution against a temporary justification for a permanent impact.


Councillor Mrs A Fitch-Tillett stated that Binham was a busy village.  She considered that the proposal would be a vast improvement.  She considered that the location was relatively sustainable, the proposal would remove an eyesore and the application should be approved.


Councillor N Pearce referred to the policy issues and stated that the Council was tasked with looking after its heritage.  He proposed refusal in accordance with the recommendation of the Head of Planning.


Councillor N Lloyd stated that several cars had been parked on the site at the site inspection, which contradicted the safety concerns.  The existing building was dilapidated and would decay further.  The frontage wall was hardly visible as it was covered in vegetation.  He disagreed with the Officers regarding the sustainability issues.  As there were buildings on either side it was marginal as to whether the site was considered to be in the countryside.


The Interim Development Manager advised the Committee with regard to the spatial strategy and Policy SS1.  Officers did not consider that this proposal would promote sustainable patterns of development, as required by the spatial strategy.


A number of Members commented that they had not had a problem with visibility at the site inspection.


Councillor Dr C Stockton supported the views of Councillors Lloyd and Fitch-Tillett.  Councillor Mrs W Fredericks added that conservation of a village was not just about buildings, but also about keeping families with connections in villages where they could live and work.


In response to a question by Councillor A Yiasimi regarding accidents at this location, the Highways Officer stated that there was no history of recorded accidents, although this did not mean that it was inherently safe.


The Head of Planning advised the Committee that the highway safety issues were significant and there may be issues if accidents happened as a result of permission.  A lack of recorded accidents did not guarantee that there would be no accidents at a later stage.  He referred to the Conservation and Design comments regarding the loss of the wall.


It was proposed by Councillor N Pearce, seconded by Councillor P Fisher that this application be refused in accordance with the recommendation of the Head of Planning.  The proposal was lost with 4 Members voting in favour and 9 against, with one abstention.


It was proposed by Councillor Mrs A Fitch-Tillett, seconded by Councillor R Kershaw and


RESOLVED by 9 votes to 5


That this application be approved, subject to the flint wall being lowered and not removed, and subject to the imposition of conditions considered to be appropriate by the Head of Planning.


Reason:  This application is supported by the NPPF for village developments, it is a self-build proposal and Binham is a sustainable location.


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