The Development Manager referred to the report and slide handout previously supplied to the Committee. She stated that the recommendation should be amended to include a condition to remove permitted development rights for windows in the flank elevation.
The Development Manager read verbatim the comments of the Coastal Partnership East, which recommended refusal of the application on grounds that the proposal would increase the magnitude of the property and did not take into account the coastal erosion risks or guidance documents, contrary to Local Plan policies EN11 and EN12. Alternatively, if the Committee took a different view of the magnitude of redevelopment, Coastal Partnership East would welcome further discussions on a condition to require timely removal of the building at a point where coastal erosion became an imminent risk.
The Development Manager stated that Officers did not consider that the objections altered the recommendation for approval of this application. Coastal erosion had been considered in the report and the scheme found to be compliant with EN11 and EN12. She recommended that the Committee direct the Head of Planning to approve this application subject to the conditions listed in the report and as amended above.
The Development Manager read verbatim the written statements that had been received from the following persons:
Mr G Partridge (Overstrand Parish Council)
Mr N & Mrs J Masters (supporting)
Councillor Mrs A Fitch-Tillett, the local Member, referred to the considerable amount of objection to this application. She could not understand why the Officers continued to recommend the approval of this application in the light of the comments from Coastal Partnership East. She referred to the Shoreline Management Plan. She stated that the coastal erosion maps had been drawn up in 2004 and the Coastal Special Interest Group was urging the Environment Agency to update them. There had been many cliff slumps all along the coast, including an area near to the application site which had dropped by 1.5 metres. These slumps were random and it was not known when and where they would occur. She considered that approval of a new build property in a coastal erosion area would set a very dangerous precedent. She proposed that the Head of Planning be directed to refuse this application.
Councillor C Stockton stated that the application proposed in effect a much larger new build house within the 50 year erosion line. He considered that it would be highly irresponsible of this Authority to approve this application in the light of its stance on lobbying the Government with regard to adaptation, as it would add to the problem. The Government was showing signs that it was starting to understand the issue and as one of the Councils with the worst coastal erosion problems in the country, it would give the wrong impression if such development was allowed to take place within the 50 year line.
The Development Manager read Policy EN11 to the Committee. She advised the Committee that the proposal was not for new build development as it was a replacement dwelling and if members were minded to direct refusal of this application, the reason should be based on the intensification of the existing development.
Councillor N Pearce supported the views of Councillors Fitch-Tillett and Stockton. He acknowledged the clarification of the policy but considered that it would be foolhardy and irresponsible to approve the application when the Council was trying to protect its coast
Councillor Stockton considered that this proposal was intensification as it was currently a single storey 2 bedroomed bungalow and would increase to a two storey 4 bedroomed house.
Councillor Mrs Fitch-Tillett stated that Coastal Partnership East was working on a new policy for the Council’s Local Plan. The policy had already been accepted by East Suffolk Council and was being rolled out to other coastal authorities.
The Head of Planning explained that Policy EN11 carried full weight at the current time and the decision had to be made in accordance with it. He referred to the slide handout which showed the existing layout along with the proposed floorplan and elevations. In accordance with Policy EN11, the intensification had to be significant and demonstrable, and the Committee’s direction had to be based on the assessment of change in the building and increased incremental risk to life, taking into consideration that the existing building remained capable of habitation.
Councillor Stockton stated that he remained of the view that the proposal represented considerable intensification. It appeared that the applicants wanted to change from a two-bedroomed holiday home to a four-bedroomed permanent home. He considered that there was considerable risk and approval would send out the wrong message in terms of the Council’s stance on defending communities from coastal issues.
The Principal Lawyer advised the Committee that it was formulating its response as consultees and it was not necessary to follow the procedure of first rejecting the Officer’s recommendation.
The proposal to refuse this application on grounds related to coastal erosion was put to the vote and rejected by 5 votes to 8.
It was agreed that it was the view of the Committee that the Head of Planning should approve this application in accordance with his recommendation and with the amended condition to remove permitted development rights for windows in the flank elevation.