The Development Manager presented the application. She outlined the main issues for consideration and recommended refusal as set out in the report.
Councillor C Cushing referred to the block plan in the slide presentation. He considered that the proposed development would not appear out of place with Broughton Close to the left of the application site. He also noted that there were dwellings to the right of the site.
The Development Manager explained that the dwellings in Broughton Close were semi-detached pairs which were regular in form and design and Officers would expect to see a continuation of that form and design. However, the principle of the proposed development on the application site was contrary to the Development Plan and the form and design of the development was a secondary reason for refusal.
Councillor P Heinrich stated that it appeared the dwellings on Broughton Close were fairly recent and asked why they had not been contrary to Policies SS1 and SS2.
The Development Manager stated that she did not have the details to hand but the development may have been a rural exceptions site. She later confirmed that this was the case.
Councillor Mrs A Fitch-Tillett stated that she had searched Google Maps to see what facilities existed nearby. In her opinion the development would be completely unsustainable and she proposed refusal of the application in accordance with the Officer’s recommendation.
The Development Manager confirmed that the only facilities in the village were a church and a village hall. There was a very limited bus service operating on a Monday and Thursday, so residents of the new development would be totally reliant on the private car to access everyday services and employment.
The Principal Lawyer reminded the Committee that the registered speaker had not yet spoken and that Members should only ask questions at this point with the debate of the proposal to follow.
Mr P Hardy (supporting)
The Head of Planning responded to concerns raised by Mr Hardy with regard to the processing of this application. He had already responded directly to Parker Planning with regard to this matter. He explained the process for signing off decisions and the quality assurance measures operated by the Council. The processing of the application in question had been lawful.
Councillor V FitzPatrick, the local Member, clarified that the reason he had requested this matter be considered by the Committee was that he had approved a request by the original case officer to approve this application under delegated powers. Subsequently, the original case officer had left and the new case officer had contacted him to say that the application had been recommended for refusal. Given his previous acceptance of approval, and no changes having been made to the application, he considered that the only course open to him was to refer the matter to the Committee.
The Chairman opened the discussion to the Committee.
Councillor G Mancini-Boyle requested clarification with regard to EN4, and parking and access issues.
The Development Manager explained that the form and layout of the development was unacceptable. It did not maintain the building line of the houses to the west. The proposal was a form of backland development which was not acceptable. The Highway Authority had not raised any objections on parking and access so these issues did not form part of the refusal recommendation. She confirmed that Broughton Close was a rural exceptions development. A previous application for three market dwellings on the application site had been refused.
Councillor N Lloyd stated that the overriding principle was that new open market dwellings in the Countryside were precluded and he therefore seconded Councillor Mrs Fitch-Tillett’s proposal for refusal of this application as recommended.
Councillor P Heinrich stated that this was not a rural exceptions development and as such, taking into account policies SS1, SS2 and EN4, he supported the recommendation.
Councillor Cushing questioned the definition of Countryside given that the application site was a small area of field in between a row of houses.
The Development Manager explained that Hindolveston was not a town or service village and was therefore designated as a Countryside location. The Countryside designation included small villages within it. Whilst the emerging Local Plan would potentially allow some infilling and rounding off of development in growth villages, Hindolveston was not on the list of growth villages in the emerging Plan. It was considered to be unsustainable, and would remain designated as Countryside where market dwellings were considered to be unacceptable.
Councillor Mrs Fitch-Tillett reiterated her proposal to support the Officer’s recommendation for refusal of this application, which she had made during the question and answer section of this application.
Councillor A Brown confirmed that Hindolveston was not included as a service or small growth village in the emerging Local Plan. He stated that the emerging Plan would take into account the revisions to the NPPF to which Mr Hardy had referred in his comments. The recommendation was totally consistent with planning policy and he therefore supported the recommendation.
The Head of Planning explained that the adopted Local Plan carried full weight in decision making on this application. The emerging Local Plan did not carry any significant weight at the present time, although the evidence base from which the emerging Plan was prepared, including its sustainability analysis, could be used in any future appeal on this site as relevant. The decision on the current application had to be made on the basis of the current Local Plan and Policies SS1 and SS2. He confirmed that he was content for the Committee to determine this application and there was no need to delegate the final decision to him as suggested in the printed recommendation.
The proposal was put to the vote and it was
That this application be refused in accordance with the recommendation of the Head of Planning.