Agenda item

TRUNCH - PF/20/2005 Residential development comprising up to three detached single storey dwellings including detached garage to plot 3 (outline application including access, all other matters reserved): Itarsi, Chapel Road, Trunch, Norwich Walsham: Mr Howchin


Conditional approval


The Senior Planning Officer presented the report by remote link and recommended approval of this application as set out in the report.  A copy of the visual presentation had previously been forwarded to the Committee.


There were no public speakers present at the meeting.   The applicant had sent an email in support of his application, copies of which were circulated at the meeting.  The Chairman paused the meeting to allow Members time to read the submission.


Councillor N Lloyd expressed concern regarding the felling of trees on the site prior to the application.  He considered that there was a danger of rewarding people who arbitrarily removed trees for profit.   It appeared that the trees were not subject to a Tree Preservation Order as permission had not been sought to remove them.


The Principal Lawyer confirmed that it was not necessary to seek consent to fell trees if they were not in a Conservation Area or covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).  The Local Authority had the power to make a TPO but the process often commenced as a result of local representation.


Councillor Mrs P Grove-Jones expressed disapproval that the Member who had called in the application was neither present nor had submitted his comments in writing. 


Councillor N Pearce considered that it would be wrong to allow three dwellings to be built on this site in contravention of the Council’s Countryside policies.  Whilst Trunch was a bustling, self-contained village, he considered that there were issues in respect of transport. 


Councillor A Brown requested clarity as to the weighting of paragraph 78 of the NPPF against the Council’s Policy SS2.  It appeared that greater consideration was being given to paragraph 78 over the Council’s policies in this case as this development would support the rural economy of Trunch.  He considered that the site would be more suitable for two dwellings, rather than three, and that the proposal gave the impression of ‘garden grabbing’.  He requested that it be made clear to the developer that a landscaping scheme of a very high specification would be required to replace the trees that had been removed.


The Senior Planning Officer explained that the description of the development of up to three dwellings allowed flexibility at the detailed application stage in respect of the number of dwellings, trees and replacement planting.  The assessment of this application had been based on the assessment of other recent cases in Trunch.


The Assistant Director for Planning explained that the Council’s Local Plan was aged and the NPPF had introduced the concept of sustainable development.  Where proposals were considered to depart from Local Plan Policies SS1 and SS2, it was necessary to consider the three criteria in the NPPF relating to sustainable development.  The new Local Plan would be led by the NPPF of 2019 and would look to bring forward development in smaller settlements where the sustainability criteria could be met, of which Trunch was one such settlement.  The emerging Local Plan currently carried very limited, if any, weight and so this application had been assessed against the sustainability criteria in paragraph 78.  On that basis, Officers considered that this was an acceptable, otherwise sustainable location.


Councillor J Toye considered that the proposal was acceptable in principle. He referred to the applicant’s design and access statement in respect of the use of sustainable materials and green technology.  Whilst the new Local Plan carried little weight at the present time, it was likely to be much further advanced by the time a full application was submitted and he hoped that the detailed proposals would come close to, or possibly exceed, the environmental standards set out in the new Plan.  He proposed approval of this application in accordance with the Officer’s recommendation.


Councillor R Kershaw considered that the site was not in the Countryside as it was surrounded on three sides by buildings, and five other sites in Trunch had been approved for development.  He seconded the proposal.


Councillor G Mancini-Boyle asked if the design included electric charging points and expressed concerns regarding the environmental credentials of the buildings.  He considered that the proposed development was crammed into the site. 


The Senior Planning Officer stated that this application sought outline permission for the principle of the development and access at this stage, and all other issues including the layout would be for consideration at the detailed stage.  The layout shown was indicative only.


Councillor Dr V Holliday expressed concern that the access could necessitate an incoming vehicle reversing back out onto the road if another vehicle was trying to exit at the same time.  She queried whether sufficient weight had been given to this matter.


The Senior Planning Officer stated that a refusal on highway grounds would be difficult to substantiate as the Highway Authority had no objection subject to conditions.


RESOLVED by 9 votes to 2


That this application be approved in accordance with the recommendation of the Assistant Director for Planning.


The Assistant Director for Planning stated that an informative note would be added to the permission suggesting that the applicant enter into discussions regarding the layout prior to submission of a detailed planning application.


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