Agenda item

INGHAM - PF/21/0797 - Two storey detached dwelling; driveway and access to Palling Road; tree and hedgerow planting and formation of pond; Land north of Palling Road, Ingham for Mr Tom Coller




The Assistant Director for Planning presented the report.  A copy of the visual presentation had previously been forwarded to the Committee.  He referred the Committee to a plan in the visual presentation entitled ‘Location of Sites’ which showed the location of the current application site and the approved barn conversion PU/20/0577 which was the fallback position in the event of refusal of this application.  Copies of the Landscape Officer’s most recent comments were circulated and time given for the Committee to read them. 


The Assistant Director for Planning drew attention to the Parish Council’s concerns and the comments in favour of the proposal from the local Member.  He referred to the material considerations in this case relating to the principle of the development, flood risk, impact of the proposal on landscape character and the fallback position relating to the existing barn.  He recommended refusal of this application as set out in the report.


Public Speaker


Abigail Coller (supporting)


Councillor Miss L Shires, the local Member, stated that a car would be required to access local services, regardless of whether a new dwelling was built as proposed or the barn converted as previously approved.  She considered that the nearest dwelling was quite close in terms of Ingham.  She stated that the proposal would provide significant land on which a large number of trees would be planted, with an aim towards carbon negativity.  The applicant had taken on board objections that had been raised to previous iterations of the proposal and as a result of the amendments, the Highway Authority, Green Infrastructure Team and Environment Agency had no objection.  However, the Landscape Officer’s objections did not take into account the additional measures to mitigate any environmental impact.  She considered that the significant planting and other measures would mitigate the dark skies issue that had previously been raised.  She stated that the rights on the barn would not allow significant climate mitigation through planting and the current site was the only site which was high enough in terms of flood risk.


The Chairman requested clarification in relation to a previous case where a building of exceptional architectural merit was approved contrary to Policies SS1 and SS2.


The Assistant Director for Planning referred to case law relating to paragraph 79(e) of the NPPF, which provided for buildings of outstanding architecture or innovation in isolated locations.  Under the test of that case law, this site was not considered to be isolated as it was within 200 metres of the nearest dwelling and he suggested that paragraph 79(e) would not apply in these circumstances.


Councillor N Pearce highlighted the comments of the Landscape Officer and the conclusions and recommendation in the report.  He considered that this application was contrary to the Council’s requirement to protect the AONB, contrary to Policies SS1 and SS2 and was unsustainable.  He requested clarification regarding the flood risk issues.


The Assistant Director for Planning stated that the site was in an area at risk of flooding, but the applicant had worked through solutions to enable him to build on the site and the Environment Agency considered that the mitigation measures were sufficient to withdraw its objection.  It was necessary to apply the sequential test to development proposals when the technical engineering tests had been overcome.   Residential use was the most vulnerable type of use with regard to flood risk and the proposal failed the sequential test. 


Councillor J Toye stated that this was a very large house and it would take some time for screening to be effective.  In most cases the fallback position related to properties being built on the same site and not remote from it as in this case.  He referred to reports regarding the carbon footprint of construction and the significant environmental benefits of adapting and reusing old buildings.   He suggested that if the land was being gifted to the applicant it should be possible to convert the barn and carry out the tree planting on the application site. 


Councillor Mrs A Fitch-Tillett expressed sympathy with the applicant, but she was unable to condone development on the flood plain nor a change to the AONB.  She proposed refusal of this application as recommended.


Councillor A Yiasimi considered that the environmental benefits offered by this application far outweighed the reasons for refusal.


Councillor R Kershaw stated that the proposal was for a building in the Countryside, and the offer to plant 1000 trees was welcome.  However he could not see how the proposal would be carbon negative.  If done properly, the fallback barn conversion could be carbon negative and would use far fewer materials than the large house proposed.  In terms of sustainability, both sites were equally weighted.  He seconded the proposal to refuse this application.


Councillor A Brown considered that this was a simple matter of planning policy.  Policies SS1 and SS2 did not support this application as it was in an unsustainable location.  The fallback position had only modest or insignificant weight in the planning balance and personal circumstances were not a material consideration.  Whilst the Council was supportive of its communities and encouraged new building to sustain communities where possible, in this case it could be achieved by conversion of the existing barn, given the flood risk issues, failure to satisfy the sequential test and adverse impact on landscape character.  He therefore supported the recommendation to refuse this application.


Councillor N Lloyd stated that one of the Council’s primary duties was to protect the Countryside.  He considered that building on a flood plain with the mitigation being to move to the first floor was not sustainable.  Tree planting was part of the Council’s Corporate Plan so the proposed tree planting would be welcome, but he considered that it would be within the applicant’s gift to plant trees if he wanted to in any case.  There was little information regarding the type of construction proposed for the new build, but traditional building was one of the highest contributors to carbon emissions.  He supported the recommendation for refusal with a heavy heart.


With the permission of the Chairman, the applicant (Mr Coller) explained that the existing barn was a working agricultural building, currently used as a grain store, and would need to be replaced if converted.  He explained that farmers did not like ponds or trees near agricultural buildings and the tree planting was only proposed if the house could be developed on its own without a large agricultural barn.


RESOLVED by 10 votes to 2


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

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