Agenda item

Langham - PF/21/2186 - Change of use of land to storage of caravans and boats, siting of 39 storage containers, siting of portable building for office use and erection of boundary fence. Land On, Langham Road, Langham, Norfolk


The DMTL introduced the Officers report and recommendation for refusal for the reasons outlined on the agenda.


Public Speakers


Jonathan Cheetham - Supporting


Members discussion & debate


  1. The Chairman asked the DMTL about the history of the land and its prior uses.


  1. The DMTL advised that the land had previously been used as an RAF base during WWII but was now populated by trees. It was understood that part of the site had been used ad-hoc for agricultural storage purposes, however it was unknown the full extent of the sites history.


  1. The Chairman sought clarity whether, if approved, the application site would be permitted to accommodate 107 caravans/ boats.


  1. The DMTL confirmed, as per the Officers report (p.25) that in addition to the 39 containers, permission was sought to house up to 107 caravans/boats.


  1. The Local Member – Cllr R Kershaw – expressed his support for the Officers recommendation, and thanked the case Officer for his lengthy report. He noted that there had been 37 letters of objection and that the parish council had objected to the proposal. Having attended the site, and read the Officers report, the Local Member stated he was convinced that the proposal was contrary to NNDC Core Strategy Policies SS1, SS2, SS5, EN1, EN3 & EN9, and considered that the harm outweighed any benefits. He commented that the proposal would result in an intensification of a rural site, resulting in damage to the ecosystem, and a loss of bio-diversity. Further, the containers would be visible from the quiet lane. Cllr R Kershaw questions the suitability of the lane in supporting the volume of traffic in installing and moving the containers, and subsequent delivery and removal of boats and caravans throughout the tourist season. He contended that the site would likely require security measure including fencing, CCTV and lighting, given the value of the assets proposed to be located on the site, and noted that the lighting would have a detrimental effect on the AONB. The Local Member noted paragraph 174 of the NPPF, and argued that the proposal was counter to these aims. He commented that some of the trees on the application site were subject to TPO’s, and approval in the application would require removal of mature trees at the entrance to facilitate access. Having considered all of the above, Cllr R Kershaw proposed acceptance of the Officers recommendation for refusal.


  1. Cllr A Fitch-Tillett remarked on the length harm described to the AONB in the Officers report, and stated that she could not support the application. She considered the proposal would have a significant detrimental effect on the surrounding natural beauty, and on dark skies. Cllr A Fitch-Tillett seconded the Officers recommendation for refusal.


  1. Cllr N Pearce spoke in support of the Officers recommendation, and commented that access to the site was highly restricted. He considered the harm brought through the proposal would outweigh any good, and noted that the proposal was counter to many of NNDC’s core strategy policies, as identified in the Officers report.


  1. Cllr A Brown advised he was unable to support the application, and considered the harmful impact on the AONB. He noted that many policies were not satisfied by way of the application, and the responsibility fell to the applicant to make a case of material considerations which would outweigh the harm. Cllr A Brown did not consider the Applicants arguments compelling to justify a departure from policy, and reflected on the lack of detail for the fencing scheme, tree removal, why no alternate site had been considered, or demand for the site itself. He was unsighted of any traffic report, but had doubts of the representations made by NCC Highways, as he considered the lanes unsuitable for this type of traffic movement. Further, the site was not considered to be a sustainable location for the proposal, a consideration of which would be given greater weight under the emerging Local Plan.


  1. Cllr V Holliday, ward member for the neighbouring parish of Morston, noted their objection and stated that she did not consider that the economic benefits outweighed the landscape or ecological harm which the proposal would cause. Further, she noted the Officers report, and the description of the impact on ‘long views’, and commented that she considered the proposal would have a negative impact on views of the landscape from the coast and looking down from Langham, with boats and caravans being white, shiny, and plastic, reflective in the sunshine.


  1. The ADP provided clarity and advised the Committee that the site was not situated in a designated dark skies site, the impact of lighting was to be judged under the terms of current adopted local plan policies. 


  1. Cllr J Toye commented that he was very familiar with the site, and noted one of the main routes to the site was past a school down a narrow road. He considered the application contrary many policies, and expressed his support for the Officers recommendation.





That Planning Application PF/21/2186 be refused on the following grounds:



1.         The site is located in an area designated as Countryside where Policy SS 2 limits development to that which requires a rural location. The proposals have not demonstrated that there is a particular environmental or operational justification for the development. The site is isolated from the nearest settlement, not well served by public transport and would rely on the use of the private car and would not respond positively to tackling the impacts of climate change contrary to Policies SS 1, SS 2 and CT 5 of the adopted North Norfolk Core Strategy (2008) and the sustainable development principles detailed within the National Planning Policy Framework (2021).



2.         The proposed development would be of a significant scale, representing major development within the sites rural context and Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The introduction of built form and change of use of land would introduce an incongruous use into a naturally regenerated wooded area resulting in the industrialisation of a highly rural open coastal location which would not reinforce, conserve or enhance the sites remote, tranquil, open and elevated landscape setting. The development would fail to conserve or enhance the special landscape and scenic beauty qualities of the AONB and prevailing landscape character and fails to have regard to local context and does not preserve or enhance the character and quality of an area contrary to the requirements of Policies EN 1, EN 2, EN 3 and EN 4 of the adopted North Norfolk Core Strategy, Chapter 15 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2021) and the guidance contained within the North Norfolk Landscape Character Assessment Supplementary Planning Document (2021), the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Management Strategy 2014 – 2019 and the Norfolk Coast AONB Integrated Landscape Character Guidance.



3.         The proposals would necessitate the removal of a significant amount of scrub and woodland which is known to support breeding populations for a range of protected species, including mammals and birds of conservation concern, and considered likely to also provide shelter and foraging opportunities for other protected species (e.g. reptiles). The disturbances and increased activities associated with the proposed use would have an adverse impact upon these species. The proposed landscape mitigation would not compensate for the loss of habitat resulting in a net loss of biodiversity, contrary to the aims of paragraph 174 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2021). The proposals have not demonstrated that the development could be located in a less sensitive location that would cause less harm contrary to the requirements of Policy EN 9 of the adopted North Norfolk Core Strategy (2008). Furthermore, the development does not comply with the mitigation hierarchy as set out in paragraph 180 (a) of the National Planning Policy Framework (2021).


Supporting documents: