The report was presented by Lucy Mannion.
Referring to the unlawful building, the Vice-Chair sought clarification on which part of the building was unlawful and whether the proposal included the unlawful building. He also mentioned that properties in the area appeared to have taller buildings and that the current proposal would not look out of place. Lucy Mannion answered that over two thirds of the building was unlawful and that a part of it had been there for over ten years which was also now unlawful due to be joined to the unlawful additions. She said that the proposal included the unlawful building but the proposal was proposing a building that was a lot larger than what was allowed. She explained that the other properties in the area had Permitted Development Rights (PDR) but due to the 2008 planning permission, the property had its PDR removed.
The Committee discussed a previous application from 2019 on the same site which had been granted planning permission to build a building to run the Applicant’s business. Members sought further details. Lucy Mannion explained that the application from 2019 had been separate and on a different part of the site. She said that the building granted in that application had not been built yet.
The Chair asked whether the unlawful building would remain if the application was refused. He also asked if there were personal circumstances attached to the application and whether conditions had been drafted. Lucy Mannion answered that the unlawful building would become an enforcement issue if the application was refused. She said that the Applicant had provided a speaker’s statement that highlighted personal circumstances and also pointed out that the family members lived 450 metres away from the site. She explained that no conditions had been drafted as the application was recommended for refusal. However, if Members were minded to approve, conditions would highlight that the building would be for family members only.
Speaker statements were heard from:
Barry Johnson, Ward Councillor in support of the application.
John Cross, Applicant.
The Vice-Chair said that he understood the Officer’s reasons for refusing the application but he felt that the Applicant had engaged with Officers to comply with the size requirements. He said that the fact that the parents were only 450 metres away was irrelevant and the parents was intending to move into a one story building and would free up a two story building which importantly, would benefit another family. He noted the Applicant’s parents’ age and health issues and said that these factors should be considered. He went on to say that proposed building was not a large building on the Green Belt and would have minimal harm to the Green Belt.
Councillor Lawrence said that she was minded to agree with Officer’s recommendation of refusal. She went on to say that she was wary of the application due to a similar application in the past where planning permission had been granted for an add on to the property for the parents but was put into a care home shortly after. She also commented that the site had unfinished buildings from previous applications which should be completed first and then the current application could be considered thereafter. The Chair commented that he remembered that same application and the Vice-Chair said that conditions could be implemented to prevent this.
Councillor Rice said that he was minded to approve the application as he felt it was important to look after elderly parents within one’s own property. Councillor Sammons agreed and said that it was not easy to ‘pop up the road every five minutes’.
Jonathan Keen highlighted that the building on the site of the proposed building was unlawful and in breach of the conditions given in a 2008 planning application which could result in enforcement action by the Council. He explained that the size of the proposed building was approximately four times larger than the smallest part of the lawful part of the building currently on site. He reminded Members that not being able to see the building did not mean that it would not impact on the Green Belt as it was a spatial issue and not a visual issue. He referred to a similar application from 2015 on the same site which had gone through an appeal and had been dismissed by the Inspectorate. The Inspectorate had noted that the annex in that application would provide accommodation for the Applicant’s elderly parents but had found that the proposal would impact on the openness of the Green Belt, therefore it was a breach of national and development plan policies. Jonathan Keen said that the current application did not differ from that past application and that the proposal would result in significant harm to the Green Belt.
Steve Taylor sought further details on the buildings on the site that had been granted planning permission. He commented that the buildings could be built first; that the issue of the unlawful building should be resolved; and asked whether the building for the business could be exchanged and used as a home for the parents instead. Lucy Mannion confirmed that the buildings had not been built yet. She also referred to another previous application on the site that granted permission for a replacement house with the condition that a mobile home be on the site until the replacement house was finished which was still ongoing after 10 years. She said that the building for the business could only be used for that purpose.
Members further discussed the issue of buildings that had been granted permission but had not been built. The Chair felt that the site was ‘riddled with concerns’ and had an unlawful building on site. The Vice-Chair felt that approving the current application would achieve more action on the approved applications within the site. Members discussed deferring the application until the buildings, that had been granted planning permission previously, were completed. Jonathan Keen explained that there was no mechanism to ensure that these were completed and that the Applicant could not be forced to do this.
Councillor Rice proposed a site visit and was seconded by the Vice-Chair.
FOR: (3) Councillors Mike Fletcher, Gerard Rice, and Sue Shinnick.
AGAINST: (5) Councillors Tom Kelly, Colin Churchman, Angela Lawrence, David Potter and Sue Sammons.
The Chair proposed the Officer’s recommendation to refuse and was seconded by Councillor Shinnick.
FOR: (5) Councillors Tom Kelly, Colin Churchman, Angela Lawrence, David Potter and Sue Shinnick.
AGAINST: (3) Councillors Mike Fletcher, Gerard Rice, and Sue Sammons.