Agenda item

18/01760/HHA - The Lodge, Fen Lane, Bulphan, Essex, RM14 3RL


Tom Scriven, the Principal Planner advised that the planning application sought permission to develop a single storey side and rear extension. Two planning applications of a similar form had been sought previously and both had been rejected due to the size of the extensions. This application showed a reduction in the size of the proposed designs.  However, the extension would still exceed the two reasonably sized rooms test for a proportionate extension in the Green Belt as set out in Policy PMD6 of the Core Strategy.  As a result the proposal was considered to represent a disproportionate addition to the original dwelling which would constitute a disproportionate addition in the Green Belt, by definition harmful to openness.


The Chair opened the item up to the Committee for questions to which there were none. The item was opened up for debate.


Noting the previous two rejected applications, Councillor Rice said the applicant was clearly trying to be accommodating and only sought a small extension that would not be seen by the next door neighbour. He thought the applicant was being reasonable as he sought a small diner and utility room. Referring to the planning training provided prior to the Committee meeting, Councillor Rice said he would be in favour of the application as the extensions requested would not be disproportionate to the original building.


Agreeing with Councillor Rice, Councillor Lawrence added that the extension was small which would not affect the Green Belt and would keep to the character of the house design. She felt the personal reasons given by the applicant via email would constitute very special circumstances as the applicant’s elderly mother would be moving in so she would not be placed in a care home. The applicant’s family would be able to live in harmony with his elderly mother and his children and the extension would not be seen. With all the reasons added up together, Councillor Lawrence felt the Committee should be fair. 


Steve Taylor said that the biggest issue of the application was the fact it would extend onto a part of the Green Belt. Policy is quite clearly against developing on the Green Belt. Therefore to allow for this application to develop on the Green Belt would invite issues from concerned parties and other future planning applications within the Green Belt. Permitted development rights were removed when planning permission was granted for the dwelling and previous applications for the extensions had been rejected and should not be overridden.


Sympathising with the applicant, the Chair agreed the application had to be considered in planning terms and whilst the reasons given and the requested extension did not seem unreasonable, the laws of planning still applied. He agreed with Steve Taylor that there needed to be consistency on the approval and rejection of planning applications.


Referring to the planning training prior to the Committee meeting, Councillor Rice said he had been advised to treat each planning application on its own terms and therefore it would not set a precedent. He thought the applicant was reasonable with his third amended application. The extension was not massive and with the reasons given from the planning training, Councillor Rice would use these to depart from the Officer’s recommendations.


Disagreeing with the given comments of the Committee, Councillor Hamilton referred to page 63 of the Agenda, where it was stated that the extension was still almost double the size which would be appropriate in the Green Belt. This would still encroach onto the Green Belt and whether it could be seen from the road or not was irrelevant. He agreed with the Officer’s comments and recommendations.</AI7>



Noting the points raised, Andrew Millard provided advice to the Committee in which whether the extension would be seen or not was immaterial. Referring to Steve Taylor’s earlier point, Andrew Millard said that all additions to the property had been allowed at the time that it was built. He also stated that the Council’s own Core Strategy clearly sets out what would constitute a proportionate addition in the Green Belt.  The reasons given by the Committee did not amount to exceptional or the very high bar of very special circumstances which would allow departure from planning policy.


Disagreeing, Councillor Rice proposed a new motion that the application be approved because the extension would not result in disproportionate addition to the original building. Councillor Lawrence seconded the motion.


The Committee moved on to voting of approving the application based on Councillor Rice’s motion.


For: (5) Councillors Gerard Rice, Angela Lawrence, Sue Sammons, Sue Shinnick and David Potter.


Against: (3) Councillors Tom Kelly (Chair), Steve Liddiard (Vice-Chair) and Graham Hamilton.


Abstained: (0).


Referring to the Constitution and taking into consideration the reason for approval, Andrew Millard said the reason was tentative. As a decision was not made, the planning application would be deferred to the next Planning Committee meeting with a report setting out the implications based on the motion proposed.

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