Agenda item

19/00265/FUL Ivy Wall House, Billet Lane, Stanford le Hope, Essex, SS17 0AR


Presented by the Principal Planner, Matthew Gallagher, the application had received 2 updates since publication of the agenda which were:


  • An email from the Applicant that now proposed 7 affordable dwellings which met the minimum level of affordable housing provision required as outlined by the Council’s planning policy. This now removed reason number 4 from the recommended reasons for refusal within the report.


  • A late consultation response from the Flood Risk Manager stating there were no objections which now removed reason number 3 from the recommended reasons for refusal within the report.


The application sought planning permission for the demolition of all existing buildings on site. The proposed development in its place was short rows of terrace style houses and a single apartment block of 19 residential units consisting of 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units along with associated development. Each dwelling would have either private off street parking or garages and parking.


The Applicant had put forward a case for very special circumstances to justify the inappropriate development as follows:


  1. That Thurrock’s Local Plan was not updated from 1997 but no weight had been afforded to this as Thurrock’s Core Strategy was last updated in 2015;
  2. That the proposed development would contribute towards the Council’s housing land supply. Significant weight should be attached to this;
  3. That the scheme met the 3 dimensions of sustainable development within the NPPF. However, the scheme failed the environmental aspects and attracted only limited weight;
  4. That the site was previously developed land but no weight could be given to this factor;
  5. That the harm to the Green Belt was limited but Officers considered that there was definitional harm, harm to openness and harm to Green Belt purposes. No weight should be afforded to this factor;
  6. That the NPPF presumption was in favour of sustainable development but as set out in the report, the ‘tilted balance’ did not engage in the Green Belt so weight could be attributed to this factor; and
  7. That the scheme would now meet the minimum provision of affordable housing so significant weight should be given to this factor.


There were initially 4 reasons given for the Officer’s recommendation for refusal stated on page 134 but as mentioned, reasons 3 and 4 were no longer relevant. The reasons now for refusal were:


  1. That the application for the site was located within the Green Belt and the proposals were considered inappropriate development on the Green Belt in line with policy so would cause harm to it.
  2. That the proposed development would result in a cramped layout with little consideration to landscaping which would be visually intrusive and fail to contribute positively to the character of the area.


The Chair opened the item up to the Committee for questions.


Referring to the photographs shown in the presentation, Steve Taylor noted an area on the site that was identified as a car park and asked how the area was accessed. The Principal Planner answered that the car park was not within the boundary of the site and served the use of the adjacent Crooked Billet pub.


With no more questions from the Committee, the Chair invited the registered speaker to address the Committee.


Councillor Piccolo, Ward Councillor, presented his statement in objection to the application.


The Chair questioned whether the car park at the Crooked Billet was relevant to the application. In answer, the Principal Planner said that the application did not rely on parking outside of its site boundary. The application proposed 34 draft standard parking spaces which were slightly short of the Council’s draft policy of 39 parking spaces so had to consider if this would form a reason for refusal of the application. At certain times, there would be a pressure on parking spaces on the proposed development and could result in an overspill into the Crooked Billet’s car park. However, it was considered that this impact would not be severe.



(The Committee agreed to suspend standing orders at 20.25 to allow the rest of the items on the agenda to be heard and discussed.)


Referring to the site plan layout, Steve Taylor said that he had counted the car park spaces laid out within the plan and had counted 28 car park spaces. He sought clarification on the number of proposed car park spaces. Referring to paragraph 6.22, the Principal Planner confirmed that it was 34 car park spaces and from the site layout plan, some of the car park spaces proposed required in-tandem parking.


Councillor Little thought that there was a likely chance of overspill from the proposed development into the Crooked Billet’s car park. She did not think that in-tandem parking was ideal and that the proposed plan was dense and was not in character with the area, not to mention the fact that the proposed development was on the Green Belt.


Noting that the current building was on the Green Belt and had been there for over 200 years, Councillor Lawrence asked whether there had been planning permission sought for the swimming pool that was currently on the site. She mentioned that she had also seen another house behind the main building. The Principal Planner was not familiar with the early history of the site but replied that planning laws had not come into effect until 1948 so pre-existing buildings may have already been on the site before then. The conservatory at the back of the building may have benefitted from permitted planning development rights along with the swimming pool and other related outbuildings. The site was a large plot and permitted development rights would allow for a number of outbuildings. However, overall, the building would be considered as one dwelling on the Green Belt.


Noting the planning history of the site within the report, Councillor Rice mentioned that there had been a change on the use of the main dwelling to a rest home. He questioned the size of the dwelling at the time of this change. The Principal Planner explained that the change of use in the dwelling did not imply building works and from looking at the photographs of the site, the dwelling did not appear to have a side extension. The current use of the dwelling was for a single dwelling use so the rest home change may not have been implemented.


Councillor Rice sought clarification on how many of the units proposed would be for affordable homes. The Principal Planner answered that it would be 7 out of the 19 proposed dwellings which would equate to roughly 36% for affordable homes.


With no further questions, the Committee moved on to debate the item.


Noting the number of affordable homes, Councillor Rice thought this was a good amount and suggested that a site visit might be ideal to view the size and examine what would be proposed on the site.


The Chair noted the clear and concise reasons for refusal given within the Officer’s report and that the site was on the Green Belt. Referring to the 34 proposed car park spaces, he felt this would most likely result in an overspill into the Crooked Billet’s car park and that the proposed plan itself was dense.


Adding to this, Councillor Little said the development would require hardstanding which would take up a lot of the Green Belt and she also did not think in-tandem parking was a good idea. The proposed plan was dense and the development would not be a happy place for people to live in.


With Councillor Rice proposing the site visit and Councillor Lawrence seconding it, the Committee moved on to the vote.


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


Against: (4) Councillors Gary Byrne, Tom Kelly, Susan Little and Sue Sammons.


Abstained: (0)


With the results of the vote on the site visit, planning application 19/00265/FUL was deferred to a later Committee meeting to enable the site visit to take place.

Supporting documents: