Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room (Area East) - Churchfield. View directions

Contact: Kelly Wheeler, Case Services Officer (Support Services) - 01935 462038  Email: kelly.wheeler@southsomerset.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

21.

Minutes of Previous Meeting

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the previous meeting held on Wednesday 12th June 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on Wednesday 12th June 2019, copies of which had been circulated, were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

In response to a query from a member, the Chairman advised that the audio recording could be made available should members wish to listen to the recording.

22.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies of absence.

23.

Declarations of Interest

In accordance with the Council’s current Code of Conduct (as amended 26 February 2015), which includes all the provisions relating to Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI), personal and prejudicial interests, Members are asked to declare any DPI and also any personal interests (and whether or not such personal interests are also “prejudicial”) in relation to any matter on the Agenda for this meeting. 

Members are reminded that they need to declare the fact that they are also a member of a County, Town or Parish Council as a Personal Interest.  Where you are also a member of Somerset County Council and/or a Town or Parish Council within South Somerset you must declare a prejudicial interest in any business on the agenda where there is a financial benefit or gain or advantage to Somerset County Council and/or a Town or Parish Council which would be at the cost or to the financial disadvantage of South Somerset District Council. 

Planning Applications Referred to the Regulation Committee

The following members of this Committee are also members of the Council’s Regulation Committee:

Councillors Tony Capozzoli, Henry Hobhouse, Paul Rowsell, William Wallace and Colin Winder.

Where planning applications are referred by this Committee to the Regulation Committee for determination, Members of the Regulation Committee can participate and vote on these items at the Area Committee and at Regulation Committee.  In these cases the Council’s decision-making process is not complete until the application is determined by the Regulation Committee.  Members of the Regulation Committee retain an open mind and will not finalise their position until the Regulation Committee.  They will also consider the matter at Regulation Committee as Members of that Committee and not as representatives of the Area Committee.

Minutes:

Councillor Sarah Dyke declared a personal interest in agenda item 8 as she was the Programme Manager for the Heart of Wessex LEADER Programme.

24.

Date of Next Meeting

Members are asked to note that the next scheduled meeting of the committee will be at the Council Offices, Churchfield, Wincanton on Wednesday 14thAugust at 9.00 am.

Minutes:

Members noted that the date of the next scheduled meeting of the Committee would be at the Council Offices, Churchfields, Wincanton on Wednesday 14th August at 9am.

25.

Public Question Time

Minutes:

A member of the public addressed the Committee to raise concern that she had been experiencing problems in contacting the Council. She advised members that the service had deteriorated and that she had been unable to create an online account or to reach any officers over the telephone. She also explained that she had been unable to view several documents, such as planning applications and financial audit reports on the website. She also asked questions around the investment portfolio, staffing and redundancies.

 

The Case Officer – Support Services, agreed to pass these concerns and questions to the relevant officers. She also agreed to make sure that she would be given the opportunity to view the Grant Thornton Audit report.

 

The Chairman advised that the IT were problems were being looked at as a matter of priority and that funding had been allocated to overcome staffing issues. He also added that there seemed to be a huge shortage of Planning Officers and that temporary agency staff have been used.

 

The Chairman also clarified that a lithium battery storage facility had been purchased in Taunton and explained that there had been some connection issues and was still not operating.

26.

Chairman Announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that there would be a report on the September agenda to summarise options for the possible locations to hold future Area East Committee meetings as the Churchfield office would soon be disposed of.

 

He advised members that there would be a Town and Parish Council meeting in September, which would be held at Brympton Way to explain how to use the new planning portal website. The date for this workshop had not yet been confirmed.

 

One member added that the IT systems should have been in place earlier during the Transformation Project.

 

The Chairman advised that the date of the next Regulation Committee would be held on Tuesday 16th July.

 

He also advised that there would be an ‘Area Chapters’ workshop immediately following the close of the meeting.

27.

Reports from Members

Minutes:

Councillor Hayward Burt advised that the problems with the website were often raised at Parish and Town Council meetings and was disappointed that these had not yet been resolved.

 

He also added that he was upset that he had not been advised of the decision to provide additional funding to the planning department towards staffing. He explained that this had not been communicated to him.

 

Councillor Mike Lewis congratulated Councillor Sarah Dyke on her appointment to Chairman of the Somerset Waste Partnership. He also requested that she look at the issue surrounding the composting concerns on the Dimmer site.

 

In response, Councillor Sarah Dyke, thanked Councillor Mike Lewis for his good wishes and agreed to look at the composting issues.

28.

Annual Progress Report - Heart of Wessex LEADER Programme pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Minutes:

The Specialist Officer – Economic Development, presented her report. She explained to members that this was positive report and that the Heart of Wessex LEADER was one of the best performing local action groups across the country. The programme had successfully delivered a large amount of grant funding as well as achieving a top up award.

 

In her capacity of Programme Manager, Councillor Sarah Dyke explained that the programme had been hugely successful. The original funding was for slightly over £1.9 million, which had been invested across South Somerset and Wiltshire. Once this target had been reached, a successful bid for additional funding provided a further £227,000. This took the funding provided to over £2 million.

 

She added that the Heart of Wessex had received the highest level of top-up funding, of all groups across the country, during the funding reallocation and were one of the best performing action groups. She pointed out that the programme had created 28 full time equivalent jobs across the area.

 

She explained that additional claims for funding need to submitted and agreed before the end of September and projects would need to be completed before the end of September 2020 to enable them to be successful for funding.

 

She explained that the project had funded many types of projects to include farm diversification, tourism and forestry.

 

In response to a question from a member, she explained that ‘moo collars’ were performance and welfare management tools for cattle, which monitored things such as temperature.

 

In response to another member question, she felt it was likely that local residents would have filled many of the newly created jobs, however this was information that would not be available to her.

 

Councillor Mike Lewis offered his congratulations to Councillor Sarah Dyke and the team. He felt that these grants were crucial to some local businesses and had enabled others to thrive.

 

Councillor Sarah Dyke pointed out that there were two chocolate companies listed within the report, but that they were in fact the same company.

 

Members noted the report.

29.

The Retail Support Initiative overview pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Decision:

DECISION:

Members noted the report and agreed to

 

1)    Approve the updated operating criteria of the RSI scheme for 2019/20

2)    Top up the RSI budget of £5000 from the Members Discretionary Budget for 2019/20

 

Reason:

Towards to the Retail Support Initiative (RSI) for 2019/20.

 

(voting: unanimous)

Minutes:

The Specialist Officer – Economic Development, presented her report to members. She explained that the scheme had been running for a number of years within Area East and had provided grant funding to several businesses within Area East.

 

She asked members would agree to continue their support for the scheme and to consider a financial top-up to the scheme from the Members Discretionary Budget to allow funding for 2019/20.

 

One member pointed out that there was an amount in the project which was ring-fenced to applications within Wincanton.

 

It was proposed and seconded that the updated operating criteria and top up from the Members Discretionary Budget should be approved as detailed in the report.

 

On being put to the vote, this was carried unanimously.

 

RESOLVED:  that members noted the report and agreed to;

 

1)    Approve the updated operating criteria of the RSI scheme for 2019/20

2)    Top up the RSI budget of £5000 from the Members Discretionary Budget towards the Retail Support Initiative (RSI) for 2019/20.

 

(voting: unanimous)

30.

Wincanton Town Centre Strategy pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 The Specialist Officer – Economic Development, introduced her report to Members.

 

A representative from Wincanton Town Council addressed the Committee. Her comments included;

 

·         The old health centre site and the White Horse were in need of refurbishment, adding that there were listed buildings that were at risk that should be included within the strategy.

·         Town Councillors supported a Speed Awareness Campaign for residents

·         The Town Council strongly suggest that a representative from the Town Council should be involved with the project going forward.

·         There was concern that there had a small response to the consultation.

·         All signage should be removed from pavements and external brackets on shops should be used instead.

·         The area behind the Green Dragon/Pines House need to be improved as this is an entrance to the town from the Memorial Hall car park.

 

A member of the public addressed the Committee. She explained that she supported the strategy, however had some observations. She explained that the strategy coincided with recent changes to membership of Wincanton Town Council. She felt that the new Chairman of Wincanton Town Council would be an asset to the strategy team and hoped that she could be involved with the project. She added that the aims of the strategy needed to be more visible and hope further initiatives could be developed to encourage better promotion and consultation within the community. 

 

The Chair of Wincanton Chamber of Commerce addressed the Committee in support of the strategy. He felt that Wincanton had to compete with towns such as Sherborne, Bruton and Castle Cary and more needed to be done to make Wincanton a destination. He added that places such as Stourhead Gardens and Haynes Motor Museum bring visitors to the area. He explained that parking was a concern and hoped that free car parking could continue. He also pointed out there were numerous vacant buildings and suggested that temporary events could be held in these buildings, such as markets and also suggested that a business hub could be developed. He explained that strict planning rules made developing and renovating deteriorating listed buildings hard.

 

The Specialist Officer – Economic Development advised that many of the issues raised were reflected within the strategy. However, she pointed out that there is flexibility within the strategy so that it can evolve and respond to opportunities over time.

 

In response to the comments relating to car parking, she explained that as part of the  car parking charge implementation planned for this Autumn, there will be a separate formal consultation.

 

She explained that the strategy had been produced with the help of consultants, who engaged with local stakeholders and local businesses.

 

She summarised the vision of the strategy, which underpinned many of the points which had been raised at during public consultation. She added that the aim was to increase footfall and vibrancy within the town and to improve the pedestrian environment.

 

She agreed that the formal response rate to the consultation was low, however the responses from the wider consultations  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Area East Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Locality Team Leader advised members that there would be an update report for the Balsam Centre and South Somerset Community Accessible Transport on the next agenda.

 

He also advised members that there would be a report to summarise the future of Churchfields on the September agenda.

 

Members noted the Area East Forward Plan.

32.

Planning Appeals (For Information Only) pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members noted the Planning Appeals, which had been received and dismissed.

33.

Schedule of Planning Applications to be Determined by Committee pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Minutes:

Members noted the Schedule of Planning Applications to be determined by the Committee.

34.

18/01602/FUL** - Former BMI Site, Cumnock Road, Ansford pdf icon PDF 743 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Application Proposal: Demolition of existing buildings, conversion of and alterations to listed buildings to form 11 no. dwellings, the erection of 70 no. dwellings (total 81 no. dwellings) and associated works, including access and off-site highway works, parking, landscaping, open space, footpath links and drainage infrastructure

 

The Specialist Officer – Planning, presented his report to members. He explained to members that the application had been deferred by members at the previous month’s area committee meeting.

 

He clarified the details of the planning application and using a PowerPoint presentation, he provided members with images of the site and plans to show the proposed layouts of the site. He also pointed out the access to the site and the listed buildings around the site.

 

He reminded members that the application had been deferred to allow the applicant to address their concerns to;

 

·         Reduce density of houses within the site

·         Allow highway adoption

·         Increase levels of car parking

·         To seek protection of more trees

·         To established specific boundary treatments with Beechfield House

·         To provide clarity over the highway infrastructure on Cumnock Road.

 

He explained to members that the application has been brought back to committee for consideration in its same form and referred to a letter from the agent which explained the reasons why they have had been unable to amend the scheme. He also added that there are 171 car parking spaces proposed within the development. The parking strategy suggested that the optimum level of parking for a development of this size would be between 190 – 207, and agreed that the development fell 19 spaces short of the lower end optimum figures, however pointed out that the site was close to the town centre and advised that the highways department had not raised an objection.

 

The Specialist Officer – Planning, advised that the Tree Officer felt that the planting scheme provided as part of the application, was of high quality and included a high number of quality species and suggested that these new tress should be protected by a TPO.

 

He also explained that a condition could be added to an approval to ensure that the boundary treatment with Beechfield House removes any overlooking issues.

 

In response to members concerns over the proposed signalised junction, the Specialist Officer – Planning, provided members with a clear plan to show the layout of the proposed junction. He added that the Somerset County Council Development Control Liaison Officer was present, should members have any further questions.

 

The Specialist Officer – Highways, referred to Appendix A of the report and advised members that should the roads not be adopted, a maintenance bond would be put into place.

 

A representative from the Town Council addressed the Committee. She explained to members that the minimum of 374 homes recommended in the Local Plan for Ansford and Castle Cary had been grossly exceeded. Over 650 dwellings had been approved for Ansford and Castle Cary, which will increase population in the town by over a third. She  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

18/01603/LBC** - Former BMI Site, Cumnock Road, Ansford pdf icon PDF 638 KB

Minutes:

Application Proposal: Demolition of existing buildings, conversion of and alterations to listed buildings to form 11 no. dwellings, the erection of 70 no. dwellings (total 81 no. dwellings) and associated works, including access and off-site highway works, parking, landscaping, open space, footpath links and drainage infrastructure

 

RESOLVED:  that planning application 18/01603/FUL** be REFERRED to the Regulation Committee with a recommendation from Area East Committee that the application be refused for the following reasons;         

-       The density within the site was considered to be too high.

-       The parking levels within the site were inadequate. This included the number of visitor parking spaces.

-       The estate roads as designed could not be adopted by SCC Highways.

-       An insufficient number of protected trees would be retained.

 

Members wished for the Regulation Committee to consider the following conditions, should they be minded to approve the planning application.

 

-       The existing gateway which provides access to the Town Centre at the north-east boundary of the site, be replaced with a stone wall

-       The existing boundary to Beechfield House be replaced with a stone wall.

 

and an informative note to request that any newly planted trees, should be protected by a Tree Preservation Order.

 

(voting:11 votes in support, 0 against and 1 abstention)

 

36.

19/00184/S73A - Land rear of 18-24 Westcombe, Templecombe pdf icon PDF 633 KB

Minutes:

Application Proposal: Section 73A application to vary condition 1 (approved plans) of planning application 17/04047/S73A to amend Plot 1 from a single-storey bungalow to a 2-storey dwelling

 

The Specialist Officer – Planning, presented her report to Members. She explained that there was an ongoing appeal for this site on the grounds of non-determination and that she wished to have the Committee’s views for how the appeal should be dealt with.  She also explained that she had received an additional letter of objection, however it raised no new planning issues. However, she summarised the points of the letter to include; reduction in the value of adjoining dwellings, will only be 4 meters from existing dwelling, there is no reason to amend the bungalow to a 2-storey dwelling and will tower over existing bungalows.

 

She explained that the application dealt with plot 1 of the development and seeks approval for a bungalow to become a 2-storey dwellinghouse. She added that plots 2 and 3 already had permission to become 2-storey houses and further advised that permission for plot 1 to become a 2-storey dwelling had previously been allowed by the Council. However, the previous application for plot 1 sought to amend the wrong planning permission. Therefore the application now being considered was an application to correct a technical error made by the applicant. 

 

She explained to members that the principle of amending the bungalows to dwellinghouses on the site had all been agreed previously, and recommended that the appeal should be recommended for approval.

 

Members of the public spoke in objection to the application. Their comments included,

 

·         A legal battle over land to the rear of 28 Bowden Road had only recently been resolved. This ruled that the garden fence in plot 1 couldn’t be moved. I had been intended that the fence would be moved further into the garden of 28 Bowden Road. Plot 1 shown to be built on land which is outside the land ownership of the applicant.

·         There is a covenant was added to the land to ensure that only 1 dwelling could be built within plot 1.

·         The two-storey dwelling will overlook existing bungalows and gardens. Light and privacy will be lost.

·         The development was designed with houses one side and bungalows on the other.

·         Bungalows are precious as there is a shortage of bungalows.

·         There will be more cars parking on the road as houses are larger and likely to have more cars.

·         The development should be built as approved.

·         This is manipulation of the system.

·         This should not have been approved by the Regulation Committee. 

 

The Specialist Officer – Planning, confirmed that all applications for amendments submitted to the Planning Department needed to be considered. She also advised that any covenants on the land were legal issues outside of planning control. She added that there is always a risk when buying dwellings off plan and confirmed that there had been no change to the red line since the first application  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.

37.

19/01166/HOU - Fieldways, Chilthorne Hill, Chilthorne Domer pdf icon PDF 306 KB

Minutes:

Application Proposal: Demolition of existing rear porch and garage/store and erection of extension with integral garage and rooms above with associated internal works.

 

The Case Officer presented her report to members with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation. She provided images of the site and plans to show the proposal. She advised members that the Parish Council had objected to the application, as well as some neighbouring properties.

 

She explained to members that the site was situated in a residential area, where the dwellings were of differing sizes. She advised members that the existing property was a three bedroomed bungalow, located in the middle of the plot. She also advised that the access to the site was shared with a neighbouring property.

 

She summarised the proposal and provided images to show the proposed extension plans and photos as existing. She also explained to members that a letter of support and two additional letters of objection had been received which refer to the rights of access over the driveway and parking concerns.  It had also been pointed out that the septic sewerage tank was insufficient.

 

The applicant addressed the Committee. He advised that he had worked hard on the design of the extension to ensure that it was in keeping to the area. He explained that all of the neighbouring properties had dormer window and were double storey and felt that the extension would make the dwelling match neighbouring properties and would be an improvement. He pointed out that the roof overhangs on the front of the garage, so the roof plan made the footprint look larger than proposed and added that the septic tank would be replaced with a modern treatment tank.

 

Councillor Paul Rowsell, Ward Member, explained to members that there had been some objections to the site from neighbours and the Parish Council. He was disappointed that there was no representation from the Parish Council at the meeting.

 

Councillor Charlie Hull, also Ward Member, agreed with the comments made by Councillor Rowsell.  

 

Councillor Tony Capozzoli, also Ward Member, pointed out that no objectors had attended the meeting. He offered his support to the proposal.

 

It was proposed and seconded that the application should be approved as detailed in the agenda report.

 

On being put to the vote, this was carried unanimously.

 

RESOLVED:              that planning application 19/01166/HOU be approved, as detailed in the agenda report, for the following reason;

 

01.          The proposed development, due to its design, scale and materials, is not considered to result in any demonstrable harm to visual or residential amenity and therefore accords with the aims and objectives of EQ2 (General Development) of the South Somerset Local Plan (2006-2028) and the principles of the National Planning Policy Framework (2019).

 

SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING:

 

01.       The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission.

           

            Reason:  To accord with the provisions of section 91(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

19/01097/S73 - Hook Valley Farm, Lawrence Hill, Holbrook pdf icon PDF 283 KB

Minutes:

Application Proposal: Section 73 application to vary Condition 7 of application ref: 13/05167/S73 to extend operational lifespan of Solar Farm from 25 years to 40 years.

 

The Specialist Officer – Planning presented her report to members with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation. She provided images to show the location of the solar farm and explained that the application was to extend the time limit for the solar panels from 25-40 years.

 

She pointed out that the visual impact had already been assessed and felt that there was little reason to object to the application.

 

Councillor Robin Bastable, Ward Member, offered his support and asked whether these would need to be replaced during the 40 years.

 

In response to this question, the Specialist Officer – Planning advised that the panels had an optimum lifespan of 25 years, however could last up to 40 years.

 

During the discussion, members questioned whether funding for a community benefit could be possible from the applicant, however the Specialist Officer – Planning advised that this would need to be dealt with separately and could not be considered as part of the planning process.

 

It was proposed and seconded that the application should be approved as detailed in the agenda report.

 

On being put to the vote, this was carried 9 votes in support, with 2 abstentions.

 

RESOLVED:  that planning application 19/01097/S73 be approved as detailed in the agenda report for the following reason;

 

01.       The proposal to vary operational lifespan of the solar farm, results in a temporary permission that continues to respect the character of the area and causes no demonstrable harm to neighbour amenity and highway safety in accordance with the aims and objectives of the NPPF and policies SD1, TA5, EQ1, EQ2, EQ4 and EQ5 of the South Somerset Local Plan.

 

SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING:

 

01.       The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the following approved plans: Drawings ref. 1024-0505-00 Issue 01, dated 24 January 2013; 1024-0000-00 Issue 01, dated 10 September 2012; 1024-0000-00 Issue 01, dated 4 September 2012; LCS-ECG-002, dated 17 May 2011; 9999-0206-05 Issue 01, dated 25 November 2013; 1024-0000-00 Issue 01, dated 3 September 2012; 2437_300, dated 10 September 2012; and 2437_201, dated 22 January 2013; 2437_100_RevE and 2437_200_RevC received 13 July 2015; 1024-0201-01 Issue 10 dated 25 November 2013; and 1024-0208-71 Issue 02, received 22nd November 2016.

           

            Reason: To avoid any ambiguity as to what is approved.

           

02.       The landscaping/planting scheme shown on Drawing No. 2437_100_RevE, together with details, ref. 2437_200_RevC, 2437_300, and 2437_201 shall be completely carried out within the first available planting season from the date of commencement of the development. For the duration of this permission the trees and shrubs shall be protected and maintained, and any trees or plants which die, are removed or become seriously damaged or diseased shall be replaced in the next planting season with others of similar size and species, unless the local planning authority gives written consent to any  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.