Planning Application 18/02808/FUL - Land at Beetham, Higher Beetham, Whitestaunton
Application Proposal: The erection of general purpose agricultural building
The Specialist – Development Management presented the application as detailed in the agenda and outlined the key considerations. He explained that there were two existing agricultural buildings on the site and that planning applications to extend both of the buildings had been previously refused by the Committee. He explained that the applicant had submitted a Landscape Assessment which concluded that impact on the landscape would be moderate. Mitigation was proposed in the form of a hedge and bank to the southern end of the group of buildings and setting the floor level two metres below the existing building. With regard to the private water supply, he advised that the Council’s Environmental Health Department did not object to the proposal and were satisfied with the results of the water sample taken. No objections were raised on the basis of odour due to there being a sufficient distance from nearby dwellings. He concluded that the proposed scheme was considered acceptable subject to conditions and therefore recommended approval of the application.
In response to questions from Members, the Specialist – Development Management confirmed:-
· The building would be mostly used for silage and manure storage.
· The proposed location of the building was different to the previously refused application.
· This proposed development offered less visual impact when viewed from the road.
· The distance to the nearest dwelling was considered acceptable.
· The building would not be used for intensive livestock rearing.
· There was no reason why the existing buildings to be demolished could not take place prior to commencement of the proposed development.
· There was no adverse impact on the Right of Way.
· Materials would include Yorkshire Boarding which tended to weather down. It was difficult to apply a colour to concrete.
· Condition 7 could refer to agreeing a finished height for the hedge if members felt this was necessary.
The Committee were then addressed by two people in opposition to the application. Their comments included:-
· Concerns that other land owned by the applicant would be developed.
· No business justification for the development.
· Reference to the concerns raised by the Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership.
· Visual and accumulative impact on the AONB.
· Concerns over seepage of waste and effluent from the buildings causing contamination of the private water supply.
The Applicant’s Agent advised that the two previous applications had been refused due to the impact on the water supply. This application was different and was for a general agricultural building. He confirmed that only a small area of the building would be used to rear calves. He referred to the application being supported by a Landscape Visual Assessment in order to set out the impacts of the development and proposed mitigation including lowering the level of the building and creating a new boundary. He asked members to support the application in order for the business to remain viable.
Ward Member, Councillor Martin Wale raised a number of concerns with the application which related to the following:
· Visual impact on the AONB with the site being located in a high position.
· Cumulative impact of three buildings.
· Scale and mass at odds over development in the countryside.
· No support from local residents.
· Inspectors report suggested that no further livestock should be permitted.
· 120 metres was not a sufficient distance to nearby dwellings for this type of development.
· Adverse impact on residential amenity and the private water supply.
The other Ward Member, Councillor Jenny Kenton supported the views of her fellow Ward Member.
During the discussion, members felt that the proposed development would cause a severe impact on the landscape and the AONB.
The Senior Planning Lawyer advised members against considering impact on the water supply as a reason for refusal as evidence available to support this was limited.
It was proposed and seconded to refuse the application contrary to the Specialist’s recommendation for the following reasons:
· Cumulative impact
· Harmful to the AONB
· Adverse impact on residential amenity
The Specialist – Development Management suggested the exact wording of the reason for refusal based on the issues raising during the debate. Members agreed with the suggested reason for refusal and on being put to the vote this was unanimously approved.
That Planning Application No. 18/02808/FUL be REFUSED contrary to the Specialist’s recommendation for the following reason:
Insufficient evidence has been submitted to adequately demonstrate that the cumulative impact of the proposed developments would not result in an adverse impact on residential amenity. Additionally, it is considered that the character and appearance of the Blackdown Hills AONB would be harmed by the cumulative level of development proposed. As such it is considered that the proposal would be harmful to the amenities of nearby residential occupiers and local landscape character contrary to Local Plan Policies EQ2 and EQ7 of the South Somerset Local Plan (2006-2028).