Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Martin Carnell, Ben Hodgson and Garry Shortland.


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 Jason Baker, Sue Osborne and Linda Vijeh.

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.


There were no declarations of interest made by Members.


Public Question Time


There were no questions from members of the public.


Chairman's Announcements


The Chairman advised that this was a consultative meeting and the decision taken would be confirmed by the Chief Executive. Voting would be made by a named vote.


Area West Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 84 KB


Councillor Mike Best requested that his report updating the committee on the ABDC (A better Crewkerne and District) be added to the next meeting agenda as it was not discussed at the last meeting which was cancelled due to current meeting restrictions.



That the Area West Committee Forward Plan be noted subject to the following amendment:


·      ABDC (A better Crewkerne and District) report – May 2020




Schedule of Planning Applications to be Determined by Committee pdf icon PDF 72 KB


Members noted the schedule of planning applications to be determined at the meeting.


Planning Application 19/00810/FUL - Land at Tail Mill, Tail Mill Lane, Merriott pdf icon PDF 504 KB


Proposal: The erection of 2 No. commercial buildings with the provision for car parking, access and turning areas.  The proposed buildings are to provide employment opportunity for SME businesses and to the local residents of Merriott


The Specialist for Development Management introduced his report and reminded Members that the application had been deferred from their February meeting for more information on the access road to the site.  He advised that following negotiation, an amended road layout was proposed with a pinch point in the middle to allow for a bund and planting with a chipping surface after the first 25m to remove the urban feel of the previous road.  The employment buildings proposed were not considered an issue.  Further consultation on the amended plans had resulted in Merriott Parish Council, who had previously supported the application, saying the road would not be durable and the existing access was adequate.  SCC Highways had not made further comments and two other representations said the site was not suitable for the vehicles using the development.  He concluded that the amended plans overcame officers concerns and the recommendation was to approve the application.


In response to questions from Members, the Specialist for Development Management advised:-


·         The low frequency of traffic movement and visibility would allow vehicles to give way at the pinch point. 

·         The existing access to the site was proposed to be blocked up and be a pedestrian access only. The new road access would be a private road

·         The Parrett Trail would not cross the new access road.

·         The construction of the new access road as first priority could be conditioned.


The Agent for the applicant said the development officer was fully supportive of the application and dedicated service road.  The Parish Council had initially supported the application.  The narrowing of the road was to create the impression of a country lane and there was ample space either side to allow two vehicles to pass.


The Ward Member, Councillor Paul Maxwell, said the application had previously been deferred because of the access road.  The employment facility was welcomed but the concern was the access road.  He said that the Chairman of the Parish Council had emailed him with their concerns regarding to the access across a rural field.  He felt the access to the new buildings could still be achieved from the existing road layout. 


During discussion some Members expressed their ongoing concern at creating a new road across the open field.  The employment units were welcomed but some Members were still concerned at the proposed access.  Other Members expressed their support for the amended scheme. 


It was proposed and seconded that the application be refused permission as the access road was an intrusive development into open countryside, affecting biodiversity and heritage assets and its need was not proven.   The reasons for refusal were given as:-  The siting of the proposed access road is considered to result in development that would be visually intrusive in an area of undeveloped land  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Planning Application 19/02921/OUT - Land Off Longstrings Lane, Holly Tree Farm, Broadshard Road, Crewkerne pdf icon PDF 582 KB


Proposal: Outline application for the erection of 2 No. dwellings with all matters reserved except for access and landscaping


The Specialist for Development Management provided the following updates: 

·         A petition from the applicant in support of his application. 

·         Emails in support of the application from the applicant and Agent.

·         Ecology details from the applicant based upon his own observations.


The Specialist for Development Management said the Council’s Ecologist had confirmed that an Ecological survey should be carried out by a professional who was trained in recording habitats and species, and, if permission were granted, this would be a condition of approval.  She confirmed that the Highway Authority were not objecting to the access and visibility splay as bollards were proposed to prevent vehicles parking nearby and blocking visibility.  She concluded that the site was in a reasonably sustainable position but the principle concerns were landscape character and visual impact, therefore her recommendation was to refuse permission


In response to questions from Members, the Specialist for Development Management advised:-


·         It was not considered appropriate to request that the applicant provide a full ecological survey as the recommendation was to refuse permission and the survey would be carried out at the applicants expense.  A development in the open countryside would normally require an ecology survey. 

·         The third reason proposed for refusal was a technicality and if the Committee were minded to approve the application then it should be subject to a legal agreement to secure the highway conditions.

·         The application site was in parking zone B of the Parking Strategy

·         The last planning application at the site was for 4 dwellings.  There was also a Class Q application for the reuse of existing buildings at the site.

·         The nearest property was along the main road.  The proposed dwellings were up a green drove and surrounded by fields although close to Crewkerne.

·         Any permission granted could be subject to an appropriate ecology survey being submitted by the applicant in agreement with the Ward Members or Chairman.

·         The access track was 65m from the main highway but it was not in an area where development was encouraged.

·         If permission were granted it would be difficult to resist other proposed developments in the lane.


The Committee were then addressed by a local resident in support of the application.  He said the only 5 letters of objection had been submitted whereas there were 28 letters of support.  Two of the letters of objection related to previous application at the site.  The report failed to mention the petition of over 100 signatures in support of the application.  The development would have good access to local amenities and access to the site was better than other new local developments.  Any landscape harm could be negotiated as part of the reserved matters application.


The Committee were then addressed by the applicant who was at the site of the proposed development.  He showed views of the site and the nearest property at 50m.  He said the Highway  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Planning Appeals (for information) pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Additional documents:


Members noted the report which gave details of one appeal received and 4 dismissed.



That the report be noted.