Agenda and minutes
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Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Jason Baker, Henry Hobhouse and Hayward Burt (Ward Member). It was noted that Councillor Paul Maxwell was attending as substitute for Councillor Jason Baker.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors Linda Vijeh and Councillor William Wallace both declared a personal and prejudicial interest in Agenda item 5: Planning Application 19/00273/OUT - Bay Tree Farm, Claycastle, Haselbury Plucknett as the applicant was known to them as a fellow County Councillor. They confirmed that they would take no part in the debate or voting on this item.
Councillor Neil Bloomfield declared a personal interest in Agenda item 5: Planning Application 19/00273/OUT - Bay Tree Farm Claycastle Haselbury Plucknett as the applicant had requested his opinion on the site approximately 3 years previously and was also known to him as a fellow County Councillor. However, he did not feel that his interest was prejudicial.
Councillor Sue Osborne declared a personal interest in Agenda item 5: Planning Application 19/00273/OUT - Bay Tree Farm Claycastle Haselbury Plucknett as the applicant was known to her although she said they did not socialise together and she did not feel that the interest was prejudicial.
Public Question Time
There were no questions from members of the public.
The Chairman explained the procedure to be followed during the meeting, the order of public speakers and that voting would be taken by a named vote. He reminded all that the meeting was a consultative meeting, as agreed at Council on 19th March and the recommendations of the Committee would be communicated to the Chief Executive for final confirmation.
The schedule of planning applications was NOTED.
Proposal: Outline application for the development of up to 35 dwellings with all matters reserved except access including the demolition of the existing building and highways works to Claycastle
The Development Management Specialist introduced the report and advised that one further neighbour comment had been received questioning the surface water flooding at the site. She further noted that another application for 34 dwellings and a village hall at another site in the village had been received since this was submitted and that a legal opinion had been received which argued that the two applications should be determined at the same time. The legal opinion also mentioned inadequacy of the submitted information and prematurity relating to the Local Plan and possible change in village hierarchy.
The Legal Specialist said the legal opinion had raised a number of points; it argued that this application be deferred to allow the Manor Farm application to be ready to be determined so the cumulative impacts of the 2 applications could be considered together. She said that she did not see that there was legal reason sufficient to withstand challenge to defer the determination of this application to wait on the Manor Farm application to be ready to be determined. She confirmed that each application should be considered in accordance with the policies of the Local Plan at that time on its merits taking into account all the responses from the statutory consultees, (highways, planning policy) and other material considerations. She confirmed that, as far as she was aware, the Local Plan did not contain a policy which would prevent the current application being considered now and the Manor Farm application coming forward at a later stage; based on the principle of fairness and justice the Courts had accepted where there were 2 similar applications being heard then the application first submitted and ready shall be the first to be determined. She confirmed that the Regulation Committee were not bound to follow a decision of a previous Area Committee which resolved to defer a matter it was considering. If the members felt there was insufficient information provided in respect of this application to make the decision then they should seek provision of the information but she cautioned against deferral for information that would not be material to the decision making process. She confirmed that it was not considered that any prematurity argument would be upheld on appeal.
The Development Management Specialist confirmed the village was listed as a rural settlement in the Local Plan with some local services. She outlined the site with an indicative layout of the proposed housing and the proposed widening to the access lane to improve visibility. Improvements to local footpaths adjacent to the site would assist access to the village. She noted there was some surface water flooding risk across the site although the Lead Flood Authority had not raised any objections. A local resident had submitted photographs which detailed local flooding on Claycastle and Stonage Lane as well as the ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Proposal: Outline application with all matters reserved save for access for residential development for up to 49 dwellings including landscaping, drainage and new vehicle access from West Street, Templecombe BA8 0LG
The Planning Consultant introduced the report and advised that the site was approximately 2.5ha of greenfield land on the western edge of Templecombe. Access to the site from the A357 would be through Vine Street, Westcombe and West Street. The site was adjacent to a residential estate and permission had already been granted for 4 new dwellings at Coombe Farm to the West of the site. The existing field access would be widened to be the main access which was the main consideration as all other matters would be subject to a reserved matters application.
The Planning Consultant also advised that the existing hedge boundary would be retained with a pavement to link the development to the village centre. He noted the narrow access along Vine Street which was a one way street and the on-street parking further along the road. He drew Members attention to an existing permission for 70 dwellings at Slades Hill and also 19 dwellings at Throop Road, Templecombe. He said that there were over 30 objections to the application and none in support. He drew Members attention to the housing land supply, the accessibility and highway safety. In respect of the latter, he read out a statement prepared by the County Highway Authority clarifying its reasoning behind its recommendation of no highways objection. He concluded that on balance the conflict with the development plan was not sufficient to significantly and demonstrably outweigh the significant and moderate weights that were given to the benefits of the proposal, therefore his recommendation was to approve the application. He mentioned a recent appeal at Henstridge which had been allowed in a rural settlement in 2018 which he asked Members to consider.
In response to questions from Members, the Planning Consultant advised:-
· The Council only had a 4 ½ year housing land supply so presumption was in favour of development and the application had more benefits than drawbacks.
· Until a development with planning permission was considered “deliverable” it was not counted towards the Council’s 5 year housing land supply. Information on the calculation of this would be circulated to Councillors.
· Part of Vine Street was a one-way street.
· The 289 new houses proposed for the village did not include the 80 proposed at Manor Farm as that application had not been determined yet.
The Committee were then addressed by a representative of the Parish Council who said that a local employer who employed 700 to 750 people were represented as a major local employer but in the Templecombe BA postcode area they were not a major employer. The Parish Council did not support any part of the application and the developer had not engaged with them at all. The Slades Hill site had not been fully delivered and further development should not be approved until it had. ... view the full minutes text for item 6.