Agenda and minutes
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To approve as a correct record the minutes of previous meetings held on 17th December 2019 and 17th August 2021 (Informal). The draft minutes can be viewed at: https://modgov.southsomerset.gov.uk/ieDocHome.aspx?bcr=1
The minutes of the Regulation Committee meetings held on 17th December 2019 and 17th August 2021 (Informal), copies of which had been circulated, were agreed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Jason Baker, Neil Bloomfield, Malcolm Cavill and Andy Soughton. It was noted that Councillor Robin Pailthorpe was attending as substitute for Councillor Jason Baker.
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.
Councillors David Recardo, Paul Rowsell and Tony Lock declared a personal interest in Item 7 Planning Application 21/02788/S73 as they are previous employees of Leonardo Helicopters.
Public Question Time
There were no questions from members of the public.
Members noted the scheduled of planning applications.
Proposal: Proposed solar farm and associated development, comprising the installation of solar panels, substation, switchgear building, storage/communications/switch room buildings, the provision of inverter/transformer cabins and battery containers, construction of access and stone track, fencing and gates, installation of CCTV cameras, and associated landscaping and biodiversity enhancements.
The Planning Specialist presented the report and with the aid of slides gave a comprehensive and detailed presentation of the site and proposed plans. This included highlighting the key considerations being:
· Impact on the surrounding landscape.
· Highway Safety – no objections received with several conditions included.
· Access during construction and operation.
· Impact on heritage assets – no objections received from SSDC Conservation Specialist and no archaeological objections from South West Heritage Trust.
· Impact on Residential amenity – believed to have no detrimental impact on nearby properties.
· Flood risk and drainage – no objections raised from local residents, Environmental Agency or Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA). Conditions have been included as suggested by the EA. No objection from LLFA as solar farms classified as ‘essential infrastructure’.
· Biodiversity – proposals are included within the application for mitigation and enhancement. No objections have been raised by County Ecologist with conditions included relating to the submission of a CEMP (Biodiversity), a Landscape and Ecological Management Plan.
· No objections received from Wincanton TC, North Vale PC or Stoke Trister with Bayford PC, albeit North Vale PC request if approved to include detailed conditions regarding the biodiversity measures as raised in the application.
· Horsington PC have raised objection to the application as they consider the proposal too large and inappropriate and concerned about the visual impact on the area and the size of the site.
He explained that government advice stated that approval be given for renewable energy projects where impacts are acceptable. He also considered the benefits of the scheme outweigh the impact on the local landscape and the proposal would not cause significant detrimental harm to heritage assets, highway safety, residential amenity, flood risk or drainage and biodiversity interests.
The Planning Specialist also considered the proposal accords with the aims and objective of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and its relevant policies. He therefore concluded that after considering all of the responses and advice, as outlined in the agenda report, his proposal was to approve the application subject to the conditions as set out in the agenda report.
Councillor Colin Winder, Ward member then addressed the committee and voiced his support of the application. He believed it was a fair site and an improvement from previous sites.
The agent then addressed the committee. His comments included:
· Wincanton Town Council support the application and no objections received from local residents or statutory consultees.
· Confirmed the applicant would be happy to implement the measures suggested from the external ‘landscape visual impact review’ commissioned by the Council, including the screening around the access points and removal of the communications tower from the site.
· Scheme would power over 6000 homes annually, making a substantial contribution to tackling climate change.
· Site on ... view the full minutes text for item 25.
Proposal: The formation of a hard surface airstrip, associated lighting and ancillary lighting control building. S73 application to vary conditions 04, 05, 07 and 08 of planning approval 19/02614/FUL to amend wording of pre-commencement conditions.
The Specialist, Principal Planner presented the report and explained this Section 73 application is brought to committee to merely seek approval to vary conditions 04, 05, 07 and 08 of planning application 19/02614/FUL to amend wording of pre-commencement conditions previously approved.
She explained this would allow the bringing forward of the associated lighting and ancillary lighting control building and that the previous approval of the application in 2019 was a significant material consideration with the principal already being established by the consent.
With the aid of slides she then proceeded to show the site and previously proposed plans highlighting the ancillary lighting building. She also highlighted the key considerations being:
· Principle already established.
· Residential Amenity- no change to previous approval.
· Highway Safety – no objections to a small building being built.
· Setting of Listed Buildings – no change to previous approval.
· Drainage – 2 letter’s had been received from local residents raising concern, however the Lead Local Flood Authority have raised no objection and consider the proposed small building to have no significant impact on surface water drainage, and that the previously approved detailed surface water drainage condition be sufficient.
She therefore concluded that after considering all of the responses and advice, as outlined in the agenda report, her proposal was to approve the application subject to the conditions as set out in the agenda report.
The agent then addressed the committee. His comments included:
· Highlighted the application itself had already been approved and that this application was merely to enable works to start on the development by building the lighting shed.
· The lighting building would be tucked away by an existing factory building and built on an existing hardstanding area.
During a short discussion, a member raised concern regarding biodiversity. However following advice from the Specialist, Principal Planner it was acknowledged that whilst it be encouraged that the applicant look to attract wildlife with appropriate means, there would be a significant impact on the safety operation of the airstrip and aircraft should any further conditions be imposed.
There being no further debate it was then proposed and seconded to approve the application as per the officer’s recommendation and as set out in the agenda report. On being put to the vote this was carried unanimously.
That Regulation Committee recommend the Chief Executive to:
Approve planning application reference 21/02788/S73 for the following reason:
01. The proposal supports the essential infrastructure of an important local employer which will not unacceptably impact upon residential and visual amenities, the setting of adjacent listed buildings/structure, highway safety, drainage and ecology. As such, the proposals comply with Policies SD1, SS1, YV4, TA5, EQ2, EQ3, EQ4 and EQ7 of the South Somerset Local Plan 2006-2028.
SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING:
01. The development hereby permitted shall ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
Date of next meeting
The next scheduled meeting of the Regulation Committee (Informal) will be held on Tuesday 18th January 2022 at 10.00am. However this meeting will only take place if there is business to conduct.
Members noted the date of the next meeting.