Agenda item

Planning Application 18/03454/OUT - Land Adj Winterhay Lane Farm, The Beacon, Ilminster


Application Proposal: Outline application for the erection of two dwellings with garaging


The Specialist – Development Management presented the application as detailed in the agenda.  She explained that the application was seeking outline planning consent for two dwellings with garaging, with all matters reserved except the access.  She informed members that the existing access was currently used for Winterhay Lane Farm and the site was located on a steeply sloping site.  She displayed an indicative layout and plan of the proposal showing how the development would sit within the landscape.  The main issues to be considered were visual amenity, landscape character and highway safety.  Members were informed that since the publication of the agenda, a Transport Statement had been submitted.  The report addressed the visibility splays and details of trip generations to and from the site.  The Specialist – Development Management indicated that the visibility splays were now achievable based on the information provided, however, the Transport Statement did not provide sufficient details on how the gradient of the access and an access width of 5 metres for the first 6 metres of the access would be achieved.  There was also lack of information with regard to the engineering works.  She concluded that the need for additional housing was outweighed by the adverse impact on the landscape character and character of the area, there was lack of justification and detail of how the access could work and was therefore recommending refusal of the application.


In response to questions from Members, the Specialist – Development Management confirmed:


·         The applicant had not submitted adequate information to show that the access met Somerset County Council standing advice.

·         The access detail had not been requested from the agent because of pre-app discussions, the site was not located for development and the main reason for refusal related to the impact on the character of the area and landscape character.

·         The access could possibility be made safe but the evident to show this had not been provided.  The visibility splays were acceptable but the gradient, getting into the site safely and how the engineering works would impact on the landscape character and character of the area had not been demonstrated.

·         There would need to be space for a car coming in and out of the site.

·         The access was an existing access and could be used.

·         SSDC’s Highway Consultant could not comment on the application as he had carried out pre-app discussions with the application.

·         The two brick pillars at the side were in the ownership of the applicant.  Moving the pillars would make the access wider and would require the hedges to be cut back more.

·         The visibility could be achieved coming out of the site.


The Committee was addressed by two people in opposition to the application.  Concerns raised related to the following:


·         During the construction period the access would be too narrow and steep for delivery vehicles.  Some of the works could only be done by crane from the road and would require the removal of the boundary trees.

·         The gradient at the edge of the site between the pavement and proposed driveway was way in excess of that recommended.

·         Lorries parked in the road would obstruct traffic flow and the footpath.

·         Removal of the trees would damage the footpath.

·         No comprehensive and accurate level and landscape survey.

·         The major alterations such as new retaining walls, boundary hedge and road would increase the suburbanisation of The Beacon.

·         No evidence that the dwellings would be eco-friendly.

·         Site is a green field site and too small for the development.

·         No space for gardens or tree planting.

·         The proposed development is on the site of an ancient orchard although the majority of trees have already been removed.  Most of the orchard site would remain in the applicants control as the proposed houses are confined to the south east corner.  The ancient orchard should have formed part of the application. 

·         The Beacon was already congested and would be made worse by these dwellings.


The Committee was then addressed by four people in support of the application.  Comments made related to the following:


·         Verbal advice had been obtained from a highway engineer prior to submitting the application which concluded that there were no highway issues and that the visibility splays were more than was required to meet the criteria.  The application was submitted on the understanding that there would be no highway issues.

·         Reference was made to the Transport Statement submitted which concluded that visibility at the site access was at least 54 metres in each direction with visibility to approaching traffic well in excess of 54 metres.  There had been no injuries or accidents in the vicinity of the access in the past ten years.  The access was considered appropriate for the proposed use.  The potential increase in traffic movements due to change of use had been assessed and concluded that just 11 two way vehicle movements could be generated over a 12 hour period.

·         The access had been used for many years.

·         There was a 7/ 1/2 tonne weight restriction for heavy goods vehicles on the road.

·         No problems going in and out of the existing access with vans or cars.

·         Ribbon development along the entire length of the eastern side of New Road with a mix of houses and a smattering of houses on the west side.  Two more houses will not make much difference.

·         A lot of other land developed in Ilminster is equally steeply sloping.  Ilminster was made unique by hill and vale development.


Ward Member, Councillor Val Keitch expressed her support for the development.  She explained that if you were to go down to the bottom near Winterhay Farm and look up and imagine the houses on the site there would be very little loss of visual amenity.  She also referred to the houses on the other side having steep accesses.  She felt that the proposed architect designed houses would enhance the availability of housing in Ilminster which was an area requiring growth. 


The Specialist – Development Management confirmed that the orchard could be conditioned as part of reserved matters.


During the discussion, members made the following comments:


·         It was difficult to balance the landscape amenity issue without the information regarding the engineering works and highway safety.

·         Support the idea of two individual properties.

·         The access was lawful and being used.

·         Accepted there were some issues with the site but not a reason for the application to be refused.

·         Support for a smaller high quality development.

·         Development would fit in with existing pattern of development.

·         There were still safety risks and lack of detail on the access.

·         Support for deferring the application for a month to allow detailed information to come forward so the access issues could be addressed.


It was proposed and seconded to defer the application to a future meeting of the Area West Committee in order to allow for further information on the access details to come forward.  A vote was taken and there were 11 in votes and favour and 1 against.



That Planning Application No. 18/03454/OUT be DEFERRED to a future meeting of the Area West Committee to allow for further information on the access details to come forward.


(Voting: 11 in favour, 0 against, 1 against)


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