Agenda and minutes

Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Contact: Committee Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 74 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 9 June 2014.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 9 June 2014 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Declaration of Interest and of Representations Received (Agenda Item 3)

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate and must leave the room, for the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest. 


In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests they have in relation to an agenda item, that support the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.


Agenda Item 9a (Billingford) – All Members had received additional correspondence.


Agenda Item 10:       

Schedule Item 2 (South Lopham) – For transparency Councillor Chapman-Allen declared that she had represented Councillor Nunn (the Ward Representative who had been unable to attend) at a public meeting held to discuss the application but she had taken no part in the discussions.

Schedule Item 3 (Weeting) – All Members had received direct representation.

Schedule Item 5 (Mattishall) – Councillor Claussen declared that he was a Mattishall Ward Representative.

Schedule Item 6 (Croxton) – All Members had received correspondence from Thetford Town Council.  Councillors Armes, Lamb and Spencer all declared that they were Thetford Town Councillors and as such they would exercise their right to speak on the application and then leave the room.  Councillor Kybird noted that he was Ward Representative of the immediately adjacent Ward and also a Thetford Town Councillor.  For transparency Councillor Robinson declared that he lived very close to the site.



Local Plan Update (Agenda Item 7)

To receive an update. 


The Planning Policy Officer provided a brief update.  


E-mails had been sent out to all the Parishes asking them for information for the review of Open Space in the District, which would form part of the evidence for the Local Plan.


At the Cabinet meeting on 1 July 2014 it had been decided that work on the Community Infrastructure Levy should be halted for the time being.  That decision would be reviewed if further changes were published.  In the meantime the Council would continue to use S106 Agreements.


The Croxton, Brettenham & Kilverstone Neighbourhood Plan had been formally designated.  It included the land for the Thetford Sustainable Urban Extension. 


There would be a Local Plan Working Group meeting held towards the end of July to look at the first section of the Issues & Options document.



Assessment of Breckland's Five Year Housing Land Supply (2014) (Agenda Item 8) pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.

Additional documents:


The Planning Policy Officer presented the report and full statement which was updated annually.


The assessment looked at how many houses had been built in the last year and how many would be built in the next five years.  Every site with planning permission was included in the assessment but only the houses which could be expected to be built within the next five years could be counted, therefore only some of the Thetford Sustainable Urban Extension housing had been included.


The District had failed to meet the required number of houses for the previous year and so the shortfall had been added to the total for the next five years.  There was the potential for 4428 houses to be built in the next five years, giving the Council a 3.7 year supply.  Unfortunately the NPPF required a 20% buffer to be included in the figures, which reduced the supply to 3.29 years.


The housing target had only been met twice since 2001.


Councillor Claussen asked about the definition of ‘sustainable’ which he felt was an insult to Norfolk – implying that the whole area was basically unsustainable.  He felt that the definition was suitable for urban districts not rural ones and he asked how much flexibility there was to provide a sustainable definition suitable for Norfolk.  He suggested that Members needed training to improve their understanding.


The Deputy Planning Manager advised that when matters were considered at Committee Members needed to take the Officers’ assessments, National and Local Planning Policy and the Housing Implementation Strategy into consideration.


The Director of Planning & Business Manager thought that there had to be an element of consistency for Officers to be able to advise Developers how the Committee would interpret sustainability.  There had been a policy in place for some time and there was an opportunity with the new Local Plan to reinterpret that.


Councillor Duigan asked whether there might be a necessity to provide housing sites for adjacent authorities.


The Deputy Planning Manager advised that there was a duty to co-operate and some other authorities might seek assistance but the expectation was that each area would meet its own needs.


RESOLVED to note the contents of the report for information and for any implications for decisions on relevant Planning Applications.



Deferred Applications (Agenda Item 9) pdf icon PDF 39 KB

To consider applications deferred at previous meetings including some, but not all, of those shown on the attached Schedule of Deferred Applications.


The Chairman noted that the application for a smoking shelter at Breckland Business Centre, Dereham had been withdrawn.  A new application would be submitted using different materials.



BILLINGFORD: Elmham Road: Recreation and agricultural facilities with visitor centre: Applicant: Mr B Todd: Reference: 3PL/2014/0056/F pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Report of the Director of Commissioning.

Additional documents:


Members were given a brief recap of the application which had been deferred for a second time at the May meeting.


Additional information from the Applicant had been included in the report and Members had received direct correspondence.  Members were informed that a formal letter of objection had been received from George Freeman MP.


The site history was extensive and had been set out in the report.  A summary of the recent Appeal decision regarding the site had been provided in a Supplement to the Agenda.  The Inspector had found that the existing building was not necessary and harmed the character and appearance of the area and the need for the building had not been justified.  That decision was material to the Application and therefore the Officer’s recommendation had been changed to one of refusal.  Any future submission should include a scaled back version of the visitor centre and more robust evidence of need.


Mr Davies (Billingford Parish Council) raised concerns about loss of public access, noise, the affect on existing tourism businesses, obstruction of use and the playground near open water.


Mr Wood (Hoe Parish Council) pointed out that the appeal decision referred to a smaller area and the much larger proposals in the current application would cause even greater harm to the protected river valley.  He asked Members to refuse the application and authorise further enforcement action.


Mr Atterwill (Swanton Morley Parish Council) acknowledged that many of their concerns had been addressed by the latest report, but not all.  Four points needed stronger conditions: 1) swimming should be supervised at all times and suitable lifesaving equipment provided; 2) No visitor traffic should use the Swanton Morley / Worthing Road; 3) Secretary of State contact regarding the Common Land should be required; and 4) prior approval regarding the design of any chicken houses should be required.  He concluded saying they still strongly objected to the application.


Mr Howell (Chairman of Norfolk Fly Fishers Club and speaking on behalf of Dereham Angling Club) drew attention to their submission of 14 April and reiterated their concerns about security, noise and light pollution, rights of way and liability.


Mr Labouchere (Objector) reiterated his previous concerns about the damage to the site and loss of habitat and amenity.  He was concerned that other applications would follow and said that no mitigation could justify approval.  He asked Members to reject the application and enforce removal of the building.


Mr Moulton (Agent) pointed out that the site was suitable for agriculture and could be ploughed and cropped including the Scheduled Ancient Monument and open access land.  Pigs, sheep and chickens could also be brought onto the land which would support the agricultural building.  However, the Applicant wanted to use the site for recreational purposes and some of those uses had been accepted by the Appeal Inspector.  The current proposal was a reduction in scale of the application refused by the Inspector.


Mr Todd (Applicant) advised Members that although the Appeal had been rejected and he  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69a


Schedule of Planning Applications (Agenda Item 10) pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To consider the Schedule of Planning Applications:


Item No



Page No


Hopkins Homes Limited

Swanton Morley




South Lopham



Weeting Football Club




Mr & Mrs P Codd




Mr Matthew Davison




Mr Maurice Howard




Samved Holdings Ltd




Additional documents:


RESOLVED that the applications be determined as follows:


(a)       Item 1: SWANTON MORLEY: Land off Rectory Road: Erection of 52 residential dwellings with associated open space: Applicant: Hopkins Homes Limited: Reference: 3PL/2014/0083/F


This application had the support of the Parish Council.  However, they had requested an upgrade to Harkers Lane.  Norfolk County Council had the legal powers to upgrade the Lane and had indicated that such works would cost around £8000.  If Members were minded to approve the application authority was requested for Officers to negotiate the upgrade if feasible.


Mr Atterwill (Swanton Morley Parish Council) explained that Harkers Lane would provide a safe route to the school but it got very muddy in winter.  Any upgrade should be completed before the first occupation of any dwellings.  Other suggestions were for a tactile crossing for pedestrian safety; Open Space to be laid to grass and transferred to the Parish Council after 12 months; street lighting to be approved by and transferred to the Parish Council; and affordable homes to be offered to local people first.


Mr Carrick (Objector) did not object to the development but was concerned about the method of disposal of surface water.  He suggested porous surfaces or piping the water through the Church car park which he owned.


Mr Smith (Agent) had discussed Mr Carrick’s proposals but had to satisfy EA requirements.  The Officers would condition the drainage scheme.  He had no problems with the upgrade of Harkers Lane and funds could be found from the S106 contributions.  Details of offsite highway works had been agreed in principle but if a tactile crossing was required by NCC that matter would be revisited.  Parish Council approval for street lighting would be sought.


Councillor R Richmond (Ward Representative) said there were no major issues with the application although it was apparent that Harkers Lane was important.  Flash floods could be serious and he was pleased the EA had suggested a SuDS system.


Members discussed the flooding issue and it was noted that the SuDS system was for surface not foul water, but that drainage details would be a pre-commencement condition.

With regard to Harkers Lane it was clarified that as a public byway it could not be a ‘trod road’ and a Type 1 finish had been suggested. 

It was also noted that the Council had a policy to allocate affordable housing to people with a local connection first.


Councillor Lamb was surprised that the village welcomed such a large development which he thought was urban in style.  Mr Atterwill explained that as part of the LDF process villagers had identified the site as the best place for future development.  The critical thing was to see the Lane upgraded but it should not be tarmac.  It was clarified that the Lane would not be lit.


Deferred, and the officers authorised to grant approval, subject to the conditions listed in the report and additional conditions concerning surface water drainage details and the surfacing of Harkers Lane, on completion  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.


Applications determined by the Director of Commissioning (Agenda Item 11) pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Report of the Director of Commissioning


Members are requested to raise any questions at least two working days before the meeting to allow information to be provided to the Committee.





Appeal Decisions (Agenda Item 12)

APP/F2605/A/14/2213912:  DEREHAM:  Old Hall Nurseries, Dumpling Green:  Appeal by Reads Nurseries against the refusal of planning permission for the erection of two 3 bedroom detached houses with garages: Reference 3PL/2013/0945/F

Decision:  Appeal dismissed

Summary:  The Inspector concluded that the proposal would not be isolated from shops, services, schools and employment opportunities, it would be an infill surrounded by existing development and would be in keeping with the character of development in the area.  The proposal would not harm the character and appearance of the area nor set a precedent for further development.  However, the application did not include a completed unilateral undertaking in respect of open space contributions and does not accord with policies CP5 and DC11.


Costs application in relation to above:  DEREHAM: Old Hall Nurseries, Dumpling Green by Reads Nurseries for award of costs.

Decision:  Application refused.

Summary:  The application was made on the basis that the Council relied on an out of date policy, reasons have not been substantiated and second reason is a vague and generalised assertion.  The Inspector concluded that unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense has not been demonstrated.  The Council was entitled to decide that the harm to the character and appearance of the area would outweigh negligible contribution to housing growth.  The reason for refusal on the basis of precedent is considered clear and the Committee report gives an adequate explanation.



APP/F2605/D/14/2216581:  LITTLE DUNHAM:  Juniper House, The Street:  Appeal by Mr. C. Rogers against the refusal of planning permission for the erection of a detached garage:  Reference 3PL/2013/1064/F

Decision:  Appeal dismissed.

Summary:  The Inspector concluded that the proposal would cause unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the area by virtue of its siting and elevated position in an open frontage and detriment to its leafy and verdant setting.



APP/F2605/A/14/2214510:  THETFORD:  55 Hawthorn Walk:  Appeal by Mr. Neal against the refusal of planning permission for the erection of a three storey (four bedroom) dwelling:  Reference 3PL/2013/0981/F:

Decision:  Appeal dismissed

Summary:  The Inspector concluded that the proposal would be complementary to the character and appearance of the area, provision for parking and bin storage would be adequate and would not impact on amenity.  However, as the unilateral undertaking is incomplete, the proposal would not make adequate contribution to the provision of outdoor recreational facilities.






Exclusion of Press & Public (Agenda Item 13)

To consider passing the following resolution:


“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act”.







RESOLVED that under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.



Enforcement Update (Agenda Item 14)

Verbal update by the Enforcement Team Leader.


Members are requested to raise any questions at least two working days before the meeting to allow information to be provided to the Committee.


The Enforcement Team Leader provided the update.


There was a new member of the Enforcement Team.  Laura Steward was providing administrative assistance three days a week.


The Ocella software system was to be updated with a S106 monitoring system, jointly funded by the Council and Capita.


Members were advised of the current case load being dealt with by the Team and the number of S106 and Unilateral Undertakings that were being monitored.


Councillor Carter asked for an update on a planning condition that the Committee had imposed with a time limit.  That time limit was due to expire that day and the Enforcement Team Leader had been assured that it would be met.


In response to a further question about an individual application he requested prior notice in future to ensure that he would have the relevant information.


Councillor Armes asked about advertising signage on lampposts and was advised that they were on Highways land and therefore the responsibility of NCC.