Agenda item

Schedule of Planning Applications

To consider the Schedule of Planning Applications :


Item No



Page No


Iceni Energy Ltd







Mr Michael Cawley &

Miss Mary-Lou Cawley





Whitbread Group PLC & Kier Horn





Breckland Council






RESOLVED that the applications be determined as follows :


(a)       Item 1 : Snetterton : Erection of a 40MW renewable energy biomass power station and associated works : Applicant : Iceni Energy Ltd : Reference : 3PL/2012/0029/F


Cllr Sharpe declared a personal interest by virtue of being the Executive Support Member for Assets & Strategic Development.


Cllr Bowes declared a personal interest by virtue of a relative owning one of the companies who had submitted a letter of objection.


Members had received correspondence about the proposal.


The Senior Planning Policy Officer presented the report, which was for the erection of a 40MW renewable energy biomass power station and associated works.  The main structures which would form the development would be the turbine and boiler house, two fuel storage barns, wood storage barn, stack and an air cooled condenser.  It would also include smaller structures as identified in the report.  The total area of the proposed site that formed the application would be approximately 9.0 ha. The site was outside the Settlement Boundary.


Many letters of support and objection had been received from local residents and the areas they referred to were outlined in the report.


The proposed power station would accord with both local and national planning policies which encouraged the development of renewable energy projects.  By addressing current energy problems in the locality, the proposal would also help to promote the development of the Snetterton Heath employment area.  Careful consideration had been given to anticipated environmental impacts, and it had been concluded that the scheme would not result in significant adverse effects.  Accordingly, the application was recommended for approval subject to conditions.


Mr Napier, Shropham Parish Council, stated that there had been overwhelming concern despite the need for electricity, by those who attended a meeting at Shropham Village Hall in February 2012, as the proposal fell outside the core strategy along with other reasons for objection detailed in the report.


Mr Skinner, Snetterton Parish Council, was concerned the proposal was in the wrong place and outside the development area for the village and should be on industrial development land.  Local agricultural community would be adversely affected.


Mr Foster, Objector, believed that the application was not a biomass plant but an incinerator and was not on Snetterton Heath, with the River Thet being about a mile from the site.  The application was the wrong technology in the wrong place.


Mr Hilton, Iceni, stated all limitations and restrictions were covered in their Environmental Statement.  Guarantees would be provided with regard to particulates and emissions from the chimney would be caught by filtration.  Anglian Farms had given assurances that they could provide all the fuel, would enter into a 15 year agreement and would not use farmers who were not members of Anglian Farms.


Cllr Cowen, Ward Representative, believed there were errors and omissions in the report.  He was concerned about the Snetterton and Thetford Area Action Plan.  The level of scale of the proposed development would affect future growth of Snetterton as a development area.  Volume of straw, location and scale of plant, along with the application being premature were all areas of concern, and there had to be a better alternative than that proposed.


Cllr Askew, Ward Representative believed the proposal was too big a risk to entertain on economic reasons alone.  The supply of straw was governed by climate.  He believed the applicant’s statements raised more questions than they answered.  He queried the green credentials. It was the wrong type of system in the wrong place and urged Economic Development to search for a more credible solution.


Lindy Warmer, Senior Economic Development Officer stated that Breckland’s Economic Development Service was in full support of the application, which they had driven since October 2006, during which time they had carried out a number of reviews and studies on energy supply options.  It would open up the opportunity for future skills and employment and generate investment into the area.


In answer to questions raised by Members, the applicant advised that there would be no HGV movements along country roads, water used would be for damping down the ash, the current overhead connection would be reinforced.  He explained how the electricity went into the National Grid and how the small sub station would allow other connections to be made for other users in the area.  They would avoid widening roads and causing hedgerow deprivation.


The Senior Planning Policy Officer advised that they had consulted with numerous wildlife bodies and the Environmental Statement gave details, to which a Councillor requested that if the application was approved, any loss of hedgerows should be done outside the breeding season.


Further questions were asked of the applicant, to which he advised the road structures had been looked at at Snetterton Heath, but they felt they were too difficult to get traffic through the roads, therefore the site proposed seemed to be obvious.  Noise pollution would likely be less than currently recorded as background noise.


Subject to confirmation from the Secretary of State that the application would not be called in, the application be Approved, as recommended, subject to conditions in the report with the additional condition of facilitating a local provision for an electricity supply.


(b)       Item 2 : Mattishall : Retention of 1 static home, 2 touring caravans, laundry room, 2 sheds, fences, access/splays parking, c/u ag land to res : Applicant : Mr Michael Cawley & Miss Mary-Lou Cawley : Reference : 3PL/2012/0080/F


Cllr Claussen declared a personal and prejudicial interest by virtue of family members owning property in Mattishall.


The application had previously been referred to the Planning Committee on 14 May, 2012 at which time the resolution had been that the planning permission be approved as recommended.  However, the comments of the Ward Representative were not available at that time, and the application had been referred back to allow further consideration of local concerns.


Five further letters had been received from members of the public but no new issues of concern had been raised apart from devaluation of local properties.


The Principal Planning Officers reminded Members of the requirements of the NPPF.


Mr Mason, Agent, stated he was concerned the application had been brought back, as the Committee had approved the application on 14 May 2012, and requested that Members repeated their previous decision.


Cllr Claussen stated that Enforcement Officers had been warned off the site. He asked that attention be paid to the early engagement between the settled and traveller communities, as he believed in this instance there had been a lack of it which had driven a wedge through both communities.  He commented on the NPPF and Planning Policy for Traveller Sites.  Cllr Claussen left the meeting.


Members did not feel that comments received from the Ward Representative included any further new information.


Approved, as recommended.


Candy Sheridan had provided training to the Authority in the past, and the Chairman wished to arrange further training as soon as possible, and urged all Planning Committee Members to attend.

Cllr Claussen returned to the meeting.


(c)        Item 3 : Thetford : Erect 3 storey hotel annex, single storey extension to restaurant, alterations to car park and relocate play area : Applicant : Whitbread Group PLC & Kier Homes : Reference : 3PL/2012/0321/F


Members had received correspondence with regard to the application.


The application sought full planning permission for the erection of a three storey detached building (holiday annex) which would provide 36 additional bedrooms to the existing Premier Inn Hotel, a single storey extension to the front of the existing public house to provide additional space for the restaurant and alterations to the on-site car park and relocation of a play area.  A previous application (3PL/2011/0715/F) was refused by the Planning Committee on 3 October 2011.


It was considered that the scheme had not addressed the concerns raised by the previous refusal relating to the loss of part of a TPO Woodland Order and the loss of part of an open space and, as such, the proposal was considered to be unacceptable and therefore it was recommended for refusal.


            Two letters of objection had been received.


Mr Benning, Objector, was the joint owner of a house opposite the proposed development site, and believed the 3 storey building was unacceptable as it would be about 30m from his property and deprive him of mature woodland, affect his privacy, reduce the desirability and value of his property, along with odours produced by the restaurant kitchen.  He did not believe the proposal would assist the Thetford town centre regeneration.


Mr Thackeray, Agent stated that they had listened to what had been said in the past, and had compensated for open space, dealt with overlooking and reduced the loss of trees.


Concerns raised by Members covered the play area, the mis-management of the woodland and community access to the open space.


            Refused, as recommended.


(d)       Item 4 : Thetford : Construction of concrete skatepark (228 sqm) : Applicant : Breckland Council : Reference : 3PL/2012/0479/F


Cllrs Robinson and Kybird declared a personal interest by virtue of being Members of the Moving Thetford Forward Board.

Full planning permission for the construction of a Skatepark was sought.  The site was approximately 14m by 15m and consisted of a concrete area of ramps, curbs and walls.  The structure would be less than 1.4m in height.  It would be intended that a fence be erected around the site and lighting installed.  No specific details had been submitted as part of the application.


2 letters had been received with regard to noise and disturbance.  Other concerns covered hours of operation, access, surface water drainage and litter management.


The Principal Planning Officer advised, that if Members were minded to approve the application that it be deferred to Officers, as Thetford Town Council were not scheduled to discuss the application until Tuesday, 12 June 2012.


Cllr Kybird, Member of Moving Thetford Forward Board, advised that the application was regarded as a key piece of infrastructure for young people on a site adjacent to Thetford Sport Centre.


Whilst some Councillors did not feel the need for an acoustic fence as CCTV should be sufficient, others felt it would be essential.


RESOLVED that the application be deferred and the Officers be authorised to approve it as recommended, subject to conditions, if no further objections are received within the consultation period and Thetford Town Council do not object.


Notes To Schedule


Item No.



Mr Napier – Shropham P C

Mr Skinner – Snetterton P C

Mr Foster – Objector

Mr Hilton – Iceni

Mr Askew – Ward Representative

Mr Cowen – Ward Representative


Mr Mason - Agent


Mr Benning – Objector

Mr Thackeray - Agent


Mr Kybird – Member MTF


Written Representations Taken Into Account


Reference No.

No. of Representations










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