Agenda item

Schedule of Planning Applications

To consider the Schedule of Planning Applications :


Item No



Page No


Location 3 Properties




Crown Estate & Pigeon (Thetford)




Mr A Thompson




Heritage Developments




Mr & Mrs A Hales





RESOLVED that the applications be determined as follows :


(a)       THETFORD : Erection of foodstore (Class A1) with associated petrol filling station, car parking, servicing & access : Applicant : Location 3 Properties : Reference : 3PL/2012/0213/O (“Tulip”), and


(b)       THETFORD : Erection of class A1 foodstore petrol station, highway work, parking & related works : Applicant : Crown Estate & Pigeon (Thetford) Ltd : Reference : 3PL/2012/0748/O (“TEP”)


Michael Horn, Solicitor to the Council was present for both Agenda items which were discussed at the same time.


In answer to a comment raised by one Member that some Officers he wished to question about the applications were not present (one being a representative from NLP), the Solicitor to the Council advised that if Members felt at the end of the presentation, that they could not make a decision as they felt they lacked information, then they should defer both items.


Members had received correspondence about the applications one of which (Tulip), sought outline planning permission for the erection of an A1 retail/food store and associated petrol filling station on a site in Caxton Way, Thetford, and was for “access” only, with all other matters reserved and was recommended for outline planning permission and the other (TEP), where Outline permission was sought for a new retail foodstore, petrol filling station, car parking and access works, all matters reserved except for access, had been recommended for refusal.


Full and very clear presentations were given by the Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) on the items (referred to throughout the presentation as Tulip and TEP).  He clarified that the combined impact on comparison and convenience goods turnover in the town centre would be 18.6% with regard to Tulip (not 11.7%).  The NPPF stated that when considering edge of centre and out of centre proposals, preference should be given to accessible sites that were well connected to the town centre.


            Mr Beaumont, Property Director for Lidl, Objector (Tulip site), stated that should Location 3 Properties be approved, Lidl would not move forward on their proposals as there would be no further scope for food stores on that side of the town.  The proposal would not help linkage to expansion zones and would increase carbon emissions.  There had been interest in the employment land site from the adjacent land owner.  The combined impact on comparison and convenience of 18.6% would have a significant effect and would harm the town centre and should be refused due to this as well as the loss of employment land.


            Mr McPhillips, Head of Property, 2 Sisters Food Group, Objector (Tulip site), advised that the company was a very large local employer who were trying to expand their business.  The Tulip application site was the only one they could expand onto as they wished to expand to brownfield which had services.  Their offers to acquire it had been refused. If Members refused the Tulip application it would protect future employment on the site.


            Mr Hoare, speaking as Agent for the Tulip site, stated that they had not received a revised offer from the 2 Sisters Food Group, and he believed there was room for expansion due to other land being adjacent to the Tulip site.  Following consultation, 80% of the local community were supportive of the application which was a well connected site and was already part of Thetford’s Development Framework.  It was brownfield regeneration which would create jobs and investment.


            In his role as Objector for the TEP site, Mr Hoare did not believe it was the right  time to sacrifice a proportion of the TEP for retail development.  The site was currently in the middle of nowhere with poor connections.  He was unconvinced about the enabling development argument.


Mr Van Cutsem, Applicant (TEP Site), believed the sequential appraisal ignored the positive effects.  There was no retail provision to the north of the town.  Public transport links would be provided.  The site was sequentially as good if not better and would have positive effects on the region.  The TEP proposal would do far more for residents than the London Road site. The Enterprise Park had remained undeveloped for 20 years.  Proceeds from the development would be reinvested into the site.  The site would provide 1500 jobs in the future.


Mr Jermy, Ward Representative, spoke with regard to the Tulip site where he believed that a further supermarket would make traffic problems worse.  As growth was planned to the north, it would be illogical to put a supermarket in the south.  He was not convinced by the sequential test.   There would be a potential impact on Thetford town centre and he was concerned that a supermarket could further undermine Thetford High Street, and was unconvinced it would stop leakage out of the town.  His primary concern would be the loss of manufacturing land as land in Thetford had been consumed over time by retail.  He wanted to know what the financial impact would be on the town centre as both applications spoke in percentage terms and wished to know what they related to.  It was clarified that the percentages related to total retail expenditure.


It was felt the biggest impact would be on out of town stores.  The Principal Planning Officer made reference to NLP’s report in which it stated the number of closures in the town centre as a result of one of the two proposals was unlikely to be significant.


Lindy Warmer, Senior Economic Development Officer stated that for many years they had worked on the TEP.  The TEP application would be their preferred option and would bring jobs to Thetford.


Mr Robinson, Ward Representative with regard to the Tulip site, had concerns that there were no figures available on how the proposed site would affect the Forest Retail Park and the access on Caxton Way.


Some Members felt they did not have enough information to make a firm decision on both applications, and could not ask questions as the relevant people were not present to provide the answers.


Comments from Thetford Town Council were as noted in the reports and upheld by Cllr P Spencer.


A Member felt that the Thetford Employment Park would be affected by what might happen in the future, and the proposal would breathe life into the employment park and should be taken into consideration.


Advice was given to the Committee by the Solicitor to the Council.  Following clear advice from the Retail Impact Assessment both applications needed to be voted on together, resolutions to be considered were :


Resolution 1 – Approve Tulip and refuse TEP

Resolution 2 – Approve TEP and refuse Tulip

Resolution 3 – Refuse both

Resolution 4 – Approve both

Resolution 5 – Defer


The following resolutions were made :


Resolution 1 – Approve Tulip and refuse TEP,  was not supported


Resolution 2 – Approve TEP and refuse Tulip, was not supported


Resolution 3 – Refusal of both applications was supported.  The reasons for refusal were on the grounds of loss of employment land for both applications and lack of information.  The Planning Manager did not believe Members had explored thoroughly the reasons for refusal as they raised significant issues with regard to retail impact and had not explored deliverable benefits and he advised that the issues be looked at further.


The Solicitor and Standards Consultant advised the Committee that if they wished to withdraw the resolution to refuse both applications they must vote to do so.


A new proposal was made to withdraw Resolution 3, which was passed.


A further recommendation was made to defer the application which was seconded.


RESOLVED, that contrary to the recommendation of Officers, the applications be deferred to allow time for further information to be made available on the likely significance of each scheme on the town centre in terms of retail impact and a thorough assessment of the reality of deliverable benefits associated with the TEP site together with the proposed mechanisms and timing of delivery.  Members made it clear that they would additionally need to fully understand the situation regarding concrete offers made on the Tulip site by an objector and that they would expect a representative from NLP to be in attendance when the applications were brought back to Committee in order to respond to questions on the veracity of the retail impacts of the proposals on the town centre offer.


            Michael Horn left the meeting.        


 (c)       GARVESTONE : Manager/bailiffs dwelling in association with fishing lakes : Applicant : Mr A Thompson : Reference : 3PL/2012/0808/O


            Indicative drawings illustrated a large two storey dwelling with regard to the application which sought outline planning permission (with all matters reserved) for a manager’s/bailiff’s dwelling in association with the fishery lakes, outside the Settlement Boundary.


            It was recommended for refusal because it represented the erection of a dwelling in the countryside without special justification, it would have a harmful impact on the ecology and landscape of the area and would not provide acceptable living accommodation for future occupiers because of animal odour from a nearby livestock holding.


            Mr Took, Agent, stated that whilst it was outside the Settlement Boundary a number of factors needed to be taken into account as an exception was justified.  The site was a significant attraction and brought visitors to the area and the proposal was necessary to ensure the viability of the site and to maintain fish stocks along with their welfare. The design submitted was not part of the outline proposal and should be ignored.


            Refused, as recommended.


(d)       HARLING : MMA to 3PL/2010/0596/F – materials, garden room P1.40, Pls.5-10 stepped, Pls 33-36 moved, change garage/carports : Applicant Heritage Developments : Reference : 3PL/2012/0870/F


            Revisions were listed in the report for the application which sought permission for a material minor amendment to an approved residential development (3PL/2010/0596/F).  As the scheme continued to have adequate regard for the character and appearance of the area and neighbour amenity when seen in the context of the previous approval, the application was recommended for approval.


            RESOLVED, that the application be deferred and the Officers authorised to approve it as recommended, on completion of the legal agreement.


(e)       HARLING : Proposed Super Eco Detached Dwelling House with integral garage : Applicant : Mr & Mrs A Hales : Reference : 3PL/2012/0882/F


            The proposal adopted a contemporary approach with a mix of traditional and contemporary materials for a dwelling to be built as an “eco” dwelling, and full planning permission was sought for the new detached two storey dwelling within the side garden of an existing dwelling, outside the Settlement Boundary.


            It was considered that the proposal did not meet the challenging targets set by the NPPF with regard to achieving an exceptional quality or innovatively designed dwelling as required by the NPPF.  Furthermore, it did not take appropriate account of protected trees on site, and therefore was recommended for refusal.


            Mrs Jolly, Ward Representative, stated that there were differing views within the parish.  Whilst it was outside the Settlement Boundary development area of East Harling, it was within the parish boundary and she asked that the application be considered favourably.  Five letters of support had been received for the application.  There were varying architectural style dwellings in the area.  The energy saving credentials proposed would make it outstanding and intuitive and would create interest and projects of that nature were important to raise the bar for future house building.


Mrs Hales, Applicant, stated that the proposal could pass as Norfolk’s first passive house.  It would generate its own electricity, with a large percentage going back to the grid and local community.  Solar panels would be used as would recycled products.  The reed bed sewerage system, long grass, sedum roofs, composting and additional planting of more trees and shrubs would encourage wildlife.  There would be minimal impact on the environment whilst it was being built.  It would be a typical example of a house of the future and would inspire others.  The trees with the TPOs would be protected.  She would be happy to provide a certificate to prove it achieved Code level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.


Refused, as recommended.


Notes to Schedule


Item No.



Mr Beaumont, Objector

Mr McPhillips, Objector

Mr Hoare, Agent

Mr Birtles, Agent

Mr Jermy, Ward Representative


Mr Hoare, Objector

Mr Van Cutsem, Applicant


Mr Took, Agent




Mr & Mrs Hales, Applicants

Mrs Jolly, Ward Representative


            Written Representations Taken Into Account


Reference No.

No. of Representations












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