Agenda item

Schedule of Planning Applications (Agenda Item 9)

To consider the Schedule of Planning Applications:


Item No



Page No


Mrs E Clarke




Breckland Storage Ltd




Messrs J A Askew and Partners

Old Buckenham



Mr B Todd




Miss Margaret Cook




Mr B Todd




Mr & Mrs J Smith




Mr & Mrs Matthews





RESOLVED that the applications be determined as follows:


(a)       Item 1: THOMPSON: Plot adjacent Thatched House, Mill Road: Erection of 3 bedroom, 1½ storey cottage style dwelling: Applicant: Mrs E Clarke: Reference: 3PL/2011/0582/O


This outline application for a cottage style dwelling with all matters reserved had been with the Council for some time.  A number of amendments had been submitted in response to local concerns.  The site was an infill plot within the Settlement Boundary and indicative details showed a one and a half storey dwelling, positioned to avoid overlooking of the adjacent property and to allow most trees on site to be retained.


Mrs Winslow (Parish Council) said their unanimous view was that the proposal would affect the amenity value of adjacent properties and was not sympathetic to the Listed Building.  She also raised concerns about road safety at the dangerous junction and the Anglian Water supply pipe which passed through the plot.


Mrs Mills (Objector) owned the adjacent Listed Building which was an award winning bed and breakfast business.  She said it would have to close during construction works because of noise and disturbance.  She was also concerned that another access would double the danger at the junction.


Mr Parsons (Agent) said the water supply pipe was on the boundary of the plot and would not be affected by building works.  Road safety concerns were not supported by the Highways Officer.  They had reduced the scale of the design in response to concerns and positioned the property to ensure no significant impact on the adjacent dwelling.  The only overlooking window was an obscure bathroom window.  The applicant was willing to accept a condition requiring a one and a half storey three bedroom dwelling.


Councillor Cowen (Ward Representative) said it was rare for an application to cause so much local concern. Although the site was within the Settlement Boundary it was not appropriate for development as it was adjacent a Listed Building and close to a dangerous junction.


Councillor North noted that many roads in the district were dangerous.  She thought the site was a natural plot for development, subject to strict conditions on the outline approval.


Councillor Bambridge agreed and thought that no strong reasons for refusal had been put forward.  He asked the main objector why she could not continue her business whilst construction took place especially if hours of work were restricted.


Mrs Mills confirmed that she would have to close whilst construction work took place as the business was advertised as being peaceful and quiet.


Councillor Cowen explained that the close relationship with the prominent Listed Building was the main problem.  He also pointed out that the number of amendments available to view on-line made it very confusing to know what was being proposed.


The Planning Manager noted that there had been various previous permissions on the site which had lapsed and in the meantime the Thatched House had been granted listed status which did change matters.  However, the requirements of the Planning and Listed Buildings consent regimes were that the Local Authority needed to take account of the impact of development proposals on the character and setting of the Listed Building.  This did not mean that new development was unacceptable in principle and if the application was refused on those grounds only it would suggest that nothing could be built on that plot.  That was not a defendable position to adopt in this instance.


Approved, as recommended, subject to conditions to be specified by the officers.


(b)       Item 2: ATTLEBOROUGH: Swangey Farm, Swangey Lane: Retail area for 40 caravans on existing established caravan storage and maintenance business site: Applicant: Breckland Storage Ltd: Reference: 3PL/2012/0654/CU


This application for retail of caravans was on an existing storage site which was well screened.  Off-site highway works would provide a passing bay and improve visibility at the access.  The principle was acceptable and the proposal would reduce the size of the area used for storage.


Deferred, and the officers be authorised to approve on completion of a S106 agreement restricting the total number of caravans on site.


(c)        Item 3: OLD BUCKENHAM: Land off Fen Street: Outline application for 5 houses: Applicant: Messrs J A Askew and Partners: Reference: 3PL/2012/1159/O


All Members had received direct representation on this



This outline application with all matters reserved was the resubmission of an application previously refused on the grounds that the site was outside the Settlement Boundary and concerns re accessibility and highway safety.


Given the shortfall in the Council’s five year housing land supply the proposal was considered on the basis of NPPF Policy.  Despite having short term positive effects on the economy and providing social housing, it did not perform well against accessibility and local character requirements.  The proposal to provide a permissive footpath to link the site to the village was not considered to offer a year-round facility.


Mr Garwood (Supporter) said it was an ideal infill site and that there had not been any accidents at the junction.  The footpath would be used.  Schools in the village needed young people and local shops needed additional customers.  There was a bus service to Norwich and Attleborough so there was good access to local services.


Mr Goode (Objector) said that the residents of Fen Street did not want any more development changing the character of the area.  He had concerns re additional traffic on the safety of the narrow lane and damage to verges by vehicles passing each other.  The permissive path would be unlikely to be used in inclement weather.  The reasons for the previous refusal had not been addressed.


Mr Davies (Agent) said that Old Buckenham was a Local Service Centre.  With the Council not having a five year housing land supply there should be a presumption in favour of sustainable development.  The Council’s Housing Enabling Officer supported the scheme.


Mr Morris (Highways Consultant for the Applicant) said that the number of movements predicted for each new property included service vehicle movements which already took place in Fen Street.  The proposal would not create a ‘significant’ increase in movements.  A traffic survey at peak times had identified only 10 pedestrian movements.  The visibility issues at the junction could be addressed.


Councillor Joel (Ward Representative) said the proposal would create additional traffic movements on an unclassified road of restricted width.  As there were no footways residents would use cars and the junction was a problem.  The proposed footpath would be unsuitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs and also dark in the winter.  The village did have good services and the schools were full.  He urged Members to refuse the application.


It was clarified for Members that there was no existing footpath to Fen Street and that a legal agreement would probably ensure the availability of the permissive path.


Councillor Bambridge asked if the site would qualify as an exception site for mixed open-market and affordable housing under the new regulations.  The Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) noted that that was not the case made with the application and to qualify a need would have to be proven.


After further discussion about the likelihood of people using the permissive path, it was clarified that it had not been proposed to bring the path up to NCC standards.  That might not relate well to the rural character of the area and the applicant did not have control of Braggs Lane which formed part of the route to the village.


Refused, as recommended.


(d)       Item 4: BILLINGFORD: Elmham Road: Proposed visitor centre and camping pods: Applicant: Mr B Todd: Reference: 3PL/2012/1197/F


This application had received a lot of local objections and concerns and an e-mail had been received that morning from the local MP Mr George Freeman supporting the objections and raising concerns about the impact of the proposals on the sensitive rural environment and development taking place without planning permission.


The application was within a sensitive river valley environment with both SSSI and SAC protected status.  Visual impact was an important issue, given the nature of the landscape, but it was considered that, subject to landscaping, the proposals would not have a significantly adverse effect.  However, concerns about the effects on ecology and wildlife remained unresolved.   There was insufficient information to be sure that the proposals would have no adverse effect on the River Wensum.


Weighing all the issues in balance it was considered that Habitat Regulation matters outweighed the usual policy support for tourism.  The case for development was not therefore proven and the application was recommended for refusal due to insufficient information to assess the impact of the proposals.


Mr Davies (Objector and Parish Council representative) raised concerns that the earth moving works had caused damage.  The applicant had stopped public access to the site which was part of common land.  The scale of the proposal was out of proportion and noisy activities, such as hovercraft riding over the Ancient Monument site, were contrary to policies and not in keeping with the quiet nature of the area.


Mr Moulton (Agent) said the applicant had purchased the site in 2010 following discussions with a Planning Officer.  Access rights were permissive. Concerns about waste water and soak-aways could be resolved by condition.  Suggested enhancements could be included as part of any approval.


Councillor Borrett (Ward Representative) congratulated officers on the detailed report.  He supported the recommendation of refusal but was nervous about the grounds of insufficient information.  There were other reasons for refusal.  A lot of work had already been carried out on the sensitive site.  The development of the access road had cut across a Roman Road, a large drain had been dug through the Roman settlement site and a large amount of earth moving had been done on the edge of the Scheduled Ancient Monument site.


Councillor Bowes asked why the applicant had commenced works without permission and the agent advised that an existing access route had been made-up and other access improvements carried out.


Councillor Bambridge clarified some points about access and land and lake ownership.  He then asked the officers whether the reason for refusal suggested that the proposal could be acceptable.


The Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) said it was not inconceivable that an acceptable proposal could be drawn up but the onus was on the proposer to demonstrate no adverse effects.


Officers had no recollection of holding discussions with the applicant before he had purchased the land although meetings had been held after purchase and the applicant had been advised of the various designations affecting the site and told clearly that any application would need to be sensitive and include information of assessments and reports to address the issues.


Councillor North pointed out that despite that advice the applicant had clearly carried out works without permission.


After further discussion about public access, protection of the environment and the comments of the Chairman of CPRE Norfolk, Members supported the recommendation.


Refused, as recommended.


(e)       Item 5: MATTISHALL: The Paddocks, Mill Road: Change of use to a livery and temporary approval for retention of a mobile home in connection with livery and equine welfare: Applicant: Miss Margaret Cook: Reference: 3PL/2012/1264/F


Application withdrawn.


(f)         Item 6: BILLINGFORD: Elmham Road: Agricultural general purpose building (part retrospective): Applicant: Mr B Todd: Reference: 3PL/2012/1315/F


This application was on the same site as Item 4 and should be described as wholly retrospective.  An agricultural notification had been submitted for the agricultural building at the end of the summer 2012.  The footprint of the building had been approved, but the applicant had been advised that a number of criteria needed to be satisfied before construction.  The building had to be needed for agriculture and there had to be an agricultural use on the site at the time it was built.


Building work had started and then the building had been extended with two open sided bays and an open sided lean-to which had effectively doubled its size.  That work had taken place before an agricultural use had been established and the size of the building exceeded what could be approved under a notification.  Therefore, retrospective consent was required for the whole building.


There were a number of issues as the need for the building was still unclear.  The applicant had provided some conflicting information about the site usage.  The impact of the building on the surrounding countryside was not helped by the light roof cladding which was clearly visible but that harm would be outweighed if there was a clear agricultural need for the building.  The balance of arguments was against the application as some conditions could not be imposed on a retrospective permission and there was no way to guarantee agricultural activity.  The application was therefore recommended for refusal and approval for enforcement action to require its removal was also sought.


Mr Labouchere (Objector) spoke on behalf of the residents of Billingford, Worthing and North Elmham.  He deplored the construction and development without permission.  He lived close to the site and had used it for recreational purposes for many years.  The new accesses had created areas where drivers stopped and dropped litter.  The shiny roof of the building was visible for miles.  Large publicity billboards advertised the business on the site.  Wildlife had been eliminated and he urged enforcement action against all the things without permission.


Mr Moulton (Agent) said the building served 55 hectares which was a significant land holding requiring regular maintenance.  The applicant was in the process of planting fruit trees on part of the site and would be planting potatoes.  The sorting, grading and storage of the fruit and potatoes would take place in the building.  Machinery would also be stored safely in the building.  The applicant also proposed to carry out fish farming on the site and to store canoes in the building for recreational use on the lakes.  One large building was better than several small buildings.  Concerns about the access were noted. 


Councillor Borrett (Ward Representative) was concerned about the development that had taken place without permission.  He had issues about there being insufficient agricultural use and the unacceptable impact of the building on the landscape.


In response to a question from Councillor Bambridge the Agent confirmed that five acres of fruit trees were being planted and potatoes would be planted as soon as the weather permitted.  A nursery and fish farming were also proposed.  The building would provide security on site.


Members raised concerns about potential pollution from maintenance and washing down of machinery stored on site.


Refused, as recommended.


The Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) made clear that the visual impact of the building could be outweighed with agricultural justification.  As there was none, landscape harm would be part of the grounds for refusal, combined with the absence of proven need.  He recommended enforcement action to remove the building and the new access and asked Members to give consideration to the length of time that should be given to comply with the enforcement notice.


It was acknowledged that if another application was made with sufficient agricultural justification it would be looked at on its own merits.


The Planning Manager asked Members to consider the consequences of future enforcement action.  He suggested that they delegate power to the officers to widen their action to include signage.


The Solicitor noted that if the applicant was given three months to comply with an enforcement notice that would equate to between five and six months from the current date.


Agreed, that authority be delegated to officers to carry out enforcement action as required and that the applicant be given three months to comply.


(g)       Item 7: GARVESTONE: The Bungalow, Reymerston Road: Demolition of existing bungalow and erect three dwellings (one 2 storey and two 1½ storey) and garages: Applicant: Mr & Mrs J Smith: Reference: 3PL/2013/0002/F


This application for three detached dwellings with garages was considered acceptable in terms of design, amenity and highway safety grounds.  Contributions to play areas and affordable housing would form part of a legal agreement.  However, the amount of the affordable housing contribution was an unresolved issue.  The Council’s Enabling Officer considered that a contribution of £39618 was required.  The Applicant said that was not viable and proposed a £12,606payment.  Independent valuation would be required to resolve that issue.   The application was recommended for approval if a figure could be agreed, but if not it was recommended for refusal on grounds of the lack of an acceptable affordable housing contribution.


Mr Burton (Agent) said the site was within the Settlement Boundary and accorded with Policy, meeting economic, social and environmental sustainability requirements.  It would bring forward three dwellings of high quality design and construction to meet a proven housing need.


Councillor Jordan (Ward Representative) expressed the Parish Council’s strong objection to the proposals which they said were not in keeping with the character of Reymerston Road, being too big and with garages in front.


Councillor North was concerned that three substantial houses were to be built but the applicant was only offering one third of the required contribution.  She proposed that the application be deferred to obtain independent advice.


Councillor Lamb was concerned about the window design and the proposed materials and asked that they be conditioned.


Councillor Bambridge was pleased to see an application for large houses and thought that £36,000 was a reasonable contribution for the size of the site.  He agreed that independent valuation was needed.


The application was Deferred for independent advice on the affordable housing contribution.  Authority was delegated to officers to approve the application, subject to conditions and a legal agreement, if the applicant agreed to pay the amount set by the Independent Valuer and to refuse the application if the applicant refused to pay the amount set.


(h)   Item 8: QUIDENHAM: Shangri La, Gallows Lane : New dwelling and access; removal of redundant agricultural sheds (resubmission): Applicant: Mr & Mrs Matthews: Reference: 3PL/2013/0051/F


This application for a new dwelling and access was on a site outside the Settlement Boundary.  The Parish Council were keen to extend the Settlement Boundary to allow the village to expand.   There were no design, access or amenity issues. However, as there was no Policy justification the application was recommended for refusal.


Mrs Roberts (Agent) said there was strong support from the local community and under the Government’s Localism agenda Members had the opportunity to grant the proposal and provide a secluded family dwelling on an infill plot.


Councillor Askew (Ward Representative) said it was clear that the site met the criteria for being suitable for development apart from being outside the Settlement Boundary.  There were no statutory objections, the Parish Council supported the proposal and there was no logical reason to refuse it.  The site was close to the A11 and a railway hub in Eccles.


Members noted the possibility of the adjacent plot coming forward for development if the application was approved.  It was also clarified that any changes to Settlement Boundaries under the new Local Plan would not be in place for some years.


The recommendation to refuse the application was not supported.


Approved subject to conditions, contrary to the recommendation, as notwithstanding the Policies in the relevant Plans, the application was acceptable on its own merits,was an acceptable extension to the edge of Quidenham, given the existing form and character of development, was not setting a precedent and was acceptable in terms of design and amenity.


Notes to the Schedule

Item No



Mrs Winslow – Parish Council

Mrs Mills – Objector

Mr Halls – Applicant

Mr Parsons – Agent

Cllr Cowen – Ward Representative


Mr Garwood – Supporter

Mr Goode – Objector

Mr Davies – Agent

Mr Morris – for Applicant

Cllr Joel – Ward Representative


Mr Davies – Objector

Mr Moulton – Agent

Mr Wood – Parish Council

Cllr Borrett – Ward Representative


Mr Labouchere – Objector

Mr Moulton – Agent

Cllr Borrett – Ward Representative


Mr Burton – Agent

Cllr Jordan – Ward Representative


Mrs Roberts – Agent

Cllr Askew – Ward Representative


Written Representations Taken into Account

Reference No

No of Representations














Supporting documents: