Agenda item

Schedule of Planning Applications (Agenda Item 9)

To consider the Schedule of Planning Applications:


Item No



Page No


Miss S Kelly




Miss S Kelly




Mr B Todd




Mr T & B Lambert





RESOLVED that the applications be determined as follows:


(a)       Item 1: THOMPSON: 1 Redbrick Farm Barns, Marlpit Road: Install metal flue on rear elevation, new parking area, removal of gates and erection of new (part retrospective): Applicant: Miss S Kelly: Reference: 3PL/2013/0937/F


A recently received, e-mailed objection from the neighbour was tabled for Members’ information. 


Items 1 and 2 were covered by one presentation which also corrected the agenda report in relation to site planning history. 


The property was a large two storey, Listed barn which had been converted into two semi-detached dwellings.  Permitted development rights had been restricted, which was why both planning permission and Listed Building consent were required.


As the Council’s Historic Buildings Officer knew the applicant an independent consultant had been employed to give advice on the applications.  They had raised no objection.


Correspondence received from the neighbour, Mr Yerby, had been circulated as he was unable to attend.  He objected to the retrospective applications on the following grounds: The flue was too tall and should be painted black; the paving was of inappropriate material for a Listed Building and should be gravel; the gates had a detrimental impact on amenity due to the standing of vehicles waiting for access which caused noise, fumes and loss of privacy.  There was also increased danger to health and safety from cars reversing out onto the road.


It was noted that the objector had consent to erect a wall and gates across the entrance.


Ms Kelly (Applicant) apologised for the retrospective nature of the application.  She had objected to her neighbour’s application as it would cause delay to her and her visitors when accessing and leaving the property.  At that time he had not considered that vehicles pausing outside his property would be a problem.  She advised that the fence and gates had been in place when the neighbour had purchased their property.  The gates were necessary for security but were only shut occasionally.


Councillor Bowes thought that the Listed Building status had not protected much because the original farmhouse had been demolished.


It was clarified that the flue was for a woodburner and the Applicant had been advised that the additional height was necessary for it to work properly.


Councillor North thought that a barn conversion should retain an open appearance.  The gates should be removed.  However, the other two elements of the application were acceptable.


It was pointed out that the application would be refused if any part of the development proposed was not approved.


Councillor Claussen suggested that if security was required posts and beams could be used and might be more acceptable.


The plans of the neighbour’s approved gates and wall were shown.  Members felt that the style of those gates was more appropriate to the rural setting.


The recommendation for approval was not supported although Members made clear that they did not object to the flue or the pavers.


Refused, contrary to the recommendation, on grounds of the fencing and gates having an unacceptable impact on the setting of the Listed Building.


The Chairman asked that it be noted that the Officer’s report had been very good.  Councillor North seconded that.


(b)       Item 2: THOMPSON: 1 Redbrick Farm Barns, Marlpit Road: Install metal flue on rear elevation, new parking area, removal of gates and erection of new (part retrospective): Applicant: Miss S Kelly: Reference: 3PL/2013/0938/LB


See Item 1 above.


Refused, contrary to the recommendation, on grounds of the fencing and gates having an unacceptable impact on the setting of the Listed Building.


(c)        Item 3: BILLINGFORD: Site at Elmham Road: Recreation and agricultural facilities with visitor centre: Applicant: Mr B Todd: Reference: 3PL/2014/0056/F


All Members had received direct representation on this item.  Further information had been provided in the supplement to the Agenda.


The application was spread over two sites linked by a bridge over the River Wensum.  An amended plan had been submitted which included the bridge within the red line.


Maps, plans and photographs of the site were shown and the various uses of the site had been marked on one plan.  The open sided element of the existing agricultural building would be converted into a visitor centre. Elevations of that building and of the proposed shower/toilet facilities and the timber lodges and bird hides were also shown.


As well as the amendment to the red line, the application had been changed by the removal of the fish farm element of the proposals and the exclusion of the access from Worthing Road.


Following the withdrawal of objections from Natural England and NCC Highways and subject to conditions, the Officers recommendation had been changed to one of approval.


Mr Davies (Billingford Parish Council) asked Members to reject the proposals which the Committee had previously refused.  The building was subject to Enforcement action and was out of character with the area.  The NPPF did not support the proposal as there was already provision for tourism in the area.  The land should be open space and the owner was obstructing its use.  The recent ecology report was inaccurate and the road access had poor visibility and was close to the site of a fatal accident.


Mr Wood (Hoe & Worthing Parish Council) said that the last minute changes did not affect the objections already submitted.  Works had already been done without planning permission.  The building was large and dominated the landscape.  It was intrusive and harmed the appearance of the area.  The increased volumes of traffic were a cause of serious highway safety concerns.  The application said there would be 11 employees but there was no supporting evidence to substantiate that.  There was no support shown by the Scouts or Guides.  Approval would set a precedent.


Mr Atterwill (Swanton Morley Parish Council) had submitted a four page letter of objection.  The previous retrospective application had been refused on grounds of protecting the river valley.  The building caused harm and had no agricultural justification.  The site had not changed and the previous reasons for refusal were still very relevant.  It was essential for the Authority to be consistent.  In a Court case the judge had referred to the applicant breaching the SSSI requirements and Members needed to consider that.


Mr Howell (Objector on behalf of Norfolk Flyfisher’s Club) had serious concerns about the impact of the development.  They were immediate neighbours.  He raised four points: 1) they had not been properly consulted.  They had two Rights of Way and any constraints on the applicant would not apply to them; 2) there had been significant encroachment onto Norfolk Flyfisher’s and Dereham Angler’s land.  Suitable fencing would be a primary requirement to all boundaries for Health & Safety; 3) pollution, from noise and environmental damage was a great concern requiring stringent constraints; and 4) commercial development of the area was inappropriate.


Mr Labouchere (Objector) represented 40 residents.  There was huge opposition which included 21 reasons for refusal.  There had been 82 letters of objection.  People were concerned about the loss of tranquillity.  The current application hinged on an illegal building which was subject to enforcement action.  Statutory consultees had raised various objections.  Why had the Highways objection been removed?  No scheme was acceptable on the site.


Mr Moulton (Agent) had worked with officers to overcome previous concerns.  The visitor centre would be used by school children, scouts and guides, etc.  A small mooring deck on the lake would be used for teaching activities.  They had worked with the Environment Agency to overcome drainage issues.  The further ecology information met Natural England requirements.  The main site access would be from the north.  The existing access to the south would be for the Flyfisher’s Club and emergency access, not for customers or service access to the visitor centre.  The site was a previous quarry which had been restored.  Impact on the environment was limited.  Significant time and resources had been spent on making the proposal acceptable.


Councillor Borrett (Ward Representative) said the application had caused confrontation and notoriety.  The key was the enormous steel framed building.  He listed the planning history and said that the Committee had been consistent in its response to the impact of a large illegal building in the middle of the Wensum valley.  It gave a flavour of the battle over the site that three separate Parish Councils had sent representatives to the meeting.  The local MP, George Freeman had also been involved.  There was a proposed list of conditions, if the application was approved, but the applicant had ignored conditions in the past.  He asked Members to refuse the application due to adverse impact on the landscape.


Councillor Sharpe asked what enforcement action had been taken.  The Enforcement Team Leader advised that an Enforcement Notice had been served on 15 May 2013 which took effect on 21 June 2013, giving the applicant three months to remove the unauthorised part of the building.  That Notice had been appealed and the Hearing date was 3 June 2014.


Councillor Carter was surprised that the application was being discussed when it had been refused before and enforcement authorised.  The Applicant had shown no concern for conditions imposed and would be likely to ignore any future conditions.  There were a large number of objections and concerns about environmental issues.


Councillor Duigan was surprised at the length of time that the Enforcement Appeal was taking and it was pointed out that the Planning Inspectorate had been overburdened and the Council had no control over their timetable.  He also thought that the building was wrong for the location.


Councillor Claussen thought that Members needed to see for themselves if the building was a blot on the landscape.  If they had a Site Visit they would be able to see the scale of the building and get a feel for the habitat.   Councillor Duigan seconded that proposal.

The Chairman agreed to take the proposal once all Members had had the opportunity to join the debate.


Councillor North pointed out that despite the previous refusal and enforcement action the applicant had already erected a wooden lodge without planning permission.  She was also concerned about vehicle movements and asked how people would get their belongings from the car park to the campsites.


Mr Moulton advised that there were existing gravel roads within the site which would be used.


Councillor Lamb asked what effect the enforcement appeal decision would have on the application.


The Director of Planning & Business Manager advised that if the Committee approved the application the planning permission would override the appeal and become operative.


Members then voted in favour of carrying out a Site Visit.


There was some debate about whether the existing building had any permission or not.  It was unclear whether No Prior Approval had been granted for a smaller building.  Officers were requested to clarify that position before the next meeting.


Mr Hewitt (for Applicant) advised that in the Council’s submission to the Planning Inspectorate they accepted that the smaller building had been approved. 


Councillor North suggested that the information provided to the Planning Inspectorate also needed to be checked for accuracy.


Deferred, for a Site Visit.  


(d)       Item 4: GARBOLDISHAM: Land at Street Farm, The Street: Erection of a pair of attached cottages with detached garages and new access: Applicant: Mr T & B Lambert: Reference: 3PL/2014/0109/F


Further information had been provided in the Supplement to the Agenda.  The plans had been amended and the garages would be attached to the dwellings.


The site was outside the Settlement Boundary and inside the Conservation Area.  It was close to the facilities in the village but was not considered sustainable due to the lack of a footpath. 


Ms Roberts (Agent) said that the scheme was acceptable in design terms and would assist with the Council’s Five Year Housing Land Supply deficit.  The Parish Council had requested additional land for up to five houses in the Local Development Framework but the village boundary had been tightened.  There was a well used grass verge which residents used to walk into the village.


Councillor Jolly (Ward Representative) thanked the Officer for an excellent summary.  Historically the Parish Council had wanted additional small houses in the village.  The verge was very well kept and maintained and regularly used by residents.  The road was busy but there was a 30mph limit.  There was no parking at the shop so residents would not use a car.  There were many things in favour of the application.


Councillor Lamb noted that there had been several applications for houses near the Public House which had been refused, so it would be difficult to justify approval.


Councillor Carter disagreed.  The site was only 250metres from many facilities and there were many villages where people had to use verges due to lack of a footpath.  He also felt that even small applications counted towards the Housing Land Supply.


Councillor Bowes understood the pressure caused by the lack of the Five Year Housing Land Supply.  However, she felt that approval would set a precedent in a Conservation Area and mean the loss of an orchard.  She asked what the definition of a Conservation Area was in Planning terms and what it aimed to protect.


The Director of Planning & Business Manager advised that it put an additional statutory duty on the development to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the area; the minimum requirement being to ‘do no harm’.  The issue was how to define character.  In this instance the character of the settlement changed and became more rural.  The Conservation Area Consultant had not raised any objections about the loss of the orchard.


The Chairman pointed out that a new, large and modern village hall had been built in the Conservation Area within the last ten years.


Councillor North noted the comments of the Parish Council and their support for small affordable homes.  She did not consider that three bedroom homes necessarily fit that requirement.


The Chairman advised that the houses had been designed to match the existing dwellings nearby, which were larger than they appeared.


Councillor Claussen agreed with Councillor Carter.  The design was good, the only problem was the lack of a footpath but it would be the wrong place to have a tarmac footpath.  90% of villages had no footpaths and people used the verges.


Councillor Lamb raised the issue of the refusals around the Public House again and the Chairman explained that those refusals had been in an effort to support the retention of the Public House and prevent its conversion to housing.


Councillor Jolly advised that the Public House was up for sale and an application had been made for it to become a Community Asset.  A big group of villagers were trying to save it.


The recommendation for refusal was tied five for and five against.  The Chairman used his casting vote against the refusal.


Approved, contrary to the recommendation, on the grounds that the development was acceptable and the lack of a footpath in this instance did not mean the development was unsustainable or justify refusal.


Notes to the Schedule

Item No



Miss Kelly - Applicant


Cllr Borrett – Ward Representative

Mr Davies – Billingford Parish Council

Mr Wood – Hoe/Worthing Parish Council

Mr Atterwill – Swanton Morley Parish Council

Mr Howell – Norfolk Flyfishers Club

Mr Labouchere – Objector

Mr Moulton – Agent

Mr Hewitt – for Applicant

Mr Todd - Applicant


Cllr Jolly – Ward Representative

Sarah Roberts - Agent


Written Representations taken into Account

Reference No

No of Representations








Supporting documents: