Agenda item

Schedule of Planning Applications (Agenda Item 9)

To consider the Schedule of Planning Applications:


Item No



Page No


Mr Nigel Armes


23 – 33

Appendix A – See Supplement


De Merke Estates


34 - 43


Swaffham Town Council


44 - 51


Emblem Homes Ltd


52 - 59


A F Machinery Limited


60 - 66


Hopkins Homes Limited


67 - 79


Mr Tim Wegg


80 - 86


Mrs Emma Kriehn-Morris

Little Dunham

87 - 93


Mr Allan Lynn


94 - 101


Mr & Mrs A & R Buschman


102 - 107



RESOLVED that the applications be determined as follows:


a)       Item 1: KENNINGHALL: Green Farm Edge Green, Edge Green: Operational Development (Certificate of Existing Use.): Applicant: Mr Nigel Armes: Reference: 3PL/2014/0998/EU


Members questioned why this application had come to Committee when, on the surface, it appeared that it could not really be refused.


Mr Horn pointed out that under delegated powers he had the jurisdiction to make decisions on Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development (CLEUD) applications.  However, this matter was a particularly contentious issue in Kenninghall, and he had felt that it would be right and proper for this application to come to Committee for final decision.  The only real area of discretion for Members (as opposed to decision of fact and law) was the issue of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and whether, in the Members’ opinion, there were any significant environmental impacts.  However, Committee also needed to consider very carefully whether or not it agreed with the legal conclusions that Officers had reached based on the evidence contained in the application itself.  This was a complex issue, with 44 individual legal decisions to be made based on the facts presented in the application, and in each case, the legal test had to be satisfied on the balance of probability.


The Planning Officer gave a short presentation to explain the background to the application which dealt with the operational side of development only (i.e. not use).  Members were asked to consider whether they agreed, on the balance of probability, that the Applicant’s legal arguments had been made out based on the evidence contained within the application, and also with the Officer’s overall conclusion that the development would not give rise to any significant environmental impact. 


It was also pointed out that Crown Chicken had signed a Unilateral Undertaking to restrict HGV movements between 10.00pm and 07.00am.


Mr Walters (Objector) said that the evidence accepted by Officers included false statements with regard to noise and highways.  He urged Members not to approve the application until all the issues had been resolved.


Mr Mehta (Agent) said that under current regulations, an EIA was not part of the determination of a CLEUD application, but in light of concerns raised, the Applicant had carried out an EIA in this case.  It was clear from the technical evidence that there were no significant effects on the environment.


Councillor Smith asked if a subsequent application could/would trigger highway concerns, and if so, whether these concerns could be conditioned.


Mr Horn responded that he understood from the Applicant’s Agent that there would be two further separate applications: a CLEUD application for use only (the present application being one for operational development only) and a ‘standard’ planning application which would deal with everything not previously covered by the two previous CLEUD applications.  This third application could have conditions imposed in the normal way, if appropriate.


It was pointed out by the Planning Lawyer that the current CLEUD application was a Yes/No decision, with no power to impose conditions.


Approved, as recommended.


b)       Item 2: SWAFFHAM: Land off New Sporle Road: Outline application for residential development with access from New Sporle Road: Applicant: De Merke Estates: Reference: 3PL/2014/1346/O


This application on a site outside the Settlement Boundary would make a valuable contribution to the Council’s housing land supply.  It was accessed through an area previously approved for development.


Mr Bambrdige (Objector) was concerned that there was too much development and the site was too close to the A47 and the wind turbine which would cause problems with noise and shadow flicker.  There was no Highways objection but they had requested a Master plan for the whole area and the application should be deferred until that plan was agreed.  The widening of New Sporle Road would result in loss of hedgerows which supported eight endangered species of.  


Mr Cavalier (Applicant) was present to answer questions.


Councillor Wilkinson was concerned about Highway safety at the junction with the A1065.  The Chairman agreed that the road would need re-aligning or improving.


Mr Cavalier confirmed that a scheme of improvements had been agreed.


Councillor Joel asked if there was a minimum distance recommended between wind turbines and dwellings and the Planning Officer advised that potential impact on development within 800metres was assessed and in this instance was not considered to be an issue.


Councillor Smith asked why the application had not been assessed by the District Valuer. 


The Operations and Contract Manager (Planning Services) explained that Government guidance did not require a viability study for Greenfield sites.  The applicant had given assurance the site was viable and all required obligations would be delivered.


Councillor Claussen was concerned that a bund might be required for noise mitigation and the cost of that might reduce the 40% affordable housing. 


Mr Cavalier said there were other ways of dealing with noise and the best way was to design buildings with their backs to the A47, minimising gaps between buildings and having small windows. 


Deferred and the officers authorised to grant approval, subject to conditions, on completion of the section 106 agreement.


c)       Item 3: SWAFFHAM: Days Field in New Sporle Road: Application for outline planning permission for 51 dwellings including access from New Sporle Road: Applicant: Swaffham Town Council: Reference: 3PL/2014/1355/O


All Members had received direct representation on this item.


This was a Town Council application on land immediately outside, but bordered on two sides by the Settlement Boundary.  The site was in a sustainable location and would cause limited harm to the setting.


Mr Bambridge (Objector) said a number of his objections were the same as for the previous application.  He disagreed with the interpretation of the Highway comments and reiterated that the site should be considered as a whole and have a Masterplan.  He did not support the proposals for increased pedestrian access to Tumbler Hill.


Councillor Darby (representing Swaffham Town Council as Applicant) said there was no proposed pedestrian access to Tumbler Hill.  The Town Council would engage with the other sites to ensure ‘joined up thinking’.  He was present to answer questions.


Councillor Sharpe noted that both this and the previous application included financial contributions to a new classroom.  Where would the excess money go?


Mr Cavalier was able to advise that NCC were proposing to spend the money in Swaffham and elsewhere.  The Head Teacher did not want another classroom.


Deferred and the officers authorised to grant approval, subject to conditions, on completion of the section 106 agreement.


d)       Item 4: WEETING: Land off Fengate Drove, Brandon: Erection of 64 affordable dwellings with associated external works: Applicant: Emblem Homes Ltd: Reference: 3PL/2014/1361/F


This was a proposal for 100% affordable dwellings on a brownfield site which occupied land in Breckland and Forest Heath Districts.  21 dwellings would be in Breckland.  Mitigation measures were proposed to offset the impact on the SPA.


Forest Heath would be considering the same application on 1 July 2015.  There was a good working relationship between the two Councils and both would have to approve the application for it to proceed.  Forest Heath would lead on the legal agreement.


For transparency Councillor Brame declared that he had a business in Brandon High Street.


Councillor Joel said that Cotman Housing provided a very fine finish to their dwellings.


Councillor Claussen asked if the site would be in conflict with the proposed by-pass and Councillor Brame was able to advise that it was in a different area.


Deferred and the officers authorised to grant approval, subject to conditions, on completion of the section 106 agreement.


e)       Item 5: WRETHAM: Mere Farm, Larkshall: Demolish 6 sheds and construct 1.25mw biomas fuelled renewable energy plant using home grown biomas: Applicant: A F Machinery Limited: Reference: 3PL/2014/1365/F


Additional information had been provided in the Supplement to the agenda.


The principle of renewable energy was supported by Policy and the NPPF.  The Ecology assessment concluded that it was unlikely to affect the species in the SSSI and SPA or have an impact on air quality.  A Habitat Regulations Assessment was not required.  The Highway Authority had requested more information on traffic movements.  Most would be on internal farm tracks.  There would be no increase in movements.


Mrs Tortice and Mr Abrey (for Applicants) were present to answer questions.


In response to questions it was clarified that bio-gas comprised carbon dioxide and methane; the carbon dioxide was removed and the methane was injected into the main gas pipeline.  Vegetable waste included damaged and defect vegetables as well as tops which provided a more efficient use of food which was currently just wasted.  The only waste products provided nutrients for the land.  Litter would be provided from the applicant’s own chickens only, none would be imported.


Approved, as recommended.


f)        Item 6: WATTON: Land west of Saham Road: Saham Road: Residential Development comprising the erection of 73 dwellings together with associated open space: Applicant: Hopkins Homes Ltd: Reference: 3PL/2015/0219/F


All Members had received direct representation on this item.


The location of the school in relation to the site was highlighted.  Affordable housing on site was spread through the development and identified by red dots.  Members were shown a comparison with the previous approval which was similar but the new layout was considered to be better.  The previous application had been refused on grounds of prematurity.  The site was in a sustainable location (as established by a previous appeal) and would provide a valuable contribution to the housing land supply shortage.


Councillor Gilbert (Ward Representative) was not against appropriate sustainable development but nothing had changed since the previous refusals.  There were already 200 houses being built in Watton.  Local services were under severe strain.  Anglian Water (AW) had commented that the development would lead to an unacceptable risk of flooding downstream.  The Environment Agency (EA) had objected due to the lack of a flood risk assessment (FRA).  There was concern about Doctor/Patient ratio and a fear that Watton could end up without a doctor’s surgery.


Mr Bishop (Town Council) said that over 200 people had attended a public meeting.  Residents felt things were out of control and this additional development would make things worse; they were totally opposed to the proposal.


Mr Hinkins (Saham Toney Parish Council) raised concerns about highway safety.  There was a single track bridge close to the site and the road was used by pedestrians and cyclists, but high speeds had been recorded and the route had become a rat run.  The road could not cope with more traffic.


Mr Upton (Objector) referred to the petition with 426 signatures and the many letters of objection.  There were constant problems with the sewers/drains.  The site was a well established habitat for wildlife.  He showed photographs of the unclassified road showing damage from collisions.  There was no footway and additional traffic would add to safety concerns.  The sustainability of the community as a whole should be considered.


Mr Smith (Agent) said it was a wholly sustainable location and Government guidance gave a clear presumption in favour of development of such sites.  It was available and development could start soon after permission with occupation within a year.  The cumulative impact of developments was not a reason for refusal.  Minor amendments had been made to the scheme to address landscape concerns. 


Councillor Wassell (Ward Representative) agreed with all the previous speakers who had raised concerns.  Hopkins Homes were developing another site in Watton and there had been a large number of complaints which had required Enforcement action to be taken.  He asked how much Officer time that had taken.  If Members did approve the application he hoped they would condition hardstanding for parking, wheel washing and road sweeping during construction to avoid similar problems.


The Planning Officer confirmed that AW had acknowledged that the foul drainage system needed updgrading and that would be conditioned.  The EA had withdrawn their earlier objection.  The Doctor’s surgery problems were caused by a lack of GPs, which was not a planning issue.


In response to the question about Enforcement Action the Operations and Contract Manager (Planning Services) thought that about a week of Officer time had been spent dealing with the complaints about the other Hopkins Home development which were principally about highways issues.


Members discussed the number of new houses being built; the distance to the schools and footway provision.  They asked why the EA had withdrawn its objections and were advised that circumstances had changed.


Councillor Chapman-Allen asked about the historic hedgerow on site and was told that amended plans had been submitted to ensure it was retained.  She was also concerned about the potential loss of the Ash coppice.  A condition would require precise details to be submitted.


Councillor Clarke asked for a definition of low risk flood zone and asked Councillor Gilbert if he was happy with the EA update.


Councillor Gilbert said there was nothing to say that problems had been addressed and the situation was extremely urgent.  The Chairman suggested a deferral for confirmation of drainage issues.

Councillor Claussen asked if there had been a viability study as there was nothing to ensure that 40% affordable housing would be provided.  He thought the proposed density was excessive and would have an urbanising effect on the village setting.


Councillor Smith referred to a previous application for 91 dwellings which had been refused and dismissed at appeal.  He asked what the housing allocation had been for Watton in the Local Plan because there seemed to be a lot of development already and the Plan term still had 11 years to run.  It was pointed out that due to the Council’s lack of housing land supply that was irrelevant.


Councillor Sharpe asked if the decision should be based on the individual development or its cumulative effect.  He was advised that both should be considered and that concerns about schools and medical provision could also be taken into account.


Councillor Smith considered that unless there was an identified housing need there would be development overload.  He was also concerned about the trees and hedgerows.


Councillor Wassell said that in a letter from the Housing Minister he had said that the cumulative effect of development was a material consideration, as was the provision of health infrastructure and it was up to Local Authorities to decide if the existing infrastructure could support more development.


The Operations and Contract Manager (Planning Services) advised that the Policy Team were preparing for growth in the new Local Plan.  With regard to the current application there was no reason for refusal.  The prematurity argument had been overcome by the NPPF.  Breckland District as a whole needed more housing and the proposal would help to address that shortage. 


The recommendation to approve the application was not supported.  A proposal to defer it was not seconded.


Councillor Claussen said that considering the application on its merits, it was too dense; would cause overlooking to properties behind; would be urbanisation of the countryside; have a detrimental visual impact on the area; and raised concerns about flood risk.


Refused, contrary to the recommendation on the above grounds.


g)       Item 7: LYNG: Land adjacent The Priory View, Rectory Road: Erection of 5 bedroom dwelling: Applicant: Mr Tim Wegg: Reference: 3PL/2015/0252/F


Display boards were erected and a brochure was tabled for Members.


Additional information on site history had been provided in a supplement to the agenda.  The number of representations had risen since the report had been written and there were now six letters of objection and eight of support.


The proposed dwelling had strong eco credentials and would be well screened from views.  The new built form in an open field was intrusive to the countryside but harm was mitigated by the context of the site.  On balance it was considered acceptable.


Mr Meader (Parish Council) referred to the previous two refusals for smaller dwellings on the grounds that they would be an unwarranted intrusion in the rural landscape.  The number of objections was small as the application had originally been listed as Bawdeswell.


The Operations and Contract Manager (Planning Services) explained that an error had been made when the application had been uploaded to the website, but it had been registered as Lyng and the consultations had all been done correctly.


Mr Gibbs (Agent) said the design was very special and the build would be carbon positive for 21 years.  The master builder was willing to pass on his knowledge of building in innovative ways including materials which could be re-grown. The design minimised the use of electricity.


Councillor Borrett (Ward Representative) supported the Parish Council’s objections.  He was not against sustainable development but this was the wrong place.  The Wensum Valley had high landscape quality.  He hoped Members would refuse the application on grounds of its unacceptable impact on the landscape.


Councillor Bambridge (Ward Representative) thought the proposal would be gross overdevelopment of the site causing overcrowding and cluttering.  He was concerned about harm to the views of Wensum Valley and the potential environmental risk to the river.


Councillor Sharpe asked if the 5 year housing land supply requirement had been in force at the time of the previous refusals and was advised that it had not.  He also asked if the field had ever flooded in view of the Parish Council objections and Mr Meader explained that it did not flood itself but a lot of water came down through the field from higher ground.


Councillor Bambridge elaborated on that saying that houses above had flood problems and the issue would be the effect on other properties.


Councillor Smith thought that requiring development to be within Settlement Boundaries sometimes caused ‘cramming’ and that each case should be considered on its merits.  He did not think the proposal was out of scale and it did not compromise the location as long as there was a screening condition and no flood risk he would support it.


Councillor Martin asked about fire risk from using straw bales in construction and was advised that due to their density they were safe.


Councillor Claussen noted that in view of the housing land shortage there might have been an application for more houses on the site so to have one of good design was better.


Approved, as recommended.


h)       Item 8: LITTLE DUNHAM: Willow Acre Cottage, Barrows Hole Lane: Erection of 3 dwellings.  Plot 1 and 2 will share a new access onto Barrows Hole Lane: Applicant: Mrs Emma Kriehn-Morris: Reference: 3PL/2015/0329/F


Additional information had been provided in the Supplement to the agenda.


This proposal was on two areas of land either side of an existing dwelling.  Two, two storey dwellings would be accessed from Barrows Hole Lane and a bungalow on the corner plot would be accessed from Necton Road.  Although there was not a good range of services locally, Litcham and Necton were fairly close.  The proposal provided a logical extension to existing development with limited impact.  Barrows Hole Lane would be widened and visibility at the junction would be improved which would be of benefit to all users.


Mrs Kriehn-Morris (Applicant) had worked hard to design an attractive and sympathetic scheme which would not have a material impact on traffic.  The design was in keeping with other properties in the vicinity and the development would make a small but positive contribution to the housing land supply.


Councillor Chapman-Allen was concerned that widening the road would affect the character of the area, but accepted it as long as it did not affect drainage.


Approved, as recommended.


i)        Item 9: HARLING: Old Dairy Mews, White Hart Street: Erection of detached cottage and garage (Resubmission): Applicant: Mr Allan Lynn: Reference: 3PL/2015/0394/F


This application was referred to the Committee at the Ward Representative’s request.  It was recommended for refusal due to Highway concerns and the loss of an important landscape feature.


Councillor Jolly (Ward Representative) pointed out that there would be no nett increase in traffic movements and the exit from the mews was an established junction which already served five dwellings.  The affected tree had been significantly lopped on one side and was very close to the fence.  She asked Members to consider the application on its merits.


Mr Wojciechowski (Agent) confirmed that there would be no increase in use and the access had been used for 20 years without any accidents.  All previous applications in Fen Willow Mews had received identical objections from Highways which had been overruled.  The previous Tree Officer had considered the tree to have insignificant value.  Damage had been done to the roots and branches had been lopped.  The remaining boughs impacted on parking spaces and removing them would help with amenity.


The Tree Officer was asked to comment and he acknowledged that the adjacent dwelling had been built too close to the oak tree but it was difficult to tell what damage had been done.  The tree showed good signs of vitality and he considered it had moderate quality and would be good for another 20 years.  The poor pruning could be rectified.  The tree was an important feature and should be kept.


It was clarified that the applicant currently used the mews to access his property.  He would cease to do so, therefore there would be no increase in traffic.  However, it was pointed out that that restriction could not be enforced and would not apply to a future owner.


Councillor Smith asked about the Parish Council’s concerns and Councillor Jolly, who had been at the meeting, explained that they had only been concerned because the wrong plan had been provided.


Members asked for clarification of the tree’s status.  It was in a Conservation Area and therefore was automatically protected.  It would only need a TPO if the Council was notified of the intention to lop or fell it.  It was further confirmed that if planning permission was given it would overcome a TPO.


The recommendation of refusal was not supported.


Approved, contrary to the recommendation on the grounds that there was no evidence of accidents; the highway situation would be no different; and there was a presumption in favour of sustainable development.  The approval was subject to a condition requiring two semi-mature trees to replace the oak which would be removed.


j)        Item 10: LITCHAM: Adjacent Lime Kiln House, Back Lane: Erection of detached Super Eco house, with associated garage, access and landscaping: Applicant: Mr & Mrs A & R Buschman: Reference: 3PL/2015/0460/F


This application would have minimal to no impact on neighbouring properties as it was surrounded by trees.  The build would incorporate renewable technologies including wind turbines on the roof.  A circular theme to the build and landscaping would reflect the historic windmill previously on the site.


Mrs Buschman (Applicant) was Norfolk born and her parents lived in the adjacent property.  She currently lived in rented accommodation in the village with her husband and two children and wanted to create a family home close to the grandparents using an exciting design based on the round house and windmill which had previously occupied the site.


Approved as recommended.


The Chairman said that the Committee would welcome an invitation to visit the site on completion of the build.


Notes to the Schedule

Item No


Agenda Item 8

Deferred report

Cllr Wassell – Ward Representative

Mr Futter - Agent


Mr Waters – Objector

Mr Mehta - Agent


Mr Bambridge – Objector

MrCavalier - Agent


Mr Bambridge – Objector

Cllr Darby - Applicant


Mr Smith – Applicant

Mr Wai Man Cheung - Architect


Mrs Tortice – Applicant

Mr Abrey – Applicant


Cllr Wassell – Ward Representative

Cllr Gilbert – Ward Representative

Mr Bishop – Town Council

Mr Hinkins – Saham Toney PC

Mr Upton – Objector

Mr Smith – Agent


Cllr Bambridge – Ward Representative

Cllr Borrett – Ward Representative

Mr Meader – Parish Council

Mr Gibbs – Agent


Emma Kriehn-Morris – Applicant


Cllr Jolly – Ward Representative

Mr Wojciechowski – Agent

Mr Lynn – Applicant


Mr & Mrs Buschman - Applicants


Written Representations Taken into Account

Reference No





















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