Agenda and minutes

Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Contact: Committee Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 22 September 2008.


The minutes of the meeting held on 22 September 2008 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Mr W Borrett and Mr N Wilkin.



Declaration of Interest (Agenda Item 3)

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.  The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is personal or prejudicial.


Members and officers were asked to declare any interest at the time the applications were made.


Mrs M Chapman-Allen, Mr T Lamb, Mr M Spencer and Mrs P Spencer declared a personal and prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 6 (Thetford) by virtue of being members of Thetford Town Council.


Councillor C Bowes declared a personal and prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 8b (Saham Toney deferred report) when discussions arose about land owned by her family.


Mr P Duigan and Mrs D Irving declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 8c (Dereham deferred report) by virtue of being members of Dereham Town Council.



Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 4)


The Chairman introduced Senior Development Control Officer, James Stone, who was presenting to the Committee for the first time.


She reminded Members that training on drainage would follow the Committee.


The Development Services Manager mentioned that a report about the changes in the General Development Order, relating to permitted development, would be included on the next agenda.


Finally the Chairman gave notice of a Site Visit to be held on Friday 24 October 2008 at 10.00am at Breckland Garden Centre, Yaxham (application reference 3PL/2008/1147/F).  This visit would give Members the opportunity to view the site prior to the application being presented to Committee on 3 November 2008.



Requests to Defer Applications included in this Agenda (Agenda Item 5)

To consider any requests from Ward Members, officers or applicants to defer an application included in this agenda, so as to save any unnecessary waiting by members of the public attending for such applications.


There were none.



Urgent Business (Agenda Item 6)

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


The following application was accepted as urgent business as a decision was required before the end of October to secure funding for its implementation.


3PL/2008/1238/F: Thetford: Castle Park Play Area, Castle Meadow, Castle Lane: Replace play equipment for Thetford Town Council


Mrs M Chapman-Allen, Mr T Lamb, Mr M Spencer and Mrs P Spencer declared a personal and prejudicial interest in this item by reason of being members of the Thetford Town Council and left the room whilst it was discussed.


Following negotiations to overcome concerns this application for replacement and new play equipment was recommended for approval subject to conditions relating to archaeological work on site, hand digging of foundation holes and safeguards for the trees.


RESOLVED to approve the application subject to the conditions as recommended.



Local Development Framework (Agenda Item 7)

To receive an update. 


The Environmental Planning Manager updated Members on the progress of the three Development Plan documents.


The Core Strategy was progressing through the Committee process after which it would be published for a minimum of six weeks before submission to the Secretary of State (probably in February). 


The Site Specifics consultation period had concluded as had the two week extension to that time for Attleborough and Besthorpe.  This document would now go through the Committee process.


The Thetford Area Action Plan was moving towards a preferred option and consultation on this would commence in January/February 2009.



3PL/2008/0214/F: Ashill: Goose Green: Seven residential units in 3 blocks with associated access and car parking for Peddars Way Housing Association (Agenda Item 8a) pdf icon PDF 36 KB

Additional documents:


Mr Francis told Members that he was Chairman at the Appeals Committee at which the TPO issue had been considered. 


It had been confirmed that the tree was a hybrid Black Poplar.  The proposal would involve the loss of the tree but other trees would be planted on the green to compensate. 


Mr Nourse, Agent, said that the mix of two and three bedroom affordable housing would meet a specific local need and would be built to Code Level 3.  The provision of replacement trees on the green and the additional parking spaces to be provided there would also benefit the local community.


Mrs Ball, Ward Representative, saw no reason to fell the tree and felt it should be retained.  She was concerned that privacy would be lost to a neighbouring dwelling and that the bio-diversity of the site should be preserved.


In response to questions the Assistant Tree & Countryside Officer said he thought that the design could be amended to keep the tree which was probably between 30 and 60 years old and had at least 40 years more life.


If the application was amended to retain the tree it would reduce the scheme to five houses and the Council’s Principal Housing Officer (Strategy and Enabling) thought that the funding impact might mean they were unable to progress the site as a whole.


Members voted against the recommendation of approval.


RESOLVED to refuse the application due to the impact on the tree.



3PL/2008/1086/F: Saham Toney: Site adjacent Parkers VC Primary School, Pound Hill: Construction of 10 No dwellings for Hastoe Housing Association (Agenda Item 8b) pdf icon PDF 47 KB

Additional documents:


This application had been deferred to allow information on other available sites to be submitted.  No new sites had been notified to the Council.


More information was given about other sites investigated by Hastoe Housing Association and Members were reminded of the issues pertaining to the proposal site.  The application was recommended for approval subject to a Section 106 agreement with regard to the affordable housing and an additional condition requiring construction to Code Level 4.


Mrs Harrold, from the Parish Council, said they fully supported the scheme and had been working with the housing association for almost five years.  In that time no-one had raised any objections.  The homes were much wanted and there was massive support from local people who wanted their children to be able to live in the village.  The local school would also benefit from the extra children the development would attract.


Mr Hinkins, Mr Bowes and Mrs Sayers, objectors, raised concerns about the capacity of the village to support extra development; the possible effects on the ancient mere; traffic problems; highway dangers and the effect on the setting of the 1000 year old church.


The Council’s Principal Housing Officer (Strategy and Enabling), speaking on behalf of the applicant, told Members that affordable housing was one of the Council’s top priorities.  Saham Toney had 15 families looking for affordable housing and there other people on the waiting list wanting homes there.


Mrs Hewett, Ward Representative, agreed with the need for affordable housing, but not on this site.  She told Members that the whole field had been put forward for development in the LDF.  She was concerned about the effects on the mere; the design of the buildings, which were not in keeping with the area and the dangers of the road.  She also said she had received a phone call from a resident willing to put land forward.


A Member asked if the housing would be for local people and this was confirmed.


Another Member asked if an Environmental Impact Assessment had been carried out, because of the concerns about the proximity of the mere.  This had not been required, but a ground condition investigation had been done and no obstacles or constraints had been found.


General discussion followed on the possibility of other sites becoming available.  At this point Cllr Bowes declared a personal and prejudicial interest and left the room, as her family owned land in the area.  The Solicitor pointed out that it was not a question of ‘picking the best’ and it was the merits of the application site which needed to be decided.


RESOLVED to approve the application as recommended subject to a S106 Agreement and an additional condition requiring construction to Code Level 4.



3PL/2008/1191/F: Dereham: 24 Charles Wood Road, Rash's Green Industrial Estate (Agenda Item 8c) pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Additional documents:


Mr Duigan and Mrs Irving declared a personal interest in this item by virtue of being members of Dereham Town Council.


This application for the erection of a detached workshop, requiring the removal of a protected oak tree on site, had been deferred to allow the applicant to consider locations for tree planting to mitigate the loss.


Sites in Rash’s Green had been found to be unsuitable.  Discussions with Dereham Town Council had led to the proposals noted in the officer’s report.


The Council’s Assistant Tree & Countryside Officer did not feel that the proposed mitigation was sufficient for a tree of this size, in an area with very little tree cover.


The Solicitor advised that the offer of trees on the Neatherd could be taken into account but was not relevant to the amenity of the application site.


Mr Thomas, the applicant, said that the proposals were the suggestion of the Town Council and he was willing to do anything else required.  In response to a question he said that if the extension was permitted he would expect to increase his full time staff from 10 to 17 or 20 in time.


A Member was unhappy with the Town Council’s decision, he said that Toftwood was a virtually tree-less area and that the tree served the community much more than the workshop would.


RESOLVED to refuse the application as recommended.



3PL/2008/1300/F: ASHILL: SITE AT DUNNETTS CLOSE: Low cost housing development scheme for 14 dwellings (amended layout) for Hastoe Housing Association (Agenda Item 9) pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Report of the Development Services Manager.


This was a revision to a previously approved application for 12 houses.  That scheme was already under construction.  However, the discovery of a gas main laid at insufficient depth to construct the access road as proposed, without a large extra cost, had prompted the amendment to the scheme.


It was now proposed to access the development along an existing farm track to the side of the site and to fill the gap left at the point of the original access with a pair of semi-detached houses.  The internal layout of the road had also been changed and incorporated a large turning circle in the centre.  The officer felt there was scope for negotiation to significantly reduce this large area of hardstanding, freeing up areas for landscaping.


The Highways Authority was objecting to the scheme and requesting a permanent barrier to be erected if approval was granted.  However, it was not considered that this would be acceptable in street scene terms.  The application was recommended for approval subject to a legal agreement regarding social housing; requiring the build to be to Code Level 3 and for negotiations to reduce the amount of hard surfacing.


A Member wanted assurance that there would be no vehicular access to the front of the houses from Dunnetts Close and it was confirmed that this was not proposed and that bollards might be placed to discourage this.


RESOLVED to approve the application as recommended.


The Solicitor checked that the Committee agreed to Officers negotiating a possible reduction to the amount of hard standing and this was confirmed.



Schedule of Planning Applications (Agenda Item 10) pdf icon PDF 52 KB

To consider the Schedule of Planning Applications:


Item No



Page No


J A Askew & Partners

Old Buckenham



Mr C Hagan

Saham Toney



Mr R J and Mrs K L Singfield

Great Ellingham



Hastoe Housing Association





RESOLVED that the applications be determined as follows:


(a)       Item 1: 3PL/2008/0370/F: Old Buckenham: Scales Farm: Change of use from a redundant farm building to a residential dwelling with new car port for J A Askew & Partners


This application was for the conversion and extension of a redundant agricultural building.  Previous history on the site included a change of use to storage of an adjacent barn.  This had not been implemented and the building was still thought to be used for livestock.


It was considered that the conversion would enhance the character and appearance of the area and concerns about the effect of noise and smell from the adjacent use could be mitigated by a condition restricting the use of the nearest farm buildings to exclude livestock.


Mr Joel, Ward Representative, supported the application and said that the farm had previously had a 100 strong dairy herd, but due to market conditions they had been sold.  Now there were only 30 beef cattle housed to the rear of the site and the rest of the farm was arable.  He did not think there would be a problem with noise or smell.


Approved, as recommended.


(b)       Item 2: 3PL/2008/1111/F: Saham Toney: High House Farm Barns, Ploughboy Lane, Saham Hills: Conversion of existing barns to dwelling and self contained annexe including extension to link two barns for Mr C Hagan


This application for conversion followed a previous refusal subsequently upheld on appeal.  A marketing campaign had been carried out and the relationship with adjacent buildings was acceptable, however the buildings were in a serious state of disrepair and not considered suitable for conversion.


Mrs Harrold, representing the Parish Council, said they supported this application as it would improve the appearance of the site and be an asset to the village.


Mr Chapman, an objector, said that the conversion would require a virtual rebuild.  He felt it would create two dwellings (with the annexe) outside the Settlement Boundary and was also concerned about the bats and barn owls on the site.


Mr Morley, Agent, said the only issue was the suitability for conversion.  The structural appraisal said existing walls were sound.  The only new works would be the open fronted cart barns, single room extension to link the two barns and the new roofs. 


Mrs Hewett, Ward Representative, supported the application.  She thought the replacement of the existing corrugated iron roofs and the conversion would improve amenity and provide a beautiful family home.  She said a bat and owl survey had been carried out.


Discussion followed on the possibility of a planning gain if the conversion was allowed.  The Development Services Manager reminded Members that they had visited site for the previous application, which had been recommended for approval, and they had refused the application because of the poor state of the buildings.  The appeal Inspector had agreed.  In the time since there had been no improvement.  He therefore felt there was no case for conversion.


The Solicitor told Members that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 180.


Applications determined by the Development Services Manager (Agenda Item 11) pdf icon PDF 152 KB

Report of the Development Services Manager.


This item was noted.



Enforcement Items (Agenda Item 12) pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Report of the Development Services Manager.


This item was noted.