Agenda item

Schedule of Planning Applications (Agenda Item 10)

To consider the Schedule of Planning Applications:

 

Item No

Applicant

Parish

Page No

1

Mrs E Spin

Attleborough

20

2

Greenshoots Energy Ltd

Kenninghall

21-31

3

Mr D Angel

Watton

32-34

4

Breckland Council

Harling

35-37

5

Mr & Mrs Alston

Attleborough

38-41

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the applications be determined as follows:

 

a)         Item 1: Attleborough: Land at London Road/New Road: Residential development comprising 80 dwellings, roads, footpaths and 0.55ha open space: Reference: 3PL/2010/0427/O

 

Refused, see Minute No 170/10.

 

b)         Item 2: Kenninghall: North Lopham Road: Proposed Biomass Renewable Energy facility: Reference: 3PL/2010/0656/F

 

This application was for the construction of a biomass plant and included a new access, a drainage lagoon and a pipeline to another lagoon, some distance away.

 

The biomass plant consisted of a combined heat/power unit, two large silage clamps, a storage building for poultry litter, the main digestion plant and drainage to the lagoons.   The fermentation tanks were substantial structures and visual impact was a key issue for consideration, along with residential amenity.  The applicants had provided photo montages and artist’s impressions of the site with landscaping, although it was pointed out that this was substantial and would take years to achieve.

 

The issues concerning residential amenity were less clear.  A poultry farm and an existing dwelling were only 250 metres from the proposed plant and the next closest building was the school.  Due to the lack of information provided it was not clear that amenity would not be harmed and there was potential for impact from noise and smell. 

 

Mr Gordon, from the Parish Council, said they had been contacted by many residents who thought that the proposed plant was too close to the village.  Prevailing winds were south westerly (from the plant towards the village).  There were concerns about noise, odours, flies and vermin.  The plant was also close to the water supply, overlying an aquifer and could lead to water contamination.  It would be a blot on the landscape for at least 15 years and would produce vast amounts of heat.

 

Mr Hall, objector, was Chair of the School Govenors.  He had studied bio-digesters and said this was the biggest he had ever seen.  He doubted that maize would be the main fuel source and suggested that chicken litter was more likely as the applicant owned chicken clean-out companies.  The plant would need to be fully enclosed to control rats, flies and ammonia released from the poultry manure. 

 

Mr Roberts, objector, was a consulting engineer and he had done some calculations for the largest dome and concluded that it would contain enough methane to produce the same energy as TNT with tremendous explosive potential.  It was therefore too close to the school.

 

Mr Took, Agent, said that global warming and climate change were facts that needed to be addressed by developing renewable energy projects.  This was a minor project which would have less impact than wind turbines and would use an agricultural by-product as fuel.  The plant would be licensed by the Environment Agency and would conform to planning conditions.  It provided a unique opportunity for two farms to work together providing power from crops and animal manure and jobs and income.  They had a clear mandate to protect the local community.  The site had been chosen carefully to allow access to the national grid.  The landscaping scheme would integrate the plant.

 

Mr Nunn, Ward Representative, agreed that alternative energy sources needed to be found.  He said that the land and the animal slurry was available, the main cost was to provide cabling to link to the grid and this had to be set against safeguarding the local community.  It was up to the Council to allow projects to go ahead in appropriate positions and appropriate conditions.  He asked the Committee to think carefully about the facts of the case whilst recognising the need to provide green power in the future.

 

A Member asked why the plant could not be moved further from the village and Mr Goodrum, applicant, explained that it the distance to the grid connection was doubled, the overall costs of the project were doubled.  The site had been chosen because of its access.  It could be tweaked a little but had to fit a lot of parameters, and soil conditions were unsuitable where the Parish Council was proposing it should be.

 

Members discussed the position of the plant, quite close to the village; the possible dangers of the methane held in the tank; and sought clarification of the Environment Agency’s conditions.  It was pointed out by the applicant that methane posed an explosive risk when it was held under high pressure and that it would be held at very low pressure in the plant.

 

Refused, as recommended, due to adverse impact on rural landscape and harm to local amenity.

 

c)         Item 3: Watton: Drome Garage, Norwich Road: Residential Development: Reference: 3PL/2010/0706/O

 

This outline application proposed 19 dwellings on a site currently used as a garage.  There was a policy objection as half of the site fell outside the Settlement Boundary.

 

The principle of development had already been agreed and Officers considered that a deviation from policy was acceptable in this case as the proposal met all of the relevant criteria.  Design matters would be dealt with at the detailed planning stage.

 

In response to a Member’s question it was confirmed that the existing lay-by was expected to be incorporated into the scheme and the hardstanding removed.

 

Another Member asked why the whole site was not included in the Settlement Boundary if development had previously been approved and it was pointed out that it would almost certainly be included under the new plan.

 

Approved, as recommended, subject to additional conditions requiring a high standard of design and landscaping in connection with the lay-by.

 

d)         Item 4: Harling: Grigsons Wood, School Lane: Part demolition of flint boundary wall and reconstruction: Reference: 3PL/2010/0731/CA

 

This application sought permission to demolish and re-build an area of wall – part of which had already collapsed.

 

Mr Kiddle-Morris was in attendance as Executive Member for Economic and Commercial with responsibility for Breckland Council owned land.  He explained that the existing materials had been kept and would be used for the re-build.

 

Approved, as recommended.

 

e)     Item 5: Attleborough: Wood Farm, Deopham Road: Single detached dwelling: Reference: 3PL/2010/0780/F

 

Members had received direct representation concerning this application and Mr Francis had spoken with the applicant and had called the application in for determination by the Committee.

 

The proposal was to build a contemporary dwelling on a site enclosed by existing vegetation.  The main issue was that the site was outside the Settlement Boundary.  The justification offered in support of the application was that the dwelling would provide security for the farm and would demonstrate the use of renewable energy products sold by the business.

 

There was an exemption in PPS7 for outstanding projects, particularly those using modern building methods and renewable energy, but to qualify the construction had to be to the highest standard and be outstanding and ground-breaking.  Although Officers considered there was much to commend this project, it was not felt to have sufficient merit to justify an exception to policy.

 

Mr Took, Agent, said that the issues were not straightforward.  Government advice supported groundbreaking and innovative projects and he suggested that the new sustainable techniques to be incorporated in the construction would achieve Code Level 5.  This would be at considerable cost, only made possible by the dwelling being built on the applicant’s father’s land.  The house would also be a considerable asset to the business.

 

Mr Francis said that this application was ‘spot on’ providing a Code Level 5 house which should not be turned down.

 

A Member asked why the house could not be built close to the farm if it was for security and the Agent explained that for practical, farm management reasons, this was the most appropriate siting, on a parcel of land with limited agricultural worth.

 

The applicant was asked to explain Code Level 5 and he said that it would provide a 100% improvement on emissions, being almost carbon neutral and would use 75% low energy.  It would incorporate water collection systems; would have no heat emissions and utilise special waste minimising procedures during the build.

 

Refused, as recommended, due to failure to meet PPS7 quality and build requirements, insufficient agricultural need and unsustainable location.

 

Notes to the Schedule

 

Item No

Speaker

1

(Agenda Item 9)

Mr Stasiak – Ward Representative

Mrs Wallace Hill – Objector

Mr Westaway - Agent

2

Mr Nunn – Ward Representative

Mr Gordon – Parish Council

Mr Hall – Objector

Mr Roberts – Objector

Mr Took – Agent

Mr Gooderham - Applicant

5

Mr Took – Agent

Mr Alston - Applicant

Deferred Item 8a

Mr Sherwood – Ward Representative

Mr Bishop – Town Council

Deferred Item 8b

Mrs Ball – Ward Representative

Mr Gray – Applicant

Mr Evans - Agent

Deferred Item 8c

Mr Bartram - Applicant

 

Written Representations taken into account

Reference No

No. of Representations

3PL/2010/0427/O

9

3PL/2010/0596/F

6

3PL/2010/0656/F

77

3PL/2010/0706/O

2

3PL/2010/0707/LB

117

3PL/2010/0742/F

5

 

Supporting documents: