Agenda item

Sporle: Hill Farm, The Street: Demolition of Poultry Houses and Erection of 8 no. Housing Association Dwellings including access roads and parking: Reference: 3PL/2007/1303/0 and Erection of 9 no. detached dwellings including access roads and garages: Reference: 3PL/2007/1305/O (Agenda item 9)

Report of the Operations Manager (Environment).


The Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) presented the report which concerned two outline planning permissions for the provision of eight housing association dwellings and nine open market dwellings together with a new shared access road, associated footpaths and parking areas.  Policies relevant to these proposals were PPS1, PPS3 and PPS7.


The site was located at the southern end of the village of Sporle on an area of land currently used for poultry production, containing four poultry sheds.  Whilst the affordable housing application was separate from the application for the nine open-market houses on the adjoining parcel of land, the two applications had been submitted simultaneously and were required to be determined together.


The affordable housing application site, in part, directly joined the Settlement Boundary and could be accepted as an exception site as there was evidence that there was a proven need in the village for affordable housing.  The proposal for the open-market dwellings was outside the Settlement Boundary and was contrary to Policy but might be necessary in economic terms to finance the provision of the eight affordable units.


In support of the applications, a number of benefits had been put forward by the applicant.  If Members were mindful to approve both applications, the poultry sheds would be removed, new footways and traffic calming measures would be installed, and improvements would be made to the bus shelter in the centre of the village.


The Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) advised that the applicant had attempted to secure this piece of land through the LDF but to no conclusion.  Further to this, the planning permissions for the two separate poultry houses and associated plant, granted in 1997, were due to expire on 5th November 2007.  Members were further advised that if the applications for the 17 dwellings were refused, the applicant, for economic reasons, would be looking to renew the 1997 permission and install a further two poultry units and expand the business.  The erection of further units would likely give rise to odour and/or noise complaints from the premises.


Another matter for Members to consider was that the village of Sporle had not been identified as a Local Service Centre in the LDF.


Mrs Dorling, for the Parish Council, spoke in support of the application and pointed out that a Village Appraisal had recently been conducted that had shown that there was a housing need in Sporle.  She also felt that the traffic calming measures would benefit the village and would help to make Sporle a safer place to live.  Mrs Dorling made Members aware of a similar application that had been approved by South Norfolk District Council.


Mr Hounslow, the Applicant’s Agent, put his views forward and stated that the applications had been very much a community led proposal and had been well supported.  He felt that the proposals would be of a huge benefit to Sporle and would help to sustain the village. If refused, the poultry farm would double in size and would house 84,000 chickens, bringing further environmental issues to the village with regard to noise and smell.  Mr Hounslow fully understood Government Policy and pointed out that PPS1 clearly states that the proposal must improve environmental objectives.  Accordingly, he asked the Committee to consider the two applications for approval.


A Member, being a neighbouring Ward Member, felt that both applications should be supported as the development would fit in with the form and character of the village.


The Development Services Manager felt that if Members were mindful to approve both applications a legal agreement would be required to ensure that both sites were built concurrently.


A Member asked why the independence of each application was so important.  He also had concerns with regard to the junction on to the main A47 trunk road. In response, the Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) advised that the independence came from the economics.  The applicant could not afford to develop the affordable housing site without the other as there were considerable costs involved. Further to this the sum of money payable to the applicant to sell the affordable housing land on its own would be minimal.  The applicant would need the cost of the nine open-market figures to make the overall scheme viable.  Members were reminded that neither scheme would come forward if just the affordable housing site was approved. 


Another Member thought that the application was quite exciting and he proposed that both schemes be linked together and approved. 


A further vie expressed was that the proposal was a very clever arrangement to obtain planning permission outside the Settlement Boundary which could set a precedent.  The Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) agreed that the possible precedent was an important point and should be considered very carefully.  The scheme, however, was very finely balanced and quite different to many others that had been and would be submitted.  Members were asked to consider whether this combination of benefits outweighed Policy and was sufficient enough not to set a precedent if approved.


A Member felt that the Committee should make an exception and approve the applications as there had been many submitted in the past that had been turned down due to the delayed completion of the LDF.


RESOLVED that applications nos. 3PL/2007/1303/O and 3PL/2007/1305/O be deferred, however, the Development Services Manager be authorised to grant both outline planning permissions subject to appropriate conditions as follows:


(1)     a Section 106 Agreement requiring:


(i)            the provision of eight affordable housing units to be restricted for local people only;

(ii)          the private housing not to be built without the construction of the affordable housing units;

(iii)         contributions towards traffic calming measures and bus shelter facilities;

(iv)        the density of the whole development to be capped to no more than 17 dwellings;


(2)         the section of open space offered to be suitably managed for long term maintenance;


(3)         the cessation of the existing poultry farm prior to all 17 units being built; and


(4)         the existing extant permission not to be implemented.


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