Agenda and minutes

Planning Committee - Wednesday, 18th August, 2021 1.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Fenland Hall, County Road, March, PE15 8NQ

Contact: Jo Goodrum  Member Services and Governance Officer

No. Item


Previous Minutes pdf icon PDF 307 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes from the previous meetings of 30 June,2021

(attached) and 14 July,2021 (attached)


Additional documents:


The minutes of the meetings of 14 July and 30 June 2021 were confirmed and signed as accurate records, subject to correction of the misspelling of “today” in the third bullet point of the members comments and questions section of planning application F/YR21/0233/O in the 30 June minutes.


Land South Of, Bridge Lane, Wimblington
Erect up to 88 dwellings (outline application with matters committed in respect of access) pdf icon PDF 6 MB

To determine the application.

Additional documents:


As Councillor Mrs Davis was unable to Chair this item due to being predetermined, it was proposed by Councillor Mrs French, seconded by Councillor Miscandlon and agreed that Councillor Skoulding chair the meeting for this application.


Gavin Taylor presented the report to members.


Members received a written representation, from Councillor John Clark, a District Councillor, read out by Member Services.


Councillor Clark stated that he used to work for R H Palmer some 50 years ago so is known to the family, but has no pecuniary or non-pecuniary interest in this application.  He informed members that at the start of his career he served an apprenticeship in the village of Wimblington and had cycled, motor cycled and driven past this site regularly, with him never seeing the site flooded or any water issues, which is reflected in the site being in the Environment Agency’s lowest category and not within a flood zone.  He added that he also sits on the Internal Drainage Board and the reaches and cleaning of those waterways has been addressed with the adjacent development.


Councillor Clark made the point that Conservatives aim to address the shortage of housing and, in his view, this application provides family housing plus 22 affordable homes and he would be disappointed if the affordable homes were not delivered.  He stated that the application, having family living in the village with three children, would support the local school and services and provide family housing to enable young people who wish to stay in the village, but would otherwise not be able to afford to do so.


Councillor Clark asked members to support the application.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Rhian Freear, an objector.


Ms Freear stated that she is pleased care and attention has been given to flooding issues, but is concerned that some of the other issues have fallen by the wayside.  She questioned why comments from the public are asked for when, in this case, the strength of opposition to this development seems to have been ignored.


Ms Freear understands that there is a need for housing in Fenland, but they are already over the required number in Wimblington so she feels there are other sites in Fenland that can satisfy this need.  She stated that if she were able to she would ask the Middle Level representative what greenfield drainage means and if this is a greenfield drainage site and she is dismayed to read in the report that Anglian Water and Cambridgeshire County Council are saying there have been no reports of flooding problems since 2008 when a number of residents reports have been made as recently as 24 December 2020.


Ms Freear expressed the view that she cannot see how 88 houses will fit on the land, with her being suspicious that when it comes to a viability study, especially due to the rising costs of materials due to Covid and Brexit, the developer will drop the promise of affordable  ...  view the full minutes text for item P37/21


7 Station Road, Manea
Change of use from restaurant and 2-bed dwelling to mixed use of 7-bed unit for accommodation of up to 18 residents with shared communal facilities and 2-bed dwelling involving retention of existing outbuilding for storage and demolition of existing shed (part retrospective) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To determine the application.

Additional documents:


Nikki Carter presented the report to members.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Lee Bevens, the agent.


Mr Bevens stated that the project began in July 2020 when they entered into pre-application discussions with officers for a 7-bedroomed HMO whilst retaining the existing 2-bedroomed dwelling and during these pre-application discussions, the size of rooms were outlined as well as bathroom provision.  He expressed the view that it was noted that the bedroom spaces exceeded the requirements of the licensing regime and a large communal kitchen and lounge area were provided, which would reduce the need for outside space to be utilised and the likelihood of noise and disturbance to neighbouring properties.


Mr Bevens expressed the opinion that giving weight to appeal decisions it is recognised that occupiers of HMOs have a low level of car ownership and the existing use of the building as a restaurant and B&B would generate a high level of vehicles visiting the site which would be required to park on the street. He made the point that officers pointed out that Station Road is relatively wide at this point and there are no restrictions to roadside parking in the immediate vicinity, with the site being in a sustainable location in close proximity to facilities, which can be accessed by walking, cycling and public transport to other settlements.


Mr Bevens stated that the application was submitted in December 2020 and he was advised to refer to it as a large HMO, which has a sui-generis class in the same way as a hostel, and after submission it was suggested it was a hostel, but it is more likely to be used under the description of an HMO and the applicant is happy to apply for the relevant licences.  He expressed the view that the occupants are likely to be seasonal workers, not employees of the applicant, who are likely to stay for lengths of time to suit harvest and general agricultural work requirements and, therefore, likely to reside at the address while employed in the local economy and also supporting local shops.


Mr Bevens expressed the opinion that the scheme has been substantially reduced in both the built form and overall numbers in the last 8 months, with numbers reduced but still ensuring the scheme remains viable to implement with the amount of repair and refurbishment required within the existing building.  He stated that he has actively engaged with the planning officer and statutory consultees to address concerns, some of which have been raised by neighbours, and recent conversations have taken place with Highways to ensure sufficient on-site parking and turning is provided to allow vehicles to enter and exit the site in forward gear offering a much improved situation to the existing and previous use where vehicles often reversed out, which will mitigate concerns raised about the access. 


Mr Bevens stated that bin storage will be provided in line with guidance received in February, with the number of  ...  view the full minutes text for item P38/21


TP24, West Park Street, Chatteris
Conversion of existing buildings to form 7 x dwellings, comprising of: 1 x 3-bed 2-storey house and 6 x flats (4 x 1-bed & 2 x 2-bed) and erect an approx 2.1m high brick wall and 1.2m high front boundary wall and railings pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To determine the application

Additional documents:


Gavin Taylor presented the report to members.


Members received a written representation from Jamie Eames, an objector, read out by Member Services.


Mr Eames stated that this representation comes in addition to his earlier comments posted on the public record regarding the application and whilst he would have wished to address the committee in person he could not get the time off work.  He informed members that he is a GIS professional, with over 13 years experience, he has a master’s degree in GIS with the focus being on Transport and Planning, his current professional role is in transport planning in the environmental services industry and he is a registered Chartered Geographer.


Mr Eames expressed concern around the parking and the safety of the highway with this application, with parking being a significant local issue.  He expressed the opinion that there is evidence of cars parked on both sides of South Park Street, such that it is difficult for large emergency vehicles to access the road and a situation so desperate that during his survey he was able to gather evidence of multiple instances of illegal parking.  He added that emerging from South Park Street onto West Park Street is already often an extremely risky undertaking and you can never be sure if there is a vehicle coming from the right owing to the level of parking routine to the area.


Mr Eames expressed the opinion that the original parking survey is flawed in three main areas:

1.    18:30 is not sufficiently late that most people will be home from work, with a large number of residents working in Cambridge or Peterborough, having at least an hour’s drive home assuming they do not have to go shopping, collect children or attend a sports club and many people would not arrive home until at least 18:30 and in many cases later assuming a 17:30 finish time.  A 17:30 survey time is more representative and given more time he would have liked to conduct sampling on multiple nights at different times.

2.    The survey notes three public car parks between 5-10 minutes walk from the proposed development, but 10 minutes is not a reasonable walk to get to or from your own car.  Imagine the scenario of a person completing their weeks shopping and unable to park near their home, parks in the car park 10 minutes from home, they cannot empty the car in a single load and it takes 3 trips to unload the car; two round trips and one one-way, which would mean a total of 50 minutes just to unload shopping.  Imagine another scenario of a pregnant person being at home when her waters break and has to walk with her partner for 10 minutes while in labour just to get to the car to go to hospital.

3.    These car parks only allow for 24 hours of parking, a time limited car park is not necessarily useful to someone who does not use their car every day.  ...  view the full minutes text for item P39/21


Farm Building Bank Farm, Whittlesey Road, Benwick
Change of use of agricultural building to 5 x 2-storey dwellings with detached shed and bin stores comprising of 2 x 3-bed and 3 x 2-bed and formation of a new access road pdf icon PDF 6 MB

To determine the application.

Additional documents:


Gavin Taylor presented the report to members.


Members asked questions of officers as follows:

·         Councillor Booth asked if his understanding is correct that if the applicant only wanted 2 units in this barn he would not even need to get planning permission?  Gavin Taylor responded that they could apply for Prior Approval Consent as they did previously for two dwellings, but have to be mindful that the site has been assessed previously for residential use for 5 dwellings as set out now and there were no significant concerns in terms of harm at that point albeit the assessment criteria is somewhat different for Prior Approval.  He reiterated that the applicant could technically submit a Prior Approval Consent for two dwellings and subject to demonstrating its acceptable it may benefit from permitted development.

·         Councillor Miscandlon stated that this application lies within his ward and he has watched the buildings deteriorate.  He made the point that only the front barn is being developed, when there is another barn behind it and asked why this second barn was not also being developed or has this not been considered?  Gavin Taylor responded that he did enquire about the future of this barn and he was told it was for low level storage at present.

·         Councillor Booth expressed the view that the number of units being proposed presents a cramped and not high quality design due to the way the units are laid out and asked officers views on the quality of the design?  Gavin Taylor responded that a conversion of an agricultural barn under Permitted Development Rights is for limited external works so essentially the building still looks like a barn, with the applicant proposing limited external works.  He made the point that barn conversions do vary in terms of what the barn is, with each application assessed on its own merits, and this application does not raise any significant concerns or amenity issues and a range of house types are required in the District.


Proposed by Councillor Mrs French, seconded by Councillor Booth and agreed that the application be APPROVED as per the officer’s recommendation.


(Councillor Mrs Mayor had left the meeting prior to this application and any remaining applications being considered)


Phase 4 Land At Bassenhally Farm, Drybread Road, Whittlesey
Erect 130 x dwellings (8 x 3-storey 4-bed, 18 x 3-storey 3-bed, 26 x 2-storey 4-bed, 59 x 2-storey 3-bed, 19 x 2-storey 2-bed) with associated garages, parking and landscaping pdf icon PDF 4 MB

To determine the application.

Additional documents:


Alison Hoffman presented the report to members.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Chris Dwan, on behalf of the applicant.


Mr Dwan advised members that he is the new Planning Director for Larkfleet Homes and he is delighted to present the fourth and final phase of the Bassenhally Farm development.  He made the point that Outline permission was granted in 2010 and, therefore, the principle of development has been established, with the layout and design in line with the other parts of the development and this proposal forming an integral part of the Whittlesey Green development.


Mr Dwan stated that as part of the proposal particular regard has been made to maintain access to the sports field, which will be utilised and improve the access of Drybread Road.  He expressed the view that the general framework of development including drainage, and open space provision is in accordance with the approved outline scheme and original master plan, with extensive open space being provided on the site in line with the wider open space delivery overall. 


Mr Dwan stated that Larkfleet have worked closely with officers throughout the application responding successfully to the comments received resulting in the scheme members have for consideration.  He feels the responses from statutory consultees have been positive, with no objections made and with just a minor number of additional conditions proposed to clarify certain details of design matters. 


Mr Dwan noted the comments of the Town Council regarding the internal road layout and their desire for the restriction to stop vehicles travelling through the site onto Drybread Road, but Larkfleet has been professionally advised that the approach is entirely appropriate from a technical delivery perspective and offers the most appropriate scheme from a permeability perspective, with this position being supported by the County Council who offer no objection.  He further notes the comments of Whittlesey Athletic Football Club within the report with respect to their relocated gates and they would be willing to see how they can assist them.


Mr Dwan expressed the opinion that given the aforementioned considered approach that has been followed they would welcome support in approving the application to allow them to complete the Whittlesey Green development.


Members asked questions of Mr Dwan as follows:

·         Councillor Booth asked, in relation to Whittlesey Town Council’s comments, did Larkfleet discuss the design put forward with them and are they willing to reconsider the layout?  Mr Dwan stated that he has only been in post for a month and it was his predecessor that would have had the detailed discussion.  Councillor Miscandlon stated, as Chairman of Planning at Whittlesey Town Council, Larkfleet did attend and gave them a presentation which resulted in the new access for the football ground and various other layouts, which in hindsight the agent presenting to them accepted did not work and they did redesign the top end of the site, but they did not concede to them about the restriction of traffic from A605  ...  view the full minutes text for item P41/21


Woadmans Arms, 343 High Road, Newton-In-The-Isle
Erect 4 x dwellings (2-storey 3-bed) and the formation of 3 x new accesses involving the demolition of existing public house pdf icon PDF 5 MB

To determine the application.

Additional documents:


Nick Thrower presented the report to members.


Members received a written representation from Blair Simpson, an objector, read out by Member Services.


Ms Simpson stated that her representation was on behalf of the residents of Westfield Road who strongly object to the plans as there is currently a covenant on the land and the current occupant of the Woadmans Arms has spoken to several residents regarding this telling them that he would be using Westfield Road as an access point, although this was clarified at the last meeting that this is not the case.  She asked that before permission is granted that terms are put in place so that at no point can access be made into Westfield Road via any of these properties.


Ms Simpson stated that the residents of number 10 and 11 would like to know who will be responsible for the fences on the side of their properties as well as the fence that sits between Westfield Road and the Woadmans Arms, which was erected by the current occupier.  She referred to the previous meeting, where the application was deferred as the highway report had not been received and it was also mentioned by the committee that adding 4 dwellings to the site would be overpopulated, which is something the residents feels strongly about and queried why it had been returned to committee without any new plans.


Ms Simpson asked that if planning permission is granted residents would like working and delivery hours to be clearly stated as well as reasonable timescales for the building work to be completed by.  She expressed the view that Newton-in-the-Isle is a beautiful, quiet village and although it would be a shame to lose the pub, residents do believe adding properties to this piece of land would be great, but it needs to be the right properties and the right amount, not just something that someone can make a quick bit of cash from.


Members asked questions of officers as follows:

·         Councillor Mrs French asked for clarity on whether a condition will be put on the proposal so that Westfield Road cannot be used as an access?  Nick Thrower responded that a condition is not proposed on the recommendation in front of members.  He read out the wording of the covenant, which provides only agricultural purpose access from this land onto Westfield Road, with the site adjoined by the highway boundary and a verge, and does not give anyone a right of access, therefore, it is not felt there needs to be a condition imposed.

·         Councillor Mrs French stated that it would be terrible for residents if access was allowed and there is also a very old Silver Beech tree that needs to be taken into account.  She asked what would happen if residents of the application site started using it as an access?  Nick Thrower stated that they would need the consent of the Local Highway Authority as they would be crossing highway land.

·         Councillor Booth made the  ...  view the full minutes text for item P42/21


1 Eastwood End, Wimblington
Erect 3 x dwellings (2 x 3-storey 5 bed and 1 x single-storey 2-bed) involving the demolition of existing dwelling pdf icon PDF 5 MB

To determine the application.


Nick Thrower presented the report to members.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Rhian Freear, a supporter.


Ms Freear expressed the opinion that this is a replacement of an existing dwelling, this and the fact that permission has been granted for one property goes against the rules of the elsewhere location reason for refusing permission.  She made the point that following a fourth appeal, Eastwood End is not seen as a settlement in its own right and its status was a matter of judgement, with the Inspector concluding that Eastwood End was an outlying part of the larger settlement of Wimblington.


Ms Freear expressed the view that a recently granted scheme for 3 dwellings directly opposite reinforced this finding and, therefore, refusal cannot be based on LP3 saying that it is an elsewhere location.  She noted that the report states that character harm has already been caused by preparatory works, but she fails to see how this can be deemed to be character harm when other developments which, in her view, will cause significant change to urban areas have been allowed, and compared to other developments she does not believe this could be classed as stark and overbearing development.


Members asked questions of Ms Freear as follows:

·         Councillor Booth asked if she classes this area as part of the envelope of the village?  Ms Freear responded that, having lived in Wimblington for five years, she would always have classed Eastwood End as part of Wimblington.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Chris Walford, the agent.


Mr Walford stated that the applications site sits opposite a site with planning consent for 3 large dwellings and included within that consent was an extensive footway linking Eastwood End to Wimblington village centre. He acknowledged that officers have been consistent in their conclusion that the area fails to meet LP3 as it is outside the village and in an elsewhere location, however, the committee decision for the 3 dwellings opposite plus other appeal decisions in the local area have arrived at a different conclusion that the site is an outlying part of the larger settlement of Wimblington, with the new approved footpath reinforcing this and providing a link to the village.


Mr Walford expressed the opinion that the scheme has been designed as a continuation of the newly approved scheme opposite with a significant enhancement to this portion of Eastwood End and will significantly improve Highway safety on a very tight and blind bend.  He made the point that both the Highways Authority and the case officer have confirmed that the proposed scheme does not present adverse highway impacts and that the requested visibility splays can be achieved on the road for that specific speed limit and furthermore the case officer has confirmed due to the nature of the road at that point it is likely that the actual speed are going to be much lower and, therefore, the visibility splay would  ...  view the full minutes text for item P43/21


Land North East Of 80, Coates Road, Eastrea
Erect up to 5 x dwellings and the formation of new accesses (outline application with all matters reserved) pdf icon PDF 430 KB

To determine the application.


Nick Thrower presented the report to members.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Gareth Edwards, the agent.


Mr Edwards stated, under LP3 of the Local Plan, Eastrea is a small village which means development will normally be considered on its merits and normally be of a very limited nature and limited in scale to residential infilling or to a small business opportunity.  He emphasised the word “normally”, as, in his view, similar plots were approved in Wype Road by the committee and several others in the same classification of village, which has extended the village boundaries. 


Mr Edwards expressed the opinion that, if this application is approved, there will be a gap of 300 metres before the development of Minuet Paddocks in Coates and made the point that there is a current application extending Coates towards their application site, which has not been determined, which would be approximately 85 metres whereas their site is only 78 metres, with this application having been in the system since last year and has been extended only recently.  He would argue the to be determined development would close the gap more than this application as it is still being considered with no approval in place and he feels that their current proposal has come forward now, and the land at Coates should be defined as agricultural and increase the gap.


Mr Edwards expressed the view that the line of development of this proposal is to the extent of the road frontage owned by the applicant, with the land to the rear remaining in agricultural use serviced through the adjacent field not in their ownership, but both fields have been farmed together for a number of years.  He expressed the opinion that the Council would be in control of this gap and can resist any further applications should they feel necessary.


Mr Edwards made the point that if both applications were approved the gap between Coates and Eastrea would be at least 2 fields and approximately 220 metres, which is vastly more than exists on the opposite side of the road and will maintain the separation of the two villages.  He expressed the view that, it has mentioned on many occasions at this committee, road frontage plots are massively valuable to housing supply in the District and are at a prime, with plots like these being developed by self-builders and small developers that are being priced out of the larger sections of land due to the costs of infrastructure, and small builders and developers employ local tradesmen and agents and buy local from local merchants, which in turn contributes to other businesses in the District. 


Mr Edwards stated that the site is within Flood Zone 1 and the Highway Authority have no objection to the proposal, with any points they have raised being dealt with as part of the Reserved Matters application.  He expressed the view that landscaping can also be dealt with at the Reserved Matters stage, but  ...  view the full minutes text for item P44/21