Agenda and minutes

Planning Committee - Wednesday, 7th October, 2020 1.00 pm

Venue: A virtual meeting via ZOOM video conferencing system

Contact: Jo Goodrum  Member Services and Governance Officer

No. Item


Appointment of Vice Chairman of the Planning Committee for the Remainder of the Municipal Year 2020 - 2021


It was proposed by Councillor Mrs French, seconded by Councillor Connor, and resolved that Councillor Lynn be elected as Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee for the remainder of the Municipal Year, 2020/21.


Previous Minutes pdf icon PDF 245 KB

To confirm the minutes from the previous meeting of 2 September, 2020


The minutes of the meeting of the 2 September 20 were confirmed.


Land North West Of Nemphlar, Begdale Road, Elm;Change of use of land to a 6no pitched travellers site involving the siting of 6 x mobile homes and 8 x touring caravans and 6 x utility buildings with associated works (part retrospective) pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To determine the application


David Rowen presented the report to members.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public Participation Procedure, from Mr Mark Codona, the applicant.


Mr Codona explained that he was making this presentation on behalf of himself and his extended family, asking members to agree with the planning officer’s recommendation for granting of planning consent, subject to appropriate addition of conditions.  He explained that he had occupied the plot for 12 months and, during this time, there had been no fly-tipping incidents or any other form of anti-social behaviour.


Mr Codona stated that his children attend the local Elm Church of England Primary school and that his family use the local post office quite regularly, sometimes daily, and get on well with the owners. He added that he also has a lot of family and friends in and around the Wisbech area and has a good friendship with the local farmer and the other local residents who walk their dogs regularly through Newbridge Lane, and they have all commented on how much cleaner it is now, and how much more of a pleasure it is to walk down without rodents or anything else running out at them now the rubbish has been removed.


Mr Codona stated that his family now feel that they are part of the community of Elm and added that he feels he has helped improve the local area as he has cleared away all the fly-tipping from Newbridge Lane and continued to maintain it at no cost to the Local Authority.  He stated that his family have been in the Wisbech area for over 40 years and have strong links to the area, with his family attending the local Light and Life Christian Church on a regular basis which is in the nearby village of Elm.


Mr Codona stated that his family need to have a place that can provide them with a safe space, especially for disabled family members where they can be together as one extended family unit and so that they can all provide care for one another. He explained that he has 6 members of his immediate family which are under the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at Kings Lynn with specialist health needs that require regular hospital visits and ongoing healthcare from a local GP surgery.


Mr Codona explained that this is the first time that a piece of land has become available, which was big enough to accommodate his family and his horses as they will now be close by, especially for those disabled family members who find it difficult to care for their animals without additional support and would find it challenging to maintain regular visits or access if the animals were not in the vicinity. He added that members of the committee are probably aware there is no local accommodation available for Gypsy and Travellers and he stated that when his family found this piece of land, which was available within his budget, they decided that it was the  ...  view the full minutes text for item P37/20


Former Coach House, London Road, Chatteris, Erect a 2-storey 4-bed dwelling involving demolition of store building:F/YR20<0586/LB
Former Coach House, London Road, Chatteris,Demolition of a curtilage listed store building pdf icon PDF 12 MB

To determine the application.


This item was withdrawn from the agenda.


Land to the south of 125 Fridaybridge Road, Elm;Erect a 2-storey 3-bed dwelling pdf icon PDF 5 MB

To determine the application.


David Rowen presented the report to members


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the Public Participation Procedure, from Mr David Broker, the Agent.


Mr Broker expressed the opinion that there is only one reason that the Planning Officers have recommended the refusal of the application, which is that the site is within Flood Zone 3 and the sequential test has not been applied. He stated that officer’s will not accept the physical proof that the site is level from end to end, including that of the adjacent site to the south which is in the same ownership and which has current planning permission.


Mr Broker stated that the whole area was made up with topsoil 30 years ago long before Flood Risk Assessments and sequential tests existed. He added that he has commissioned a GPS base topographical survey by "RATCLIFFS" who are the same surveyors who carry out surveys for the Environment Agency and they have stated that they do not understand why the Planning Officers refuse to accept the proven facts, which they have previously supported in writing.


Mr Broker stated that over the whole area of the site the levels vary sporadically by only 6 inches and in general terms the site is flat and does not physically slope into Flood Zone 3 to the north. He added that it is all at the level of the approved site adjacent, which is Flood Zone 1, and, therefore, in

technical the terms the north end of the site is 3mms higher than the south end. He expressed the opinion that he contests the Planning Department's statement that the site is in Flood Zone 3 and that the sequential test hasn’t been applied as it is a physical and proven fact that the site is at the level of Flood Zone 1 and for that reason the sequential test does not apply in this instance. 


Mr Broker expressed the view that the proposal is not out of character with the large number of new houses on small plots along the north side of Friday Bridge Road, the application site is the same size and the proposed dwelling the same size as that approved on the adjacent site and he has proved that the site is above flood risk level. He stated that he would ask members to make their decision based on the physical facts and not the theoretical assumption of the rule book.


Members asked Mr Broker the following questions:

·         Councillor Sutton asked Mr Broker to identify where Flood Zone 2 is, making the point that the plot to the south is in Flood Zone 1 and the plot to the north is in Flood Zone 3. Mr Broker stated that he did not know as the environmental mapping shows an area of dark blue, which crosses the road and to the north of the application site, and the only map which is available shows that Flood Zone 3 was at one point at the northern edge of  ...  view the full minutes text for item P39/20


Land north of 1-5 Brewery Close, Parson Drove;Erect 4no dwellings comprising of 2x3-bed single-storey, 1x2-storey 4-bed and 1x2-storey 4/5 bed with garages including temporary siting of a caravan during construction on Plot 3 only pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To determine the application.


David Rowen presented the report to members


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the Public Participation Procedure, from Mr Robert Bellamy, the Applicant.


Mr Bellamy thanked the committee for giving him the opportunity to represent his family at the meeting and added that he has lived in Parson Drove all his life and intends to do so for the rest of his life. He stated that he currently lives in the 3-storey house adjacent to the proposed development and advised members of the background history to the site and how he became the owner.


Mr Bellamy explained that the proposal started as an informal joint venture between his parents, Grace and Cyril Bellamy, and the Council in 2008, which culminated in planning permission being granted for 5 bungalows in 2009 and 2012. He added that his father’s health declined at this time and the momentum of the development ceased with both parties incurring time and money into the project at this stage.


Mr Bellamy stated that as there had been no other serious purchasers who came forward due to the site complications, his family decided to move matters forward by purchasing the land, buying an adjacent garden to increase the size and reignite the development for themselves. He added that this process began in 2015, but had numerous setbacks and obstacles to overcome in order to achieve the desired family homes and enable his sister to return to the village to assist with their parents’care.


Mr Bellamy stated that he wished to address the Planning Department’s concerns and recommendation of refusal with some points to defend and support his application, which has been provided in the further in-depth information and photographs documentation circulated to members prior to the meeting.  He referred to the Brewery Close street scene in the application where it shows the properties fronting on to the road, explaining that his existing dwelling is to the left hand side, which is a full 2 storied house with further rooms in the roof space, plot 4 is one and a half stories with the first floor rooms partially within the roof space and plot 3 is the same. He added that the final dwelling is the bungalow which fronts on to Ingham Hall Gardens, but has its side elevation on to Brewery Close, consistent with his proposal, and that as this street scene shows the transition between the 2 and a half story house to the single storied bungalow with the ridge and eaves heights stepping down gradually, his proposal provides a transition which can be seen throughout the village.


Mr Bellamy expressed the view that the dwellings have been designed not to overlook the neighbouring properties from habitable rooms, with the only situation where this is not the case was originally on plot 3, bedroom 4, so he has provided roof lights to this room ensuring views of the sky not of the neighbouring dwellings and the distance between plots 1 and 2 is one metre,  ...  view the full minutes text for item P40/20


Land North of The Rectory, Whittlesey Road, Benwick,Residential development of up to 3 dwellings (application for Permission in Principle) pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To determine the application.


David Rowen presented the report to members.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the Public Participation Procedure, from Dr Robert Wickham, the Agent.


Dr Wickham explained that he represents the Diocese of Ely and Chorus Homes in this application. He referred to the two objections raised to this application, which he feels are closely related, and that if the site is within the settlement then the flooding policy issue falls away. He asked for the application to be considered fairly and there are several issues where he takes a different view from the Planning Officer's report.


Dr Wickham referred to the issue of whether the proposal is in the village and asked members to take into account decisions on two other applications in this part of Benwick one with reference F/YR15/0411, for a cemetery extension which was the site immediately adjoining to the west of the former Rectory. He quoted from the Case Officer, Kathryn Brand's report of 12 October 2015, which stated under 'Principle of Development The site is located within Benwick which is identified as a small village in accordance with Policy LP3 of the Local Plan’ and under ‘Health & Wellbeing The proposed development would be located within a sustainable location located within the village of Benwick'.


Dr Wickham then referred members to thesecond decision, which related toa consentfor asingle dwelling further to the west at 6-7 Nene Parade, reference 12/0981/F, which was granted on 11 February 2013, where thePlanning Officeron thatoccasion recommendedrefusal butthe Committeedetermined in favour. The presentation by the applicant referred to 99% of Benwick being in Flood Risk Zone 3 and that Benwick is 'a real community having a school, pub, hall'. A favourable proposal by Councillor Stebbing was supported at the time and resulted inconsent.


Dr Wickham asked members to accept that this is the older part of the village and it is of lower density than the recentpart. He drew members attentionto oneother decisionunder referenceYR15/0132/F and in that casethe Planning Officer stated that it was not strictly an infill, with the report explaining that 'it is not strictly supported by LP3 of the plan.


Dr Wickham stated that regarding the proposal before members today, the Diocese will enter into a Section 106 Agreement for the two dwellings to be affordable, with the Diocese having worked with Chorus Housing Association of Huntingdon and the Planning Officer's dismissal of this is disappointing. He stated that a Section 106 is the recommended method to provide affordable housing, with the need for affordable housing in the area being well known and in the Cambridgeshire Acre Survey for Benwick it states that there is a need for 1 or 2 bed homes and this offer is not subject to viability testing because the land is surplus and a cost to the Diocese in terms of upkeep. He explained given that the number of affordable homes in  ...  view the full minutes text for item P41/20