Agenda and minutes

Planning Committee - Wednesday, 28th June, 2023 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 239 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes from the meeting of 26 April 2023.


The minutes of the meeting of 26 April 2023 were agreed and signed as an accurate record.


Adoption of South East March Broad Concept Plan pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To consider adoption of the Broad Concept Plan.

Additional documents:


David Rowen presented the report to members and drew attention to the update report that had been circulated.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Will and Andrew Hodgson, the agents. Will Hodgson stated that he is Strategic Land Manager at Barratt David Wilson Peterborough office and is leading on this site. He advised that Barratt David Wilson control 65% of the site and that is via way of option agreement or ownership and two of the other site promoters include Cannon Kirk Developments and March East Developments Ltd and they have been in discussion with both of these promoters throughout the BCP process and both support the principle of development on the site.


Will Hodgson stated from the outset their strategy has been to ensure the whole allocation can be delivered comprehensively in line with policy and, therefore, the BCP has been produced to ensure this is the case. He advised that they have provided access to the whole site and there is a comprehensive drainage strategy for the whole site and the site has been parcelled up in an equitable way to ensure a equitable number of houses can be delivered on each landowners parcel.


Will Hodgson expressed the opinion that going forward it is their intention to submit an Outline application next month for up to 425 dwellings out of the total of 650, just on the land that they control, and it would then lead to other landowners to prepare their own planning applications to deliver their land holdings, which one landowner has already done. He stated that the site would be delivered with both their house building brands, being Barratt and David Wilson, and this combination brings forward a greater house type, variety and choice for their customers as well as enhancing the ability to propose a master plan, different character areas and design traits.


Will Hodgson stated they are committed to delivering the scheme alongside the Council and the proposals set out in the BCP document are deliverable with the land under its control allowing initial phases of the site to be delivered in a timely manner whilst not prejudicing the development on the adjacent land. He feels this is a fantastic opportunity to create a legacy for the growth of March and urged members to support the application.


Andrew Hodgson stated that it is important to get BCP in place but it is also important that they engage with statutory consultees, which they have done and they are also in the process of producing a planning application for the site so have had engagement with the Lead Local Flood Authority and Highways, with the discussions being well advanced and those discussions have been fed into the BCP. He made the point that this is a BCP and the details in relation to technical matters will be in the planning application but they have tried to identify in the BCP what the scheme is going to look like, how  ...  view the full minutes text for item P17/23


Hook Drove Poultry Farm, Hook Drove, Wimblington
Erect 1 no dwelling (3-storey, 4-bed and living accommodation/farm office in roof space) with detached double garage with storage above, in association with poultry farm pdf icon PDF 4 MB

To determine the application.

Additional documents:


Nikki Carter presented the report to members and drew attention to the update report that had been circulated.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Jamie Curston, a supporter. Mr Curston advised members that he is currently the Farm Manager, being a local man and is married to a local lady having a family of 3, who have connections to the District to assist with their childcare so that they can continue to work in the District and support local services and contribute to the local economy. He expressed the view that his family have outgrown the 3-bedroomed house and require a 4-bedroomed dwelling to give the children their own space, being both male and female he believes this is appropriate.


Mr Curston stated that he has spent most of his working life in the poultry industry and progressed through the ranks from a trainee stockman to the current position as manager at Hooks Drove Farm since its first opening 8 years ago and it is one of the biggest and high-profile farms in the country seen as a flagship farm. He expressed the view that they lead the industry in technology to promoting effective farming, produce antibiotic use and implement extremely high bird welfare, which has led to an increase in his responsibilities and an increase in the complexity of running the business including integrating renewable energy and water recycling that requires constant monitoring.


Mr Curston stated that the job is demanding upon his experience and understanding of the ever increasing bird welfare and husbandry, with developing environmental controls and improving health and safety conditions for workers all contributing to ensure the health and successful growth of the birds on the farm. He added that he is also responsible for the welfare of the staff and the health and safety of the farm, with lone working considerably frowned upon and they are trying to eradicate it, which can be overcome by two people working together as there are many dangerous aspects to their work such as working at height, machines jamming, electrical malfunctions, etc and being a livestock farm these need to be dealt with immediately, often out of hours greatly increasing the demands on the labour force.


Mr Curston advised that the farm has 4 full-time workers during normal working times but out of hours there are only 2 living on the farm, emergencies often occur out of hours times and if he or his stockman are on holiday then there is only 1 person to deal with the risks of ½ million birds spread over 11 acres and dealing with the operation and safety of the farm’s systems, which, in his view, is not reasonable as at times someone travelling in from distance would not fulfil the requirements of the birds welfare. He expressed the opinion that at a time of emergency a call for assistance to one of its off-duty staff living off-site, may or may not be successful and  ...  view the full minutes text for item P18/23


Land East of 12 Eastwood End, Wimblington
Erect 1no dwelling (outline application with all matters reserved) pdf icon PDF 417 KB

To determine the application.


Nikki Carter presented the report to members.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Ian Gowler, the agent. Mr Gowler stated that the application is for a single plot which would make an ideal single family home or self-build property. He referred to the committee report describing this application as being sub-standard due to it being backland when Eastwood End is primarily linear development and made the point that the existing Rhonda Park is located 150 metres along Eastwood End, which is a development already in depth which was approved some years ago.


Mr Gowler referred to a photo on the presentation screen which shows an application that was recently submitted and approved by the committee of 9 dwellings also in depth, therefore, in his view, the statement of linear development is not as true as it may seem. He expressed the opinion that there has also been recently approved a barn conversion to the west of the site which will also introduce some backland development, although this was given under the Prior Notification system it will introduce that residential feel in a backland situation.


Mr Gowler noted that a further reason for refusal is the effect on neighbours in terms of noise and loss of privacy but made the point that as this is an Outline application the details of this could easily be resolved during the Reserved Matters with careful design of either a single-storey or chalet bungalow to avoid any overlooking. He expressed the view that the site has no effect on the open countryside, is not in the flood zone and with a development of 3 dwellings further to the south is very similar in appearance.


Members asked questions of Mr Gowler as follows:

·       Councillor Mrs French asked what is different about this application to the previous one? Mr Gowler responded nothing apart from the fact that the surrounding area has had more growth approved.

·       Councillor Imafidon asked for clarification that it is going to be a single family dwelling and has the application been submitted with someone in mind to live there or is it going to be sold. Mr Gowler responded that it is only outline at the moment but the size of the indicative property would be a small family dwelling and his client if given approval is not sure whether he will build it and sell it on the open market or whether he will sell the plot as the plot size makes it an ideal self-build plot but the final design is not set.


Nick Harding made the point that the application is for a market house rather than a self-build.


Members made comments, asked questions and received responses as follows:

·       Councillor Benney stated that he thinks officers have got the recommendation correct on this application, this is backland referring to the sites shown by the agent on the presentation screen, with one being for 9 dwellings and one being passed on appeal, and nothing has  ...  view the full minutes text for item P19/23


Land South of Ferry Farm London Road and accessed off Stocking Drove, Chatteris
Erect up to 6no dwellings (outline application with all matters reserved) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To determine the application.


David Rowen presented the report to members.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Tim Slater, on behalf of the applicant. Mr Slater stated that members will note from the report that there are no technical or amenity objections to the proposal and the key reason for refusal relates to the officer’s interpretation of the strategic settlement hierarchy, Policy LP3. He expressed the opinion that both the application submission and the officer’s report address this matter and the issue of the precedent of residential development is established through the recent grant of permissions in the vicinity, with there being 8 plots approved in the vicinity since 2013 and 5 dwellings approved immediately adjacent to the site since 2019.


Mr Slater expressed the view that it is the most recent approvals that are most relevant as they have been approved pursuant to the current Local Plan and more recent editions of the NPPF and he feels it is clear, looking at the planning history, in relation to development around the current application site that the committee has consistently taken a different view to officers in respect to the interpretation of LP3 and the definition of an elsewhere location. He referred to the committee’s consideration of all of the recent developments on the adjacent sites and the resultant decision notices notes that “the committee in their consideration of the scheme concluded that the application site was not considered to be an elsewhere location under the terms of policy LP3”.


Mr Slater referred to a decision at the March 2023 committee where “Members feel that the proposal complies with LP3 as the site does lie within Chatteris” and feels that with committee taking this consistent position it is clear that members consider that the principle of development in accordance with LP3 is established in this location. He expressed the view that the recent planning decisions by this committee in 2019, 2020, 2021 2022 and 2023 have all been made under the currently adopted Local Plan having complete regard to the wording of and meaning of LP3.


Mr Slater expressed the opinion that in relation to refusal reason 2 it is reiterated that the application is made in Outline with all matters reserved and it is not accepted that the proposal would cause significant harm to the local countryside as the site will be seen as part of the cluster of developments in and around the junction of London Road and Stocking Drove, with the ability of the Local Planning Authority to consider layout, design and landscaping in the Reserved Matters submission providing them with control in terms of appearance and visual impact. He stated that the application referred to the proposal being possibly for workplace homes as these have been successful forms of economic development within Fenland and it is noted that the emerging Local Plan in Policy LP15 makes reference to “support the growth of small and micro businesses, encourage business start-ups and promote an entrepreneurial culture”.  ...  view the full minutes text for item P20/23


Land South West of 241 North Brink, Wisbech
Change of use of land for the siting of 4 x mobile homes for use as holiday accommodation 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 Truswell, an objector. Mr Truswell stated that his objection is largely due to the proximity to his property next door, he lives adjacent at 251 showing on the plan displayed on the screen where his property was, and the negative impact the proposal will have on available daylight and the associated noise pollution. He believes there is a more suitable location away from his boundary but still on land believed to be owned by the applicants, with there being a large expanse of unused land to the north, north-west and north-east, land which is already served by an adequate point of access from the main road.


Mr Truswell stated that there have already been several planning applications for this small piece of land which have been refused and this application in its current form affects 2 households, 6 people, 2 families but if it was to be moved to elsewhere on that land it would not impact any households. He feels the proposed holiday village will have an adverse impact on his quality of life in its current proposed location.


Members asked questions of Mr Truswell as follows:

·       Councillor Imafidon asked for clarification on how the proposal affects his property apart from noise pollution. Mr Truswell responded that as they are semi-detached the ground floor light comes in through 4 windows so down the side of the house consists of 75% of their light, the applicant is already growing bushes that are up to 12 feet high which is already affecting his light and he did submit in his objection a side aspect showing, using a telegraph pole at the top of road as a reference point, where the highest point of the static caravan next to his property would impact. He feels it would impact with available light and noise. Councillor Imafidon questioned that he stated that there is already a 12-foot hedge. Mr Truswell responded that it was 10-feet 3 months ago and it is now 12-foot and will be 14-foot imminently. Councillor Imafidon asked if that hedge is already there how will the caravans impact, will they be taller than the hedge? Mr Truswell responded that this is a conversation he plans to have with the applicants as he feels the hedge is now getting too high and affecting their available light.

·       Councillor Mrs French asked if he had spoken to his neighbours about the hedge as there is legislation on overgrown hedges and the owners have a statutory duty to keep them under control. Mr Truswell responded that the applicants have been really good up until recently keeping them maintained and he does not think it is noticeable from their aspect but there has been a surge in growth this past few months. Councillor Mrs French asked again if he had tried to speak to the neighbours. Mr Truswell responded not as yet but to be  ...  view the full minutes text for item P21/23


Land West Of 70-71 South Green and fronting Fieldside, Coates
Erect single storey 1-bed dwelling and formation of a new access pdf icon PDF 4 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 Hall, the agent. Mr Hall stated that there are no technical objections to this application and within the officer’s report there are concerns regarding the neighbouring windows overlooking this proposal but expressed the view that those two windows, which are first floor and he believes bedrooms, overlook the garden area of this site at the present time. He expressed the view that with this proposal one of the windows will directly look at the bungalow and by splitting the garden and building this bungalow, in his opinion, it will offer more privacy to the garden of No.75, which is spilt to the rear and front of the property.


Mr Hall stated that in 2017 an application by a different agent was refused, which did have an objection from the neighbour but this revised application by themselves does not have any objections at all. He expressed the view that previously on this site there have been approvals for a dwelling, with an application being rightly refused previously for two-storey and the last application was refused in 2017 which was for a bungalow built on the boundary and also had roof lights, which attracted the neighbouring objection and this proposal has removed the roof lights and showed the bungalow to be set in the site about 1 metre from the boundary.


Mr Hall stated that, since the previous refusal for this site, on the opposite side of this road directly opposite this site planning approval has been given for 8 two-storey houses in July 2020 by the committee. He added the existing property No.75 still retains its parking and still has over half its site area as garden and this proposal is for a 1-bedroom starter home on a site in Flood Zone 1, a third garden area, no overlooking from the proposal, adequate parking, no technical objections and no neighbouring objections.


Members asked questions of Mr Hall as follows:

·       Councillor Mrs French referred to 5.2 and the comments of the Definitive Map Team and asked for further explanation and is the proposal going through a public right of way? Mr Hall responded that the actual access to this site runs at the back of property at the moment and from the deeds that he has seen the applicant does have a right of way onto that public byway, which is used by numerous other properties. Councillor Mrs French requested clarification that it is not going to be blocked off? Mr Hall responded that it was not.

·       Councillor Mrs Davis asked what the amenity areas for the two properties would be and do they fall within the normal regulations? Mr Hall responded that if this is approved and built the existing property No.75 still has over half its site area as garden, which is split at the back and a substantial area at the front, and this proposal has a third garden  ...  view the full minutes text for item P22/23


Land South East of Tall Trees, Station Road, Wisbech St Mary
Erect up to 3 x dwellings with garages (outline application with all matters reserved) pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To determine the application.

Additional documents:


David Rowen presented the report to members and drew their attention to the update report that had been circulated. He stated that further comments have been received from the Highway Authority in respect of the revised plan referred to in the update and these comments are still that it has not been demonstrated to their satisfaction that suitable visibility can be achieved.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Shanna Jackson, the agent. Mrs Jackson stated that the proposal seeks outline planning permission for 3 dwellings, with all matters being reserved and, therefore, the drawings are completely indicative. She feels the proposal has raised issue with the principle, visual impact and highway safety and with regards to the principle the site lies within Wisbech St Mary which is identified as a growth village within Policy LP3 of the Local Plan, with growth villages being second on the settlement hierarchy demonstrating that these are the areas where the Council wants to see new housing and, in her view, it is a given that infill development is acceptable in such locations and Policy LP3 specifically states that village extensions may be appropriate.


Mrs Jackson expressed the opinion that the application site is positioned next to the built-up frontage of development to the south and this development extends from the village centre up Station Road with continuous residential development along both sides of the highway. She feels the application site physically adjoins the frontage development on the western side of the highway and there are other dwellings to the immediate north, with it constituting a gap in an otherwise built-up frontage and, therefore, she feels it constitutes infill development, which is supported in policy terms.


Mrs Jackson expressed the view that if it was considered that the development did not constitute infill development the scheme would compromise of 3 new dwellings which are attached to the existing built form and as such the proposal would be a village extension and this would comply with Policy LP3. In her view, any interpretation of the site is supported in principle in planning policy terms.


Mrs Jackson referred to the issues with regard to visual impact and feels they are a misnomer as the scheme is submitted in outline only and, therefore, the specific appearance of the development is currently unknown. She feels that as the principle of development is acceptable in policy terms the physical development of this area is a given and, therefore, the second proposed reason for refusal in terms of urbanisation falls away.


Mrs Jackson referred to the update which includes a further plan demonstrating that the development can be achieved using a single point of access taken from the existing access point and shared across the 3 properties and she feels that as the existing access serves agricultural land it is capable of accommodating any number of vehicles, at any scale and at any time, therefore, it is considered that the access is capable of safely  ...  view the full minutes text for item P23/23


Land South West of The Hollies, Hospital Road, Doddington
Erect up to 3 x dwellings (outline application with all matters reserved) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To determine the application.


This item had been withdrawn.