Agenda and minutes

Planning Committee - Wednesday, 28th July, 2021 1.00 pm

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

Contact: Jo Goodrum  Member Services and Governance Officer

No. Item


Land North East Of The Woodlands, Days Lode Road, Fodder Fen, Manea
Temporary siting of a lodge (single storey, 2-bed) for 5 years in association with existing agricultural contractors business at the site including erection of a post and rail fence (1.2m high max, north boundary) (retrospective) pdf icon PDF 638 KB

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 Mr Slater, the agent.


Mr Slater advised members that the lodge building has been in situ now for 7 years and in that time it has been used for an office associated with the family business and as staff accommodation.  He made the point that whilst it is accepted that the building remains unauthorised, in his view, if it was causing significant harm he would have expected the Council to have pursued enforcement action to seek its removal, but no action has been taken post 2015.


Mr Slater stated that the family business is an agricultural plant and machinery company, which provides, in his view, a vital service to local agricultural and drainage boards.  He advised that Mr Fowler set up the company, but it is now run on a day to day basis by his son, with Mr Fowler still undertaking maintenance and servicing of the vehicles.


Mr Slater referred to the various IDB drainage boards that they carry out work for.  He stated that in semi-retirement, Mr Fowler intends to continue to work a couple of days per week carrying out maintenance on the company plant and vehicles, which is carried out in the recently approved barn/workshop adjacent to the lodge.


Mr Slater stated that the proposed use of the lodge is as temporary accommodation to enable Mr Fowler to live on site for short periods whilst he maintains the company’s vehicles.  He made the point that the Design and Access Statement sets out that Mr and Mrs Fowler are now semi-retired and have sold their property, Woodlands, and are in the process of moving to the Norfolk Coast.


Mr Slater referred to the officer’s report whereby the changes in circumstances with the selling of Woodlands and relocation of Mr and Mrs Fowler to the coast is seen as material to the application, but at that time the sale of the property was not secured.  He advised members that at no time have they been asked to provide evidence of a functional need in addition to that set out in the application submission.


Mr Slater made the point that Mr and Mrs Fowler are seeking a temporary permission to enable occasional occupation of the lodge in association with the business use in the barn for a period of 5 years, which will provide an opportunity for Mr Fowler to reduce his work to a full retirement, and at the end of this period the need for the accommodation can be reviewed in the light of the circumstances at that time.  He stated that the maintenance work is partly seasonal, but there are also breakdowns and emergencies throughout the working year.


Mr Slater informed members that Mr and Mrs Fowler would look to occupy the lodge for several days at a time for the maintenance periods and on an as and when basis for minor works and emergencies, and, in  ...  view the full minutes text for item P27/21


Unit 3, Sandbank Barns Industrial Units, Sandbank, Wisbech St Mary
Conversion of existing building to form 1no dwelling (single-storey, 3-bed), erection of shed and gazebo together with installation of 2.2 metre high boundary fencing (part retrospective) pdf icon PDF 477 KB

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 Councillor Booth, a District Councillor.


Councillor Booth stated that he was at the latest meeting of the Parish Council when this application was discussed, where it was recognised that this is a local business and since Mr Frankham has taken on the business he has much improved the site as beforehand it had become somewhat derelict.  He feels that members should be supporting this proposal as it is an established building and effectively a brownfield site, and if looked at from the NPPF and Government guidance point of view brownfield sites should be built on ahead of sites in the open countryside.


Councillor Booth questioned whether this was a site in the open countryside as the Local Plan does not specify any boundaries so it is a subjective assessment.  He expressed the view that, whilst Sandbank is on the edge of the Wisbech St Mary, it is an established building that is already there and can be seen from quite a wide area, and the Parish Council are looking at submitting a privately funded highways bid to amend the speed limit along this road, with the limit to be changed past the entrance to this business so the Parish Council consider this area within the actual envelope of the village and not an elsewhere location. 


Councillor Booth made the point that when the Local Plan was developed a number of years ago, the discussion around elsewhere locations was around areas, such as Bunkers Hill or Tholomas Drove, but this location is just on the edge of the village and there is development and residential properties adjacent to it.  He expressed the view that these buildings were former agricultural units and if they had been left as agricultural buildings they would probably have permitted development rights to convert them into dwellings. 


Councillor Booth expressed the opinion that there is no real visual impact from the proposal, which is identified in the officer’s report at 10.9.  He stated that there is a lot of foot traffic along this road and this is part of the reason why the Parish Council want to amend the speed limit because they recognise it is not in the open countryside and there are a lot of people walking along this road getting to the shops in the village. 


Councillor Booth referred to the Police statistics, which do show a lot of anti-social behaviour and concern within this area, which backs up the applicant’s argument of having a residential property next to his business.  He made the point that members should remember that when the Local Plan was developed, it was set as a trail blazer and innovative Local Plan, one that supported business, one that supported growth and the officer’s report dilutes that element of the Local Plan.  He feels that members should also remember the Council’s strapline of Open for Business and by refusing this the  ...  view the full minutes text for item P28/21


Land North Of 135, Front Road, Murrow
Reserved Matters application relating to detailed matters of access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale pursuant to appeal decision APP/D0515/W/18/3202467 (F/YR17/1148/O) to erect 4 x dwellings (2-storey 4-bed) and the formation of a new access pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To determine the application.

Additional documents:


Alison Hoffman presented the report to members.


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

·         Councillor Mrs Bligh referred to the policy within Parson Drove Neighbourhood Plan for a footpath and, in her view, the footpath does not need to be a formal one, it could be a gravel track or a line on the road as this is the last part of Back Road to be developed, it is used by dog walkers and is a single-track road. She asked whether a condition could be placed on the application for a designated walkway to be provided rather than a constituted footpath which would “tick the box” of the Neighbourhood Plan?  David Rowen stated that this is a Reserved Matters application and officers have to look back at what the Outline permission set out, the Planning Inspector when giving permission gave consideration to the footway and the emerging Neighbourhood Plan and concluded that it was unreasonable and unnecessary to provide anything.  He advised that whilst members could impose a condition regarding a footpath, that condition would potentially fail to stand up in terms of reasonableness if it was challenged by the applicant.  Nick Harding added if that pathway remains private, there are the on-going liabilities of people’s safety walking across it and it gets very complicated.

·         Councillor Mrs Bligh stated that she understands the outline permission was before the Neighbourhood Plan was adopted so agree with the officer’s recommendation for approval, but wondered if there was any scope to “tick the box” regarding a footpath and make everyone happy.

·         Councillor Mrs French agreed with the officer’s report and whilst it is sad that members have to against the Neighbourhood Plan, due to the hard work that goes into producing them, the development was permitted on appeal prior to the Plan’s adoption.  She advised that there are local highway improvements that the Parish Council can apply for.  Councillor Mrs Bligh informed members that the application’s location lies within Parson Drove Parish Council’s responsibility, but she would pass the information on.

·         Councillor Sutton expressed the view that this road has been the bane of his life, having sat on committee and complained about any development in this location due to the road being unfit for purpose.  He feels though that to do anything other than go with officer’s recommendation would be crazy.

·         Councillor Mrs French made the point that this issue has been in existence since 1999 and members are having the same conversation now.


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


(Councillor Mrs Bligh registered, that as ward member for Parson Drove and Wisbech St Mary, she attends Parson Drove Parish Council meetings, but takes no part in the discussions on planning applications)


Site Of Former 24, High Street, Wisbech
Erect a 4-storey building (comprising of 7 x 1-bed flats with retail floorspace at ground level) involving the demolition of a wall within a Conservation Area pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To determine the application.

Additional documents:


Alison Hoffman presented the report to members.


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

·         Councillor Sutton made the point that the site is restricted and it is limited in what can be developed on the site.  He questioned the size of the retail unit and what business would occupy this space, which he acknowledges is not a planning issue, as well as the proposal being for four stories without any lift provision.  Councillor Sutton referred to a two-storey office that he knows of that was forced to provide a lift.  He queried how disabled people were going to get up four floors, although he recognises the stairs are ambient which helps the disabled?  Alison Hoffman stated that this building was an office property, but the commercial element of this proposal is at ground floor level so it would be residential properties that would not have a lift available to them.  She is not aware of any schemes she has dealt with in the past requiring a lift and made the point that this proposal is for housing within a town centre location, with a lift not being a planning requirement.  David Rowen added that this issue would be a building regulations matter and as the Council has appointed experienced architects to design the scheme he would have thought that they would have factored building regulations into the design and would be building regulations compliant as a result.

·         Councillor Sutton expressed the view that as this is a Council property the Council should be showing some leadership, although he acknowledges that the stairs are built to ambient specification and is not a reason to refuse the application.

·         Councillor Miscandlon agreed with Councillor Sutton’s comments.  He made the point that this proposal is being built from scratch and a lift could have been factored in.  Councillor Miscandlon recognises that lifts and their maintenance are expensive, but by not putting one in is denying the disabled the opportunity to live in one of these properties or access to them, which is wrong.  He made the point that it should be part of the remit to allow access for the disabled who are part of our society.

·         Councillor Purser referred to the first-floor plan and the fact there is no disabled access, but a wheelchair store.  Nick Harding reiterated that there is no requirement for a lift to be provided based on the Council’s policies or legislative requirement and these matters if required under building regulations would be dealt with at that stage.  He believes there are stipulations for managed residential accommodation over two floors, but he does not know whether this proposal is going to be managed.

·         Councillor Mrs Bligh stated that she was born in Wisbech and would love to see this gap site developed.  She feels the proposal is a good use of the space, but there is a need to ensure that everyone has access to these homes whatever their disability.

·         Councillor Purser referred to the second-floor  ...  view the full minutes text for item P30/21


Land West of The Sportsman, Main Road, Elm
Change of use of land for use as public house car park involving the formation of hardstanding, new lighting and the siting of a storage container (part retrospective) pdf icon PDF 798 KB

To determine the application.


David Rowen presented the report to members.


Members received a written representation from Mr and Mrs Stewart, objectors to the proposal, read out by Member Services.


Mrs Stewart stated that it is not easy to complain to the Council about a neighbour, especially when it is a pub and extremely popular, but she feels that no one who has complained about pub noise has taken the decision lightly.  She expressed the view that on Easter Sunday 2019, The Sportsman decided to have live music with 2 speakers and an amplifier outside, which was exceedingly loud, and has carried on every Sunday or a Bank Holiday except for the August holiday.


Mrs Stewart stated that some neighbours have spoken to Environmental Health who advised that having a music license did not mean that you could be a public nuisance and to put the speakers inside, but at a Licensing Hearing the pub was allowed to have 6 of these events a year with speakers outside.  She expressed the view that when she brought her house she did not expect a car park to be built there and 15 trees have been removed in less than a year, which she did not imagine that this number of trees could be taken down as they live in a Conservation Area.


Mrs Stewart expressed the view that having loud music outside with many people singing along at the top of their voices has definitely changed the dynamics of the pub, especially with the younger ones being much louder now.  She stated that when she moved to Elm, The Sportsman held a music night once a month usually a disco until midnight with both doors closed, which she had no problem with, but the new owners have music twice a month along with outdoor music sessions, apart from during Covid, which makes for very noisy living.


Mrs Stewart made the point that the pub changed its alcohol licence in 2019 so they could serve alcohol from 8am every day and until 1am Thursday to Saturday.  She needs to know the car park opening times and it needs a proper acoustic fence as she feels sure the pub will still be having music events twice a month as they are well attended.


Mrs Stewart made the point that the car park has been used as a car park by staff and sometimes customers and asked how do we know that they will not carry on doing this and not put a fence up?  She stated that they are not just sitting complaining, they have put sound proofing in two windows, with another resident having triple glazed acoustic windows fitted in their house so they can hear their television.  She referred to another couple who have lived in Elm for 45 years and when they moved in the pub was derelict and no one has ever complained about the pub before until the new owners took over.


Mrs Stewart asked for some thought and understanding.


Mr Stewart  ...  view the full minutes text for item P31/21


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 6 MB

To determine the application.

Additional documents:


David Rowen presented the report to members.


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


Ms Simpson informed members that she was speaking on behalf of residents on Westfield Road who are against the proposal as they feel the development is over intensification and over development.  She stated that Westfield Road is a quiet cul-de-sac comprising of 14 properties and the residents pride themselves on the small community and take pride in their homes, with the small amount of children who live in the road enjoying the benefit of being able to live in the road and play in a safe and secure manner.


Ms Simpson expressed the view that residents are concerned about the additional entrance for two of the dwellings in the development where access and egress will be from Westfield Road.  She feels the development will cause over-looking to existing properties on Westfield Road and also Fen Road.


Ms Simpson advised members that the applicant has erected a fence and residents are concerned over the maintenance of the boundary fence going forward and made the point that the grass verges have been looked after by residents for the past 15 years.  She referred to a tree in Westfield Road beside number 11, which residents do not want to see removed and, in her opinion, the proposed 25ft gravel driveway will cause additional noise and be intrusive to the residents.


Ms Simpson stated that High Road is a busy road used by the school service to Tydd St Giles School and Peel School and the 46 bus route and residents are concerned about vehicles accessing and leaving the development as there have been accidents in the past.  She feels the issue of extra vehicles in the road and parking is a great concern to residents as well as the extra traffic and deliveries the site will generate, delivery of goods through Westfield Road, will invade resident’s privacy as this will pass directly next to the residents’ front window.


Ms Simpson expressed the view that the applicant has sited a static caravan on the site and is living in it and now appears to be storing a number of 18 tonne lorries on the site as well burning all of his rubbish at the rear of the pub.  She feels that, if permission is granted, then appropriate conditions need to be added which must include delivery times and suitable working hours on site.


Ms Simpson expressed the opinion that, as the current occupier is storing 18 tonne vehicles on the site, there is no reason to grant access via Westfield Road, which would spoil what the residents have worked hard to achieve a safe, comfortable and welcoming area for residents to use.  She feels the proposal for 4 properties does not allow any turning points on the driveways or any parking for visitors, which is going to congest other areas and cause issues for the current residents of Newton-in-the-Isle.


Ms Simpson  ...  view the full minutes text for item P32/21


11-13A And Land East Of 3-11A, High Street, Chatteris
Part change of use of existing buildings to form 3 additional dwellings (2 x 3-bed and 1 x 2-bed) and erect 2no dwellings (2-storey 3-bed) involving the demolition of existing outbuildings, a sun room and walls within a conservation area and extend existing dwelling/shop
11-13A And Land East Of 3-11A, High Street, Chatteris
Internal and external works to listed buildings to form 2 x 3-bed and 1 x 2-bed dwellings and extension to dwelling/shop pdf icon PDF 11 MB

To determine the applications

Additional documents:


David Rowen presented the report to members.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Councillor Haggata of Chatteris Town Council.


Councillor Haggata stated that the members of Chatteris Town Council fully and unanimously support both applications, which will allow a neglected and in need of serious attention site to be refurbished and restored to improve the attractiveness of this site on High Street.  He made the point that the properties proposed for refurbishment are situated in a very prominent position on this side of Chatteris High Street and informed members of the Listed Buildings that existed in close proximity to the site, which form an attractive vista along this area of Chatteris High Street. 


Councillor Haggata expressed the view that, if the applications are approved, it will complete and enhance this vista, which can only be of benefit to the surrounding area and encourage more use of this side of Chatteris High Street.  He stated that Chatteris Town Council is in the process of encouraging local businesses to improve and upgrade their presence on High Street by the means of Chatteris Town Council Renaissance Improvement Grant, which has proved successful with many local businesses applying for the grant to refurbish and enhance the appearance of their shop fronts on High Street and Market Hill.


Councillor Haggata advised that Chatteris Town Council members are of the opinion that these planning applications will also be of great benefit to the revival of Chatteris High Street and enable more needed homes to be available in Chatteris.  He understands that refurbishment is not without high costs and, therefore, it is accepted that both planning applications are necessary for these improvements to proceed, which is why Chatteris Town Council fully support the applications.


Members received a written representation, from Andrew Wignall, an objector, read out by Member Services.


Mr Wignall stated that he was unable to attend the meeting in person due to work commitments, but his statement was on behalf of the residents of 2 and 6 Boadicea Court.  He fully endorses the redevelopment of the High Street and accepts for financial reasons the area known as Dobbs Yard needs to be developed to enable the funding of the refurbishment and redevelopment of the High Street properties but does have a number of concerns regarding Dobbs Yard.


Mr Wignall raised concern about the open nature of the car ports as these directly open onto the boundary and, in his view, would cause both noise and environmental pollution, especially as the existing boundary wall is only approximately 1600mm high, with the drawings not showing the height of the walls.  He expressed the opinion that Plot 2 adjacent to the boundary of 6 Boadicea Court will be increasing the shear height of the wall to 2.7 metres based upon the information within the officer’s report, which is an increase of over 1 metre.


Mr Wignall expressed the view that the location of the two-storey element is likely to cause  ...  view the full minutes text for item P33/21


Land North Of 39 To 49, Coates Road, Eastrea
Erect 5 x dwellings (1 x 2-storey 3-bed, 2 x 3-storey 5-bed and 2 x 3-storey 6-bed) involving the demolition of existing buildings pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To determine the application.

Additional documents:


David Rowen presented the report to members.


Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Matthew Hall, the agent.


Mr Hall stated that the officer’s report sums up the situation well and the recommendation is for approval.  He advised members that the proposal is for large executive dwellings of various designs, with the site already having detailed Reserved Matters approval for 4 large dwellings off a private drive with access onto Coates Road, and the dwellings are in the same position, same width and length as approved, with a further section of land being acquired to allow the additional plot to be proposed.


Mr Hall expressed the view that the key issue with this application is archaeology, with there being a proposed standard condition, No.17, for an archaeological investigation.  He made the point that this site already has had two archaeological digs, one in 2014 on this site and part of the adjacent site, and further large dig in 2018, showing a picture on the screen after the archaeological dig, with the area of the dig being 1,340 square metres which is where plots 1-4 are located towards the back of the site and excavation of about 6mm deep over the entire site.


Mr Hall stated that County Council’s Archaeology did visit the site when the dig was being undertaken and the owner has advised him that in 2014 the first dig cost £7,500, with the owner of the other site paying £5,000 towards this, and the dig in 2018 cost just over £20,000 and they are now being asked for another dig.  He feels the comments under 5.5 of the officer’s report do not take into account this much larger dig that was carried out in 2018, and he has tried to contact the County Council’s Archaeology Team three times but has had no luck.


Mr Hall referred to an e-mail received on 2 May 2019 after the large dig which states “partial discharge is acceptable we have no issues with the development commencing on site as the front end tasks, namely the approval of the written scheme of investigation mentioned in the condition and the completion of the field work have been approved and completed.  However, the overall condition should remain in place to enable Witham Archaeology to conclude the post excavation reporting programme and deposit for the archaeological archive.”  He made the point that the final report has been back and forwards between the County Council and Witham Archaeology and  has not quite been finalised, but the dig has been comprehensive. 


Mr Hall expressed the opinion that the archaeology condition should either be removed or amended to wait for the final report to be submitted.


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

·         Councillor Benney referred to the comments of Mr Hall about the two archaeological digs and asked if it was reasonable and fair for the applicant to carry out a third one.  He made the point that an extensive  ...  view the full minutes text for item P34/21