Agenda and minutes

Planning Committee - Wednesday, 21st September, 2022 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 351 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes from the previous meeting of 24 August 2022.


The minutes of the previous meeting of the 24 August 2022 were agreed and signed as an accurate record.


March Town Hall, Market Place, March
Works to a Listed Building comprising the replacement of front access door pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To determine the application.


David Rowen presented the report to members.


Members received a presentation, from Councillor Mrs French, who had been given permission to address the committee by Councillor Mrs Davis who had assumed the position of Chairman for this agenda item.


Councillor Mrs French explained that in 1985 the building was listed, and it is her understanding that the building had once been owned by Cambridgeshire County Council and had been used as a Magistrates Court for many years. She added that when the building ceased to be used as a court it was purchased it its dilapidated state by a local person and it was handed to March Civic Society, so that the building was protected.


Councillor Mrs French stated that the March Civic Society were then awarded a National Lottery Grant of £1,000,000 and the building was renovated to include the double-glazed units in the café element of the building which has gone on to be very successful. She added that it appears that whenever the Civic Society apply for further works to be undertaken to the building they encounter problems.


Councillor Mrs French made the point that there were problems with their application for double glazed windows which needed to be replaced due to the condition of the existing windows which were falling out and the approval was conditioned to state that the wood used had to be soft wood instead of hard wood. She explained that the existing door to the building is original and is 120 years old and has been repaired between 15 and 20 times and it is very difficult to open.


Councillor Mrs French expressed the view that she does want this type of building preserved and the Civic Trust have tried their upmost to do that and have been prepared to spend money on the upkeep of the building. She made the point that the new door is not a cheap door and will cost in the region of £10,000 to £12,000.


Councillor Mrs French stated that she found it interesting to hear the view of the County Council and added that under the March Area Transport Study there will be major changes undertaken in the Market Place and she questioned whether the County Council Highway Department will need a Listed Building because it is in the setting of a Listed Building.


Members received a presentation in accordance with the public participation procedure from Matthew Hall, the Agent. Mr Hall explained that the committee will recall that the building was given Listed Building consent for the replacement of existing timber framed windows to double glazed units in 2018 and a further application in 2020. He stated that the proposal is to replace the existing double doors with new double doors with double glazed fan lights which will all match the existing style with no change in the actual opening size.


Mr Hall explained that the joiner D R Betts who made the windows and installed them, has visited the site and inspected the  ...  view the full minutes text for item P49/22


36 Westfield Road, Manea
Erect up to 9 x dwellings involving the demolition of existing shed (outline application with matters committed in respect of access) pdf icon PDF 3 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 Lee Bevens, the agent. Mr Bevens stated that he is disappointed to see that the wording on the description of the development is incorrect and that he had specifically worded the application originally and completed the application form, based upon nice self-build and custom-built dwellings. He made the point that the Council has been legally required from the 1 April 2016 to keep a register of individuals and associations of individuals who are seeking to require surplus plots of land in their area in order to build their own homes and he has asked the Council on several occasions for a copy of the register, and it is only recently that he has been provided with the figures from 2016 onwards.


Mr Bevens expressed the view that it is unclear whether the figures provided are for specific self-build custom builds as described within the qualifying terms of the Self-Build Custom House Building Act. He stated that if the Council is bound by this Act to keep and publicise the register then he cannot understand why it is not a public document.


Mr Bevens stated that in considering whether a home is a self-build or custom build the Council need to be satisfied that the initial owner of the house will have primary input into its final design and layout. He expressed the opinion that he is unsure whether the criteria has been met and added that if the application is approved it will meet all the required criteria to comply with Self-Build Custom House Building Regulations 2016.


Mr Bevens stated that the officer’s report refers to the site lying predominantly in the countryside, and referred to the presentation screen which shows the open countryside is delineated by Darcy Lode to the north and the public footpath to the northern side of the site. He pointed out that beyond Darcy Lode it is typical Fenland farmland which he agrees is open countryside and he referred members to the second slide which has been taken from the Ordnance Survey footpath maps which highlights the footpath that runs along the northern boundary alongside Darcy Lode and that the land south of Darcy Lode which is coloured grey infers it to be in the built-up area of Manea.


Mr Bevens stated that, in his view, the development is not out of keeping with the area and he added that on the first slide it shows Glebe Close to the south west of the site which is not a linear frontage site and therefore it breaks the linear frontage pattern along Westfield Road together with development along Dunvegan Close and the recent approval for planning at 18 Westfield Road. He stated that the proposal does recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside by including a green frontage to Westfield Road and the retention of all of the trees and fauna at the northern  ...  view the full minutes text for item P50/22


15 Bridge Street, Chatteris
Replace existing shop front and separate access door with folding doors, and installation of roller shutters to restaurant frontage (retrospective) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To determine the application.


David Rowen presented the report to members.


Members asked officers the following questions:

·       Councillor Miscandlon stated that officers have advised that the applicant was given the opportunity to amend their application from a solid to a see-through screen and he asked officers if they are aware why the applicant failed to consider the advice given? David Rowen stated that he is unaware why the applicant chose to rebut the option presented to them. Councillor Miscandlon stated that, in his opinion, the applicant was probably misled by the salesperson into purchasing a solid shutter even though the advice from officers was to have a see-through shutter which would have been more acceptable.

·       Councillor Marks stated that there a number of premises in Chatteris which have the solid roller shutters including the old Budgens site at the roundabout. He added that there are four or five properties that he can recall, and he questioned as to whether they would have obtained planning permission? David Rowen stated that they probably should have done, and he explained that he has researched planning permissions for the inclusion of shutters, and he is not aware of many permissions which have been granted recently. Councillor Marks stated that if the property is in a Conservation Area a precedent has been set by allowing other solid roller shutters being allowed. David Rowen reiterated that he is not aware of too many examples of roller shutters having been granted in the Chatteris Conservation Area and if permissions had been granted historically then that does not automatically mean that permission should be granted in this case particularly given how explicit Policy LP17 is in terms of its resistance to solid roller shutters being installed on premises.

·       Councillor Mrs Davis asked whether the applicant submitted an application for the roller shutters at the same time as they submitted the application for the bi-fold doors? David Rowen explained that the previous two applications at the premises were purely for the shop fronts and contained no details of the shutters at all.


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

·       Councillor Sutton expressed the opinion the officer’s recommendation is correct.

·       Councillor Benney stated that the building has been there for many years and was derelict and over time it has been brought back to life and has become a thriving business. He added that he is aware that the owner of the business has suffered from vandalism before the bi-fold doors were installed and, in his opinion, the roller shutters are to stop vandalism as if the whole glass frontage was vandalised it would cost a significant amount to replace, and businesses cannot afford to do that. Councillor Benney expressed the view that application such as these should be approved as they allow for individuals to protect their properties and to safeguard their investment. He referred to a business four doors from the application site which has a stone clad frontage with a tree growing from it, which has been like  ...  view the full minutes text for item P51/22


Land North of 59 and 61 March Road, Coates
Erect up to 4 x self/custom build dwellings (outline application with matters committed in respect of access) pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To determine the application.


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 members will have noted from the officer’s report that there are no technical objections to the proposal, with the applicant trying to achieve executive self-build style properties which are similar in style to those at the front of the site and although the site plan which was shown as part of the presentation is indicative, the proposal is likely to be for bungalows or chalet bungalows and not full two storey properties. He stated that in the Whittlesey Neighbourhood Plan it states that development proposals which make a provision for self-build and custom build housing will be supported and schemes which provide executive homes as part of a wider housing mix will also be supported which is what the applicant is trying to achieve, and any design of the properties would be agreed with officers.


Mr Hall stated that the officer’s report refers to the proposal as being in the open countryside, butd directly to the east of the site there is a proposal for in excess of 200 houses on land that abuts this site all to the east and is set far back from March Road as the proposal before the committee. He stated that the proposal would not result in a loss of agricultural land as it iss currently used as grassland and is maintained by each property and the application still retains large gardens to the rear of the existing dwellings which are located at the front of the site.


Mr Hall pointed out that the land is all located in Flood Zone 1 and there has only been one objection received to the proposal which he has reviewed, with the proposed site being in excess of 85 metres from the objector. He expressed the opinion that the officer’s report appears to be a positive report and it confirms that there are no technical objections to the proposal, and he pointed out that he has received a number of enquiries from persons wishing to purchase the site or individual plots which confirms that there is interest in the development to be built out.


Mr Hall stated that under 1.3 of the officer’s report it confirms that a policy compliant scheme could be achieved at the site in relation to highways, refuse collection, flood risk, ecology, residential amenity, and drainage.


Members asked officers the following questions:

·       Nick Harding pointed out that there was also an objection submitted from Whittlesey Town Council.

·       Councillor Benney asked officers to clarify that the application is adjacent to the big site that is earmarked for development further out as stated in the SHELA report in the draft Local Plan? Nick Harding confirmed that is correct. Councillor Benney asked officers to confirm that as that is the case then if the proposed piece of land does come forward as a development it would be between the  ...  view the full minutes text for item P52/22


18 East Park Street, Chatteris
Erect a first-floor rear extension to existing building pdf icon PDF 932 KB

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 Mr Mark Williams, the applicant. Mr Williams explained that he is the CEO of the Police Firearms Office Association which is a registered charity and has 11,000 members across the United Kingdom. He explained that the members and their families are all looked after by the association and the members are all officers involved in armed policing in the UK, with the charity providing counselling, physiotherapy, financial support, respite breaks and anything that can help the officers be at work or back to work if they are absent.


Mr Williams explained that the charity moved into Chatteris Police Station in 2015 and a fifteen-year lease was signed with the Police and Crime Commissioner and shortly afterwards the Constabulary chose to close the Police Station. He stated that six staff are employed on a full-time basis, three are employed in a part time capacity and in 2019 a museum of armed policing was opened which was housed in the dilapidated garage area which was converted into a museum attracting over 2,000 visitors a year educating and informing the public about armed policing including schools where the younger generation can learn about the dangers of knife and gun crime.


Mr Williams explained that in 2019, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, visited the museum, and she expressed her delight in what had been achieved including the work of the staff who support Police Officers nationally. He pointed out that the planning application has been submitted to future proof the future of the association and to ensure that it can remain in Chatteris, with the detail of the application being as sympathetic as possible which includes the wooden cladding that blends in with the buildings immediately around the existing building and consultation has been undertaken with the neighbouring properties and particularly the older neighbours that live to the right-hand side of the Police Station and there have been no objections to the proposal.


Mr Williams expressed the view that the application will provide an increase in office space, a bigger and better museum and a state-of-the-art virtual reality firearms range which does not make noise, but it is a new form of technology, and the association will be one of the first in the UK to have it. He pointed out that it is hoped that the footfall to the museum will also increase, and Insight Days will also be introduced for Police Officers who are interested in armed policing and for those looking to join the Police.


Mr Williams explained that the Police Station in Chatteris will also be re-introduced for at least two days a week, which Cambridgeshire Police have agreed to, and it will reopen at the expense of the Association and not the public. He added that the increased footfall to the museum will create money for the local economy and also increase employment.


Mr Williams stated that the 30-metre-high radio  ...  view the full minutes text for item P53/22