To determine the application.
Nicholas Thrower presented the report to members.
Members received a written representation from Samantha Tilney read out by Member Services.
Ms Tilney stated as the resident who will arguably be impacted the most by the proposed development, she felt she needed once more to register her opposition to this application and is supported in her objection by the residents of 4 of the 5 properties in this locale who have expressed multiple reasons for opposing the development. She made the point that the one neighbour who did not oppose the application has an informal arrangement for access to the plot with the applicant.
Ms Tilney expressed the view of the homes already built here the 3 most recent were conversions of existing agricultural buildings, unlike the building proposed which will be a completely new dwelling in a previously undeveloped position. She feels the rural nature of this area is a very important factor in its desirability and anything which affects this could also affect the value of her property and those of her neighbours.
Ms Tilney stated that a main concern for herself and others is that allowing the construction of this property would set a precedent for further dwellings being built in the future, with the position of the proposed residence on the plot suggesting that additional buildings could be built further down the plot later on with no objection from their nearest neighbour which would be the occupant of the proposed dwelling. She expressed the view that access to the plot remains a major issue and the applicant has mentioned tarmacking the entire lane which would change the character of this area, with the lane currently being conservatively managed by the residents.
Ms Tilney expressed the opinion that any building work would increase traffic and the degradation of the surface, with the left-hand bend at the bottom of the track also being an issue and extremely difficult for any long wheel-based vehicle including construction vehicles during any building and for maintenance, delivery, and emergency vehicles to negotiate. In her view, a fire engine would not be able to attend the proposed development without damage to the existing track and fauna or damage to the vehicle.
Ms Tilney stated that access from the main road would need to be considered as any increase in vehicular activity would increase the risk incurred in turning from a main road into a single-track lane, from which emerging vehicles cannot be seen easily. She made the point that whilst the A1101 road is limited to 40mph, many passing vehicles do not comply with this as those that live in the area witness.
Ms Tilney believes that any benefit or improvement of the local community would be negligible and the rural feeling and outlook of the present settlement would be changed forever, with the privacy of her garden in particular being potentially be reduced. She made the point that the exact nature of the proposed building is not clear from the present plans and to what extent her garden would be overlooked, with the construction of this property not contributing in any significant way to the economy of the local villages or amenities.
Ms Tilney expressed the view that the destruction of long-established flora and fauna would be distressing to see, and although surveys have not shown any rare or endangered species would be affected, there is a wide range of wildlife which enhances the area and which would be dislodged by the development. She feels that anyone in her position would be understandably apprehensive at the prospect of development and the traffic this would cause passing so close to her property, but in this case the possibility that this could be the first of several episodes of disruption if additional permissions were sought in the future makes her opposition even stronger.
Ms Tilney referred to at least one committee member having visited the site and feels they could corroborate the narrowness of the access into the plot and the proximity to the boundary of her house any large vehicle would need when passing. She feels it was underhand of the applicant to approach members of the golf course to support his application and a quick look at the locations of those who have submitted supporting documents shows that many who have expressed an opinion will be in no way affected by this development except that they hope that there will be more “quality housing in Fenland”., but she cannot help but wonder if they would want this quality housing built on their own doorstep?
Ms Tilney reiterated that she strongly objects to this application and hope that the effect it will have upon this community will be taken into consideration when a decision is made.
Members received a presentation, in accordance with the public participation procedure, from Gareth Edwards, the agent.
Mr Edwards stated that the site is within Flood Zones 2 and 3 and it is no different to many otherdevelopments within the district, with the submitted Flood Risk Assessmentdemonstrating that the scheme can be made technically safe from flooding andcomes withthe support of the Environment Agency (EA). He advised that the Flood Risk Assessment, which has been approved by the EA, confirms thereare no other suitable sites within the village of Tydd Gote and this was furtherconfirmed earlier that day as he had carried out a Right Move search which shows noplots of land for sale in Tydd Gote.
Mr Edwards stated that he would be happy to accept the improved construction of the dwelling, as previously conditioned on similar sites, toachieve the exception test and he added that he would argue that the site is within Tydd Goteand consistent with other developments approved in the district, andparticularly similarto theplots thatwere approvedat MouthLane, Guyhirn. He stated that the site is located in a cluster of dwellings off the existing access road whichserves the site, and he would argue that the proposal would finish off this part ofTydd Gote and close off any future development of the site and wouldnot create a precedent for furtherdevelopment inthis area.
Mr Edwards explained that the proposed dwelling is indicative at present, but as the plot is of an executive size, it could accommodate a good-sized family dwelling which will add toFenland’s diverse housing stock. He added that should there be a preference for anagricultural styleddwelling hewould bemore thanhappy to accept this.
Mr Edwards expressed the view that the plot has a fantastic outlook at the end of the cluster of dwellings, which wouldbe very sought after and the site is served via an existing access on to Main Road. Whilst the site is agricultural at present, in his view, it is of a size that is no longer commercially viable tofarm and with the built form around it lends itself to a residential site, with there already being a built form on the land and should it be used forlivestock the traffic generationto the sitewould be increased.
Mr Edwards explained that the existing structure on the land has the potential for conversion under a Class Q application, and he would be happy to accept a condition to remove the permitted development rights, which would stop it being converted and limitencroachment. He stated that it has been said on many occasions at Planning Committee that parcels of land like this are massively valuable to housing supply in the District and are at a prime,plots like these will be developed by self-builders or smaller developers thatare being priced out of the larger sections of land due to the cost of theinfrastructure and land price, small builders and self-builders employ localtradesman and agents and buy locally from local merchants, which in turncontributes to other businesses in the district.
Mr Edwards expressed the view that support for this type of development can be seen in the 18 letters of support from local properties and local developers who many have shown an interest in purchasingthe site to buildout what is proposed. He stated that the proposal makes the best use of the land and will finish off this part of the village andthe lane as a whole and asked the committee to support the proposal and approve the application with the conditions deemedappropriate.
Members asked officers the following questions:
· Councillor Mrs French stated that she has noted from the report that there are letters of support and objection, including letters of support which are from individuals who reside in excess of 50 miles away, which she does not agree with. David Rowen stated that the representations that are counted in terms of the scheme of delegation which is what triggers what applications come before the Planning Committee are based on representations received from the ward and the adjacent ward. He added that the representations that are listed in the planning application report all have to be included regardless of the location the representation comes from.
Members asked questions, made comments, and received responses as follows:
· Councillor Cornwell expressed the view that it is important to note the comments of the Parish Council who state that they find the proposal to be an unwarranted incursion into the open countryside contrary to LP3. He added that he will always give great weight to the views of the considerations of the Parish Council. Councillor Cornwell stated that it is open countryside, with that part being split from Tydd Gote by the North Level Main Drain, and expressed the view that if there was flooding issue with the plot then the rest of East Anglia would be in a disastrous position. He expressed the view that officers have made the correct recommendation.
· Councillor Mrs French expressed the view that officers have made the correct recommendation for the application.
Proposed by Councillor Mrs French, seconded by Councillor Cornwell and decided that the application be REFUSED as per the officer’s recommendation.