Agenda item

Planning Application DC/23/0719/FUL - Chels, 51A Bury Road, Newmarket (Report No: DEV/WS/23/030)

Report No: DEV/WS/23/030


Planning application - change of use of existing residential swimming pool to be used by swim school (sui generis)


(Councillor Rachel Hood declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in this item and advised that as she had made a personal representation in respect of the application she had sought the Monitoring Officer's advice and would be withdrawing from the meeting during the Committee's consideration of the application.)


Planning application - change of use of existing residential swimming pool to be used by swim school (sui generis)


This application was originally referred to the Development Control Committee on 6 September 2023 following consideration by the Delegation Panel on 1 August 2023.


At that meeting Members resolved to defer the consideration of the application in order to allow a site visit to take place, which was subsequently scheduled for 2 October 2023.


Newmarket Town Council objected based on their suggested conditions not being applied to the application.


Officers were recommending that the application be approved, subject to conditions as set out in Paragraph 46 of Report No DEV/WS/23/030, inclusive of an amendment to the wording of condition No. 5 to reflect that the application was retrospective.


The Planning Officer informed the Committee that a late representation had been received from the Jockey Club who stated that they did not object to the scheme subject to three additional conditions being applied:

     i.        Wednesday is the only day of the week when lessons are allowed to take place before 1pm (in this case between 9.30am and 11am);

    ii.        Classes on Wednesday mornings are restricted to three swimmers, as per the applicant’s supporting statement which also says that “most attendees are siblings that come in one car”;

   iii.        All vehicles park within the site and not on the private access road or Bury Road.

However, Members were advised that it would not be possible to include iii. as parking on the private access road and/or Bury Road could not be conditioned as part of the application.


Speakers:    Tim Merrell (on behalf of Patricia Merrell, neighbouring objector) spoke against the application

                   Nicola Dale (neighbouring objector) spoke against the application

                   Calum Gawthrope (founder/owner of CG Swim School and user of the pool) spoke in support of the application

                   Councillor Sue Perry (Ward Member: Newmarket East) spoke against the application

                   Stephen Redhead (applicant) spoke in support of the application

                   (Councillor Perry was not present at the meeting in order to address the Committee, instead the Democratic Services Officer read out a pre-prepared statement on her behalf)


(On conclusion of the public speaking Councillor Hood left the meeting, following her earlier declaration of interest.)


Considerable discussion took place on the application and the private access road. Councillor Jon London asked if it would be possible to restrict pedestrian access to the swimming pool in order to prevent users parking on the private road.


The Service Manager (Planning – Development) explained that use of the private road was a civil matter and was not a Material Planning Consideration. Furthermore, it would not be possible to restrict pedestrian access to the swimming pool as it would preclude those opting to walk there as their mode of transport.


Councillor Lora-Jane Miller-Jones queried the wording in Condition 4 in respect of the restrictions over the number of people permitted on the site at any one time. She asked if it could be clarified that the restrictions only applied to those taking part in the lessons and not accompanying parents/carers. The Service Manager (Planning – Development) suggested that an informative could be attended to a permission to provide clarification.


Councillor Andy Neal posed questions in respect of the rules and regulations required to operate a facility that accommodated swimmers with special educational needs and disabilities. The Service Manager (Planning – Development) explained that this was not a Material Planning Consideration and did not form part of the application before the Committee.


A number of comments were made over the parking provision, which some Members considered to be inadequate despite Suffolk County Council Highways being satisfied with the proposal.


Councillor Don Waldron proposed that the application be refused, contrary to the Officer recommendation, due to the impact the parking arrangements would have on neighbours’ amenity. This was duly seconded by Councillor Andy Neal.


The Service Manager (Planning – Development) explained that the Decision Making Protocol would not need to be invoked and the motion for refusal would not be ‘minded to’ and not subject to the production of a Risk Assessment.


Accordingly, upon being put to the vote and with 6 voting for the motion, 6 against and with 3 abstentions, it was resolved on the Chair’s casting vote that 




Planning permission be REFUSED, CONTRARY TO THE OFFICER RECOMMENDATION, for the following reason:

Policy DM2 requires all development to not adversely affect the amenities of adjacent areas. This supports the requirements of the NPPF that seek to ensure a high standard of amenity for existing and future users as well as the provisions of Policy NKT5 which seeks to prevent businesses at home where they do not respect the nature of the part of the neighbourhood area in which they are located, or which would result in an unacceptable level of visits and activities which would detract from the amenity of the immediate locality.


The pool building and the site in general is closely related to a number of off site residential dwellings, accessed from a private drive and the use of the site as a commercial swimming school is considered to have an adverse impact upon the amenities of nearby residential dwellings by reason of the disturbance associated with comings and goings of vehicles and customers. The harm associated with such impact is significant and it is not considered that the use of conditions would adequately mitigate for the impacts arising from the proposed use of the site which is located in such close proximity to off site dwellings.


The proposal therefore fails to comply with the requirements of Policy DM2, nor with the provisions of Para. 130 of the NPPF or the requirements of Policy NKT5 of the Newmarket Neighbourhood Plan. 


(On conclusion of this item the Chair permitted a short comfort break, during which Councillor Rachel Hood rejoined the meeting.)





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