Agenda item

Planning Application DC/23/0493/FUL - Milton House, Thurlow Road, Withersfield (Report No: DEV/WS/23/037)

Report No: DEV/WS/23/037


Planning Application - five dwellings (following demolition of existing house)


Planning Application - five dwellings (following demolition of existing house)


This application was referred to the Development Control Committee as the previous applications on the site were refused by the Committee in September 2020 and June 2021.


The most recent application on the site was refused for the following reasons:

-        harm to the Conservation Area;

-        impact on biodiversity; and

-        impact on neighbouring amenity.


The refusal was then appealed by the applicant in March 2022 and the appeal was dismissed by the Inspector in September 2022. In dismissing the appeal, the Inspector concluded that the development was acceptable in respect of the impact on the Conservation Area, flood risk, highways matters and biodiversity matters.


The reason for dismissing the appeal was solely due to the conflict found with the Development Plan in respect of the impact on the living conditions of the occupiers of the neighbouring dwellings to the site, The Old Bakery and Thistledown Cottage.


In response to the comments made by the Inspector the applicant had made amendments to both Plot 1 and Plot 5 in order to address the concerns.


Withersfield Parish Council objected to the proposal, which Officers were recommending for approval, subject to conditions as set out in Paragraph 64 of Report No DEV/WS/23/037.


As part of his presentation to the meeting the Principal Planning Officer provided videos of the site by way of a virtual ‘site visit’.


Speakers:    Denis Elavia (neighbouring objector, speaking on behalf of himself and other neighbouring objectors) spoke against the application

                   Councillor Frank Eve (Vice Chair of Withersfield Parish Council) spoke against the application

                   Councillor Indy Wijenayaka (Ward Member: Withersfield) spoke against the application

                   David Barker (agent) spoke in support of the application


Councillor David Smith made reference to Paragraphs 45 and 48 of the report which outlined the changes that had been made to Plots 1 and 5. He raised concerns that the amendments were marginal, with the siting of the Plot 1 dwelling not having been changed at all.


The concerns with Plot 1 in particular were also echoed by Councillors Carol Bull, Jon London and Lora-Jane Miller-Jones.


Remarks were also made by the Committee on the size of the gardens within the scheme and how these were not in keeping with the garden sizes of the adjacent properties.


In response to comments in relation to the potential award of costs associated with a future appeal, the Chair interjected and reminded that the Committee that was not relevant to the determination of the application before them.


Councillor Ian Houlder drew attention to the detailed conditions set out in the report and moved that the application be approved, as per the Officer recommendation. This was duly seconded by Councillor Roger Dicker.


A question was asked as to whether the Inspector had visited the site and the Service Manager (Planning – Development) drew attention to the date of the Inspector’s visit which was shown in Working Paper 1.


This then prompted further discussion on the merits of a site visit. It was confirmed by the Chair that the Committee had not visited the site previously in either 2020 or 2021.


Mindful of the perceived will of the Committee, the proposer and seconder of the motion to approve the application confirmed with the Chair that they withdrew their proposal.


Accordingly, Councillor Roger Dicker proposed that consideration of the application be deferred in order to allow a Member site visit to take place. This was duly seconded by Councillor Phil Wittam.


Upon being put to the vote and with 12 voting for the motion and 3 against, it was resolved that




Consideration of the application be DEFERRED in order to allow a Member site visit to take place.


(On conclusion of this item the Chair permitted a short comfort break.)

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