Agenda item

Planning Application DC/23/0783/VAR - Doctors Hall, Bury Lane, Stanton (Report No: DEV/WS/23/039)


(The Chair agreed to bring this item forward on the agenda, in order to allow additional time in which for one of the registered speakers to arrive for the Newmarket application.)


Planning application - application to vary conditions 2 (approved plans), 4 (insulation details) and 6 (breeding bitch numbers) of DC/17/1652/FUL for the material change in the use of the land from paddock to the breeding and keeping of dogs comprising the following: (a) 2.1 metre high close boarded timber fence and concrete post; (b) car parking area; (c) 2no. dog kennels and (d) 1no. stable block as amended by plans received 15 November 2023


This application was referred to the Development Control Committee following consideration by the Delegation Panel.


Stanton Parish Council objected to the application, which was contrary to the Officer recommendation for approval subject to conditions as set out in Paragraph 48 of Report No DEV/WS/23/039.


Members were advised that the application was originally validated as a ‘FULL’ planning application and made available for public viewing. Given the proposed changes were to an existing permission, the application was subsequently changed to a variation of condition ‘VAR’ application. Whilst this was occurring in discussion with the planning agent, the application remained accessible on the West Suffolk Public Access website, with an Officer update document to allow members of the public the opportunity to comment. Once the application type and relevant plans were uploaded and changed, a full 21-day consultation was undertaken.


The Principal Planning Officer explained that planning permission was granted on 29 November 2017 for the change of use of the land from paddock to the breeding and keeping of dogs comprising a 2.1-metre-high close boarded timber fence and concrete post, car parking area, two dog kennels and a stable block. The application before the Committee sought variations to Conditions 2, 4 and 6 of the 2017 permission. The application is partially retrospective.


A supplementary ‘late paper’ was issued following publication of the agenda, which set out an additional neighbour representation.  A Member site visit was held prior to the meeting.


In conclusion, the Principal Planning Officer asked Members to be mindful that licensing requirements and moral/ethical concerns were not Material Planning Considerations.


Speakers:    Councillor Jim Thorndyke (Ward Member: Stanton) spoke against the application

                   Charlie Taylor (applicant) spoke in support of the application

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


Councillor Jon London addressed the meeting and advised those Members with licensing concerns in relation to the application to pass these on to the relevant Council department.


Considerable discussion took place in relation to the retrospective elements of the application and the enforcement history associated with the site, particularly in respect of the soft landscaping and acoustic fence that were required as part of the 2017 permission and was yet to have been delivered.


In response to which the Principal Planning Officer explained that enforcement can take many forms, not only formal action, with the planning application before Members seeking to regularise the activity on site.


Members were also assured that Public Health & Housing had been closely consulted by Planning Officers in relation to the application.


A question was posed as to what was the formal definition of a ‘quiet lane’, and the Lawyer advising the meeting confirmed that the classification found online was a lane with “less than 1,000 vehicle movements per day” amongst other criteria.


A number of the Committee made reference to the adjacent site allocated for the development of 200 homes and what weight was given to this in view of the additional number of residential neighbours this would generate.


The Service Manager (Planning – Development) explained that very little weight could be given to the proposed allocation in the Local Plan review at this stage or the current pending application for residential development. However, Public Health & Housing had bourn this application and proposed application in mind during their consideration of noise impacts of this variation application.


Councillor David Smith proposed that the application be refused, contrary to the Officer recommendation, due to the impact on neighbouring amenity principally in terms of noise. This was duly seconded by Councillor Lora-Jane Miller-Jones.


The Service Manager (Planning – Development) explained that in light of Public Health & Housing being content with the noise impacts, subject to the provision of the acoustic fencing and other related conditions, the Decision Making Protocol would be invoked, requiring a Risk Assessment to be produced for consideration by the Committee, therefore, making the recommendation a ‘minded to’ decision.


Councillor Jon London highlighted the fact that the Council’s Local Plan was seeking adoption at full Council on 19 December 2023. If the ‘minded to’ recommendation was passed by the Committee, it would return before Members after the Local Plan was adopted. He therefore asked if this would impact the weight that was given to the pending application for 200 homes.


Members were advised that if the Local Plan was adopted by Council on 19 December 2023 the allocation would only be attributed very limited weight as the Local Plan would then be subject to further formal processes before it gained full weight.


Upon being put to the vote and with 9 voting for the motion and with 6 against, it was resolved that




Members be MINDED TO REFUSE THE APPLICATION, CONTRARY TO THE OFFICER RECOMMENDATION, due to the impact on neighbouring amenity principally in terms of noise. A Risk Assessment would therefore be produced for consideration by the Committee at a future meeting.


(Councillor Peter Armitage left the meeting at 12.10pm on conclusion of this item.)



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