Agenda item


(Retrospective) storage building.


The application was refused contrary to the case officer’s recommendation.


(Retrospective – storage building)


(Councillors Greenow, James and Powers had left the meeting and were not present during consideration of this application. 

The Development Manager (DM) gave a presentation on the application, and updates/additional representations received following the publication of the agenda were provided in the update sheet, as appended to these Minutes.

In accordance with the criteria for public speaking, Mr W Harries, of Cradley and Storridge Parish Council spoke in opposition to the Scheme.  Ms S Thomas, a local resident, spoke in objection.  Mr G Clark, the applicant’s agent, spoke in support.

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, the local ward member, Councillor EE Chowns, spoke on the application.

She made the following principal comments:

·        She had requested that the application be considered by the committee because of the strength of local opposition.

·        The development was unnecessary and inappropriate and conflicted with core strategy policies LD1 and LD 2 and Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) policies CNDP 5 and 6.

·        The application was for a very large barn that was out of keeping with the size of the holding and could not reasonably be considered necessary.

·        There was no existing agricultural or forestry activity or history of it since the applicant bought the site in 2011.  There was no economic justification for the proposal. 

·        The applicant had provided no evidence of need for the development.

·        The design was not appropriate for the intended use.  It could easily be converted to residential use noting the windows on the first floor.

·        The application was retrospective.  To date the barn had been used for the storage of construction machinery.  It was not an appropriate location for such storage.  There was no economic benefit to the community.

·        Several applications to develop on agricultural land in the area had been rejected.

·        The site was in the Malvern Hills AONB, in a special wildlife site and adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest and ancient woodland.  However, the applicant had given no consideration to the biodiversity impact in the application.

·        She considered that the site was visible from public rights of way.

·        Local residents considered that it did have an adverse impact on their amenity.

·        The applicant had sought to apply for other development in the location.

·        Whilst there was a proposed condition restricting the use of the barn to agricultural and forestry use there was insufficient hay or timber on site to justify the barn.  There was local concern about the ability to enforce conditions.

·        There was no evidence of any effort to conserve and enhance the landscape in accordance with policies LD1 and LD2.  The development was not necessary to promote the social and economic wellbeing of the area and was detrimental in this regard.  The proposal directly affected a wildlife site and there was no proposed mitigation in conflict with NDP policy CNDP 6.

·        There was no evidence that the development was reasonably necessary and it should be refused.

In the Committee’s discussion of the application the following principal points were made:

·        The DM clarified that there had not been active management of woodland on the site.  The application before the committee was not permitted development because the holding was 0.8 of a hectare below the relevant size.  On holdings of more than 5 hectares a building of 1,000 square metres could be allowed as permitted development.  On that basis he had concluded that the application before the committee of 170 square metres was modest.  The application gave the applicant the opportunity to manage the site more actively.  An application had been made under the prior approval procedure in 2013 which indicated such an intent.  The current proposal differed in design and that was part of the reason for the application as was the fact that the holding had marginally reduced in size.  He did consider the building to be modest in size and reasonably necessary.

·        It did not appear that the building had a forestry or agricultural use.  It had not been used for these purposes to date. 

·        Paragraph 1.2 of the report stated that the applicant had confirmed that the use of the barn would be the storage of agricultural and forestry machinery.

·        The size of the holding did not justify a barn of the size indicated, which was that of an average house.  There was an inconsistency within the application.

·        The potential conflict between traffic and horses was a concern.

·        The application was for a building in the AONB for which there appeared to be no need.

·        The DM commented that he had not himself seen any plant on the premises.  He emphasised that the application was not for a building to store equipment for plant hire and this must not form part of the committee’s consideration.  The application was specifically for agricultural storage and this was reflected in the proposed conditions.  If used for agricultural storage he considered any traffic movements would be minimal and there was no basis to refuse the application on highway safety grounds.

·        It was asked if condition 2 could be strengthened to restrict the storage to equipment directly associated with the management of the holding, so addressing the local concerns expressed that it was being used to store equipment associated with the applicant’s plant hire business.

·        Whilst the need for a building was unclear it was questioned if there were sufficient grounds on which to refuse the application.

The DM clarified that the original prior approval in 2013 had been for an L shaped building of 180 square metres.  It had been concluded that prior approval was not required.  It was permitted development.  That building had not been constructed and a different one effectively on the same site had been built with a floor area of 168 square metres.

The Lead Development Manager referred the committee to policies LD1, LD2, CNDP 5 and 6 and section 15 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The local ward member was given the opportunity to close the debate.  The building required planning permission.  She reiterated that she considered the application contrary to policies LD1 and LD 2 and CNDP 5 and 6. 

Councillor Bowen proposed and Councillor Seldon seconded a motion that the application be refused on the grounds that it was contrary to core strategy policies LD1 and LD2, NDP policies CNDP 5 and 6 and paragraph 15 of the NPPF.  The motion was carried with 7 votes in favour, 2 against and 1 abstention.

RESOLVED:  That planning permission be refused on the grounds that the application was contrary to core strategy policies LD1 and LD2, NDP policies CNDP 5 and 6 and section 15 of the NPPF and officers named in the scheme of delegation to officers be authorised to detail the reasons for refusal.

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