Agenda item

S/4002/19/VC - Fowlmere (Apple Acre Park, London Road)

Removal of condition 2 (The site shall not be used other than as a touring caravan site and/or tent site and shall not be occupied by mobile homes used either for seasonal use or permanent residential accommodation) of planning permission S/1156/92/F


Councillor Deborah Roberts (Fowlmere Parish Council and Local Member) addressed the meeting.


Declarations of interest

Councillor Mark Howell declared a non-pecuniary interest as he knew one of the owners. He left the room whilst this item was discussed and did not vote. Councillors John Batchelor, Bradnam, Cahn, Fane, Milnes, Rippeth, Roberts, Heather Williams and Wright all declared a non-pecuniary interest, as they had discussed this site at their meeting on 13 November, but they were all considering this matter afresh.


Minor correction

The Case Officer explained that paragraph 88 of the report should be corrected to state that the Highways authority have objected to the application but have not commented on the one-way system. It was unclear what the Highways Authority’s objection related to.


Committee steer in November

The Senior Planning Lawyer reminded the Committee that it had discussed this matter at its meeting on 13 November 2019, where it had endorsed the officers’ proposed position in respect of the applicant’s appeal, to support area D and refuse area A. He advised on the importance of consistency and said that if the Committee were minded to refuse they should provide clear reasons for taking a decision that was contrary to the guidance the Committee members provided in November.


Application before Committee

The Senior Planning Lawyer advised the Committee that regardless of the current planning appeal, a decision was required on this application. It was noted that if this application was approved, the appeal would become irrelevant as to area D.


Certificate of change of use

The Case Officer explained that the Council had already granted a certificate of change of use and this allowed permanence residency.


Number of units

The Case Officer advised that up to 5 units were permitted in any case and so if agreed there would be no increase in the number of residents. If the application were approved, mobile homes (as well as touring caravans) would be allowed all year round on the site.


Members of the Committee made the following points:

·         The application proposed no increase to permanent residents on site.

·         The application would allow mobile homes on this site.

·         A certificate of change of use had been granted to allow permanent residence.

·         The certificate of change of use was for touring caravans, not mobile homes.

·         Static mobile homes, for use all year round, would not benefit tourism.

·         The Highways Agency had objected to this.

·         The planning inspector in the appeal of 21 months ago highlighted the conflict with the Council’s policies as it was outside the village framework.


Reason for objection

Committee members proposed that the application should be refused as the development was outside the village framework and so was contrary to the Council’s existing policies and there was no substantial reason to disregard the policy. The Strategic Sites Manager explained that the officer advice was that as the certificate of change of use permitted permanent residence and in his view this outweighed the policy conflict.


With three votes in favour, five against and two abstentions the Committee resolved to REFUSE the application on the grounds that it was contrary to policy S7, development outside the village framework.


(Councillors John Batchelor, Cahn and Fane voted in favour. Councillor Bradnam, Daunton, Roberts, Heather Williams and Wright voted against. Councillor Milnes and Rippeth abstained.)

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