The Planning Officer presented the report which gave details of the application and highlighted the location and features of the site and key issues.
Councillor Tricia Clough, Ward Member, spoke against the application.
Councillor Tony Trafford on behalf of Glapwell Parish Council spoke against the application.
Ms. Jacqueline Hole attended the meeting and spoke against the application on behalf of herself and other local residents.
Mr Chris Waumsley, the agent on behalf of the applicant, attended the meeting and spoke in support of the application.
Committee considered the application having regard to the Bolsover District Local Plan, the emerging Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework.
The key issues considered in determining the application were:
· The principle of development.
· The sustainability of the site in relation to local services and facilities.
· Landscape character and visual impact of the proposed development.
· Residential amenity.
· Access and highway safety.
· Ecological impacts, including biodiversity, trees and hedges.
· Social Infrastructure and planning obligations.
· Other – including archaeology, drainage, contamination, stability.
Councillor Duncan McGregor outlined the reasons that he supported the approval of the application. Although it was recognised that the proposal was contrary to Saved Policies ENV3 and HOU9 of the adopted Local Plan, and Policies SS3 and SS9 of the emerging Local Plan and paragraph 79 of the Framework insofar as this site was outside the settlement framework/development envelope, material considerations outweighed this position. It was considered that the proposal did not contravene the policies to protect the countryside. The proposals could be considered as infill and did not encroach into the countryside beyond existing developments.
Further, the officer assessment of the land as grade 2 agricultural land that should be protected, was not supported. In the Member’s view the proposal was not contrary to Saved Policy ENV2, Emerging Policy SC5 or Paragraph 170b of the Framework. The land did not appear to be good quality land and did not appear to be intrinsic to or a valuable component of any farm business or ongoing agricultural operations. There was no evidence that the land had any significant ecological interest. In this case, housing was considered to be a more productive use of the land giving rise to socio-economic benefits through providing jobs and more homes than retaining the currently unproductive land that had limited utility for farming.
Councillor Duncan McGregor also outlined his view that there were no obvious reasons why development of this land would diminish physical and visual separation of Glapwell from the nearest neighbouring settlements contrary to Policy SS11 of the emerging Local Plan. There was also no case made that this development would result in coalescence of Glapwell with any neighbouring settlements. Therefore approval of this application would not undermine the planning purpose of important open breaks which were intended to retain and maintain the individual and locally distinctive identity of the District’s unique settlements, villages and towns.
The wider visual impact of the proposal on the landscape was perceived to be limited because the site was not especially prominent and the housing would be seen against the backdrop of existing residential development. As landscaping was a reserved matter, there was an opportunity to create a defensible settlement edge in accordance with Local Plan Policy GEN11, to create a landscape buffer on the edge of new developments.
Approving the application was considered to increase the provision of the affordable housing in the village with high house prices, which would benefit the next generations of villagers. The proposal would accelerate development on the other part of the site and the delivery of the restoration of The Bothy and the relocation of the existing nursery and provision of the farm shop.
Councillor Duncan McGregor commented on the need to be mindful of the impacts of failing to deliver sufficient houses and that accepting this windfall site could be considered to be the right thing in the right place. This would create a buffer should the planned sites for housing not be delivered, and enable the authority to resist housing development in more damaging locations.
In a previous appeal in respect of a neighbouring site, the Inspector had determined that Glapwell was a sustainable settlement for housing developments, although it was noted that the Inspector distinguished that site from neighbouring sites (including this application site). Members were also advised that the emerging Local Plan identified Glapwell as a small settlement, not suitable for housing developments of this scale. This was acknowledged and supported by the Inspector during the Local Plan examination.
It was concluded that, on the individual merits of the case, the limited harm as a consequence of the contravention of Local Plan policies and on the local area resulting from approving the application, would be significantly and demonstrably outweighed by the benefits of doing so.
Councillor Duncan McGregor moved that the application be approved contrary to officer recommendation, for the reasons as outlined above, subject to the securing of contributions requested by consultees and the provision of affordable housing, through completion of a S106 legal agreement, and subject to suitable planning conditions. Authority to agree the terms of the S106 legal agreement and the conditions was to be delegated to the Head of Planning, in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair of Planning Committee.
Moved by Councillor Duncan McGregor and seconded by Councillor Liz Smyth
RESOLVED that application 19/00583/OUT be approved, contrary to officer recommendation, for the reasons set out above, subject to prior entry to a S106 legal agreement to cover the contributions requested by consultees and the provision of affordable housing and that the Head of Planning, in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair of Planning Committee, be delegated authority to agree the terms of the S106 legal agreement and the conditions.