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Agenda item

DM/17/03250/VOC - Deneside Lodge Park, Wolsingham, Bishop Auckland

Removal of holiday occupation condition (No.16) of 3/2010/0143 to allow permanent residential accommodation for over 55s.


The Committee considered a report of the Senior Planning Officer with regards to an application for the removal of a holiday occupation condition to allow permanent residential accommodation for over 55’s at Deneside Lodge Park, Wolsingham, Bishop Auckland (for copy see file of minutes).


The Principal Planning Officer gave a detailed presentation of the application which included a site location plan, aerial photograph, elevations, site layout and photographs of the site.


The Chairman considered a request to speak from the Agent, who had missed the registration deadline and advised that he would not exercise his discretion in favour of allowing him to speak as this would not be fair to those who had been previously denied in the past, for similar reasons.  He reminded the Agent that his circumstances were not such that he was prepared to waive the notification period and he also confirmed that he would not consider a request to defer the application.


Councillor Shuttleworth confirmed that the application site was within his ward and asked the Chairman to reconsider the request to speak, however this was denied.  The Solicitor confirmed that the Protocol was clear that this was a matter for the discretion of the Chairman and he had made his decision.


Councillor Clare queried whether Councillor Shuttleworth was attending in support of the application, referring to his reason for referring it to Committee by citing the need for housing development in Wolsingham.  Councillor Clare was concerned that there could be an element of pre-determination and suggested that if Councillor Shuttleworth was in support of the application, he ought to declare an interest in the item and withdraw from the meeting.  Councillor Shuttleworth confirmed in response to advice from the Solicitor that he was in attendance as a Member of the Committee and despite the issue raised, he had attended with an open mind and would therefore not be declaring an interest.


Councillor Shuttleworth went on to confirm that the site was in a sustainable location, a five minute walk from Wolsingham town centre and he reconfirmed the need for houses in the area.


Councillor Clare agreed that the site was in a sustainable location, however he suggested that the former application should have been for housing and not holiday cottages.  The criteria for the assessment of housing applications was very different to holiday chalets and by removing the condition the Committee would be potentially allowing a housing development which did not meet road, drainage and sewage standards.  Councillor Clare suggested that any number of applications could come forward with the same intention and although all applications were judged on their own merit, the issue of precedent in this case could not be ignored.  He confirmed that an 11 month rule of occupancy was the minimum which should be insisted upon.  He moved that the recommendation be refused as per the reasons outlined in the report.


The Principal Planning Officer confirmed that the condition did not impose a rule of 11 months, the condition potentially allowed 365 days accommodation, however the condition offered protection from being permanent accommodation and therefore anyone who resided on the site with no private residence would be in breach of the condition.


Councillor Chaplow considered an application for permanent accommodation for over 55’s was welcome as most new homes were built for young people.


Councillor Tinsley considered the shortage of housing in Weardale, however his concerns were that if the original application had been for housing, it would not have been granted approval.  Should the Committee approve this application, the economic benefit of the existing development would be lost and in terms of the housing shortage, alternative sites were available.  The units were situated on a flood plane and this was much more significant should they become permanent residencies, especially with regards to older people.  He noted the request for the application to be deferred, but as  the principle of the development was in issue, he did not think that a deferment would change that, and he concluded that it was not appropriate to support a housing development on this site.


Councillor McKeon agreed that although the application would free up homes in the area for the younger generation, it was not a well supported proposal for permanent residency.


Councillor Huntington had concerns that as people age, they may find they have problems living in this type of accommodation.


Councillor Atkinson supported the Officers recommendation and seconded the motion to refuse the application.


Councillor Richardson lived close to the area and agreed that there was a need for homes for the elderly, however even if the Agent had been given the opportunity to speak, he did not think that could change his view that there were no reasons to support approval.




That the application be approvedREFUSED for the reasons outlined in the report. 


* Amendment agreed by the Committee at the meeting on 20 September 2018


Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714