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Agenda item

DM/18/03100/OUT - Land to the West of Eden Cottage, Station Town

DM/18/03100/OUT - Outline application for residential development comprising 4 dwellings with all matters reserved.



The Senior Planning Officer, Paul Hopper, gave a detailed presentation on the report relating to the abovementioned planning application, a copy of which had been circulated (for copy see file of minutes).  Members noted that the written report was supplemented by a visual presentation which included photographs of the site.  The Senior Planning Officer advised that Members of the Committee had visited the site and were familiar with the location and setting.  It was noted the proposal was an outline application for residential development comprising 4 dwellings with all matters reserved and was recommended for refusal.


The Senior Planning Officer noted the application had been brought to Committee at the request of Local Members, with the current application being a resubmission of a previously withdrawn application, albeit with an amended indicative site layout plan and a reduction from six dwellings to four.  The Senior Planning Officer noted that the area of land was a narrow parcel, bordered by open space, with residential properties at either end of the parcel.  He noted the site currently displayed a number of uses, including agricultural use, livestock on site together with a variety of boundary treatments in use.  Members noted the C22 road running alongside the side, linking Station Town and Wingate to Hutton Henry.  It was explained to the Committee that there were a number of timber sheds on the site, together with two caravans.  The Senior Planning Officer reiterated that the application was outline, with all matters reserved, however, the indicative layout of four properties all showed individual access on to the C22.  He added that the supporting information with the application suggested that the properties would be bungalow style properties.


In terms of representations, the Senior Planning Officer noted no objections from the Highways Section and similarly no objections from the majority of the internal consultees, subject to conditions and an appropriate Section 106 Legal Agreement.  Members noted that the Council’s Landscape Section had raised objections to the application on the basis that they felt the proposals would have substantial adverse impact of the landscape and visual impact in a “DCC Landscape Improvement Priority Area” where the aim of spatial policy was to “restore and enhance”.




The Senior Planning Officer noted that there had been no objections from members of the public and in this case Paragraph 11 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was engaged, with there being a balance test applied, with a presumption in favour of sustainable development unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.  He explained that the Landscape Section noted that the proposed development would adversely impact in terms of further erosion of the rural character of the area and would represent a degree of coalescence between the settlements of Station Town and Hutton Henry that was not acceptable.  Officers felt that on balance the limited benefits of the development in terms of housing supply and jobs was outweighed by the adverse impacts and set out by the Landscape Section and therefore the application was recommended for refusal.


The Chairman thanked the Senior Planning Officer and asked Councillor R Crute, Local Member, to speak in support of the application.


Councillor R Crute noted that he and his fellow Local Member supported the application and noted that there had been no objections from residents or any Council Department other that the Landscape Section.  He noted that the objections were in terms of “loss of views” and felt that there were three issues: whether it was a significant loss; whether there was coalescence between Station Town and Hutton Henry; and whether the development was sustainable, with if the latter was the case then the NPPF states that consent should be provided without delay.


In relation to the views, Councillor R Crute noted that many were partially obstructed by a hedge and that the vast majority of those passing the site would be doing so by car.  He explained it was not a route frequently used by pedestrians and the lack of any objections from the public was evidence of this.


In respect of the possible coalescence of Station Town and Hutton Henry, Councillor R Crute noted that this was in fact not the case, noting that the development was in fact in-fill development within Station Town, as the property adjoining the site and several beyond that as you moved along the C22 towards Hutton Henry were in fact all within Station Town.  He gave the example of the Station Town Parish Hall and Cemetery being further along the C22 towards Hutton Henry than the application site.  He reiterated that the development did not represent coalescence, rather was within Station Town.


In terms of the sustainability of the site, Councillor R Crute referred to paragraph 45 of the Officer’s report, which set out the case for the site being sustainable with local shops and services nearby and bus stops providing transport links.


Councillor R Crute felt that the application should be approved as: it did not represent a significant loss of views; did not constitute coalescence as all the proposed development was within Station Town; and the application was considered sustainable and the NPPF noted that such development should be given consent with delay.  Accordingly, Councillor R Crute urged the Committee to consider granting consent and allow the development to go ahead.


The Chairman thanked Councillor R Crute and asked the Committee for their comments and questions on the application.


Councillor J Clark noted the parts of the NPPF that supported the application and reiterated Councillor R Crute’s comments in terms of the site being wholly within Station Town.  She noted Part 6 of the NPPF in relation to a strong economy, Part 8 in relation to healthy communities; and Part 12 in terms of achieving well designed places.  She added that Station Town had a large proportion of ex-mining stock housing and ex-Local Authority properties and the proposals within the application would help to add to the housing diversity, giving a boarder housing mix.  Councillor J Clark added that the Officer’s report set out at paragraph 17 of the report, saved Local Plan Policy 1 from the Easington District Local Plan which noted that account would be taken in terms of sustainable development while benefiting the community and local economy.  She noted that such development was needed in the area and supported the approval of the application.


Councillor M Davinson noted that he did not agree with Landscape Officers, with his opinion that the current condition of the site was such that it was a blight and that he did agree with Councillor J Clark and seconded her motion for approval.


Councillor J Robinson support the comments of his fellow Committee Members and questioned the statement at paragraph 64 of the report relating to a sum to ameliorate in terms of landscape concerns, and why this was for Castle Eden.


Councillor D Brown noted that having visited the site he felt that it was common sense in his opinion that the application would enhance the area and would not destroy views.


The Chairman asked the Senior Planning Officer and Solicitor – Planning and Development to respond to the points raised by Committee Members.


The Senior Planning Officer noted the commuted sum in relation to Castle Eden Walkway was in relation to ecology impact, not landscape impact.  He added that in terms of the site appearance and tidiness, there were separate policies in terms of untidy land and that as such mechanisms were in place there was not a need to redevelop land in order to tidy a side.


The Solicitor – Planning and Development noted the proposal which had been seconded and suggested that this would also include delegated authority to the Planning Officer to provide and appropriate suite of conditions and a relevant Section 106 Legal Agreement as discussed at paragraphs 64 and 6 6of the Officer’s report relating to ecology and the Heritage Coast Management Plan.


Councillor J Robinson suggested that the delegation be to the Planning Officer in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee.  Councillors J Clark and M Davinson agreed.







That the application be APPROVED subject to a suite of conditions and s106 Legal Agreements to be delegated to the Planning Officer, in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee.


Supporting documents:


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