Resubmission of DM/22/00885/FPA for the conversion of lambing shed to single dwelling and engineering works to create lower ground floor, new access road, install ground source heat pumps and klargester package sewage treatment plant, create 3 ponds and construct new footpath (part retrospective)
The Committee considered a report of the Senior Planning Officer which provided details of a Resubmission of DM/22/00885/FPA for the conversion of lambing shed to single dwelling and engineering works to create lower ground floor, new access road, install ground source heat pumps and klargester package sewage treatment plant, create 3 ponds and construct new footpath (part retrospective) at Stockley View, Stockley Lane, Oakenshaw, Crook, DL15 0TL (for copy see file of minutes).
G Spurgeon, Senior Planning Officer, provided a detailed presentation of the application which included a site location plan, aerial photographs and photographs of the site.
Councillor F Tinsley, local Member questioned the location of the footpath and whether it was near the former railway line.
The Senior Planning Officer informed the Committee that the site access was not near the former railway line.
Councillor F Tinsley, Local Member informed the Committee that both local members were in agreement regarding this application and could both only see the positives adding the unusual nature of the application with officers being bound by policies the Committee were not. Councillor Tinsley noted that conversion of an agricultural building to a residential building was acceptable and informed the Committee of the significant work and cost that the applicant had put into the site noting with hindsight the applicant would have done things differently. The works in question causing the issues were basement works and below ground where any vehicles would be parked. The application proposed to plant trees on the site which would be able to demonstrate bio-diversity noting the uplift was in excess of 20%. Councillor Tinsley noted that the site was a minutes’ walk from the local bus service. There were no objections from local residents and the application had already been approved under Class-Q noting members could add conditions on the site for any concerns they had.
Steve Barker, Agent for the applicant, addressed the Committee and apologised for the mistake the applicant had made, informing the Committee the applicant lived close to the site and had wanted to get it fit and designed to accommodate a family members disability to be moved on to the site adding the applicant had believed the Class-Q would allow for such works. The site would use green energy adding the site was more than double the required bio-diversity and was already attracting wildlife seeing a 23% uplift. Once the work was completed it would be an improvement on the previous application. There were local transport links close to the site noting that a footpath would be created to link the site to the bus stop, and it would include low level lighting, which would go off when not required If approved it would create an exemplary carbon neutral dwelling with biodiversity net gain.
Councillor Atkinson queried the nature of the Class Q adding he understood the reasoning for wanting to move on to the site noting the application still looks as it did when first made so was unsure of what the issues were now adding it seemed the applicant had made a genuine mistake.
The Senior Planning Officer informed the Committee that the permitted development was for a change of use of the property under the Class Q restrictions which allowed the conversion of an agricultural building to a dwelling which limited the considerations the officers could take into account, adding that because of the works already carried out they could not be implemented under Class Q and so require full planning permission. The principal of development was not accepted and there had been no information submitted that would alter the views of the planning officer, as due to the work already carried out the proposals amounted to a complete rebuild and there was no fallback position for the applicant.
Councillor Adam noted that officers were not objecting to the original application adding that issues seemed to be with the work carried out underground and that the building as it existed now would still be approved.
The Senior Planning Officer reminded the Committee that the original application was a Class Q application which restricted the considerations Officers could take into account however due to the work that had been carried out that this was now a planning application.
Councillor McKeon stated that there was nothing more frustrating to her than a retrospective application and wondered why it did not come for secondary class Q approval before bringing the Committees attention to paragraphs 11 and 12 of the report noting that the application had been approved in principle adding that the committee was looking to grant retrospective planning permission, whilst also questioning why the original conditions had not been adhered to.
In response to Councillor McKeon, Steve Barker informed the Committee that the applicant had not sought advice on the works before carrying them out and had believed that the works taken underground would not need any additional permission, by the time this had been discovered it was beyond the point of the Class Q permissions and beyond rectifying whilst adding everything possible had been done to correct the mistake.
S Pilkington, South West Team Leader informed the Committee that Class Q applications did not need permission as long as they met limited criteria. He added that the Class Q and the planning application in front of Members today were two separate considerations, adding that whilst the Class Q had been approved the application had strayed so significantly from the original building that the applicant could not go back to exercise his development rights and the Planning Authority had to consider a full planning application.
L Ackermann, Planning and Highways Legal Officer informed the Committee that under Class Q the property could be converted from an agricultural building to a dwelling. Class Q sets out works that are allowed to be carried out to enable the agricultural building to be habitable. Class Q lists works that may not be carried out, including to the floor which was the case in this application. Once the works had been carried out to the floor it had changed the application from a Class Q permitted development to a conversion to needing planning permission.
Councillor Jopling noted that that works were permitted on some of the building with the original submission this was now clearly something very different.
Councillor McKeon noted that as the application now stood it would not have been given permission under Class Q, also asking the question regarding provisions for people with a disability and the works necessary to the property for this.
The South West Team Leader informed the Committee that the current application would not have been given permission under Class Q adding that there would be no direct permissions relating to disabled access.
The Chair asked what conditions were in place regarding the asbestos roof.
Steve Barker responded and noted that both applications proposed careful removal of the roof.
Councillor Jopling addressed the Committee stating this was a difficult application but as a Committee they would have to look at the extensive amount of work done without permission. She would be happy to go along with officer recommendation on this application, as there was a concern if it was allowed it could open the floodgates on a lot of other similar applications, noting the applicant seemed to have taken it for granted they would be given permission.
Councillor Adam agreed with Councillor Jopling that this was a difficult application but was minded to approve noting the application was still in character with the site and the improved bio-diversity adding that all of the works were in position.
Councillor Fenwick noted the similarity between this and an application in her area noting that whilst that application had also benefited from change of use permission and it had looked unsightly and had a detrimental impact to the look of the area whereas this application would improve the area and increase the bio-diversity and she would therefore be minded to approve the application.
Councillor M Stead sought clarification on the difference between the application in front of the Committee and the one 2019/2020, noting that there was already a successful appeal on the previous application for this building and raised the issue of access to the site.
The Senior Planning Officer informed the Committee that the difference between the two applications was the work that had been carried out on the basement and the footpath, adding the access point was part of the original application but the access road was not.
Councillor A Savory noted the considerable works already done on the site adding the committee had to be careful when making a decision as this could be used as an example for future applications.
Councillor D Oliver noted the landscaping improvements of the site adding it would preserve the rural nature of the site whilst making practical improvements and he would be minded to approve the application.
The Senior Planning Officer responded to state that disabilities were not specified under class Q although there was the ability to make internal adaptations, the limitations still had to be complied with.
Councillor McKeon noted this was a difficult to decision given that the mistake had now been made, adding that the Class Q did not take in to account any works that would need to be done for disabled access. commenting that this was something that planning policy needed to look at, raising concerns that the application in front of them still had elements of the Class Q and queried if the application could be looked at in two parts, one for the basement works and another for the pond and pumps.
The Chair reminded the Committee that they had to consider the application as it was before them.
Councillor Andrews stated she was minded to approve the application based on the ecological and environmental impact and much improved aesthetics of the area.
Councillor N Jones added that there were no objections to the application, noting the site had access to a local bus route and was well within the bio-diversity so would approve the application.
Cllr Quinn commented that barn conversions added much value to the local area and despite the change to the foundation of the building, it would look the same once complete and she was minded to approve.
Councillor Stead moved to approve the application which was seconded by Councillor Oliver.
The South West Team Leader informed the Committee that they could delegate to the Planning Officers to add conditions to the approved application.
The application be APPROVED with conditions to be agreed in conjunction with the Chair, vice chair and planning officers.