The application was being reported to the Planning Committee because:
Officers presented their report and in doing so drew Members’ attention to pages 23 to 43 of the Site Plans and Presentations Pack.
The application was for the Land North of Droitwich Road, Feckenham and sought the change of use from agriculture to a mixed use of agriculture and the keeping of horses, erection of two stables, a hay store and retention of the vehicular access and parking area
Officers detailed to Members the history of the application in that
Officers highlighted the site location within the greenbelt and its proximity to a non-designated heritage asset (Feckenham medieval manorial site), as detailed on page 25 of the Site Plans and Presentations Pack.
There was an error noted in the Site Plans and Presentations Pack in that pages 42 and 43 were identical, Members were therefore shown the correct slides during the Committee which detailed the proposed site plans correctly.
Officers outlined the vehicular access changes to the site, detailing that the southern entrance would no longer be used and that the northern entrance would be retained. Additionally, some of the hedgerow at the northern entrance would be removed to allow for larger visibility splays, as detailed on page 34 of the Site Plans and Presentations Pack.
Officers highlighted that the ridges and furrows on site had been damaged by previous development. However, there would be very little further impact. It was noted that to try and reverse the work could risk causing further damage when removing the previously added material.
Finally, Officers detailed to Members that in approving the application it would allow Officers to monitor the development via Conditions and a management plan, whereas if Members were minded to refuse the application, and then an enforcement notice was served this Could not deliver long term management of the asset.
At the invitation of the Chair Councillor Hugo Hammersley (of Feckenham Parish Council), Councillor Alan Smith (of Feckenham Parish Council) and Mr Andrew Fisher (resident) addressed the Committee in objection to the application. Mrs Charlotte El Hakiem (agent for the applicant) addressed the Committee in support of the application.
Officers clarified the following points during questions from Members:
Members then discussed the application which Officers had recommended be granted.
Councillor Hartnett proposed an Alternative Recommendation that the application be rejected as it was detrimental to the greenbelt, the Alternative Recommendation was seconded by Councillor Akbar.
Members were displeased that the application was retrospective in nature and expressed the opinion that the development should not have happened and that ignorance to what was permitted was not an excuse.
Members were mindful that should they refuse the application and enforcement action was taken then the Council would have less powers to control the future management of the non-designated heritage asset, special wildlife site and surface water drainage.
Members commented that they appreciated that damage was caused during the development, however, if the application was refused and the land was then sold, the new owner would be able to use intensive farming practices under the current land designation and that further damage could be sustained to the ridge and furrow system.
During the debate, Members sought clarification and further details on the following matters:
Further to the preamble above, Councillor Marshall proposed a Second Alternative Recommendation that the application be deferred in order for Officers to investigate and report on the aforementioned areas of concern, the Second Alternative Recommendation was seconded by Councillor Baker-Price.
The Legal Officer advised Members that they should vote on the Second Alternative Recommendation first and if that was not carried then they would return to the initial Alternative Recommendation.
In summing up the Second Alternative Recommendation, Councillor Marshall thanked all attendees for their patience during the debate but expressed the opinion that although it was a big decision, there were still a number of questions to be answered so she believed that a deferral was the most appropriate solution.
On being put to the vote it was
having had regard to the development plan and to all other material considerations, the application be deferred pending further information to be supplied by the applicant and Case Officer to answer the questions raised by the Committee, as detailed in the preamble above.
At this stage in the meeting the Chair announced an adjournment.
Accordingly, the meeting stood adjourned from 21:00 hours to 21:08 hours.