Meeting Details

Planning Committee North
12 Jan 2021 - 14:00 to 16:48
  • Documents
  • Attendance
  • Visitors
  • Declarations of Interests

Documents

Agenda

Meeting Details
Meetingdetails
MeetingDetailsCOVID19

Members are invited to a Meeting of the Planning Committee North

to be held on Tuesday, 12 January 2021 at 2.00pm

 

This meeting will be conducted remotely, pursuant to the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020.

 

The meeting will be facilitated using the Zoom video conferencing system and broadcast via the East Suffolk Council YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/oDhQGXf2xqY

Part One - Open To The Public
1 Apologies for Absence and Substitutions
1

 

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Bond.

 

Councillor Cooper attending the meeting as a substitute for Councillor Bond.

2 Declarations of Interest

Members and Officers are invited to make any declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary or Local Non-Pecuniary Interests that they may have in relation to items on the Agenda and are also reminded to make any declarations at any stage during the Meeting if it becomes apparent that this may be required when a particular item or issue is considered.

2

 

Councillor Rivett declared a Local Non-Pecuniary Interest in Item 7 and 8 - DC/20/0653/FUL and DC/20/1783/LBC - Post Office, Lowestoft, as being Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Assets and Chairman of the London Road Lowestoft High Street Heritage Action Zone.

 

Councillor Coulam declared a Local Non-Pecuniary Interest in Item 9 - DS20/4744/FYL - 141 St Peter's Street, Lowestoft, as a close member of her family has commented on the application.  She advised that she would leave the meeting when the item was discussed and take no part in the consideration of the application or voting thereon.

 

3 Declarations of Lobbying and Responses to Lobbying
To receive any Declarations of Lobbying in respect of any item on the agenda and also declarations of any response to that lobbying.  
3

 

Councillor Ashdown declared that he had been lobbied on Item 6 - DC/20/3142/FUL - High Lodge Leisure, Hinton, Item 7 - DC/20/0653/FUL - Post Office, Lowestoft, and Item 9 - DC/20/4744/FUL - 141 St Peter's Street Lowestoft.  He had made no response.

 

Councillor Brooks declared that he had been lobbied on Item 6 - DC/20/3142/FUL - High Lodge Leisure, Hinton, Item 7 - DC/20/0653/FUL - Post Office, Lowestoft, and Item 9 - DC/20/4744/FUL - 141 St Peter's Street Lowestoft.  He had made no response.

 

Councillor Elliott declared that he had been lobbied on Item 11 - DC/20/4001/FUL - 9 Trinity Street, Southwold.  He had discussed the factual process of the application.

 

Councillor Pitchers declared that he had been lobbied on Item 11 - DC/20/4001/FUL - 9 Trinity Street, Southwold.  He had made no response.

4 pdf Minutes (265Kb)
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 December 2020.
4

 

RESOLVED

 
That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 December 2020 be agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman. 

Report of the Head of Planning and Coastal Management
5

 

The Committee considered report ES/0622 which summarised outstanding enforcement cases sanctioned under delegated powers or through the Committee up to 18 December 2020.  There were currently 13 such cases.

 

The Assistant Enforcement Officer provided an update with regard to Oak Spring, Darsham, where the notice had not been complied with and that case was to be discussed with the Legal Team.  In addition, 28 Beverley Close, Lowestoft, had not complied; that had been held up due to Covid problems and internal discussions would be taking place on the next step to be taken.  Work was due to start the following day with regard to 46 Wissett Way, Lowestoft.

 

Members noted the update and there being no further discussion, it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED

 

That the report concerning Outstanding Enforcement matters up to 18 December 2020 be received and noted.

Report of the Head of Planning and Coastal Management
6

 

The Committee considered report ES/0623 which set out the details of a planning application for the re-development of the golf course and vacant paddock land for the siting of 170 holiday lodges, three tree houses, new facilities building, maintenance and housekeeping building, car parking and associated highway works.

The application was for a significant extension to an existing holiday and leisure facility at High Lodge, Hinton.  The proposed facilities building would contain a restaurant, bar and café, as well as leisure facilities including an indoor swimming pool.  The existing clubhouse, holiday lodges, shooting range and fishing facilities would remain as a separate operation under the current High Lodge ownership.

Members were shown site location plans showing the actual site, nearby dwellings, ancient woodland on the northern boundary, the current golf course and open fields and a nearby camping site.  From the block plan, it could be seen that the access would be moved to the northern boundary and include a wildflower meadow.  Although some trees would be removed, most would be retained.  Photographs showed the site and access from the A12.  Area A would remain as open space, area B 40 lodges, and in area C there would be two areas of 30 and 100 lodges and the maintenance buildings.  On-site facilities would also include a tennis court, table tennis and a splash zone.  The proposed road improvements included widening of the verge and a turn right lane.  Block plans, external elevations and materials gave an indication of the buildings, lodges and tree houses, some of which were similar to the Applicant’s other sites in the country.  

The Senior Planner explained the key issues in that there had been local concerns over the scale of the development including the adequacy of the infrastructure, electricity and drainage, disturbance to residents, light and noise impact on wildlife.  The Highway Authority had originally made a holding objection with regard to visibility; there had been a further holding objection from Suffolk Floods and Suffolk Wildlife Trust had raised concerns and the effect of the proposal on the wildlife site.  However, the update sheet had given additional information regarding the lighting strategy, drainage and re-positioning signage and minor highway works, and a shuttle bus was being offered from the railway station.

The Senior Planner updated Members in that the Highway Authority had withdrawn the holding objection as grounds for refusal could not be substantiated.  Further discussions with the Floods Authority were still ongoing.  The proposal was considered to be a good location for the facilities which were visually contained in the site and which already offered leisure uses.  The proposal would provide employment, be good for the economy and would not be seen from the AONB.  The design and layout were of a high standard and impact on the residential amenity was limited due to the planting on the boundaries.  Highway impact had been resolved and Environmental Health had raised no objection with regard to any noise issues.  The update sheet contained amended conditions and certain issues including the fact that a RAMS payment would need to be resolved before determination.  

Further agreement was needed with regard to condition 4 which was being proposed to ensure the units were used as holiday accommodation and not as permanent dwellings.  The Applicant had advised that this would impede the development as, due to the capital costs, they wished to sell units.  The Council did not wish to deviate from its policy of short break lettings which would result in wider economic benefits.  The wording of this condition and financial viability would need to be discussed further with the Applicant.

The Senior Planner advised that authority to determine approval was being sought subject to the satisfactory resolution of issues raised.  A Member proposed that  a further condition be imposed to ensure the facilities building be provided prior to the opening of the holiday park.

The Chairman invited questions.

Members raised the following issues:
Highways concerns.
Lack of local facilities.
Holiday accommodation clause to come back to Committee.
Paragraph 7.13 mentioning Sizewell C traffic when an application had not been considered.
Accommodation lodges being suitable for disable users.

The Senior Planner advised that the Highway Authority was satisfied with the road access and junction following addition reports.  The nearest shop was around 2.5km distant and a shuttle bus would be available for shopping or for using the railway station.  Facilities were being provided on the well contained site and, being in a good location, there was easy access to other tourist facilities in the area.

The Head of Planning and Coastal Management advised that Sizewell C was a known development that might or might not be built.  An application had yet to be determined.  However, it was necessary to have regard to that possible development and resulting significant pressure on housing lets and tourism.  The application before the Committee was providing a further 170 units of tourist accommodation near the A12 and which could take away any pressure on the rental market near Sizewell.

The Chairman invited the Applicant’s agent to address the Committee.

Ms E Cass advised that they were making a £16-17m investment by acquiring the land and building a sporting and hospitality venue to contribute to the economy and recovery post Covid.  The spacious layout would allow social distancing, provide sustainable tourism facilities, enhance biodiversity with the wild meadows and strengthen the economy.  Darwin Leisure had a good track record for environmental enhancements and were providing a nature walk through the site.  They were committed to providing a robust development and make the investment to provide and support tourist accommodation.  A shuttle bus was to be available to and from the railway station which would offer sustainable travel.  The proposal would support the local economy and provide 40 jobs all year round.

In response to Members’ questions, Ms Cass confirmed that there was capacity in local services and the use of electricity would make the local supply more secure in the future.  It was intended to provide charging points for electric vehicles.

During debate, it was recognised that the proposal would provide permanent jobs in the local area which was an important factor to consider post-Covid.  It would bring significant money into the area and boost the tourist economy.  The Darwin sites seem to be well designed, managed and well priced and a facilities building was being provided.  The proposal was making significant investment in the area.  Whilst it was appreciated the Applicant had no control over road issues, the sustainability of the location was questioned with no public transport and there was no guarantee that the shuttle bus would be a permanent operation.  It was disappointing to see there would be no extension to the footpath on the busy A12.  Comment was made the scale of the development in the countryside near to a small village was questionable.  However, it could be considered to be a 'get away from it all' site offering peace and quiet.

The Head of Planning and Coastal Management advised that the facilities building needed to be in place at the appropriate time, not necessarily at the start of the development.

There being no further discussion, it was

 

RESOLVED

 

That authority to determine approval be granted, on the satisfactory resolution of drainage issues, payment of RAMS, clarification of wording restricting the occupancy to holiday accommodation only, and subject to the following conditions:

 

1. The development hereby permitted shall be begun within a period of three years beginning with the date of this permission. 

 

Reason: In accordance with Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended.

 

2. The development hereby permitted shall be completed in all respects strictly in accordance with Drawings 1368/13 A0; 1368/9 A0; 1368/11 A1; 1815/HL-014; 1815/HL010; 1815/HL-015; 1815/HL-019; 1815/HL-016; 1815/HL-011; 1815/HL-018; Transport Assessment; Interim Travel Plan; Flood Risk Assessment and Surface Water Management; Foul Water Drainage Strategy; Arboricultural Survey; Phase 1 GeoEnvironmental Site Assessment; Noise Assessment; Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment; Landscaping Masterplan; Preliminary Ecological Appraisal; Ecology Survey Report; Habitats Regulations Assessment (Informative Report); Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment; Supporting Economic Statement, for which permission is hereby granted or in compliance with any conditions imposed by the Local Planning Authority.

 

Reason: For the avoidance of doubt as to what has been considered and approved.

 

3. Details of all external facing and roofing materials shall be submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority before development commences. Development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.

 

Reason: To ensure the satisfactory external appearance of the development.

 

4. The lodges and tree houses hereby consent shall only be used for holiday letting accommodation and for no other purpose (including any other purpose in Class C3 of the Schedule to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987). The duration of occupation by any one person, or persons, of any of the holiday units shall not exceed a period of 56 days in total in any one calendar year, unless the Local Planning Authority agrees in writing to any variation.
The owners/operators of the holiday units hereby permitted shall maintain an up-todate Register of  all lettings, which shall include the names and addresses of all those persons occupying the units during each individual letting. The said Register shall be made available at all reasonable times to the Local Planning Authority. 

 

Reason: To ensure that the development is occupied only as bona-fide holiday accommodation, having regard to the tourism objectives of the Local Plan and the fact that the site is outside any area where planning permission would normally be forthcoming for permanent residential development.

 

5. None of the trees or hedges shown to be retained on the approved plan shall be lopped, topped,  pruned, uprooted, felled, wilfully damaged or in any other way destroyed or removed without the prior written consent of the local planning authority. Any trees or hedges removed, dying, being severely damaged or becoming seriously diseased within five years of the completion of the development shall be replaced during the first available planting season, with trees or hedges of a size and species, which shall previously have been agreed in writing by the local planning authority.

 

Reason: To safeguard the contribution to the character of the locality provided by the trees and hedgerow. 

 

6. Those trees and hedges to be retained shall be protected during the course of development in accordance with the tree protection plan and method statement within the Tree Survey and Arboricultural Impact Assessment. 

 

Reason: To protect the trees/hedgerow during the course of development in the interest of visual  amenity.

 

7. Within three month(s) of commencement of development, satisfactory precise details of a tree and/or hedge planting scheme (which shall include species, size and numbers of plants to be planted) shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. This shall include details of proposed bunds. 

 

Reason: To ensure the submission and implementation of a well-laid out scheme of landscaping in the interest of visual amenity.

 

8. The approved tree/shrub planting scheme shall be implemented not later than the first planting season following  completion of the scheme (or within such extended period as the local planning authority may allow) and shall thereafter be retained and maintained for a period of five years. Any plant material removed, dying or becoming seriously damaged or diseased within five years of planting shall be replaced within the first available planting season and shall be retained and maintained. 


Reason: To ensure the submission and implementation of a well-laid out scheme of landscaping in the interest of visual amenity.

 
9. Development must be undertaken in accordance with the ecological avoidance, mitigation, compensation and enhancement measures identified within the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) (RPS, July 2020); the Ecology Survey Report (RPS, August 2020) and the Information to inform a Habitats Regulations Assessment Report (RPS, August 2020) as submitted with the planning application and agreed in principle with the local planning authority prior to determination.

Reason: To ensure that ecological receptors are adequately protected and enhanced as part of the development.

 

10. No removal of hedgerows, trees or shrubs shall take place between 1st March and 31st August inclusive, unless a competent ecologist has undertaken a careful, detailed check of vegetation for active birds' nests immediately before the vegetation is cleared and provided written confirmation that no birds will be harmed and/or that there are appropriate measures in place to protect nesting bird interest on site. Any such written confirmation should be submitted to the local planning authority. 

 

Reason: To ensure that nesting birds are protected.

 

11. No development shall take place (including demolition, ground works, vegetation clearance) until a construction environmental management plan (CEMP: Biodiversity) has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The CEMP (Biodiversity) shall include the following: 

a) Risk assessment of potentially damaging construction activities.
b) Identification of "biodiversity protection zones".
c) Practical measures (both physical measures and sensitive working practices) to avoid or reduce impacts during construction (may be provided as a set of method statements).
d) The location and timing of sensitive works to avoid harm to biodiversity features.
e) The times during construction when specialist ecologists need to be present on site to oversee works. 
f) Responsible persons and lines of communication.
g) The role and responsibilities on site of an ecological clerk of works (ECoW) or similarly competent person.
h) Use of protective fences, exclusion barriers and warning signs.
The approved CEMP shall be adhered to and implemented throughout the construction period strictly in accordance with the approved details, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the local planning authority.

 

Reason: To ensure that ecological receptors are adequately protected as part of the development.

 

12. A landscape and ecological management plan (LEMP) shall be submitted to, and be approved in writing by, the local planning authority prior to first occupation of the development. The content of the LEMP shall include the following:
a) Description and evaluation of features to be managed.
b) Ecological trends and constraints on site that might influence management.
c)Aims and objectives of management.
d) Appropriate management options for achieving aims and objectives.
e) Prescriptions for management actions.
f) Preparation of a work schedule (including an annual work plan capable of being rolled forward over a five-year period). 
g) Details of the body or organisation responsible for implementation of the plan.
h) Ongoing monitoring and remedial measures.
The LEMP shall also include details of the legal and funding mechanism(s) by which the long-term implementation of the plan will be secured by the developer with the management body(ies) responsible for its delivery. The plan shall also set out (where the results from monitoring show that conservation aims and objectives of the LEMP are not being met) how contingencies and/or remedial action will be identified, agreed and implemented so that the development still delivers the fully functioning biodiversity objectives of the originally approved scheme. The approved plan will be implemented in accordance with the approved details.

 

Reason: To ensure that the long-term ecological value of the site is maintained and enhanced.

 

13. Any works in areas relating to protected species or their habitats shall not in any circumstances commence unless the local planning authority has been provided with either:
a) a licence issued by Natural England pursuant to The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2017) (as amended) authorising the specified development to go ahead; or
b) a statement in writing from the relevant licensing body to the effect that it does not consider that the specified development will require a licence. 

 

Reason: To ensure that the legislation relating to protected species has been adequately addressed as part of the implementation of the development.

 
14. No development shall commence until a detailed Construction Management Plan has been submitted to, and approved by, the Local Planning Authority. This should contain information on how noise, dust, and light will be controlled so as to not cause nuisance to occupiers of neighbouring properties, and shall set out hours of construction/activity on site and delivery hours and routes for materials and equipment to the site before and during construction. Thereafter the approved construction statement shall be adhered to throughout the construction of the development.

 

Reason: To reduce the potential impacts of noise pollution and additional vehicular movements during the construction phase of the development.  

 

15. The agreed noise levels, and/or noise mitigation work, should be validated prior to first occupation. A validation report should therefore be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the LPA prior to any occupation or use of the approved development. The validation report must include, but is not limited to:- Results of surveying and/or monitoring carried out to demonstrate that the measures in the approved noise report have been implemented and any agreed noise levels achieved. 

 

Reason: In the interests of residential amenity.

 

16. In the event that contamination which has not already been identified to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) is found or suspected on the site it must be reported in writing immediately to the Local Planning Authority. Unless agreed in writing by the LPA no further development (including any construction, demolition, site clearance, removal of underground tanks and relic structures) shall take place until this condition has been complied with in its entirety.
An investigation and risk assessment must be completed in accordance with a scheme which is subject to the approval in writing of the Local Planning Authority. The investigation and risk assessment must be undertaken by competent persons and conform with prevailing guidance (including BS 10175:2011+A1:2013 and CLR11) and a written report of the findings must be produced. The written report is subject to the approval in writing of the Local Planning Authority.
Where remediation is necessary a detailed remediation method statement (RMS) must be prepared, and is subject to the approval in writing of the Local Planning Authority. 

The RMS must include detailed methodologies for all works to be undertaken, site management procedures, proposed remediation objectives and remediation criteria. 
The approved RMS must be carried out in its entirety and the Local Planning Authority must be given two weeks written notification prior to the commencement of the remedial works.
Following completion of the approved remediation scheme a validation report that demonstrates the effectiveness of the remediation must be submitted to and approved in writing by the LPA.

 

Reason: To ensure that risks from land contamination to the future users of the land and neighbouring land are minimised, together with those to controlled waters, property and ecological systems, and to ensure that the development can be carried out safely without unacceptable risks to workers, neighbours and other offsite receptors.

 

17. Conditions relating to surface water drainage as recommended by the Floods Authority following the consideration of further information to be submitted. 

 

18. Conditions recommended by the Highway Authority following consideration of further information to be submitted.

 

19. The use shall not commence until the areas within the site shown on the approved plans for the purpose of loading, unloading, manoeuvring and parking of vehicles has been provided. Thereafter the areas shall be retained and used for no other purpose. 

 

Reason: To ensure that sufficient space for the on site parking of vehicles is provided and where on-street parking and manoeuvring would be detrimental to highway safety to users of the highway.

 

20. Within 12 months of development commencing details of the proposed access and off-site highway junction improvements (A12 junction) indicatively shown on Drawing No. D221/02 shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved scheme shall be laid out and constructed in its entirety prior to any occupation.


Reason: To ensure that the necessary improvements are designed and constructed to an appropriate specification and made available for use at an appropriate time in the interests of highway safety.


21. Before the development is commenced details of the areas to be provided for storage of Refuse/Recycling bins shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved scheme shall be carried out in its entirety before the development is brought into use and shall be retained thereafter for no other purpose.


Reason: To ensure that refuse recycling bins are not stored on the highway causing obstruction and dangers for other users.


22. Before the development is commenced details shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority showing the means to prevent the discharge of surface water from the development onto the highway. The approved scheme shall be carried out in its entirety before the access is first used and shall be retained thereafter in its approved form.


Reason: To prevent hazards caused by flowing water or ice on the highway.


23. The lux level of the lighting at ground level at the highway boundary shall not exceed 1 lux.


Reason: In the interests of road safety to prevent uneven light levels on the highway and to prevent light pollution.


24. Before the development is commenced details of the areas to be provided for the[LOADING, UNLOADING,] manoeuvring and parking of vehicles including secure cycle storage shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved scheme shall be carried out in its entirety before the development is brought into use and shall be retained thereafter and used for no other purpose.


Reason: To ensure the provision and long term maintenance of adequate on-site space for the parking and manoeuvring of vehicles in accordance with Suffolk Guidance for Parking (2015) where on-street parking and manoeuvring would be detrimental to highway safety.


25. The development hereby permitted shall not be brought into use until the visibility splays shown on Drawing No. D221/02 have been provided and thereafter retained in the specified form. Notwithstanding the provisions of Part 2 Class A of the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (or any Order revoking and re-enacting that Order with or without modification) no obstruction over 0.6 metres high shall be erected, constructed, planted or permitted to grow within the areas of the visibility splays.


Reason: To ensure vehicles exiting the drive would have sufficient visibility to enter the public highway safely, and vehicles on the public highway would have sufficient warning of a vehicle emerging to take avoiding action.


26. Prior to the occupation of the development, details and route of the shuttle bus for visitors and staff as identified in the Interim Travel Plan (dated December 2020) will need to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority in consultation with the Highway Authority. The cost of implementing the shuttle bus will need to be covered in full by the applicant, unless agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.


Reason: In the interests of sustainable development as set out in the NPPF and Policy SCLP7.1.

 

27. The main facilities building hereby approved shall be completed and available for use prior to the site opening as confirmed in email sent 11/01/21.


Reason: To ensure appropriate facilities are available for guests and for the avoidance of doubt as to what has been considered and approved.

Report of the Head of Planning and Coastal Management
7

 

The Chairman advised that there would be one presentation for Agenda Items 7 and 8 but the Committee would then need to take separate votes on the Full Application and the application for Listed Building Consent.

The Committee considered report ES/0624 which set out details of the application seeking planning permission for the demolition of existing shed buildings to the rear of the Post Office in Lowestoft, including adjoining structures to the rear of the Post Office; repair and adaptation to the ground floor of the Post Office building including a new extension to the west and re-fenestration at ground floor level; and erection of flats and houses comprising nine dwellings with associated landscaping works.

The application was before Committee as the Council was the Applicant, on Council-owned land.

Members received a presentation showing the site location plan, aerial and street views from London Road North and Surrey Street, the Listed Building, its area, frontage, internal space and section drawings.

The Principal Planner advised that the building had been vacant for a number of years and its poor state of repair detracted from the Conservation Area.  The proposal was to repurpose the ground floor to provide space for a commercial use and improve the façade.  That too would improve the vitality of the town.  Historic England had chosen to undertake a review of the whole site and its view was that only the principal building should be listed; the rear development should not be listed or treated as curtilage listed.  

Note:  As advised by the meeting host, Councillor Gee lost connection at 3.11pm for a few seconds and the Principal Planner gave a brief recap.

The Principal Planner further explained that the façade would be subject to significant work including cleaning of the stonework.  The improvements to the ground floor including replacement windows were an important part of the process as many independent retailers would not have the money to improve the interior.  The rear non-listed portion would be demolished.

The presentation to Members continued to show the proposed demolition of the buildings and their interiors at the rear of the Post Office main building, two of which were non-designated heritage assets with other buildings modern and detracting from the Conservation Area.  Any historic features with the non-designated heritage assets had been lost over time.  It was therefore acceptable to use the site to facilitate affordable housing and re-purpose the listed building.  The proposed block plan showed the five three-bedroomed town houses, and building comprising two-bedroomed three person flats.  All accommodation was raised as a protection from flood risk and the void areas under the flats would provide storage for wheelie bins and cycle storage.  The floor plans showed the internal layout and the elevations gave an indication of style, roofing with solar PV and external brickwork.

The Principal Planner drew attention to the fact that the re-purposing of the Post Office building would be a significant public benefit and the scheme would create nine affordable homes in an area of high need.  The proposal would generate a number of significant benefits and approval was being recommended for both the full application and the Listed Building Consent.

Members questioned the following on the planning application:
If the bin storage was a contained area.
Whether the striking building could be incorporated into the scheme.
Bricks to match adjacent buildings.

The Principal Planner advised that the bin storage area was contained within the footprint of the lower ground floor level and wheelie bins would need to be presented to an external area on collection day.  The proposed demolition was to allow this better proposal to provide homes.  It was important to ensure appropriate choice of brickwork and that would be dealt with by way of conditions.

The Chairman invited public speakers to address the Committee.

On behalf of the Lowestoft Town Council, Mr A Pearce advised that the Town Council was recommending refusal as it could not support the design of the new extension which needed to be at a high level given the significance of the building.  There seemed to be factual errors and the comments of Historic England and local historians should be further  considered.  To approve the application as submitted was contrary to the Council’s own policies WLP8.37 and WLP8.39 relating to Historic Environment and Conservation Areas.  There was no support from a heritage impact assessment and that should be undertaken in the Heritage Action Zone and the HAZ memorandum of understanding required involvement of partners in the decision making process and that had not been applied to the Post Office site.

In response to a question relating to the original support offered by the Town Council, Mr Pearce advised that initial support had changed due to other objections being raised, the age of the building to be demolished and its retention.  New information had come to light since the Town Council had looked at the original application.

On behalf of the Council as Applicant, Bridget Law, Programme Manager Housing Development, thankedthe officers for recommending approval.  There had been a significant decline in Lowestoft town centre with vacancy rates at 20.6% well above the national average, with Covid issues not yet having had the full effect.  This proposal by the Council would help stop the decline and its master plan supported the Town Fund bid.  The Post Office building had been acquired not only to ensure a sustainable use for the Listed Building but also the benefits brought by providing commercial space and affordable housing.  The proposal aligned with the Council’s Housing Strategy and housing need was high with over 300 applicants on the waiting list with links to north Lowestoft.  She asked Members to consider approving the application for the four two-bedroomed flats and five townhouses and also the long lasting benefits.

Members complimented the officers on the report and presentation.  The provision of nine affordable properties and open space in a Listed Building was a must in the High Street.  With the loss of retail, it was important to regenerate the area.  It was disappointing that County Highways had objected to such a well-considered scheme in a sustainable location.  The building was in poor condition due to a lack of maintenance and the proposal would not only preserve the historic aspects but give the building a future.  There being no further discussion, it was unanimously

RESOLVED

 

That authority to approve be granted, subject to securing the per-dwelling contribution to fund the Suffolk (Coast) RAMS, and with planning conditions including but not limited to those summarised below:

 

1) Three-year time limit.

 

2)  Standard plans compliance condition.

 

3) Mechanism to deliver Affordable Housing provision (S106 agreement) to be secured pre-commencement of development.

 

4) New building external facing materials to be agreed pre-commencement .

 

5) Hard landscaping strategy to be agreed pre-commencement.

 

6) Precise details of frontage window and door works to be agreed pre-commencement.

 

7) Precise detailing and finishes of the extension to be agreed pre-commencement.

 

8) Standard model conditions for ground contamination investigation and remediation.

 

9) Highways condition – parking/manoeuvring areas to be provided pre-occupation.

 

10) Highways condition – bin storage area to be provided and maintained.

 

11) Ecology – conditions to secure enhancement and mitigation measure from the approved Preliminary Ecological Appraisal.

 
Report of the Head of Planning and Coastal Management
8

 

The Committee considered report ES/0625 which sought Listed Building Consent for the repair and adaptation to the ground floor of the Post Office building in Lowestoft including a new extension to the west, new roof to ground floor extension and re-fenestration at ground floor level.  The proposal would enable an important ground floor space of a Grade II Listed Building to be brought back into a viable use with in the High Street and South Lowestoft Conservation Area.

The Chairman invited the public speakers to address the Committee.

 

Mr Pearce re-iterated that when original application came to the Town Council the whole area was part of listing and the original raft of objections, including that from the Council’s own Senior Design and Conservation Officer, related to heritage.  The basis of the listing had changed.  Mr Pearce also pointed out that, in relation to a Town Council property in the Haz area, the memorandum of understanding involving key partners had to be adhered to.  That had not happened in this case.

 

On behalf of the Applicant, the Programme Manager advised she had nothing further to add.

Having considered and approved the application under Item 7 on the Agenda, it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED

 

That Listed Building Consent be granted, subject to conditions including, but not limited to, those summarised below:

 

1) Three-year time limit.

 

2) Standard plans compliance.

 

3) Large scale details of material, detailing and finish of windows and doors including large scale sections of the various elements.

 

4) Method statement of stonework cleaning to façade.

 

5) Details of works of making good to the side wing (adjacent the toilet block to be demolished in the tandem planning application).

 

6) Details of materials and finishes to the new extension.

 

7) Details of how any existing doors and windows of historic interest impacted by the extension are to be dealt with (retained or sealed up works).

 

8) Details of works to the decorative ceiling/cornice in the public hall.

 

Note:  The meeting was adjourned from 3.45pm and reconvened at 3.54pm

 

Having declared a Local Non-Pecuniary Interest in Agenda Item 9, Councillor Coulam left the meeting at 3.45pm.

Report of the Head of Planning and Coastal Management
9

 

The Committee considered report ES/0626 which gave details of the application seeking full planning permission for the change of use of 141 St Peter’s Street, Lowestoft, from a C3 dwelling house to a House in Multiple Occupation (Sui Generis use).  The application was before Committee as the Council was both the landowner and the Applicant.

 

Members received a presentation showing the site location plan, which showed the character of the areas was residential, street views in both directions of the property, rear service access and on-street parking in the vicinity.  Whilst not in a flat saturation area, some dwellings in the neighbourhood were in multi-occupancy.  The proposed block plan gave an indication of the existing buildings to become storage, the area for bin storage and the existing garage would be re-purposed as secure cycle storage with lighting accessed by a locked personal gate.  The floor plans showed the proposal for en-suite rooms around a central hall area and the ground floor included communal space, shared kitchen and office for the on-site staff.

 

The Principal Planner explained the exceptional circumstances with Covid to allow this proposal and the need for rough sleepers to be brought into accommodation.  Homes England and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government were providing funding for the proposed seven bedroomed accommodation.  In addressing the material planning considerations and key issues, it should be noted that all facilities were within walking distance and the residents were unlikely to have a vehicle, therefore there would not likely be a high demand for parking.  Amenity issues had been dealt with in the update report and the Town Council were in support of the proposal.  There was a need for this type of specialist accommodation which would provide benefits to the individuals in such supported accommodation.  

The Principal Planner advised that the proposed planning permission would not run with the land but be for the benefit of the Applicant, the Council, thus ensuring the proposal would be properly managed.  He confirmed that, as referred to in the update sheet, no new material planning issues had been raised in objections received and approval was being recommended.

A Member questioned the lack of need for car parking for homeless people, it was pointed out that some rough sleepers actually slept in their cars.  The Principal Planner advised that such issues would be picked up by the applicant team and would be managed accordingly for those residents.

The Chairman invited the Applicant to address the Committee.

On behalf of the Council, Fern Lincoln, Housing Needs Service Manager, explained that in July 2002 the Ministry of Housing had invited Councils to be involved with the Next Steps accommodation and was providing capital funding for such accommodation.  The Council had worked up a bid and delivery plan and that bid had been successful with Orwell Housing Association providing care and support.  The proposal was being directed at rough sleepers and would provide accommodation, support and sustainable living skills until they could get on their own feet.  The accommodation would be accessible for two years to try and ensure the residents did not return to living on the streets.  Orwell had previously provided successful accommodation for people in supported housing schemes and the proposal in the application would provide housing solutions.   With Covid, there were many challenges to be faced and the Council should be able to deliver accommodation to break the cycle of homelessness.

During the ensuing discussion, Members agreed the Council’s proposal would be supportive in providing places for rough sleepers to stay.  The property was in the vicinity of local services and bus stops, and there was some unrestricted parking in the area if needed.  The detailed presentation and full information in the report was welcomed and it was 

 

RESOLVED

 

That planning permission be granted, subject to the following conditions:

 

1. The development hereby permitted shall be begun within a period of three years beginning with the date of this permission.


Reason: In accordance with Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended.

 

2. This permission shall endure solely for the benefit of the applicant 'East Suffolk Council' and not for the benefit of the land.


Reason: Having regard to the special circumstances put forward by the applicant and the bespoke accommodation to be provided and managed.

3. The development shall be carried out strictly in accordance with Drawing No. 2684.20.2E, received 18 December 2020.


Reason: for the avoidance of doubt as to what has been considered and approved.

 

4. Prior to the approved use commencing, the areas within the site for the storage of waste/recycling bins and bicycles (as shown on Drawing No. 2684.20.2E) shall be provided in full and made available for use. Thereafter those areas shall be retained for only those purposes unless otherwise approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.


Reason: to secure key elements of the layout at an early stage of the development, in the interest of residential amenity and good design.

 

Note:  Councillor Coulam rejoined the meeting at 4.13pm.

 

Report of the Head of Planning and Coastal Management
10

 

The Committee considered report ES/0627 relating to the planning application for the change of use from disused orchard/garden to glamping site with five pitches at Toad Hall in Wangford.  The proposed glamping pods would essentially provide tourist sleeping accommodation and a toilet and shower block, and a wellness studio would also be provided in the scheme.

The Senior Planner advised that the site was in the countryside closed to Wangford village and was within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as show on the location plans.  The application was before Committee at the request of the Referral Panel because of concerns over parking but that had now been resolved by the revised plan now before Members providing seven parking spaces.

Members received a presentation showing the proposed site layout for the five pods, car parking, cycle storage and the existing building which was to be used for the shower block and wellness centre.  A share kitchen would be located in the main building and cycle storage, outdoor facilities for cooking and a parking space were also being provided for each pod.  Photographs gave an indication of the site to the north and west and from Mardle Road.  Further slides showed the style of the proposed pods and toilet/shower block, with cladding and roofing that would be in keeping with the area.  The access and visibility splays were considered to be acceptable and whilst the pods were behind the roadside hedge, there would be additional planting.

The Senior Planner drew attention to the material planning considerations and key issues and explained that the proposal; was modest in scale and nature.  It was considered to be a sustainable development providing a benefit to the District and not harmful to neighbour amenity.  As a result, approval was being recommended.

The Chairman invited questions.

Members requested clarification on the following points:
Facilities to cook a meal/heat food.
Parking and adequate space for cars to manoeuvre.
Bicycle spaces.

The Senior Planner advised there was some scope for cooking in the facilities building and each pod would be provided with a BBQ.  Five parking spaces were being provided for the proposed pods and two spaces for Toad Hall.  The distances for manoeuvring cars were being met.  Each pod was to be provided with two bicycles.

The Chairman invited the Applicant to address the Committee.

Mr G Crossland advised that Toad Hall was their forever home in a tranquil setting where they and others could enjoy the peace and quiet.  To provide a retreat of five self-catering lodges would fit in perfectly in a great location and would enhance their home.  It was proposed to market the site as a retreat for outdoor enthusiasts among bee friendly plants, offering bird watching, coastal life, outdoor yoga, running and cycling and open water swimming.  They would be encouraging guests to arrive by public transport and offer a free shuttle service.  Bikes would be available on arrival and for those less able guests, a shuttle to Southwold and Walberswick would be offered and that would result in less local traffic and address parking.  From his own experience and research, there had been no road accidents in the last 20 years and it was hoped the provision on the holiday pods would allow others to enjoy the environment.

Whilst there had been some initial concerns over parking, Members accepted that that issue had now been resolved.  It was considered to be a good scheme allowing visitors to take advantage of the beautiful area and county.  There being no further discussion, it was unanimously 

RESOLVED

  

That permission be granted, subject to the following conditions:

 

1. The development hereby permitted shall be begun within a period of three years beginning with the date of this permission.

 

Reason: In accordance with Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended.

 

2. The development hereby permitted shall be completed in all respects strictly in accordance with details/drawings contained in the submitted supporting statement as amended by drawings A04-06B received 11/12/20 and A04-07 received 10/11/20; and drawing 100920/01 received 17/09/20; and the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) by Aspen Ecology, dated August 2020, for which permission is hereby granted or which are subsequently submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority and in compliance with any conditions imposed by the Local Planning Authority.

 

Reason: For the avoidance of doubt as to what has been considered and approved.

 

3. The glamping units hereby approved shall be used for holiday letting accommodation and for no other purpose (including any other purpose in Class C3 of the Schedule to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987). The duration of occupation by any one  person, or persons, of any of the holiday units shall not exceed a period of 56 days in total in any one calendar year, unless the Local Planning Authority agrees in writing to any variation.
The owners/operators of the holiday units hereby permitted shall maintain an up-to-date Register of all lettings, which shall include the names and addresses of all those persons occupying the units during each individual letting. The said Register shall be made available at all reasonable times to the Local Planning Authority.

 

Reason: To ensure that the development is occupied only as bona-fide holiday accommodation, having regard to the tourism objectives of the Local Plan and the fact that the site is outside any area where planning permission would normally be forthcoming for permanent residential development.

 

4. Development must be undertaken in accordance with the ecological avoidance, mitigation, compensation and enhancement measures identified within the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) (Aspen Ecology, August 2020) as submitted with the planning application and agreed in principle with the local planning authority prior to determination. 

 

Reason: To ensure that ecological receptors are adequately protected and enhanced as part of the development.

 

5. No removal of hedgerows, trees or shrubs shall take place between 1st March and 31st August inclusive, unless a competent ecologist has undertaken a careful, detailed check of vegetation for active birds' nests immediately before the vegetation is cleared and provided written confirmation that no birds will be harmed and/or that there are appropriate measures in place to protect nesting bird interest on site. Any such written confirmation should be submitted to the local planning authority.

 

Reason: To ensure that nesting birds are protected.

 

6. No external lighting shall be installed at the site unless a "lighting design strategy for biodiversity" has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. 
The strategy shall:
a) identify those areas/features on site that are particularly sensitive for biodiversity likely to be impacted by lighting and that are likely to cause disturbance in or around their breeding sites and resting places or along important routes used to access key areas of their territory, for example, for foraging; and b) show how and where external lighting will be installed (through the provision of
appropriate lighting contour plans and technical specifications) so that it can be clearly demonstrated that areas to be lit will not disturb or prevent the above species using their territory or having access to their breeding sites and resting places.
All external lighting shall be installed in accordance with the specifications and locations set out in the strategy, and these shall be maintained thereafter in accordance with the strategy. Under no circumstances should any other external lighting be installed without prior consent from the local planning authority. 

 

Reason: To ensure that impacts on ecological receptors from external lighting are prevented.

 

7. None of the trees or hedges shown to be retained on the approved plan shall be lopped, topped, pruned, uprooted, felled, wilfully damaged or in any other way destroyed or removed without the prior written consent of the local planning authority. Any trees or hedges removed, dying, being severely damaged or becoming seriously diseased within five years of the completion of the development shall be replaced during the first available planting season, with trees or hedges of a size and species, which shall previously have been agreed in writing by the local planning authority.

 

Reason: To safeguard the contribution to the character of the locality provided by the trees and hedgerow.

 

8. The recommendations of the Arboricultural Impact Assessment shall be implemented in full. 

 

Reason: To protect the trees during the course of development in the interests of visual amenity.

 

9. The bin storage and presentation area shall be provided in accordance with the details shown on drawing A04-06, before the development is bought into use, and shall be retained thereafter for no other use.

 

Reason: To ensure the satisfactory provision is made for the storage and collection of refuse in the interests of visual amenity and highway safety.

 

10. The visibility splays shown on drawing A04-07 shall be provided before the development is bought into use and shall thereafter be retained as such.

 

Reason: To ensure vehicles exiting the drive would have sufficient visibility to enter the public highway safely, and vehicles on the public highway would have sufficient warning of a vehicle emerging to take avoiding action.

 

11. The use shall not commence until the area(s) within the site shown on drawing A04-06B for the purpose of loading, unloading, manoeuvring and parking of vehicles has been provided.
Thereafter the area(s) shall be retained and used for no other purpose.

 

Reason: To ensure that sufficient space for the on site parking of vehicles is provided and where on-street parking and manoeuvring would be detrimental to highway safety to users of the highway.

 

12. The materials and finishes shall be as indicated within the submitted application and thereafter retained as such, unless otherwise agreed in writing with the local planning authority.

 

Reason: To ensure the satisfactory appearance of the development in the interests of visual amenity.

 

13. Within 3 month(s) of commencement of development, satisfactory precise details of a tree and/or hedge planting scheme (which shall include species, size and numbers of plants to be planted) shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The scheme shall include the infilling of existing gaps in the roadside hedge.

 

Reason: To ensure the submission and implementation of a well-laid out scheme of landscaping in the interest of visual amenity.

 

14. The approved tree/shrub planting scheme shall be implemented not later than the first planting season following commencement of the development (or within such extended period as the local planning authority may allow) and shall thereafter be retained and maintained for a period of 5 years. Any plant material removed, dying or becoming seriously damaged or diseased within five years of planting shall be replaced within the first available planting season and shall be retained and maintained.


Reason: To ensure the submission and implementation of a well-laid out scheme of landscaping in the interest of visual amenity. 

Report of the Head of Planning and Coastal Management
11

 

The Committee considered report ES/0628 which gave details of the application for the conversion of an existing retail unit to a holiday let which would be specifically designed for the disabled.  

The Senior Planner advised that the building comprised a shop on the ground floor with flat above and prior to the shop use, the premises had been used as a holiday letting agency.

Members received a presentation showing the site location plan, street views in both directions, the existing and proposed floor plans showing the addition of a shower and how the accommodation would be laid out..  The south west sections showed the access to the first floor flat and bin storage area.

The Senior Planner explained the material planning considerations and key issues and confirmed that the retail use was not protected as the site was outside of the town centre.  Self-catering accommodation played a vital role and would support local shops and services in accordance with policy 8.15.  The objection due to lack of parking could not be substantiated particularly as it might be that disabled visitors would not be driving.  The conversion would cause no harm to the asset.  The proposal complied with policy WLP8.34 in the Local Plan and a financial contribution had been made towards RAMS.  Approval was being recommended subject to controlling conditions.

The Chairman invited questions.

Members sought clarification with regard to:
The property being a holiday let and not a second home.
Enforcement of the holiday letting conditions.
The location of the bedroom.
The provision of a shower not wet room.

The Senior Planner advised that the property would be for short term letting, not exceeding 56 days, and a register of guests would need to be maintained and provided on request.  The open plan layout provided bedroom space between the living area and bathroom facilities.  She suggested the provision of a wet room could be clarified with the Applicant.  

The Chairman invited the public speakers to address the Committee.

Councillor Beavan confirmed that the Town Council had asked him to speak. 

Councillor Beavan stated that it was a really good idea for disabled accommodation close to the beach but understood that such a requirement could not be put in as a planning condition.  He commented on the concerns that the Conservation Area used to have shops and main homes; now, a few were real homes and another 10 in the street were second homes.  There needed to be some protection for the High Street and, with shops being turned into holiday lets, what about the long term affects of such changes.  Looking at flexibility and resources in the town centre, holiday letting was the most profitable business in Southwold and without planning, it would take over everything.  It was important to save Southwold in the long term.

As Applicant, Ms R Meo explained that she was the property owner and wished to explain that some issues raised were not all valid.  There would be a change of use but the original form would be retained.  Having been paying business rates, there would be private bin collection and a bin store was being provided for that purpose.  There would be no blocking of the access.  With regard to a disabled parkin bay, she would provide all customers in advance of the nearby parking facilities in the town.  The upstairs flat had been a holiday let since 2015 and there were not issues with parking as many people arrived by public transport.  Whilst the Town Council had attempted to block the application due to the lack of parking, it should be noted that County Highways could not uphold an objection on the basis of lack of parking provision.  Ms Meo advised that in 15 years of her letting business, she had never had a property specifically suitable for disabled/wheelchair users and this was now being offered.  She thanked the officer for recommended approval.

A Member commented that under the relevant Traffic Regulation Order, a disabled parking bay was provided to a specific user and not to a specific to a property.

In response to Members’ questions relating to the facilities for the disabled including the provision of a wet room, the Applicant advised that the shower unit had appropriate rails and a special bed would be in place.  It was possible to go straight into the property from the outside which was suitable for wheelchair use.

 

During the ensuing debate, whilst appreciating visitors’ enjoyment of the Suffolk coast, concerns were raised over the plans and if there was sufficient room for a wheelchair to manoeuvre in the proposed shower room.  Members sought assurance that a wet room would be provided and 

RESOLVED

 

That permission be granted, subject to the following conditions:

 

1. The development hereby permitted shall be begun within a period of three years beginning with the date of this permission.


Reason: In accordance with Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended.

 

2. The development hereby permitted shall be completed in all respects strictly in accordance with drawing 155103 received 07/10/20, and the applicants supporting information received 09/11/20, for which permission is hereby granted or which are subsequently submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority and in compliance with any conditions imposed by the Local Planning Authority.


Reason: For the avoidance of doubt as to what has been considered and approved.

 

3. The premises herein referred to shall be used for holiday letting accommodation and for no other purpose (including any other purpose in Class C3 of the Schedule to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, or any Order revoking or re-enacting the said Order). The duration of occupation by any one person, or persons, of any of the holiday units shall not exceed a period of 56 days in total in any one calendar year, unless the Local Planning Authority agrees in writing to any variation.  
The owners/operators of the holiday units hereby permitted shall maintain an up-to-date Register of all lettings, which shall include the names and addresses of all those persons occupying the units during each individual letting. The said Register shall be made available at all reasonable times to the Local Planning Authority.


Reason: To ensure that the development is occupied only as bona-fide holiday accommodation, having regard to the tourism objectives of the Local Plan and the fact that the premises are considered unsuitable for permanent residential development, given the space standards and lack of outdoor space.

 

4. The areas to be provided for storage of Refuse/Recycling bins shown on drawing number 155103 shall be provided in its entirety before the development is brought into use and shall be retained thereafter for no other purpose. The collection of refuse shall be in compliance with the details submitted with the application.


Reason: To ensure that adequate provision is made for the collection/storage of refuse recycling bins.

 

5. The new window in the south-west elevation shall be fitted with obscure glazing and thereafter retained as such. 


Reason: To avoid undue loss of privacy to neighbouring residents.

 

Part Two - Confidential

There are no Exempt or Confidential items for this Agenda.

Declarations of Interests

Member NameItem Ref.DetailsNature of DeclarationAction
No declarations of interest have been entered for this meeting.

Visitors

Officers present: Liz Beighton (Planning Manager - Development Management), Joe Blackmore (Principal Planner - Development Management), Sarah Carter (Democratic Services Officer), Michaelle Coupe (Senior Planner - Development Management), Mia Glass (Assistant Enforcement Officer), Matt Makin (Democratic Services Officer), Philip Ridley (Head of Planning and Coastal Management)