To consider application UTT/20/0029/FUL.
The Planning Officer presented a proposal for the erection of one dwelling, designed as an accessible home. The dwelling had been designed as a traditional exposed oak-frame, possessing a pitch roof. The proposed accessible home would be 1.5 storeys with two floors and four bedrooms, with a number of large family rooms. The new house faced West/East to view and used the accessible landscape, which would be planted to include wild areas, Essex hedgerows, groups of trees and a natural pond. Three parking spaces were proposed, with an additional space to be located under the car-port of the dwelling.
The Planning Officer said that at the time of the report there had been 7 neighbour representations received but that there had now been 25 representations received of which 23 supported the application. The support was based on sympathetic proposals to allow one long term resident to remain in the village, the house would be within a large garden of an existing dwelling and three more detached houses had been built in the gardens of adjacent properties, setting a precedent.
The application was recommended for refusal on the basis that by reason of its size, scale, design and siting it neither protected nor enhanced the character of the countryside. It was of significant proportions that introduced an unacceptable level of bulk and massing to this part of Widdington. It fell outside of any established building line and would cause harm and detriment to the openness and wider character and beauty of the countryside, contrary to Policy S7, H4, GEN2 and the NPPF.
Members discussed the size and scale of the development and whether it was considered to be a backfill development. It was recognised that the property would be wheelchair accessible. Some Members stated that the proposal was contrary to planning policy, unless material considerations suggested otherwise.
Members noted that the level of local support for the application was unprecedented and the view was expressed that local people should be involved in the decision-making process.
Councillor Loughlin said that she supported the application for valid planning reasons and proposed that it be approved with conditions.
• The property had to be built within three years
• In line with suggested Highways conditions in the report
• In line with suggested biodiversity conditions in the report
• Details required of materials and landscaping
• M4 (high level) condition for wheelchair accessibility
• In line with land contamination conditions.
Councillor Reeve seconded the proposal.
Councillor Caton abstained from the vote as he had left the meeting for a short period during this Agenda Item.
RESOLVED to approve the application with conditions.
J Buck, P Ewin, Councillor N Hargreaves and C Southcott spoke on the application.