Recommendation: Conditional Approval, subject to Legal Agreements
Applicant: Mr G Lee
TheCommittee receivedand revieweda reportabout thisapplication, setout inAgenda pages 121to 140.
TheCommittee wasadvised thatthe Members'Update included:
· Proposed change to conditions to read ‘…site, including the ditch’;
· Additional consultee response, and
· Clarification relating to the five year supply of pitches.
Itwas notedthat Membersvisited thesite on 21 April 2017.
Gordon Veitch, Finchampstead Parish Council, spoke in objection to the application, stating that it represented an inappropriate development as it lay outside the settlement boundary and would have a detrimental effect on the ecology of the Thames Valley Basin Special Protection Area (SPA0.
Alan Dix, resident, spoke in opposition to the application, commenting on the current condition of the footpath and the likely impact of new residents on it. He stated that the application was inappropriate for a semi-rural area and would cause light pollution. He stated that the site had been subject to an appeal for two pitches on a previous occasion and had been rejected because of the sustainability of the site, and that this would still be the case for one pitch.
David Wood, Agent, spoke on behalf of the applicant, stating that the recommendation to approve indicated consideration of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment (GTAA). He stated that the site was in the same area as other gypsy pitches and that the applicant had met the qualifying criteria. He suggested that other sites had installed similar drainage systems that worked well; that the pitch was more than 50m away from other properties, and that the application included soft landscaping.
Simon Weeks, Ward Member for Finchampstead South, spoke on the application, stating that it was a question of balance. He referred to the appeal mentioned previously, citing comments about the harm a pitch would have on the character of the area and that the GTAA should not outweigh that.
In response to Member questions and Speaker comments about the five year supply of pitches and the deficit of 1, the Case Officer stated that the information was based on the 2015 report. He explained that Wokingham Borough Council’s figures were updated on an annual basis at the end of March and that, when all the figures had been taken into account, there was a shortfall of one pitch. The Planning Department had taken this into account in regards to their recommendation as it had to be given weight.
The recommendation put to the Committee to approve the application was not supported. As a result, an alternative proposal was received from Councillor John Kaiser, seconded by Councillor Philip Houldsworth, to refuse the application for the reasons that:
· The application was outside of development limits,
· the application was contrary to policy GP11;
· the development would have a negative impact on the character of the countryside;
· the development would have a negative impact on the Thames Valley Basin SPA, and
· the shortfall of one pitch did not out way the impact of the pitch.
RESOLVED: That application no 170570 be refused for the reasons set out above with full wording to be agreed between the Case Officer and the Planning Chair and Vice-Chair.