Agenda item

Application no 163610 - Belscot, Reading Road

Recommendation:  Approval


Proposal:  Full application for the proposed change of use of the land and buildings from Use Class B1 (Business) and B8 (Storage & Distribution) to Use Class B1 (Business), B2 (General Industrial) and B8 (Storage & Distribution).


Applicant:  Mr P White


The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in Agenda pages 69 to 86.


The Committee were advised that the Members’ Update included:


·         Proposed additional condition regarding boundary treatments, and

·         Proposed amendment to Condition 5 regarding hours of operation.


Members had visited the site on 24 March 2017.


The Case Officer proposed the following amendments:  that in paragraph 20 on p 79, the reference to Condition 11 in the report should read Condition 5.


Stephen Harrow, resident, representing a group of fellow residents, spoke against the application.  He stated that the planned use of the site would cause harm because of noise.  He considered that the noise attenuation methods would not work and that the ventilation system would, itself, create noise.  He indicated that there were many vacant sites on industrial parks in the Borough that were more suitable for the proposed use.  He suggested that Environmental Health be able to access the site to assess its impact on at all times and that there should be further restrictions on guard dogs, noise, operating times and distance from surrounding properties.


Peter White, applicant, spoke in favour of the application.  He described the company and its development and explained that the site had a lot of potential so the company had invested a lot of time and money to date in clearing it.   It was a small scale business that would bring employment into the area.  He outlined the measures that had been taken to work with residents, including invitations to their other works, and stated that feedback had been positive. 


Simon Weeks, Ward Member for Finchampstead South, spoke in opposition to the application, explaining that there had been objections made by residents and Finchampstead Parish Council.  He cited Planning Policies CP1 and CP3, which spoke to the impact of a development, stating that the site lay between or opposite residences and that it was not appropriate for B2 use.  He suggested that an industrial estate was more suitable for the business and that he was concerned about compliance if mitigation methods did not work.  He asked that, if the Committee were minded to approve the application, Conditions 4 and 5 be amended to reduce the operating hours.


In response to Member questions, the Case Officer stated that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) encouraged commercial activity and that this needed to be weighed against other harm.  He explained the process that had been taken to assess the level of noise and the mitigation methods that would be adopted. The acoustic consultant had provided all the information requested by Environmental Health ant the operating hours of the business and possible noise levels were considered acceptable when compared to the ambient noise levels created by road traffic.


He went on to state that the site already had B1 use and that a prior application for B2 use had been approved but had elapsed.  The existing use of the site could include deliveries and the storage of scaffolding.  B2 use limited use to within buildings, and that this would be limited to two of the buildings.  Condition 3 cited the proposed use of the building as metal fabrications and this could be made more explicit. 


In response to Member questions regarding odour, the Case Officer stated that the buildings would be ventilated and that any potential noise from ventilation was covered in the conditions around noise mitigation.  The company would be working with a range of materials, some of which would have coatings. 


In response to Member questions regarding the condition of the site, the Case Officer stated that the current site was in a very poor condition regarding maintenance and that the proposed works would improve the site, bringing the buildings up to condition. 


Members agreed that a number of conditions be amended or added in the eventuality that the application was approved.  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 Chris Bowring, to refuse the application for the reasons that the application would have a negative impact on the countryside by way of noise and disturbance and had not demonstrated that these would be satisfactorily mitigated.


Resolved:  That Application no 163610 be refused for the reason set out above, with full wording to be agreed between the Case Officer and the Planning Chair and Vice Chair.

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