Recommendation: Conditional Approval.
Proposal: Proposed bio-gas anaerobic digestion power generation facility, to include the erection of three digester tanks, creation of a storage lagoon, together with associated plant and equipment, engineering works and landscaping.
Applicant: Mr VJ and RJ Butler
The Committee received and considered a report about this application, set out on Agenda pages 67 to 132.
The Committee was advised that the Members’ Update included:
· responses to submissions on traffic from a local residents group;
· recommended amendments to conditions 12, 13 and 24;
· a recommendation to delete informative 4; and
· a recommended additional informative related to condition 2.
It was noted that Members visited the site around 8.30am on Friday 11 September 2015 to view the site in the context of the character of the area and proximity to other land uses.
Jonathan Wheelwright representing Swallowfield Parish Council spoke in objection to the application expressing concern about the suitability of the roads in the area especially considering school traffic.
Andrew Hooper representing local residents spoke in objection to the application and said that he believed that traffic movements to and from the farm would double. Concerns were raised about the safety of the proposal in light of other incidents around the country.
Robin Bradbeer, Agent, spoke in favour of the application and said that he believed the application satisfied all planning requirements.
Stuart Munro, a Local Ward Member, spoke opposing the application and said that, while the development was a great idea, he believed that it was in the wrong place.
Members asked for clarification on traffic movements as a result of this development. The Service Manager Highway Development estimated that there would be an extra 2 to 8 vehicles per day depending on the time of year. He reminded Members that a much greater traffic volume could result if the farm simply changed agricultural use which they could do without requiring planning permission.
Members asked what improvements had been made following a previous accident with an anaerobic digestion plant. Confirmation was given that such specialised matters would be the responsibility of the Environment Agency and that other safety issues are not local planning matters but dealt with by other agencies.
The Head of Development Management and Regulatory Services also confirmed that all objections submitted had been seen by the planning officers and were taken into consideration.
RESOLVED: That application F/2015/0767 be approved, subject to the conditions set out on Agenda pages 70 to 78 with conditions 12, 13 and 24 amended, the deletion of informative 4 and a new informative as set out in the Members’ Update.