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The Chairman welcomed everyone present and went through some general housekeeping arrangements for the meeting.
Apologies for Absence
There were none.
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 7 July 2022, (copy enclosed).
RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 7 July 2022 be approved and confirmed.
Disclosure of Interest
To disclose the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests, other Pecuniary Interests or Non-Pecuniary Interests relating to items of business on the agenda having regard to paragraphs 6-8 inclusive of the Code of Conduct for Members.
(Members are reminded that they are also required to disclose any such interests as soon as they become aware should the need arise throughout the meeting).
The Chairman advised that the two paragraphs detailed on the agenda in relation to disclosure of interest were incorrect and the read out the correct paragraphs which related to the new Code of Conduct recently adopted by the Council.
Councillors M F L Durham and Mrs J L Fleming disclosed a registrable interest as a Member of Essex County Council who were statutory consultees.
Councillor E L Stephens advised the Committee that she had resigned from Tollesbury’s Neighbourhood Planning Team so that she did not have interest.
Councillor S White advised that although she didn’t know the applicants of Claremont Garden Centre (application 22/00643/FUL) she had bought trees from them in the past.
To consider the report of the Director of Service Delivery, (copy enclosed, Members’ Update to be circulated)*.
It was noted from the Members’ Update that a further consultation response had been received from Tollesbury Parish Council along with an additional letter of objection and eight further letters of support.
The report previously presented to the North Western Area Planning Committee on 30 March 2022 was attached as Appendix A to the report.
Members received a verbal update from the Specialist: Development Management which highlighted the following amendments to the Officers’ report:
· The proposal of the application incorrectly referred to 29 affordable dwellings and this should read 25 dwellings
· At paragraph 6.4.2 bullet point three should read “…Building to a management company…”
Following the Officers’ presentation a supporter, Mr Nigel Appleton, Mr Simon Plater (on behalf of the Parish Council) and the Applicant, Ms Tidswelll addressed the Committee.
The Chairman reminded Members at this point that they could not consider anything which was not from statutory consultees.
A lengthy discussion then took place and in response to questions from Members, Officers provided the following information:
· The Environment Agency had not raised any objection to the proposal;
· The ‘cascade mechanism’ referred to in the terms of the Section 106 Agreement was similar to those which had been applied for other retirement communities within the District, prioritising local residents first.
· In accordance with Policy a Sequential Test was not required to be undertaken on this site.
· The Council and its statutory consultees had not raised any concerns regarding flooding on the site.
Councillor R H Siddall proposed that the Officers’ recommendation of approval be agreed, noting that there was a need for this type of development in the District. This proposal was duly seconded.
During the discussion it was noted that the provision of electrical charging points now came under building regulations and was not therefore a planning matter.
In response to a question, the Lead Specialist Place advised that an informative could be added regarding environmental measures such as the use of water butts, gravel drives etc. but this would not be legally binding.
Councillor Siddall amended his proposal asked that an informative be included regarding water butts and anything that mitigated standing water such as gravel drives etc. This amendment was duly seconded.
The Chairman then moved the proposal in the name of Councillor Siddall and upon a vote being taken this was duly agreed.
RESOLVED that this application be APPROVED subject to the applicant entering into a legal agreement pursuant to Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) to secure the planning obligations and subject to conditions as set out below and the addition of ... view the full minutes text for item 211.
To consider the report of the Director of Service Delivery (copy enclosed, Members’ Update to be circulated)*.
Councillor M F L Durham advised that he had called in this application and disagreed with the Officers’ recommendation explaining how he felt a restaurant was an essential part of a garden centre. He proposed that the application be approved, contrary to Officers’ recommendation. The Chairman advised that reasons for approval were required.
At this point, the Lead Specialist Place provided further clarification to Members on the areas they needed to consider when determining the application and drew particular attention to paragraph 5.1.9 of the report which set out a section of Policy E4 which Officers considered of relevance. He explained how the Council’s Policies did not provide for restaurants in out-of-town locations, the proposed development was a restaurant in its own right and separate to the garden centre.
Following further discussions Councillor S White advised that on balance she felt the application complied with employment which was very important for the rural area and proposed that the application be approved. This was duly seconded. The Chairman again advised that a reason for approval was required. The Lead Specialist Place expressed concern that if Members were supportive of the proposed approval that this could set a precedent in respect of employment in the District.
Councillor White advised that in respect of her proposal the application complied with policy for the following reasons:
· in terms of Policy E4 part 1 the application was justifiable and had a functional need to expand the business;
· The function of the proposal was directly linked to existing businesses;
· The proposed development could not be located in a town centre of allocated employment area because it was a rural business in a rural building with links to tourism.
· The proposed development would not impact on wildlife in the natural environment but in fact added to it.
The Lead Specialist Place highlighted that there was an extant permission on the site, Members needed to base any decision on the evidence before them and should refer to the concerns and reasons why the Officer felt the proposal was against policy, as set out in the report.
In response to a question, it was confirmed that there was an existing access from the site onto Maldon Road, although this was not currently in use. Reference was made to car parking and the Officer explained ... view the full minutes text for item 212.