Agenda item

20/00459/FUL - Abaco House, Foxhall Road, Southminster, Essex

To consider the report of the Director of Service Delivery (copy enclosed, Members’ Update to be circulated)*.

 

Minutes:

Application Number

20/00459/FUL

Location

Abaco House, Foxhall Road, Southminster, Essex

Proposal

Change of use of land from agriculture to B8 storage and distribution and construction of storage building

Applicant

Mr Peter Herrington

Agent

Mr Anthony Cussen - Cussen Construction Consultants

Target Decision Date

08.09.2020

Case Officer

Annie Keen

Parish

SOUTHMINSTER

Reason for Referral to the Committee / Council

Departure from Local Plan

Member Call In – Councillor A S Fluker

Reason – Policies S1, E1 and E4

 

Following the Officer’s presentation, the Chairman moved the Officer’s recommendation that planning application 20/00459/FUL, Abaco House, Foxhall Road, Southminster, Essex be refused for the reasons as detailed in Section 8 of the report. This was seconded by Councillor Channer.

 

Councillor Fluker, a Ward Member, opened the discussion by saying that the Parish Council supported the application and he knew the site well which was surrounded by commercial buildings. He pointed out that the area had been used for industrial purposes for some time and under Policies E1 and E4 converting agriculture to commercial, where applicable, would regenerate, regularise, modernise and expand an existing employment site. He proposed that the application be approved contrary to the Officer’s recommendation and to support local business. Councillor Beale, a Ward Member, said he would support this view as the site was not large enough for agriculture therefore better served for industrial purposes. 

 

Councillor Channer disagreed as she felt there was no evidence to determine what the planned use was and that however small the piece of land it should be retained as agricultural.  She noted that Environmental Health had concerns regarding noise issues resulting in loss of residential amenity which was a serious issue.

 

The Lead Specialist Place addressing a number of points raised clarified that this was not an expansion of an existing site therefore Policy E4 was not entirely relevant. There was no loss of employment as the use of the site hadn’t commenced. He said that there was no evidence in the application of planned use and that as the decision-makers, whilst statutory consultees were an integral part of the process, the Committee must ensure that decisions were based on policies and caselaw. He reminded members of the demonstrable harm incurred by noise nuisance.

 

The Lead Specialist Development Management said that this area demonstrated an encroachment by employment sites into the countryside. There was a need to have regard to planning history, the lawful use of sites and protecting those sites.

 

The Chairman then put the Officer’s recommendation of refusal to the Committee. Upon a vote being taken and there being an equality of votes the Chairman exercised his casting vote and the Officer’s recommendation was lost.

 

The Chairman then reverted to Councillor Fluker’s proposal to approve the application contrary to the Officer’s recommendation for the reasons that given its location it would not cause demonstrable harm to the character and appearance of the site and it was not contrary to policies S1, S8, D1 and E1 of the Design Guide.

 

The Lead Specialist Place advised that should Members be minded to approve the application that conditions be delegated to Officers (including Environmental Health) in consultation with the Chairman.

 

The Chairman put the proposal to approve the application contrary to the Officer’s recommendation to the Committee. Upon a vote being taken and there being an equality of votes the Chairman exercised his casting vote and the application was approved.

 

RESOLVED that the application be APPROVED subject to conditions delegated to Officers in consultation with the Chairman.

 

Supporting documents: