Agenda item

22/00344/FUL - Land on South Side Maldon Road, Woodham Mortimer, Essex

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




Application Number



Land On South Side Maldon Road, Woodham Mortimer, Essex


Change of use of land for 2 Gypsy/Traveller pitches comprising the siting of 1 mobile home, 1 touring caravan per pitch, alongside the formation of permeable hardstanding


Ms M Delaney


Mr Peter Brownjohn - WS Planning & Architecture

Target Decision Date


Case Officer

Anna Tastsoglou



Reason for Referral to the Committee / Council

Councillor / Member of Staff



A Members’ Update had been circulated prior to the meeting that detailed further representations from interested parties and the Officer provided a further verbal update that two additional letters of objection had been received  together with a  letter from a Member of Parliament (MP)  highlighting the concerns from residents. It was noted that the two additional letters did not raise any further material planning considerations from those contained in the Officer’s report. Following the Officer’s presentation, Mr. Russell Forde, speaking on behalf of a group of local residents, Parish Council representative Mr. Brady and the Applicant, Mr. Connors addressed the Committee.


At this point the Chairman moved the Officer’s recommendation to approve the application and this was seconded by Councillor Stephens. He then opened the discussion. 


A lengthy debate ensued where a range of issues and concerns were discussed. It was noted that there had been a lot of correspondence from residents to Members regarding this proposal. Councillor Durham, whilst acknowledging sympathy with Officers, expressed concern regarding the dangerous entrance to the site. He said it was artificial with no permission not to mention very dangerous.. He felt that the application impacted adversely on the amenity of neighbouring properties together with a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the rural area. Some Members echoed these concerns and queried issues around the clearance of the site; the biodiversity net gain or otherwise; the availability of other like sites; the status of the applicant as a traveller or otherwise and the sustainability of the site


In response to issues raised Officers provided the following information-


·        That the application site was more than 55 metres from the nearest property.


·        That Essex Highways had not raised an objection; however they had suggested conditions which have been included in the report;


·        That the access already existed, not created by the applicant. Essex Highways Authority had recognised they would use the existing access.


·        That the clearance involving trees did not require permission as it was prior to any Tree Protection Order, (TPO) being imposed.


·        That as outlined in paragraph 5.3.13 of the Officer report in this instance, the proposal, with the exception of the hardstanding, would involve single storey mobile structures, which are to be located further away from the highway, resulting in minimal impact on the character of the area.


·        That in respect of biodiversity this was addressed under conditions 14 &15 of the report . Planting of native species of trees and hedges, together with external lighting to protect species and a landscaping scheme (paragraph 5.7.6) will also be required to provide tree, hedge and shrub planting to offer screening to the site.


·        That it was not appropriate to investigate the applicants’ status. They are part  of the travelling community and can work in the local area. The information received is that they fall under the definition of a traveller community.


Following this other Members commented on the need for material planning conditions and lack of compliance with policies should the Committee be minded to refuse the application.


Councillor Durham felt there were appropriate reasons for refusal referring in particular to the reason for approval in the report regarding an ecology net gain which he said would not be the case in this instance as the heavily vegetated site had been stripped of all vegetation. 


Having heard all Member comments the Chairman put the Officer’s recommendation to approve the application to the Committee and following a request for a recorded vote, duly seconded, this was lost.  The results were as follows:


For the Officer’s Recommendation to Approve:

     Councillors J V Keyes, N G F Shaughnessy, E L Stephens and Mrs M E Thompson.


Against the Officer’s Recommendation to Approve:

Councillors V J Bell, R PF Dewick, M F L Durham, M R Edwards, Mrs J L Fleming, M S Heard, M W Helm, S J N Morgan and C P Morley. .



Councillors A S Fluker, B B Heubner, A L Hull, K M H Lagan, S P Nunn, P L Spenceley, W Stamp and Mrs J C Stilts


The Chairman then called for reasons for refusal of the application and following Councillor Durham’s proposal to refuse, these were agreed as follows:-


1.      The proposed development would be located outside of the defined settlement boundaries and it would not represent a sustainable form of development due to the poor accessibility of the site.  By reason of its location and access, the site would provide poor quality and limited access to sustainable and public transportation, resulting in an increased need of private vehicle ownership and in limited access to services, facilities and employment opportunities.  The proposal is therefore considered to be contrary to policies S8, H6 and T2 of the Maldon District Local Development Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework.


2.     The proposed development, due to the resultant visual impact from the use of the site for the siting of touring caravans, mobile homes and associated paraphernalia, would detract from the character and appearance of the site itself, the streetscene and the locality more widely.  The proposal is therefore be unacceptable and contrary to policies S8, H6 and D1 of the Maldon District Local Development Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework.


3.     The proposed development would result in undue harm to the residential amenity of the neighbouring occupiers.  The development by reason of the resultant noise levels, and loss of outlook would represent and unneighbourly form of development, contrary to policies D1 and H4 of the Maldon District Local Development Plan and the guidance contained within the National Planning Policy Framework and the Maldon District Design Guide.


The Chairman then put Councillor Durham’s proposal to refuse the application, contrary to the Officer’s recommendation, to the Committee and it was agreed by assent.


RESOLVED that the application be REFUSED for the reasons as outlined above.

Supporting documents: