Officers clarified that the Application has been brought to the Planning Committee for consideration at the request of Councillor K. J. May, Ward Member.
Officers presented the report and informed the Committee that a pre-application meeting with Officers had taken place and that the original proposal for the site had been for eight dwellings; Officers had discussed and explained development in the Green Belt and openness with the Applicant. The Applicant had reduced the redevelopment of the site to provide four dwellings and two detached garages.
With regard to openness, Officers further informed the Committee that the application site currently consisted of 11 ‘structures’ consisting of polytunnels and a brick structure. These structures were low lying single storey and most were of unsubstantial construction consisting of no more than a wired frame and mesh. Given the slope of the land and the high hedge along the front boundary the visual impact of these structures was considered to be minimal.
Officers further clarified that, with regard to whether the site was a Nursey or Garden Centre, advice had been sought from the Council’s Independent Agricultural Consultant on this matter, as detailed on page 34 of the main agenda report.
Members were being asked to consider the openness and sustainability of the proposed site and to have regard to the reasons for refusal, as detailed on page 38 of the main agenda report.
At the invitation of the Chairman, Mr. D. Howell, (the Applicant’s agent), addressed the Committee.
In response to questions from Members, Officers highlighted that the Highways Authority had raised no objections in terms of highway safety matters, but had objected to the proposal due to its unsustainable location, as detailed on page 36 of the main agenda report.
At the request of the Committee, Officers further clarified the areas defined on the presentation slide, highlighting that the red outline indicated the proposed dwellings and that the blue outline covered the entire site under the ownership of the Applicant, as detailed on page 41 of the main agenda report.
Members continued with their debate and in doing so, commented that the Council could not currently demonstrate an up-to-date 5 year housing land supply and referred to the limited infilling in villages and small settlements.
In response Officers explained that the Applicants had made reference to exceptions 145 € and (g) within their planning statement; however, these exceptions referred to the limited infilling in villages and the redevelopment of previously developed land subject to preserving openness. With regard to small settlements as set out in the Bromsgrove District Plan, BDP2.4, Table 2; Bell Heath was not identified within that table as being suitable for development. For planning policy purposes, the application site was located within open countryside.
Officers further clarified that sustainability of a development was a key characteristic of planning, which required the planning system to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, with accessible services, and avoiding isolated new homes in the countryside.
Having had regard to all of the information provided relating to this Application, on putting the matter to the vote, the Committee were of the view that the Application be refused.
RESOLVED that Planning Permission be refused for the reasons set out on page 38 of the main agenda report.