Minutes December 2021

Withington Group Parish Council
Extra Ordinary Meeting Held on Thursday 16th December 2021
At 7.30pm On Zoom

Present: In the Chair: Kevin Hewison (KH); Howard Mansell (HM); Ingrid Heatly (IH); Alison Bainbridge (AB); John Bennett (JB); Sue Rudd (SR); Simon Dent (SD); Judith Howe (JH); Julie Williams (JW); Anna Green (AG);

Also: Sophie Glover (Clerk), Paul Andrews (Ward Cllr); 5 members of public.

The Meeting opened at 7.30pm
There was 10 minutes allowed from 7.30pm for members of the public to raise any issues that they would like the Parish Council to consider.
Those attending explained why they were there, all were interested in planning applications.

1. To accept Apologies for absence – Bob Wood (BW), Barclay Rogers (BR), Jonathan Beech (JB); Tom Nellist (TN);

2. To receive Declaration of Interests.
None received

3. Acceptance of minutes of the:- PC meeting (November 2021) – Moved to January meeting.

4. Action Points to be acted upon. Moved to January meeting.

5. Receive reports from:
5.1 Report from Ward Councillor – Cllr Paul Andrews. Has sent on the drainage work invoice that we had done in Preston Wynne for the attention of Herefordshire Council. SD asked that the Ward Councillor to continue to chase Herefordshire Council to get them to agree that they would help us to fund the drainage work that the lengthsman has quoted for in Preston Wynne.
He also asked people to take Covid seriously and to get their booster jab.
The Chair reported that there seems to be an update to people’s satnavs which is now telling them that he speed limit between A4103 and Bartestree Cross C1103 (as recently resurfaced) is now 30mph, which is not what the signage says.
AB: mentioned the problem re drainage work needed on the field above the steps leading down to Duke St. – that the landowner is not agreeing to the proposed work on her land . Ward Cllr Andrews offered to speak to the landowner.

5.2 Local police – no report given.

5.3 Balfour Beatty – Reports come out weekly and cllrs can comment on them.

6. Planning including
214030 – Land West of Townsend Farm, Proposed dwelling.
JH had circulated a proposed response to this planning application, the owner of the site was in attendance, so she went through the proposed objection to the application. Attached to the end of these minutes.
AB concurred with the statement supporting many of its key points.
The clerk will use delegated powers to submit the PC’s statement.

214036 – Orchard View, Cross Keys: proposed extension to the bungalow and render to the external walls.
The clerk will use delegated powers to submit the comment that the Parish Council supports this application but makes no comment.

214157 – Yarkhill Village Hall, Yarkhill: proposed laying of concrete base and creation of wooden temporary structure to house milk and bottle vending machines.
Clerk will not make a comment on this application.

Action: clerk to submit the comments as above.

6.2: Planning decisions made: None.

7. Financial:
a) Balances: Parish Account @ 08.12.21.; £12,079.43; WF acct @ 31.11.21: £4,811.52;
CCLA @ 31.11.21: £14,102.61
b) To discuss payments as listed on the finance sheet.
c) Receipts : None to date.
d) Applications for financial aid: None at this time.
e) Precept setting discussion. Final decision on precept to be made at the January meeting, there was a request for any future projects that would require funding in the next financial year to be bought to this next meeting.

8. Withington Field update: pickup sticks is still out of action.

9. Working parties

– A4103: KH had compiled the comments and the publics thoughts would be addressed at the January meeting.
CCTV: there have now been 3 quotes for the installation of the CCTV cameras. These will go to the Village Hall Committee which meets in early January and the Chair will feed back to the PC any comments from them at the January PC meeting.

10. Discussion on feed back from the consultation event:- January agenda.

11. Feedback on training or information events attended: January agenda

12. Co option of Preston Wynne Councillor. Some one has been identified as being interested in becoming a Parish Councillor in the village, they have been invited to attend the January meeting. Clerk will circulate their ‘paragraph’ prior to the meeting.

13. Discussion on Facebook Site and social media presence of the WGPC; Cllr John Bennett volunteered to be an assistant to Cllr Anna Green with this item.
– Pick up sticks is still out of order.

14. Receive items for the next agenda (no discussion) Precept, Clerks appraisal, CCTV, defibrillators, bark chippings for the coppice, Queens Jubilee.

15. Agreed time and date of next meeting: 20th January 2021 starting at 7.30pm.

The meeting closed at 8.10pm

Signed: _________________________ Date: _________________

Dates for 2022 meetings:

20th January 7.30 pm start
24th March 7.30 pm start
Annual Meeting 19th May 7.00 pm start
14th July 7.30 pm start
22nd September 7.30 pm start
17th November 7.30 pm start

Withington Group Parish Council – proposed objection to P214030
1. WGPC wishes to object to planning application P214030/F Proposed dwelling and garage/workshop on land west of Townsend Farmhouse Westhide on the following grounds.
Principle of development.
Location with regard to settlement boundary
2. The site is wholly outside the settlement boundary for Westhide. This boundary has been consulted upon, considered at independent Examination and voted for by the local community at referendum prior to being included in the made Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) as recently as October 2019. It has been drawn to maintain the historic built form of the village. Provision for the growth of Westhide has already been made in a planned way by allocation for housing of the former diary site. Granting permission for this proposal would breach the recently-adopted settlement boundary without justification.
3. The site’s location outside the planned form of the settlement is no mere “technicality” as it is referred to in the applicant’s Planning Statement but reflects the outcome of due process which must be respected. The fact is that the site is in the countryside for planning purposes and should be assessed as such. The scheme meets none of the exceptional circumstances identified in Local Plan Core Strategy (LPCS) policy RA3 by which a proposal for residential development in the countryside could proceed. It is telling that no case to this effect is attempted in the Planning Statement. The proposal is contrary to LPCS policy RA3.
4. The WGPC is also concerned about the wider implications of a grant of planning permission for the proposal. Such a decision would set aside a recently-adopted settlement boundary without sufficient justification. It would set an unfortunate precedent which would weaken the NDP and compromise the ability to properly control other similar development for Withington and Preston Wynne as well as Westhide.
Strategic housing requirement
5. The NDP’s housing requirement has already been met – the requirement of 127 new dwellings to be delivered in the Neighbourhood Area 2011-2031 has been exceeded by 48 or 38%. No further development is needed to meet the strategic requirement.
6. It is recognised that strategic housing requirement is not a target or cap, but there is a need to ensure that any further growth is proportionate. The WGPC considers there is no justified case for further development when the strategic housing requirement has already been exceeded by over one-third.
Local character
7. Westhide is listed as an ‘other settlement’ in Figure 4.15 to LPCS policy RA2. In such settlements proposals are expected to demonstrate particular attention to the form, layout, character and setting of the site and its location in that settlement. Existing dwellings in the vicinity of the proposal are relatively small-scale, located on small plots and positioned directly to the wayside. They represent a historic built form which is efficient in its use of land and which the Westhide settlement boundary seeks to protect.
8. Even if the scheme were considered to have an acceptable relationship to Westhide notwithstanding its position outside the settlement boundary, the proposal does not match village character in terms of its siting, the size of dwelling or plot. The application is for a four-bedroom dwelling of imposing scale, set well back from the road. It is situated on an exceptionally generous plot within the planning redline of 1.28 hectare, larger than the one-hectare threshold set in the NPPF at para. 69 for small sites. It is larger than the adjacent allocation site which is proposed for six dwellings. It does not reflect the form, layout or character of Westhide, and this is contrary to LPCS policy RA2.
Potential for enhancement
9. Much is made in the Planning Statement of the enhancement that will result from the removal of the existing barns, which extend from the road northwards along the site boundary. This is the material consideration which is argued to be so significant as to justify setting aside the provisions of the up-to-date development plan. Reference is made to the inclusion of the former diary site in the settlement boundary. Yet, the opportunity was available to the plan-makers to include the application site or a part thereof in the boundary to facilitate the removal of the barns through development; it was not taken. In any event such enhancement could be achieved simply by demolishing the barns. It does not require the construction of a new four-bedroom dwelling with garage/workshop. Moreover, the new dwelling and its separate garage/workshop are not restricted to the footprint of the barns but extend notably further into the site onto what is presently an open field, thereby creating their own harmful visual impact. Indeed, all of the footprint of the new dwelling is beyond that of the barns. This siting does not pay “particular attention” to the character of the settlement or the site, as is required by LPCS policy RA2. The present open views over the Lugg valley which are available from the road across the site will be compromised by the new dwelling. WGPC consider that the potential for enhancement is over-stated and particularly is outweighed by the harm that the new development itself will bring to visual amenity and the character of the settlement.
10. As well as these issues the WGPC are also concerned on design and other matters as follows:
• Materials. The scheme does not make use of materials appropriate to Westhide. NDP policy P4 requires the predominant use of stone and brick in Westhide, yet the dwelling is proposed to be mainly rendered. This inappropriate material will not support local distinctiveness and will add to the incongruity posed by the dwelling’s poor siting in relation to settlement character.
• Access and amenity space. The proposal will introduce domestic curtilage elements into what is presently a countryside/open field setting. Their visual impacts will be magnified by the size of the site. These elements include the creation of a new access onto the road, driveway, and planting. Whilst these are all understandable accompaniments to the proposal, they will do little to help integrate the new dwelling into the settlement.
• External lighting should be subject to a planning condition because of the potential for impact on the wider landscape arising from the exposed siting of the scheme and on biodiversity and dark skies.
• Local support. WGPC does not recognise the suggestion in the agents’ covering letter that neighbouring residents support the scheme, with concerns expressed to Parish Councillors about the scale of the proposal and the extent of intrusion into the field.
11. In conclusion, WGPC objects to this planning application because the site is in countryside outside a settlement whose extent is defined in the Withington Group Parish NDP. The development plan as a whole is up-to-date. The proposal does not comply with any of the exceptional circumstances set out in LPCS policy RA3 for residential development in the countryside. There are no material considerations of sufficient weight to override the provisions of the development plan. The proposal would be harmful to village character and visual amenity including through its scale, siting, and materials. These factors outweigh the potential for enhancement arising from removal of the barns. In this situation, planning permission should be refused.