The debate was lengthy and complex, revolving mainly around the strength of the special circumstances arguments. Residents had requested a deferral until the Planning, Sites and Polices DPD is adopted. That would have meant a delay until 2016 and if this had happened, then the applicant would almost certainly have appealed against non-determination, taking the decision out of the council’s hands and possibly resulting in a permanent consent. The officer suggested a 5 year temporary permission to enable the DPD process to be completed and this was agreed by the committee on a split vote.
An extra condition was added requiring full details of a suitable drainage system to be submitted prior to the start of development, which must be fully installed prior to the first occupation of either one of the mobile homes. Members also stipulated that it should all be in accordance with the plans as submitted, to tie the caravan storage to the fenced area shown on the plans.
The consultation is still running on the Policies, Sites and Places DPD, which has two separate proposals that would affect Henfield Paddock. The first is that it be intensified, by the two pitches in the application considered today. The second is that along with all sites with temporary and/or personal conditions it be designated a permanent gypsy site, which involves removing the land from the Green Belt. You can read more and make your comments online:
Claire will put in a response as a ward councillor on behalf of the community, but it’s important that people write individually as well. The deadline for comments is 28th August.
There were two other Westerleigh ward applications at committee today. An extension to a house in Oakwood Gardens was unanimously approved, while plans to build a new chapel and a hospitality suite at Westerleigh Crematorium went through with a large majority.