Decision Maker: Development Panel
Decision status: Refused
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
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Mr Tim Cartmell spoke in support of the application.
Councillor Norman Atkinson spoke on behalf of Caldbeck Parish Council in support of the application.
Councillor Tony Annison spoke in support of the application on behalf of ex Ward Councillor Duncan Fairbairn.
The applicant, Mr Johnny Coulthard and the agent, Mr Daniel Addis spoke in support of the application.
The report recommended refusal.
The report outlined the application and detailed the main issues within the report as follows:
The site was within a sustainable village location in terms of access to amenities and services. However, the benefit of providing a dwelling in this village location must be balanced, applying the NPPF’s tilted balance, against the sensitivity of the site, with regard to impact on heritage assets (to include the setting of nearby listed buildings, the impact on the Caldbeck Conservation area and the proximity to the National Park) and also the safeguarding of protected species and habitats, and the loss of trees and hedgerow.
· Heritage Assets
Concern about the impact on the character and appearance (the significance) of the designated Conservation area, particularly from the loss of the mature tree T1 (tree planting is proposed to the rear of the site rather than addressing the visual amenity from Friar Row).
Lack of detail had been provided on the ‘significance’ on the heritage assets as required by the NPPF 2018.
There was officer concern on the visual proximity to the listed buildings/structures to the south of the site notably the grade 1 listed St Kentigern Church, the listed church bridge and the rectory building and walls.
· Design, Layout
The siting of the dwelling was not accepted, due to its impact on the character and appearance of the conservation area and the setting of listed buildings, exacerbated through the loss of mature tree T1, which would adversely affect the historic rural character and distinctiveness of the area.
· Trees and Ecology
The two mature Beech trees, T1 and T2, had estimated trunk diameters of 99cm and 91cm at 1.5m above the ground level respectively. Their heights were about 19-20m.
Loss of tree T1 beech (TPO) was not accepted, notwithstanding a proposed tree replanting scheme. The replanting scheme appeared to be to the north of the site and that would not screen the dwelling from the heritage assets or users of Friar Row road and nearby footpaths.
Matters of ecology could be safeguarded by planning conditions with appropriate mitigation.
The removal of part of the hedgerow was accepted subject to a replanting scheme as proposed to accommodate the vehicular access from Friar Row.
· Access and parking arrangements
The site was accessed from the highway off Friar Row. Visibility splays could be safeguarded via a planning condition. Access and parking was satisfactory from a highway safety point of view.
· Foul and surface water
Foul to mains.
Further details required on surface water arrangements required to be secured by planning condition.
· Residential amenity
No adverse impact on residential amenity from loss of light or overlooking.
Residential amenity, in perpetuity, could be secured via a section 106 agreement to remove the redundant slurry store to the north of the site and to restrict the adjacent agricultural building from the housing of livestock. This had been agreed in principle with the adjacent land owner but the section 106 had not been completed.
· Tilted balance
Officers must consider the merits of providing the proposed dwelling in the location in the village of Caldbeck against the significant and demonstrable harm from the loss of a TPO Tree T1 beech (notwithstanding the proposed replanting scheme) and the harm resulting from the proposed layout and massing on designated heritage assets.
Officers considered the proposal would have an adverse impact in terms of visual amenity and on the character of the locality, the conservation area and setting of the listed church buildings nearby. That would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefit of providing just one dwelling, when assessed against the policies in the Local Plan 2014 and the NPPF 2018 when taken as a whole.
Members noted the representations received in respect of the application, the main grounds of which were set out in the report.
Following member discussion, and the questions raised to the speakers, having concurred with the weighting of policy and material considerations detailed in the report Councillor M Grainger moved approval on the grounds of applying the titled balance; that the public benefit of providing a family dwelling which enhanced the character and appearance of the designated conservation area and preserved the setting of the listed buildings considerably outweighed any adverse impacts, and moved that it be delegated to officers to draw up a s106 agreement to seek the removal of the slurry store which he considered was required to make the development acceptable and subject to conditions.
This was seconded by Councillor D Wilson.
A vote was taken on the motion for approval, 5 voted in favour, 5 against and 0 abstentions. The Chair gave the casting vote making it 6 against. The motion was lost.
Councillor B Miskelly moved refusal for the reasons given in the officers’ report.
This was seconded by Councillor J Farebrother.
A vote was taken on the motion for refusal as per the officer’s recommendation, 5 voted in favour, 5 against and 0 abstentions. The Chair gave the casting vote making it 6 in favour. The motion was carried.
Reason for Refusal
The development by virtue of introducing a dwelling of the siting and massing proposed will neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the Caldbeck Conservation Area. The felling of the Beech tree (T1) and introduction of the form proposed results in the loss of one of the few fields that penetrate into the built envelope of the village and defines the historic character of the settlement. The loss is particularly harmful given the juxtaposition with the Bridge and Church.
As such the proposal is contrary to the provisions of policy S27, S32 and DM17.of the adopted Allerdale Local Plan Part 1 2014.
The setting of both the Church of St Kentigern and the packhorse Bridge will not be preserved by the introduction of a dwelling of the siting and massing proposed. Much of the historic setting of these assets has been lost but the application site is one of the remaining fields in close proximity that defined this historic setting and materially contributes to the significance of these assets. The development would result in the irrevocable loss of the field and harm to the significance of the assets, this harm not being outweighed by the minimal public benefits arising from the proposal.
As such the proposal is contrary to the provisions of policy S27, S32 and DM17. of the adopted Allerdale Local Plan Part 1 2014.
The extent of damage to the significance of the conservation area has not been appraised in detail by the applicant at variance with paragraph 189 of the NPPF 2018
The cumulative adverse impact would demonstrably and significantly outweigh the benefits of the proposal.
Report author: Lewis Jefferson
Publication date: 17/10/2018
Date of decision: 16/10/2018
Decided at meeting: 16/10/2018 - Development Panel