Minutes of the extraordinary virtual meeting of Litton Cheney Parish Council
held on Tuesday 13 April 2021 to consider planning application P/FUL/2021/00153 – Erection of two dwellings at land off Barges Close


Present: Bill Orchard (Chairman); Quentin Blacke; John Firrell; Andy King; Diana Maston; Andrew Price; Bella Spurrier; Maggie Walsh (Clerk).   Also in attendance Paul Hoffman (Planning Agent) and 6 local residents


1.    Apologies none

2.    Declarations of interest none

3.    Cllr Orchard opened the meeting, expressing the Parish Council’s sadness at the recent death of HRH, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and expressing its condolences to the Royal Family. A minute’s silence was observed.

       He invited Paul Hoffman, agent for the application to give an overview of the proposal. 

       PH reported that this was an infill site, in a sustainable location and new housing was needed.  As Dorset Council could not currently demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, Local Plan policies did not apply and therefore the application should be judged against the National Planning Policy Framework which held a presumption in favour of development unless the harm significantly outweighed the benefits.   Full details were available online, but he would answer any questions following Democratic Time. 


4.    Democratic time. The occupier of The Old Granary objected to the proposal on the following grounds:

·         The site extended beyond existing village buildings and into farmland.

·         The Planning Statement did not accurately describe the site as it failed to mention the adjacent water course or a number of adjacent older buildings.

·         The site was a steep hill and the proposed house on plot 1 would be considerably higher than The Old Granary, which was below the street level of Barges Close. Its bulk would be entirely above the horizon and so would overlook his property. Existing trees were deciduous and adequate screening could not be achieved on this site.

·         A significant amount of water emanated from the site via numerous springs into the pool/lake in his garden and adjacent watercourse.  If permitted, the proposed dwellings would require significant excavation, which might interrupt or divert underground water stores/courses causing flooding of properties or gardens at lower levels.

·         The proposal failed to take into account the needs of pedestrians who used Barges Close, which has no footpaths, as a safe route across the village.

·         The Close was used as a public space by both residents and their children and so additional traffic generated by the proposal would have a detrimental impact on resident’s amenities.

·         The adverse impacts demonstrably outweighed the planning merits.

·         He asked the PC to object to the proposal.

5.    Paul Hoffman responded as follows to points raised and questions asked

·           There would be at least 45m between the proposed and existing dwellings at the closest point: this was a substantial distance.

·           The proposal development involved a private access road serving 2 houses: it would not create a through road.

·           CGFry’s took amenities seriously and he considered the application was acceptable in planning terms.  Ultimately, it would be for the LPA or Planning Inspector to reach a view on this.

·           The development could not make surface water drainage any worse than existing conditions and an appropriate Sustainable Drainage Scheme would be required.

·           Geotechnical surveys would be undertaken to assess underground water and to identify any mitigation that may be required.

·           Loss of a private view was not a material planning consideration

·           CG Fry would be happy to tidy up the boundary and provide screening.  He had already met some adjacent residents and would be happy to meet other residents on site to discuss any concerns.

·           He did not know why the site was not developed at the same time as the rest of the Baglake development. This had predated his time at CGFry’s.

·           The proposal for two executive houses did not conflict with Local Plan Policies as there was no requirement for affordable housing on a development of this size.

·           CGFry submitted a previous planning application to develop this site in 2015.  Whilst under consideration, the LPA attained a five-year housing land supply and the application was therefore withdrawn because the proposal no longer complied with planning policies.

·           There was no question of CGFry exploiting a “loophole” – he believed the application accorded with current policy. CGFry’s was a business and the field was private land – they had every right to apply for planning permission. 

·           Other local developments demonstrated significant height differences.

·           An additional 2 houses would most likely be occupied by people who would contribute to the community.

·           He could not guarantee that the properties would be used as primary residences but few new CGFry homes were sold as 2nd homes.

·           A Housing Needs Survey had identified a need for new homes in Litton Cheney

·           Archaeological surveys were by their nature destructive unless the site was of national significance. The purpose of an archaeological dig was to further understanding.  Any artefacts removed from the site would be publicly accessible.

6.    Chairman Bill Orchard thanked Paul Hoffman for his contribution, indicating that the PC would now discuss the application and make its decision but all were welcome to listen to the debate if they wished.

       The PC were aware of a number of objection (5 at that time) online and in addition, the PC had received 3 further objections and 1 letter of support that were not online.  Reasons for objection were broadly the same as those raised during Democratic time and, in addition:

·           difficulty in manoeuvring vehicles from Barges Close when turning into the access road

·           reduction in available on street parking in Barges Close

·           noise and fumes from vehicles ascending the steep access road in close proximity to existing dwellings

·           loss of important green space and wildlife habitat used by owls, buzzards, hawks and bats

·           loss of views from elsewhere in the AONB

·           impact on trees bordering the proposed access road

·           light pollution

·           large quantities of material would need to be removed from the site

·           archaeological concerns

Reason for support – this was small development which would have minimal long-term impact on residents.

There were currently no consultee objections although some responses were awaited.

Parish Councillors observed that the Housing Needs Survey referred to by PH had identified a need for smaller dwellings.  Only 2 respondents had identified a need for a 4-bedroom house.  Parish Councillors debated the issues raised by local residents.  They also discussed what planning conditions the LPA might impose to mitigate against those concerns should the planning application be approved.

Cllr Firrell felt this was an opportunistic application resting almost totally on the perceived

lack of a five-year land supply, which was mentioned at least seventeen times in the Planning Statement.  The Planning statement said DC currently had 4.83 years housing land supply. This was incorrect: according to DC’s website the figure was 4.93 years.  This represented a small deficiency of 0.07.

Cllr Price said he was not opposed to all development provided it was appropriate development in the right place, but felt this proposal would be the wrong development in the wrong place. Furthermore, 2 houses would contribute insignificantly to the 5-year housing land supply. 

Cllr Orchard proposed that the PC OBJECT to the planning application on the following grounds:

1.The principle of development in this location, where the harm outweighed the planning benefits.  The proposal was therefore contrary to policies SUS2 and the NPPF

2. The overbearing impact of the proposed dwellings on the amenities of adjacent properties, particularly The Old Granary. The proposal was therefore contrary to policy ENV16.

In addition, he proposed that, should the LPA be minded to approve the application, the PC requested conditions relating to prior approval of SUDS; prior geotechnical survey; archaeological survey prior to commencement; and that consideration be given to other mitigation measures to protect the amenities of neighbouring dwellings.

The precise form of words to be drafted by the Parish Clerk for the PC’s approval before submission.

This proposal was seconded by Cllr Blacke and carried unanimously.               MW


Meeting closed

Maggie Walsh
Parish Clerk