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Declarations of Interest
To disclose any pecuniary, other registrable or non-registrable interests as set out in the adopted Code of Conduct. In making their disclosure councillors are asked to state the agenda item, the nature of the interest and any action they propose to take as part of their declaration.
If required, further advice should be sought from the Monitoring Officer in advance of the meeting.
Cllr John Worth declared that he was the interim Chairman of Winterborne Whitechurch Parish Council. He had had no involvement with the previous discussions relating to application P/FUL/2021/02622 and had come to the committee meeting with an open mind and no pre-determination.
To receive questions or statements on the business of the committee from town and parish councils and members of the public.
Public speaking has been suspended for virtual committee meetings during the Covid-19 crisis and public participation will be dealt with through written submissions only.
Members of the public who live, work or represent an organisation within the Dorset Council area, may submit up to two questions or a statement of up to a maximum of 450 words. All submissions must be sent electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline set out below. When submitting a question please indicate who the question is for and include your name, address and contact details. Questions and statements received in line with the council’s rules for public participation will be published as a supplement to the agenda.
Questions will be read out by an officer of the council and a response given by the appropriate officer at the meeting. All questions, statements and responses will be published in full within the minutes of the meeting. The deadline for submission of the full text of a question or statement is 8.30am on Wednesday 19 January 2022.
Representations by the public to the Committee on individual planning applications are attached as an appendix to these minutes.
The Definitive Map Team Manager presented the application which had been made on behalf of ‘King Charles Estate Residents Association’ for the registration of land at Happy Island, Bridport as a town or village green.
The application was initially received in February 2013. Stating that the land should be registered as a town or village green because it been used by residents for over 20 years with no objection from the land owner.
The application was accompanied by 14 forms of evidence which detailed use of the Land such as walking, picnicking, kite flying and other activities which could support the registration of land as a town or village green.
The application was made under Section 15(2) of the Commons Act 2006 which required that:
- a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or of any neighbourhood in a locality, have indulged as of right in lawful sports and pastimes on the Land for a period of at least 20 years; and
- they continued to do so at the time of the application.
In accordance with the Regulations, adverts on site and in the local press had invited objections to the application. The objection period expired on 8 May 2015. The following objections had been received from a local resident and by the landowners, these and the Applicant’s responses were:-
a) The field may have been previously regarded as a recreational area, but this was no longer the case since the island in the river had changed.
b) The top eastern portion of the field had never been regarded as a public recreational area.
c) If the top eastern part of the field was developed, the landowner could allow the bottom western portion to go into local government ownership as a public area.
The applicant had responded to these comments by saying, that the river was not part of the application, the field was not included in the Local Plan and therefore could not be developed, the objection was merely and no evidence had been provided to support it.
The landowner had also raised the following points
a) The user evidence was insufficient – in that it was not significant, it does not go up to the date of the application in 2014 and it was predominantly linear use. Also, there was no evidence of user Parish wide.
b) Use for lawful sports and pastimes was wholly anecdotal. No photographic evidence had been produced, and the land had been in agricultural use since at least 1997 which would have interrupted public use of the land.
c) Signs had been erected on site in 2008 stating that there was no public access to the land other than along the footpath.
The landowners had included paperwork supporting their objection this related to a deposit under S31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 and their lack of intention to dedicate any further public rights of way across the Land. They had also enclosed a copy of the West Dorset Weymouth ... view the full minutes text for item 41.
Construct solar photovoltaic farm, battery storage and associated infrastructure, including inverters, batteries, substations, security cameras, fencing, access tracks and landscaping.
The Lead Project Officer presented the report which sought construction of a solar photovoltaic farm, battery storage and associated infrastructure, including inverters, batteries, substations, security cameras, fencing, access tracks and landscaping.
He drew the committee’s attention to an update sheet which is attached as an appendix to these minutes.
The Lead Project Officer presented the proposed site plan, the access route and photographs of the existing access point, which was considered sufficient for the construction traffic, together with proposed elevations, examples of proposed fencing and CCTV. The site was within the setting of several Scheduled Monuments, two areas of Ancient Woodland, and a dwelling identified as a non-designated heritage asset. It was also within Gillingham Forest Royal Deer Park, which was recorded as a non-designated heritage asset (monument). The visual and landscape impact pages 51-54 were highlighted. In his summary the Lead Project Officer weighed up the planning balance, he concluded that the development would offer significant environmental benefits. However, the location and large expanse of the site meant that the harmful impacts on the significance of designated and non-designated heritage assets, their setting within a valued rural landscape, and on associated public enjoyment of these heritage and landscape features as part of the Gillingham Royal Forest Project Area, were sufficiently adverse and significant to outweigh the public benefits of the proposal. The application was recommended for refusal.
The public representations were read and are attached as an appendix to these minutes.
Cllr Ridout as Ward Member for the area elected to take part in the debate as a committee member and not as Ward Member.
The committee were given the opportunity to ask questions of the Lead Project Officer. These focussed on the balancing act of the benefits against the harm of the application and the weight given to Dorset Council’s Ecological and Environmental Emergency Declaration. The Head of Planning advised that great weight had to be given to heritage and conservation, less than substantial harm still had great weight which needed to be considered. The NPPF clearly stated that valued landscape should be valued and enhanced.
Members were keen to stress that this was valued landscape with a number of scheduled monuments which had to be given great weight, residents were trying to conserve and develop the area. Housing had been approved nearby due to housing need, but it was felt that was where the development should end. The committee did not feel this was an appropriate site for a solar farm.
It was felt by some of the committee members that a site visit would have been appropriate and helpful.
Proposed by Cllr Clayton, seconded by Cllr Bartlett.
On being put to the vote, the proposal for a site visit was lost on the Chairman’s casting vote.
Proposed by Cllr Jespersen, seconded by Cllr Ridout. On being put to the vote the members were minded to approve the Officer’s recommendation to refuse the application.
Decision: The Head of Planning confirmed that he had been present during the ... view the full minutes text for item 42.
The meeting will resume at 14.00hrs
Construct solar farm and erect electric vehicle charging station, form vehicular access, parking, landscaping, and carry out associated works including installation of equipment, batteries and necessary infrastructure.
The Senior Planning Officer presented the report for the construction of a solar farm and erection of an electric vehicle charging station, form vehicular access, parking, landscaping, and carry out associated works including installation of equipment, batteries and necessary infrastructure.
He updated the committee with the recommendation of an additional condition 35, which had been agreed by the applicant.
The application comprised a solar farm, An Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station, a covered walkway and canopy for 6x ultra-rapid and 6x rapid charging points; and public rest facilities including public conveniences, a small café, shop and seating area for a duration of 40 years. The committee were presented with various site plans and photographs of the landscape and views from varying view-points. The Highways Authority had confirmed they were happy with the access point subject to a Grampian condition. There would also be additional parking areas for HGVs.
The Senior Planning Officer highlighted the relevant constraints, key planning considerations and principle of development. Historic England had been consulted with regard to designated heritage assets.
The Senior Planning Officer completed his presentation with a summary of the application and his recommendation.
The public representations were read and are attached as an appendix to these minutes.
The committee members were invited to put their questions forward. These focussed on charging points for motor homes, the maintenance of the dog walking area, the volume of traffic and highway impact, the footpath from the village to the proposed site, lighting and facilities for HGVs. Additional conditions were also suggested to cover the questions, as well as an informative note could be added relating to the provision of shower facilities depending on the level of demand.
Proposed by Cllr Worth, seconded by Cllr Jespersen.
On being put to the vote, the committee were minded to approve the application as per the Officer recommendation, with the additional conditions to submit details of the proposed surface, confirm and maintain the permissive path between the village and the site, maintain the dog walking area and the addition of an informative note relating to the possible provision of shower facilities.
The Head of Planning confirmed that he had been present throughout the meeting, listened to the debate and would make the decision in accordance with the committee’s minded to vote.
To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.
There were no urgent items.
To move the exclusion of the press and the public for the following item in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph 3 of schedule 12 A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).
The public and the press will be asked to leave the meeting whilst the item of business is considered.
There was no exempt business.