Agenda and draft minutes

Strategic Planning Committee - Monday, 22nd November, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: A link to the meeting can be found on the front page of the agenda.. View directions

Contact: Elaine Tibble  01305 224202 - Email: elaine.tibble@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Note: MS Teams/Virtual informal meeting 

Media

Items
No. Item

27.

Declarations of Interest

To disclose any pecuniary, other registerable or personal interest 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.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests were made at the meeting.

28.

Public Participation pdf icon PDF 49 KB

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 elaine.tibble@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk  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 17 November 2021.

Minutes:

Representations by the public to the Committee on individual planning applications are attached as an appendix to these minutes.

29.

Application WD/D/19/003181, Land at, Higher Stockbridge Farm, Higher Stockbridge Farm, Stockbridge pdf icon PDF 507 KB

Installation of a renewable energy scheme comprising ground mounted photovoltaic solar arrays together with substation; transformer stations; access; internal access track; landscaping; biodiversity measures; security fencing; security measures; access gate; access improvement and ancillary infrastructure.

Minutes:

This application had been the subject of a site visit prior to the committee meeting.  The following members had attended the site visit:

Cllrs: Robin Cook, John Worth, Shane Bartlett, Dave Bolwell, Alex Brenton, Kelvin Clayton, Mary Penfold, Belinda Ridout and David Tooke.

 

Cllrs: Jean Dunseith, Mike Dyer, Sherry Jespersen did not attend the site visit and did not take part in the discussion or vote.

 

Cllr Penfold, as Ward Member elected to take part in the decision-making process as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee rather than address the meeting in the role of Ward Member,

 

The Planning Officer presented the report which proposed installation of a renewable energy scheme comprising ground mounted photovoltaic solar arrays together with substation; transformer stations; access; internal access track; landscaping; biodiversity measures; security fencing; security measures; access gate; access improvement and ancillary infrastructure.

 

The application site was in an area of agricultural land with hedgerows and planting, there were no buildings on the site but there were several listed buildings on land nearby.  The committee were shown slides with views from various points.  In response to officer advice the applicants had reduced the size of the scheme by 20% however the Planning Officer suggested that this was not enough in the overall context.

 

The application proposed a substation, transformer station, control house and a security system with fencing.

 

The key planning issues were highlighted, and members were advised that the principle of approving applications should only be where the impacts of development were acceptable. In this case the application was recommended for refusal as it would be so visually intrusive the harm would outweigh the benefits.  The public benefits of the development were not considered to outweigh the cumulative harm caused to the character of the valued landscape and its importance to the setting of heritage assets and their relationship with the rural landscape.

 

The Planning Technical Support Officer read the written representations; these are attached as appendix to these minutes.

 

The committee debated the application.  They felt that the scheme was balanced on a knife edge, on one hand Dorset Council had declared a climate emergency which had to be balanced against the cumulative harm to the landscape and the heritage assets, plus the loss of recreational value.

 

The committee debated the level of harm, conserving the sense of rural tranquillity, noise and light pollution.  In relation to what may be considered a suitable size for the application, the Applicant had stated that a smaller operation would not be viable.  It was not known how many other sites in the Dorset Council area that might be suitable for a similar application.  Members felt they had to balance the impact on the whole landscape whilst maintaining the need to put great weight on renewable energy.

 

Proposed by Cllr B Ridout, seconded by Cllr M Penfold

That the application be refused as the benefits did not outweigh the cumulative harm to the landscape and the heritage assets, plus the loss of recreational value  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Application for the registration of a town or village green at Happy Island, Bridport pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To consider an application to amend the Register of Town and Village Greens by the addition of an area of land at Happy Island, Bridport.

 

Minutes:

This item was deferred to a later date due to unexpected circumstances concerning the case officer.

 

31.

Application for a definitive map and statement order to add a footpath from Sunnyside Road to Ryland's Lane, Wyke Regis, Weymouth pdf icon PDF 5 MB

In response to an application to add a footpath in the Weymouth Town Council area, this report considers the evidence relating to the status of the route.

 

Minutes:

The Definitive Map Technical Officer advised that there was no documentary evidence to say the footpath had been available prior to the building of the school in the 1950s. The number of people who responded to say they used the old route (prior to 2005) had been  low and of low frequency despite the stated reasons for use being mainly for accessing the Doctor’s surgery, health centre, library and shops.  It was not considered that the number of users constituted the ‘general public’ in such a densely populated area or that the use was sufficiently frequent to have come to the attention of the landowner, given the high number of visitors and pupils accessing the school.

Witnesses using the new route (since 2005) had seen signs on the route stating that the path was not a right of way but the public were welcome to use it. Consequently, it was believed that public rights to use the new route had not been acquired because use of the route since 2005 had been with permission.

The Officer recommendation was to refuse the application as the available evidence on balance didn’t show that a right of way existed.

The Definitive Map Assistant read the written representation, attached as an appendix to these minutes and Cllr Brian Heatley, Ward Member, addressed the committee. He raised two points, firstly the security of the school site, secondly, there was an alternative footpath that joined Rylands Lane. The report had set out in great detail that there was very little evidence to support the footpath and that was the view of all three Ward Members.

The Definitive Map Technical Officer addressed a number of points made in the applicant’s representation.

Members felt that the report made is very clear that the path was not greatly used and in a built-up area more users would be expected if the path was of importance to the general public. It was considered that the signposting was conclusive, this was not a public footpath, there was also concerns regarding school security.

Proposed by Cllr S Bartlett, seconded by Cllr J Worth.

On being put to the vote the committee’s “minded to” decision was to unanimously support the recommendation to refuse the application.

Decision:

The Service Manager for Spatial Planning confirmed that she had heard the full debate and the application would be refused in line with the committee’s minded to decision.

 

32.

Urgent items

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.

 

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

 

33.

Exempt Business

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.

Minutes:

There was no exempt business.

Appendix - Written representations pdf icon PDF 716 KB

Appendix - Draft Decision List pdf icon PDF 260 KB