Lanner Parish Council – Planning Committee – Minutes of a meeting held on Tuesday 10 July 2018 in Lanner Village Hall.
Present: Cllr Luscombe (Chair), Cllr Marshall, Cllr Repper, Cllr Wearne, Cllr Rabey, Cllr Blewett & Cllr Wood
In attendance: Elaine Youlton, Clerk; Teresa Marshall, Assistant Clerk.
Mr. Paul Bateman, Agent; Mr. & Mrs. Louis Smith.
The meeting was preceded by a period of Public Participation during which time representation was received on the following application:
PA18/06166: Location: Bawdenfield, Lanner Moor, Lanner, Redruth
Mr. Paul Bateman, the agent, offered an outline of the application, previous representation regarding the NDP and why he considered the proposed development should be considered ‘rounding off’.
Council advised that the application would be considered within the agenda of the meeting but since the proposal fell outside the Settlement Boundary proposed within the Draft NDP, which was now with Cornwall Council running final checks for compliance checks before taking the last steps to Examination, Council would not support the application. It was confirmed that following the period of Pre-Submission Consultation, comments had been submitted, by Mr. Charles Green, regarding inclusion of this site within the Settlement Boundary and had been considered by the Steering Group but were not supported.
PL18/71: Apologies: Cllr Bosworth (Other Commitment) Cllr Anson (Holiday).
PL18/72: Declarations of Pecuniary and/or Non-pecuniary Interests relating to items on the agenda and the details thereof.
PL18/73: To consider written requests for dispensation.
PL18/74: To accept minutes of the last planning meeting.
Minutes of the meeting held on 12 June 2018 were approved and duly signed by the Chairman.
PL18/75: Matters arising from minutes.
PL18/76: To consider the following applications:
Proposal The construction of a single dwelling house on previously developed land to round off the settlement
Location Bawdenfield Lanner Moor Lanner Redruth
Applicant Mr. And Mrs. Louis-Smith
Resolved: Council opposes this application and offers the following information.
‘Extract from NDP Consultation Statement
“18.1 Mr. Charles Green, agent for Mr. & Mrs. Louis-Smith wrote to suggest that the land at Bawdenfield, Lanner Moor, shown coloured pink on the map be included within the Settlement Boundary. As well as the house Bawdenfield there is an extant permission for one additional dwelling. No further information or justification was provided.
Steering Group Comment: The Group were unable to justify extending the Settlement Boundary to include this land. There are numerous similar large properties on the outskirts of the Settlement Boundary and the Plan already affords provision for new housing well in excess of the Basic Housing Requirement of the Cornwall Local Plan.”
Proposal Single story extension of existing house to turn the house from a two bedroom bungalow to a three bedroom bungalow, with additional bathroom and entrance porch. Planning is being submitted in order to provide space for and a bedroom each to our children, who have been sharing a bedroom for eight years. This additional space will mean that we can continue to live in not only the house but also the community we have become part of over the last ten years.
Location Ednell, Pennance Road, Lanner TR16 5TF
Applicant Mr. Jonathan Caulfield
Resolved: Council supports this application.
PL18/77: To note the following Pre-Applications:
PA18/01494/PREAPP (Berwyn) and vehicle parking/movement: to note comment received from Mr Charles Gardner
Noted by Council
Receipt of draft Gwennap NDP – this is now at Pre-Submission consultation stage.
Noted by Council
Proposed 2 storey detached new dwelling with studio/garage, new vehicular access and new septic tank.
Location Hideaway, Higher Pennance, Lanner TR16 5TU
Applicant Mr. Chris Stark
Cornwall Council advised that following refusal of permission for this application an Appeal had been lodged by the Applicant.
Noted by Council.
PL18/79: To consider invitation to Cllr Wood to attend a meeting to discuss Economic Growth & Development from John Betty, Strategic Director. To discuss Council priorities in this area.
Cllr Wood advised of an invitation to Council to attend the above event. It was agreed that items that Councillors which to be addressed should be forwarded to Cllr Wood who would collate and endeavour to present. However, it was noted that it should be anticipated that rural issues are most likely to be side-lined by more urban concerns.
PL18/80: To discuss planning matters in respect of:
- Neighbourhood Development Plans: Weighting
Council noted that previous correspondence from Planning Officers of Cornwall Council in regard to applications, particularly relating to pre-application advice, showed inconsistency in referencing the emerging NDP. Council recognise that although the NDP does not attract significant “weight” in decision making until it has passed Examination it was considered that all Officers should be referencing the emerging document.
- Affordable housing
This remained an ongoing issue and Council have still not received any communication or revised figures from the Affordable Housing Officer concerning preferences for location expressed by those with a local connection to Lanner.
- Rural exception sites: the Crantock case
Council discussed the potential case relating to Crantock and its NDP. It was noted that overall cost, particularly legal expenses, could be a major factor when considering whether to pursue action.
- Costs of the consideration of applications at CC Planning Committee
Cllr Wood reported that further information had been received from Cornwall Council which was much more pertinent to the original question raised.
Cornwall Council had advised “Further to your email of 27/06/2018 I have been given to understand that we misunderstood the question you raise about information you provided from Cornwall Councillor John Thomas in respect of the cost to the Council of taking a planning application for determination by the Sub-Area Planning Committee. Councillor Thomas was advised of the cost being £3,500 at planning training provided to Members by Mr. Phil Mason. (In fact, Cllr Thomas had indicated that this figure had been given to him by the Planning Office in discussions about the application under consideration – AW)
I have subsequently sought advice from Nigel Doyle, Planning & Enterprise Manager to explain how the cost of £3500 was arrived at. Mr. Doyle advised that Cornwall Council took part in a thorough and robust benchmarking exercise sponsored by the Planning Advisory Service and Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy in 2013. The benchmarked report helped the Council, as Local Planning Authority, and the service managers to understand the cost build up for chargeable and non-chargeable activities and to see the relative proportions of these costs attributable to overheads, recharges, direct and indirect costs. One of the important outcomes from the exercise was understanding the cost of writing a delegated report and a decision being made and writing a Committee report resulting in a decision being made.
It was found that it took on average over 10 times as long to produce Committee reports and secure the related decisions when compared to those made under delegated powers. The extra costs were mainly down to the length of time it would take to write the reports, review those reports, write addenda and produce presentations rather than the time taken during the actual Committee deliberations. Although efforts have been made to reduce the costs of producing reports since 2013, there has been more success with reducing the costs of the delegated decisions than the Committee decisions.
Based on current hourly rates the average cost of a delegated decision is in the range £200 to £250 whilst the average cost of a determination through the Committee process is in the range £2,500 to £3,000. VAT does not factor in these calculations. These are significant sums of money, particularly in relation to the Committee decisions, but there is a clear argument that this is part of the cost of democracy.
The cost of paying officers is a real item in the Council’s budget and a cost to the taxpayer. If the work was not there to be done the officer complement could be reduced and the cost of paying those officers could be removed from the budget. However, we also need to draw the distinction between the cost of taking an item to a Planning Committee as covered above and the additional cost of adding an item to a Planning Committee agenda. In Mr. Doyle’s view, the latter gives rise to little additional cost, if there is already a meeting of the Committee and it is merely an additional item. This does not detract from the fact that there will be officer time at the meeting involved in dealing with the item. It also doesn’t detract from the fact that there is a demonstrable cost to doing all of the preparatory work which is included in the costs mentioned above.
There will always be differing views about whether issues put before Members have a cost attached to them. However, the benchmarking exercise referred to above demonstrates that there is a cost attached to every decision made on a planning application, whether determined by officers under delegated authority or through the Committee process, because it takes officer time to do all of the preparation.”
Councillor Wood commented that this didn’t fully answer his question as to what weight might be attached to cost if and when a local council requests an application goes to Committee for a decision.
Annex Guidance Notes 2013 and 2018.
Cllr Wood advised that he had made representation and enquiry to Cornwall Council regarding the lack of consultation regarding New Annex Guidance Notes and that the guidance published on Cornwall Council’s website remained that of 2013 until he raised the matter even though new Guidance came into being in February 2018.
He had been advised that the New Annex Guidance had been developed to provide applicants and planning officers a framework for a consistent approach across the county for submitting/processing/assessing this type of application in the absence of specific planning policies in the Cornwall Local Plan or the National Planning Policy Framework.
An apology was offered that the 2013 guidance was not removed from the Council’s website in all locations following the publication of the new guidance but this had now been done. Further, local councils will be pointed to the Planning Agents page of the Cornwall Council website which is where the new Guidance sits.
In the absence of specific planning policies in the National Planning Policy Framework or the Cornwall Local Plan, the guidance is considered to be a set of parameters against which annex proposals can be assessed. Any policies on annexes in ‘made’ Neighbourhood Development Plans would overrule the guidance note. The limited intended application of the guidance note was not considered to warrant local council consultation.
Cllr Wood continues to challenge this. The Guidance Note has, in fact, changed Cornwall Council’s policy as to what is or is not an annex. It therefor calls for consultation irrespective of its weight: while the new Guidance is unlikely to warrant refusal of consent it will see permissions granted that would not have been previously and which cannot be challenged.
It is also the case that, had the NDP Steering Group known of the new Guidance, its application would have been reversed in the Neighbourhood Plan.
PL18/81: To consider Council protocol for site visits and the taking of photographs at application sites within the parish following submission of planning applications.
Discussion took place regarding attendance of Cllrs to make site inspections and the taking of photographs that may assist Council when considering planning applications on which they were invited to make comment.
In order to ensure protocol and protection for all parties involved in such practice a draft policy had been previously circulated for consideration. This policy would be incorporated within Standing Orders.
The policy would read as follows:
1. It is always preferable that planning application sites and their surrounds are viewed “on the ground” by two councillors together prior to the Planning Committee meeting.
2. The chairman of the Planning Committee shall be responsible for allocating which two councillors should conduct the site visit.
3. Photographs of the site and the surrounding area may be taken where this is deemed to be helpful to the Committee in its role as consultee.
4. A site visit is essentially about gathering information – it is not a decision-making forum.
5. To avoid any risks of being seen as prejudiced or unfair when undertaking a site visit, discussing the planning application with an applicant or a third party should be avoided.
6. Councillors should avoid expressing opinions or views to anyone (including other members) during the course of the site visit.
7. It must be remembered that parish councils do not have any legal powers of entry onto private land to inspect for particular planning purposes. They should view the site from publicly accessible vantage points there must be no incident of trespass!
With a motion carried 4 votes to 3 it was resolved that this policy was adopted by Council and would be incorporated within the Standing Orders.
PL18/82: Decision notices:
Applicant: Mr & Mrs Wyate
Location: 10 Pennance Parc Lanner TR16 5TY
Proposal: New Single Storey Side Extension
Applicant: Mr Darren Green
Location: 6- Bears Terrace Lanner Moor Lanner TR16 6HS
Proposal: Replace existing domestic heating oil storage tank , located to the front of the property
CLOSED – ADVICE GIVEN
Applicant: Mr R Adams
Location: Lower Mushroom Farm Tresavean Lanner Redruth Cornwall
Proposal: Construction of detached single storey 2 bed residence on disused mushroom farm.
Applicant: Mr And Mrs Louis-Smith
Location: Bawden House Lanner Moor Lanner TR16 6JF
Proposal: The construction of a single dwelling house on previously developed land to round off the settlement
PL18/80: Enforcement Reports:
Council were advised that the issues surrounding the release of information within the confines of recent GDPR was still ongoing. Further information would follow as received from Cornwall Council and CALC.
It was confirmed that a report requesting investigations to works at a yard situated adjacent to the A393 at Treviskey had been made to Cornwall Council.
PL18/81: Any other planning matters at the discretion of the Chairman.
Cllr Luscombe returned his completed Planning survey – Leicester Council, for submission.
PL18/82: Confidential Matters:
In line with protocol requested by Cornwall Council, Council moved to closed session where members of the public were excluded, and confidential matters relating to Enforcement Actions were discussed.
There being no other business the meeting closed at 8.47 pm.