Minutes of Meeting of the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Planning Applications Committee commenced on site at Aden House, 5 Annfield Road, Inverness and thereafter held in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Tuesday 10 November 2009 at 10.00 am.
Mr R A C Balfour, Mr S Black, Mr I Brown, Ms J Campbell, Mr J Crawford, Mrs M C Davidson, Mr D Fallows, Mr J Finnie, Mr J Gray, Mr D Henderson, Mr J Holden, Mr A S Park, Mr H Wood, Mr B Wynd
Non-Members also present:
Mr N Donald (Items 4.4 and 4.5)
Mr F Parr (Items 4.4 and 4.5)
Officials in attendance:
Ms S Blease, Solicitor (Clerk)
Mr D Polson, Area Planning and Building Standards Manager, Planning and Development Service
Ms N Drummond, Planning Team Leader, Planning and Development Service
Mr K Gibson, Principal Planner, Planning and Development Service
Mr A McCracken, Planning Team Leader, Planning and Development Service
Mr R Patton, Principal Officer (Land), Planning and Development Service
Mrs L Dunn, Committee Administrator, Chief Executive’s Office
Miss K Armstrong, Administrative Assistant, Chief Executive’s Office
Provost J S Gray in the Chair
1. Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Mr A Christie, Mr A Graham, Mr D Kerr and Mrs L MacDonald.
Prior to proceeding with the agenda, Mr D Henderson proposed that Item 4.5 be deferred to allow a site visit. He also advised that one of the objectors had not received notification of the date of the meeting to determine the planning application although he had previously been told he would receive such notification.
In response, the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager explained that a letter had been issued in error to the objector stating that he would be advised of the date and an apology had been made for this error. However, he clarified that there was no obligation on the Council to notify objectors of the date of meetings to determine planning applications.
During discussion, the Chairman highlighted that the application related only to minor amendments to an existing planning permission and deferral for a site inspection would accordingly be unreasonable. He therefore proposed that the Committee proceed to determine the application that day.
The Committee thereafter AGREED to proceed to determine the application that day.
2. Minutes of Planning Applications Committee
There was circulated for approval the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 13 October 2009, the terms of which were APPROVED.
Mr R A C Balfour highlighted that his vote in respect of Item 5.2 had not been recorded. In response, it was explained that the electronic voting system had no record of Mr Balfour having voted on this item and the minute could only reflect the recorded votes.
3. Planning Applications to be Determined relating to Site Inspections
There was circulated Report No. PLI-82-09 by the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager as follows:
Alteration and extension of residential care home, Aden House, 5 Annfield Road, Inverness 08/00954/FULIN (PLI-82-09)
The Planning Team Leader, Ms Drummond, outlined the application and report which recommended that planning permission be granted subject to conditions detailed in the report. The Area Planning and Building Standards Manager advised that Crown Community Council had expressed concerns with the development which had been received subsequent to completing the report.
During discussion, differing views were expressed with regard to whether the development would lead to unacceptable loss of amenity for neighbours, whether the project would be overdevelopment and whether it would be sympathetic to the conservation area.
Following debate, Mr J Holden, seconded by Mr B Wynd, MOVED that the planning permission be granted subject to the conditions set out in the report.
As an AMENDMENT Mr J Gray, seconded by Mr I Brown, MOVED that planning permission be refused on the grounds that the proposed alteration and extension would be overdevelopment, would cause loss of amenity to neighbouring properties due to overshadowing, and would fail to protect or enhance the conservation area.
On a vote being taken by roll call, the MOTION received 4 votes and the AMENDMENT received 10 votes. The AMENDMENT was therefore CARRIED, the votes having been cast as follows:-
For the Motion:-
Mr J Finnie, Mr J Holden, Mr H Wood, Mr B Wynd
For the Amendment:-
Mr R A C Balfour, Mr S Black, Mr I Brown, Miss J Campbell, Mr J Crawford, Mrs M Davidson, Mr D Fallows, Mr J Gray, Mr D Henderson, Mr A S Park
There were no abstentions.
The Committee accordingly REFUSED to grant planning permission on the grounds that the proposed alteration and extension would be overdevelopment, would cause loss of amenity to neighbouring properties due to overshadowing, and would fail to protect or enhance the conservation area these also being the reasons for going against officer recommendation.
4. Planning Applications to be Determined
There was circulated Report Nos. PLI-83/09 – PLI-87/09 by the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager as follows:-
Erection of house, Woodland to East of Woodridge, Lentran, Inverness 09/00300/OUTIN (PLI-83-09)
This application was determined under the Council’s Hearings Procedure. The Chairman outlined the Procedure, a copy of which had been circulated with the agenda.
The applicants, Mr and Mrs S P Inkle Sharpe, were in attendance. Mr M J Fowler and Mr and Mrs D Deans represented the objectors.
Prior to the procedure beginning, Mr Fowler informed the Committee that the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager’s report which he had received on 7 November 2009 raised new information which he had not had the opportunity previously to consider. It emerged, however, that the new information to which he referred was in fact the reference in the report to the Council’s Interim Supplementary Guidance on Housing in the Countryside. This had been approved by the Council in September 2009 as a material consideration pending its incorporation into the development plan and had been publicly available since then. The Area Planning and Building Standards Manager confirmed that the Committee required to give consideration to this Guidance in determining the application.
The Principal Planner outlined the application and report which recommended that planning permission be granted.
The applicant, Mr Inkle Sharpe, was then invited to address the Committee. He advised that he had nothing further to add to assessment of the application contained in the report. Responding to a question from the Committee in respect of the letters of support which had been received from various locations throughout the Highlands, Mr Inkle Sharpe explained that he had developed strong relations with schools as a result of his music workshops and the schools had been supportive of his initial application for a house connected to a business making handmade xylophones.
Mr Fowler was then invited to address the Committee. He indicated that the application was very similar to the previous application for a house connected to a business and this had been recommended for refusal. In the planning officer’s report on the previous application, the existing properties had been described as sporadic development and the proposed new house described as detrimental to the character of the countryside. The same area of land had now been described in the new report as a housing group and he questioned whether the supplementary guidance was the reason for the change and whether it now countermanded all other policies the Council had in place.
Separately, he pointed out that the woodland in the site, provided an effective screen between existing properties and he expressed concern that this might be damaged if the development took place, particularly as it was previously considered a desirable feature.
Finally, he requested that if the Committee were minded to approve the application, this be subject to a Section 75 agreement to prevent further development on the site.
Mr Deans then addressed the Committee. He drew attention to the access which, as shown on the plan, appeared to infringe on land owned by neighbouring properties. He believed the applicant would not therefore be able to comply with all of the access improvement requirements. In addition, he advised that the original application included a percussion workshop and despite this application being purely for residential purposes, he was concerned that the property would evolve for commercial uses such as drumming and percussion workshops, manufacture of musical equipment and a visitors’ centre. This would generate unacceptable levels of noise pollution to surrounding properties. Mr Deans concluded that this was not a natural infill site and he urged the Committee to refuse planning permission.
Clarifying his concerns in respect of noise pollution, Mr Deans acknowledged that noise would be minimal if the property was used solely for residential purposes. His worry was that it would be developed for commercial use, with noise generated by visiting parties and musical workshops.
The Area Planning and Building Standards Manager advised the Committee, however, that the application was solely for a residential property and that a further application would have to be submitted if the applicants wished to change the use of the property to a business. With regard to the Interim Supplementary Guidance on Housing in the Countryside, he also explained that this had been issued by the Highland Council to ensure that planning policies in respect of new housing in the countryside were relevant, reflected current demands and ensured decision making was up to date.
Following discussion, the Chairman invited the applicant to respond to the issues raised by the objectors. Mr Inkle Sharpe advised that their ownership of the land and access track had been confirmed by their lawyer with Registers of Scotland and included all of the land between the fence lines along the access track from the public road to their plot.. He further stressed that the proposed house was for residential use only. There had never been any plan to use the site for school visits or percussion workshops..
There being no further questions by the Committee, the Chairman confirmed with the applicant and the objectors that they were satisfied with the way in which the hearing had been conducted.
The Principal Planner then summed up his recommendation. He confirmed that in terms of the Interim Supplementary Guidance on Housing in the Countryside the area was now assessed as a housing group and site was acceptable as an infill site within that group. He highlighted that condition 6 would restrict noise pollution during the construction phase and that construction work on the house could not begin until the access track had been upgraded to stipulated standards.
It was further noted that the Guidance had been updated to improve the options for housing in the countryside as the demand was high.
Thereafter, the Committee GRANTED planning permission subject to the conditions recommended in the report.
Erection of replacement house, Nether Dell, Nethybridge 09/00196/FULBS (PLI-84-09)
The Team Leader, Mr McCracken, outlined the application and the report which recommended that planning permission be refused as the 1¾ storey wing projecting from the front of the proposed house would be unduly large and out of keeping with the scale and character of the rest of the front of the proposed house, which was based on traditional 1½ storey building forms. The proposed building would therefore not accord with the Highland Structure Plan Policy G2 requirement that development proposals should demonstrate high quality design in keeping with local character.
During debate, members took the view that the design of the proposed property complimented surrounding buildings and would not look out of character. There had been no adverse comment from residents or Community Councils and this suggested they were content with the design. However, the Committee agreed that the style of the building and porch features should not stray from the traditional design in the area.
Thereafter, the Committee unanimously agreed that planning permission be GRANTED against recommendation, subject to appropriate conditions to be drawn up by the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager in consultation with the local Members. Their reasons for granting permission against recommendation were that the development would replace the existing Dorran bungalow with a more sustainable long term addition to the housing supply and that the proportions of the proposed house, its traditional design with vertical and porch features, were not incompatible with other properties on that part of Dell Road and did not offend against design guidelines.
Use of land for Farmers Market (Monthly May to September) 09/00226/FULBS (PLI-85-09)
The Planning Team Leader, Mr McCracken, outlined the application and report which recommended that planning permission be refused for the reasons set out in the report.
During debate, members expressed the view that this event would benefit the local community and should be supported if appropriate conditions could be put in place to limit the use of the grassed areas for the market to one day per calendar month over a six month period to ensure that the grass would have a chance to recover in between market days. The Planning Team Leader confirmed, however that this would require an amendment to the description of the development given in the application which, as submitted, was an application for up to eight markets over a six-month period (from May to October, and not May to September as had been stated in the report.)
Thereafter, the Committee unanimously agreed to DEFER determination of the application to allow the planning service to invite the applicant to amend the application so as to describe the development as use of land for Farmer’s Market on one day per calendar month between May and October. In the event of the description of the development being so amended, the Committee delegated authority to the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager in consultation with the local members to GRANT planning permission subject to such conditions as he considered required.
Amended layout and change of house types for residential development at the Former quarry, Slacknamarnock 09/328/FULIN (PLI-86-09)
The Planning Team Leader, Ms Drummond, outlined the application and report which recommended that planning permission be granted subject to the conditions detailed in the report.
Responding to questions, the Planning Team Leader confirmed that the play equipment on the proposed play area would be installed by Tullochs but that condition 22 proposed in the report did not include provision for future maintenance of the equipment. She suggested, therefore, that if approving the application members agree that condition 22 be amended to require the developer to exhibit details of maintenance arrangements for approval. She also advised that proposed Condition 8 could be disregarded as building work had already commenced on the affordable housing plots.
Mr H Wood requested that a further condition be added requiring that track shown on the layout plan be constructed as a cycle track, built to SUSTRANS specifications and standards, to ensure that the Council was promoting the healthy living campaign.
Following debate, Mr J Gray, seconded by Mrs M Davidson, MOVED that planning permission be GRANTED in accordance with the recommendation set out in the report, subject to an additional condition requiring that the access footpath (as shown on the layout plan at page 68 of the report) be constructed as a cycle track to SUSTRANS standards. The MOTION was subject also to amendment to condition 22 to include a requirement that factoring or other financial arrangements be put in place to ensure the future maintenance of the play area and equipment and that details of these arrangements be exhibited to and agreed in writing by the planning authority prior to occupation of the first of the houses and that they be thereafter implemented.
Mr J Holden, seconded by Mr F Parr, moved as an AMENDMENT that planning permission be REFUSED on grounds that the proposed development would constitute overdevelopment of the site.
On a vote being taken by roll call, the MOTION received 14 votes and the AMENDMENT received 2 votes. The MOTION was, therefore CARRIED, the votes having been cast as follows:-
For the Motion:-
Mr R A C Balfour, Mr S Black, Mr I Brown, Ms J Campbell, Mr J Crawford, Mrs M C Davidson, Mr D Fallows, Mr J Finnie, Mr J Gray, Mr D Henderson, Mr A S Park,
Mr H Wood, Mr B Wynd, Mr N Donald
For the Amendment:-
Mr J Holden, Mr F Parr
There were no abstentions.
The Committee accordingly GRANTED planning permission in accordance with the recommendation set out in the report, subject to an additional condition requiring that the access footpath (as shown on the layout plan at page 68 of the report) be constructed as a cycle track to SUSTRANS standards and subject also to amendment to condition 22 to include a requirement that factoring or other financial arrangements be put in place to ensure the future maintenance of the play area and equipment and that details of these arrangements be exhibited to and agreed in writing by the planning authority prior to occupation of the first of the houses and that they be thereafter implemented.
Revised 60 bedroom nursing home, Land to South of West Heather Road, Inverness 09/00545/FULIN (PLI-87-09)
The Planning Team Leader, Ms Drummond, outlined the application and report which recommended that planning permission be granted subject to conditions.
During debate clarification was sought as to how the boundary would be marked and suitably landscaped. Attention was drawn, however, to Conditions 11 and 12 which ensured that landscaping and boundary markings had to be agreed with the Planning Authority, who would ensure neighbouring properties were not adversely affected.
Thereafter the Committee GRANTED planning permission subject to the conditions outlined in the report.
5. Tree Preservation Order No 96, 2009: Inshes Woodland,
The Principal Officer (Land) outlined the report which recommended that the Order be confirmed.
The Committee AGREED to confirm the Order.
6. Decisions of Appeals to the Scottish Government Directorate for
Planning and Environmental Appeals
The Committee NOTED that the outcome of the following Appeal:-
Planning Appeal (08-00402-FULIN) Land 600m Northeast of Bogbain Farmhouse, Drummossie, Inverness Appeal dismissed
7. Delegated Decisions
The Committee NOTED that the list of delegated decisions of planning applications was available via The Highland Council website.
The meeting closed at 12.35 pm.