Minute of Meeting of the Ross and Cromarty Planning Committee commencing on Site at East Lodge, Kildary on Tuesday, 30th January, 2007 at 10.00 am.
Dr D Alston
Mr A Anderson
Mr B Barclay
Mr D W Briggs
Mr D J Chisholm
Mr J R Connell
Mr R W Durham
Mr R Macintyre
Mrs A MacLean
Mrs I McCallum
Mrs M E Paterson
Officers in attendance:
Jim Farquhar, Area Planning and Building Standards Manager
Jim Yuill, Principal Engineer (from 2.2 site visit)
Susan Blease, Solicitor/Clerk
Alison MacArthur, Acting Administrative Assistant
John Duncan, Conservation Architect (Item 2.1)
(Mr R MacIntyre in the Chair)
Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Mrs V MacIver, Mr E C Mackinnon, Mr M Macmillan, Mr A Rhind, Mr A Torrance, Mrs J Urquhart and Mrs C A Wilson.
2.1 Erection of House and Garage (Outline) at House Plot East of East Lodge, Kildary, Ross-shire by Mr J R Cheeseman
(Application Reference No 06/00442/OUTRC)
The Committee inspected the site at 10.00 am on 30th January 2007, the inspection being led by Jim Farquhar, Area Planning and Building Standards Manager. The Solicitor/Clerk and the Acting Administrative Assistant were also present.
The applicant’s agents, Malcolm Leiper and Cyril Smith of Future Plans attended the site inspection with Bruce Taylor of Scottish Woodlands. The applicant’s neighbours Mr and Mrs Brownlee and Mr and Mrs Coppen also attended the inspection.
The hearing commenced at 2.30 pm in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Dingwall, with Mr Smith, Mr Leiper, Mr Taylor and Mr Coppen in attendance. Mr Richard Brown also attended the hearing.
The Chairman outlined the hearings procedure, notes on which had been previously circulated.
There was circulated Report No RP-005-07 by the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager recommending that the application be refused for the following reasons:-
1. The proposal is contrary to the provisions of the Ross and Cromarty East Local Plan (intention to adopt) Kildary Policy A6, since it will result in the loss of trees viewed from the A9 and will be located within an amenity area which is important to the visual setting of East Lodge, a ‘B’ Listed Building.
2. The proposal is contrary to Historic Scotland’s Memorandum of Guidance on listed buildings and conservation areas 1998, since it will not be located discreetly but will impinge on and be detrimental to the setting of East Lodge, a ‘B’ Listed Building.
3. The proposal is contrary to the provisions of The Highland Structure Plan Policy G2, since it fails to demonstrate sensitive siting in keeping with the local character or the historic or the natural environment, and since it will have a detrimental impact on the landscape setting of East Lodge, a ‘B’ Listed Building.
The Area Planning and Building Standards Manager extended apologies from Robert Paton, the Forestry Officer, who was unable to attend the meeting. He then introduced the application and outlined the policies and key material considerations applicable.
Malcolm Leiper then addressed the Committee on behalf of the applicant.
He advised that he had not been employed at the outset of the application but had been brought in to advise on meeting the concerns expressed after the application had been lodged. With the aid of computer-aided design, and working jointly with Scottish Woodlands, he was confident that these concerns were now met.
He displayed the drawings of the proposed development which had been created through computer aided design. These drawings were to scale and were therefore not purely an artistic impression.
A large amount of information on design had been given to the planning department and the neighbours had also been approached for their views. The proposal in its current form would offer substantial gains, including a considerable amount of planting and improvement of the site.
With regard to the trees on site, the Tree Preservation Order had already confirmed that many of these were not fine specimens and were growing out of rotten tree stumps. Many of these trees would in fact be lost though natural turnover whether or not this development went ahead.
The trees closest to the footprint of the proposed building had been identified and a plan of the required root protection area had been drawn up. Despite the Forestry Officer’s comments narrated in the Report, all required data had now been supplied.
It was accepted that one or two trees would be lost but these would be replaced. With regard to concerns that there would be post-development pressure to clear further trees, such pressure did not always occur as many people were happy to have trees close to their houses. Photographs of houses which had been built amongst trees were exhibited.
The trees would be protected during construction using British Standard techniques and the new building would thereafter in fact shelter the existing trees. An extensive management plan had been submitted, not only for the trees on the site, but for all trees in the vicinity of the site.
With regard to concerns about the impact of the development on the setting of the listed building, East Lodge, it had to be accepted that this was not a pristine area. The listed building had already been extended twice on the side that faced the proposed. This had greatly changed the existing building from its original. The construction of the A9 had also affected the building, cutting it off from the main house. East Lodge was not a category A listed building.
There had been a continual replacement of buildings on the site, including kennels and garages and approval had already been given by the Committee for the erection of a garage on the site. So there was a history of buildings on the site.
Historic Scotland had clearly stated a new development might not be detrimental on this site.
In conclusion, he submitted that the house footprint had been withdrawn further away from the Tree Preservation Order area. It would a building where buildings already existed. The design had been kept simple and tasteful, creating a walled garden/courtyard within which East Lodge would sit comfortably. The site would be improved through the replacement and management of existing trees and the replanting of trees previously removed from the side of the A9. There had been very little local objection to the proposal and considerable local support.
In response to questions by members, Mr Leiper confirmed that the areas of ground within which new tree planting was proposed were not wholly within the applicant’s ownership but the owners were amenable to the proposal. If necessary, they would be happy to enter into a s75 agreement to that effect.
Mr Richard Brown then asked also to be heard on the applicant’s behalf. The applicant had asked him to apologise for his absence which was due to his bad health. He wanted the Committee to know that he wished to dispose of this site to ensure that the trees were better managed and the site improved.
Mr Coppen, the applicant’s neighbour, then addressed the Committee.
His view of the development site from his own property was a view of a garage, kennels and unkempt land. From their point of view and that of Mr and Mrs Brownlee, the owners of the other house beside the site, the proposed development would only enhance the area and the site would look all the better for it. They all fully supported the application. The tree planting programme, he was sure, Kildary would one day look on with pride.
Further to questions by members, Mr Leiper clarified that the main bulk of the trees to be subject to the management programme were on Mr Cheeseman’s land, with the remainder on Mr Coppen and Mr Brownlee’s land to the east. Mr Coppen stated that the neighbours were amenable to a Section 75 for tree management. The Committee, following discussion, however, considered this would be unnecessary and that if the application were approved, the applicant’s proposals to manage trees on neighbours’ land should be left as a matter to be agreed between them.
In response to further questions regarding the height and type of trees to be planted, The Planning Officer referred members to the plan of the tree planting which showed that trees of varying heights would be planted around the site.
Mr Leiper informed the Committee that the intention was to put in specimen trees such as beeches, ash and oaks. Along the A9, they aimed to plant trees of sufficient height to screen but also allow light in.
The Conservation Architect then addressed the meeting. He circulated an ordnance map of the area from many years ago and described the changes to the area and the site since then.
He referred to the Memorandum of Guidance on Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas which stated that new development within the curtilage of a listed building should be refused outright unless it could be located discretely and without detriment to the setting of the listed building. The current modified proposal placed the footprint of the development further from the TPO area but closer to East Lodge, thus impacting to a greater degree on the Lodge. The Council had a duty to respect the Lodge and its setting. Creation of a walled garden/courtyard setting would alter the setting of the Lodge significantly. On this basis, he remained unable to support the application.
In response to questions by members, the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager confirmed that the planning application for the extension to East Lodge had been dealt with under delegated powers. Members then questioned the Conservation Architect on his views on the impact of the extension to the listed building which they felt had significantly altered his character. He confirmed that he had considered the extension acceptable.
Mr Leiper was then given the opportunity to reply to points raised by the Conservation Architect. He asked the Committee to note that the Lodge appeared to have a fenced or walled boundary on the old ordnance map which had been circulated by the Conservation Architect of the Lodge so it would appear that it had once had a defined cartilage. With regard to The Memorandum of Guidance, this does not state that all new development within curtilage should simply be refused outright. It required that each case be looked at to assess impact.
The current setting of the Lodge was not a grand landscaped garden but an unkempt area with self-seeded trees and disused buildings. The proposed development would improve this setting. The principal view of East Lodge was a view of the extension from the driveway and the proposed development would not affect this at all.
There being no further questions by members, the Chairman asked the parties to confirm whether they were satisfied with the way in which the hearing had been conducted and they confirmed that they were so satisfied.
The Planning Officer presented his report and recommendation to refuse the application.
Following debate, Councillor Durham, seconded by Councillor Paterson, moved approval of the application subject to appropriate conditions to be drawn up by the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager in consultation with the Local Member and the Chairman, said conditions to include a requirement that the tree planting and tree maintenance programme, and the indicative design as shown on the drawings submitted with the application and exhibited at the hearing be adhered to in the application for approval of reserved matters to follow. The motion was made on the grounds that the development, as shown on the indicative design drawings, would not impact adversely on the setting of East Lodge, and would result in improved tree management and additional tree planting thus improving the setting of the Lodge. The proposal was not therefore contrary to the policies referred to in the recommendation to refuse.
Councillor MacIntyre, seconded by Councillor Anderson, moved as an amendment that the application be refused for the reasons stated in the report.
On a vote being taken by roll call, Councillors Barclay, Briggs, Durham, MacLean, McCallum and Paterson voted in favour of the motion and Councillors Alston, Anderson, Chisholm, Connell and MacIntyre voted in favour of the amendment. There being 6 votes in favour of the motion and 5 votes in favour of the amendment, the MOTION therefore became the finding of the meeting.
2.2 Demolition of House and Erection of Replacement House (Detail) at 21 Ness Road, Fortrose by Mr D MacLean
(Application Reference No 06/00816/FULRC)
The Committee inspected the site at 11.30 am, the inspection being led by the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager. The Principal Engineer, the Solicitor/Clerk and the Acting Administrative Assistant were also in attendance.
The applicant, Mr D MacLean and his agents, Colin Munro and Calum MacLean of Thomas Munro & Co, Chartered Architects attended the site inspection along with the objector, Mr D Galloway. Mr G Phillips and Mr J Cornwell of Fortrose and Rosemarkie Community Council were also in attendance.
The hearing then took place at 3.00 pm in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Dingwall. The Community Council members did not attend the hearing but all other parties present at the site inspection were also present at the hearing.
The Chair welcomed the parties to the meeting and outlined the hearings procedure, notes on which had been previously circulated
There was circulated Report No RP-006-07 by the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager. The Report recommended that the application be approved, for the following reasons:-
1. Prior to the first occupation of the dwellinghouse, the first 5 metres of the access road, as measured from the edge of the public carriageway, shall be surfaced in bituminous macadam or similar hard material in accordance with the Highland Council’s road guidelines for new developments. Gradient of access over first 5 metres must not exceed 1 in 16. Positive drainage measures will be undertaken, in accordance with Highland Council Guidelines, to ensure that no ground or surface water flows onto the public road from the site.
Reason: In the interest of road safety and to prevent deleterious materials being carried onto the road.
2. Prior to the first occupation of the dwellinghouse a service lay-by and refuse bin storage area shall be provided clear of the public road at the access point.
Reason: In the interest of road safety.
3. Provision shall be made for the parking or garaging (and turning) of two cars within the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.
Reason: In the interest of road and public safety.
4. Visibility splays of not less than 2.5 m x 90 m shall be provided in both directions at the junction of the access with the existing road prior to the commencement of the development and thereafter maintained free from any obstructions exceeding a height of 1 metre above the adjacent road channel levels.
Reason: In the interest of road and public safety.
5. Sample panels of the colour(s) to be used on the external walls, shall be prepared for the consideration and written approval of the Planning Authority prior to its application.
Reason: In the interest of visual amenity.
6. Exact details and a sample of the natural stone and the roofing material shall be submitted for the consideration and written approval of the Planning Authority prior to any work commencing on the site.
Reason: In the interest of visual amenity.
7. All construction work from which noise is audible at the boundary of the site shall be carried out between the hours of 8.00 am – 6.00 pm Monday-Friday, 8.00 am – 1.00 pm on Saturdays and at no time on Sundays.
Reason: To minimise the risk of noise nuisance given the close proximity of the existing houses.
8. Delivery of construction materials to the site shall be between the hours of 8.00 am – 6.00 pm Monday-Friday, 8.00 am – 1.00 pm on Saturdays and at no time on Sundays.
Reason: To minimise the risk of noise nuisance given the close proximity of the existing houses.
9. All building material and construction equipment and vehicles shall be stored totally within the site. The site shall be securely enclosed with Herras fencing to the satisfaction of Building Standards.
Reason: To minimise the risk of noise nuisance given the close proximity of the existing houses and to ensure the safety of the public through the construction period.
10. Prior to commencement of development, a photographic record shall be made of the remains of the old buildings and/or other features affected by the proposed development, in accordance with the attached specification, and shall thereafter by submitted to the Planning Authority. No site clearance work shall take place until confirmation in writing has been received from the Planning Authority that the record made has been lodged and is satisfactory.
Reason: To protect the historic interest of the site.
The Area Planning and Building Standards Manager outlined the application and the policies and key material considerations applicable.
Calum MacLean, the applicant’s agent. then addressed the Committee.
The key feature of the site was its open aspect. There was a cluster of buildings on the left hand side of the road but the existing building on the site was the only building on the right had side at the approach to the Point. The proposal was designed to enhance this open aspect.
The site had no defined curtilage and no large trees or bushes obscuring views. The aim had been to try to retain and enhance this in working up a design for a replacement house.
The design tried to respond to and create a dialogue with the environment of the site and its history. Chanonry Point comprised a record of history at various periods in time. The proposal aimed to add the present generation’s response: a modern building but one which responded to its setting.
The first floor living area would give occupants a height advantage over visitors who surrounded the site in summer. Given the Point’s popularity as an attraction for dolphin watching, the existing house was not habitable at present during the summer because of total lack of privacy. The height of the proposed building would give privacy, while retaining the open character of the site. There would be no fences, just an open grassed area going right up to the building as at present.
The proposed building had been moved closer to the road than the existing building to change it from an isolated building to part of the cluster the houses. It would also provide a gateway to the public area.
The design was unique. The rounded corners would help protect against wind in what was a very exposed area but would also make play with the rounded ramparts of Fort George. The building was articulated into smaller elements, to lighten its impact and the white tower reflected the nearby lighthouse.
In response to questions by members, regarding fencing being introduced in future, the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager advised that this could be dealt with by a condition restricting permitted development rights in relation to boundary enclosures so that any proposal to enclose the boundary of the site in future would require planning permission. Similarly, he would recommend a restriction on permitted development rights in relation to extension of the house, so that any extension would require planning permission.
The Objector, Mr Galloway then addressed the Committee.
He submitted that what was proposed was an outstanding building but one which did not fit in to the location and which would tend to dominate it. The house would become the focal point and would change the whole atmosphere of the Point.
With regard to the proposed wind deflecting walls, Mr Galloway was concerned that these could lead to structural damage to his own house. A barrier to wind deflected wind for a distance of about 3 times its height. When the wind came back and it would therefore strike his house with more force than at present. He would be losing a considerable amount of his view, his living area also being upstairs. At present they looked from their living room over the present structure to the views beyond but should the new house be built they would not be able to see over it. The proximity of the new house was also of concern. The design of their house had one-way glass to protect their privacy. Mr Galloway’s house, however, had no such glass and he believed they would be able to look directly into his house.
There were already severe traffic problems at the Point in Summer and the development would aggravate these problems, reducing the sightlines at the exit from the parking area.
Following questions by members regarding road traffic issues and the possibility of signage to direct traffic, the Principal Engineer said that having attended the site today he would be arranging to have a small sign erected showing the one way area and possible road markings, directing traffic anticlockwise around the entrance and exit to the parking area.
With regard to the sightlines at the exit from the parking area, he stated that for roads with a speed limit of 30 mph there was a requirement for a visibility splay of 2.5 x 90 metres. The splay at this site was 2.5 x 120 metres which was more than required. Visibility was more than sufficient, but his service would add road marking to ensure people didn’t charge out of the exit from the parking area when heading back up the road.
Councillor Durham asked if it would be possible to move the house further back on the site.
Mr MacLean responded that this was the size of the site and the house was right on the site boundary. He considered this helped form a gateway to Chanonry Point.
Councillor MacIntyre asked the agent if he could response to Mr Galloway’s concerns about wind effects on adjacent buildings.
The agent replied that calculations had been undertaken in accordance with British Standards and had shown that the new house would have a sheltering effect on the neighbouring house. He doubted there would be any structural damage caused.
Finally, in response to other points raised by Mr Galloway, Mr MacLean submitted that all possible means of mitigating impact on privacy at Mr Galloway’s house had been adopted.
Their being no further questions by members, the chairman asked the parties to confirm whether they were satisfied with the way in which the hearing had been conducted and they confirmed that they were so satisfied.
The Area Planning and Building Standards Manager then presented his report and recommendation to approve the application subject to the aforementioned conditions with additional conditions removing permitted development rights in relation to boundary enclosures and extension of the house and requiring submission of a sustainable development statement for approval prior to commencement of development.
Following debate, the Committee agreed to APPROVE the application subject to the conditions set out in the Report and the additional conditions recommended by the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager.
2.3 Demolition of Farm Buildings and Formation of House Site, Access Road and Septic Tank Drainage System at Land between Knockbain Mains Farmhouse and Marsden, Knockbain, Munlochy, Ross-shire
(Application Reference No 06/00872/FULRC)
The hearing commenced at 2.00 pm in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Dingwall. Mr Andrew MacFarlane, the applicant and Mr Gary Johnson, the applicant’s agent were in attendance. The objectors, Mr D Bellshaw and Mrs A Bellshaw, failed to attend.
The Chair welcomed the parties to the meeting and outlined the hearings procedure, notes on which had been previously circulated.
There was circulated Report No RP-007-07 by the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager. The Report recommended that the application be approved, subject to the following conditions:-
1. Standard Outline condition.
2. Prior to any development commencing, the applicant shall provided, by way of an assessment of potential contamination issues, evidence that the site is suitable for its proposed use. Such an assessment shall be consistent with the approach to land contamination contained in Planning Advice Note 33, and with the British Standards for investigation of potentially contaminated sites (BS10175:2001). Should contamination be found, the applicant shall submit a written remediation strategy and effect remediation in consultation with TEC Services, such that the site is suitable.
3. The development shall be landscaped in accordance with a scheme which shall be submitted at the same time as the reserved matters. The scheme shall indicate the siting, numbers, species and heights (at the time of planting) of all trees, shrubs and hedges to be planted, and shall ensure:-
(a) Completion of the scheme during the planting season next following the completion of the building(s), or such other date as may be agreed in writing with the Planning Authority.
(b) The maintenance of the landscaped areas for a period of five years or until established, which ever may be longer. Any trees or shrubs removed, or which in the opinion of the Planning Authority, are dying, being severely damaged or becoming seriously diseased within three years of planting, shall be replaced by trees or shrubs of similar size and species to those originally required to be planted.
Reason: To ensure the implementation of a satisfactory scheme of landscaping which will in due course improve the environmental quality of the development.
4. The demolition and downtakings of the existing buildings shall comply with Health and Safety duty of care obligations in relation to working practices and disposal. A method statement shall be submitted to clarify intentions to meet with the Standards.
Reason: In the interests of amenity and safety.
The Area Planning and Building Control Manager introduced the application and the policies and material considerations applicable to the site.
Mr Johnstone then addressed the meeting on behalf of the applicant.
He wished the Committee to note that the applicant was not claiming justification for the proposed house on land management grounds. The proposal was to demolish the farm steading and replace it with a house site solely for investment purposes, to finance construction of a new agricultural shed near the applicant’s house which would be capable of providing for modern farming activity. In his previous application for Planning Permission in 2004 his business plan had referred to 47 beef cows. His business had developed, however, and he now had 68 cows, 70 calves and 70 finishers. He owned 100 acres of land at the farm, rented 33 further acres nearby and owned more land elsewhere.
The justification relied on in support of this application was the exception made in the Housing in the Countryside Development Plan Policy Guidelines for new housing which replaced derelict buildings. The buildings to be removed in this case were no longer used for farming and were not of good quality. The applicant had been granted planning permission in 2004 for a new agricultural shed near to his own house. The site of the existing shed was unsuitable for the new shed, as it was too small and had domestic houses on either side. It was not the place for a modern farm steading. Neighbours already complained about mud on the road, noise from cattle, and the ground being churned up by farm vehicles around the old shed. In addition, the trees on one of the neighboring properties had been damaged by cattle when the old shed had been in use and the damage could still be seen. So it was apparent that while a new agricultural shed was required for the farm, this was not the site for it. The buildings on the site were effectively redundant and had not been used since April last year. The removal of the old steading could only benefit the neighbours. There would also be less heavy farm traffic on this part of the road.
A letter from the objector, which had just been received before the meeting, offered to lease the old steading and claimed it was not therefore redundant. However, the steading was not suitable for modern farming so it was unclear what the objector intended to use it for. Engineers had prepared a report stating that these buildings were not in a safe state of repair. The buildings had therefore to be replaced and it was better for neighbours and the surrounding area that they be replaced elsewhere.
The Area Planning and Building Standards Manager then introduced his report and recommendation to approve the application subject to conditions.
Following debate, the Committee agreed to APPROVE the application subject to the conditions set out in the report, with an additional condition requiring submission of a sustainable design statement and with the following amendment to Condition :
The development shall be landscaped in accordance with a scheme to achieve earliest possible environmental gain which shall be submitted at the same time as the reserved matters. The scheme shall indicate the siting, numbers, species and height (at the time of planting) of all trees, shrubs and hedges tabulated, and shall ensure.
The meeting ended at 4.00 pm.