Royal Oak, Alveley, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, WV15 6LL (18/03476/FUL)
Application under Section 73A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for the erection of toilet block, shower block and change of use to glamping and touring caravan site.
The Principal Planner introduced the application and with reference to the drawings displayed, he drew Members’ attention to the location, layout and elevations.
Members had undertaken a site visit that morning and had viewed the site and had assessed the impact of a proposal on the surrounding area.
In accordance with the Local Protocol for Councillors and Officers dealing with Regulatory Matters (Part 5, Paragraph 15) Councillor Tina Woodward, local Ward Councillor, made a statement and then left the table, took no part in the debate and did not vote on this item. During her statement, the following points were raised:
· She recognised the work that had been undertaken to improve the public house over recent years by the current owner. The pub had taken its place within the community and the wider area as a place to go and enjoy a drink and food;
· The development outside the main building had continued, with the addition of glamping pods, benches and also touring caravans which proliferated during the summer months. In her view, and that of objectors, a couple of caravans appeared to have remained on site for months and had been both occupied and unoccupied;
· This retrospective application had caused concern locally as the land is classed as Green Belt which is governed by planning constraints;
· It had not been an easy decision to reach but, on balance, she supported the recommendation to refuse. However, if Members were minded to support the application she recommended the following:
Ø A reduced number of pods in a style more in-keeping with a rural area. Pods to be stained timber, no brightly coloured paint to be used and to be less sprawled out across the site;
Ø Native hedge planting and improvements made to increase screening within the site;
Ø Appropriate site licences to ensure seasonal use only;
Ø Conditions to control noise, including music outside of normal working hours;
Ø Conditions to control lighting and to include low level lighting on site.
In the ensuing debate, Members considered the submitted plans and noted the comments of all speakers. Members considered that the very special circumstances had not been established and that, without prejudice to the decision made on any re-application, Officers should guide the applicant on their options. Members suggested that the pods should be grouped more closely with the pub building and be less sprawled out across the site, a more robust landscaping scheme should be introduced, and a more in-depth case to be submitted as to why the applicant considered the development would be needed to sustain the public house. Members also required more information in relation to the management of the pods and would want them tied to the pub business.
That, as per the Officer’s recommendation, planning permission be refused for the following reasons:
· It is acknowledged that the proposed development would contribute to the rural economy and to the role of Shropshire as a tourist destination to stay. However these benefits are considered to be outweighed by the harm the openness of the Green Belt and be at odds with one of the five purposes of the Green Belt, namely safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. No very special circumstances have been demonstrated or exist that would be of sufficient weight to justify inappropriate development in the Green Belt. The development would therefore be contrary to the adopted Core Strategy policy CS5, SAMDev policy MD6 and the guidance set out in the National Planning Policy Framework Part 13.
· Notwithstanding the above the benefits of proposed development are considered to be outweighed by the environmental harm. The introduction of the structures proposed would appear as incongruous additions to the area and as such would result in a detrimental impact upon the character and appearance of the area. Accordingly, the proposed development is contrary to Local Plan policies CS5, CS6, CS16 & CS17 of the adopted Core Strategy and policies MD2, MD11, MD12 of the SAMDev and national guidance contained within the NPPF, in particular paragraphs 83 and 110.
(At this juncture, the meeting adjourned at 03.18 pm and reconvened at 03.26 pm)