The Committee received and considered the report from the Development Manager.
The Development Manager reported that this application was an application to amend various ecological conditions within planning permission 06/17/0358/F, conversion of existing barn to 2 dwellings and the erection of 44 dwellings and associated infrastructure.
The Development Manager reported that since publishing the agenda report there were some further updates to report as follows:-
(i) Proposed demolition
(ii) Additional bat survey information from 2021
(iii) ‘Nutrient neutrality’
(iv) NCC NETI Ecologist comments
(v) Environment Agency advice (Japanese Knotweed informative); and
(vi) Updated Recommendation regarding the conditions.
The Development Manager outlined details of the existing permission to the Committee; demolition of all modern agricultural buildings and bungalow fronting White Street, 46 dwellings comprising 44 new build, 2 homes from the conversion of the 18th Century thatched barn, split access from Somerton Road & White Street, relocation of public byway to the east and commencement needed before 23rd April 2022.
The Development Manager reported that the main considerations for the Committee to consider were as follows:-
(i) Extent of demolition & Commencement
(ii) Archaeology investigations
(iii) Bat roost potential
(iv) Reptile / grass snake presence; and
(v) Changes to planning conditions.
The Development Manager gave consideration to the following objections which had been received and the mitigation measures proposed to overcome them:-
(i) Site clearance can affect the reptiles on site which need protection.
(ii) Reptile presence shows healthy habitat that should not be changed.
(iii) Grass snakes need access to the adjacent pond, not fencing in.
(iv) Bats need further investigation and protection.
(v) Knotweed and contamination clearance.
(i) Traffic and highways safety.
(ii) Lack of public transport links.
(iii) Insufficient local services and infrastructure.
(iv) Loss of agricultural land.
(v) Boundary treatments between site and other dwellings.
The Development Manager reported that additional information had been received:-
(i )Proposed alternative / additional demolition - A second location to be discussed.
(ii) Bat Survey from May 2021: less bat roost potential than in 2017.
(iii) Environment Agency –
Knotweed should be registered at the Norfolk Non-native species Initiative (NNNSI).
Biosecure removal should be undertaken (note – condition proposed to do so).
The Development Manager reported the following comments from the Ecologist to the Committee:-
(i) The proposals are unacceptable – reptile mitigation needs to be in place before demolition starts – due to machinery & equipment being disruptive.
Only extremely limited works to be allowed, required under supervision of ecologist.
Other protections required by conditions 6, 8, 11 and other pre-demolition conditions.
(ii) The surveys are dated and the site environment will have changed since 2017.
Walkover survey was undertaken October 2021 and new surveys are required (Condition 8).
(iii) The proposed permanent reptile habitat area is not well designed – wrong fence type; lacks a pond; lacks barriers to keep out domestic animals; is currently isolated from wider habitat.
The location of the permanent area cannot be revisited in this application, but:
The design of the final permanent reptile area can be improved and agreed by Amending Condition 13.
(iv) Lacks details on how long the temporary area will be cleared before gardens are built.
LPA – see Conditions 28, 43.
(v) Requires a Reptile & Amphibian Mitigation Strategy – eg:
demolition wastes need to be skipped immediately,
the reptile fence should be installed around the whole site.
A Strategy can be agreed by new Condition.
Whole-site reptile fencing can be required by an Amendment to Condition 14.
Other protections required during site clearance are proposed at Condition 11.
(vi) Bats – all surveys are outdated and requires an updated survey; a bat Licence is needed before any demolition or conversion.
This is recommended at proposed Condition 8 and 4.
Officers and the Applicant have agreed to use a New Condition to require confirmation of bat survey results and reptile survey prior to the demolition of any buildings (other than Northern Arm / Southern Office) or removal of concrete.
(vii) Nesting bird checks – the whole site needs to be checked 24hrs before start of any works.
LPA – See condition 8 and the overriding provisions of the Wildlife Act.
(viii) Japanese knotweed presence needs biosecurity measures as part of mitigation. – See Condition 10.
The Development Manager reported that the principle of development can be accepted as the scheme already has permission and the site is now within the expanded LPP2 village development limits.
The Development Manager reported that the extent of demolition can be demonstrated by no previous definition of ‘approved demolition’ nor ‘existing’ plan to compare with ‘approved plan’, bat roost potential was specifically evident in the Thatched Barn Southern Office in 2017, hence report focus on Northern Arm and the proposal now requests to demolish the Southern Office extension to the Thatched Barn, to commence. The Northern Arm & Southern Office at Thatched Barn is 9m long, 4m wide, 5m high and is a modern building brick and cladding. There is minimal bat roost potential. Demolition by hand is possible and it can be overseen by an ecologist.
Extent of demolition (2), A new survey has found no recent evidence of bats.
Amended Recommendation (1):To allow the Southern Office to be demolished –as well as / or instead of the Northern Arm - by hand and under controlled supervision. Ref: “Approved demolition” within report conditions – include Condition 3.
The Development Manager gave an update in regard to archaeology as follows:-
(i) Trial trenching as now proposed.
(ii) Desk stop study investigations complete; and
(iii)Require the approved WSI by conditions – new Conditions 2, 17 & 31.
The Development Manager gave an update in regard to bats as follows:-
(i) Commencing demolition only where roosting was not found / unlikely.
(ii) Initial demolition by hand / manual & overseen by licenced ecologist.
(iii) New surveys before wider demolition.
(iv) Planting, roosting boxes and bat loft.
(v) Ref new Conditions 4, 5, 8.
3 surveys in May – June 2021.
Thatched Barn – confirmed day and night feeding roosts for 3 bats
L-shaped barn – confirmed day roost of 2 brown long-eared bats
No bat roosts in any of the “wings” off the main barn.
No bats in the bungalow (less bat potential than 2017 as half of roof was missing)
Natural England Licence is being applied for.
As proposed & New condition – confirm immediate bat survey results prior to demolition.
The Development Manager gave the following update in regard to reptiles and grass snakes:-
(i) Surveys required prior to commencement
(ii) Needs temporary and permanent locations & trapping
(iii) Timeframe for SUDS and reptiles need to align
(iv) Protection during construction and access to pond retained; and
(v) Ref new Conditions 2, 4, 6, 8, 11-16, 28, 43.
The Development Manager reported that in conclusion:-
(i) Principle of development is acceptable and reinforced by LPP2.
(ii) The proposals behind the recommended modifications are pragmatic and minimal to secure the commencement in a time-limited situation.
(iii) The recommended modifications enable delivery without harm to protected species.
(iv) The Ecologist’s concerns are either unable to be affected by this application, or are already addressed in the proposed conditions, or can be relatively easily included in proposed conditions.
(v) There are further discussions to be had regarding precise terms of conditions – especially reptile and bat surveys prior to demolition of each building (as phased development), and
(vi) Request to delegate approval to the Head of Planning once outstanding matters are finalised.
The Development Manager reported that the recommendations had been updated since the agenda had been published as follows:-
Delegate to the Head of Planning to approve planning application 06/21/0917/F:
(i) Completion of the section 106A deed of variation.
(ii) Conditions as reported; and
(iii) Conditions where they are to be modified in respect of demolition programme and specifications for reptile habitats;
(iv) New conditions: RAMS and pre-demolition survey confirmations; and
(v) Any other conditions or changes thereto, as considered appropriate by the Development Manager.
Councillor Myers asked for clarification as to whether the rehoming pen for the reptiles would be a temporary or permanent structure.
Councillor Freeman questioned who would be responsible for the welfare of the reptile/snake population during the build phase if they were to be displaces or were they purely expected to fend for themselves. The Development Manager reported that conditions would be put in place to ensure their long term safety and management and that discussions would be undertaken with the applicant.
Councillor Freeman asked if a management company would be formed. The Development Manager reported that this would be undertaken as part of the obligations of the s106 agreement.
Councillor A Wright raised his concerns regarding the safety of the reptiles and bat colony on the site during the build phase and that brownfield sites should always be developed in place of this type of site where the local nature could be adversely affected.
Councillor Flaxman-Taylor proposed that the application be approved. This motion was seconded by Councillor Galer. Following a vote, it was RESOLVED:-
That the Committee agree that the Head of Planning be given delegated authority to approve planning application 06/21/0917/F subject to the use of conditions, the amendments proposed and to be modified as described in the agenda report as it will deliver necessary housing whilst ensuring the development complies with the aims of Policies CS1, CS3, CS9 and Cs11 of the GY Local Plan Core Strategy and Policies GSP1, GSP6, GSP8, A2, E3 and E4 of the GY Local Plan Part 2.
(i) Completion of the section 106A Deed of Variation,
(ii) All Conditions as reported,
(iii) Conditions where they are to be modified in respect of the demolition programme and specifications for reptile habitats,
(iv) New conditions: RAMS and pre-demolition survey confirmations; and
(v) Any other conditions or changes thereto, as considered appropriate by the Development Manager.
(A) The completion of a satisfactory S106 A Deed of Variation (where possible in the timescales required); and,
(B) No adverse comments being received from the NCC (NETI) Natural Environment Team as consulting ecologist; and,
(C) Conditions – (summarised) as below – whether reinstated from 06/17/0358/F, modified or new:
1. [Ex condition 1 of 06/17/0358/F – modified] - require commencement by no later than 22 April 2022.
2. [Ex condition 2 – modified] – development shall accord with original approved plans and additional archeology WSI and elements of the October 2021 Applied Ecology report.
3. [New] - Defines the extent / limit of demolition intended as the “approved demolition” works, namely demolition of the northern arm of the thatched building, verified by reference to survey plan.
4. [Ex condition 15 – modified] – no development shall commence until an application is made to Natural England for a European Protected Species Licence for the development hereby approved.
5. [Ex condition 16 – retained] – any chemicals used in works to the thatched barn shall only be from the Natural England ‘approved list’.
6. [New] - No storage of demolition or construction materials shall be permitted on the site – materials shall be stored in suitable containers and removed on a weekly basis at least, and removal of storage piles shall be under supervision of qualified ecological clerk of works
With the exception of demolition of the northern arm of the thatched barn, prior to commencement of development:
7. [Ex condition 27 – modified] –
(a) Only the trees identified within the Arboricultural Impact Assessment, Tree Protection Plan, Method Statement to be felled shall be felled.
(b) With the exception of demolition of the northern arm of the thatched barn, all tree protection measures shall be provided as per the approved AIA and retained during works.
8. [New] –
(a) With the exception of demolition of the northern arm of the thatched barn, no development whatsoever shall commence until a protected species survey has been undertaken across the site. – the survey shall include grass snake and shall be undertaken prior to, at most, two years of the intended development commencement date, and must be undertaken during the period of April – October.
(b) In the event that species are found in addition to those recorded in 2017, additional mitigation measures shall be provided to address the impacts of the development on these new species. For avoidance of doubt, these shall need to be in addition to the measures required by Conditions 17 – 19, 21 – 28 of permission 06/17/0358/F
9. [Ex condition 17 – modified] – With the exception of demolition of the northern arm of the thatched barn, no development shall commence until details of 9no kent bat boxes and 15no schweglar bat tubes are agreed. The details shall be provided within the scheme in accordance with the details approved, prior to first occupation of the relevant dwelling or first occupation overall for the tree-mounted boxes.
10. [Ex condition 20 – modified] – With the exception of demolition of the northern arm of the thatched barn, no development shall commence until Japanese knotweed has been investigated and remediated.
11. [Ex condition 23 – modified] - With the exception of demolition of the northern arm of the thatched barn, no site clearance shall be undertaken until the site reptile trapping has been completed, and thereafter site clearance shall only be in accordance with a carefully prescribed manner (as set out in the applicant’s planning statement re condition 25 amendments).
12. [New] – With the exception of demolition of the northern arm of the thatched barn, no development shall be commenced until a grass snake and reptile temporary relocation habitat has been provided and fenced, in accordance with the specification within the Applied Ecology report October 2021, in the location shown therein (2021 report Figure 3), and shall be maintained thereafter until their permanent relocation.
13. [New] - The temporary reptile relocation area shall not be removed until such time as the permanent reptile relocation habitat has been provided and fenced and the reptiles transferred, in accordance with the specification within the Applied Ecology report October 2021.
14. [New] – The temporary reptile relocation area protective fencing shall remain in place for the duration of the construction period.
15. [New] - With the exception of demolition of the northern arm of the thatched barn, no development shall be commenced until trapping has been undertaken across the whole site in accordance with the findings of the survey required by Condition 8 above, and in accordance with the methodology paragraphs 2.10 – 2.14 within the October 2021 Applied Ecology report.
16. [New] - All grass snake and other reptile trapping shall be undertaken in accordance with the Applied Ecology report October 2021 and must not be undertaken outside the period April – September in any year.
With the exception of any demolition, prior to commencement of development:
17. [Ex conditions 3 & 4 – modified] – With the exception of demolition of the existing buildings, no development shall take place until the trial trenching has been completed as per the approved July 2021 archaeological WSI.
18. [Ex condition 6 – retained] – excluding demolition, no works shall commence until estate highways details are agreed.
19. [Ex condition 10 – retained] – excluding demolition, no development shall commence until details for on-site parking for Construction workers are agreed.
20. [Ex condition 11 – retained] – excluding demolition, no development shall commence until details of stopping up order and TRO to remove highway rights to the byway are agreed.
21. [Ex condition 12 – retained] – excluding demolition, no development shall commence until technical details of surface water drainage scheme are agreed.
22. [Ex condition 13 – retained] – excluding demolition, no development shall commence until details of fire hydrants provision are agreed.
23. [Ex condition 35 – retained] –
(a) Ground levels are to remain in accordance with the topographical survey received by the LPA on the 15th June 2017.
(b) Excluding demolition, prior to the commencement of the development slab levels shall be agreed.
24. [Ex condition 19 – retained] – excluding demolition, no development shall commence until details of a pole mounted barn owl box along the eastern edge of the site are agreed.
25. [Ex condition 21 – modified] – excluding demolition, no development shall commence until details of 10no swift boxes, 10no sparrow boxes, and 10no starling boxes and their installation locations are agreed. The details shall be provided within the scheme in accordance with the details approved, prior to first occupation of the relevant dwelling or first occupation overall for the tree-mounted boxes.
26. [Ex condition 29 – retained] – excluding demolition, no development shall commence until details of hard landscaping is agreed.
27. [Ex condition 30 – retained] – excluding demolition, no development shall commence until details of contamination investigation and mitigation are agreed, and appropriate remediation is undertaken.
28. [Ex condition 22 – modified] – No development shall commence at Plots 3-6 and no more than 14 dwellings shall be occupied within the development until the permanent reptile habitat has first been created, fenced and planted in strict accordance with the specifications set out within the Applied Ecology report October 2021, in the location shown therein (2021 report Figure 3).
29. [Ex condition 31 – retained] – contamination precautions during construction.
30. [Ex condition 32 – retained] – construction working hours.
Prior to residential occupation:
31. [Ex condition 5 – retained] – no occupation shall take place until the archaeology results from the WSI have been analysed and published.
32. [Ex condition 38 – retained] – no dwelling shall be occupied until the noise insulation measures as identified within the acoustic report submitted in support of the application have been installed.
33. [Ex condition 8 – retained] – prior to first occupation, the estate highways are to be constructed up to binder course level.
34. [Ex condition 9 – retained] – prior to first occupation, the visibility splays shall be provided to Somerton Rd and White Street.
35. [Ex condition 14 – retained] – prior to first occupation, the approved fire hydrants under condition 22 shall be provided.
36. [Ex condition 34 – retained] – no occupation shall take place until relocated footpath has been provided & made available for public use.
37. [Ex condition 36 – retained] – no occupation shall take place until all boundary treatments shall be agreed. – including a Note: The applicant and developer are advised to investigate the potential to retain and incorporate the brick wall remains currently forming the boundary to 72 White Street as these are an interesting heritage feature remnant of the former Martham House.
38. [New] - No more than 14 dwellings shall be occupied until the SUDS scheme (to be approved by separate condition) has been provided.
39. [Ex condition 28 – modified] - Prior to the occupation of the 23rd dwelling the landscaping shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details, with replacement planting as necessary.
40. [Ex condition 18 – modified] – prior to occupation of any dwelling within the thatched barn, the two swift boxes shall be fixed to the barn gables.
41. [Ex condition 33 (second half) – retained] - prior to the occupation of plots 24 and 25 as shown on plan reference 15.032 010 Rev T details of screening for the balconies at the western elevation shall be agreed.
42. [Ex condition 37 – modified] – no occupation of plots 24, 25 and 26 as shown on plan Proposed Master Plan 15.032 010 Revision T until details of balcony screening to the western elevation shall be agreed.
43. [Ex conditions 23 & 24] – No occupation of any dwellings shall take place at Plots 3-6 until the reptiles and other creatures required for relocation have first been trapped and moved from the temporary habitat to the permanent reptile habitat (under qualified supervision, not outside April – September, and in accordance with the methodology paragraphs 2.10 – 2.14 within the October 2021 Applied Ecology report).
44. [New] - The open space adjacent Plot 6 shall be planted and provided in full and the gardens of plots 3-6 shall be restored prior to first occupation of plots 3-6.
45. [Ex condition 7 – retained] – prior to occupation of the final dwelling, all estate highways works to be completed.
46. [Ex condition 33 (first part) – retained] – Once converted into residential use, no permitted development shall be allowed for alterations to the Thatched Barn.
And any others considered appropriate by the Development Manager.
1. This is subject to a Section 106 Agreement dated 15th February 2019.
2. Works within the highway.
3. Re stopping up order to the public highway.
4. Anglian Water assets.
5. Statement of positive engagement.