Agenda item

Agenda item

Planning Application No. CB/17/05311/FULL (Northill)


Address:       Unit 5, The Ridgeway Business Park, The Ridgeway, Moggerhanger, Bedford, MK44 3PH


Extension to existing workshop building and construction of extension to existing parking area.


Applicant:     Pip Bayleys Limited




The Committee had before it a report regarding Planning Application No. CB/17/05311/FULL for the extension to an existing workshop building and construction of an extension to the existing parking area at Unit 5, The Ridgeway Business Park, The Ridgeway, Moggerhanger, Bedford, MK44 3PH.


In advance of consideration of the application the Committee’s attention was drawn to additional consultation/publicity responses, additional comments and additional/amended conditions as set out in the Late Sheet.


In advance of consideration of the application the Committee received a representation from the applicant under the public participation scheme.


A Member sought clarification from the applicant with regard to whether planting would be undertaken directly by the new fencing around the extended car park.  The Member referred to the planting by the existing fencing and how it had softened its appearance so effectively that it was impossible to see the fencing.  In response the applicant stated that the intention was to bund the area and construct the fence inside the bund.  He was uncertain as the planting required but he was willing to undertake high quality planting so it would not be possible to see the fence.


Another Member queried if the parking area would be for cars or Heavy Goods Vehicles.  In response the applicant stated that current facility was an unauthorised car park but the intension was to create a parking for both cars and HGVs.  The Member then asked if the fencing to be installed would be similar to that already in place for the existing parking area.  In response the applicant stated that it would not be dissimilar but would be a modern, more appropriate green fencing.


The ward Member indicated his full support for the application although he pointed out that Northill Parish Council was against it because of the traffic passing through Moggerhanger.  He acknowledged that the level of traffic was a problem given the small size of the village.  However, given the vehicle numbers submitted by the applicant it appeared that only three additional vehicles would pass through Moggerhanger as the majority of vehicles would turn left on to the A1.  Whilst there would be a slight increase onto an already busy road he believed the increase was acceptable as did the highways officer.  Following a query by the Chairman the ward Member explained that a small percentage of vehicles turned right onto the Ridgeway.


(Note: At this point in the proceedings Councillor Firth left the Council Chamber and took no further part in the debate or in the vote on this item).


The Committee considered the application and in summary discussed the following:


·         A Member commented that the Council had policies within its development framework that permitted the expansion of existing industrial areas whether or not those areas were allocated.  He stated that the application was, therefore, fully policy compliant.

·         Another Member stated he had some concerns which he had expressed on the site inspection.  He first referred to the aesthetically unappealing utilitarian industrial fence used on the main compound and expressed concern that the applicant might wish to use the same for the extension.  He noted the landscape officer’s response that it would be screened and the use of planting and a low mound but there was no reference to an industrial style fence.  Whilst the applicant had stated that it would not be the same grade of industrial style fencing but, driven by necessity, it would need to be substantial in order to prevent thieves entering.  He was therefore concerned that, in a very attractive area of countryside, there would be an industrial looking fence.  Further, and contrary to what had been suggested, the applicant would not want trees growing up against the fence as they would provide both a means to climb over it and somewhere to hide.  The Member stated that he did not think the landscape officer had been aware of the fence as he had said at the site inspection that there was no fence planned.  In response the Chairman pointed out that the landscape officer would have the opportunity to comment as a recommended condition required the submission of a landscaping scheme for consideration and he assumed the planning officer would consult with the landscape officer.  In response the planning officer confirmed that consultation would take place.  He also referred to the Member’s comments regarding landscape and visual impact and acknowledged that a degree of impact would occur.  Members were able to reach their own conclusion regarding the degree of impact but he reminded the meeting that planning was about balancing the different considerations and there were clear social and economic advantages in the application’s favour.  Even if Members felt there was a degree of impact he suggested that the benefits would outweigh the impact.

·         The Member stated that the landscape officer had not expected a fence, there was not one on the indicative plan and the latter had given the application a positive response. If the Committee approved the application the landscape officer would then have to agree to a landscape scheme with a fence.  However, the Chairman stated that the applicant had presented a scheme and it was for the Committee to accept it or not.  If refused the applicant would be requested to reconsider and eventually something would come forward that was acceptable to the Council, though it was unlikely to be considered by the Committee.  Further discussion followed during which it was noted that the provision of fencing was included within the additional condition set out in the Late Sheet.

·         A Member commented that he was satisfied, based on the comments made by the applicant earlier, that suitable planting would take place to screen the new fencing from the Ridgeway and the landscape would be protected.  Another Member drew the Committee’s attention to the applicant having permitted development rights to erect a fence.


On being put to the vote 11 Members voted for approval, 0 voted against and 1 abstained.




that Planning Application No. CB/17/05311/FULL relating to Unit 5, The Ridgeway Business Park, The Ridgeway, Moggerhanger, Bedford, MK44 3PH be approved as set out in the Schedule attached to these minutes.




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