Agenda item

Agenda item

Planning Application No. CB/17/05567/FULL (Potton)


Address:       Manor Farm, High Street, Eyeworth, Sandy, SG19 2HJ


Conversion of existing farm yard barns to create 4 dwellings, with associated landscaping.


Applicant:     Mr M Lee & Mr Roger Lee




The Committee had before it a report regarding Planning Application No. CB/17/05567/FULL for the conversion of existing farm yard barns to create four dwellings with associated landscaping at Manor Farm, High Street, Eyeworth, Sandy, SG19 2HJ.


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 representations from an objector to the application and the applicant’s agent under the public participation scheme.


A Member sought clarification from the objector on how many of the 35 local homes he represented in addition to his own.  In response the objector stated that he represented 6 and that others who supported the application had a vested interest in it through being landowners, relatives or friends.  He stated that the view from within the community was that 6 was quite a large number.  The Chairman referred to comments he had made earlier in the meeting with regard to the relative lack of importance that could be attached to the simple number of those either for or against an application.  The Member responded that he had sought a context given the objector’s claim that the rest of the community felt the development to be unsuitable.


Another Member referred to the objector’s comments regarding the absence of local services and sought clarification from the objector on how the existing residents managed.  Following an earlier claim by the objector that his property would be overlooked by a cathedral style window in Plot 3 the Member also asked for clarification on what windows on the adjacent wall of 2 Sutton Road faced Plot 3.  In response the objector first stated that Eyeworth had become a small commuter hamlet.  He then advised that a letter had been sent by the Council in April 2017 to the developers stating that the latter should seek to use the site for industrial purposes.  The objector stated that no effort had been made to do so.  With regard to overlooking the objector stated that his bathroom and kitchen would be affected.  From his kitchen he would also be able to see the bedrooms in the stable conversion which was on his boundary wall.  He stated that he was not willing to give permission for builders to carry out any related work from within his land.  The objector added that his living room and kitchen area at the back of his property would also be overlooked.


The objector then referred to photographs taken by planning officers on separate occasions and expressed disappointment that these had been omitted from the slides shown.  He felt that they would have been relevant as they would have shown how his living room would be overlooked by the cathedral style window.  At the request of a Member he identified the position of his living room window on the site plan.  The objector also pointed out that the plan failed to show the living room/kitchen extension to his property which had been built 13-15 years ago.


A Member referred to the earlier query regarding local services.  He commented that he had noticed a bus stop on the corner of Sutton Road during the site inspection and that the internet revealed four buses passing through the village on different routes.  In response the objector stated that there were four buses a day spread over a number of hours and the service was not very meaningful.  He added that there was no library, GP practice or dentist.


The objector responded to a further query by identifying the windows in his property and the associated rooms that would be overlooked by the development.


The planning officer responded to the points raised as follows:


·         He emphasised that through the process of prior approval the large barn could be converted into three dwellings.  That process took no account any form of impact on neighbours including loss of privacy.  By the application coming forward the impact on neighbours could be controlled such as through the removal of windows in the rear of Plots 2 and 3.  He added that the large window which served the landing space remained but, as it was not habitable space, it was felt reasonable to condition it to be obscurely glazed.

·         The process of prior approval also did not allow the demolition of those modern agricultural buildings on the site.  As part of the application they were being recommended for demolition and it was felt that this would significantly enhance the appearance of the area.

·         The barn was felt worthy of retention due to its architectural features and paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) gave weight to the reuse of redundant buildings.  In view of the worthy nature of the barns to be retained the weight attributed to the reuse of the redundant buildings significantly outweighed any form of harm in that the impact on the neighbour had been removed.  In terms of sustainability the provision of four houses, which was the reuse of redundant buildings, was considered to outweigh the harm.

·         The boundary treatment between the development and No. 2 Sutton Road would be secured by condition and would be raised.

·         The Chairman referred to photographs having been taken but not shown; the photographs illustrating overlooking of habitable rooms at the rear No.2 Sutton Road.  The planning officer stated that as windows had been removed from Plots 2 and 3 there would be no overlooking impact.  The planning officers were satisfied that as the remaining windows in the rear of Plots 2 and 1 were a substantial distance from the boundary of the site and the habitable space in the rear elevation of No. 2 Sutton Road the overlooking impact had been addressed.

·         The Chairman referred to No. 2 Sutton Road being on a higher elevation than Plot 3.  The planning officer confirmed that situation and explained that was why the boundary treatment had been conditioned to be raised.

·         The Chairman referred to the objector regarding the bathroom as habitable space.  The planning officer stated that bathrooms were not classified as habitable rooms.


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


·         A Member reiterated the action which the applicant could have carried out under prior approval and within permitted development rights.  He stated that by coming forward with an application the applicant had enabled the planning officer to ensure that there was less impact on the neighbours than otherwise would be the case.  The Member regarded the applicant’s action as being one of a ‘good neighbour’.

·         The Member then expressed confusion with regard to the proposed use of obscure glazing in the cathedral style window.  He also referred to the calling in of the application by one of the ward Members on the grounds of it being contrary to policy, although the Chairman had not questioned the ward Member on what that policy was. The Member commented that it was government policy that permitted such development.  In response the Chairman stated that had the ward Member relied solely on the question of policy he would have raised the issue with him but the latter had also given loss of amenity, overbearing and impact on landscape as reasons for the call-in.  The Chairman stated that he had not advised the ward Member of the permitted development rights.

·         For clarification the planning officer advised that it was the first floor aspect of the cathedral style window which was to be obscurely glazed under recommended condition 3.  However, a Member queried the purpose for this as he believed the room with that window had been described as non-habitable space and that obscure glazing restricted light.  The planning officer stated that by conditioning the window to be obscurely glazed, and as there was no need for any outlook from it, it would prevent any overlooking from occurring.   However, the Member stated that overlooking could only take place if the occupant climbed a ladder to look out of the window.  Obscure glazing would merely restrict the amount of light entering the Plot 3.  A second Member expressed his support for the comments passed and against the general use of obscure glazing as a mechanism to solve a problem.  He commented that such glazing dulled light entering a building, was aesthetically unattractive and, in this case, he was not convinced of its necessity.

·         On the basis the above discussion the recommendation to approve the application was moved and seconded subject to deleting recommended condition 3 (relating to the fitting of obscure glazing to the first floor window in the rear elevation of Plot 3) and with the adoption of amended condition 12 (relating to the timescale for the demolition of certain buildings and structures).


On being put to the vote 12 Members voted for approval, 0 voted against and 1 abstained.




that Planning Application No. CB/17/05567/FULL relating to Manor Farm, High Street, Eyeworth, Sandy, SG19 2HJ be approved as set out in the Schedule attached to these minutes.




Supporting documents: