Agenda item

Agenda item

Planning Application No. CB/18/01210/FULL (Aspley & Woburn)


Address:       The Quarry House, San Remo Road, Aspley Guise, Milton Keynes, MK17 8JY


Replacement of existing tarmacadam tennis court with new dwelling.


Applicant:     Mr & Mrs Seamarks




The Committee had before it a report regarding Planning Application No. CB/18/01210/FULL for the replacement of an existing tarmacadam tennis court with a new dwelling at The Quarry House, San Remo Road, Aspley Guise, Milton Keynes, MK17 8JY.


In advance of consideration of the application the Committee’s attention was drawn to additional consultation/publicity responses and additional comments as set out in the Late Sheet.  The planning officer also advised that since the publication of the Late Sheet an additional response had been received from the tree and landscape officer who had raised no objection to the application subject to the inclusion of relevant conditions.  In support of the recommended refusal of the application, the planning officer then referred Members to the content of the appeal decision arising from Wood v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Gravesham Borough Council (2015) and to the relevant part of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).


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


The ward Member confirmed that the purpose of the infill boundary was to identify areas where the principle of development was acceptable in locations which were washed over by the Green Belt.  He stated that, as the application site sat within the identified infill boundary, the principle of development within the location should be acceptable without the need for debate.  Where the principle of development was acceptable and the proposal accorded with the three infill criteria as explained by the applicant (small scale, vacant plot of land, complimented the surrounding pattern of development) an infill development such as that before Members should be supported.  Where the principle of development was acceptable inside infill boundaries it would be contradictory to the purpose of the infill boundary for the development to be then considered harmful to the openness of the Green Belt.  The ward Member added that the applicant had confirmed that legal precedent was clear and supported the view that development inside infill boundaries would not be inappropriate or harmful to the openness of the Green Belt.  The ward Member then stated that there had been no objections to the application which suggested it had been carefully prepared and respected its neighbours and the surroundings.  There had been two registrations of support which suggested wider benefits such as the removal of the tennis court and its replacement with soft landscaping, and green roofs to the proposed dwelling, would provide visual improvement and provide additional permeable ground to aid surface water drainage.  The ward Member stated that he was present at Aspley Guise Parish Council when it had considered the application and made no objection.  Last, the ward Member referred to the already approved outbuilding on the application site.  He referred to images which he believed had been sent directly to Members of the Committee which showed how the proposed dwelling would sit within the same setting.  The images compared the consented outbuilding with the proposed dwelling and the smaller scale and better design provided, in his view, support for the application.  For the above reasons, and those put forward by the applicant and his agent, he felt the application to be appropriate and urged the Committee to support it.


The planning officer responded to the points raised as follows:


·         Policy DM6 in the existing Core Strategy, as set out in the report and by the officer verbally, defined infill development.  The officers were not of the opinion that the siting of the proposed building complimented the existing surrounding pattern of development.  It did not, therefore, meet with the criteria for infill development.

·         He referred to recent appeal decisions and to the site being within the infill boundary.  He referred to Wood v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Gravesham Borough Council (2015) which outlined that infill boundaries were not determinative.  The Core Strategy or NPPF did not admit such boundaries to be used to allow acceptable developments.

·         In the Wood appeal it was down to a planning judgement of context of the site as to whether the proposed building or the proposal itself constituted an infill or not.

·         The draft Local Plan was partially relevant because it included a continuing definition of the infill development and so set out the Council’s future position.  The planning officer read out the pre-submission draft Local Plan definition of infill development which, he stated, essentially reflected the existing definition of infill development which had been employed with regard to the application.  He reiterated that the officers did not believe the application met this definition.

·         The proposal was considered to be for back land development, being within a rear residential garden of The Quarry House.  There were no other residential developments on that type of building line along San Remo Road.  Whilst the development on the north-eastern side of San Remo Road was more spread out it generally followed the linear context of San Remo Road.  The proposed building would be behind the existing development line.

·         As a back land development, and with no other back land development in the locality, it would create a new development line that would be unacceptable and would result in an unacceptable impact on both the character and appearance of the area and the openness of the Green Belt.

·         With regard to back land development being regarded as infilling he acknowledged that this could occur in certain circumstances.  The applicant had suggested that the appeal decision for Timber Ridge (Application No. CB/17/05028/FULL) was of relevance, as had the ward Member who had called in the application.  The planning officer referred to the appeal document and stated that the Planning Inspector had noted that the proposed dwelling and garden would be fully surrounded by existing housing and would not encroach into the countryside to the east of Woburn Lane and south of Woodside.  Further the appeal site and resulting separate plot for Timber Ridge would be of comparable size to the existing neighbouring properties.  The Inspector therefore considered it would be infill for a back land development as it would be entirely surrounded by residential development, thereby filling a gap.  In contrast the application site before Members only benefitted from residential development to the south with open countryside to the north-east and west. 

·         With regard to the outbuilding there were permitted development rights as there were for most properties in that type of location in Green Belt settings.  Permitted development rights did not consider Green Belt to be an issue.  A lawful development certificate had been issued for a permitted development building but it had not been constructed and although it could be so it did not provide justification for a separate residential dwelling in that location.


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


·         A Member stated that the applicant could erect the permitted outbuilding, provide suitable footings and then return to the Committee in a few years to gain planning permission.  He briefly referred to the design of the proposed dwelling and his feeling that it did not merge in with the adjacent buildings.  He was also uncertain as to how effective the proposed ‘green roof’ would be.  The Member then stated that he understood the planning officer’s stance in that if the policy guidelines were not followed other, similar plots, including some within his own village, would be immediately exploited.  He added that not all of those possible applications would be without neighbour objection as not everyone welcomed such development.  The Member commented that if policy was avoided without direction from the policy makers in the Council then the policy would have no standing as a principle had been set.  Nonetheless, and whilst fully accepting the officer’s position, he felt the argument against that particular application was tenuous and he would have to support it.  He moved that the application be approved on the basis that the view that the application did not constitute infill was open to debate.

·         Another Member commented that the gardens in Aspley Guise were very large and, whilst a precedent had not been set, it was not uncommon for there to be two dwellings on some of the gardens.  The application plot was of a significant size and he stated that he understood the previous Member’s viewpoint.

·         A second planning officer concurred that there was an ongoing issue in Aspley Guise regarding what constituted infilling in the gardens.  Officers had attempted to take the approach that where there was a definitive character to an area of linear development and back gardens that were not surrounded by other development then that in itself could create a new form of character which would set a precedent.  The officer referred to land which lay behind other properties to the south of the application site and that the setting of a precedent could make it difficult to defend against future applications for developments on that land.  He acknowledged that it was very subjective as to whether it was thought the application was believed to be infill or not.


On being put to the vote 8 Members voted for approval of the application, 3 voted against and 2 abstained.




that Planning Application No. CB/18/01210/FULL relating to The Quarry House, San Remo Road, Aspley Guise, Milton Keynes, MK17 8JY be approved as set out in the Schedule attached to these minutes.


(Note: the Member who had moved approval apologised to the planning officer for undermining his position).




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