Planning Application No. CB/18/03451/VOC (Caddington)
Address: Valley View, Hemel Hempstead Road, Dagnall, Berkhamsted, HP4 1QR
Variation of Condition: Conditions 3 & 5 of planning permission CB/13/03219/FULL.
Applicant: Mrs Golby Webb & Family
The Committee had before it a report regarding Planning Application No. CB/18/03451/VOC which sought the variation of conditions 3 and 5 of Planning Permission CB/13/03219/FULL from a temporary consent to a permanent permission regarding development at the existing authorised residential caravan site at Valley View, Hemel Hempstead Road, Dagnall, Berkhamsted, HP4 1QR.
In advance of consideration of the application the Committee’s attention was drawn to consultation responses and additional comments as set out in the Late Sheet.
In advance of consideration of the application the Committee received representations from Parish Councillor Eddie Perry of Studham Parish Council (which objected to the application), Steve Humphreys, who objected to the application, and Joseph Jones, the agent for the applicants. Members sought and received clarification from Mr Humphreys and Mr Jones.
A ward Member endorsed the comments expressed by the above objectors, mentioned his lengthy involvement in the site and stated that the Committee would not be granting permission for a permanent brick built dwelling on the site. He explained his concerns regarding the related legislation which allowed permission to be granted for gypsy and traveller sites where settled community dwellings would not be permitted and that this was unfair. The ward Member added that the Secretary of State would be considering the application if approved by the Committee and he would be asking the Secretary of State to uphold a previous decision regarding the site. He believed that the previous Secretary of State had called in most, if not all, of the gypsy and traveller decisions made by local authorities because the sites lay in the Green Belt or rural areas where permission for permanent dwellings would not normally be granted. The ward Member stated the application site before Members was in a highly sensitive area and therefore harmful to the Green Belt and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The ward Member stated that there was an argument that the unmet needs measure for gypsy and traveller pitches actually increased demand and every time the Council asked what the need was it increased. He suggested that an extension to the existing temporary permission might be a more appropriate way forward.
The planning officer responded to the points raised as follows:
· In 2016 the Secretary of State overruled the Planning Inspector’s recommendation that permanent consent should be granted. However, the welfare of the applicant’s daughter, who was happily settled in the local school, carried weight.
· There was much development around the application site including a new build development on previously developed ‘brownfield’ land.
· The Planning Inspector had stated that the previous application was harmful to the area but not significantly so. Nor was it isolated given the other developments around it.
· The Very Special Circumstances required to justify the development were the wellbeing of the applicant’s child and family.
· The extent of the harm to the openness had slightly changed since the Secretary of State’s decision.
· The Secretary of State had given due weight to the impact on the AONB (the Chilterns) but his concerns related more to the Green Belt. Further, the site was screened and could not be seen that well from the main road. The impact would be seen from across the fields.
A second planning officer responded to the outstanding points as follows:
· All temporary permissions did not count toward the 5 year supply of gypsy and traveller sites. However, it had been demonstrably shown that the need for the site before Members was genuine.
· Currently, the five year supply stood at 5.33 years but meeting the high level of need in the first five years revealed how close the Council was to the 5 years figure.
· The applicant’s agent had stated that the Council did not have a 5 year supply. The definition of travellers introduced in 2015 omitted non travelling travellers even if they only stopped travelling temporarily. Based on this definition the Council had a requirement of 71 pitches for travelling households and unknowns households and this formed the land supply of 5.33 years.
· Until 2035 another 96 pitches were required. Those pitches were supplied through the General Housing Supply at a range of locations. The way the policy had been put forward would be subject to the local planning enquiry in the early summer.???
· The Council decided in 2013 to approve the last planning application for the site. At the subsequent planning inquiry the Planning Inspector recommended permanent consent be granted permission with a fallback position of a four year temporary consent and the Secretary of State had reduced that to three years.
· The wellbeing of the applicant’s child represented a Very Special Circumstance, having been present on the site for six years and attending a local school. Further, her family circumstances also supported approval of a permanent permission although, he acknowledged, the Secretary of State could call the application in.
The other ward Member referred to earlier comment that the impact on the Green Belt was minimal because it wasn’t very visible. He stated that the Committee had previously been advised that whether or not something could be seen was not the Green Belt test.
The Committee considered the application and in summary discussed the following:
· That the definition of ‘permanent’ in relation to this case meant any permission granted would be personal to the current occupants. If the occupants moved on the permission would lapse or someone else would need to submit a new application to take on the permission.
· The child’s health was not an issue. The focus was that the child continued to have a settled existence, was able to continue her education and was happy.
· The site was very tidy and presentable.
· The grant of a further temporary condition of 5 years would not result in the occupants moving on by that date and the issuing of a temporary permission for any gypsy and traveller site failed to accept the reality of the situation.
· One of the caravans present on the site was permanent and the open countryside had already been harmed. If that caravan was removed it would not lead to a measurable improvement in the AONB nor would its continued presence worsen it.
· The extenuating circumstances of the family were stronger now than when originally discussed as there was a child now involved.
· The Secretary of State could call the application in if he so wished though he might take a different viewpoint from that of his predecessor.
· It was a named permission, it was in the best interests of the child, and the child’s grandparents suffered from ill health.
On being put to the vote 9 Members voted for approval, 0 voted against and 4 abstained.
that Planning Application No. CB/18/03451/VOC relating to Valley View, Hemel Hempstead Road, Dagnall, Berkhamsted, HP4 1QR be approved as set out in the Schedule attached to these minutes.
- 11 18.03451 Map, item 146. PDF 316 KB
- 11 18.03451 Report, item 146. PDF 198 KB
- 11 Appendix - SOS decision and Inspectors report - to be appended to 18.03451 Report, item 146. PDF 2 MB
- 11 18.03451 Schedule, item 146. PDF 46 KB