Issue - meetings

15/503288 - Woodcut Farm Appeal

Meeting: 27/04/2017 - Planning Committee (Item 374)

374 Application 15/503288/OUT - Land at Woodcut Farm, Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, Kent pdf icon PDF 143 KB

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All Members stated that they had been lobbied.


The Committee considered the report of the Head of Planning and Development recommending that the reason for refusal of application 15/503288/OUT should not be defended at appeal and that the Council should adopt a neutral position in response to the appellant’s proposed amendments to the application scheme.


In considering the report, the Committee had regard to legal advice provided by Counsel on the prospects of successfully defending the appeal and the risks of an award of costs being made against the Council.


The Committee also considered the urgent update report of the Head of Planning and Development setting out details of (a) representations received from CPRE Kent (on behalf of the Joint Parishes Group, CPRE (Maidstone), the Bearsted and Thurnham Society and Leeds Castle) and from a local resident and (b) lobbying material in the form of a letter sent to Members by the Kent Association of Local Councils.


It was noted that:


·  Application 15/503288/OUT was an outline application for a mixed commercial development comprising B1(a), B1(b), B1(c) and B8 units with a maximum floor space of 46,623sqm.  All matters were reserved for future consideration except for access, the arrangements for which were detailed in the application.


·  The application was reported to the Planning Committee on 30 June 2016 with an Officer recommendation to grant outline planning permission subject to the prior completion of a Section 106 legal agreement and conditions.


·  Contrary to the recommendation, the Committee agreed to refuse permission for the following reason:


The proposed development would be harmful to the character and appearance of the countryside, Special Landscape Area and the setting of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and any benefits are not considered to outweigh this harm.  It would also cause less than substantial harm to the setting of the Grade II listed building “Woodcut Farm” and any public benefits are not considered to outweigh this harm.  The development would therefore be contrary to saved policies ENV21, ENV28 and ENV34 of the Maidstone Borough-Wide Local Plan 2000 and advice within the National Planning Policy Framework 2012.


·  Members were not given a costs warning before making their decision.


·  On 22 December 2016, the applicant submitted an appeal to the Secretary of State against the Committee’s decision to refuse outline planning permission.  The appeal inquiry was scheduled to commence on 10 October 2017 and was estimated to continue for ten days.  The Council was committed to the agreed appeal timetable which required the submission of its statement of case by 4 May 2017 (this being the second agreed extension to the original deadline).


·  Practice guidance required the main parties to an appeal to inform the Planning Inspectorate of any material changes in planning circumstances relevant to the determination of the appeal; in particular, any changes in national or local planning policy that were relevant to the Planning Authority’s reasons for refusal and whether those reasons for refusal were still defendable.  In accordance with these requirements, before  ...  view the full minutes text for item 374