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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall, Trowbridge BA14 8JN

Contact: Tara Hunt  Email: tara.hunt@wiltshire.gov.uk


No. Item



To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.


Apologies were received from Councillor James Sheppard.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.


Councillor Christopher Newbury declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 6a during that item. Councillor Newbury stated that he was a friend of the landowner, who was not the applicant, and that he was a Member of Wiltshire Council who were also listed as a landowner.


The planning officer clarified that Wiltshire Council were not the applicant and that they were listed as a landowner due to owning some of the highways verges, so there was no conflict on that aspect.


Councillor Newbury’s interest was a non-disclosable interest, which did not preclude involvement by the Member.



Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements through the Chair.


There were no announcements by the Chairman.


Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.




Members of the public who wish to speak either in favour or against an application or any other item on this agenda are asked to register no later than 10.20am on the day of the meeting. If it is on the day of the meeting registration should be done in person.


The rules on public participation in respect of planning applications are linked to in the Council’s Planning Code of Good Practice. The Chairman will allow up to 3 speakers in favour and up to 3 speakers against an application, and up to 3 speakers on any other item on this agenda. Each speaker will be given up to 3 minutes and invited to speak immediately prior to the item being considered. Representatives of Parish Councils are included separately in the speaking procedure, please contact the officer listed for details.


Members of the public will have had the opportunity to make representations on the planning applications and to contact and lobby their local member and any other members of the planning committee prior to the meeting. Lobbying once the debate has started at the meeting is not permitted, including the circulation of new information, written or photographic which have not been verified by planning officers.




To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution which excludes, in particular, questions on non-determined planning applications.


Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on Thursday 23 February 2023 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on Monday 27 February 2023. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.


Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.


The procedures for public participation were detailed and noted.


Planning Appeals and Updates

To receive details of completed and pending appeals, and any other updates as appropriate.


There was no planning appeals update report in the agenda.


The Chairman stated that there would be an update from Ruaridh O’Donoghue (Senior Planning Officer) regarding the reasons for refusal on agenda item 7c,  20/00379/OUT - Land South of Trowbridge, Southwick, Trowbridge, Wilts (H2.6) from the Strategic Planning Committee meeting held on 22 February 2023.


The officer explained that planners had been working on the reasons for refusal for the above item and there were some slight amendments to the policies quoted by the Committee in that meeting, it was therefore considered necessary to get the Members approval on the changes in order to issue the refusal notice. The officer read out the full reasons for refusal he had prepared, and hard copies were also circulated to Members.


The first amendment involved the level of harm to the designated heritage asset, Southwick Court, a grade II* listed medieval manor house close to the application site. Members had quoted National Planning and Policy Framework (NPPF) paragraph 201, which refers to substantial harm. The officer did not believe that substantial harm could be relied upon as a reason as it would be difficult to argue. Paragraphs 89, 90 and 91 from the inspectors report on the Wiltshire Housing Site Allocation Plan (WHSAP) clarified why. The officer detailed planning guidance on the high bar for substantial harm. The conservation officer response to the application stated that there was ‘less than substantial harm’ but within the higher levels of that category. Therefore, it was felt that paragraph 202 of the NPPF would be a more defendable reason for refusal, as this referred to less than substantial harm to a designated heritage asset. The lack of detail in the application to be able to assess the less than substantial harm against the public benefit made this a viable reason for refusal.


There were some clarifications regarding the Highways reasons for refusal. The Highways Officer had referred to lack of lighting as a potential highways safety consideration. However, officers were reluctant to include this within the highways reason for refusal, as the introduction of lighting alongside the access road and path would introduce fundamental issues for ecology and heritage. This would seemingly conflict with the WHSAP. So, they referred to the lack of a formalised crossing facility in the Frome Road.


The final reason for refusal added by planning officers was a standard reason to take account of the lack of agreed section 106 at the time of the decision. This was necessary to provide mitigation to the impact of the development. 


The Chairman highlighted that the main concern for him was which paragraph from the NPPF was used, paragraph 201 (substantial harm to the heritage asset) or paragraph 202 (less than substantial harm to the heritage asset). He had not been comfortable with the conclusions in the inspectors report on the WHSAP. However, he did not want to go against the inspector’s views and therefore was content to accept the amended reasons for refusal,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.


Planning Applications

To consider and determine the following planning applications.


The following planning application was considered.


PL/2021/06112 - Land at Forest Gate, Pewsham, Chippenham, SN15 3RS

The development of a solar farm of up to 49.9 MW of generating capacity, comprising the installation of solar photovoltaic panels and associated infrastructure including customer cabin, customer substation, DNO substation and equipment, inverter and transformer substations, spare part container, associated battery storage, access tracks, fencing, security cameras, landscape planting and associated works.

Supporting documents:


Public Participation

Jeanine Willard spoke in objection to the application.

Richard Badham spoke in objection to the application.

David Price spoke in objection to the application.

Harry Lopes spoke in support of the application.

Jim Cook spoke in support of the application.

Peter Capener spoke in support of the application.

Councillor John Barnes, representing Calne Without Parish Council, spoke in support of the application.


Jonathan James (Senior Planning Officer) presented a report which recommended that planning permission be granted, subject to conditions, for application PL/2021/06112, Land at Forest Gate, Pewsham, Chippenham, SN15 3RS, for the development of a solar farm of up to 49.9 MW of generating capacity, comprising the installation of solar photovoltaic panels and associated infrastructure including customer cabin, customer substation, DNO substation and equipment, inverter and transformer substations, spare part container, associated battery storage, access tracks, fencing, security cameras, landscape planting and associated works.


Attention was drawn to late representations received, which included 2 letters of objection relating to the loss of agricultural land and the impact on the landscape, both of these points were covered within the committee report. There had also been late representations received regarding a lack of notifications to interested parties that the application was due to be considered at Committee, that there was no planning consent for the cable route to the national grid and no consultation with the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. The final 2 points were also covered in the Committee report. Regarding the lack of notification, the officer stated that the agenda was published 5 clear working days ahead of the meeting, in accordance with regulations. 


Key details regarding the application were given. The application had been through many revisions and further details submitted through the process, all of which had been consulted upon. The site lay between Pewsham and Derry Hill and the land was agricultural and was at present used for growing crops. The site as approximately 400 metres from the Derry Hill conservation area. There were a number of public Rights of Way (RoW) boardering the site, these would remain available under the proposal. There was also an oil pipeline crossing the site which required a buffer.


The officer ran through the presentation slides for the meeting detailing the proposed layout of the solar panels; the planting plan; ecology details; photographs of the area; photomontages including how the site would look over time; the highways access and construction traffic route and accesses to the site.


It was explained that the solar panels were fixed modules with storage units dotted across the site. The panels were positioned away from boundaries where possible. The planting plan would provide enhanced biodiversity and the landscape officer had not raised any objections. Bat boxes would be provided across the site and boundaries would be raised to allow for the passage of small animals, any existing habitats were to be afforded protection.


The officer stated that the Committee report clearly set out the issues to be considered and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Urgent Items

Any other items of business, which in the opinion of the Chairman, should be taken as a matter of urgency.


There were no urgent items.




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