Agenda item

PL/2022/09068 - Woodpeckers, Berhills Lane, Seend, Melksham, SN12 6RR

Erection of two new three bedroomed dwellings and associated vehicular access.


Public participation:


·       John Armstrong (Armstrong Architecture) – spoke in favour of the application

·       Chris Sleightholme – spoke in favour of the application



Meredith Baker, Senior Planning Officer, introduced the report which recommended that planning permission be refused, for reasons detailed in the report, for the erection of two new three bedroomed dwellings with associated vehicular access.


The officer advised that the site was located at the edge of the hamlet of Sells Green within the Melksham Community Area. The land was stated to be used for residential purposes but was considered by the local planning authority to be agricultural land. The site was bounded by trees to the north and south, with a small woodland area to the east. She explained that the settlement area was not identified for any type of growth by the settlement strategy and therefore, for the purposes of assessing the planning merits of the proposal, the site would fall within the open countryside. The site bordered open countryside and was outside of the defined limits of development.


She explained that, as the site was not deemed to be brownfield land, the application conflicted with Core Policy 1 and Core Policy 2 of the Wiltshire Core Strategy as well as SP11 of the Seend Parish Neighbourhood Plan. By reason of its siting, design and layout of the dwellings, together with the associated residential paraphernalia within the open countryside, the proposal would be harmful to the visual amenities of the area and to landscape character. Furthermore, due to its distance from local services and amenities the proposal would result in a heavy reliance of use of the private motor transport in conflict with the principles of sustainable development and contrary to Core Policies 60 and 61 of the Wiltshire Core Strategy.



In response to technical questions to the Committee the Legal Representative Ros Trotman (Thrings Solicitors) explained that in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) land in built up areas, such as residential gardens, are excluded from the brownfield definition and the application site had been deemed by the Senior Planning Officer to be in a built-up area. The Committee were informed that there was insufficient evidence on the balance of probability to say that the land had been in continuous residential use as a garden for 10 years. It was also confirmed that the site had no known archaeological significance.


Members of the public then had the opportunity to present their views, as detailed above.


In response to the issues raised during the public participation about the impact of the development on its surroundings, the planning officer explained that the layout and siting would be harmful to visual amenities and landscape character contrary to Core Policy 51 of the Wiltshire Core Strategy.


So the Committee had something to debate, the Chairman, seconded by Cllr Dr Mathew, proposed the application was refused for the reasons outlined in the officer recommendations.


A debate followed where some Members commented that they felt the plot to be nicely situated and that it was well supported by the local community. One Member did raise concerns that the development site could have a negative visual impact as it could be seen a long distance along the adjoining road.


The proposal was then put to a vote but was defeated with the majority of Members voting against the recommendation to refuse the application. 


Cllr Dr Mathew then proposed that the application be approved, contrary to officer recommendation, in line with Core Policy 57 of the Wiltshire Core Strategy.


The Development Management Team Leader clarified that the application was not policy compliant but could be approved if Members so wished if they considered that other material considerations would outweigh this.


Cllr Dr Mathew then proposed that the application be approved, following the above advice from the planning officer with suggested conditions and the informative having been outlined. Cllr Dr Mathew’s proposal was seconded by Cllr Wallis.




To APPROVE the application subject to 15 conditions and an informative.



Supporting documents: