Agenda item

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, even though he felt this had softened them slightly.


Members discussed the amended reasons for refusal and some technical questions were answered by the officer. It was confirmed that if the application went to appeal, it would be defended by officers, but it may be necessary to outsource some aspects of the defence to consultants.


At the conclusion of the discussion the Chairman proposed that the amended reasons for refusal (which can be seen in full in the minutes for the Strategic Planning Committee meeting on 22 February 2023) were accepted. This was seconded by Councillor Tony Trotman, and it was,




To approve the amended reasons for refusal.