Example pps7 - Agricultural worker’s dwelling

111-mobilehome-logcabins

NOTES FOR COMMITTEE
1. Background
1. A member of staff in the West Area Development Management team has declared an interest in the application.
2. Proposal and Site
2.1 Planning permission is sought for the construction of one agricultural worker’s dwelling at Bolam Tree Nursery. The application is submitted following the completion of three years occupation of temporary accommodation on the site which was granted permission at appeal in 2006. The proposed dwelling would measure 9 metres by 18 metres with an overall floor area of 179 square metres, and would be single storey with a ridge height of 5 metres. The property would have three bedrooms, a bathroom, a dining room, a sitting room, a dog room and a utility room. Access to the site is off an existing private entrance track off the highway to the north. The site is bounded on all sides by fields.
2.2 The site is located 3km north of the village of Belsay which lies on the A696 Newcastle to Jedburgh road. Bolam Lake Country Park is located approximately 400 metres to the north of the application site. The lake and surrounding landscape are characterised by large stands of mature trees set within rolling agricultural land. The trees and the topography of the area result in restricted views of the site over a longer distance.
2.3 The site is located in the open countryside.
2.4 A supporting statement and agricultural appraisal have been submitted with the application. The applicant’s agent states that the applicants have been successfully developing the 6 acre land holding at Bolam since 2004. The original holding has been expanded over the last 2 years with the purchase of additional land required as a result of the continuing success of the business. Additional land has now been purchased to the north, west, south and east of the original holding thereby increasing the size of the site to just under 8 acres. It is stated that after the initial establishment of the nursery the applicants commenced occupation of the site in a small touring caravan located within an agricultural building. On 12 April 2005 a retrospective application was made to Castle Morpeth Borough Council for permission for the retrospective siting of an agricultural caravan. Planning permission was refused on 9 June 2005 for three reasons which included absence of a functional need for accommodation, lack of three years establishment of the business and archaeological impact. The refusal of planning permission was subsequently the subject of a planning appeal. The Inspector concluded that the proposal for temporary accommodation fully met the relevant PPS7 tests and temporary permission was granted on 31 October 2006 for a period of three years. Temporary permission expires on 31 October 2009. The applicant’s agent states that since the grant of permission the applicants have continued to live and work on site.
3. Planning Policy
3.1 National Planning Policy PPS7 Sustainable Development in Rural Areas (ODPM, 2004) 3.2 Castle Morpeth Local Plan
C1 Settlement boundaries H15 New housing developments H16 Housing in the countryside T11 Car parking standards
4. Planning History
4.1 Reference: 91/D/76 - Outline: Detached farmhouse, garages and ancillary farm offices on land west of Bolam Low House, Belsay - Refused, dismissed at appeal
4.2 Reference: 05/D/272 - Temporary siting of agricultural caravan at Bolam Nursery, Belsay - Refused 9.6.05, allowed at appeal 31.10.06
5. Consultations/Representations
5.1 Belsay Parish Council: Objects - The Parish Council is opposed to the development. There is no proven need for an on site dwelling in order to manage/operate a tree nursery. The development is no more than an opportunistic way of securing a new dwelling in this area at minimal cost.
5.2 Highway Authority: No objections subject to the conditions recommended below 5.3 Northumbrian Water: No response 5.4 Public Protection: Awaiting response (Consultation period expires on 27.10.09) 5.5 Public response: None received
6. Assessment 6.1 The main issues for consideration in determining this application are:-
Principle of the development Size of dwelling Design and impact on surrounding area Impact on residential amenity Access and parking
Principle of the development
6.2 The application site is located within the open countryside. Local Plan Policy C1 seeks to protect the open countryside from sporadic residential development and states that development in the open countryside beyond settlement boundaries will not be permitted.
6.3 Where it can be demonstrated that a dwelling is essential for agriculture or other sustainable rural businesses, however, an exception to the normal policy of restraint may be made. The proposal for the dwelling associated with the applicant’s nursery holding must, therefore, be assessed against the relevant criteria set out in Local Plan Policy H16 and the functional and financial tests set out in Annex A of PPS7 in relation to agricultural workers’ dwellings. All of the tests have to be satisfied before approval may be given, and other relevant criteria such as siting and design, also have to be satisfied. Advice has been sought from the consultants, Capita Symonds, who regularly provide advice to the Local Planning Authority on such applications as to the need for such a dwelling in the proposed location.
6.4 Details of the functional and financial tests are set out below:-
Is there a clearly established existing functional need for the dwelling?
6.5 A functional need is defined as one which establishes whether it is essential for the proper functioning of the enterprise for one or more workers to be readily available at most times.
6.6 Capita Symonds has confirmed that there is a clearly established existing functional need on the holding for a new dwelling in relation to the care of the plants. This will be particularly so when the weather is frosty or very windy, or when ventilation needs to be adequately controlled in times of hot weather. There will also be a need for workers to deal with the regular watering of the plants, particularly in times of hot weather.
Does the need relate to a full time worker or one who is primarily employed in agriculture and does not relate to a part time requirement?
6.7 Capita Symonds has stated that it is always difficult to calculate the labour requirements on such holdings as this as there is little firm guidance as to the labour requirement for propagation of plants. However, as both applicants work full time on the holding and have continued to expand the business since the Planning Inspector approved the temporary dwelling approximately 3 years ago, and 2 part time staff are also employed, it is reasonable to assume that the need on this holding relates to at least 1 full time worker.
Has the unit and the agricultural activity concerned been established for at least three years, have been profitable for at least one of them, are currently financially sound and have a clear prospect of remaining so?
6.8 The unit at Bolam Tree Nursery has now been established since January 2004. Capita Symonds has calculated the net farm income on this holding and has carefully considered the financial information provided by the applicants as certified by their Accountants and has confirmed that this holding is financially viable.
Could the functional need be fulfilled by another existing dwelling on the unit or any other existing accommodation based in the area, which is suitable and available for occupation by the worker concerned?
6.9 Capita Symonds has advised that today it is only necessary for specialist workers to live on or immediately adjacent to agricultural holdings. This is to be available at most times in case animals or agricultural processes require essential care at short notice and to deal quickly with emergencies that could otherwise cause serious loss of crop or products, or in this case losses of plants, particularly during periods of cold, hot or stormy weather. At the present time the existing caravan in the building at Bolam Tree Nursery is available to house 1 worker who is actively involved in the management of this unit and is required on it, but that consent expires on 31 October 2009. Therefore, from 31 October 2009 this functional need could not be fulfilled by another existing dwelling on the unit, or any other accommodation based in the area which is suitable and available for occupation by the worker concerned.
6.10 Therefore, based on the information submitted and the advice received from Capita Symonds, there is a clearly established functional need on the holding for 1 full time worker. The construction of an agricultural worker’s dwelling is justified in terms of the functional need. In addition, the financial test has been satisfied. For these reasons, it is considered that the principle of development would meet the criteria set out in Local Plan Policy H16 and Annex A of PPS7.
Size of dwelling
6.11 Government advice in PPS7 states that “Agricultural dwellings should be of a size commensurate with the established functional requirement of the unit. Dwellings which are unusually large in relation to the agricultural needs of the unit, or unusually expensive to construct in relation to the income it can sustain in the long term should not be permitted. It is the requirements of the enterprise, rather than the owner or occupier, which are relevant in determining the size of the dwelling that is appropriate to a particular holding.”
6.12 The siting of the proposed dwelling indicates that the dwelling would have an overall floor area of approximately 179 square metres, over one floor. This size of dwelling is considered to be commensurate with the established functional requirement of the unit.
6.13 The removal of permitted development rights regarding any extensions to the property would prevent future extension of the dwelling to a size that may exceed
that which could be justified by the functional requirement of the enterprise, and which could affect the continued viability of maintaining the property for its intended use, given the income that the agricultural unit can sustain. Subject to an appropriately worded condition removing permitted development rights therefore it is considered that the size of dwelling proposed in this instance would be appropriate to the requirements of the holding thus according with PPS7 in this respect.
Design and impact on surrounding area
6.14 In terms of its siting, the proposed dwelling would be located in a field to the east of the existing agricultural building which currently houses the temporary caravan. Government advice in PPS7 states that agricultural dwellings should be sited so as to meet the identified functional need and to be well-related to existing farm buildings or other dwellings. Due to the site’s location close to the existing farm building, it is considered that the proposed dwelling would not have a detrimental impact on the character of the area. The proposed dwelling would be of a traditional design constructed from stone and slate. Such an appropriate design would assist in assimilating the dwelling into the landscape and would reflect the character of other nearby dwellings. As the dwelling would be single storey it would not be prominent within the landscape and so would not have an adverse visual impact upon the surrounding area. The development would not, therefore, conflict with Local Plan Policies H15 and H16.
Impact on residential amenity
6.15 It is considered that the proposal would meet the amenity space and privacy distance requirements set out in Local Plan Policy H15.
Access and parking
6.16 A safe access off the private road, which currently serves the site, would be provided. Three car parking spaces would be provided within the site. The Highway Authority has no objection to the scheme subjection to conditions relating to highway safety. The proposal would therefore accord with Local Plan Policy T11.
7. Summary
7.1 There is a clearly established functional need on the holding for one full time worker, actively involved in the management of the unit to be resident on, or immediately adjacent to it. There is a labour requirement of at least one full time worker and therefore the labour requirement is met. As the farming business is financially viable then the financial test is met. For these reasons, it is considered that the principle of development would meet the criteria set out in Local Plan Policy H16 and Annex A of PPS7.
7.2 It has been satisfactorily demonstrated that the farming enterprise is financially viable and will remain so in the future. It is considered that the development would be of a size commensurate with the functional requirement of the unit and thus would accord with Government advice given in PPS7 and with the relevant criteria in Local Plan Policy H16.
7.3 In terms of its siting, the proposed dwelling would be located in a field to the east of the existing agricultural building. The proposed dwelling would be of an appropriate design which would assist in assimilating the dwelling into the landscape and would reflect the character of other nearby dwellings. As the dwelling would be single storey it would not be prominent within the landscape and so would not have an adverse visual impact upon the surrounding area. The development would not, therefore, conflict with Local Plan Policies H15 and H16.
7.4 It is considered that the proposal would be able to meet the amenity space and privacy distance requirements set out in Local Plan Policy H15.
7.5 A safe access would be provided to the site whilst three car parking spaces would be provided within the site in accordance with Local Plan Policy T11.
Recommendation
Authority to the Director of Development and Regulatory Services to grant conditional permission subject to the comments of Public Protection received within the consultation period:-
1 The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission.
Reason: To ensure that the development is commenced within a reasonable period of time from the date of the permission.
2 The development hereby permitted shall not be carried out other than in complete accordance with the approved plans, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To enable control to be exercised over the development as it proceeds.
3 Notwithstanding the provisions of the Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development Order 1995 Schedule 2 Part 1 Classes A-H, no future development shall be carried out other than expressly authorised by this permission, without the prior written consent of the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To retain control over the development of the site. In accordance with Local Plan Policy H16.
4. The occupation of the dwelling shall be limited to a person solely or mainly working, or last working, in the locality in agriculture as defined in Section 336(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, or a widow or widower of such a person, and to any resident dependents.
Reason: The site lies in open countryside where there is a strong presumption against new housing in normal circumstances. In accordance with Local Plan Policy H16.
5. No development shall commence until precise details of the materials to be used in the construction of the external walls and roof of the dwelling hereby approved have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. All roofing and external facing materials shall conform to the materials thereby approved.
Reason: To retain control over the external appearance of the development in the interests of visual amenity. In accordance with Local Plan Policies H15 and H16.
6. The stone to be used on the exterior of the building shall be laid with its natural quarry bed horizontal, with mortar of a colour to match the natural colour of the stone with flush or very slightly recessed joints.
Reason: In the interests of the appearance of the area. In accordance with Local Plan Policies H15 and H16.
7. Sills (and lintels if not covered by eaves) shall be of stone, or a substitute material agreed beforehand by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: In the interests of the appearance of the area. In accordance with Local Plan Policies H15 and H16.
8. Prior to development commencing, details of all boundary treatments shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved boundary treatments shall be retained thereafter at the position approved, unless otherwise agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: In the interests of the appearance of the area. In accordance with Local Plan Policies H15 and H16.
9. Prior to the commencement of development, details of the finished floor levels shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Thereafter, the development shall not be constructed other than in accordance with the approved plans.
Reason: To ensure these details are controlled by the Local Planning Authority. In accordance with Local Plan Policies H15 and H16.
10. Prior to the commencement of the development hereby approved, provision shall be made for a temporary car park within the site to accommodate operatives and construction vehicles during the development of the site in accordance with details to be approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To avoid obstruction of the adjoining highway.
11. Prior to the commencement of development precise details of a wheel washing, axle and suspension cleaning facility and its siting shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The facility shall be retained in the agreed position for the duration of construction work or as otherwise agreed with the Local Planning Authority, for use by construction traffic.
Reason: To prevent mud, stones and other debris being carried on to the adjoining carriageway which may cause a hazard to other users of the highway.
12. All loaded wagons visiting or leaving the site shall be sheeted at source or otherwise treated to prevent the spread of dust/debris onto the highway.
Reason: To prevent mud, stones and other debris being carried on to the adjoining carriageway which may cause a hazard to other users of the highway.
13. Prior to commencement of the development hereby approved, provision shall be made for a temporary compound and storage area within the site to accommodation the storage of materials during the development of the site in accordance with details to be approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To avoid obstruction of the adjoining highway.
14. The dwelling hereby approved shall not be occupied unless any damage to the highway caused by construction/operative traffic associated with the works within the development site have been made good, with damaged areas repaired and footways resurfaced in accordance with a scheme which shall first have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To return the highway fronting the site to a satisfactory condition, in the interests of amenity and highway safety.
15. The development hereby approved shall not be occupied until a minimum of 2 parking spaces have been provided within the curtilage of the site.
Reason: To ensure that there is adequate space within the site for the parking of vehicles clear of the highway. In accordance with Local Plan Policy T11.
16. The dwelling hereby approved shall not be occupied unless a turning area has been provided within the curtilage of the site in accordance with a scheme which shall first have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To enable vehicles to join the highway in a forward direction at all times, in the interests of highway safety.
17. The dwelling hereby approved shall not be occupied until the existing access is upgraded to an access constructed in accordance with Type 7 of Northumberland County Council standard specifications, in accordance with details which shall first have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To achieve access to and from the site in a manner which does not cause danger and inconvenience to other road users.