NORTH NIBLEY PARISH COUNCIL
AN ORDINARY MEETING OF NORTH NIBLEY PARISH COUNCIL WAS HELD ON MONDAY 3 NOVEMBER, IN THE VILLAGE HALL, NORTH NIBLEY AT 7.30PM.
Present: Mr D Purnell (Chairman).
Mrs J Burton; Mr S Hale; Mr K Larkin; Mr D Palmer; & Mr L Smitherman.
District Councillors: District Councillors Mrs J Cordwell; Mrs L Reeves: & Mr P Smith.
County Councillor: Dr J Cordwell.
The Clerk: Mr R Symons.
There were nineteen members of the public present at the start of the Meeting.
The Chairman opened the Parish Council Meeting.
The Chairman invited apologies. The Council received and accepted an apology from Mr K Brown. The Chairman recorded the Council’s wishes that Cllr. Brown made a speedy recovery.
Declaration of Interests. The Chairman invited members to declare any Interests relating to this Meeting. There were none
The Council approved and signed the Minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 6 October, as a true record. The Minutes of the October Ordinary Meeting of the Council had previously been distributed to all members and displayed on the public notice boards and the website. All members agreed the Minutes should be signed, as a true and accurate record. The Minutes were duly signed by the Chairman.
The Council noted matters arising from the Minutes, not covered by agenda items. The Clerk referred to his Update Note, which had been issued prior to the Meeting. He advised that:
He had spoken with Sarah Macauley-Lowe (Rights of Way) about Wood Lane. “Rights of Way” had made some progress on this project and they are looking to tackle a number of matters, including resolving the problem with the right hand bank. Ms Macauley-Lowe advised the Clerk that she is also looking to deal with some of the trees on the bank, including the one which looks particularly precarious. The work is being contracted to a local company. “Rights of Way” want to reduce the flow of water down Wood Lane, which follows heavy rain and results in mud and stone being driven into the sump at the bottom and across and onto the main road. Arrangements have been made for the sump to be cleared;
Treecreepers Arborists are in the process of surveying and reporting on the condition of trees in St Martin’s Churchyard;
He had also asked Treecreepers Arborists to advise on the state of the Jubilee Tree at the top of Lower House Lane. Early indications are that there are no problems with this tree;
Garden Supplies have started to cut & trim ivy, elder plants & brambles on the walls surrounding St Martin’s Churchyard. The work has revealed a large bulge and other damage to the north facing wall which appear to have been caused by roots of trees. Councillors were concerned about this and following discussion it was suggested Councillors should visit the site and look at the wall. It was agreed that the matter should be taken into account during discussions about the 2015/16 budget;
He had spoken to Hawkins & Sons regarding grass cutting at St Martin’s Churchyard and received confirmation that the cost will be £200 (plus vat) per cut with two cuts per year. The Clerk advised that he would need to check the Council’s position on re-claiming vat from HMRC.
Solar panel farm at Manor Farm, Upper Wick. The Chairman explained that the Council had been advised that, following the Rejection by Stroud DC of an earlier Planning Application for a 18MW solar panel farm at Manor Farm, Upper Wick (S.14/1336/FUL), a further application (S.14/2460/FUL) had been received by Stroud DC Planning team. This new application is for the “Continued use of land for agricultural purposes and the installation of up to 5 MW of solar photovoltaic panels and ancillary works at Manor Farm, Upper Wick.”
The matter had been included on this Meeting’s Agenda to enable the Council to comment within the 3 week period, normally permitted. The Chairman advised the Council at the time of the Meeting the application had not been processed and allocated to an officer. Therefore the planning application papers were not available for the Parish Council’s consideration.
The Chairman advised the Meeting that, unlike the earlier application, the new application fell entirely outside of the Parish, although it could still affect the Cotswold AONB. The Council expected to be invited by Stroud DC to submit its comments.
The Chairman advised the Meeting that discussions would continue as on the Agenda, but that any decision by the Council would have to be deferred until the next Council Meeting on 1 December. The Clerk assured the Meeting that he had been advised this would still be in time for the Council’s comments to be presented to and taking into account by the Planning Officer.
The Chairman Closed the Meeting and invited Mr Andrew Bower, representing the applicant Upper Wick Solar Farm Ltd, to address the Meeting.
Mr Bower explained the planning application including:
the conditions required to enable a solar farm to be developed;
the intention to use up to 15.1 hectares for up to 5 MW of solar photovoltaic panels;
proposals to produce screening of the site through the introduction of trees and hedgerows;
the requirement set by Western Power to remove the existing metal posts and replace with wooden poles;
intentions to graze the land beneath and around the panels with sheep;
need for a sub-station to link the panels to the grid;
arrangement to link the panels to a substation opposite Field Cottage, through an underground cable;
that the panels will be facing toward the South, thus reducing views of the panel surfaces from the North;
during construction there would be construction traffic for a period of 8 to 12 weeks using the existing route from A38 to the farm;
maintenance visits would be fortnightly or less;
at end of the operational period the field would be easy to restore to agricultural use with 98% of the materials recyclable.
The Chairman invited questions and comments from members of the public. He reminded the Meeting that the discussions should be about the current application (S.14/2460/FUL) and not the one which has been “Refused” (S.14/1336/FUL).
Members of the public made the following comments:
Mr Bramwell’s letter to planners “belittled” local opinion about the previous application;
that the land was good agricultural grade 3 land, disputing the 3B grading claimed by Mr Bower;
consultation with the public had been conducted inappropriately at short notice and the feedback had been mis-represented in the previous application;
that solar panels did not complement the AONB, as required in Planning Guidance;
why didn’t developer write to all homes in the area, as another developer had done with a similar scheme in Charfield?
solar panels cause “glint”, a claim disputed by the applicant;
why did developer pick this area adjoining AONB?
suggestion that there should be a full consultation on the new application. The applicant was of opinion that there was no prerequisite to do a formal consultation. This was disputed;
Need to refer in new application to impact on the views from Tyndale Monument; The Chantry; & Stancombe Park;
What assurances do local people have that should the application be approved the developer won’t seek to fill in the other areas with 5MW segments? The applicant said that this is the only application they intend to do because of the capacity of the power system. Any further development would require a new planning application;
A claim that 82% of proposed development is still on slopes facing Cotswold Edge;
What security lighting will be installed? The applicant said lights at substation would only be required by Western Power in event of an emergency breakdown.
Following a robust discussion the Chairman thanked Mr Bower for attending and members of the public for their comments and questions. The Chairman re-opened the Council Meeting for Councillors to further discuss. The Chairman reminded the Council that there was no application to further discuss.
A Resolution to defer any decision until the December Meeting was proposed and seconded. The Council agreed. The Clerk was requested to place the matter on the December Agenda.
At this stage of the meeting all but 4 members of the public left the Meeting.
The Chairman offered to Close the Meeting to enable members of the public to ask questions. There were no Questions.
The Council considered and commented upon the following Planning Applications:
S.14/2125/CPE. The Old Brewery, Pitt Court, North Nibley, Dursley. Certificate of Existing Lawful Use/Development. Residential use of annexe as a separate dwelling.
The applicants were in attendance and were invited by the Chairman to briefly explain to the Council the reasons for their application for a “Certificate of Existing Lawful Use/Development”.
Following discussion three Parish Councillors were able to confirm the details of the applicants’ occupancy of “The Old Brewery” for the period in question. The Council agreed to inform Stroud DC of this information.
S.14/2312/HHOLD. The Nook, Vernals Lane, Swinhay, Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, GL12 7PJ. Demolition of existing conservatory, erect a rear extension and extend roofline to enable second floor accommodation.
Following discussion the Council agreed to make “No Comments”.
S.14/1805/LBC. Millmans Farm, Wotton Road, North Nibley, Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, GL12 7PD. Change of use and alterations to outbuildings to form two new dwellings, one granny annexe and ancillary accommodation adjacent to Millmans Farmhouse. Creation of new safer access and landscaped courtyard.
Following a detailed examination and full discussion of the application to develop 4 premises at Millman’s Farm, Wotton Road, the Council agreed to make “No Comments”.
The Clerk brought to the Council’s attention that Stroud DC are now seeking “off-site recreation facilities contribution” on all applications for residential development where they have an identified scheme (Policy RL5 of the Stroud District Local Plan, November 2005). At present the Parish does not have such a scheme. Following a brief discussion the Clerk agreed to bring this to the December Meeting.
S.14/1259/HHOLD. Woodland View, Pitt Court, North Nibley, Dursley. Alterations and extension including replacement of sub-standard concrete panels with cavity wall construction, together with replacement of sheet asbestos garage with timber frame garage .
Following a detailed examination and full discussion of the application the Council agreed to “Object” on the following grounds: The descriptions in the application and Design & Access Statement are contradictory, misleading and incomplete. For example:
In the Design & Access Statement (D&A Statement) para. 2 it states “It needs to be wholly or partially demolished and rebuilt” and later in same paragraph that “The existing damaged building will be completely refurbished”. Yet their letter of 21 July the architect asks that “the application be treated as an extension not a new house”.
The Council have examined the proposals and believe that the extent of the work proposed in this application is a rebuild and therefore should be subject to Stroud Local Plan Policy HN14. In which case sub pas 2 & 3 apply.
The Council also bring to the Planning Officer’s attention further inaccuracies in the D&A Statement. Namely at Para 4. It states: “The house will be a one and a half story building”. Whilst in para 2 it states the current building “is a single story house with a tiled roof” and goes on to claim (in Paragraph 3) that “The existing ground floor bungalow style use of the building will be maintained.”
In D&A Statement paragraph 4 it also states “The roof has been raised over the central section but not beyond the existing ridge”. The Council, on examining the supporting elevations provided with the application, question the accuracy of this statement. It appears to be taller than the current structure.
In paragraph 4 it also states “The proposed building essentially remains within the existing footprint”. The Council maintain that it either does or doesn’t. This statement is ambiguous. From the plans & elevations provided it would appear that the proposed building is significantly larger and therefore subject to Stroud Local Plan Policy HN14 (2).
Further that “The refurbished house does not overlook or overshadow anyone else”. It is evident from the site location plan provided that the upper windows on the North facing elevation will overlook the 3 nearby properties (Willow House; Cotswold House; and The Old Brewery) and would give rise to unacceptable loss of privacy to those properties.
In paragraph 6 it states “The scheme has been discussed with the neighbours”. From information provided to the Council this would appear inaccurate.
Finally, the statement that “There is a nearby bus stop” is inaccurate. The nearest bus stop is in the centre of the Village.
S.14/2320/FUL Land At, Waterley Bottom, North Nibley, Gloucestershire. Full Planning Permission. Erection of an agricultural building.
Following a detailed examination and full discussion of the application the Council agreed to “Object” on the following grounds:
In the opinion of the Council this small area of land (approx. 3 acres) does not warrant the construction of a building of this size.
There is no business case to substantiate the need for such a large building on such small acreage.
The applicant has not, as far as can be understood from the application, any agricultural experience.
The applicant’s claim that he intends to buy more land does not change the current position. He owns 3 acres of land.
The proposal to intensively farm in this valley would have an immediate impact on road usage as all foodstuffs would have to be brought in by lorry.
Indeed if every piece of land of this size within the Cotswold AONB had a similar building the AONB would be spoilt.
The Council refers to Stroud Local Plan Policy NE 8 & EM8. It did not consider that this proposal meets the terms of:
Stroud Local Plan Policy NE8 in so far as criteria 1 & 2 are concerned; &
Stroud Local Plan Policy EM 8 as it is neither appropriate in scale to the locality (criterion 2); nor does it improve local employment opportunities (criterion 3).
The Council noted that Planning Consent had been Approved in respect of the following planning application:
S.14/1551/FUL. Barn at Daisy Farm, Daisy Green Lane, Howley, Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, GL12 7PF. Alterations and extension of small barn to form dwellinghouse, change of use from agricultural to dwelling. Associated landscaping and new access.
The Council noted that Planning Consent has been Refused in respect of the following planning applications:
S.14/1287/FUL. Land at Frog Lane. Change of use for Gypsy pitch for British Romany family, log cabin style mobile home, touring caravan for nomadic use only, utility shed.
S.14/1336/ FUL. Manor Farm, Upper Wick, Dursley. Continued use of land for agricultural purposes and the installation of up to 18 MW of solar photovoltaic panels and ancillary works for a period of 30 years.
Parish Council Finances.
The Council approved the Invoice and drew up a cheque for item on the Payments Schedule. See aside.
The Council noted that the Direct Debit for (£1,068.74) payable to the Public Works Loan Board for the loan on the pavilion on the Recreation Field had been taken on 3 November 2014.
The Council received a written District Council Report from District Councillor Mrs Cordwell. The Chairman invited discussion. There was none. The Chairman thanked Councillor June Cordwell for her report.
The Council received a written County Council Report from County Councillor Dr J Cordwell. Dr Cordwell added that he was still awaiting further feedback on the potholes in Old Hollow.
The Chairman invited Parish Councillors to report upon Committees and Meetings they had attended.
Mr Purnell reported to the Council that he had attended a meeting of the William Purnell Educational Charity. Two awards of £100 each had been made to young people from the Parish who are attending University.
The Clerk provided a verbal report on Cemetery & Churchyard matters.
Garden Supplies have removed large areas of ivy and other foliage from the Churchyard walls. This has revealed that there are two areas of the north facing wall which are in disrepair. It was agreed that Councillors should try to inspect the walls before the finance discussions to help inform next year’s budget.
The Clerk has requested that Treecreeper Aborists Ltd. assess the condition of the trees in the Churchyard. He is awaiting a report.
The Clerk issued written report of Correspondence received since the last Meeting. See aside.
There being no further business the Chairman Closed the Meeting at 9.30 pm.
The Chairman reminded Councillors that the next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held in the Village Hall on Monday 1 December 2014 at 7.30 pm.