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					      PLANNING SUB COMMITTEE


                 24TH JANUARY, 2007




APPLICATION NO           LOCATION            PAGE NO

   06/2811P      44-48 SUNDERLAND STREET        2
                       MACCLESFIELD

   06/3076P            PITT FARM                7
                        PITT LAND
                    LOWER WITHINGTON

   06/2864P        ASH TREE COTTAGE            12
                 WHITECROFT HEATH ROAD
                   LOWER WITHINGTON

   06/3117P      JOHN PERCIVAL (FARMS) LTD     18
                        GORE FARM
                    ASTON BY BUDWORTH




                            1
Application No:      06/2811P
Location:            44-48 SUNDERLAND STREET MACCLESFIELD SK116HN
Proposal:            3NO FIRST FLOOR APARTMENTS, INCORPORATING                              A2
                     RETAIL UNIT AT GROUND FLOOR LEVEL

For                  DILWORTH & MORRIS LTD

Registered           18-Dec-2006
Policy Item          No
Grid Reference       391935 373390

DATE REPORT PREPARED

12 January 2006

POLICIES

The site is within the Macclesfield Town Centre and is highlighted within a Secondary
Shopping Area. Therefore, policies MTC4, BE1, H1, DC1, DC3, DC6, and DC7 apply.

RELEVANT PREVIOUS APPLICATIONS

06/2742P – 1 no fascia sign and 1 no. projecting internally illuminated sign
06/2635P – Demolition of building, rebuild 3no. first floor apartments above retail unit -
amendment to approval 04/1559p (retrospective) – AC 20.12.06
04/1559P – Demolition of building, rebuild 3 first floor apartments and new ground floor
retail unit (resub of 04/0069P) - AC 28.07.04
04/0069P – Demolition and rebuild 3 first floor apartments and ground floor retail unit - WD
3/3/04
02/0627P – Conversion of first floor to 3 flats with first floor rear extension - AC 26/3/02.

CONSULTATIONS

The Highways Engineer comments that the retail unit is a direct replacement for a previous
retail unit and, although likely to receive more clientele, it is likely that those clientele will
be already in town on other business or will park on the adjacent public car parks or limited
on-street waiting bays. From various studies, it is concluded that parking for the
apartments will be self limiting, due to the fact that during the day car parking charges
apply on the local authority provision and there are either "no waiting" restrictions during
the working day, or time limited on-street parking. This mix changes during the evenings
and Sundays when it was found that there was sufficient parking available both on and off
street to enable this residential development to take place. In the light of the above, it is
unlikely that the development will have any significant impact upon the local highway
network or parking provision.

Comments from the head of Environmental Health are awaited.

PUBLICITY

Neighbour notification and site notice with a final date for comments being
17 January 2007.

                                                2
REPRESENTATIONS

None

APPLICANTS SUBMISSION

A Design and Access Statement has been submitted to accompany the application, which
is available on the application file.

KEY ISSUES

This application effectively seeks a change of use of the ground floor from retail (A1) use
to a betting shop (A2) at 44-48 Sunderland Street. Permission was granted in 2004 for 3
first floor apartments and a ground floor retail unit (04/1559P) however, the development
which was built did not accord with the approved plans. The building retained the same
dimensions and general design themes as the approved scheme. The alterations were
minor in nature and included the following: -

Alterations to the fenestration on the Pickford Street elevation and the addition of arched
headers. The height of the extension has been reduced from 9.7m to 9.4m. The window to
the side elevation has been reduced in scale and an additional rooflight has been included.
The design of the shop front has been simplified with the number of glazing panels
reduced. The first floor windows were also slightly wider than the approved plan; they are
also set at a lower level. This has a knock-on effect of creating a larger gap above the
windows (approx. 1.0m). An additional rooflight has been inserted to the front and rear
elevations.

It was not considered that the alterations to the fenestration altered the character or
appearance of the dwelling and the alterations were not considered to affect the amenity of
neighbouring properties. The alterations were also considered to be minimal in street
scene terms. Therefore, an application to retail the development as built, with retail on the
ground floor (06/2635P) was approved under delegated powers on 18 December 2006.
The application was delegated as it was for a change of house types. This proposal was
submitted prior to a decision being made on application 06/2635P. As the development
includes a different use on the ground floor and includes the 3 no. first floor units, the
application needs to be considered by the planning committee. However, as permission
has been already been granted for the retention of the 3 apartments, it is the change of
use element which is the focus of this report.

RELEVANT PLANNING POLICIES

Policy MTC4 of the Macclesfield Local Plan states that in secondary shopping areas, at
ground floor frontage level, planning permission for Class A2 and Class A3 uses together
with other uses appropriate to a shopping area, will normally be permitted provided that:

   1 The shopping character of each area is maintained by ensuring that the A1 uses do
     not fall below 50% of the retail frontages in a particular street;
   2 The proposal does not lead to a concentration of non class A1 uses in a particular
     street.

Elsewhere uses appropriate to a town centre will normally be permitted.


                                             3
It is considered that there is a reasonable proportion of A1 uses on Sunderland Street
within the vicinity of the proposed site, therefore it is not considered that the loss of this
unit from an A1 use would adversely affect the streets vitality and viability in this instance.

Policies BE1, DC1, DC3 relate to the design criteria of the building (which has been
considered previously) and policies DC6 and DC7 relate to circulation, access and
parking. Policy H1 of the Local Plan advises that Planning Permission will be granted for
sufficient housing to ensure that the Structure Plan Housing requirement of about 4500 net
new homes will be achieved by the year 2011. As application 04/1559P was approved
prior to the adoption of the restrictive housing policy and has been counted towards the
housing figures, it is not considered that there is an issue in relation to this scheme.

SITE HISTORY

Planning permission has been granted for retention of the apartments as built with a retail
use on the ground floor, this followed anomalies, which were found once the development
had been completed.

HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORT IMPLICATIONS

The Highways Engineer concludes that the change of use of the ground floor for an A2
use will not have any significant impact upon the local highway network or parking
provision.

OTHER MATERIAL PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS

The proposal also includes 3no. air conditioning condensing units to the rear of the
building. It is considered that the location and design of the units are on balance
acceptable given the largely commercial nature of the area to the rear of the premises and
workshop to the rear. The comments from the Head of Environmental Health Officer are
awaited to ensure that the condensing units will not impact on the amenity of the
residential property nearby.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, it is considered that the amendments to the external design of the building
are acceptable, and the use of the ground floor from a retail use to a bookmakers (A2) will
have an acceptable impact on neighbouring properties. The proposal is considered
acceptable within the context of MBLP policy MTC4, since the proposal would not result in
any loss of vitality or viability to the shopping area. The application is therefore
recommended                                   for                                approval.




                                              4
                                                                                                                                        THE SITE




 06/2811P: 44-48 SUNDERLAND STREET, MACCLESFIELD



                                                                                                                                                                                       
 N.G.R: 391,930- 373,400
Reproduced from the Ordnance Survey map with the permission of HMSO.                                     5
© Crown Copyright. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown Copyright and may lead to legal or civil proceedings. Macclesfield Borough Council, licence no. LA078476   Scale 1:5000
Application for Full Planning

RECOMMENDATION : Approve subject to following conditions

   1. A03FP      - Commencement of development (3 years)
   2. A05GR      - No external alterations
   3. A06GR      - No windows to be inserted




                                             6
Application No:     06/3076P
Location:           PITT FARM PITT LANE LOWER WITHINGTON MACCLESFIELD
                    SK119ED
Proposal:           CONVERSION OF FORMER BARN AND OUTBUILDINGS TO
                    FORM 2NO. DWELLINGS - RETROSPECTIVE AMENDMENTS TO
                    APPROVAL 05/0607P

For                 MR & MRS W HEPWORTH

Registered          11-Dec-2006
Policy Item         Yes
Grid Reference      381801 369919

DATE REPORT PREPARED

12 January 2007

POLICIES

The application site is located within Countryside Beyond the Green Belt.

RELEVANT PREVIOUS APPLICATIONS

05/0607P   Erection of carport and conversion of integral garage                 to   living
accommodation (amendment to permission 01/0103P). Approved 10.05.05.

01/0242P       Renewal of planning consent 96/0811P for the change of use of agricultural
building to form 2 dwellings and new vehicular/pedestrian access. Approved 07.03.01.

96/0811P    Change of use of agricultural building to form two dwellings an new vehicular
access. Approved 10.07.96.

CONSULTATIONS

Lower Withington Parish Council – comments awaited at the time of report preparation.

PUBLICITY

The application was advertised by means of site notice and neighbour notification, the last
date for comments being 17 January 2007.

REPRESENTATIONS

None at the time of report preparation.

APPLICANTS SUBMISSION

We first applied and were granted planning permission to convert the barn building to two
dwellings in 1996, which we renewed in 2001. In February 2005 we applied for an
amendment of the 2001 permission. Work commenced at the end of July 2005 on the
advice of my Architect and builder. My Architect said that this was most important, and


                                            7
conformed with condition 1 of the approval. He said the other pre-conditions could be dealt
with in due course.

The project has been visited regularly by the Building Inspectors, who have been most
helpful. It is only recently I realised that Building Control and the Planning Department are
separate entities even though they share the same building. I had assumed that as we had
complied with Building Control we had also complied with the planning conditions. In
hindsight I have been very naïve and received extremely poor advice from my original
Architect. I believe that I have constructed the work in accordance with the original
consent, albeit with a few minor amendments. We have used the same roofing tiles and a
local reclaimed brick to retain the character and appearance of the original buildings. It has
never been my intention to deceive the Planning Authority. I want to regularise the
situation as soon as possible for my peace of mind and have instructed another Architect
to prepare a new application that I hope will satisfy the issues raised in the planning
conditions.

KEY ISSUES

The application seeks full planning permission for the retention of a barn conversion to
form two dwellings. The site lies adjacent to the East side of Pitt Lane and is located within
Countryside Beyond the Green Belt. The Grade II listed farmhouse of Pitt Farm lies to the
North and East of the site and a dwelling known as Pittfield is located on the opposite side
of Pitt Lane. The application follows previous approvals on the site for similar schemes.
The conversion scheme is substantially completed; the reason an application is required is
because work commenced prior to conditions on permission ref. 05/0607P being satisfied.
As members will be aware, following a change to working practices in April 2006, any
developments, which commence prior to condition precedents being discharged result in
the planning permission being lost. In this instance the matter has been complicated by the
fact that, due to permission 05/0607P being an amendment to an earlier approval, the
planning permission expired on 7 March 2006. The application therefore has to be
considered in the light of the supplementary planning guidance Restricting the Supply of
New Housing, bearing in mind that the guidance states that existing planning permissions
will not be renewed when the „restraint mechanism‟ is operative.

RELEVANT PLANNING POLICIES

Planning policies GEN3 and HOU1 of the Cheshire 2016: Structure Plan Alteration are
relevant in terms of general standards for new development and housing supply. Housing
policy H1 of the Macclesfield Borough Local Plan (2004) and the supplementary planning
guidance „Restricting the Supply of New Housing‟ are relevant to the application. The SPG
specifies that proposals for new housing will not be allowed unless the designated
exception criteria are met.

Other relevant policies of the Local Plan include policies for the re-use of buildings in the
countryside (GC8 and GC9), policies to protect residential amenity (DC3 and DC38),
design policies (BE1 and DC1), and policy BE16 that seeks to protect the setting of a
Listed Building.

SITE HISTORY

Planning permission was originally granted for a barn conversion to form two new
dwellings in 1996, this was for the same applicant as the current application. The
permission was then renewed in 2001 and amended to include a carport, convert the

                                              8
integral garage to living accommodation and other minor alterations in 2005. The scheme
that has been constructed and is the subject of this application remains the same as
approved in 2005 but without the carport. In summary, the design, scale and appearance
of the barn conversion remains very similar to that originally approved.

The planning permission in 2001 and the subsequent amendment in 2005 required works
to commence by 7 March 2006 and also required conditions to be met prior to
development commencing including the submission of a structural survey and method
statement, details of boundary treatment and obscure glazing.

The Planning Department became aware that development had commenced without
compliance with conditions in March 2006 when the Agent sought an amendment to the
proposed access. No information required by the conditions had been submitted at this
stage. In April 2006, the applicant was advised that original planning permission was now
„invalid‟ and a new planning application would be required. Building Control records show
that work commenced in July 2005. By April 2006 works were substantially complete.

SITE PLANNING FACTORS AND DESIGN

The principle of the development in terms of the structural soundness of the building has
been previously established. The building is a brick and tile structure and the structural
survey submitted with the application in 2001 demonstrated that the barn was in good
condition and capable of conversion without major alteration. Evidence from Building
Control records substantiate the claim that no major rebuilding has been undertaken and it
is considered that the scheme as built does not contravene the objectives of Local Plan
policies GC8 and GC9 for the re-use of buildings in the countryside. No new openings or
extensions beyond the previous consent have been constructed and the materials and
finish of the development are sympathetic to the original building. Obscure glazing has
been used in the windows that were required by condition and this is satisfactory to protect
the residential amenity of the occupiers of Pitt Farm. No new boundary treatment has been
implemented on site, and that proposed with this application includes post and rail fencing
and a new hawthorn hedge at the front of the site; this is considered to address the
requirement of the original condition subject to the hedge being extended along the south
eastern boundary of the site.

HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORT IMPLICATIONS

The proposed access to the site has not yet been implemented. This remains the same as
previous approvals and conditions will be required to ensure it meets standards in terms of
visibility, surfacing and parking.

CONCLUSION

In summary, although there has been a breach of planning control, the development has
been implemented to a standard that is considered to satisfy Local Plan policy and the
conditions of the previous approval. Given that the works commenced well in advance of
the expiry of the planning permission 05/0607P and are now substantially completed, it is
considered that a refusal on the grounds of housing supply would not be sustainable in this
instance due to the unique combination of events that have resulted in the current unlawful
development. It is not considered that such events are likely to be repeated on other sites
or could be contrived to undermine the restrictive housing policy. As such the application is
recommended for approval.


                                             9
                                                                                                                                        THE SITE




 06/3076P: PITT FARM, PITT LANE, LOWER WITHINGTON



                                                                                                                                                                                       
 N.G.R: 381,800- 369,930
Reproduced from the Ordnance Survey map with the permission of HMSO.                                   10
© Crown Copyright. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown Copyright and may lead to legal or civil proceedings. Macclesfield Borough Council, licence no. LA078476   Scale 1:5000
Application for Full Planning

RECOMMENDATION : Approve subject to following conditions

   1. A01GR      - Removal of permitted development rights
   2. A01HP      - Provision of car parking
   3. A06HP      - Use of garage / carport
   4. A01HA      - Construction of access
   5. A02HA      - Construction of access
   6. A07HA      - No gates - new access
   7. A04HA      - Vehicular visibility at access (hatched area)
   8. Hedge to be planted within first planting season




                                              11
Application No:     06/2864P
Location:           ASH TREE COTTAGE WHITECROFT HEATH ROAD LOWER
                    WITHINGTON MACCLESFIELD SK119DF
Proposal:           REMOVAL OF CONDITION 4 ON OUTLINE APPROVAL 5/22977P
                    AND CONDITION 3 ON RESERVED MATTERS APPROVAL
                    5/25708P FOR AGRICULTURAL OCCUPANCY

For                 R A BLOOR (CC M A DAVENPORT, C A BOWES)

Registered          16-Nov-2006
Policy Item         No
Grid Reference      382295 371344

DATE REPORT PREPARED

11 January 2007

POLICIES

Site lies within the Green Belt

RELEVANT PREVIOUS APPLICATIONS

25708P        Dormer bungalow and garage (reserved matters)
              Approved 17.09.81
22977P        Dwelling for agricultural worker (outline)
              Approved 11.09.81

CONSULTATIONS

The comments of Lower Withington Parish Council are awaited.

PUBLICITY

Application was publicised by means of neighbour notification and site notice. The last
date for comments being 27 December 2006.

REPRESENTATIONS

None

APPLICANTS SUBMISSION

The application has been accompanied by a planning statement, which includes details of
the marketing exercise and sample questionnaires.

The permission for the dwelling were granted in the context of expansion of sand quarrying
in the Lower Withington area, which resulted in the loss of farmland and two dwellings
nearby. Oakwood Farm was effectively merged with another farm with Mr Bloor
surrendering the tenancy of Oakwood farm to become a fulltime worker on the merged
dairy enterprise. The permission was for the benefit of Mr Bloor who worked at Oakwood


                                           12
Farm until retirement in 2001 and continued to live at Ashtree Cottage until his death in
2003.

PPS7 and Policy DC25 specifies the approach for discharging occupancy conditions.

There is no need for the dwelling. Oakwood Farm still comprises a 250 acre diary farm,
but now only employs 2 full-time workers (in comparison with 4 full-time and one part-time
when Ashtree Cottage was built. The family at Oakwood Farm have confirmed there is no
need for farm worker accommodation in connection with Oakwood Farm.

The marketing exercise took place over a 12-month period beginning in 2005, and
included questionnaires, which were circulated to local farmers. Notification of the
availability of the dwelling was made to 49 surrounding farms, with no enquiries generated.
Of those questionnaires returned many commented on the merging of farms, increased
mechanisation, and reduced incomes, which had reduced the demand for labour (by 23%
since the 1980s). It is therefore demonstrated that there is no local demand for occupation
of Ashtree Cottage.

The property was marketed with a sale board erected in August 2005 for a period in
excess of 9 months with „offers invited‟, rather than a fixed price. It was also circulated on
the internet and within the agricultural press.

An offer was made on the property but it transpired that the prospective purchaser was last
employed in agriculture in Mottram St Andrew but had on retirement purchased a property
in which he still lives in Lower Withington. It is considered that the person involved was
not last employed in agriculture, and does not live in the locality. It is also not considered
that the potential purchasers interest in the property demonstrates a “need” as stated in
the criteria of DC25. An offer was received from this person but it was considered to be
below valuations that had been made on the property.

The long term need for the dwelling on the site has ceased and that there is no evidence
of need for a dwelling for persons employed or last employed in the locality. Genuine
attempts have been made to dispose of the dwelling in accordance with policy guidelines.

KEY ISSUES

The application concerns the removal of agricultural occupancy conditions on a detached
dormer bungalow known as Ashtree Cottage, which is set in a plot of 0.3 acre, off
Whitecroft Heath Road in Lower Withington.

Condition 4 on application 22977P states:
“This permission shall enure for the first occupancy of the dwelling by Mr J A Bloor,
presently of Boundary Farm, Lower Withington and thereafter the dwelling may be
occupied by a person solely or mainly employed in the locality in agriculture, as defined in
Section 290(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971, or in forestry, including any
dependents, or such a person normally residing with him and the widow or widower of
such a person.”

Condition 3 on application 25708P states
“This approval shall relate to the first occupancy of the dwelling hereby approved Mr J A
Bloor and thereafter the dwelling may be occupied by a person solely or mainly employed
or last employed in the locality in agriculture, as defined in Section 290(1) of the Town and


                                             13
Country Planning Act 1971, or in forestry, including any dependents, or such a person
normally residing with him and the widow or widower of such a person.”

It should be noted that the dwelling is also subject to a legal agreement.

RELEVANT PLANNING POLICIES

Local Plan Policy DC25 states that Planning applications for the discharge of a condition
attached to a planning permission issued, restricting the occupancy of the dwelling
permitted to a person employed in agriculture, forestry or other rural enterprise, will be
granted only when the Borough Council is satisfied that:

(1)The long term need for a dwelling on the site has ceased and there is no evidence of
need for the housing of persons employed in the locality in these categories.
(2) Bona fide attempts have been made to dispose of the dwelling to persons who could
occupy it in accord with the attached condition.

SITE PLANNING FACTORS

The application has been accompanied with detailed information in respect of the
marketing of the property and also questionnaires to ascertain local need (as indicated
within the applicant‟s submission).

The marketing of the property has taken place over a 12-month period as „offers invited‟,
under Officers' advice, to try and widen the scope for any interested parties. However, as
indicated within the submissions only one person has expressed an interest in the property
who could possibly comply with the condition (a previous retired farmer). An offer was
made, although this fell short of valuations on the property put at some £325,000 -
£350,000 - which includes a 30% reduction due to the occupancy condition. Any offer
must be a reasonable reflection of the value of the property. Furthermore, the potential
purchaser already lives in the locality and therefore the „need‟ for the dwelling in terms of
the policy criteria could be legitimately queried. It is therefore considered that the interest
from one potential purchaser should be given little weight.

It is considered that the marketing of the property has been undertaken in an appropriate
manner, with specific targeting within the farming press and to 49 individual farms. It is
also considered that it has been marketed for a reasonable period of time, and therefore
satisfies the criteria that bona fide attempts have been made to dispose of the property
with people who could comply with the condition.

The lack of any other interest in the property, and the information from returned
questionnaires also indicates that there is a lack of demand and need for Ashtree Cottage
to be used by an agricultural worker. There was no request for sale details or interest in
the property from the 49 farms questioned. There has been a drop in demand and the
number of agricultural workers in the area has decreased. It should also be noted that a
reasonable valuation of the property would be well in excess of that which an agricultural
worker could afford.

It is therefore considered that the long-term need has ceased and there is no evidence of
need for the dwelling.




                                              14
CONCLUSION

It is therefore considered that the criteria within Policy DC25 have been satisfied and that
the occupancy conditions can be removed. In recommending approval for the conditions
to be removed, it should also be noted that the effect of this will be to subsequently rescind
the associated legal agreement.




                                             15
                                                                                                                                                   THE SITE




 06/2864P: ASH TREE COTTAGE, WHITECROFT HEATH ROAD, LOWER WITHINGTON



                                                                                                                                                                                       
 N.G.R: 382,290- 371,340
Reproduced from the Ordnance Survey map with the permission of HMSO.                                   16
© Crown Copyright. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown Copyright and may lead to legal or civil proceedings. Macclesfield Borough Council, licence no. LA078476   Scale 1:5000
Application for Full Planning

RECOMMENDATION : Approve without conditions




                                   17
Application No:    06/3117P
Location:          JOHN PERCIVAL (FARMS) LTD GORE FARM ASTON BY
                   BUDWORTH NORTHWICH CW9 6LU
Proposal:          CONVERSION AND EXTENSION OF FORMER AGRICULTURAL
                   BUILDING INTO SELF CONTAINED AGRICULTURAL WORKERS
                   DWELLING (RESUBMISSION OF 06/1381P)

For                MR A PERCIVAL

Registered         18-Dec-2006
Policy Item        Yes
Grid Reference     369677 380053

DATE REPORT PREPARED

12 January 2007

POLICIES

The site lies within the Green Belt. Gore farmhouse is a Grade II listed building. Policies
NE11, BE1, BE15, BE16, GC1, GC2, GC3, GC9, DC1, DC2, DC3, DC6, DC7 and DC23 of
the Macclesfield Borough Local Plan and GEN2 and GEN3 of the Cheshire Replacement
Structure Plan apply.

RELEVANT PREVIOUS APPLICATIONS

96/2044P – Grass nut bulk storage building. Approved with conditions.

99/0477P – Livestock building. Approved with conditions. 22/04/99.

04/2958P – Erection of a two-storey detached agricultural workers dwelling with detached
garage/carport. Withdrawn. 10/01/05.

05/2168P – Erection of a two-storey detached agricultural workers dwelling with detached
garage/car port. Withdrawn 18/10/05.

06/1381P – Conversion and extension of former agricultural building into self contained
agricultural workers dwelling. Withdrawn. 22/09/06.

CONSULTATIONS

County Highways Officer – comments awaited.

Aston by Budworth Parish Council – comments awaited.

Conservation Officer – no objections on listed building grounds, though would prefer to see
the „cut-in‟ at the end of the piggery retained rather than extended.

Ecologist – requests that a bat survey be carried out to ensure that the proposal will not
adversely affect roosting bats. Also requests that conditions be added to any consent
granted to provide for artificial bat roosts and also to ensure that no work is carried out


                                            18
between March and August in any year without first carrying out a survey to check for
nesting birds.

PUBLICITY

The application has been publicised by a site notice and press advert. The last date for
comments is 31 January 2007.

REPRESENTATIONS

To date no representations have been received.

APPLICANTS SUBMISSION

An agricultural appraisal has been submitted on behalf of the applicant. This sets out the
policy background to the application with particular reference to PPS7 and Local plan
policy DC23. It is stated that a second dwelling is required to house the applicant‟s
daughte, who has returned to the farm to take on the sheep and cattle enterprise. As at
May 2006 there were 600 ewes, 30 rams and 800 lambs together with 8 beef cattle and 20
calves at the site. The stock has a requirement of 24-hour supervision, particularly during
periods of lambing and calving. In conjunction with grass and crop growing activities this
results in a need for two full time workers to be housed at the farm. It is currently difficult to
provide this cover from the existing farmhouse without disturbing B&B guests. It is
anticipated that demands for animal supervision will increase as the flock expands as
intended. Additional on-site accommodation will also improve security both in relation to
the stock and the existing grass drying business. The business is currently profitable and
has been trading for a number of years. There is no other dwelling close to the site that
could meet the functional need of the farming enterprise. The proposed building would
provide the best security and stock supervision under the present planning constraints. A
full copy of the appraisal is available for inspection.

KEY ISSUES

Planning permission is being sought for the conversion and extension of a curtilage Listed
Building to an agricultural workers dwelling. The building is located immediately to the
northwest of the main Listed farmhouse, on the edge of the existing complex of farm
buildings.

It is considered that the key issues to be addressed in relation to this application are: -

   Whether sufficient agricultural justification exists to warrant the creation of a second
    agricultural workers dwelling on the holding.

   Whether the proposal is acceptable in relation to the curtilage Listed Building and the
    adjacent Grade II Listed farmhouse.

RELEVANT PLANNING POLICIES

Justification for a new dwelling

The site lies within the Green Belt, where both national and local policy seeks to restrict
the construction of new buildings. Local plan policy GC1 does however allow for the
construction of new buildings within the Green belt provided that they are required for

                                               19
agriculture and forestry. Annexe A of PPS7 (Planning Policy Statement 7: Sustainable
Development in Rural Areas) deals specifically with agricultural, forestry and other
occupational dwellings in the countryside and sets out the necessary tests that need to be
met in order to justify new dwellings. With regard to agricultural dwellings, new permanent
dwellings should only be allowed to support existing agricultural activities on well-
established agricultural units providing that: -

   There is a clearly established existing functional need;
   The need relates to a full-time worker;
   The unit and agricultural activity concerned have 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;
   The functional need cannot be met by another existing dwelling on the unit, or any
    other existing accommodation in the area;
   Other planning requirements

Additionally PPS7 recognises that there may be instances where special justification exists
for dwellings associated with other rural based enterprises. Planning authorities are
advised to apply the same stringent levels of assessment to applications for such new
occupational dwellings as they apply to agricultural and forestry workers‟ dwellings. Local
plan policy DC23 broadly reflects the policy tests outlined in PPS7 but also requires that
existing buildings be considered for conversion before schemes for new build dwellings
are considered.

In this case, a second dwelling is being proposed on the holding. The holding covers an
area of 180 hectares. The applicant presently occupies the existing farmhouse and it is
intended that if approved, the applicant‟s daughter will occupy the second dwelling. In
1998, Mere Hayes Farm, a second dwelling on the holding, was sold, as it was not
required at the time.

An agricultural appraisal has been submitted in support of the application and this states
that there is a need for two full-time workers on the site, one of which is required in
connection with the livestock operation. The other worker is justified on the basis of the
number of man-hours required in relation to the management of land owned by the
applicant (grass and maize over 180 hectares).

With regard to functional need, it is accepted that the existing livestock operation results in
the need for one full-time worker to live on site. However, whilst a second full-time worker
is required in connection with the management of the land, it is considered that there is not
a functional need for this worker to live on site. Therefore, it appears that there is only a
requirement for one agricultural dwelling on site and as there is an existing farmhouse, it is
considered that this should suffice for the requirements of the holding.

However, reference has been made within the agricultural appraisal to the operation of a
grass drying business. Further information has been sought from the applicant‟s agent
about the operation of this business. He has confirmed that the grass drying business
involves the operation of a drying machine which is in a building located approximately
1.2km to the north of the existing complex of farm buildings. He states that the machine is
used to produce dried grass for the horse feed market and also dry wood shavings for
animal bedding. Approximately 50% of the grass used in the operation is imported from
other sources. It is understood that the machine operates 24 hours a day and the agent
confirmed that the building is alarmed to alert the residents of Gore Farm about any out of


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hours problems that occur with the operation of the machine. It is stated that security for
the grass drying business is essential due to the threat of theft and damage and due to fire
risk.

Whilst the operation of the grass drying business may result in a functional need for a
further full time worker to live on site, it is not considered that sufficient information has
been submitted about the grass drying business to enable a proper assessment of this to
be made. In the absence of this justification, it is considered that the approval of a second
dwelling on the site would be premature and would be contrary to PPS7 and DC23.

Additionally it is considered that insufficient financial information has been submitted about
the livestock and grass drying businesses. Whilst the financial information submitted
indicates that the applicants business has generated a profit in the financial years 2003/04
and 2004/05, it is not clear whether this information relates solely to the livestock business
or whether it also includes figures relating to the grass drying operation. Further
clarification is required on this to enable a proper assessment to be made about the
financial viability of both operations.


Impact on the Listed Buildings

The proposal involves the conversion and extension of a curtilage Listed Building located
immediately to the northwest of the Grade II listed farmhouse. The single storey building is
a former bake house, shant and piggery and is constructed from brick under a blue slate
roof. It is proposed to retain and convert the existing building and to add a further single
storey section to the north elevation. The extension measures 9.9m long x 5m wide. The
maximum height of the extension will be 4.9m, 1.2m higher than the former piggery and
0.4m higher than the former bake house. It is to be constructed from matching materials.
Additionally a very small extension is proposed to the end of the piggery to square off this
part of the building. The majority of existing openings will remain unchanged, with any new
openings proposed being on secondary elevations.

It is considered that the conversion and extension of the building is generally acceptable in
listed building terms. However, some minor amendments to the proposal would be
required prior to any approval being granted. In particular, the proposed extension to the
end of the former piggery should be deleted in order to retain the original character of the
building.

Limited information has been submitted about the proposed parking and garden areas,
though it is considered that it would be possible to provide these facilities without
adversely affecting the setting of the Listed Buildings.

SITE HISTORY

This application is a re-submission of 06/1381P. This application was withdrawn in
September 2006 after concern was expressed in relation to the proposal.

NATURE CONSERVATION FEATURES AND IMPLICATIONS

As previously reported, a bat survey of the building will be required prior to any
development being carried out. Therefore, should planning permission be granted, a
condition should be imposed requiring a survey and any required remedial


                                             21
works/mitigation measures. Additionally further conditions should be added to ensure the
provision on bat roosts and also to ensure the protection of nesting birds.

OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION

Listed Building consent is also required for the proposed alterations to the building due to
the fact that it is a curtilage listed building.

CONCLUSION

Insufficient information has been submitted to justify the creation of a second dwelling on
the site. The site lies within the Green Belt where both national and local policy restricts
new development. The proposal fails to meet the required functional and financial tests as
contained with PPS7 and Local plan policy DC23. In the absence of sound justification,
approval of the proposal would be contrary to the Development Plan and would represent
inappropriate development in the Green Belt.




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                                                                                                                               THE SITE




                                                                                                                                                                               
06/3117P - JOHN PERCIVAL (FARMS) LTD GORE FARM ASTON BY BUDWORTH NORTHWICH CW9 6LU
NGR: 369,680 : 380,060
Reproduced from the Ordnance Survey map with the permission of HMSO.
© Crown Copyright. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown Copyright and may lead to legal or civil proceedings. Macclesfield Borough Council, licence no. LA078476. 2004.   Scale 1:5000
                                                                                                      23
Application for Full Planning

RECOMMENDATION : Refuse for the following reasons

   1. R06LP      - Inadequate agricultural justification




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