Agenda item

Planning Application 2023/0693/FUL - Ivy Cottage, Quarry Lane, Leigh on Mendip, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

To consider Planning Application 2023/0693/FUL – Ivy Cottage, Quarry Lane, Leigh on Mendip, Shepton Mallet, Somerset.


Creation of new access and driveway.


2023/0693/FUL RESOLVED

That planning application 2023/0693/FUL be APPROVED in accordance with the Officer’s recommendation.

Votes – 7 in favour, 4 against, 1 abstention



Application for the creation of new access and driveway.


The Officer’s Report stated that this application had been referred to the Planning Committee as it was a departure from the Local Plan and the Officer’s Recommendation was for approval, whereas the Parish Council had raised objections.


The Report continued that the application site was a section of an agricultural field with existing field access on an unclassified road. It was outside of designated development limits and fell within the Mells Valley Special Area of Conservation (SAC), a Bat Consultation Zone, a SSSI Impact Risk Zone and a Coal Development Low Risk Area. Additionally, the site was close to Halecombe Quarry and Barn Close Quarry and hence was within the mineral safeguarding area in the Somerset Minerals Plan (2015).


The Parish Council had objected to the application for the following reasons:


·       Proposed materials and street lighting results in a suburbanising impact on the character of the area.

·       Impact on the landscape character given excessive excavation works required.

·       Loss of historic wall.

·       The fields proposed for the access were highlighted as making a positive contribution to the setting of the Grade I listed church in the appeal for 2020/1877/OTS.

·       The existing access was previously found acceptable under 2017/3266/PAA.

·       Highways safety concerns.

·       The barn conversion can be accommodated without this harm using the existing access.


The Highways Development Officer had raised not objections to the proposal, however there had been 4 letters of objection. Some of the reasons given were:


·       Impact on landscape - urbanisation

·       A formal roadway would include lighting which is not acceptable in this rural area

·       Loss of hedge, trees and wall

·       Impact on the setting of the listed building

·       Inspector highlighted the importance of the rural nature of this field on the setting of the church in their determination of 2020/1877/OTS


There were also 5 letters of support received. Some of the reasons given were:


·       Will take pressure of the existing access

·       Relocation of the 30mph limit is welcome

·       Existing access gets obstructed during school drop off and pick up times

·       Safer for school children

·       Increased visibility


In conclusion, the Officer’s report stated that whilst it was acknowledged that the development would be beyond the edge of the village and therefore would represent a departure from local plan, it was only proposed in association with the proposal for 3 terraced dwellings (ref: 2023/1084/FUL). The proposed use was not considered to have a detrimental impact on the adjoining land uses, landscape and visual impact, impact on heritage assets and/or highway safety. Therefore, on balance the application represented a sustainable form of development and was recommended for approval as a departure from the development plan.


The Planning Officer explained the application to the Committee with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation.


The Committee was addressed by the Chair of the Leigh-on-Mendip Parish Council. She made a number of points including:


  • Concerned that proper consideration had not been given to access.
  • There would be a roadway into an agricultural field.
  • The proposal to move the 30mph limit is not assured and is subject to a TRO.
  • There is no Conservation Officer Report so the bats in the area will not be protected.
  • The Inspectors opinion of the impact on the setting of the Grade 1 listed church had been ignored.

The final speaker was the applicant’s agent who had already spoken about the access in his earlier speech for the application for the actual dwellings (2023/1084/FUL). He added that the proposal was so much safer than the existing access, particularly when school children are leaving school. The visibility splays would stay the same and Highways Officers had not raised any objections. 


The Highways Officer was invited to speak by the Chair. She said that it was deemed to be safe and suitable access and a betterment to what exists currently. It was an acceptable improvement. There would need to be a change to the TRO but it was considered safe with the conditions specified.


Members debated the safety of the access and some felt it was not acceptable, whereas others felt the access could not be refused for the 3 houses proposed if it had been previously accepted for a scheme of 40 houses.


Councillor Alex Wiltshire proposed to approve the application in accordance with Officer’s Recommendation. This was seconded by Councillor Tony Robbins. On being put to the vote the proposal was carried with 7 votes in favour, 4 votes against and 1 abstention.




That planning application 2023/0693/FUL be APPROVED in accordance with the Officer’s recommendation.

Votes – 7 in favour, 4 against, 1 abstention


Supporting documents: