Agenda item

Planning Application 2023_0574_FUL Land at 30 Wells Road, Wookey Hole, Somerset

To consider an application for the erection of a dwelling and attached car port and formation of vehicular car access.


That planning application 2023/0574/FUL be APPROVED as a departure from the Development Plan in accordance with the Officer’s recommendation.


Votes – Unanimous in favour


The Officer’s Report stated that this application had been referred to the Planning Committee as the proposal represented a departure from the Local Plan.

The Report continued that the application related to a plot of land at the end of a row of properties in a semi-rural location. Wells Road was made up of a variety of housing styles which included detached, semi-detached, bungalows and two-storey properties. The site had previously housed a mobile home, but this had since been removed and an area of hardstanding has been created. The site was located outside of the development limits, as defined by the Mendip District Local Plan Part 1 (December 2014) and was within a Bat Consultation Zone and the Somerset Levels and Moors Ramsar Risk Area.

St Cuthbert Out Parish Council had recommended approval of the application. Natural England stated that regarding the Phosphates issue, the information provided was sufficient to demonstrate that the proposed development could achieve nutrient neutrality and therefore they had no objection to the proposed development.

There had been 1 letter of objection from a local resident for reasons including highway safety issues and the site being outside the development limits. There had also been 1 letter of support.

In conclusion, the Officer’s Report said that, given the history on the site which includes a refusal for a single storey dwelling on phosphates grounds alone, the principle of residential development had been considered acceptable. Although the new scheme did propose a revised design, it was not considered that the increase in height nor the amended materials, would adversely impact on neighbouring amenity or the character of the area. The applicant had purchased Phosphates Credits to offset any harm resulting from the creation of the new dwelling within the Somerset Ramsar and Moors Risk Area.

Overall, Officers had concluded that, while the site did lie outside development limits, the principle of development was previously considered acceptable and the applicant had overcome the previous reason for refusal. The application was therefore recommended for approval.

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

The Committee was then addressed by the applicant’s agent who made the following points:

  • Although the site does lie outside the settlement limit and is therefore contrary to planning policy, the previous reason for refusal was due to the release of phosphates.
  • The applicant has overcome this reason for refusal by purchasing the necessary credits to mitigate the impact of phosphates.
  • The contemporary design is of good quality, which is quite modest, has a low impact and sits nicely within the landscape.
  • It has Passivhaus accreditation and very high sustainability credentials.


In the brief discussion which followed, Members made a number of comments including the following:

  • The site is within a linear settlement which has a range of styles and designs.
  • The windows facing the road may cause light spillage. Could more be located on the other side of the house to counteract this?
  • Very pleased it has Passivhaus accreditation.


In response to the concern about light spill, the Planning Officer commented that the house was situated on a road that had many properties that would have a degree of light spillage and this property would cause a negligible increase. The Member was content with this explanation.

At the conclusion of the debate, it was proposed by Councillor Edric Hobbs and seconded by Councillor Tony Robbins to approve the application in accordance with the Officer’s Recommendation.

On being put to the vote it was unanimously approved.


That planning application 2023/0574/FUL be APPROVED as a departure from the Development Plan in accordance with the Officer’s recommendation.


Votes – Unanimous in favour

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