Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillor Adam Boyden.


Minutes from the Previous Meeting

Minutes from the previous planning meetings of Mendip District Council held in March 2023 will be approved at the meeting of the Full Council on 24 May 2023.


The Chair advised that the Minutes of the previous Planning Meetings held in March 2023 would be approved by the AGM of the Full Council in May 2023.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To receive and note any declarations of disclosable pecuniary or prejudicial or personal interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.

(The personal interests of Councillors of Somerset Council, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes.)


Councillor Martin Lovell made a general declaration that he would no longer be sitting on the Shepton Mallet Town Council Planning Committee so there would not be any conflict of interest.


Public Question Time

The Chair to advise the Committee of any items on which members of the public have requested to speak and advise those members of the public present of the details of the Council’s public participation scheme.

For those members of the public who have submitted any questions or statements, please note, a three minute time limit applies to each speaker and you will be asked to speak before Councillors debate the issue.

We are now live webcasting most of our committee meetings and you are welcome to view and listen to the discussion. The link to each webcast will be available on the meeting webpage, please see details under ‘click here to join online meeting’.


Mr Damon Hooton as a former Mendip District Councillor addressed the Committee to request that the late former Councillor Nigel Woollcombe-Adams be recognised in some way for his many years for service at Mendip District Council, particularly as a member of the Planning Board. He suggested that a building or street could be named after him in recognition of his work and service to the people of Mendip and the County of Somerset. The Chair said he would pass on his request to the appropriate department within the Council.


Schedule of Applications pdf icon PDF 51 KB


The schedule of applications was noted.


Planning Application 2020/0960/FUL - The Queens Arms, Wraxall pdf icon PDF 162 KB

Additional documents:


2020/0960/FUL - The Queens Arms, Wraxall


Full application for the demolition of existing buildings and erection of 7no. dwelling houses with associated vehicular access and parking (revised scheme).


The Officer’s Report stated that this application had been referred to the Planning Board as it was a departure from the Local Plan. The Recommendation was for approval.


Ditcheat Parish Council had recommended approval as the scheme would be an improvement to the local character but access onto the A37 should be improved.


Other consultees such as the Highways, Drainage and Environmental Protection Officer’s had no objections, subject to various conditions. There had been 1 letter of objection, 1 of support and 2 neutral from local residents. Objections included that it would be wrong to demolish historic buildings, it represented overdevelopment and there were poor local facilities and infrastructure.  Letters in support said that it would provide an improvement to the current street scene.


The Officer Report continued that as the Council could not demonstrate a 5-year housing land supply, the tilted balance as set out in Para 11(d) of the NPPF was engaged. The tilted balance said that permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in the Framework taken as a whole. The delivery of 7 new homes was a recognised benefit and given significant weight. Economic benefits would also be delivered both through the construction period and through the lifetime of the development. There would also be some environmental benefits through the biodiversity net gain.


In conclusion, the Officer’s Report said that given the history of the site, the principle of development was considered acceptable in this case as the harms did not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits to the scheme.


Also, following the submission of further information on the proposed package treatment works, the application was concluded to be nutrient neutral, which was accepted by SC Ecology and Natural England. Subject to the inclusion of conditions as recommended, the application was considered to be acceptable in all other regards including ecology and impact on bats, highway safety, drainage, design and layout, amenity, archaeology and contaminated land and was therefore recommended for approval subject to conditions.


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


The Committee was then addressed by the agent speaking on behalf of the applicant. His comments included:


        The principle of development for new residential dwellings had previously been accepted by the Council.

        The submitted Habitats Regulation Assessment had been accepted by the Council’s Ecologist and Natural England.

        The Planning Case Officer had accepted the proposed layout, design and density of the development.

        The Planning Case Officer had confirmed that the proposal would not have any harmful impact on the character and appearance of the area or the amenity of future occupants and nearby properties.


In the discussion which followed, Members made comments regarding the materials from the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Planning Application 2022/0053/OTS - Corner Cottage, Leigh on Mendip pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Additional documents:


2022/0053/OTS - Corner Cottage, Leigh on Mendip


Outline Planning Permission with some matters reserved for the erection of 3 no. dwellings with details of access.


The Officer’s Report stated that this application had been referred back to the Planning Committee East following its deferral at the meeting of the Mendip Planning Board on 29 March 2023. The Recommendation remained for approval.


The reasons for deferral at the previous meeting were:


1.          Highway safety issues. There was concern and some confusion about the speed limit on the section of highway adjacent to the application site, and whether the visibility splays could be achieved.

2.         Impact of the development on the significance of the setting of the Grade 1 listed village church.


The Officer’s Report stated that in response to Members concerns, the applicant had amended the visibility splays at the proposed access point.


In respect of the setting of the Grade I listed church the Officer concluded that there were existing developments between the application site and the heritage assets and it was not considered that their setting would be adversely harmed by the proposal.  The Council’s Conservation Officer had since reviewed the proposal and agreed with the Planning Case Officer’s assessment and concluded that he had no objection to the principle of the erection of 3 no. dwellings on the application site and, as an outline application, the development would not result in any harm to the significance of the Grade I listed Church of St Giles. The usual considerations over design, scale and materials etc. would be key in determining the reserved matters and should likely reflect the traditional, rural village location in order to maintain this position.


The remainder of the Report replicated that provided at the previous Mendip Planning Board in March 2023 in which it stated that Leigh on Mendip Parish Council had objected to the application on principle, saying it was it was isolated and removed from the limited services in the village. Also, they had concerns with minerals safeguarding, access, highways safety and traffic generation given the proximity to the school.


There had been 2 letters of objection from local residents. Concerns included highway safety, visual amenity and overlooking, loss of hedgerow and noise disturbance from the quarry blasts.


The Officer’s Report continued that the current application had successfully addressed 3 previous reasons for refusal for the development of the site and 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 policies, it could not be described as being in isolated open countryside.


It continued that, as the Council did not have a five-year housing land supply, the ‘tilted balance’ of the NPPF would apply. The additional 3 dwellings would make a modest contribution to housing in the district, which would be of some weight. There would also be limited economic benefits through the construction period.


The assessment of the application had not identified any harm in terms  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Planning Application 2019/1577/FUL - Land at Upper Wellesley Lane, Dulcote pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Additional documents:


2019/1577/FUL - Land at Upper Wellesley Lane, Dulcote


Full application for a proposed new dwelling, new access and associated development.


The Officer’s Report stated that this application had been referred back to the Planning Board following its deferral at the meeting of the Planning Board on 22 April 2020. The Recommendation remained for refusal.


The Report continued that the reason for deferral had been because Members of the Planning Board had been unclear as to whether the applicant had a case for being a rural worker and thus demonstrating an essential need to live in the countryside.  The deferral was to allow the applicant to come back with more information about the exact nature of the business and their reasons for having to live on site.


Since then, the applicant had provided a statement which said that a person would be required to live permanently on site for research purposes together with the day-to-day management of livestock, observing and caring for 30 to 40 cattle/sheep, rising to over 100 units of livestock in the future.  However, the Officer’s Report concluded that no clear evidence had been submitted regarding research methodology, with a specific explanation as to why a person might need to live permanently on site rather than merely carry out the research during normal working hours from the existing site which was only a 20 min journey away.


In conclusion, the Report said that, with respect to the additional information requested by the Mendip Planning Board, there remained no clear justification for the proposed development and the recommendation that the application be refused for the reasons set out in the original Case Officer’s report remained valid.


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


The Committee was then addressed by 5 speakers in support of the application.  Their comments included:


        The application would provide a unique resource nationally, in Somerset, close to many of the current QMMS (Quality Milk Management Services) collaborating farms and had the potential to be of significant value from a research and financial perspective to Somerset.

        There have been many delays in determining the application, namely Phosphates and Covid.

        The benefits of the application would outweigh any harm caused.

        The proposed site, whilst on the edge of a SSSI, had a history of habitation (a well, a septic tank, old footings, various outbuildings and structures) and was significantly degraded.

        Natural England had commented that they considered that securing beneficial management proposals through the application would have a net positive effect on the SSSI and outweigh any loss of a small portion of the site which did not contain interest features. They were not opposed to the application subject to conditions and a S106 agreement.

        The site has been described as remote, but is adjacent to a national cycleway, within easy cycling and walking distance of Wells and within 300 metres of the substantial development of Wellesley Park.

        Although the land  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Planning Application 2022/1138/FUL - Myrtle Farm, Wookey Hole pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Additional documents:


2022/1138/FUL - Myrtle Farm, Wookey Hole


Full application for the erection of 1no. three-bedroom detached dwelling.


The Officer’s Report stated that the application had been referred to the Planning Board as the proposal represented a departure to the development plan because the proposed dwellings were outside the development limits as defined in the Mendip District Local Plan Part 1.


St Cuthbert Out Parish Council had recommended approval and there had also been three letters of objection from local residents who had made the following points:


        Loss of views for existing properties in the area.

        Concerns in regard to overlooking of existing and the other new residential properties.

        Increased light pollution and concerns for the ‘dark skies’ of the AONB.

        The proposed alterations were not consistent with an accessible needs dwelling.


The Report continued that the application sought to amend a previously approved permission. The proposed amendment included the dwelling becoming a two-storey property on one side and proposed materials and overall architectural style of the previously approved application would be maintained. The Officer’s Recommendation was for approval.


The Committee was addressed by the Division Member for the application.  Her comments included:


        Concerned about the impact of light spillage from the proposed roof lights.

        Suggested automatic blinds be conditioned to avoid light pollution in open countryside.

        There was no good reason to have roof lights.


In response to questions from Members, the Team Leader – Development Management advised that the Planning Officer had considered the amount of light spillage to be acceptable. The roof lights would serve en-suites which would not have a great deal of continuous use. The Officer had not deemed it necessary to impose a condition regarding automated blinds.


The Vice-Chair, Councillor Edric Hobbs, stated that this was not retrospective Planning Permission but a variation on a previously approved application. He proposed approval in accordance with the Officer’s Recommendation outlined in the report. This was seconded by Councillor Bente Height. On being put to the vote the proposal was carried by 12 votes in favour and 1 abstention.




That planning application 2022/1138/FUL was approved in accordance with the Officer’s recommendation.