Agenda item

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


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 of landscape and visual impact. The impact on heritage assets and highway safety concerns raised at the previous meeting had been addressed.  Overall, any harms arising from the application scheme were not considered to be significant and would not demonstrably outweigh the benefits delivered.  On balance, the Officer Report recommended that planning permission be granted as a departure from the Development Plan.


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


The Committee was then addressed by the speaker representing Leigh on Mendip Parish Council. Her comments included:


          The development would restrict the clear view of the listed church. There would only be glimpsing views possible.

          The road remained dangerous for both pedestrians and road users, especially at school times.

          Concerned about the impact of quarry blasting.

          Leigh on Mendip is not a sustainable village.


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


          The reasons for deferral had not been fully addressed by the Officer’s Report.

          The views of St Giles Church would be impacted and the visual gateway to the village would be harmed.

          Unsafe parking, particularly at school times due to the speed limit and bend in the road.

          The site falls within a mineral safeguarding area.


The Legal Advisor then advised Members that in January 2021 a similar application had been refused for 3 reasons, those being minerals, impact on protected species and surface water drainage. In the opinion of the Planning Officers, those objections had been overcome in the current application. On the issue of highways and heritage the technical consultees had not raised any objections and were content. He advised that due to the lack of a 5-year housing supply, the ‘tilted balance’ was in force and that Members should grant planning permission unless they were satisfied that the harms of the development significantly and demonstrably outweighed the benefits.


During discussion, the following points were made by Members:


          The road did appear to be dangerous and the 30mph sign did not seem to make much difference.

          There could be complaints in the future by residents of the dwellings to the noise from the quarry.

          It would be sad to see the hedgerows removed to achieve the extra visibility splays. The Planning Officer advised this would be determined at reserved matters.

          Could the 30mph sign be moved and a traffic calming hump be conditioned? The Highways Officer responded that moving the sign would need to be part of a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) submission which could not be conditioned as part of a planning application. Road humps would not work on roads where the speed limit was over 20mph and they would actually be dangerous.

          Members agreed to progress the request for a TRO as a Committee. They would also request that the 30mph sign be moved and a 20mph sign erected.


At the conclusion of the debate, it was proposed by Councillor Edric Hobbs and seconded by Councillor Alex Wiltshire that the application be approved in accordance with the Officer’s Recommendation outlined in the Report. On being put to the vote the proposal was carried by 8 votes in favour and 5 votes against.




That planning application 2022/0053/OTS be approved in accordance with the Officer’s Recommendation.


To request the Highway Authority that a TRO be initiated to move the 30mph sign.


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