The Chairman introduced the second application of the meeting, application number 143701, for the siting of 2no. feed bins at Manor Farm, Main Road, Kingerby Market Rasen, LN8 3PU.
The Planning Officer provided several updates to his report. Members heard that residents had made further representations regarding comments already made, including damage to water mains. The Officer stated that he had also received a letter from a solicitor regarding the application and went on to summarise the letter contents. The Officer then gave a presentation on the main features and designs of the application, showing site plans, photos of the silos, the farm, and the nearby area.
The Chairman noted there were four registered speakers on the application and invited the first speaker, the agent for the applicant, Mr Ian Pick, to address the Committee.
During his statement, Mr Pick stated that the application was only for two feed bins. He noted that it had been an existing livestock building for about 50 years and been both a cattle and pig shed. He explained that there had been communication with the Planning Enforcement Team and that under Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act, building for agricultural purposes did not need planning permission. He reiterated that the application was just related to feed silos and highlighted that the site was lawfully used for pigs.
The Chairman thanked Mr Pick and invited the second speaker, Mr David Chambers, to address the Committee.
In his statement, Mr Chambers stated that he lived 220 metres away from the site in question. Regarding the aspect that the Committee was only looking at the silos, he stated that he found it nonsensical, referencing the disturbances due to the site and stated that he had serious concerns about the legality of the proposals. He noted in the recent history of the silos that they were installed two years ago to reduce traffic, but 1500 pigs had been moved in a few days after the installation. He highlighted that the impact of the new silos being the size they were meant intensification and that it did require planning approval.
Mr Chambers stated that further works meant the site basically had a new building and he asserted that the building was being used illegally due to the lack of change of use application. He explained he had sent an objection 18 months ago regarding the livestock units but had only received one phone call, no letter, stating that it was the farmer's right to choose. In reference to page 11 of the Officer's report, Mr Chambers stated that noise was problematic at all times of the day.
In relation to the change of use, Mr Chambers explained that he had contacted the Planning Manager but had not received an update on outstanding legal matters. He asserted there were ten properties within 250m of the site, downwind from the prevailing wind and that any units for agriculture needed to be 400m away. By way of conclusion, he stated that an Environmental Impact Assessment was required to be carried out, as he considered the farm to be an intensive unit.
The Chairman thanked Mr Chambers for this statement, however noted that the full time allocation had been taken, although there was a second registered objector. The Chairman invited the second speaker, Mr MacNeill, to make a brief statement to the Committee, acknowledging that his speech was additional time. Mr MacNeill made the following statement.
"This application could have been easily mistaken for a minor agricultural development and examined in isolation. However, the two feed bins are indicative of a material change of the use of Manor Farm, where substantial upgrades have been made to existing dairy buildings facilities and now house around 8000 pigs per year. I would ask the Committee to consider the strength of feeling in the community, the numerous letters of objection as evidence of the majority of locals being deeply opposed to the material change of the use of Manor Farm, and the objective unit being so close to homes. We would ask that this majority view to be taken to Council".
The Chairman thanked Mr MacNeill for the brevity of his speech and invited the final speaker, Local Ward Member Councillor Cordelia McCartney, to address the Committee.
Councillor McCartney referenced the strength of local objections, stating that her comments echoed those concerns and objections raised by residents, as well as Ward Member Councillor J. McNeill, and Sir Edward Leigh, MP for the Gainsborough constituency. She stated that the silos stood several metres above the existing buildings and that, in addition to the visual intrusiveness of such height, the increased feed capacity could lead to an increase in the number of pigs housed on the site. She recognised that the increased size of the silos would likely lead to a reduction in traffic to the farm, however, she requested that should this application be granted, there should be a condition to specify timings, movements, and the type of vehicles used to deliver the food for the feed silos.
Councillor McCartney commented on the use of the building and site, stating that the building had mainly been used for storage of arable crops and straw. She explained that pigs were brought into the building in the middle of the first Covid-19 lockdown, stating that around 2000 pigs had been moved on site. In her conclusion, Councillor McCartney requested that the Committee reject the application and request an Environmental Impact Assessment. She also requested that further investigations be undertaken regarding the use of the property.
Note: Councillor C. McCartney withdrew from the meeting at 7.14pm and left the room.
The Chairman thanked Councillor McCartney and invited any response from the Officer. He stated that, as detailed in the report, the application was to consider the feed silos alone, not the general use of the site. The Chairman sought further context from the Legal Adviser, who confirmed the statement of the Planning Officer and clarified that ordinarily, the application would have gone ahead under permitted development with prior approval from the local planning authority, it was only the lack of seeking prior approval that had led the application to coming before the Committee.
The Chairman thanked the Planning Officer and Legal Adviser for their clarifications and invited comments from the Committee.
Regarding the scope of the application, one Member commented that there were no objections from the statutory authorities in the Officer's report, including that there was no harm to the heritage aspect of the site. The Member concurred with the Legal Adviser and stated that she was not commenting on intensive pig farming.
Regarding the retrospective nature of this application, a Member queried the meaning of that aspect. Officers responded to that query, pointing out that the two silos were put up before any permission was granted, with enforcement being involved that led to this retrospective application being made.
In the site's history, Members heard that it had been granted in outline in 1975, with an additional granting as a reserved matter in 1976. Members learnt that though it stated dairy and was built as a dairy unit, this did not restrict the use and what animals could be housed. A Member said that it was a large unit built at that time.
With regard to the distance from other properties, Members heard that the nearest property was approximately 37m away from the silos, situated to the northwest of the northern feed bin. The Planning Officer asserted that there was only a once a week delivery, following information supplied by the applicant. The Officer stated it would not be unreasonable for the deliveries to be once a week but recognised the environmental protection legislation regarding disturbances if the deliveries were undertaken at an inconvenient time. A Member asserted that conditions to limit disruptions had been made for less intrusive noise-related problems.
There were concerns raised that due to the size of the silos, they were an eyesore to nearby residents, in addition to the impact of the smell, which would not be masked by the belt of trees. In response to this concern, there were comments from other Members that sights, sounds and smells of this nature were to be expected when living in a rural area.
In relation to the mention of an Environmental Impact Assessment, the Planning Manager reiterated that, as set out in the report, the application did not meet the category for an Environmental Impact Assessment. This would have been the case whether the application was retrospective or not.
During the debate in this item, a motion of refusal was proposed for this application. The Member who initially proposed this motion expressed concerns over properties being under 400m away from the silos in contravention of LP24. The Member then stated issues due to LP13 regarding transport accessibility. The farm and silos were situated down a narrow, unpaved road, taking heavy and large vehicles. The Member also stated that LP26 was relevant, as the design and amenity of the application regarding extensions and alterations did not contribute positively. The Member said that amenities for existing and future occupants of neighbouring land and building may reasonably expect to enjoy, not to be unduly harmed by or as a result of development. The motion to refuse was duly seconded.
The Planning Manager stated that LP24 related to creating new open spaces and informed the Committee that this was not relevant in this application. The Officer also expressed that LP26 for agricultural buildings would not have a bearing on the determination of this application. In response to the points raised about access and amenity, the Legal Adviser stated that contrary to LP13, Lincolnshire County Council Highways, on pages 56 and 57 of the report pack, said the road was acceptable and did not wish to object. Regarding points raised to LP26 regarding the amenity, the Officer stated that this was not contravening a standard silo design. The Officer also informed Members that there was more scope for the Planning Committee to look at the disturbance of filling the silos but emphasised some mitigation level was possible. The Officer then reiterated that this application would have been considered in a permitted development context. The Officer said the main reason for coming to the Planning Committee's attention was that the applicant did not apply for planning permission for the silos before construction. Based on this clarification of circumstances, the proposal to refuse permission was withdrawn by the moving and seconding Members.
From the Chair, Councillor I. Fleetwood proposed that a condition be added to the granting of the application, specifying the delivery timings for the feed bins. The Planning Manager informed the Committee that it would have to be specific, enforceable, and reasonable. The Chairman initially proposed an 8am to 8pm time slot for the delivery of the pig feed, then amended to sunset. Upon advice from the Planning Manager that the end time needed to be specific, the Chairman amended his proposal that the conditioned hours be between 8am and 4pm on weekdays, excluding bank holidays. This proposal was duly seconded.
With the Officer recommendation, with the addition of the new condition, having been proposed and seconded, the Chairman took the vote and it was agreed that permission be GRANTED subject to the following conditions:
Conditions stating the time by which the development must be commenced:
Conditions which apply or require matters to be agreed before the development commenced:
Conditions which apply or are to be observed during the course of the development:
1. With the exception of the detailed matters referred to by the conditions of this consent, the development hereby approved must be carried out in accordance with the following drawings:
The works must be carried out in accordance with the details shown on the approved plans and in any other approved documents forming part of the application.
Reason: To ensure the development proceeds in accordance with the approved plans and to accord with the National Planning Policy Framework, local policy LP17, LP26 and LP55 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan 2012-2036 and policy 9 of the Osgodby Neighbourhood Plan.
Conditions which apply or relate to matters which are to be observed following completion of the development:
2. All deliveries to the two feed bins hereby approved must take place on a weekday (Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays) between the hours of 8:00 and 16:00.
Reason: To protect the amenities of nearby properties and the locality to accord with the National Planning Policy Framework, local policy LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan 2012-2036 and policy 4 of the Osgodby Neighbourhood Plan.
Note: Councillor C. McCartney returned to the meeting at 7.56pm.