Agenda item


The Chairman introduced the first item of the meeting, application number 144201, for change of use to caravan site with associated infrastructure and landscaping, including formation of new access, on land to the rear of Belmont, Legsby Road, Market Rasen, LN8 3DZ.


The Development Manager Team Leader gave responses to issues previously raised by the July Planning Committee. The Officer stated the biodiversity concerns were covered in the report with three conditions that specifically related to biodiversity. It was referenced that the habitats and wildlife found in the area were fairly common, with the only evidence of unique wildlife being found on the site of the adjacent bungalow. This was explained as not being part of the application nor the consideration of it.


The Officer stated that lighting on the site would be prohibited by condition and comply with the decision by the Local Planning Authority. The Officer also clarified that the caravans could not be considered as permanent dwellings because the nature of use was different to that of a holiday caravan and was properly considered by LP7.


Regarding footpath concerns, this was covered in condition 6 of the application, which required a footpath to be in place before any occupation of the caravans. The Officer concluded by stating that permanent residential accommodation would be prohibited by Condition 5 which restricted use to holiday accommodation, and reminded Members that no highway safety concerns had been raised and Lincolnshire County Council Highways had no objections to the application.


The Chairman stated there were several registered speakers and invited the first speaker, the agent for the application, Nayan Ghandi, to address the Committee. The agent made the following statement.


The speaker endorsed the conditions and the Officer’s conclusions, and that any issues could be controlled. The statement focused on the potential for Market Rasen to become a hub, and addressed some of the concerns raised during the process. Regarding year-round occupancy, the speaker referenced condition 5 that managed it for holiday accommodation. Regarding LP55 concerns, these were irrelevant in the speaker’s viewpoint, and that the scheme complied with LP7.


Regarding the occupancy levels, for each unit, the speaker stated it would be between four to six individuals, with most of the caravans being two bedrooms, and a few being three. The speaker stated that the occupancy would ebb and flow throughout the year, with a predicted 25% occupancy rate during the winter months.


Regarding transportation and traffic concerns, the agent asserted that at peak times, it would not be not more than one vehicle every five minutes, and that vehicles could pass each other on the road. Regarding raised concerns of 150 cars on site, the speaker stated this was not supported in the submitted evidence, and estimated a 75% occupancy rate. The speaker also referenced that the users would more likely walk around the town due to the footpath.


In addressing access concerns, the speakers stated that Members would have seen the location, with this proposed access 40 metres away from the nearest property. Regarding noise and light, with any possible noise disturbances, the next caravan site was to be 50 metres away at the closest point, and that the company would aim to minimise noise risks, and control the fixtures.


Regarding ecology issues, the speaker stated that there was to be potential gain through conditions 3 and 9. In reply to comments made by people outside of the district, the speaker emphasised that this showed the evidence for demand and needed space, which would support investment. The speaker then explained that there was likely to be an increased spending of £830,000 in the area due to increased tourism, and that the West Lindsey District Council visitor strategy would be benefited by the application.


In concluding his remarks, the agent emphasised that the application was policy compliant, and that the proposed application clearly outweighed the potential harms.


The Chairman thanked the agent for his statement. The Chairman explained there were three statements submitted from objectors to be read aloud by the Democratic and Civic Officer, the first being from Mrs Sheila Brookes. The following statement was read aloud.


“This is a very quiet agricultural area of rural Lincolnshire.  The approach lane to the proposed site has a narrow “upside” & “downside”.  Some of the proposed 90 caravans sleep up to eleven people, that will be three cars per van.  Way too much traffic on a country lane that accommodates only one car in each direction.


The lane is much used by walkers, cyclists & ridden & driven horses, very little motorised traffic.  Even so a few years ago a young man from Legsby was found dead along the lane, having been hit in the dark by a vehicle that did not stop.


To the right of the lane, below the golf club, is an area of woodland classified as an SSI, Site of Special Scientific Interest, it is monitored by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. The proposed site is a broad wildlife habitat which will be completely destroyed by this plan. The adjacent wood will also be adversely affected as the plan includes “street lighting” all around the site.  At present there is no street lighting within half a mile.


The government has set itself a legal target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030, now is the time to support the legislation underpinning nature conservation. Nature recovery needs more than just money!


Please do not allow this quiet rural area with all round woodland, to become a campsite and rat run.”


The Chairman invited the Democratic and Civic Officer to read aloud the second statement from Lyndsey Horstwood. The following statement was read aloud.


“Firstly, we would like to thank the Councillors for taking time to put in place the site visit – the development plan submitted by the applicant, had their key covering where our bungalow sits, but you will now be able to understand our concerns about this proposed development and site entrance which is so near to our home. Taking into consideration at this time of year the hedges and trees are in full leaf and for at least 5 months of the year there will be no leaves, which will give a far broader view of the proposed site from all directions. The proposed applicants in their planning application do not mention how they will restrict noise and light pollution to the neighbouring properties.


We have lived in this property for 27 years, and for the whole of the 27 years have enjoyed the peace, quietness and tranquillity of the area. Testimonial from one of our caravaners who have returned to stay at the camp site ‘we come to the Lindsey Trail Caravan site due to where it is situated in a quiet rural countryside area, we love to spend time listening to the wildlife and the peace and the quiet, and the dark star lit nights and to be able to get away from our own busy life’.


The proposed plan is down a quiet countryside road, which is enjoyed by many for the quietness of the location, this will be changed significantly with the proposed application, noise, traffic and effect on the wildlife for the whole year round. This proposal if passed will also affect the value of our property and land.”


The applicant’s representative and the Planning officer previously mentioned about sustainability for Market Rasen, but sustainability is not just about the big business but also for the small businesses. We built our business considering the environment and also, we had to abide by some legal restrictions enforced by the planning officers from the West Lindsey Council, no floodlights, no static caravans, limited yearly opening hours, we had to give back to nature in land as much if not more than we have taken up, which we totally embraced so nature and wildlife was enhanced.


Therefore, we only opened for 7 months, no lights on the site, planted over 1000 trees and hedges and have nature areas in place. We appreciate that laws have changed but surely the West Lindsey Council’s ethics on conservation and the environment hasn’t. We would like to hope that the countryside, nature and local wildlife is still high on the Council’s agenda especially in line with the government’s latest stance on proposed new legislation and reforms for the countryside.


I would further re-iterate why the council refused the housing estate previously this was due to their concerns of the effect on the local countryside and this proposed application will have the same effect if not substantially worse, as more traffic on the roads and considerably more noise and light pollution. Thank you for taking the time to listen to this statement.”


The Chairman invited the Democratic and Civic Officer to read aloud the third and final statement, from Carol Turner. The following statement was read aloud.


“At the planning meeting on July 13th, I was given the opportunity to speak to the committee and voiced my concerns regarding the application and why it should be rejected.  At this Planning meeting the Members voted for a site visit.  It is hoped that the site visit has confirmed the concerns of myself and the people of Market Rasen as to why this application should be refused.  The greatest objection being the vast number of caravans proposed for the site.


I feel having spoken at the meeting of July 13th I have little more to say but hope that when the Planning Committee make their decision, they will take into consideration all the objections put forward. Should the application get passed it is hoped it would be with conditions.  The foremost condition to reduce the number of caravans proposed for the site. I thank you for the opportunity to make these comments and await your decision.”


The Chairman then stated that the final registered speaker was a Local Ward Member, Councillor Stephen Bunney. The following statement was read aloud by the Democratic and Civic Officer.


The Member spoke as a Local Ward Member, and as a Member of Market Rasen Town Council, and was not aiming to repeat what he said last time. Though Lincolnshire County Council Highways had not objected, the Member stated that it was still a difficult road to drive down with dangerous parts, and that having driven down the road many times, there were many horses and agricultural users.


The Member progressed to discuss the transportation for schools and referenced the concerns relating to nearby Willingham Road, with numerous issues due to large vehicles. The speaker then moved onto to reference the open space surrounding the racecourse and golf club, which was spacious and attractive to the locals and visitors to the town.


The Member stated that the people were able to use the space and enjoy the peaceful surroundings because of it. The Member raised the concern of the number of caravans in the proposed application, and stated that this was of high density, and would cut down on the space.

Returning to traffic problems, the Member commented that on busy days in particular, Legsby Road and the surrounding area would feel like the congested Euston Road in central London, with heavy traffic jams, and would clog the area. The viewpoint of the Member was not opposed to development, but that the number of caravans and the views spoiled made it challenging to support this development.


In concluding his remarks, he stated that the properties nearby were going to be overlooked, there were too many caravans proposed for the site, and he could not support the application as presented.


The Chairman invited comments from the Development Management Team Leader, who was also the case officer for the application. In response to the statements made, the Officer stated that the Local Planning Authority could not act to protect existing business interests and these were not part of the deliberations.


The Officer acknowledged that whilst there could be time delays in traffic and potentially additional manoeuvring by vehicles, this did not equate to an impact on highway safety which was the main consideration of the Highways Authority, who had raised no objection. In response to the density points, the Officer stated that there was legislation setting out requirements.


The Chairman opened discussions by stating that the site visit had been useful, and invited comments from Members of the Committee. Debate ensued, and Members brought up different experiences of nearby caravan sites, traffic and road conditions in Market Rasen during busy periods, and on Legsby Road itself. Different suggestions were made to mitigate traffic issues for nearby attractions. There was discussion regarding the use of footpaths in consideration of experienced habits of caravan site users.


Members also mentioned the potential economic benefits to Market Rasen, and the surrounding leisure area benefits, since the proposed site was next to the racecourse and a golf club was nearby. A Member did bring up suggestions on additional access points for future applications for the site.


In response to a query about access and egress, the Officer confirmed that there was only one entrance and exit point proposed.


Replying to a question about biodiversity and landscaping, the Officer stated that Condition 8 required submission of a soft landscaping scheme and, in response to a further question clarified, that the condition set out that a hedge along the northern boundary of the site in native species must form part of the submitted proposals. Regarding lighting, the Officer stated that this was prohibited by condition 10.


In response to discussions and concerns raised by the Committee about the need to stagger departure and arrival times, and to avoid exiting left from the site, the following was suggested by the Team Leader to be added as an informative to the decision notice:


“The Members of the Planning Committee wanted to advise the applicant that arrivals and departures should be staggered to avoid conflict at peak times and that exiting left should be avoided as it would lead to narrower roads with more difficult driving conditions.”


This was to be included on the decision notice, and agreed to by the Members of the Committee as part of the vote on the proposal.


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:


1. The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission.


Reason: To conform with Section 91 (1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).


Conditions which apply or require matters to be agreed before the development commenced:


2. No site clearance or other works shall commence on site until details of the proposed external appearance of the caravans and reception building have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The caravans placed on the site must be in accordance with the approved details


Reason: In the interests of safeguarding the character and appearance of the site and wider area in this rural location in accordance with policy LP 26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


Conditions which apply or are to be observed during the course of the development:


3. Works shall take place on the site in full accordance with the recommendations of the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal prepared by Helen Scarborough dated 7th February 2022. In particular the precautionary working practices for great crested newt and reptile species;any works to the trees, scrub, and hedgerows should commence outside the active nesting season which typically runs from March through to late August. If work commences during the bird breeding season, a search for nests should be carried out before it begins, and active nests should be protected until the young fledge.


Reason: In the interests of biodiversity in accordance with policy LP21 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


4. The site shall be laid out in accordance with Masterplan P206C16-13-REV F and the number of caravans must not exceed 79.


Reason: As the development was considered acceptable on this basis in the interests of the character and appearance of the site and wider area and impacts on neighbouring dwellings in accordance with policy LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


Conditions which apply or relate to matters which are to be observed following completion of the development:


5. The caravans shall be used as holiday accommodation only and shall not be occupied as a person’s sole or main place of residence. The owners/operators shall maintain an up-to date register of the names of all occupiers in individual caravans in the site, and of their main home addresses, and shall make this information available at all reasonable times and upon request, to the Local Planning Authority.


Reason: Permission is granted on the basis of holiday accommodation, in which policy LP7 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan has been applied. The site is in a location in which permanent residential occupation unrelated to holiday use would not be permitted and would otherwise be contrary to policy LP55 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


6. The development hereby permitted shall not be occupied before a footway, to connect the development to the existing footway network, has been provided in accordance with details that shall first have been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority. The works shall also include appropriate arrangements for the management of surface water run-off from the highway.


Reason: To ensure the provision of safe and adequate pedestrian access to the permitted development, without increasing flood risk to the highway and adjacent land and property in accordance with Policies LP13 and LP14 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan


7. Prior to occupation of any caravans on the site full details of the proposed means of surface water and foul water disposal must be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Foul drainage shall be to the main public sewer unless detailed evidence is submitted demonstrating that this is not feasible, for costs or practicality reasons. The agreed details must be implemented in full prior to occupation


Reason: To ensure a satisfactory scheme of drainage is provided in accordance with policy LP14 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan


8. Prior to occupation of any caravans on the site full details of both hard and soft landscape proposals shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the local planning authority. These details shall include, as appropriate, car parking layouts; other vehicle and pedestrian access and circulation areas; hard surfacing materials; and minor artefacts and structure (e.g. refuse or signs,). Soft landscaping details shall include planting plans; specifications (including cultivation and other operations associated with plant and grass establishment); schedules of plants, noting species, planting sizes and proposed numbers/densities where appropriate; A hedge along the northern boundary of the site in native species must form part of the submitted proposals.


All hard and soft landscape works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details prior to the occupation of any part of the development or in accordance with a timetable approved in writing by the local planning authority. Any trees or plants which, within a period of five years after planting, are removed, die or become seriously damaged or defective, shall be replaced in the next planting season with others of species, size and number as originally approved, and permanently retained.


Reason: In the interests of helping to assimilate the site within its rural location and in the interests of biodiversity in accordance with policies LP17, LP21 and LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


9. Prior to the occupation of the caravans details of 4 sparrow boxes and their location across the site must be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The details approved must be implemented prior to occupation of caravans on the site.


Reason: In the interests of biodiversity in accordance with policy LP21 and specifically as the UK sparrow population has suffered a severe decline.


10. No external lighting shall be erected unless full details of the position, type and light intensity of all external lighting has been provided and proposed mitigation in relation to the proposed lighting to minimise light pollution has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved external lighting shall only be carried out in accordance with the approved details and retained as such thereafter.


Reason: To ensure that there is minimal light spill from the site which would have an impact on this mostly unlit night environment in accordance with the NPPF and Policy LP17 and LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


Note for the Applicant: The Members of the Planning Committee wanted to advise the applicant that arrivals and departures should be staggered to avoid conflict at peak times and that exiting left should be avoided as it would lead to narrower roads with more difficult driving conditions.


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