Agenda item


The Chairman introduced the next item of the meeting, application numbers 144347 and 144977, at Nettleham Library, 1 East Street, Nettleham, Lincoln, LN2 2SL. The applications were as listed below:


144347: Application for a lawful development certificate existing for the installation of planters, benches.


144977: Application for a lawful development certificate proposed for the installation of bike racks.


The Officer explained that these were not planning applications, but were a legal submission in effect to obtain a decision on whether planning approval was required for works that had been carried out and works that were proposed to be carried out. The Chairman explained there was one submitted statement from Andrew and Dominique Blow, objectors, to be read aloud by the Democratic and Civic Officer. The following statement was read aloud.


“The committee needs to know that the picnic benches seating up to 66 people provide the outdoor seating for a seven day a week cafe business operating inside The Hub with a takeaway window for outside customers. From memory the provision of all but one of these benches coincided with the opening of this cafe in June /July last year. Some of them are only a few yards from the homes of residents.


We residents believe that there is a prima facie case that the opening of a seven day a week outdoor cafe area in a conservation area which has led to complaints about privacy, noise and traffic did constitute development. We believe that the Planning Committee should insist on an application for planning permission so that the Parish Council and residents can comment and not condone this backdoor approval of the outdoor cafe element.


It is true that The Hub did meet the residents in February this year and have made a few minor adjustments but substantially they have carried on unchanged since the Covid freedoms for such businesses ended on March 23rd. They do now notify neighbours of things that might affect us but rather than rely on the grace and favour of the applicant we would like to see proper planning consideration in the usual way. It mystifies us that residents of The Green and others in the Conservation area have to seek permission for alterations to their homes yet a cafe can open a seven-day-a-week outdoor facility with up to 66 seats without needing to go through the planning process.”


The Chairman thanked the Democratic and Civic Officer for reading the statement. The Development Management Team Leader then further explained that the application was a simple consideration of whether this required planning permission. The report made the case that it was a factual consideration. The Officer stated that the Planning Officer considered as ‘de minimis’ and did not require any planning permission.


The Local Ward Member for Nettleham, Councillor Angela White, then gave a short statement.


The Member commented that prior to the installation of the benches, there was no communication by the Hub with the neighbours. The Member stated that having been a small library from the previously larger site, it had turned into a community hub without much consideration for the activity that occurred outside. The Member asserted this was a shock to the residents, and that in her role as a Ward Member and with the Parish Council, she had tried to liaise with trustees.


Though a takeaway did not need the exact same planning permissions as dwellings, the Member commented that the residents did not understand the difference. The statement then referred to heavy usage by motorcyclists, and a massive boom on Sundays, frustrating residents, and created a completely different building, acting as another café. The Member detailed that she had met the trustees in February, and there had only been minor changes, which included a bench being removed and a light being removed.


In response to a query about another application, the Officer explained that this was still currently being in determination.


Note:            Councillor A. White left the Chamber at 8.14 pm for the remainder of the item.


The Chairman then invited comments from Members of the Committee. Debate ensued, and Members drew attention to the possible benefits of attracting families and cyclists to the village, particularly sustaining local businesses.


A Member did comment on the retrospective nature of the application, whilst another queried whether it would have come to the Committee if the original applicant was not an elected Councillor. It was confirmed by the Team Leader that it probably would not have come to Committee.


Responding to a query on the Lawful Development Certificate, the Development Management Team Leader explained this was means to obtain a decision from the local planning authority. This was a legal determination rather than a consideration of planning merits. The Chairman then took two separate votes on the different applications.


For 144347, having been proposed and seconded, the Chairman took the vote and it was agreed that the Certificate of Lawful Development be GRANTED.


For 144977, having been proposed and seconded, the Chairman took the vote and it was agreed that the Certificate of Lawful Development be GRANTED.


Note:            Councillor A. White returned to the Chamber at 8.20 pm.


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