Extracts from the Planning Officer’s report on the latest stage in developing this site (app. no. 2655/17/VAR) are included below.
Site Address: Royal Oak, Road From St Anns Chapel Cross, Bigbury, TQ7 4AP
Development: Variation of condition no.2 of planning consent 05/2313/14/F to allow redevelopment
of land to allow construction of 4 no. dwellings with associated parking and
Recommendation: Conditional Approval
Time limit for commencement – S73
In accordance with plans
Permitted development restrictions
Construction Management Plan
Spaces to be retained for public house
Details of foul and surface water drainage
Key issues for consideration:
Whether the proposed amendment to the approved scheme is acceptable
The application site comprises of land to the south of the Royal Oak public house, which is
currently closed. The land originally formed part of the car park for the pub, and is itself
located on the eastern side of the B3392. The site is bounded by residential properties to the
north and south, and established hedgerows and agricultural land to the east.
This application is for the redevelopment of part of the former pub car-park with the erection
of four dwellings with associated car parking and amenity space.
County Highways Authority: No highways implications
Environmental Health Section: None received
Bigbury Parish Council: Objection, see casefile for full response
Landscape officer: No objection to modest height increase
Representations from Residents
Comments have been received and cover the following points:
Increase in height resulting in harm to living conditions of adjacent occupiers
Development more prominent in wider views
Land was artificially raised
Increased light pollution
Relevant Planning History
05/2313/14/F – Re-development of land to allow construction of 4no. dwellings with
associated parking and amenity space – Approved
Permission was given for the development in 2014, this application seeks to vary the
approved plans by building the dwellings on the existing ground level rather than excavating
and sinking the dwellings down on the site.
It is considered that the increase in height of 870mm does not result in harm to the
conservation area, views in and out of the site or the wider landscape and does not result in
significant additional overlooking to adjacent occupiers.
Principle of Development/Sustainability:
This application site is located within a village location, but is located outside of any
defined settlement boundary, and is therefore designated as a countryside location.
The applicants have made the argument that the development of the site with four
dwellings would provide the necessary capital to ensure that the pub would be reopened.
It has been stated by the applicant that the public house, which closed in
November 2013 was not receiving sufficient trade to be a viable business, and that the
pressures of the recession, the smoking ban and the rural location of the pub were
factors in seeing a reduced trade. The applicants make the case that local trade is
more likely to be able to sustain a smaller pub, based around the wet trade with a
simple food offering. The point is made that the applicant would most likely seek to let
the pub out to a third party to run.
Although comments have been made to the contrary by objectors, it is stated that
even when previously open the car park of the pub was never fully utilised, and that a
smaller-scale pub would give rise to less demand for use of the car park, based on the
fact that the focus and catchment area for the pub would be local custom, for those
who can walk to the pub. The point is made that to enable the business to justify the
costs of repairs to the pub and the marketing to secure a tenant, return from the site is
required. Essentially this development would enable the re-opening of the pub.
A further point put forward by the applicant is that the Council (citing appeal decisions)
fails to demonstrate a deliverable five year housing land supply and that the
development of this site would give rise to a social benefit through the re-opening of
the public house, and that the development is on previously developed land (being
part of the pub car park). The assertion is also made that the village has a shop, and
although public transport opportunities are limited, there exists the ability to reduce
reliance on the private car.
The issues put forward concerning the need to raise funds to re-open the pub are
noted and understood, but it is not considered that it would be reasonable to issue any
permissions solely upon the basis of the development being acceptable only if the pub
were to re-open.Whilst a legal agreement could be put into place to see the pub reopened
within a defined timescale, it is not considered that this would be reasonable
since it is not an asset of community value, nor is there at present any specific
framework or mechanism offered to secure the re-opening of the pub.
The Planning Balance:
The re-opening of the pub however can be looked at as part of the planning balance of
circumstances in that the re-opening would provide direct and indirect employment,
would provide a local facility for existing and new residents of the village, and the
construction of new dwellings would expand housing supply. The site makes use of
previously developed land (the pub car park) and looking at the issue of re-opening
the pub amongst the circumstances and considerations with the application, it is
considered that there is a distinct balance.
In terms of principle, it is acknowledged that the site is within a rural location, however
it is considered that the situation that is put forward by the applicant in terms of the
relative sustainability of the village is acceptable, and the proposal itself will be sited in
a manner that is largely contained within the existing village envelope. Paragraph 55
of the NPPF advises that housing for rural areas be located where it will enhance or
maintain the vitality of rural communities and it is considered that the array of
circumstances put forward with this application complies with this. Given the position
of the application site, and given the intention to re-open the pub, it is considered that
in principle the application is acceptable, subject to compliance with all other
remaining development control criteria.