Agenda item

SDNP/16/06316/FUL - The Cedars, The Street, Binsted, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 4PB

Mr T Stewart



Single storey side and rear extensions to public house and three two storey dwellings with three associated car ports and new access, and with associated landscaping, parking and refuse storage (amended access details received 2 March 2017) (Further drawings and viability study received 30 March 2017)  Further access arrangement drawing received 12 April 2017.



Single storey side and rear extensions to public house and three two storey dwellings with three associated car ports and new access, and with associated landscaping, parking and refuse storage (amended access details received 2 March 2017) (Further drawings and viability study received 30 March 2017) Further access arrangement drawing received 12 April 2017.


The Principal Planning Officer introduced the item and displayed an aerial photograph of the site, along with photographs of and from within the site, the public house, adjacent properties and the view to the site from the public footpath to the south.  Elevations of the proposed development were also shown and it was explained that the existing access to the public house would be used for the proposed properties, with the secondary access adjacent to Ivy Cottage for the public house. This change had been accepted by Hampshire County Council Highways.


She drew the committee’s attention to the supplementary matters, which contained a number of suggested conditions from Binsted Parish Council.  She believed that a number of the concerns raised would be covered by the conditions already proposed and explained that a number of the conditions suggested by the parish council were not within the scope of the planning process, such as the site to always remain as a village public house and the use of the meadow.


A previous application for four dwellings had been refused and dismissed at appeal.  The density of the proposal needed to be balanced against the benefit to the village in making the sole public house, one of only three community facilities in the village, viable and sustainable.  Officers were satisfied that the proceeds from the sale of the properties would be sufficient to fund the works to the public house and that there would be no adverse impact on the SDNP.  The recommendation was therefore for approval.


Sue Hodder, Parish Clerk, spoke on behalf of Binsted Parish Council


Binsted Parish Council wanted to see the Cedars Pub survive, thrive and remain open for business.  This application was not in the interests of the long term sustainability of this rural community and on that basis they objected.


As highlighted in the Planning Inspectorate’s Appeal Decision in April 2015, the main issues for refusal remained:


1.     The effect on the character and appearance of the locality and on the living conditions of adjacent residents; and


2.     Whether the development  would have an adverse effect on the long term future and viability of the Cedars Public House.


Binsted Parish Council questioned what had changed.  Further to this, they raised the following issues:


·           The proposed development would remove 2,200m2 of grassland.  Should the SDNP policy of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage not apply? 


·           Why did the proposal include more than 300m2 of land outside of the Settlement Policy Boundary (SPB)?


·           Post development, the dramatically reduced amount of garden space of 84m2 within the SPB and 34m2 outside of the SPB would amount to the loss of the children’s play area and the delightful south facing amenity garden.  This would severely impact the viability of the pub as an attractive destination for young families, walkers and visitors. How did this support the policy to foster the economic and social wellbeing of local communities within the national park?


·           Further, the inspector’s report stated that a continuing open aspect would be crucial to the enjoyment of the pub garden and retaining land beyond the proposed development site could continue to provide generous space for large community events.  Where was the consideration in this application for community use in the existing meadow?


·           Furthermore, the design of the front and rear elevations were not in keeping with the local vernacular and the resultant views for future patrons from the back of the pub would largely be obscured by a long solid expanse of brickwork.


·           The pre-planning advice (email dated 13 March 2017), stated that a development of two houses was deemed more acceptable than three for landscape impact, parking, the pub garden and future viability.  The previous application for four houses had been refused due to over massing – however these three houses represented that same dwelling space and would be some 2m taller than the height of the pub itself.  Why had this now been overlooked?


From their consideration of this and all other matters raised, the parish council found the harm to the character and the appearance of the area to be decisive in the overall planning balance.  This application had already been deemed as needing a considered response that was finely balanced, however it had been marred by conflicting advice, changing goal posts by the owner now looking to sell the property and the applicant’s agent already informing potential clients that the Cedars did not need to be kept as a pub.


Joanne Hall spoke as the applicant’s agent.


She explained that the application sought to ensure the sustainability of the public house, which had been listed as an Asset of Community Value.  The viability report had shown that a minimum of three properties would be required as enabling development in order to generate the capital needed to improve the public house. 


Consideration had been given to the relevant planning history whilst formulating this proposal. There would only be a minimal increase in traffic, the visibility splays would be adequate and no dwellings would be outside of the SPB.  There had been no objections from the technical consultees, the Planning Officer had recommended approval and there was a great deal of local support for the application.


The applicant had worked hard to provide the best solution and she requested that the committee grant the application.


The committee discussed the application and focussed on the policy principles of the enabling development, the potential impact on adjacent properties as per the previous refusal/appeal decision and the proposed access to the public house adjacent to Ivy Cottage.


In response to questions, the Planning Management Manager explained that the principle of enabling development was covered under Policy CP16 of the Joint Core Strategy.  Officers had carefully weighed any impact that the enabling development would have against the benefits of trying to make the public house viable.  In this instance The Cedars was the only public house in the village and its importance had been demonstrated by it being listed as an Asset of Community Value. 


The revised proposal for the enabling development had moved it into the SPB, away from Ivy Cottage and re-sited it so that the gardens would back onto the open countryside to the south.  Whilst it was appreciated that these revisions moved the properties closer to Wesley House, the separation distance of 27m would be satisfactory.  On balance, officers had concluded that the proposal was acceptable.


With regard to the proposed access for the public house, officers confirmed that the required visibility splays would be achieved by moving the access further forward, rather than removing the fence at Ivy Cottage.  Any large vehicles using this access for deliveries would move slowly, therefore it was not believed that any damage would be caused to the limited foundations of Ivy Cottage.  These concerns were the reason why a condition requiring the approval of a Construction Method Statement  had been included within the supplementary matters.


In reply to concerns, assurance was given that the legal agreement linking the phasing of the enabling development would remain enforceable if the land that the enabling development was to be sited on was sold to a third party prior to the completion of the renovation works to the public house.


On balance, whilst it felt that the design of the enabling properties could be more in keeping, the committee was supportive of the proposal.


Following the vote, the recommendation was declared CARRIED, 12 Councillors voting FOR permission, no Councillors voting AGAINST permission and no Councillors ABSTAINING from voting.

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