Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider an application for the erection of 1 no. dwelling, construction of a new vehicular access and associated works at land at (part of garden) 15 Maes Bache, Llangollen (copy attached).



An application was submitted for the erection of 1 no. dwelling, construction of a new vehicular access and associated works at land at (part of garden) 15 Maes Bache, Llangollen.  [The application had been deferred from the last meeting]


Public Speaker –


Bob Dewey (agent) (For) – advised the application met all standard requirements and was not a tandem/backland development but had its own independent access and highway frontage.  He disputed that a precedent would be set citing previous planning consents for housing development on the same hillside which had been acceptable in AONB terms, and referred to reliance on an outdated planning appeal decision as inappropriate.  The dwelling was small and well designed specifically tailored to the topography of the site and would not harm the beauty of the area.  Llangollen Town Council and CADW had no objections with CADW confirming the proposal would not impact on the World Heritage Site.  Concerns regarding privacy, lightspill and noise were also dismissed with neighbours supportive of the proposal.


General Debate – Councillor Melvyn Mile (Local Member) described the application site and its surroundings from various vantage points in the area.  He referred to the siting of the concrete reservoir and high density housing development and impact on the landscape with no concerns raised in terms of the AONB.  The proposed development would hardly be visible with its roofline below the rear fence of the property and trees behind it.  He disagreed with the AONB Joint Committee’s view and officer opinion that the proposal did not respect the character of development in the immediate vicinity or openness of the area.  Having visited the application site and with regard to the scale and design of the proposal, Councillor Mile did not consider potential overlooking to be a concern, it had not been an issue at the planning appeal in 2007, and the trees and shrubbery (which had not been shown on the illustrations) obscured the premises.  He also did not consider lightspill to be an issue given the size of the dwelling with two other properties above it which stood further out.  At the appeal in 2007 the Planning Inspector raised concern over the rural lane access which had changed since then following other developments.  Finally he highlighted the disparity between the views of the AONB JC, NRW and CADW in terms of the impact on visual amenity on the same application.


The Chair had received an email from Councillor Graham Timms (Local Member) who had been unable to attend the meeting.  Councillor Timms disagreed with officer opinion that the development would cause unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the landscape, believing the effect would not be noticed as it would fall naturally within the visual boundary created by Maes Bache.  He also referred to the large number of houses nearby and supported the use of the land within the development boundary of Llangollen.  Councillor Timms believed that using appropriate land within the boundary to benefit residents’ access to services and shops in the town centre was preferable to using the surrounding green spaces to support housing demands.


Councillor Mark Young sought clarity with regard to the development boundary in relation to the application site and the position of properties above that site which had been granted planning permission despite having a greater visual impact.  Councillor Brian Jones considered that Councillor Mile had made a compelling case to grant the application based on his local knowledge of the area.


The Planning Officer responded to the issues raised during debate as follows –


·         confirmed that the application site was located within the development boundary with the boundary line drawn along the road

·         advised that there were buildings to the south of the property which were at a higher elevation but the topography and screening of trees meant they did not stand out in the same way as the application site from across the valley

·         acknowledged the different view of local members and parallels drawn with other developments but asked members to give full weight to the impact on the AONB, which was a national statutory designation, when making their decision

·         clarified in terms of distances that the balcony and first floor lounge window would only be 4.5m at the closest point to the boundary which was less than the recommended 12m from a first floor lounge to prevent overlooking

·         reiterated the basis of the officer recommendation given the previous appeal decision that the development of the site would have an unacceptable impact on the character of the AONB, comments of the AONB JC and NRW together with adopted guidance setting out standards of distances

·         explained that the Development Management Manual was a Welsh Government guidance document dealing with and deciding planning proposals.


Councillor Melvyn Mile responded to references regarding the distance between the proposed balcony and the boundary, stressing that the boundary related to the garden next door but the property itself was a considerable distance away on a steep slope.  He felt that any concerns regarding overlooking could be addressed by way of condition, such as obscure glass for the balcony.  The Development Control Manager confirmed that if members were minded to grant the application a set of planning conditions would be drawn up to be agreed with the local member which could include a condition to address overlooking if appropriate.  He accepted that some subjective issues had been discussed in terms of the impact on the character and openness of the area but reiterated the views of the AONB Joint Committee and NRW which had informed the recommendation to refuse consent.


Proposal – Councillor Melvyn Mile considered that the proposal respected the character of development in the immediate locality and openness of the area.  On that basis he proposed, seconded by Councillor Mark Young, that the application be granted and that officers liaise with the local member with regard to planning conditions to be applied to any consent.



GRANT – 19




RESOLVED that permission be GRANTED, contrary to officer recommendation, on the grounds that the proposal respected the character of development in the immediate locality and openness of the area, and that officers liaise with the local member with regard to planning conditions to be applied to the consent.


Supporting documents: