APPLICATION NO. 10/2021/1173/ PF - LAND AT NANT Y GAU, BRYNEGLWYS, CORWEN
To consider an application for the erection of an agricultural workers dwelling, installation of a sewage
treatment plant and associated works at land at Nant Y Gau, Bryneglwys, Corwen,
LL21 9LF (copy attached).
An application was submitted
for the erection of an agricultural workers dwelling, installation of a sewage treatment
plant and associated works at land at Nant Y Gau, Bryneglwys, Corwen.
Public Speaker –
Arwen Davies (For) – Mr Davies
was eager to keep the family farm going and hoped to be a fourth generation
farmer who worked with closely with his parents and had learnt the best ways of
farming. He gave an outline of the
farming he carried out and eventually hoped to take over the farm with his
family. Mr Davies stated farming needed
to change due to climate change, costs and new NBZ rules. With the knowledge which had been passed down
through generations and the ongoing support from his parents and partner,
Grace, he was confident the farm could flourish. However, he needed to be on the premises. He had looked at properties in the village
and surrounding areas but these were not only unaffordable, but not practical
due to his sheepdogs, lambing and calving.
The wellbeing of the animals required Mr Davies to be on site
particularly as he would soon be running the business. It was hoped the children would grow up on
the farm and go to the local primary school as this was vital to the future of
the farm and with the Planning Committee’s help, he could aspire to be the
fourth generation farmer of Nant Y Gau, taking a
leading role in the business and preparing the farm for the next generation.
General Debate –
Councillor Hugh Evans (Local
Member) thanked Mr Arwyn Davies for putting forward his statement. It was clear a lot of work had taken place
between the applicant and officers and it was re-assuring to see that a majority of the material
planning considerations had been met.
There were no objections from the AONB, Community Council, residents or
Natural Resource Wales (NRW). There was
no visual negativity around the proposal and the application supports the
carbon emissions target. The reason the
application had been brought before Planning Committee was concerns between
professional opinion of Reading University and Kite Consultants and Councillor
Evans was also concerned that officers had taken notice of the Reading element
of the advice as opposed to the Kite Consultants advice.
Councillor Evans explained how
he found it difficult to understand why Reading University did not appreciate
the funding availabilities in the farming business. The salary of the spouse had not been
considered, or the external works the applicant puts in. Councillor Evans felt the officers had not
seen the complete financial picture when making their recommendations and
requested Planning Committee delve more into the Reading University element of
the advice. He stated he personally felt
people in the rural areas were disadvantaged.
Information from Business
Wales had been obtained which stated 40% of farms in Wales had now diversified
which equated to 19% of the total income.
Reading University had not considered this.
Reference 4.4 this application
covers everything within that section.
Reference 4.5 – promoted
diversification on established farms which this applicant does and 4.5.3
succession is critical.
Referring to the financial
test he stated there was a grey area as it did state “should have good
prospects of remaining economically sustainable for the reasonable period of
time”. Reading University did not seem to
accept that, based on pure financial figures, not on the history of the
farm. In Councillor Evans’ view, he did
not think there was any correlation between
what information Reading University had provided and what TAN6 required. He did accept it was difficult for officers
having to decide between Reading University and Kite Consultants.
In conclusion this was a genuine application by a hard working couple
who wanted to stay on the farm. There
was no other option for them as there were no other opportunities in the area. Councillor Evans did not think Reading
University and TAN 6 were aligned. He
did not think Reading University understand how Welsh family farms thrived and
survived and it came down to flexibility, adaptability and serious hard work. This was the last hope for the applicants and
hoped Planning Committee would show their support.
Planning officers confirmed independent consultants had been appointed
on their behalf to assess all the information provided. The application was for a dwelling in the open countryside. In those locations normal rural constraints
apply unless there was an exception. One
of those exceptions was that the dwelling was required to support a rural
enterprise and clearly the applicant had shown that this was required. There was a functional need for Mr Davies to
be there and for succession. There was
also shown there was no visual or harmful impact so the only issue was the
financial test. They have to show that
it would be profitable and it had a sustainable future. The consultants looked at the previous
figures and came to the conclusion that the projected profits were not
sufficient to pay a minimum wage for both the father and son and cover the
mortgage costs. The consultants advise
that this would undermine the business which proved a risk for the future. Another risk was if the application was not
approved here, the business could disappear anyway preventing succession.
Reading University had applied TAN6 correctly. They found conflict with
one element of the tests. TAN6 stated the
business had to support itself, the building was there to support the
enterprise. The tests were about the
business which could not rely on the income of a spouse or sideline
During discussions the following points were raised –
agreed it was a difficult decision as the material planning conditions had been
met, the only issue was the financial aspect.
A number of members agreed with the statement by the Local Member,
Councillor Hugh Evans.
If the building
were to be approved, it would be for an
agricultural workers building and not be able to be sold on the open market, it
would be purely for the business. It was
important to look at the business and the ability to maintain the
building. It was also felt that Mr
Davies and his partner would produce additional income and the farm would be a
long term business. Officers responded
by emphasising that the application was extremely borderline on how the assessment
had been made.
future, need to reassess these types of cases and officers possibly needed to
challenge Consultants more in terms of the information they provide. It was confirmed that officers were also
dealing with Welsh Government Technical Advice Notes. Work would need to take place with the Welsh
Government to amend the wording in some of their documents.
property would be a rural enterprise project and if members were to go against
officer recommendation reasons would need to be formalised prior to going to
conditions would need to be imposed to ensure that the property itself was
retained in perpetuity in connection with the rural enterprise. The conditions would normally be agreed with
the local member and a set of draft conditions would be drawn up and the
wording agreed with the Local Member.
Proposal - Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts proposed to
grant the planning application against officer recommendations. The reasons to grant the application -
Committee having considered all the information placed before it, what they had
heard from the applicant and the late representations they are satisfied that
the business does meet the financial test, seconded by Councillor Merfyn Parry.
officer recommendation) – (9
votes cast in the Chamber 10 votes cast via zoom) – 19
Abstain – 0
Refuse – 0
RESOLVED that permission be GRANTED against officer recommendation.