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21/01098/FUL | The erection of a detached dwelling, garage, landscaping and associated works. | Land North Of Crabbs Farm Back Lane Wickham Bishops Essex
  • Total Consulted: 17
  • Comments Received: 17
  • Objections: 16
  • Supporting: 1

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Mr David Pearl (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Mon 16 May 2022

An amended 40 page Planning Statement for this application has recently been made publicly available on the MDC website. As this new document adds to, and re-works, the original version I would be grateful if MDC would take into consideration the additional comments below as well as those submitted by me regarding the original Planning Statement. They addressed planning principles which apply equally to this new version. Please classify both sets of my comments as Objections.

1. Environmental Issues.

The applicant has added additional material (e.g. in Section 4.17) describing what could be done to meet the energy demands of the proposed house with renewable energy and high standards of insulation and heat recovery. This section also describes fruit trees, wildflowers and a wildlife pond that will be created to "enhance the natural environment enabling it (the building) to blend in well into its rural setting and diminish the impact of the building on the landscape".

It can equally well be argued that any house now being proposed for construction should seek to minimise its energy usage and, indeed, additional measures (e.g. no gas boilers) are already part of Government policy for all new houses in the near future. This is not to criticise the applicant's desire to reduce the energy demands of a large 5 bedroomed house - rather it is not a unique or exceptional concept.

Planting trees and wildflowers, etc. is another admirable intention but it would not take away from the fact that what is being proposed is to build a 5 bedroomed house with an extensive floorplan and a 13m high southern fašade, with outbuildings and associated domestic paraphernalia on a greenfield site. This will demonstrably not "enhance the natural environment". Tinkering with mitigations at the edges will not materially undo the harm to wildlife created by building here. For example, the local bat population will be disturbed, if the land becomes a residential site.

On page 39 the applicant notes in point 8 that (if building consent is refused) the site "could easily become overgrown and become detrimental to the visual character and appears [sic] of the area". In fact, as MDC will be aware, Wickham Bishops Parish Council is supporting a biodiversity project and has already made positive steps to rewild certain areas of the village to encourage more wildlife. The prospect of leaving an 8,000 square metre area of grazing land at the edge of the village to be naturalised (or re-wilded) would actually be highly desirable rather than seen as a threat.

2. National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Various references are made in the Planning Statement that the NPPF requires planning permission to be granted in circumstances where an LPA does not have a 5 year housing land supply (HLS). However, this is not the case where a proposed development does not meet an identified need or where any adverse impacts of doing so will significantly outweigh the benefit per NPPF Paragraph 11d (ii). This proposal fails both tests.

The Conclusions Section (9.0) of the new Planning Statement begins by stating that "The proposed dwelling would meet the need for a large attractive design dwelling located in the area of Wickham Bishops". No evidence is provided to support this assertion. No such need has been identified by MDC in its housing demand assessments nor has it been identified in the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Plan. NPPF Paragraph 78 confirms that exception sites for housing in rural areas should be considered by LPAs "to meet identified local needs."

In Section 7.5 it is argued that NPPF Paragraph 12 encourages "the use of previously developed land and sites that are physically well related to existing settlements..." (applicant's emphasis). This is untrue as Paragraph 12 does not include that wording or its sentiment. Instead that wording is taken from Paragraph 85 of the NPPF and actually relates to "sites to meet local business and community needs in rural areas".

In Sections 7.22 to 7.37 the applicant argues extensively that the building should be allowed as an exception covered by NPPF Paragraph 80 which states that development of isolated homes in the countryside should be avoided unless one of 5 circumstances apply. None of the first four exceptions (for rural workers, heritage assets, re-use of redundant buildings or sub-dividing a residential building) apply in this case. The applicant relies instead on the final exception Paragraph 80(e) that "the design is of exceptional quality".

Paragraph 80(e) is very specific (as quoted by the applicant in Section 7.23) and requires the design of the building to be "truly outstanding" and would "help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas ", "significantly enhance its immediate setting" and "be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the area". MDC Planning will of course use its professional expertise to judge whether the building being proposed is "truly outstanding". As a layman I would only argue that there is nothing to suggest that this property would raise design standards in rural areas (e.g. the energy conservation techniques being mentioned at length are already widely being introduced for new housing). It is also difficult to say that placing a house with a 13m southern elevation in the middle of a green field would "enhance the immediate setting", or that the design appears sensitive to the area's defining characteristics which are fields, paddocks, mixed village housing to the north and a farmhouse to the south.

Sections 7.30 to 7.36 seek to demonstrate that the design is "innovative". Again MDC Planning will use its professional expertise to make judgement on this assertion. Some statements made here are clearly irrelevant (e.g. Section 7.36 that the design has "taken many hours to achieve"). It should also be noted that being "innovative" is no longer referred to in the current NPPF as a means of satisfying Paragraph 80(e) requirements.

It is of course understandable that the applicant focuses on MDC's current lack of a 5 year HLS but, as in all cases, an application should be assessed against the policies in the NPPF "taken as a whole" as well as those still current in the LDP and Neighbourhood Plan.


Given all the above points, and comments submitted earlier, I respectfully request that MDC refuse this planning application.

Appendix

This new version of the Planning Statement contains a number of specific errors and unfounded assertions that should be also be noted. The most notable are:

Page 5 - Section 2.4 states that "the site comprises grassland with an open menage towards the eastern boundary and an old stable building in the south-eastern corner". There is no menage or old stable block on the applicant's site - it is undeveloped land free of any prior building. Section 6.12 confirms this stating that the site is "free from built form".

Page 39 - Point 3 states that "the design of both dwellings is exceptional" (my emphasis added). It is not clear whether this is an error or foreshadows a subsequent application to build two houses rather than one.

Page 39 - Point 5 states that "The occupiers of the dwelling are highly likely to make a positive contribution to the rural economy". This is unfounded speculation and has no place in a serious planning application.

Page 39 - Point 9 states that development would "enhance the site". Whilst securing planning permission to develop a greenfield site may enhance its value to the site owner, it is not clear how replacing agricultural land with a housing development is an enhancement to the wider community. Section 6.12 of the Planning Statement admits that the developer's efforts would not entirely "mitigate the urbanising impact of the proposal".

Page 40 - in the penultimate paragraph the Council is being asked to "take into account the issues set out in this appeal [?] statement and to have regard to the problems the council is having in achieving a 5-year supply of housing land". This application is not yet an "appeal" case, and one large new house will have minimal effect on the HLS shortage.


Comment submitted date: Thu 21 Apr 2022

I wish to object to the above planning application and would like to offer the following
comments for consideration.

1. First Principles This application proposes domesticating and urbanising a rural site by
building a very large 5 bedroomed house for which there is no identified need. This alone
should be sufficient for planning permission to be refused in accordance with Maldon
District Council's LDP policies, the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Plan and the NPPF.

It is understood, however, that this planning application will need to be assessed using the
'tilted balance' approach, as Maldon District Council (MDC) is no longer able to
demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing land. This approach will favour approval of any
sustainable application but not if the harm in so doing would "significantly and
demonstrably outweigh the benefits". The further comments below seek to address
factors determining this balance.

2. Protecting the Countryside. MDC Policy S8 requires that the countryside be protected
outside settlement boundaries, and Policy WBEn04 of the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Plan requires a development "to maintain the open character and appearance of its setting". The map and aerial photo provided by the applicant on pages 4 and 5 of the Planning Statement demonstrate clearly that this site is in the open countryside and is distinct from the village that it neighbours. It sits in an environment that is rural in nature and characterised by large agricultural fields partitioned with hedges and trees. This observation was also made by the planning inspector who dismissed a previous appeal to build on this field (ref APP/X1545/W/15/3135815). He wrote "The appeal site, therefore, sits apart from the built up area of Wickham Bishops and has an open, countryside character which is typical of the wider patchwork of wood and farmland in this part of the District".

Positioning a large new dwelling on this field, along with its planned outbuildings, the
associated residential paraphernalia, the necessary boundary treatment to the south, the
parking areas to the north and the lighting that accompanies such a development, would be a substantial intrusion into the countryside that would harm the intrinsic character of the area. There would need to be very substantial benefits, or exceptional circumstances, to
outweigh this harm.

3. No Exceptional Circumstances. The NPPF and MDC's LDP refer to two circumstances
where exceptions to incursions into the countryside might be allowed:

(i) Exceptional Design Quality The NPPF (Sections 79 and 80) allows for the possibility of
building in the countryside where the design of the house is of an exceptional quality.
However, the criteria for classing a design as exceptional are demanding. The design must
be "truly outstanding or innovative, reflecting the highest standards in architecture, and
would help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas". It must also
"significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining
characteristics of the local area".

The proposed design has clearly been professionally prepared and includes some
imaginative features that might sit well in another environment. However, the design bears
no relationship with the defining characteristics of the local area. Rather, it conflicts with its
rural setting and would be contrary to LDP Policy D1 and the Wickham Bishops
Neighbourhood Plan Policy WBH01 that requires development to "respect the local
character, historic setting and natural assets of the surrounding area".

Despite the landscaping proposed, the 13m (43 feet) high southern elevation of the house
would dominate the site viewed from the south and reduce the amenity of the existing
Crabbs Farmhouse. From the north the huge outbuildings featuring a continuous 4.4 metres (14 feet) high and 20.6 metres (67 feet) long wall immediately next to the northern
boundary would be more at home on an industrial site.

Even the applicant does not describe the proposal as "truly outstanding" or "innovative" but
refers instead in paragraph 6.12 to the efforts that would be made to "mitigate the
urbanising impact of the proposal."

(ii) Exceptions to meet local needs. The MDC Local Development Plan makes provision for
exceptions in three pertinent policies.
o Policy H3 allows for the provision of housing to meet specialist needs
o Policy H5 allows for land outside settlement boundaries to be considered for
development under a Rural Exception Scheme to meet identified local needs
o Policy H7 allows for the provision of agricultural and essential workers'
accommodation.

This proposal does not meet the qualification requirements for any of those exceptions.

4. No Direct Precedents Whilst every planning application is decided on its own merits, the
applicant quotes as precedents two prior planning approvals in Mope Lane Wickham
Bishops. It should be noted that the first of these (Fernbrook Hall 20/00641) was a
brownfield site, which is not the case at Crabbs Farm North, and the second (Orchard Way
21/00415) was an infill site between a line of existing housing which is also not the situation here. Neither represented an isolated incursion into the countryside in the manner envisaged in this application.

Other recent decisions by MDC to refuse permission for new houses on green field sites on
Grange Road, Wickham Bishops (21/01096) and Catchpole Lane Great Totham (21/00987)
could equally well be quoted as precedents supporting refusal of this application.

Decisions should be made on the specific merits of the sites involved and not be constrained by any specific previous decisions in other locations. Each location is unique in its own way.

5. Limited Sustainability The 'tilted balance' approach favours development if a proposal is
sustainable, but there are degrees of sustainability. Each of the three dimensions to
sustainable development - economic, social and environmental - as defined in the NPPF -
has to be assessed.

(a) Economic The benefit to the local community from one new dwelling, either
through supporting local shops and services or providing employment during
construction, would be marginal at best.

(b) Social Adding one very large new house to the housing stock may benefit its
future occupants, but would do nothing to bolster the housing stock identified by
MDC as in most demand.

(c) Environmental Building here would not contribute to protecting and enhancing
the natural environment and improving biodiversity. This site is agricultural land
separated from other housing and bordered by hedgerows and trees. The wildlife
that currently has undisturbed use of this area (e.g. birds, bats, badgers and rabbits)
would inevitably be impacted by the construction and occupation of a large house,
by the introduction of its domestic paraphernalia and from light pollution at night.
The judgement to be made is whether such a development could subsequently
restore biodiversity by "the creation of wildflower meadows", "legacy tree planting"
and a "wildlife pond" as described in the Planning Statement. This needs to be
assessed realistically, as does the safety of access to the site. The farm track is
unmade and is a single vehicle width without passing places or separate provision for
pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users, etc These limitations would inevitably
encourage the use of private cars to reach the facilities of the village.

It is suggested here that, when tested against the three dimensions of sustainability, this
proposed development would not demonstrate sufficient strengths to outweigh the harmful effects on the countryside. Instead, it would urbanise the countryside and permanently remove agricultural land from future use in contravention of Principle 12 of the LDP's Policy S1 (Sustainable Development).

Overall, this application demonstrably fails to show benefits that could outweigh the harm
that would be done to the countryside, or that there are any exceptional reasons for its
approval. I would respectfully ask the District Council to refuse this application.

Mrs Hannah Metcalfe (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Mon 16 May 2022

We maintain and reiterate the comments submitted previously by us in objection to the Application, however, would make the following comments in addition by way of further objection to the Application.

1. National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

a. Absence of 5 year housing land supply?

The Application includes a number of references indicating that the NPPF requires planning permission to be granted in circumstances where the local planning authority does not have a 5 year housing land supply (HLS).

However, pursuant to paragraph 11(d)(ii) of the NPFF, this is not the case where (1) there are clear reasons for refusing the development proposed; or (2) any adverse impacts of doing so will significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefit. This proposal fails both tests, notably on the basis that the development would be detrimental to the immediate setting of the site as well as the defining characteristics of the area (see further below).

The application states that "The proposed dwelling would meet the need for a large attractive design dwelling located in the area of Wickham Bishops". No evidence is provided to support this assertion, and it is difficult to contemplate it being true on the basis that Wickham Bishops is blessed with a significant number of large attractive design dwellings. Indeed, no such need has been identified by MDC in its housing demand assessments nor has it been identified in the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Plan. Paragraph 78 of the NPPF notes that exception sites for housing in rural areas should be considered by LPAs "to meet identified local needs."; there is no such need in this instance.

b. Use of previously developed land?

Section 7.5 of the Application notes that NPPF Paragraph 12 encourages "the use of previously developed land and sites that are physically well related to existing settlements...". This is incorrect as that wording does not appear in Paragraph 12. Rather, paragraph 12 of the NPPF states specifically that where a planning application conflicts with an up-to-date development plan (including any neighbourhood plans that form part of the development plan) permission should not usually be granted. The Application is in direct conflict with the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Plan, which offers no support for building outside the settlement boundary.

Furthermore, the site subject to the Application has not been previously developed and the site is only physically well related to existing settlements in its current condition, namely green field land; any development of the site would not be physically well related to existing settlements in any way - the design is completely out of character with any buildings proximate to the site and in particular Crabbs Farm immediately to the south.

Instead, the wording referenced in Section 7.5 of the Application is taken from Paragraph 85 of the NPPF and actually relates to "sites to meet local business and community needs in rural areas". There is no evidence to support the proposed development meeting local business and community needs.

c. Exception under paragraph 80 of NPPF?

The applicant argues extensively that the building should be allowed as an exception covered by NPPF Paragraph 80 which states that development of isolated homes in the countryside should be avoided unless one of 5 circumstances apply. None of the first four exceptions (for rural workers, heritage assets, re-use of redundant buildings or sub-dividing a residential building) apply in this case. The applicant relies instead on the final exception Paragraph 80(e) that "the design is of exceptional quality".

However, paragraph 80(e) is very specific and requires that the design of the building be "truly outstanding", would "help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas ", would "significantly enhance its immediate setting" and would "be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the area".

Notwithstanding the failure of the Application to satisfy the other criteria, we would note in particular that there is no evidence to suggest that the design would significantly enhance its immediate setting or be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the area, and in fact the position is quite the opposite. The site is a greenfield site, outside the village boundary, with a large house (Crabbs Farm, original build circa 1850) to the south. The development proposed would be significantly detrimental to Crabbs Farm (in terms of approach from the north, in terms of views looking north, and in terms of contextual setting), and would be significantly detrimental to several properties on School Road/Grange Road looking south. The defining characteristic of the area between the buildings on School Road/Grange Road and Crabbs Farm to the south is open grassland, and clearly a new 3 storey modern development with a 13m southern elevation and significant areas of hard standing is completely at odds with this characteristic, and such a development would only be of detriment rather than an enhancement to such setting. The Application in fact acknowledges that it would have an urbanising effect.

The application refers to the design being innovative but this is highly subjective, and in this instance very contestable. In any event innovation is no longer a justification for exception under Paragraph 80(e) of the NPPF.

2. Environmental Matters.

a. Detriment to the natural environment

Whilst the Application describes various items promoting the renewable energy credentials of the design, as well as various wildlife friendly parts of the landscaping enabling the proposed house to 'blend in well into its rural setting and diminish the impact of the building on the landscape", this is tacit acknowledgement that the proposed development with a 3 storey 13m high southern elevation is incongruous to the current greenfield landscape of the site and its immediate surrounds - it will demonstrably not 'enhance the natural environment'.

Of course any new development proposal should seek to minimise energy usage and this is already part of Government policy for all new houses. As such this commentary in the Application regarding the design is not outstanding, exceptional, unique or innovative.

b. Biodiversity and threats

Page 39 of the Application notes that (if building consent is refused) the site "could easily become overgrown and become detrimental to the visual character and appears (sic) of the area". We would make two important comments here. Firstly, the parish has a well-supported biodiversity project that has started creating naturalised areas in the village to enhance wildlife diversity. Letting an existing area of grazing land bordering the village become re-wilded would be seen as beneficial. Secondly, this appears to read as something of a threat to MDC vis a vis refusing the application, and it would of course open floodgates to uncontrolled development (including in greenfield farmland areas) if any credence or support were given to applications where the applicant indicated a potential for overgrown vegetation.

Further, the inconsistent wording of the Application itself gives rise to concerns over the green credentials set out in the Application and the fate of ancient trees and hedgerows on site should permission be granted. Paragraphs 7.17 and 6.14 are in direct contradiction to each other, one stating that no hedgerows would be removed and the other clearly stating that some would need to be removed.

c. Flooding

Parts of the site and areas immediately adjacent to it on both sides, and at Crabbs Farm to the south, are considered to be the highest level of risk of flooding according to Essex County Council (see flood.essex.gov.uk) as verified by independent reports previously provided by us in our objections to the Application.

As acknowledged in the Application itself, WBEn 06 (New Development and Flood Risk) of the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Plan, states that "Development proposals will not be supported in areas at highest risk of flooding."'

It is of significant concern to us as owners of Crabbs Farm that we may very well be materially adversely impacted by the development the subject of this Application due to inevitable increase in surface water travelling south (downhill) to our property. To conceive development on the site affords no consideration to the potential resulting damage to the Crabbs Farm buildings, gardens and paddocks with their diversified flora and fauna, not to mention farmland lying further to the south.


3. References to Crabbs Farm

At paragraph 2.6, the application refers to Crabbs Farmhouse and its several large outbuildings, hard standing and permitted extension. It appears that this is being used as a kind of justification for the development of the site the subject of this Application. However, it should be noted that the extension to Crabbs Farm house (being an extension of an existing building) was more than outweighed by the reduction and removal of a significant number of the outbuildings and significant areas of hard standing, which will be replaced with wild flower meadows and other native planting. This results in a significant reduction of the built form on the site. The whole rationale of the scheme was to reduce buildings and hard standing on site and thereby improve the countryside appearance of the site - the complete opposite of the Application proposal to build a significant building and outbuildings on virgin countryside.

4. Access

At paragraph 4.2 the applicant suggests that they will "provide adequate visibility for access onto Back Lane". This is a tacit acknowledgement that there is not currently adequate visibility - in fact there is no visibility to the south along Back Lane, making it an already dangerous junction. Apart from the fact that the Applicant does not own the land to the south of the access to enable it to carry out any works in this regard, it would be impossible to do so in any case due to a number of large trees, native hedgerow and the angle of Back Lane itself.

We note the updated correspondence from Essex Highways on this matter confirming that they did not in fact complete a site visit. They are in fact relying on an earlier decision at the Summer House as a precedent.

However:
- it is not clear that a site visit was carried out in that case either; and
- the multiplying effect of additional dwellings and vehicles, both for construction and ongoing use, using the same inadequate access should be a consideration in this case,
and on this basis, the Summer House decision from Highways should not necessarily constitute good precedent.

5. Misleading inaccuracies in the Application

This Application contains a number of inaccuracies which are materially misleading, and importantly so in the context of the Application and considerations of MDC. These include the following:

On page 5, Section 2.4 states that "the site comprises grassland with an open menage towards the eastern boundary and an old stable building in the south-eastern corner". There is no menage or old stable block on the applicant's site - it is undeveloped land free of any prior building. The menage and old stable block are part of Crabbs Farm to the south - an entirely different site.

Section 4.2 claims that there are uninterrupted views and no buildings in the line of sight of the proposed development - this is untrue. Crabbs Farm is in the line of sight and the proposed three storey building would tower over and look into the windows of Crabs Farmhouse and over its gardens. The claim at paragraph 7.17 that there is no adverse impact on any neighbours, is also therefore patently untrue.

On page 39, point 3 states that "the design of both dwellings is exceptional". Does this indicate a subsequent application will follow to build a second house on this site or is it just an error?


We would be grateful if MDC would consider the points of objection above together with those set out in the objection previously submitted by us, and refuse this planning application.

Comment submitted date: Mon 21 Mar 2022


To: Maldon Parish Council regarding Planning Application 21/01098/FUL: Land North of Crabbs Farm, Wickham Bishops
We wish to object to this planning application for the reasons given below.
Siting the proposed new dwelling on greenfield land and outside the settlement boundary does not have any planning merit and clearly encroaches into the open countryside, therefore not complying with local or national policy. The harm of this development would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits. This reason alone should result in a refusal of this application (and indeed any application for development of this site), as more particularly set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 below, however there are also additional reasons for rejection of this planning application as set out in the remainder of this letter.
1. The proposed development is in the countryside outside of the settlement boundary contrary to the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Plan: Huge resources were invested into producing this plan, which specifically seeks to enforce the settlement boundary. It contains no implicit or explicit desire within its text to allow single dwellings in countryside locations that are outside the edge of the settlement. If allowing such dwellings was a desire of local residents or an intention of local policy then a relevant policy would have been included in the Neighbourhood Plan to reflect this which was adopted recently in June 2021.
2. There is already a notable Appeal Decision impacting this site (ref APP/X1545/W/15/3135815), also determined when the Council did not have a five year supply of land, and the Inspector's comments in that case are equally applicable to any residential development on the site: The Inspector stated from paragraph 8: "The appeal site comprises a paddock and is free of built development. The north east corner abuts a site which has recently been granted planning permission for a single dwelling (at Summer House). The private access road for Crabbs Farm runs along the site's eastern boundary. However on the remaining sides, the site is bound by land which is essentially open in character. In particular a further paddock and a stand of trees separates the site from the residential development on the south side of Grange Road which forms the established edge of the built up area.
And from paragraph 9: Crabbs Farm and adjoining agricultural buildings are located to the south of the site. Again however they do not abut the site directly and in any event are isolated from the built up area. The appeal site, therefore, sits apart from the built up area of Wickham Bishops and has an open, countryside character which is typical of the wider patchwork of wood and farmland in this part of the District."
The Inspector concluded that the proposal would "have a significantly harmful effect on the character and appearance of the area". It is significant that this decision was made after the Appeal Decision relating to the Summer House site to the north where the Inspector concluded that this latter site "would read as part of the edge of the settlement area". The Inspector specifically noted that the site at the Summer House was the natural edge of the settlement and "is distinct from the area to the south [i.e.Crabbs Farm] having a clear domestic character."
Nothing has changed in relation to the character of the site, or planning policy since this assessment was made.
3. The other planning applications cited as precedents are not comparable to this application. The development at Fern Brook, Mope Lane, is on a brownfield site of an existing large stable building and its associated hard landscaping. The land at Crabbs Farm North in contrast is of a greenfield site with no existing development at all. The Development at Land North of Orchard Way, Mope Lane, is a site within the established line of existing properties on Mope Lane, which is also not the situation here.
Recent decisions at Grange Road (21/01096) and Catchpole Lane (21/00987) could more appropriately be cited as precedents supporting refusal of this application.
4. Suggested ridge heights are incorrect and misleading: the proposed site sections appear to indicate that the ridge height of the proposed dwelling will be 9.3 metres, which is misleading. The measurement is taken from a base point much further north in the site, therefore when the gradient of the site is taken into account, the ridge height is in fact approximately 11.5 metres from existing ground level, as shown below (Plan ref. 2161 P 07 rev A)

In addition, even though the dwelling is 'cut into' the ground, the outlook from the existing dwelling Crabbs Farm will be towards a new dwelling with a ridge height of 13 metres, which is significant and overbearing, with three full storeys. The above point highlights that the proposed elevation overlooking the garden, plan ref 2061 P03 part copied below is therefore also very misleading as it significantly misrepresents the ridge height from the ground level.

We also highlight that the sections provided on plan ref 2061 P03 appear to show a much shallower gradient than plan ref 2161 P 07 rev A which gives the impression on the elevation plans that the ridge height is less than actually proposed. The development could not be implemented in accordance with the submitted plans, as highlighted below.









5. Impact on existing properties: The application fails to make any consideration of other properties and neighbours other than those on Grange Road. The application states that the property will have "long uninterrupted views over the landscape beyond". This is incorrect and misleading - in fact the property will have views over three other properties - Crabbs Farm, The Grange and Magellans Rest, the latter two being Grade II listed buildings. The plans submitted as part of this application consider the impact on neighbours along Grange Road, but there is no consideration of the adverse impact on the amenity of Crabbs Farm, The Grange or Magellans Rest.
In accordance with a recent planning approval, Crabbs Farm is currently being remodelled to a more open frontage. Whilst Crabbs Farm is a reasonable distance to the south from the proposed dwelling, the impact on amenity for nearby developments is relative and in these circumstances the amenity expectations of occupants residing in a dwelling located in open countryside are different to those for example of occupants residing in a town centre or built up location. The land slopes relatively steeply to the south and the proposed dwelling will have a significant and adverse impact on the outlook from the existing dwelling to the south, Crabbs Farm (see comments at paragraph 4 above).
6. Access to the site has extremely limited visibility and it is impossible to achieve the visibility splays that the applicant states they will provide: The site is accessed by a right of way over the privately owned track to Crabbs Farm. When exiting the track onto Back Lane, there is no visibility to the south down Back Lane. This is unavoidably an existing access for Crabbs Farm itself however it should not follow that it is acceptable for an additional property to use the same access. Already the new development at Summer House will be using this access and bring additional traffic. Further additional vehicular traffic at this junction is highly undesirable and will only make an already difficult junction even more dangerous.
7. The edge of the site is an area of moderate to high flood risk - please see attached flood risk map - with a watercourse running along the eastern boundary: The application incorrectly asserts that the site is not in an area of high flood risk and makes no proposals as to surface water drainage. It also states that there is no watercourse within a 30 metre radius of the site when there is actually one on the eastern boundary. We have significant concerns as to the impact of any development on the Crabbs Farm buildings, gardens and open paddock grassland to the south of the application site as well as surrounding farmland.
8. The site is in an area full of wildlife and native trees and hedgerows. There is significant risk to native trees. The applicant's own Aboricultural Report identifies a number of highly valuable trees around the site and highlights that the Root Protected Area of a large oak tree will be affected by the proposed new driveway and that the crown of this oak would need to be lifted to access the site. This oak is in fact owned by us as the owners of Crabbs Farm and we have not been approached for permission for any works on this tree. The application is also inconsistent as to whether all trees and hedgerows will be retained, at times stating that they would be in full but also saying "the proposal can preserve a significant proportion of the hedgerows" only. Further, despite statements made in the application and the ecology report, there are badger setts within the immediate proximity of the site boundary.
9. Other errors in the application:
- The application incorrectly suggests that the applicant owns the access to the site. The Crabbs Farm track is owned by Crabbs Farm and the applicant has a right of way. As a result the applicant has no rights to create a visibility splay even if this were possible without the presence of the trees and hedgerows which in any event prevent this.
- The southern boundary of the site is incorrectly marked. It does in fact run along a line to the north of where it is marked. The applicant is seemingly attempting to include land belonging to Crabbs Farm within his application. The application states that there is a menage and a stable on the site. This is incorrect, the menage and stable are on land belonging to Crabbs Farm. The application site is entirely undeveloped with no structures or buildings on it.

Claire Wood (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Fri 29 Apr 2022

We have lived in Wickham Bishops for nearly 10 years and we chose to live here because of the peaceful, rural character of the area.

We object to the insensitive nature of this application because, as a greenfield site, it would detrimentally alter the character of the area. There is no past history of buildings or dwelling of any kind on this site. It is and has always been open farmland. Moreover, the development clearly falls outside the defined settlement boundary and is contrary to the Local Development Plan. It does not meet any of the criteria for an exception set out in that policy.

The application is also contrary to policy WBEn04 and WBH01 of the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Plan in that it would 'not maintain the open character and appearance of its setting' (WBE04) and that is fails to 'respect the local character, historic setting and natural assets of the local area' (WBH01).

Furthermore, it is so important that green spaces exist within villages as wildlife corridors and refuges and that for reasons of diversity, plants, insects and animals have space to live and move between areas.

Finally I would like to note that the access point to the site is dangerous with completely inadequate visibility.

We hope that the detrimental impact that this development would have on the village, the villagers and wildlife will be properly considered.

Julia Schroeder-Mundell (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 28 Apr 2022

I would like to appeal against the development of the above. Please see my reasons below:
o The proposed development would detrimentally alter the character of the area and have an unacceptable visual impact on this greenfield site, the surrounding countryside and Crabbs Farm itself, contrary to relevant policies
o The application site lies within a rural location outside of a defined settlement boundary, contrary to the Local Development Plan. It did not meet any of the criteria for an exception set out in that Policy.
o The application is contrary to Policy WBEn04 of the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Plan in that it would not "maintain the open character and appearance of its setting". Also, Policy WBH01 in that it fails to "respect the local character, historic setting and natural assets of the local area".
o The access point to the site is dangerous with completely inadequate visibility.
o The site is at danger of flood risk!


Katie Roots (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 26 Apr 2022

We have lived in Great Totham for over 10 years and we chose to live here because of the peaceful, rural character of the area.

We object to the insensitive nature of this application in particular, as this is simply a greenfield site. There is no past history of buildings or dwelling of any kind on this site. It is and has always been open farmland. Moreover, the development clearly falls outside the defined settlement boundary. It seems to us that these kinds of baseless applications must be stopped in order to stop green spaces being destroyed and to preserve the character and essence of our beautiful local area.

Furthermore, it is so important that green spaces exist within villages as wildlife corridors and refuges and that for reasons of diversity, plants, insects and animals have space to live and move between areas.

We hope that the detrimental impact that this development would have on the village, the villagers and wildlife will be properly considered.

Mrs Marlin (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 26 Apr 2022

I would like to record my objection to this application on the grounds that the property intended for this plot is entirely outside the village settlement boundary and right in the middle of argiculture land.

This intended property is totally out of keeping with the local area, and would be detrimental to the rural nature of the area around it.

In a recent survey for the local village design statement it was stressed by a number of residents that the rural nature of the area outside the settlement area needed to be retained. In fact if building is allowed on agriculture ground this country will soon not have enough farming land to grow crops and rear animal for helping with our own food production.

Another reason this application should be refused is that it may encourage more applications for building on agriculture land around the village with the loss of openness, a rural landscape and views of the countryside for all to enjoy.

I therefore urge you to refuse planning permission for this application like you did for an earlier one for five/ six houses on this land earlier.

Ann Farr (Supports)

Comment submitted date: Wed 20 Apr 2022

I would like to register my support for the above planning application and would be grateful if this could be considered by the planning officers. The reasons I would like to put forward for consideration are:
1. The proposed house will make good use of modern technology and materials ensuring that it meets sustainability and ecological standards.
2. The proposed house will be close to the centre of Wickham Bishops and is within easy access to the village amenities and local public transport.
3. The design of the proposed house is consistent with other houses in the village and is also consistent with the Wickham Bishops local design statement.
4. The proposed house will also improve the natural biodiversity of the existing site with a stream, pond, shrubs and extensive planning of trees as confirmed by the ecological survey.
5. I believe this proposal also addresses all concerns raised by the Appeals Officer in respect of a previous application in 2015, Reference: 14/01192/FUL.

Mr Trevor Sparkes (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Wed 20 Apr 2022

I wish to object to the above mentioned planning application. The reasons for my objection are given below.

1. The proposed development is outside the village boundary in an agricultural field in open countryside which is not allocated for development in the Local Plan.

2. Allowing this development would set an undesirable precedent for developing in open countryside around the village contrary to the Local Plan.

3. The proposed development would have an adverse effect on the landscape and visual amenity of the area.

4. The access is via a narrow track leading from the junction of School Road and Back Lane. The junction is very narrow with poor visibility and is not suitable or safe for increased use by additional development.

5. The design of the proposed dwelling is out of character with the surrounding area and would have an adverse effect on visual amenity.

6. The application is contrary to the Policy WBEn04 of the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Plan as it would not maintain the open character and appearance of its setting and is also contrary to Policy WBH01 as it fails to respect the local character, historic setting and natural assets of the local area.

For the reasons set out above I request that this application is refused. It seems to me that to do otherwise would ignore the Local Plan process and all of the hard work carried out preparing the Neighbourhood Plan.

Mr Richard Kewish (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Wed 23 Mar 2022

I wish to raise an objection to this development as it will sit outside the current village boundary on greenfield land. This not only negatively impacts the countryside, it is also contrary to the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood/Village plan and Local Development Plan.

Additionally, the design of the property is out of character with the area and surrounding and nearby properties such as Crabbs Farm, those on Back Lane and The Grange on Grange Road. Thus, this application contravenes policies in the WB Neighbourhood Plan that aim to ensure new properties "maintain the open character and appearance" and "respect the local character, historic setting and natural assets of the local area".

The style of property, with large glazed facades, and likely outdoor lighting, will cause further harm to local wildlife already impacted by building on greenfield land.

Finally, the junction at the southern end of Back Lane is dangerous already and Back Lane itself is very narrow with limited passing opportunities and shared with walkers and horseriders. The exit from this property onto Back Lane, via the existing track, has poor visibility. Adding more traffic will compound existing issues and risks on Back Lane.

Mr Richard Morley (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Wed 23 Mar 2022

Planning Application 21/01098/FUL: Land North of Crabbs Farm, Wickham Bishops

We object to the above planning application and would like the Council to note the following comments in support of our objection.

- This application proposes a new build on agricultural greenfield land previously used as a paddock. The proposed development would detrimentally alter the character of the area and have an unacceptable visual impact on this greenfield site, the surrounding countryside and Crabbs Farm itself.

- MDC Policy S8 requires that the countryside be protected outside settlement boundaries, and Policy WBEn04 of the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Plan requires a development "to maintain the open character and appearance of its setting". This site is in the open countryside and outside of the village boundary. The previous application to build five large luxury properties on the same site was dismissed and the planning inspector who dismissed the application wrote "The appeal site, therefore, sits apart from the built up area of Wickham Bishops and has an open, countryside character which is typical of the wider patchwork of wood and farmland in this part of the District".
Building a new large property including the sizeable outbuildings on this field, would be a substantial intrusion into the countryside that would harm the intrinsic character of the area.

- The application refers and indeed appears to be relying on precedents of two prior planning approvals in Mope Lane Wickham Bishops. The first of these (Fernbrook Hall 20/00641) was a brownfield site, which is not the case with this application. The second (Orchard Way 21/00415) was an infill site between a line of existing housing which is also not the situation here.
This is in any event an application entirely separate from Mope Lane which is located at the opposite end of the village and should be considered on its own circumstances and not by reference to any other applications. We note that other recent decisions by MDC to refuse permission for new houses on green field sites on Grange Road, Wickham Bishops (21/01096) and Catchpole Lane Great Totham (21/00987) could equally well be quoted as precedents supporting refusal of this application.

- This site is greenfield agricultural land separated from other housing and bordered by established hedgerows and trees. By building a large house with its sizeable outbuildings on this site, there would inevitably be a detrimental impact on the numerous wildlife such as nesting birds, bats, deer and badgers, that use this field.

- The application site lies within a rural location outside of a defined settlement boundary, contrary to Policy S8 of the Local Development Plan. It did not meet any of the criteria for an exception set out in that Policy.

We would respectfully ask the District Council to refuse this application.

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