Issue - decisions
Creation of wash water treatment plant and water store, new hedgerows, hardcored service tracks, underground piping and tanks.
Please refer to the late material circulated before the start of the meeting
Principal Planning Officer, Martin Hillier, referred to the late material and outlined some of the additional representations that had been received. He said that the parish council had raised no objections to the revised proposal and that the position of the Environment Agency remained unaffected. Furthermore, there was no objection from the Countryside Officer. With this in mind, he said that the proposal was acceptable in that it provided a long term and environmentally acceptable treatment facility and would be regulated by the legal agreement that had been introduced to secure the implementation of the scheme, including conditions relating to landscaping and hedging.
Speaking on behalf of a local objector, the speaker: -
‘expressed serious concerns about the impact of the proposals in relation to increased noise and smell at the site affecting nearby properties. The speaker said that the applicant had given no consideration to local residents in that the proposed development would be an unnatural and unwelcome structure. Questioning the size and scale of the proposed treatment plant, the speaker likened the size of the lagoons to that of a football pitch and said that the development would be a permanent blot on the landscape. The speaker went on to suggest that the proposal could create unfriendly environmental problems, including increased seagull activity at the site. He also suggested that the applicant might have misled attendees at a local parish council meeting regarding the positive attributes of the treatment plant. Concerned that the development might result in the death of the community, the speaker said that local residents had opposed the application due to the negative impact on noise, smell and air pollution. They also objected to the further development of the site, the potential dangers it might create and to the negative visual impact on the surrounding countryside’.
Speaking on behalf of Westbury on Severn Parish Council, Parish Councillor Colin Evers, made the following statement: -
In August 2011, subject to satisfactory standard practice assessment, and the implementation of the following conditions, Westbury-on-Severn Parish Council informed the FoDDC that it had no objections to this planning application. Those conditions were:
- To ensuring that the public footpath remains unimpeded, and that once the treatment plant has been constructed, all hard surface tracks (used for construction or otherwise) shall be removed.
- That the landscaping proposals shall be improved by the provision of more native trees and shrubs to provide better screening, particularly on the south and east of the site.
Revised plans were subsequently lodged by the applicant that appeared to partially fulfil the first of those requested conditions, i.e. in respect of the public footpath, and in December 2011 we replied to the FoDDC to the effect that the Parish Council had no objections to the revised plans provided the permanent hard surface service tracks are also removed from the proposed scheme.
That remains, the Parish Council's stance, although internally, concern has been expressed by some of its Councillors that, possibly for the reasons touched on in the context of the earlier discussed waste water treatment lagoon, the revised plans will require significant re-profiling of the site's existing topography. This will result in a pair of wash water lagoon structures more dominant in terms of visual impact within the immediate and surrounding area compared with the previously submitted design which, set deeper into the ground, did not require such high retaining bunds. Concern was also expressed about the efficiency of the intended system to treat fish processing arisings adequately. On balance, however, it is Westbury-on-Severn Parish Council's opinion that the applicant's present method of dealing with wash water, that is, spreading it on farm land, needs to stop; not least because of the effect the discharges are having on the local residents and the potential threat they present to the well-being of the internationally designated Walmore Common wetland site. The AeroFac lagoon method of treatment with reuse of treated water is a potential way forward.
The applicant: -
made reference to the government white paper that had been published, addressing issues relating to environmental concerns and considering ways of improving the removal and reprocessing of wastewater at the site. Outlining the attributes of the proposal, the applicant said that it was in his best interests to collect the maximum volume of rainfall and thus avoid buying in large quantities of fresh water and, to making savings on transportation costs and the removal of liquid waste. He said that there would be no visual impact on neighbouring properties and no risk of odour.
Ward member, Councillor Norman Stephens, said that, with the benefit of appropriate conditions, the parish council was relatively happy with the proposals. Whilst commending the principle of the proposal, Councillor Jane Horne said that, although unopposed to making improvements at the site, she felt that the desire to succeed should not be at a cost to local residents. Questioning whether or not the development complied with planning policy PPS 7, the Group Manager for Planning and Housing, Peter Williams, said that due to its rural connections and use of buildings formerly in agricultural use, the development related to the broader sense of the policy.
Having considered issues relating to landscaping and security at the site, the committee appeared generally satisfied with the proposals, on the proviso of imposing appropriate conditions as part of the legal agreement. To address some of the concerns raised during the meeting, Councillor Norman Stephens suggested that the application be either; (i) deferred, pending negotiations to remove the hard core service tracks at the site or, (ii) granted planning permission, (excluding gravel tracks), and with a condition for no other use of the site should the treatment plant not be required and the land reinstated. Following the advice of the Group Manager for Planning and Housing, that the decisions to defer the first application and to refuse the second application might impact on the outcome of the third application for this site, the committee agreed to defer the application in order to clarify the terms of the legal agreement relating to both this and the first application. As an amendment to the proposal, Councillor Philip Burford suggested that the capacity of the two lagoons be restricted to accommodating an output of treated water of between 10 and 20 per cent greater than existing requirements. This was accepted by Councillors Norman Stephens and Jane Horne, (the original mover and seconder), to form part of the motion.
On this basis, Councillor Norman Stephens proposed that the application be deferred for two months and Councillor Jane seconded the proposal. A recorded vote was taken and members,
RESOLVED to defer the application to enable officers to clarify the terms of the proposed legal agreement for this application (P1303/11/FUL) and planning application P2414/10/FUL and to negotiate a reduction in the size of the lagoons to a 10 to 20 per cent increase of current capacity needs.
Councillors James Bevan, Philip Burford, Gethyn Davies, Frankie Evans, Jackie Fraser, Terry Glastonbury, Val Hobman, Jane Horne, Gabriella Kirkpatrick, Paul McMahon, Norman Stephens, Lynn Sterry, Arthur Thomas and David Thomson.