Agenda item

Application for Consideration - 21/01465/FULL - Scriventon Farm and Buildings, Four Winds Farm, Speldhurst


Planning Report and Presentation – The Head of Planning Services submitted a report in respect of application PLA/21/01465/FULL, Scriventon Farm and Buildings, Four Winds Farm, Speldhurst, Kent and this was summarised at the meeting by Marie Bolton, Principal Planning Officer and illustrated by means of a visual presentation.


Updates and additional representation -  Two additional comments had been received which raised concerns about access onto Frank Hollows Road, impact on the skyline and woodlands, destruction of the footpath and infrastructure on services.  It was considered that these concerns had been addressed in the report.  An amendment to Condition 15 that would ensure Building A remained ancillary to the residential use of Building B and Building C.


Registered Speakers – There were 10 speakers that registered in accordance with the Council’s Constitution (Planning Committee Procedure Rules):



-       Mrs Clare McCulloch

-       Mr Eric Maude

-       Mr James Perry

-       Mr Malcolm Harris



-       Mr John Perry (agent)

-       Ms Christine Fisher


Parish Council

-       Cllr Kim Rajah


Borough Council

-       Cllr Harry Allen

-       Cllr Lucy Willis

-       Cllr Matthew Sankey


Matters of Clarification by Officers and Committee Members’ Questions to Officers:


-       The application was for the conversion of existing buildings, not a rebuild.  The existing buildings were considered to be sound and not in need of major reconstruction.

-       The buildings would require a change in materials and this was considered acceptable.

-       No objections had been received from the Landscape and Biodiversity Officer.

-       The changes made to the scheme were considered to provide a more cohesive use of the buildings.

-       Material changes included bringing in the application site boundary to the back of Building A, curtilage from the west would also be reduced.  Additionally, access would now be from Franks Hollow Road, not Barden Road.

-       The buildings to the North East did not form part of the current application.  A separate application would be required which would be considered on its own merits.

-       Local Plan Policy made provision under H13 for the conversion of existing buildings. 

-       The reuse and conversion of existing buildings was a permissible exception when considering development within the Green Belt (as set out in the NPPF).  This was the same for the original application and was not one of the reasons it was refused.  The Inspector also did not consider it an inappropriate development.

-       The report dealt with issues related to the AONB (Page 128 of the report refers).

-       Comments from the Council’s Landscape and Biodiversity Officer were on page 134/135 of the report.  No objections were raised.  It was further stated that the scheme either met or exceeded policy requirements.

-       The reduction in the number of units, 8 down to 5 was considered to be a material change to the application. 

-       Access rights were a private matter which would be undertaken between the landowner and the applicant and was not a planning consideration. 

-       Condition 9 addressed permitted development rights.  However, it was suggested that Class B be included as part of this Condition which had been omitted.

-       The Council’s existing planning policy H13, that allowed the conversion of existing buildings to residential buildings did not require them to be in a sustainable location. This was because often by their nature, rural buildings were not situated in sustainable locations.  It was noted that this development was not considered to be an isolated location. 

-       It was confirmed that there were no objections to the scheme from Kent Fire and Rescue (para 7.02 refers).

-       It was confirmed that it was not usual practice for Building Regs to be submitted before planning permission had been granted.

-       The size of the development was too small for it to be included in the Local Plan.

-       The development and consideration of its impact on the AONB would include all aspects of the development e.g. gardens, car, parking provision etc.

-       The gardens associated with Building A on the original application had been particularly prominent, the widening of the track to Barden Road and parking provision had also been raised by the Inspector.  Two of the concerns raised (access and gardens) had now been removed from the application.  Parking provision was now mostly within the envelope of the existing buildings. 

-       The requirements for new builds and the conversion of existing buildings were different.  The NPPF encouraged the reuse of existing buildings, there was no similar policy for new builds. 

-       Paragraph 10.15 summarised the differences of the two schemes and included the reduction in number of dwellings, the scheme was now more compact, the use of existing buildings and the change in access road.

-       With reference to the previous refusal, the conversion was not considered unacceptable by the Committee or the Inspector, it was because of the use and extent of the development.  It was further noted there was no previous objection to the development being in the greenbelt. 

-       In the previous application Building A was due to be converted into separate dwellings with gardens that would project down the slope towards the valley.  This would have had a very different on the impact on the AONB.  The revised application did not include these elements and did not exceed the footprint of the existing building. 


Committee Debate and Officer Responses – Members of the Committee took account of the presentations made and raised a number of questions and issues within their discussions. These included:


-       It was not felt the development was inappropriate.  But it was important to consider the impact on the AONB.

-       Conversion would preserve the existing buildings (as the Oast House had done before).

-       Planning permission could be granted without knowing details of the agreement with regards to access.  Access not being a planning consideration.

-       The gardens and car parking would not be seen from down the valley. 

-       The buildings were currently redundant.  There was a need for housing and this was a site where buildings already existed.  It was therefore deemed an appropriate use for development.

-       The roof line was not being changed and the cars would be well hidden from view.  As such there was little to suggest there would be an intrusion on the AONB.

-       The reduction in the number of dwellings was sufficient to recommend the scheme for approval.

-       The current application addressed the issues raised by the Inspector.

-       The scale of the development was too small to require a Condition to include electric charging points.  However, an informative could be added that consideration should be given that an electric charging point should be included for each property.

-       Separate legislation applied for the installation of electric charging points for new builds. 

-       Condition 15 made clear the offices were ancillary to the residents houses and should only be used by them.  This prevented any material change in use e.g. commercial office or other business premises.

-       Some Members remained concerned about the impact on the AONB and sustainability and could not support the application for these reasons.

-       The previous application submitted in 2018 was refused and it was suggested this was the right decision by the Committee.  The Inspector supported that decision and provided details of the areas of concern.  The developer had taken on board those comments and they had now been addressed in the revised application.  It was therefore suggested the Committee had no grounds to now refuse the application. 


Decision/voting – On the basis that Members were satisfied that all relevant planning considerations had been covered within the report, a motion was proposed by Councillor Poile, seconded by Councillor Pound and a vote was taken to approve the application in line with the officer recommendation and with the following additions:

-       That Building C be added to Condition 15.

-       The addition of Class B to Condition 9.

-       The addition of an Informative relating to electric vehicle charging points.


Councillor Bland requested that the vote for the motion to approve the application in line with the officer recommendation be recorded.


Councillors Atwood, Fitzsimmons, Patterson, Poile, Pope, Pound and Bland voted for the motion to approve the application in line with the officer recommendation.


Councillors Funnel, Hall and Backhouse voted against the motion to approve the application in line with the officer recommendation.








RESOLVED – That application 21/01465/FULL, Scriventon Farm and Buildings, Four Winds Farm, Speldhurst Kent be granted subject to the plans, conditions and informatives as set out in the agenda report and the addition on Building C to Condition 15, the addition of Class B to Condition 9 and an Informative relating to electric vehicle charging points.








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