Broad Street Wrington
Planning Minutes
Minutes of a Meeting of the Planning Committee of Wrington Parish Council held in the John Locke room on Tuesday, 13th November, 2007
Mr D W Glynn
Mr M Berkeley
Mrs G J Bigg
Mr T R Clements
Mrs J Gallop
Ms E P Irving
Chairman    Mr G A Matthews
Mrs SL DunnMorua
Mrs G Moss
Mrs C A Phillips
Mr R L Thorn
Mrs D J Yamanaka
Mrs G Wilson

  Mr P Ellis
Mrs P Ledbury

2. Declarations of Interest

3. Public Participation


4. Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising

The minutes of the meeting held on 23rd October 2007 were reviewed and signed without amendment.

Matters arising:

- Tennis Club lights – to be discussed later in the agenda.

- Housing Green Paper – acknowledgement of receipt of our comments had been received.

5. NSC South Area Planning Committee

It was noted that the papers for the meeting on 24th October 2007 had been received the day after the meeting. This seems to be due to cost-saving on the part of NSC.

It was noted that the Gatcombe Farm appeal hearing is scheduled for Tuesday 4th December.

The following were also noted:

- 07/P/0294/F Land off Iwood Lane, Congresbury – appeal dismissed.

- 06/P/2104/CA Richards Garage – being considered

- 05/P/0572/LUE The Piggery, Westward Close – awaiting further information from applicant.

6. Decisions Notices issued by NSC

07/P/2466/WT – The Dower House, Church Walk – tree works: approved.

7. Planning Applications

07/P/7024/F Lye Hole Farm, Lye Hole Lane, Wrington – change of use of agricultural building – full planning application: No objection.

07/P/2828/F Pine Farm, Wrington Hill – erection of replacement agricultural building: it was agreed to await the full hard copy plans, as it is not necessary to respond immediately.

07/P/2818/EIA – Land at Brockley Wood – requirement for Environment Impact Assessment: this is a Greenfield site where cars were parked previously. There could be issues related to groundwater, emissions, biodiversity, and traffic. Cllr Bigg raised the question of whether a condition had been made previously to replace the trees. It was agreed to recommend that an EIA should be carried out.

8. Other Planning Issues

Redhill House (Plush Hotel): Cllr Yamanaka was thanked for representing the Parish Council at the recent licensing hearing. Two residents had also attended. In spite of the representations, the licence was granted. The question of an appeal was discussed, and it was agreed to make some enquiries about the likelihood of success.

07/0639/E - Enforcement Notice issued in relation to fishpond structure and fence at 27 Lawrence Road, Wrington.

Land adjacent to Hillside Cottage, Redhill – notification received of appeal.

Core Strategy Consultation

A discussion of the issues and the Parish Council’s response followed. Cllr Bigg said she did not believe that the assumptions in the document should be accepted at face value. The RSS has been delayed until January 2008, yet the Core Strategy consultation finishes on 30th November. We are being asked to look at North Somerset in isolation, but NSC should be working with the rest of the West of England partnership. Cllr Matthews felt that a good case could be made for the Green Belt to go across to the Mendip Hills – this would be arguably a green area for the whole population of North Somerset. This would also make sense in terms of jobs and transport infrastructure.

The target of 1.5 jobs per house was questioned – current development in Locking has less than one job per house. It was felt that the number of jobs in Weston-super-Mare is insufficient, as many people already commute out of Weston and the emphasis should be on increasing employment opportunities as a first priority.

Cllr Matthews suggested setting out the Parish Council’s vision for Wrington as a ‘people’ place rather than a ‘car’ place. The effect of H/7 on any future development in Wrington was questioned – Cllr Yamanaka said that this plan will take over from the H/7 policy. Cllr Dunn Morua thought that the numbers of houses proposed was being driven by central government policy rather than local needs. Cllr Bigg pointed out that there are currently 3,000 unoccupied properties in North Somerset and a further 8,000 in Bristol and this issue should be addressed when considering the overall numbers required. Cllr Yamanaka said that North Somerset do have an Empty Homes strategy.

The definition of ‘affordable housing’ was discussed: these are houses owned by housing associations and they have to be built to a certain standard, which is higher than those required for general development. For this reason, affordable housing is often more expensive to build and developers are therefore less keen on these developments because the returns are lower. It was felt that there should be greater incentives for builders to provide affordable housing, and that in any case all new housing should conform to the same high standards. Cllr Thorn said we should preface our remarks by stating what we would expect to see in terms of the overall standard of housing.

Cllr Bigg felt the aim of 64% ‘self-containment’ for Weston was too low, and in fact it should be 100% in the longer term. Cllr Yamanaka thought some comments should be included about Barrow Gurney, and improvement to the Downside Road/A38 junction.

It was agreed that the Parish Council’s response should not be confined by the questions in the document. There is a need to be constructive and to offer some alternatives to the proposals set out in the document.

It was agreed that Cllr Glynn will circulate comments by the weekend of 17th/18th November, and then for further discussion to take place at the Parish Council meeting 21st November.

Cllr Matthews gave his apologies and left the meeting after this discussion, at 6.42 pm.

Tennis Club Lights

Cllr Glynn reported that he had paid visits to other local tennis clubs that have the same type of lights as those proposed, and they do seem to produce a lot of light. He had also made enquiries of the suppliers about glare, impact on houses in the area, etc, but they did not seem to have any information on these issues, which was a concern. Some councillors wondered whether the tennis club feel at a disadvantage compared with other clubs because they do not have this type of lighting. Other tennis clubs may be sited in a more ‘urban’ type of area where the amount of light would be of less concern. It would be possible for the Parish Council, in its role as landlord, to impose conditions in relation to the hours the courts are used, if it was felt there would be any benefit in this, together with the possibility of the use of tokens. It was agreed to invite representatives of the tennis club to a meeting of the Parish Council to explain the reasons why they feel they need the new lights.

There being no other business the meeting closed at 7.20 pm.

Mr. D W Glynn

Planning Decisions
Application Address/Location Development Proposal Decision
07/P/2438/F 6 Bakers Buildings
Station Road
Erection of a two storey rear extension, and erection of garden shed with pergola to outer garden area. Approved. The external walling and roofing materials to be used in the building works hereby permitted shall match those in the existing building, unless otherwise specified on the approved plans. Reasons for overriding the Parish Council’s views regarding the outbuilding:

Permissions have been granted for other outbuildings in the rear garden area beyond the pathway, and as a consequence it is not considered to erode the appearance of the area.
07/P/2508/WT Oak Cottage
The Triangle
Tree work Approved.
07/P/2403/F 1 & 2 Clockhouse Mews
School Road
Replacement pcvu windows to side and rear elevations. Refused. The proposed replacement windows do not reflect the character of the existing windows in their material, proportions or method of opening and would adversely affect the character and appearance of the Wrington conservation area and as such are contrary to Policy ECG/3 of the North Somerset Replacement Local Plan
Planning Applications - Comments
Application Address/Location Development Proposal Comments
07/P/7024/F Lye Hole Farm
Lye Hole Lane
Change of use of Agricultural Building to Office/Studio use to include changes to the south, east and west elevations. No comment


Land at Brockley Wood, Brockley

A screening opinion to confirm whether Environment Impact Assessment will be required for the proposed development of a fully enclosed composting facility at Brockley Wood. This is not a planning application

Wrington Parish Council recommends that an Environment Impact Assessment should be carried out in view of potential effects in terms of ground water, emissions, biodiversity and traffic.

The John Locke Room, Silver Street, Wrington BS40 5QE

Tel 01934 863984


Development Control Department
North Somerset Council
Somerset House
Oxford Street
Weston-super-Mare BS23 1TG 16th November 2007

Dear Sirs

Request for EIA Screening Opinion - Land at Brockley Wood
Ref 07/P/2818/EIA

Wrington Parish Council has considered the information submitted by New Earth Solutions Ltd alongside the request for a screening opinion on land in Brockley Wood, Wrington Parish, and recommends that a full Environmental Impact Assessment is required before a proposal for development is given further consideration.

We understand that the current regulations relating to the requirement for formal EIAs and the related screening process became effective 14 March 1999, arising from EU Directive 97/11/EC. Our reading of Circular 02/99 and the related EIA Regulations indicates that the site should be considered as a ‘Sensitive Area’ as defined under Schedule 2 of the Regulations, thus necessitating a full EIA for any potential development on this site.

The following issues are relevant to this argument and will need to be addressed in any EIA:

1. Our view is that the site is sensitive because of its Green Belt designation, its location within the Forest of Avon and the undisturbed wooded landscape of the Brockley Combe/Cleeve Hill/Goblin Combe Wildlife Site (ancient semi-natural broad-leaved woodland), the underlying protected aquifer and, particularly, the North Somerset & Mendips Hills Bats Special Area of Conservation (cSAC). These material issues appear to have been overlooked in the developer's submission, as has the influence of the nearby Goblin Combe SSSI.

2. It is relevant that a retrospective application to legitimise airport related car parking on the site was refused for reasons including 'inappropriate development in the Green Belt' and a 'significant hazard to traffic' due to 'the access to the classified highway, due to the limited visibility, the vertical alignment of the road and the speed of traffic', ref. planning application 05/P/1475/F. It is self-evident that these issues remain in place and would need to be explored in depth as no comprehensive traffic report has been presented for review.

3. We are particularly concerned about traffic impacts on Brockley Combe Road and Downside Road, where both HGV and car traffic creates difficulties at current flows. The applicant forecasts that the facility would generate over 17,000 HGV movements per annum while suggesting that this is not significant, 'particularly given the good links to the principal highway network'. Links to the north and east could never be described as good. Bearing this in mind, and the reasons for the decision on 05/P1475/F and the ready

availability of this background information, our conclusion is that the applicant cannot have thoroughly researched the issues relating to this site.

4. The Decision Notice commented that parking of cars on the site was felt to be 'harmful to the openness of the Green Belt and conflicts with the purposes of including land in Green Belts'. A more significant physical development, such as that suggested, must have a similar or greater impact. Clearly, the site is not designated for any form of development in the Development Plan and is washed over by several RLP designations, facts that appear to have been ignored by the applicant. Further points to note are that the 'illustrative site layout' drawing suggests that the facility requires more space than the currently felled area and, notably, the design, scale and layout of the similar 50,000tpa facility depicted in the proposal documentation do not appear to be appropriate for this location.

5. The site concerned is not only located within the Forest of Avon but was until recently planted with trees. Permission for felling these trees was given by the Forestry Commission but on condition that the site should be replanted or allowed to regenerate naturally as broad-leaved woodland. The land is not 'fallow', as the applicant suggests, but awaiting replanting. The Commission has indicated that it intends to pursue the site owner to enforce the felling licence conditions, specifically replanting. See Forestry Commission (Rob Spence) letter to NSC, 18 July 2005.

Kevin Carlton, NSC Landscape Officer, also recommended replanting of trees on this site (consultation response, 22 July 2005).

6. The site is located above a designated and environmentally sensitive aquifer, the Chelvey Source Protection Zone. An assessment is required of the potential impacts of drainage from the proposed operations and its effect on this groundwater source, together with a risk analysis related to plant/equipment failure. This assessment should also consider the impacts of drainage on the adjacent woodland. Significantly, questions should be asked about the potential environmental impact resulting from failure of the balancing lagoon.

7. Alongside drainage, a report is required on the potential for nuisance caused by airborne emissions both in the course of normal operations and in the event of plant failure. We note the reference to an 'enclosed' system, although this is just one word on the screening opinion request and no guarantee of any level of emissions control. There have been recent press reports of complaints about gaseous emissions and odours from what appears to be a similar composting facility.

8. In addition to Kevin Carlton, Pauline Homer, then NSC's Ecologist, also supported the proposal to replant with broadleaved trees (consultation response, 20 July 2005). At the same time Ms Homer emphasised the importance of the woodland for wildlife, commenting that the use for car parking had affected 'the integrity of the woodland for wildlife' while emphasising the potentially negative impacts of development-related pollution. Of course, this related to cars at that time. It seems clear that there is the potential for disturbance arising from emissions, noise, lighting, traffic and general site operations, all of these needing to be assessed in some detail.

9. Along with all other local authorities, NSC now has a duty under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERC) relating to the conservation of biodiversity. Development on this site would certainly result in a loss of biodiversity. In this respect, the fullest possible assessment is required of the potential impact on the biodiversity in and around this woodland site. Pauline Homer highlighted reports of the presence of greater horseshoe bats adjacent to the site and more generally in this central area of the woodland. At the time, she stated; 'it is clear that the foraging of the bats that use this woodland will be affected'. It is worth emphasising that these are greater horseshoe bats, an EU protected species which has its own 'Species action plan' in 'Action for Nature', NSC's Biodiversity Action Plan.

10. Greater horseshoe bats forage along the woodland fringe and in the woodland glades, feeding on airborne insects, with this habitat becoming increasingly important to this and other bat species as more and more local permanent pasture land nearby is converted to arable cropping. While accepting that the formal cSAC designations apply directly to the maternity roosts, including that at Brockley Hall nearby and in Kings Wood, Congresbury, the viability of this EU protected species is dependent on the closely associated foraging areas and the currently undisturbed flight corridors between the maternity and other roosts. Radio tracking of bats from Brockley Hall has demonstrated how this species uses the local landscape habitat. New Earth Solutions Ltd seems to be unaware of the greater horseshoe bat, the cSAC or the relevance of the EU Habitats Directive.

11. Although the impact on bats is potentially crucial, an assessment of the impacts on other woodland flora and fauna species should also be required, especially birds. It is known that the woodland here is home to owls and other threatened bird species. The affects on these of industrial activity, emissions, noise and, particularly, lighting must be fully researched.

12. We are also extremely concerned about the potential threat of fires arising from this site. If, as is forecast, future summers are to be hotter and dryer as a consequence of the effects of climate change, then it seems that what would be a form of industrial development in the centre of the woodland must bring with it a significantly increased risk of fire. Recent reports of loss of life due to woodland fires in Greece and the USA have brought this issue to mind. The risks to property and residents need to be thoroughly researched, especially as composting is an inherently heat-generating process.

In conclusion, following the approach taken by New Earth Solutions Ltd and as indicated earlier, our view is that this is a Schedule 2 development and clearly located within a 'Sensitive Area'. Please refer to para 5.3.1 in the applicant's submission and the first bullet point where it states that Sensitive Areas include 'SSSIs and their consultation areas under nature conservation orders and international conservation sites'. Simple research would have brought this into focus. The flow chart then asks 'if it (the development) is likely to have significant effects on the environment'? We don't know, although it is highly probable. That's why an EIA is required.

Yours faithfully

Gabrielle Wilson

Clerk, Wrington Parish Council