To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Planning Officer regarding a retrospective application for the housing of animals within a detached agricultural building.
The report of the Chief Planning Officer set out a retrospective application for the housing of animals within a detached agricultural building at Swillington Organic Farm, Coach Road, Wakefield Road, Swillington, Leeds, LS26 8QA.
An application had been presented to North and East Plans Panel on 5th July 2018, where it was resolved to grant planning permission in accordance with the recommendation (12 month temporary permission for the use of the building for the housing of animals). In addition Members requested that:
· Officers investigate whether the car parking area constitutes a breach of planning control, and
· Officers to give consideration, in the event that a permanent permission is recommended to be granted, whether a condition can be imposed removing some or all of the agricultural permitted development rights.
Members were advised that the temporary period of 12 months had now ended and that the applicant was seeking to allow the building to permanently house animals. Members were also advised that the structure lies close to a listed building and the applicant is leasing land from St Aidan’s Trust, which is managed by Leeds City Council, and as such it was considered appropriate to report back to Plans Panel for a determination.
Members were provided with a brief overview of the application with photographs and plans shown throughout the presentation and during discussions.
It was noted that one of the main issues was the housing of animals in the barn due to noise complaints from the owner of the listed residential building close by.
Members were advised that agricultural land holdings do have general permitted development rights a document which grants planning consent nationwide subject to certain conditions and limitations. Members note that the barn was erected under this right.
One of the restrictions placed on use of a barn is that if it is within 400m of a residential property that’s not part of the farm unit it cannot be used to house animals.
The Panel was advised that there had been enforcement cases raised in 2017/2018, saying that animals were being housed permanently in the barn and that these were causing a noise nuisance to the residential property. It was explained that this had been the reason why a 12 month temporary permission had been granted to try and ascertain noise levels and if there was harm to the neighbour.
Members noted that the way in which the barn had been used over the past 12 months had not generated any noise complaints.
It was noted that negotiations had taken place with the applicant’s agent to try and move this application forward. It was explained that this was the reason for the condition set out within the submitted report. Members were made aware that the applicant was unhappy with the proposed condition saying that the business could not operate with the condition placed on it.
Members heard that an email had been received from the agent after the publication of the agenda the salient points of the email were read out to the Panel and included some of the following points:
· The Panel report is riddled with inaccuracies and reads as though a bias is swayed towards Swillington House;
· Swillington House the neighbouring dwelling is being sold and therefore no viable complaint;
· Report contradicts itself from paragraph to paragraph and arrives at a conclusion that causes unnecessary stress and planning fees to the farm.
Members’ attention was drawn to paragraphs 1.4, 10.6 and 10.24 in relation to the housing of animals in the barn as this information had been provided directly from the agent.
It was noted that last winter was a dry winter and therefore the cattle remained out in the fields, this says the applicant is why there is no need for the condition to be imposed. However it was the view of the officer that this was the reason why the condition is required as the complaint was in relation to when the animals had been housed in the barn during bad weather.
Members were provided with options open to them for consideration.
The applicant was in attendance at the meeting to answer questions from the Panel. The Panel was reminded of the Public Speaking at Plans Panel Protocol.
In response to Members questions and comments the following points were noted:
· This had been a personal vendetta by a brother who owns Swillington House;
· Swillington House is being sold;
· The farm is organic therefore there are restrictions to the amount of cattle that can be housed in the barn;
· The barn is also used for storing straw;
· Swillington House is a listed building and has single glazed windows;
· The original cowshed also sited close to Swillington House had been used for 20 years with no issues raised;
· The barn had not been used for weening.
Members were advised that if the barn was not used in winter during wet periods the fields would become very muddy and a welfare concern for the animals. It would also mean that come summer there would be no grass left to them out to graze.
It was a suggestion of the Panel that whilst the barn is not used in summer as the animals are out in the fields the condition could specify a time period during the winter (e.g. December to April) for the housing of animals.
RESOLVED – To accept the officer recommendation to grant permission subject to a revised condition to the one advance in the report restricting use of the barn by animals to the winter period - with the precise wording deferred and delegated to officers.