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Planning Application Approved for new syabling and a holiday let in Hereford.

HOLIDAY LET AND NEW STABLING APPROVED
HAYWOOD, WORMSIDE, HEREFORD.

Planning Application for the creation of a new holiday let and barn at Land at Grafton Lane, East of Glendale, Haywood, Wormside, Herefordshire.

En-Plan in order to develop both a holiay let business and to create a small scale agricultural resource.  We are bringing to bear our experience in the development field to create a development that gives back to the environment as a whole.  The scheme upon completion will provide a sustainable tourism and agricultural business.

Site Description

The application relates to a site located to the southwest of Hereford to the west of Grafton. The site is set in a rural environment surrounded by agricultural land, accessed off the C1226 and C1227 and the railway lies to the south east. The access to the site was approved under application P201505/F and currently comprises a number of small buildings associated with the existing animal keeping on the site.  The property maintains walking and cycle links with Hereford therrough Public Rights of Way.

 

Proposal

 

Proposed erection of barn and stables, and a holiday lodge with service inlet building.       

 

This application soughgt permission for the construction of a barn and stables building for housing land maintenance equipment and chickens and goats. Additionally, the scheme includes proposed holiday accommodation with service inlet building. The application has been amended to reduce the proposed holiday lets from 2 to 1 at the request fo the Council.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planning Policy

 

Section 38 (6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 states as follows:

 

“If regard is to be had to the development plan for the purpose of any determination to be made under the Planning Acts the determination must be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.”

 

In this instance the adopted development plan is the Herefordshire Local Plan – Core Strategy (CS) and the ‘made’ Callow and Haywood Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) adopted 1 December 2016.  At this time the policies in the NDP can be afforded full weight as set out in paragraph 48 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2019, which itself is a significant material consideration.

 

The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (as amended) (the 2012 Regulations) and paragraph 33 of the National Planning Policy Framework requires a review of local plans be undertaken at least every five years in order to determine whether the plan policies and spatial development strategy are in need of updating, and was  updated in November 2020.  The level of consistency of the policies in the local plan with the NPPF will be taken into account by the Council in deciding any applications. In this case, the policies relevant to the determination of this application have been reviewed and are considered to remain entirely consistent with the NPPF and as such can be afforded significant weight.

Relevant Policies

 

Herefordshire Local Plan Core Strategy 2011 – 2031 

 

SS1 - P resumption in favour of sustainable development

SS4 - Movement and transportation

SS5 - Employment provision

SS6 - Environmental quality and local distinctiveness

RA3 - Herefordshire’s countryside

RA4 - Agricultural, forestry and rural enterprise dwellings

RA6 - Rural economy

MT1 - Traffic Management, highway safety and promoting active travel

E4 - Tourism

LD1 - Landscape and townscape

LD2 - Biodiversity and geodiversity

LD3 - Green Infrastructure

SD1 - Sustainable Design and energy efficiency

SD3 - Sustainable water management and water resources

SD4 - Waste water treatment and river water quality

 

Callow and Haywood Neighbourhood Development Plan:

 

A referendum for voters within the Callow and Haywood Neighbourhood Area was held on the 3 November 2016 and passed. The Callow and Haywood Neighbourhood Development Plan is therefore part of the statutory development plan.

 

Policy CH1 – Protecting and Enhancing the Rural Landscape

Policy CH2 – Building and Transport Design Principles

Policy CH5 – Managing New Business Development in Former Agricultural Buildings and other Land-Based Rural Business Buildings

Policy CH6 – Supporting Tourism and Local Business Development in Callow and Haywood

 

 National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – Relevant Chapters:

 

2. Achieving sustainable development

6. Building a strong, competitive economy

9. Promoting sustainable transport

12. Achieving well-designed places

15. Conserving and enhancing the natural environment

 

Principle of Development

 

With the proposal being for holiday accommodation, policies RA6 and E4 of the CS are most relevant in the first instance, along with Policy CH6 of the NDP. Chapter 6 of the NPPF is also relevant which touches on supporting a thriving and prosperous economy.

 

Policy CH6 contained within the Callow & Haywood Group Neighbourhood Development Plan seeks to support development that improves the quality and diversity of tourist accommodation with small scale enterprises being permissible where it:

 

  1. Does not have a detrimental effect on the distinct character of the rural landscape and settlements and promotes tranquillity and the quiet enjoyment of the countryside;

  2. Does not adversely affect the surrounding infrastructure, particularly local road networks and water supply and sewage;

  3. Benefits the local community, through for instance, provision of local employment opportunities and improvements to local service provision, and is proportionate to the size of the settlement in which it is located; and

  4. Where feasible the development involves the re-use of existing buildings or is part of farm and other land-based rural businesses diversification.

 

This policy of the NDP is reinforced through policies RA6 and E4 of the CS. Policy RA6 acknowledges that the rural economy will be diversified through a range of economic activities, including sustainable tourism proposals of an appropriate scale and in accordance with policy E4.

 

Policy E4 states that the tourism industry will be supported by a number of measures including:

 

  1. recognising the unique historic character of Hereford and the market towns as key visitor attractions and as locations to focus the provision of new larger scale tourist development;

  2. the development of sustainable tourism opportunities, capitalising on assets such as the county’s landscape, rivers, other waterways and attractive rural settlements, where there is no detrimental impact on the county’s varied natural and heritage assets or on the overall character and quality of the environment. Particular regard will be had to conserving the landscape and scenic beauty in the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty;

  3. retaining and enhancing existing, and encouraging new, accommodation and attractions throughout the county, which will help to diversify the tourist provision, extend the tourist season and increase the number of visitors staying overnight. In particular proposals for new hotels in Hereford will be encouraged. Applicants will be encouraged to provide a ‘Hotel Needs Assessment’ for any applications for new hotels;

  4. ensuring that cycling, walking and heritage tourism is encouraged by facilitating the development of long distance walking and cycling routes, food and drink trails and heritage trails, including improvements to public rights of way, whilst having special regard for the visual amenity of such routes and trails, and for the setting of heritage assets in their vicinity; and

  5. the safeguarding of the historic route of the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal (shown on the Policies Map), together with its infrastructure, buildings, towpath and features. Where the original alignment cannot be re-established, a corridor allowing for deviations will be safeguarded. New developments within or immediately adjoining the safeguarded corridor will be required to incorporate land for canal restoration. Development not connected with the canal that would prevent or prejudice the restoration of a continuous route will not be permitted.

 

The postscript to policy E4 acknowledges that many visitors to the county come to enjoy the beautiful countryside and there is likely to be a demand for new facilities and accommodation associated with this. It goes on to state that whilst some small scale tourism associated development may be appropriate in rural areas, any significant new development for accommodation and facilities should be focused in Hereford and the market towns to maximise sustainable transport opportunities and to protect environmental amenity. While E4 recognises that by the very nature of this type of accommodation it is often in remote locations, Policy CH6 seeks to ensure that tourist development is proportionate to the size of settlement in which it is located - which suggests tourist accommodation should be focused within settlements rather than across the open countryside. However, Policy CH6 is not explicit on this matter and it is considered that small scale holiday accommodation, truly designed for holiday purposes could still gain support. The amended scheme proposes one simple rectangular form log cabin which would be considered to meet the policy requirement and truly designed for holiday purposes not being desirable for day-to-day private domestic existence.

 

It is clear that, from the above policy assessment, there is broad support for tourist accommodation, truly designed for holiday purposes, even if in open countryside locations.  Providing such accommodation does not have an undue impact upon the environment, landscape or heritage values.

 

This proposal presents a barn and stable building of a larger albeit reasonable scale, clearly designed for intended purposes. With regards to the principle of development, in the first instance it is noted that Policy RA6 supports employment generating proposals in rural areas, especially where it involves the small scale expansion of existing businesses. However, it makes clear that such proposals will only be supported where they ensure that the development is of a scale which would be commensurate with its location and setting and would not cause adverse impacts to the amenity of neighbours by way of its design or through noise, dust, smell or lighting. It also sets out that such proposals should not undermine water quality targets in line with the objectives of Policies SD3 and SD4. At the national level, Paragraph 84 of the NPPF makes it very clear that planning decisions should enable the sustainable growth and expansion of all types of business in rural areas, either through the conversion of existing buildings or well-designed new buildings. The NPPF goes onto recognise that sites to meet local business needs will often be found outside of sustainable settlements. This should not preclude development, but particular care and attention needs to be given to ensure that the development is sensitive to its surroundings and does not have an adverse impact on the local highway network should be had in such instances. The new buildings are proposed to house the tools required for maintenance of the land and the animals on the site. The applicants currently keep chickens on the site and intend to breed rare goats as a small business on the site, as such the barn and stable are commensurate for the need and proposed use of the site.

 

Subject to an assessment of the proposal’s design, landscape impact, impact upon heritage assets, biodiversity and highways, I am of the view that there is policy support for the broad principle of this proposal.

 

Design, Landscape and Amenity

The landscape character of Herefordshire is diverse and influenced by its geographical features, agricultural heritage, and historic settlements. Here are some key elements that contribute to the landscape character of Herefordshire:

  1. Rural Countryside: Herefordshire is predominantly rural, characterized by rolling hills, valleys, and meandering rivers. The landscape is interspersed with farmland, pastures, and orchards, showcasing the county's agricultural heritage. The open vistas and patchwork of fields contribute to the scenic beauty of the countryside.

  2. River Valleys: Herefordshire is intersected by several rivers, including the River Wye, River Lugg, and River Frome. The river valleys feature fertile floodplains and meadows, often lined with trees and hedgerows. These valleys provide important habitats for wildlife and offer opportunities for recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and walking.

  3. Woodland and Forests: Herefordshire boasts pockets of ancient woodland, such as the Forest of Dean and Mortimer Forest. These woodlands consist of diverse tree species and provide habitats for wildlife. The presence of woodlands contributes to the scenic beauty and ecological richness of the landscape.

  4. Historic Villages and Market Towns: Throughout Herefordshire, you'll find charming historic villages and market towns with distinctive architectural styles. Many of these settlements feature timber-framed buildings, quaint cottages, and historic churches. These settlements add character and a sense of heritage to the landscape.

  5. Historic Landmarks: Herefordshire is home to several notable historic landmarks, including the Hereford Cathedral, with its medieval architecture and famous Mappa Mundi. Other landmarks include castles, manor houses, and ancient sites like Arthur's Stone and Croft Castle. These landmarks contribute to the cultural and historical significance of the landscape.

  6. AONBs and Conservation Areas: Herefordshire encompasses portions of the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Wye Valley AONB. These designated areas are recognized for their exceptional landscape beauty and conservation value. They offer opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, and wildlife watching.

 

The landscape character of Herefordshire reflects a harmonious blend of natural beauty, agricultural traditions, and historic heritage. It is an area that attracts visitors and residents alike, seeking to enjoy the tranquility and scenic splendor of the rural countryside.

 

The Core Strategy seeks, via policy LD1, to ensure development proposals demonstrate how the character of the landscape and townscape has positively influenced the design, scale, nature and site selection of the proposal. Development should be integrated appropriately through the use of landscape schemes and their management. Furthermore LD1 seeks to maintain and extend tree cover where important to amenity. At local level, the NDP at policy CH1 seeks to protect the areas sense of tranquillity and preserve or enhance the character of the villages and rural settlements, as well as the protection of mature and established trees with the planting of local species encouraged.

 

The site lies within Wooded Estatelands landscape character type, comprising wooded agricultural landscapes of isolated farmsteads with mixed farming being the dominant land use, clusters of wayside dwellings and occasional small estate villages with woodland covering about 30-40% of the land cover. The Landscape Officer initially raised concern that the original scheme would impact the visual experience of the landscape from the PROW to the west of the site due to the encroachment into open countryside, requesting further detail to inform the decision including material colours, landscaping plans and tree and hedgerow surveys. Aboricultural report and landscape plan were submitted however further concern was highlighted that the buildings as originally proposed appears scattered within the site with no justification and out of keeping with the character setting. Amended plans were provided reducing the proposed holiday units from two to one, combining the stable and barn block to the northern corner of the site and removing the engineered fire pit. This addressed concerns raised by the Landscape Officer who confirmed compliance with policy LD1, providing coherent relationship between the buildings, reducing the visual impact of proposed hardstanding and proposing tree planting to reflect the landscape character. Condition is included to secure planting shown in the aboricultural report at the appendices to be carried out in the first planting season.

 

With regards to specific design, the Core Strategy SD1 relates to the design of new buildings including garages. The policy states that proposals should be designed to maintain local distinctiveness through detailing and materials, respecting scale, height, proportions and massing of surrounding development. The proposal should also safeguard the amenity of existing and proposed residents in terms of overlooking, overshadowing and overbearing. This is echoed by policy CH2 of the NDP, which seeks to ensure new development enhances and reinforces the local distinctiveness, whilst being of a scale, mass and built form which responds to the site and its surroundings.

 

The proposed holiday accommodation would be a modest timber cabin of simple rectangular form, providing living/kitchen space, bathroom and bedroom, and the barn would utilise stone elevations and traditional agricultural design approach. The service inlet building would read as an ancillary structure of minimal massing and materials to match the proposed structures within the site. The use of simple and agricultural design approach and in keeping materials with the rural context. The site is bounded by established trees and hedgerow with planting proposed to the southern portion of the site, as such this will provide vegetative buffer to soften the visual impact of the built form.

 

With regards to residential amenity, the closest neighbouring dwelling lies approximately 200 metres to the west of the proposal site as such there is sufficient separation to alleviate concerns for residential amenity in terms of noise and nuisance. Furthermore, given the minor scale of the holiday accommodation proposed and the minor increase in animal maintenance on the site, it is not considered that there would be significant increase in movement and associated noise to and from the site.

 

Highways

 

The NPPF sets out at paragraph 110 that applications for development should ensure opportunities to promote sustainable transport have been taken, safe and suitable access to the site can be achieved for all users and any significant impacts from the development on the transport network or highway safety can be mitigated. Policy MT1 of the Core Strategy is reflective of this approach, as it seeks to promote active travel and development that without adversely affecting the safe and effective flow of traffic on the highway network. Further at paragraph 111 the NPPF sets out that development should only be prevented or refused on highways grounds if there would be an unacceptable impact on highway safety, or the residual cumulative impact on the road network would be severe. These aims are echoed by policy CH2 of the NDP.

 

The proposal would utilise existing access previously approved under application 201505, however given the intensification of the site visibility splays and stepping back of the gates was requested. This detail was provided and reviewed by the Highways Officer who has raised no objection to the scheme subject to conditions to secure the technical details. The local highways network is considered to be able to accept the minor additional movements to and from the site and would not meet the serve threshold within the NPPF. The objection received focuses on the access to the site, it is recognised that access from Grafton Lane is limited to active travel, however vehicular access is achieved from Merryhill C road. The parking space proposed is considered acceptable and the provision of cycle parking on site is secured by condition.

 

Ecology and Drainage

 

Policies LD2 and LD3 of the Core Strategy are applicable in relation to ecology and the impact on trees. These state that development proposals should conserve, restore and enhance the biodiversity and geodiversity asset of the County and protect, manage and plan for the preservation of existing and delivery of new green infrastructure.

 

The application has been supported by Ecological Survey Report, this has been reviewed by the Council’s Ecologist who raises no objection to the mitigation measures and biodiversity enhancements detailed. Subject to this being conditioned, the proposed development is considered unlikely to have adverse ecological impact on the local area. The survey has focussed on the potential habitats or protected species to be damaged or destroyed as part of this development. No impacts are expected as a direct result of the proposed development. The land to be developed is heavily grazed pasture of no botanical interest.
The development can proceed without the loss of habitat of significant value, and without the loss of the favourable conservation status of any protected species. As there is no evidence of protected species within and around the development site, there is no requirement to address the three tests under Regulation 55 of The Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.
The method statements provided in this report will be followed and works will be done at a suitable time of year. Other than those listed above, there are no ecological constraints to the development as currently proposed.

The application was also supported by a Tree Report which noted that there are three B, three C and one category U trees on the site. Additionally, there are four category C hedges and four groups. Three of the groups are category C and one is U. No tree will need to be removed to allow the development to take place, but as a matter of good management to reduce risk posed by trees Ok12, and Group 3 should be removed.
9.4 Correctly placed fencing will ensure retained trees can be suitably protected during the build. A replacement planting proposal is put forward to ensure that new trees can enhance the site and once established will provide increased amenity for the area. A significant net gain in trees is proposed. The proposal is arboriculturally sound and complies with BS5837.

 

Policy SD3 of the Core Strategy states that measures for sustainable water management will be required to be an integral element of new development in order to reduce flood risk, avoid an adverse impact on water quality, protect and enhance groundwater resources and to provide opportunities to enhance biodiversity, health and recreation and will be achieved by many factors including developments incorporating appropriate sustainable drainage systems to manage surface water. For waste water, policy SD4 states that in the first instance developments should seek to connect to the existing mains wastewater infrastructure. Where evidence is provided that this option is not practical alternative arrangements should be considered in the following order; package treatment works (discharging to watercourse or soakaway) or septic tank (discharging to soakaway).

 

The proposal includes foul water to be managed via septic tanks discharging to drainage field with surface water to be managed via soakaway and rainwater capture butts where possible. The Council’s Ecologist has reviewed the submitted supporting information and raises no objection to the proposals.

 

The site is within the hydrological catchment which comprises part of the River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC) as such the requirement for HRA process is triggered. Following submission of sufficient foul and surface water management information, the HRA concluded no likely significant effects on the SAC and the development is therefore screened out from appropriate assessment and consultation with Natural England.

The application was accompanied by a full drianage strategy which was completed after a percolation test.

A percolation test, also known as a perc test or soil percolation test, is a method used to assess the drainage characteristics of soil. It is commonly conducted to determine the suitability of the soil for the installation of septic systems or soakaway systems. During a percolation test, a series of holes or test pits are dug in the ground at the proposed location of the septic system or soakaway. The holes are typically 300mm (12 inches) wide and 300mm to 600mm (12 to 24 inches) deep. The bottom and sides of the hole are usually compacted to prevent water from escaping laterally. The test involves measuring the rate at which water infiltrates or percolates into the soil from a standardized volume of water poured into the test hole.

The hole is filled with water to a specified level and allowed to stand for a certain period, often 24 hours, to saturate the soil. After the saturation period, the water level in the hole is measured to establish the starting water level. The hole is then refilled to the initial water level and the time taken for the water level to drop by a certain amount (often 1 inch or 25mm) is recorded. This measurement is typically repeated several times to obtain an average time. The percolation rate is calculated by dividing the amount of water that infiltrates (in inches or millimeters) by the time it took for the water level to drop (in minutes). The result is expressed as a rate, such as inches per hour or millimeters per minute. The percolation rate provides an indication of how quickly water can be absorbed into the soil. It helps to determine the suitability of the soil for wastewater disposal systems like septic systems or soakaways. Different regulations or local authorities may have specific requirements for the acceptable percolation rate, depending on factors such as soil type, groundwater level, and local climate.

 

It is important to note that the percolation test is just one aspect of assessing soil suitability for wastewater disposal systems. Other factors, such as soil texture, depth to groundwater, and site-specific conditions, should also be considered in the overall evaluation of the site's suitability for the intended purpose. Consulting with local authorities or professionals experienced in wastewater systems is recommended for accurate assessments and compliance with relevant regulations. En-Plan were able to assess all these factors and produce sdraiange startegy that will work.

 

Conclusion

 

The construction of build form in this location does bring about intrinsic visual harm, however this is largely offset by the appropriate design approach and landscaping scheme to soften the cabin with planting. It is also recognised that the site is considered an unsustainable location of the site, however the overarching support provided by RA6 and E4 is sufficient to outweigh the minor adverse effects identified with no technical objection raised. The barn and stable building is considered acceptable, replacing existing provision on the site and accommodating animals currently on the site. As such, the application is recommended for approval subject to the below conditions.

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