The Committee considered a proposal for the extension of the existing car park at the Hoebridge Golf Centre to provide forty eight additional parking spaces and associated engineering works. The proposal also includes the resurfacing of an existing gravel overflow car park with tarmac.
Councillor I Johnson, Ward Councillor, commented that there were no representations received for this application which was telling. He commented that he did not think this caused any harm to the openness of the green belt and he requested that the Committee consider approving this application.
Following a question the Planning Officer confirmed that the resurfacing works to the car park would be tarmac and the extension to the car park would be a tech-pave system, which was infilled with grass to mitigate the visual impact. Although recommended for refusal by Planning Officers, if the Committee chose to approve this application, then the relevant conditions would be applied to seek a sustainable drainage solution; suitable conditions would also include tree protection and landscaping proposals.
Councillor D Hughes thought that the Committee must be sensitive to the Green Belt and she did not think that there were very special circumstances in this situation. Councillor D Hughes commented that when she had visited in the past, on a number of occasions, there was no evidence of lack of parking. Councillor D Hughes also commented that this development was at the highest point of the golf club and suggested it would harm the visual amenity of the area.
Many Members of the Committee commented that they did not think that this application would harm the openness of the green belt and thought that it should be approved. Comments were also made that suggested it was not within the Committees remit to suggest whether there was or was not a need for the extra parking or to suggest users of the club should use a different mode of transport.
Following a comment from the Chairman, the Planning Officer clarified that if the application was permitted then the site would remain in the green belt and that the threshold for Secretary of State approval and then removal from the green belt was 1000sqm.
Thomas James commented that if the Committee were minded to approve the application then they would need to specify what the very special circumstance were to allow the development or confirm that they considered this to be appropriate green belt development.
Following a question, the Planning Officer confirmed that any trees had already been removed from the site.
Councillor S Dorsett proposed, and it was duly seconded by Councillor T Aziz that the application be approved on the grounds that it was considered appropriate development in the Green Belt and did not cause harm to the character of the area.
In accordance with Standing Order 22.2, the Chairman deemed that a division should be taken on the motion above. The votes for and against approval of the application were recorded as follows.
In favour: Cllrs T Aziz, J Brown, S Dorsett, N Martin, C Rana and D Roberts.
Against: Cllr D Hughes.
Present but not voting: Cllr L Morales (Chairman).
The application was therefore approved.
That Planning permission be GRANTED subject to the appropriate conditions, with authority delegated to the Development Manager.