The Committee considered an application for the erection of a single storey building to be used as kennels.
Councillor M Whitehand, Ward Councillor, had called the application to the Committee for consideration and request that Members consider approval. Councillor M Whitehand commented that the application could be seen as an extension of the existing business, which had grown rapidly, and that the new building would be used for the same purpose as the other building already on the site. She argued that the land was already used commercially and that the proposed development would not be visible from the nearest footpath, or when the animals were dropped off at the kennels. The new kennel was very modest and there would be no additional traffic generated. Councillor M Whitehand suggested that in relation to policy DM13 there were special circumstances and that this application did not contravene policy CS6 of the Core Strategy. Councillor M Whitehand proposed, and it was duly seconded by Councillor S Dorsett that the application be approved for the reasons set out above.
The Planning Officer commented that the development was considered inappropriate development in the Green Belt, which by definition would mean it was harmful to the Green Belt. There had been no very special circumstances case put forward in support of the scheme and there were none apparent in this instance. The Planning Officer advised the Committee that the development was proposed on an area of undeveloped land on the site and approval of this would be seen as encroachment on the countryside. This application could not be considered agricultural, or forestry use as suggested by Councillor M Whitehand, although it may have been in the past it was now a kennels, which did not fall under this exemption category. It would also not fall under the exemption category of limited infilling in a village. The Planning Officer commented that they considered this application to be contrary to Policy CS6 of the Woking Core Strategy (2012) and Policy DM13 of the Development Management Policies Development Plan Document (2016) and Section 13 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2021).
Members were disappointed that the photos that were available on the planning portal did not make up part of the presentation. The Planning Officer apologised and advised the Committee that it was not possible to include these due to IT issues.
Following comments regarding the field where the development was proposed being full of rubbish, the Planning Officer commented that this could not be used as a reason to develop Green Belt land. Rubbish could be easily cleared and did not have the same level of permanence as a building.
Thomas James, Development Manager, asked that Councillor M Whitehand be clear on her reason to approve; was this appropriate development in the Green Belt or was this inappropriate development in the Green Belt, but with very special circumstances. Following discussion, Councillor M Whitehand proposed that this was inappropriate development in the Green Belt, but that there were very special circumstances.
Some Members commented that the kennels were a great local business and an impressive facility, however they did not think that a robust case for very special circumstance had been put forward. The Planning Officer confirmed that the applicant had not submitted a very special circumstances case to support the scheme. The information that Councillor M Whitehand had read out had not been submitted and was therefore not robust and did not outweigh the harm. The Planning Officer commented that the applicant could come back with further evidence and a robust case for very special circumstances and the Committee could reconsider the application with all the information available to them.
Some Members commented that there was merit in the application, but clearly some information was missing.
In accordance with Standing Order 22.2, the Chairman deemed that a division should be taken on the motion to approve. The votes for and against approval of the application were recorded as follows.
In favour: Cllrs J Brown, S Dorsett and M Whitehand.
Against: Cllr T Aziz, G Cosnahan, P Graves, L Morales (Chairman) and S Oades
Present but not voting: Cllr A Boote
The application was therefore not approved.
In accordance with Standing Order 22.2, the Chairman deemed that a division should be taken on the recommendation. The votes for and against refusal of the application were recorded as follows.
In favour: Cllr T Aziz, G Cosnahan, S Dorsett, P Graves, L Morales (Chairman) and S Oades.
Against: Cllr M Whitehand.
Present but not voting: Cllr A Boote and J Brown.
The application was therefore refused.
That planning permission be REFUSED.