[NOTE 1: The Planning Officer advised the Committee that since the report had been published the applicant had suggested additional conditions as listed below;
• “No more than five children in garden at a time to reduce noise”
• “Parents to park off development and walk to the setting with their child French doors and windows closed to stop noise from inside escaping outside”
• “Children not to access to garden before 10:00 and after 16:00”
• “Temporary planning permission to prove we don’t cause a nuisance for a minimum of two years, to give me the opportunity to prove we are a valued service within the community or a time frame to find a house in a less built up area once the housing market and financial crises settles”]
[NOTE 2: The Planning Officer advised the Committee that since the report was published an additional 39 letters of support had been received raising the following summarised points:
• The applicant provides a valued local service and high quality childcare
• The use does not generate significant noise of traffic impacts
• Reducing the number of children would impact on local parents
• There is a shortage of childminding spaces.
These representations did not change the Planning Officers recommendation.]
The Committee considered an application for change of use of dwelling (Use Class C3) to a mixed use as a dwelling and childminding business (Use Class E) caring for 9 x 1-4 year olds Monday-Friday 7.30am17.45pm (Retrospective).
Councillor W Forster, Ward Councillor, spoke in favour of the application and against enforcement action. Taking into account previous advice received, the applicant thought that the increase in children this was permitted and did not realise this needed approval. The childminding business had received support from the housing association and Ofsted. The application had the support of many local residents. Councillor W Forster though that the proposed enforcement action was disproportionate considering this was the applicants livelihood and offered a valuable service in the Borough.
Many Members of the Committee agreed with the points that the Ward Councillor had raised. The applicant did have a letter from Planning Authority that said up to 5 children did not need approval. The Planning Officer explained that the applicant had been advised that it was a finely balanced matter regarding change of use. At the time the letter was issued they were advised that five children would be unlikely to require a change of use. However, now there were nine children and two staff members, which went beyond ancillary use of dwelling, then change of use must be considered. The Planning Officer commented that the Conditions suggested by the applicant would be impossible to monitor and the increase in children would have impact on local neighbours.
Following a number of comments, some Members commented that they did not think the standard of care of the children was within the planning remit and it was about whether there were issues with noise and parking arising from the application. The Development Officer clarified that the approval by Ofsted was irrelevant when considering the planning application.
Councillor S Dorsett moved, and it was duly seconded by Councillor T Spenser to approve the application for up to nine children and three members of staff.
The Development Manager asked that if the motion was approved, authority be delegated to the Development Manager to impose the relevant conditions as necessary.
In accordance with Standing Orders, the Chairman deemed that a division should be taken on the motion to approve the application. The votes for and against approval of the application were recorded as follows.
In favour: Cllrs S Dorsett, S Greentree, D Jordan, S Oades, C Martin, S Mukherjee and T Spenser.
Present but not voting: Cllrs T Aziz, G Cosnahan and L Morales (Chairman).
The application was therefore approved.
That planning permission be GRANTED with authority delegated to the Development Manager to impose the relevant conditions.