Mewn perthynas â cheisiadau y mae gan y Cyngor ddiddordeb ynddynt un ai fel ymgeisydd/asiant neu fel perchennog tir neu eiddo, atgoffir yr Aelodau fod yn rhaid iddynt anwybyddu’r agwedd hon, gan ystyried ceisiadau o’r fath a phenderfynu yn eu cylch ar sail rhinweddau’r ceisiadau cynllunio yn unig. Ni ddylid ystyried swyddogaeth y Cyngor fel perchennog tir, na materion cysylltiedig, wrth benderfynu ynghylch ceisiadau cynllunio o’r fath.

In relation to those applications which are identified as one in which the Council has an interest either as applicant/agent or in terms of land or property ownership, Members are reminded that they must set aside this aspect, and confine their consideration and determination of such applications exclusively to the merits of the planning issues arising. The Council’s land owning function, or other interests in the matter, must not be taken into account when determining such planning applications.

COMMITTEE:

    PLANNING COMMITTEE

DATE:

    11 SEPTEMBER 2014

REPORT OF:

    HEAD OF PLANNING

I N D E X - A R E A W E S T

REF.

APPLICATIONS RECOMMENDED FOR APPROVAL

PAGE NOS.

W/28425

Microgeneration domestic wind turbine in adjoining field at Maudland House, Cynwyl Elfed, Carmarthen, SA33 6SX

5 - 17

W/29312

Proposed road and plot layout and detached property at plot 4 on land to north of Peterwell, Old St Clears Road, Johnstown, Carmarthen

18 - 32

W/29322

Installation of single small scale wind turbine (50kw) together with associated equipment cabinet and ancillary works at Rhydygwin, Cynwyl Elfed, Carmarthen, SA33 6SU

33 - 43

W/30076

Proposed residential development comprising 2 no. 5 person 3 bedroom houses and 2 no. 6 person 4 bedroom houses together associated external works, access onto existing highway and drainage connections at land at Cae Bryn Drain, Carmarthen, SA31 1SD

44 - 51

W/30134

Construction of a dwelling house at garden adjoining Typica, Bronwydd, Carmarthen, SA33 6BE

52 - 57

W/30204

Installation of a solar park with an output of approximately 6mw on land adjacent to Bryn Cyrnau Isaf at land south of Bryn Cyrnau Isaf, Cwmffrwd, Carmarthen, SA31 2LS

58 - 71

W/30595

Variation of condition 2 on planning permission W/21657 (to extend by 3 years the time allowed to submit the reserved matters) at Caeglas, St Clears, Carmarthen, SA33 4ET

72 - 80

REF.

APPLICATIONS RECOMMENDED FOR REFUSAL

PAGE NOS.

W/30458

Use of agricultural field for season camping (up to 8 no. pitches) (resubmission of W/29925 refused 27th May 2014) at land at The Valley, Cwmffrwd, Carmarthen, SA31 2LS

82 - 91

APPLICATIONS RECOMMENDED FOR APPROVAL

Application No

W/28425

Application Type

Full Planning

Proposal &

Location

MICROGENERATION DOMESTIC WIND TURBINE IN ADJOINING FIELD AT MAUDLAND HOUSE, CYNWYL ELFED, CARMARTHEN, SA33 6SX

Applicant(s)

MR CHENY, MAUDLAND HOUSE, CYNWYL ELFED, CARMARTHEN, SA33 6SX

Agent

FORCE 5 ENERGY LTD - ANDREW TURK, MORETON HOUSE, ASTON MAGNA, MORETON IN MARSH, GL56 9QN

Case Officer

Jonathan Locke

Ward

Cenarth

Date of validation

17/06/2013

CONSULTATIONS

Head of Transport – No observations received to date.

Head of Public Protection – No objection subject to the imposition of conditions

Cenarth Community Council – No objection

Local Member - County Councillor Mrs Hazel A L Evans is a nominated substitute of the planning committee and has made no prior comment.

Ministry of Defence (MOD) – No objection provided the proposal does not exceed 33.6 metres to tip.

Civic Aviation Authority – No objection but provide standard advice and recommend consultation with the MOD.

NATS (National Air Traffic Services) – No objections raised

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) – No objection but provide advice

Crown Castle Uk – No observations received to date

BT Wholesale – No observations received to date

Orange – No observations received to date

O2 – No observations received to date

Vodafone UK – No objection

BBC Engineering (Arqiva) – No objection

Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water – The proposal will not harm telecoms assets.

Telecommunications Association of the UK Water Industry (Atkins) – No objection

NTL Broadcast – No observations received to date

Joint Radio Company – No observations received to date

Cable & Wireless – No observations received to date

Dyded Archaeology – Based on the previous turbine model recommend the production of a Rapid Historic Environment Appraisal. No response received following re-consultation exercise to reflect the reduction in turbine scale and design.

CADW – There is potential for impact on the setting of monuments Nant Sais Round Barrow (CM106) and Crug Gorllwyn Round Barrow (CM108) but the impacts on the setting will be relatively minor.

BBC Research and Development Department – No observations received to date.

Neighbours/Public - The application has been publicised by the posting of a site notice which has resulted in two objections being received and one making general comments. The two letters of objection raise the following points:

It should be noted that one of the above objectors has requested to speak should the application be determined by Planning Committee.

One letter submitted does not appear to object but states no objection provided the application has been submitted correctly without mistakes or misleading content.

RELEVANT PLANNING HISTORY

W/26905 Microgeneration domestic wind turbine in adjoining

W/25498 Two 20kw wind turbines with a hub height of 20.6m

D4/8933 Extension to dwelling

D4/6771 Siting of a residential caravan

D4/6770 Conversion of silage bay and garage to

APPRAISAL

THE SITE

The application site is located within an area that has witnessed a surge in the submission of planning applications for wind turbines, though, having undergone a number of complications is relatively an old planning application following on from a previous application W/26905, with the current application having been deemed valid on 17th June 2013. Therefore it will need to be viewed in light of the situation prior to the submission of the more recent planning applications. A review of the wind turbines within a 5km area has been conducted with those being relevant when considering cumulative impact being the two 50kW wind turbines at Triol Bach, (W/26149) approximately 2.6km to the South, the 50kW Clynmaenllwyd wind turbine also to the South at 3.1km. A micro 10kW wind turbine at Penclawdd Isaf (W/27891) is located to the North East at 3.6km. Perhaps the more significant wind turbine development in the area is the Blaen Bowi wind farm, a development including three large turbines which is located approximately 1.7km to the North. There are more wind turbine developments further afield however, given the scale of the proposed turbine, those developments are not considered to form a significant part of the overall cumulative impact.

In terms of residential properties, the area is somewhat lighter populated, however, there are a small number of dwellings within 500m that would require assessment as to the potential impacts on their amenities. Malindi Lodge is the closest non-financially involved property at approximately 265 metres to the South West, to the other side of the B4333 and surrounded by trees, Maudland House is approximately 231 metres to the South East (the applicant’s property) and Heather View is marginally outside the assessment distance at 531 metres to the South East. To the North West there is Blaen Esgair at approximately 437 metres. Beyond the 500m assessment area, residential properties are sparse. In terms of potential visual impact, Malindi Lodge, whilst having the rear of the dwelling facing the proposed turbine would have views severely limited by the existing tree planting around the property, Blaen Esgair would not have direct views, whilst Heather View has its main front and rear views directed perpendicular to the application site. The dwelling which may have suffered the greatest impact is that owned by the applicant, Maudland House, however, even that property would have views of the turbine partially obscured by mature trees to the rear of the dwelling.

The topography of the area has an influence on the degree of impact, and this area is greatly undulating with a number of landscape features, often trees, breaking up the landscape. The application site is located at approximately 300-310m AOD, and represents a high ridge that follows the B4333 northwards with the high point being Moelfre (Blaen Bowi Wind Farm) to the North West at 320m AOD, with land dropping in height beyond Moelfre, to the East and West of the application site then from Hermon Southwards.

The application site is not located within a protected landscape but is within the LANDMAP aspect area of Rhos Blaen Esgair (CA-VS209), and a Historic Landscape (CRMRTHL42454) and Cultural Landscape (CRMRTCL061) both evaluated as high. The Teifi valley Special Landscape Area (SLA) is located approximately 2.9km to the North, and the Drefach and Felindre RLOHI (Register of Landscapes of Outstanding Historic Interest in Wales) and RLSHI (Register of Landscapes of Special Historic Interest in Wales) are located approximately 240m from the application site.

THE PROPOSAL

Full planning permission is being sought for one 50kW Wind turbine. This turbine would measure 23.6 metres in height to the centre point of the hub and with a blade diameter of 19.2 metres would each reach an overall tip height of 33.3 metres. This height is achieved through the dropping down of the turbine base to 1 metre below ground level following a request from the Ministry of Defence. The proposed turbine base would measure 6.3 metres by 6.3 metres and 1.2 metres in depth.

Further information submitted with the proposal includes the following:

Under the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations 1999 a screening opinion has been conducted and has concluded that a full EIA would not be required as there are no anticipated significant environmental impacts as a result of the proposals. Assessment of the potential impact has therefore been sufficiently assessed during the processing of this application.

PLANNING POLICIES

Proposals for wind turbines must comply with the criteria of Policy UT6 (Wind Energy). Favourable decisions will be given when proposals either individually or cumulatively would not cause demonstrable harm by virtue of having a significant adverse impact on the quality of the local environment, or to sites of nature conservation, historical or archaeological importance, agricultural value, areas designated for their landscape value, or to species of nature conservation and ecological value. Secondly, the siting, design, layout and materials used should be sympathetic to the characteristics of the landform, contours and existing features of the landscape. Third, proposals shall not give rise to problems of highway safety or place unacceptable demands on the provision of public services. Fourthly, ancillary works, buildings and structures are kept to a minimum and sited unobtrusively within the landscape. The fifth criteria states that proposals should not lead to a significant adverse increase in risk or nuisance to, and impacts on the amenities, of nearby residents or other members of the public arising from wind turbine operation, shadow flicker, safety risk, radio or telecommunications interference. Sixth, no turbine should cause harm to the amenity of any residents and finally new connections to the local electricity distribution network should accord to Policy UT2. This states that when electricity service lines are proposed they should have as little adverse effect as possible on the environment.

 

Policy UT5 relates to renewable energy proposals and the criteria for compliance are similar to that of UT6.

Policy GDC3 which relates to development in the countryside states that development will not be permitted except when for a list of purposes. This includes renewable energy schemes subject to other policies within this plan

Policy GDC8 requires that developments have full regard to the physical character and topography of the site by avoiding conspicuous locations on prominent skylines or ridges, integrate into the contours of the site, avoiding locations that would have an adverse visual impact on prominent buildings, landscapes, open spaces and the general locality from the site. The proposal as a wind turbine requires prominent locations, however, the level of impact must still remain at acceptable levels. Renewables such as wind turbines are accepted to have a degree of negative impact on the landscape, however, this must be balanced against the renewable benefits and the general in principle support for renewable energy as provided by national policy. This report will assess the suitability of the landscape and topography to accommodate the proposed turbine.

Renewable energy also features as one of the UDP 14 strategic policies. CUDP 14 states that it is the policy of the Council to support proposals for renewable energy schemes and developments which minimise energy and resource requirements, where appropriate.

Policy EN5 relates to the protection and enhancement of flora and fauna. Development will not be permitted where it would cause demonstrable harm to species or their habitats protected by legislation and where appropriate positive mitigation measures cannot be provided.

At an international level the main driver for renewable energy developments is the EU Renewable Energy Directive (formally agreed April 2009). This has legally binding targets of 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

At a national level the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has published One Wales: One Planet (WAG, 2008) which sets out the sustainable development programme for Wales. This contains a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Wales, and sets out how Wales will deliver its share of UK targets contained in the UK Climate Change Act. The programme recognises that Wales will need to reduce its use of carbon based energy by 80-90%, resulting in a similar reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

These targets have been translated into national planning policy and Planning Policy Wales (WAG, 2014) sets out WAG’s aims and objectives for infrastructure and services which includes “the generation and use of energy from renewable and low carbon energy sources at all scale” (para 12.1.4) and securing “an appropriate mix of energy provision for Wales whilst minimising the environmental impact.”. This will be achieved in part by “strengthening renewable energy production” (para 12.8.2). It states that “local planning authorities should facilitate the development of all forms of renewable energy…which fit within a sustainable framework” but also ensure that “potential detrimental effects on local communities are minimised”.

Consideration is also given to Planning Policy Wales - Technical Advice Note (TAN) 8 - Planning for Renewable Energy. Para 2.12 states -The Assembly Government expects local planning authorities to encourage, via their development plan policies and when considering individual planning applications, smaller community based wind farm schemes (generally less than 5MW). This could be done through a set of local criteria that would determine the acceptability of such schemes and define in more detail what is meant by "smaller" and "community based". Local planning authorities should give careful consideration to these issues and provide criteria that are appropriate to local circumstances.

Whilst the impacts of the proposed development may challenge the stated objectives of CCC UDP policy UT6, the significance of impacts to visual amenity from any individual or combination of turbines to residential properties are assessed within the contents of this report; in terms of whether the impacts will be of a significance that the change in views are unacceptable or not.

CCC UDP policy UT6 Wind Energy criterion vi] identifies ‘demonstrable harm to the amenity of any residents’ as a policy consideration. In the context that a right to a view from an individual property is not a material planning consideration; it is considered that the fact that the proposed development would result in the introduction of wind turbine structures into an existing view cannot be construed as representing demonstrable harm in its own right.

Demonstrable harm’ can be defined, as a basis for assessing whether the proposed development is against the objectives of UDP policy UT6 referred to earlier in this section.

Paragraph 66 of the Appeal Decision for Appeal Ref: APP/X2220/A/08/2071880 Land west of Enifer Downs Farm and east of Archers Court Road and Little Pineham Farm, Langdon provides commentary which may be useful in determination of this issue. The application was for 5 wind turbines (maximum height 120m), together with access tracks, hard standing areas, electricity sub-station and temporary construction compound

Paragraph 66 states that ‘... In most cases, the outlook from a private property is a private interest, not a public one, and the public at large may attach very different value judgements to the visual and other qualities of wind turbines than those who face living close to them. Equally, people pass through a diverse variety of environments when going about their daily lives, whether by car or when using the local rights of way network, and I find nothing generally objectionable in turbines being part of that wider experience. However, when turbines are present in such number, size and proximity that they represent an unpleasantly overwhelming and unavoidable presence in main views from a house or garden, there is every likelihood that the property concerned would come to be widely regarded as an unattractive and thus unsatisfactory (but not necessarily uninhabitable) place in which to live. It is not in the public interest to create such living conditions where they did not exist before.

It is advised that the underlined section of paragraph 66 of the appeal decision above provides a useful context for determination of ‘demonstrable harm’.

This report has considered the significance of impacts to residential visual amenity in terms of the above, and has addressed whether any residential property will be subject to visual impacts from any individual or combination of turbines to such an extent that satisfactory living conditions could not be maintained if the proposed development were to be approved.

Whilst significant adverse visual impacts may be experienced within some views from residential properties and associated amenity space - through the introduction of wind turbine structures into the existing view - which could be considered as resulting in significant adverse impacts to residential amenity; however, it is not considered that the impacts could be defined as being of a significance to result in the properties becoming unattractive or unsatisfactory places in which to live.

THIRD PARTY REPRESENTATIONS

The representations received have raised the following concerns:

One letter submitted does not appear to object but states no objection provided the application has been submitted correctly without mistakes or misleading content.

In response, the issue of shadow flicker will first be addressed. It is a generally accepted procedure to calculate where a detailed shadow flicker assessment would be required as those areas within 10 x rotor diameter distance from a proposed turbine. Outside of this distance it is accepted that shadow flicker may be evident but it would be deemed to be at such a minimal level of impact that more detailed assessment would not be required and general amenities of those properties outside of that distance would not be unacceptably harmed. 10 x rotor diameter distance from the proposed turbine location would be 192 metres, and it is confirmed that there are no residential dwellings within that distance. The nearest dwelling would be the applicant’s at approximately 231 metres, and the nearest non-financially involved property would be Malindi Lodge at approximately 265 metres from the application site. The information submitted within this application concerning shadow flicker is therefore deemed to be sufficient. Whilst not raised in this instance, it is often contended that shadow flicker could have an unacceptable impact on road users nearby, however, Technical Advice Note 8 (TAN8) within paragraph 2.26 states that “there is no evidence that motor vehicle accidents have been caused as a result of drivers being distracted by the movement of wind turbine blades. Wind turbines should not be treated any differently from other distractions faced by a driver”. It is relevant to state that in this regard the Head of Transport have not objected, but have raised a query regarding where vehicles would park prior to entering the application site or whether sufficient access would be provided. It is deemed that this could be effectively addressed and the final response from the Head of Transport will be presented to the planning committee in the form of an addendum.

Turning to the second objection, it has been contended that the proposed turbine conflicts with the relevant planning policies within the Unitary Development Plan in addition to TAN8. These policies will be addressed below:

Policy GDC2 is general but has a number of requirements, with that particularly that it will be of a suitable design appropriate to its location, and should utilise materials appropriate to the character of the area in which it is situated. Whilst turbine materials are not inherently agricultural in their design or of a type and design that blends into the landscape, the impact needs to be balanced against the visual and landscape impacts, which, in this case are not deemed to be unacceptably harmed. This will be addressed again in looking at Policies UT5 and UT6. Further points to note are that the proposal is not deemed to result in the loss of any important features which contribute to the quality of the local environment. The main impact would be from the excavation for the turbine base and the cable run to the buildings at Maudland House. There would be no anticipated widening of the access and as such there would be no loss of habitat in that regard or any other important features that contribute to the local environment. The proposal would also not be deemed to conflict with any of the remaining elements of Policy GDC2.

In relation to Policy GDC8, this policy seeks to ensure that developments have regard to the potential visual and topographical impact from proposals. By their very nature any wind turbine may be perceived to conflict with the aims of this policy by requiring a prominent location for a viable wind resource and their tall nature with moving blades, however, each element of this policy needs quantifying to ascertain compliance. The topography surrounding a site also plays an important role, and the area surrounding the application site is particularly undulating. It is deemed that the location, within an undulating landscape containing a number of interrupting features would not be unacceptably conspicuous, and whilst being prominent to a degree, would on balance be appropriately located and would not have an unacceptable impact on any prominent buildings landscapes, open spaces or the general locality from the site. It is worth drawing in part (v) of this policy where it is deemed that the proposal has successfully struck a balance between maximising the energy efficiency of the proposal against an acceptably chosen location. No conflict is considered with this policy of the plan.

Whilst discussing visual impact, it is worth considering the response from the Authority’s Landscape officer who has deemed that the information is not of a high quality and is somewhat lacking. However, landscape and visual impact information is provided to inform this division with regard to the potential impact of a scheme, however, this department is also able to make its own assessment, through the guidance of the Landscape Officer and as such, can assess the potential impacts of a scheme in the absence of such information. It is worth stating that this is not always the case as each proposal is determined on its own merits.

In terms of the potential impact on the surrounding landscape, there would be minimal physical impacts as mentioned previously, and as such the Landscape officer has confirmed that the proposal would not be expected to challenge the objectives of Policies GDC19, EN8 or EN13. This viewpoint is agreed with and the proposal is deemed to comply with the mentioned policies. Landscape character is covered within Policies UT5, UT6, EN16 and EN19, and whilst recognising that there will be an impact on the character of the area, the Landscape Officer has stated that the level of impact would not be expected to challenge the relevant policies of the UDP. A condition is recommended to mitigate any impacts, principally regarding any direct impacts as a result of the proposal (such as the excavation for the wind turbine base and the cable run).

In looking at visual impacts, the Landscape officer has stated again that the proposal would not be expected to be of a significance to challenge the relevant objectives of Policy UT6 and as such the proposal would not be deemed to conflict with similar elements of the other policies within the UDP. In terms of impacts on the views to the public, the cumulative visual impacts are mentioned in relation to the B4333 to the west of the site, however, does go on to conclude that the proposals are not expected to result in the overall characterisation of the surrounding landscape by wind turbine development. This position of course will need to be re-assessed as further proposals are considered within this area. The landscape officer recommends conditions relating to landscape and visual impacts.

Policies UT5 and UT6 provide the more focused assessment for renewable energy proposals. Looking at policy UT5 (i) it is deemed that the proposal would not individually or cumulatively cause demonstrable harm on the local environment at an unacceptable level, or on any sites of nature conservation/ or on protected species of nature conservation and ecological value, regarding which Natural Resources Wales and the Authority’s Planning Ecologist have both responded with no objections. Furthermore, the proportion of agricultural land lost for the proposal amounts solely to that covered by the turbine base and as such is deemed to be very minimal, whilst the proposal would also not result in the unacceptable loss of any area designated for its landscape value. In this, the proposals would also comply with (i) of Policy UT6 of the plan.

(ii) of Policy UT5 turn to potential impact from noise, traffic generation and/or water or air pollution and or scale and design. In terms of noise, following an assessment by the Head of Public Protection, no unacceptable detriment is evident and as such it is deemed that suitable conditions can sufficiently mitigate against unacceptable noise impact. Such conditions are therefore duly included. Traffic generation would be at a small level and restricted mainly to the construction phase of the development. Therefore no unacceptable impact is found in that regard, nor any unacceptable detriment in terms of water or air pollution with no objections raised form the Head of Public Protection or NRW on such issues. Part (iii) of Policy UT5 states; “wherever possible” make use of existing appropriate derelict or underused areas of land and redundant buildings, however, given the nature of the proposal, this would not be possible and as such there is no conflict with this element of the policy.

Policy UT6 specifically regards wind energy proposals. It is deemed that part (ii) is satisfied, balanced against the renewable energy benefits, whilst there are no apparent detriments to highway safety. In this regard one outstanding query relating to the access to the site will be addressed and presented to planning committee members separately. In terms of (iv) ancillary works, buildings and structures are kept to a minimum and are deemed sufficiently minor to not increase the detriment of the local environment unduly. In terms of element (v), the noise impact has been addressed above, however, the shadow flicker and safety risk are also deemed at appropriate levels. No properties would be within 10 x rotor diameter distance of the turbine and as such would not require further assessment, whilst the proposed turbine would be outside topple distance from any dwelling or the nearby highway to the west by a considerable distance. Consultations are sent out regarding radio or telecommunications interference, however, the majority have not responded. BBC engineering, Vodafone and the Telecommunications Association of the UK water industry have all responded with no objections.

In terms of (vi) of Policy UT6, this has been dealt with in part earlier in this report, however, to draw reference to this policy, it is not deemed that the proposal would have any unacceptable demonstrable harm on the amenity of nearby residents by virtue of any factor including shadow flicker, noise or visual amenity. Finally, an underground electricity connection is proposed to the main dwelling, Maudland House, however, the works are deemed sufficiently minor to not conflict with Policy UT2 (Electricity lines) whilst any direct impacts from the excavation works would be sufficiently mitigated by planning condition.

Finally the objection which raised concern with regard to policy compliance also mentions conflict with paragraph 8.4 of Annex D of Tan 8 which states that:

In relation to this concern it is deemed that the proposal falls within the middle paragraph from the TAN 8 paragraph 8.4 quote. However, the proposal on its own or cumulatively would not be deemed to result in a significant change in landscape character form wind turbine development and as such would not conflict with that statement. This position is reinforced by the same view being stated by the Authority’s Landscape Officer.

CONCLUSION

On balance it is considered that the proposed wind turbine is being proposed within a topography that can accommodate a development of this scale without unacceptable impact on either landscape or visual amenities. Whilst there are other turbines in the wider landscape, it is further considered that there would be no unacceptable impact in terms of cumulative impacts on landscape or visual amenity issues.

There are a small number of residential properties within close proximity to the proposed turbines, however, the location of the scheme, scale of the turbine model and its relation to the topography; and the proximity and orientation in relation to the properties is such that the proposal is not considered to be of a significance to challenge the relevant objectives of policy UT6 of the Unitary Development Plan (current

Turning to matters of ecology, historic environment importance, aviation, telecommunications or highway safety and accordingly the proposal is considered to accord with the relevant renewable policies of the plan, notably amongst which are Policies UT5 and UT6. This conclusion has been reinforced by the responses received to date. However, at present there is an outstanding matter with regard to the potential impact on the historic environment. No direct impacts are found, however, it is required to assess the potential impact on unknown historical assets. A survey is being produced by the applicant, which will then be reviewed by Dyfed Archaeology. Should the conclusion be that the proposal remains acceptable having viewed that evidence then this will be referred to planning committee by addendum. It is worth noting that Cadw have raised no objections in terms of the potential impact on known Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMS).

In terms of recommended conditions, some will be applied as conditions, however some do not follow the relevant tests and as such will not be applied. Looking at those recommended by NRW, those stating a conditioned distance from woodland, hedgerows and waterbodies would not be deemed reasonable. The application proposes the development on a specific location, any deviation from which would require further consent. Therefore, the proposals are assessed on the proposed location and it would not be reasonable or required to condition against relocation. In terms of pollution prevention and waste management a condition is recommended regarding a method statement for the construction phase of the development. Such a condition is deemed reasonable and will be duly included. The Head of Public Protection have recommended a number of conditions which will be included but wording amended where appropriate in order to ensure they are both reasonable and enforceable, whilst any not following the relevant tests will be applied as notes. Further conditions are recommended by the Landscape Officer and the Planning Ecologist and will be duly incorporated into an appropriately worded condition, with the exception of those deemed to reflect duplication of legislation or which would be more appropriate as a note on any consent if granted.

In conclusion, in light of the assessments within this report, it is considered that the proposal will have a positive contribution upon the national renewable energy targets and that these benefits are considered to outweigh the potential impacts. The proposed development is considered to be in compliance with the relevant current planning policies, and is therefore put before planning committee with a recommendation for approval.

RECOMMENDATION – APPROVAL

CONDITIONS

1 The development hereby permitted shall be commenced before the expiration of five years from the date of this permission.

2 If the wind turbines hereby permitted cease to operate for a continuous period of 6 months, unless otherwise approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority, a scheme for the decommissioning and removal of the wind turbines and any other ancillary equipment and structures relating solely to the wind turbines shall be submitted and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority within 3 months of the end of the cessation period. The scheme shall include details for the restoration of the site. The scheme shall be implemented within 3 months of the date of its approval by the Local Planning Authority.

3 The rating level of the noise emissions from the development hereby approved shall not exceed 35dBLA90, 10 min within the amenity space of any lawfully existing non-financially involved dwelling, at wind speeds up to and including 10 metres a second at hub height, as measured 3.5 metres from the façade of any noise sensitive property at the time.

4 Within 28 days from the receipt of written request from the Local Planning Authority, following a justified noise complaint, the operator shall at its expense employ an independent noise consultant approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority to assess the level of noise emissions from the wind turbine/s at the complainant’s property to ensure compliance with condition 3. In the event that it is identified that the wind turbine/s are operating above the parameters specified within condition 3 then they shall be modified, limited or shut down. These measures shall be applied until such time as maintenance, repair, modification or mitigation is undertaken sufficient to reduce the absolute noise level of the operating turbines to within the parameters specified within Condition 3.

5 Prior to the commencement of development details informing the date when construction is to start and finish, the maximum height of any construction equipment and the latitude and longitude of the development hereby approved shall be submitted to the written approval of the Local Planning Authority.

6 Prior to the commencement of Development, a Detailed Landscape Design Scheme shall be submitted to the written approval of the Local Planning Authority. Development shall take place in accordance with the approved details, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

7 Any planting or seeding elements within the approved Detail Landscape Design Scheme as required by condition 6 above, which, within a period of 5 years after implementation, die or become, in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority, seriously diseased, damaged or otherwise defective, shall be replaced in the next planting or seeding season with the replacement elements of similar size and specification, unless given the prior written consent of the Local Planning Authority.

8 No sign, symbol or logo, except as required for health and safety purposes, shall be displayed on any external surface of the development hereby approved, unless previously agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

9 The wind turbines hereby approved shall measure 23.6 metres in height to the centre of the hub and 33.3 metres in height to the tip, with the top of the turbine base sunk 1 metre below ground level unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

10 Prior to the commencement of development, a Construction Method Statement shall be submitted to the written approval of the Local Planning Authority. Development shall take place in accordance with the approved details.

REASONS

5 In the interest of aviation safety.

SUMMARY REASONS FOR APPROVAL

In accordance with Article 3 of the Town & Country Planning (General Development Procedure)(Wales)(Amendment) Order 2004, the council hereby certify that the proposal as hereby approved conforms with the relevant policies of the Development Plan (comprising the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan (UDP)2006) and material considerations do not indicate otherwise. The policies which refer are as follows:

Application No

W/29312

Application Type

Full Planning

Proposal &

Location

PROPOSED ROAD AND PLOT LAYOUT AND DETACHED PROPERTY AT PLOT 4 ON LAND TO NORTH OF PETERWELL, OLD ST CLEARS ROAD, JOHNSTOWN, CARMARTHEN

Applicant(s)

ROGER JONES, PETERWELL, OLD ST CLEARS ROAD, JOHNSTOWN, CARMARTHEN, SA31 3HN

Agent

DAVID J P MORGAN ARCHITECT, HIGH SEAS, 8 THE NORTON, TENBY, SA70 8AA

Case Officer

Stuart Willis

Ward

Carmarthen West

Date of validation

11/12/2013

This planning permission is dependent upon the developer, prior to the commencement of development, entering into a Section 106 Agreement with Carmarthenshire County Council.

CONSULTATIONS

Head of Transport – Initially raised concerns over the proposal. Several amendments were made to the scheme and a response has now been received raising no objection and recommending conditions with any approval.

Waste Services Manager - Advised that the recycling/refuse bags should be stored in the property until the night prior to the collection, and on the night prior to the collection the bags should be left on kerbside (at the hammer head) ready for collection.

Carmarthen Town Council – Initially responded with no objections. A subsequent response raised objection on the following grounds:-

Local Member - County Councillor A Speake has raised several concerns with the proposal and requested a site visit by the Planning Committee. The issues raised are as follows:-

Natural Resources Wales – No objections to the scheme. Has confirmed that a licence will be required in relation to badger setts at the site. Also confirmed no further details are required at this time. In relation to flooding confirms that the site is partly within a zone B flood zone. No objection to the scheme and advises liaising with the Council’s Land Drainage Section. Provides further advice and guidance.

Land Drainage – Initially requested further information be submitted. Details have been provided and are currently being examined.

Welsh Water/Dwr Cymru – Has raised no objection to the proposal.

Carmarthen Civic Society – Development will encroach on listed buildings and scale would dwarf nearby properties. If granted requested that mature trees are retained.

Neighbours/Public – The application has been publicised by the posting of 2 site notices and a notice in the local press. A total of 17 responses and a petition with 60 responses have been received to date. The following comments/objections were made:-

One response withdrawing an objection was received stating that previous concerns were due to uncertainty over the number of units and this was prior to amended details being submitted.

RELEVANT PLANNING HISTORY

The following previous applications have been submitted on the application site:

D4/25118 Demolition of two storey portacabin block and link

to house

Listed Building Consent granted 03 November 1994

W/02468 Residential development and construction of an

off-site surface water drain

Outline planning permission 27 May 1999

S106 signed commuted sum

TM/01350 Variation of condition 1 on application no W/02468

substituting 'six years 'for 'three years' and 'eight

years' for 'five years' to extend the life of the

outline planning permission for a further three years

Outline planning permission 03 July 2002

W/11105 Substitution of house types on plots 25-26, 33-68

and 69-74 incl. Pending

W/19584 Reposition plot 41 and provision of a private drive to

adjoining land

Full planning refused 28 April 2009

APPRAISAL

THE SITE

The application site consists of an area of land located to the west of Parc Starling, Johnstown. The site is currently under grass and consists of the entire field enclosure between Parc Starling and a currently vacant former farmhouse dwelling and outbuildings to the west known as Pentre-sil. There is a narrow access lane that runs along the western boundary past a dwelling known as Peterwell and down to Old St Clears Road. There is a field to the north and the listed building of Peterwell to the south. The application site includes a piece of land between the field and the turning head at the end of the cul-de-sac of Parc Starling. This runs along the boundary with a property on Parc Starling and the land is part of the area previously approved as part of plot 41 of Parc Starling estate.

The site lies within the development limits as delineated by the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan (UDP). It also forms a small part of the wider Carmarthen West Development Brief Site. The application site lies within a Conservation Area and several of the trees along the boundary of the site are subject to Tree Preservation Order.

The land generally slopes from north to south. There is an excavated bowl area near the top of the site. The land at Parc Starling is considerably higher than that of the application site with a steep fall at the boundary of the field with the section of land part of plot 41.

THE PROPOSAL

The application seeks full planning permission for a road and plot layout for 4 dwellings with full details of one dwelling.

Access to the site is to be from the Parc Starling estate road. A 4.1m wide road is proposed which slopes down as it enters the main part of the site before levelling off. There is a turning area shown to the front of plot 3 outside of the plots themselves. There is a speed bump set back behind where the new road would join the main estate road. A section of fence along the boundary with another property on Parc Starling is to be removed to create improved visibility for the new access.

Landscaping details have been provided and subsequently amended during the application. This includes the grading of the bank to the south of the new access road. There is protective fencing and additional planting.

Full details are provided for plot 4 which is at the western end of the site. This dwelling, as with all the others, is accessed off the new road which is to remain private. The dwelling has single storey accommodation with an integral garage at a lower level. The stepping of the dwelling takes into account the sloping nature of the site. There is still an element of cutting in to the land required. The excavated material is shown to be deposited in the bowl area at the northern end of the site. The dwelling would have 5 bedrooms. The external materials would be slate and natural stone. The overall design of the dwelling was amended to give a more traditional feel to the dwelling similar to former outbuildings in the area.

Details relating to the Code for Sustainable Homes and a Design and Access Statement were submitted with the application.

An ecology report was also provided in the application and found evidence of badger setts at the site.

PLANNING POLICY

In the context of the current development control policy framework, the majority of the site, lies within the settlement limits and has been allocated for residential development forming part of the Carmarthen West Development Brief Site as defined by inset map GR1 of the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan. As such the proposal is assessed in accordance with the following policies: -

Policy GDC2 Overall Development Policy

All proposed development must satisfy relevant UDP policies with particular emphasis upon sustainability and legibility of development in the context of their location.

Policy GDC8 Visual Impact and Physical Topography

This requires proposals to integrate into the contours of sites to avoid locations that would have an adverse visual impact on prominent landscapes, and the general visual aspect from the application site.

Policy GDC9 Amenity and Utility Space

This states that new housing development should include appropriate amenity and utility space proportionate to the scale, layout, and location of the proposed development.

Policy GDC11 Access & Parking Facilities

This states that that all development, as appropriate, will need to be served by an appropriate access incorporating visibility requirement so that all vehicles entering and leaving the site should be able to do so in a forward gear and appropriate vehicle parking provision, not exceeding the council’s maximum parking standards.

Policy GDC12 Generation of Traffic

Proposals which would generate traffic on the surrounding road network that would cause harm to highway safety or the amenity of residents living alongside the network should be refused.

Surface water is seen as an important consideration of all development together with its impact on water quality and the need to incorporate measures to manage its disposal. The option of using sustainable urban drainage systems should be considered, while all new development is expected to be served by separate foul and surface water systems.

Policy BE8 Setting of a Listed Building

Development proposals which would adversely affect the setting of a listed building will not be permitted.

Policy BE9 Development in Conservation Areas

Proposals in conservation areas which would adversely affect existing buildings, structures, open spaces, trees and other features which make a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the conservation area would not be permitted

Policy BE10 Demolition in Conservation Areas

Proposals should retain buildings, structures and features that make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of a conservation area. The total or substantial demolition of such a building will only be permitted where there is the strongest justification and convincing evidence that:-

Policy UT1 Infrastructure in New Development

Planning permission will only be granted for development where the infrastructure is adequate to meet the needs of the proposed development. Where improvements and extensions to services are necessary, but are not programmed, conditions or planning obligations will, where appropriate, be used to secure new or improved infrastructure facilities to serve the new development. development should connect to the public sewerage system for the disposal of foul effluent. Permission will not be granted for the use of private drainage where connection to the mains is feasible.

Policy GDC19 Retention of Landscape Features

All proposed development must wherever practical make appropriate provision for the retention and protection of existing trees and hedgerows of high amenity value and also for other landscape features such as watercourses, bankside vegetation, and wetlands.

Policy GDC20 Landscape Design

Wherever practical, proposed development will include an appropriate and comprehensive landscape design scheme, which will include a survey of existing site vegetation. The implementation of this scheme should take place within the first planting season following the commencement of development. The landscape scheme and vegetation survey is to be approved by the county council, as it deems appropriate, either at the time of determination of the application or prior to the commencement of any work on site. The scheme will:-

Policy EN6 Retention of Habitats

In areas of new development or redevelopment, to encourage the retention of existing and the creation of new habitats of wildlife importance and measures to ensure their proper management. Particular importance will be attached to those wildlife habitats which are well related to habitat networks, having particular regard to their importance for migration, dispersal and genetic exchange.

Policy EN8 Landscape Features of Major Importance for Flora and Fauna

Development which would cause harm to the integrity or continuity of the following landscape features (which are of major importance for wild fauna and flora) will only be permitted if it can be demonstrated that the reasons for the development clearly outweigh the need to retain the features and that mitigating measures can be provided for, which are within the control of the developer, which would reinstate the integrity or continuity of the features.

The following list of features apply:- hedgerows; ditches and banks; stone walls; tree belts; woodlands; veteran trees; parklands; green lanes; river corridors; lakes; ponds, wetlands; marshlands; moorlands; road verges; or habitat mosaics or networks of other locally important habitats.

Appropriate management of these features will be encouraged through the imposition of conditions on planning permissions, and by the use of planning agreements and by entering management agreements with landowners and developers where appropriate.

Policy EN13 Hedgerows

Proposals will not be permitted which would result in the significant loss, damage and/or fragmentation of those hedgerows which are important for their landscape, historical, or nature conservation value.

Policy EN14 Tree Preservation Orders

The policy aims to protect trees and woodlands of identifiable amenity value through the making of tree preservation orders where necessary and/or desirable and subject to the following criteria:-

Trees, groups of trees, woodlands should be:

Policy CUDP 10 Amenity/Open Space Policy

All identified areas of important amenity/open space be protected to safeguard against inappropriate development and the coalescence of settlements.

Policy E15 Strategic Site Regeneration

This outlines there will be a redevelopment programme for strategic regeneration sites.

The Carmarthen West Development Brief

THIRD PARTY REPRESENTATIONS

Turning to the representations received to date.

A key area where several concerns were raised in relation to highways matters. These include the new access, new road, highway safety, the suitability of the existing estate road, parking and visibility concerns and disturbance from traffic. The application was amended to take in to account comments and concerns raised by the Head of Transport. These changes included the provision of a larger turning head within the site and the removal of a fence along the boundary at the estate road. A speed bump is also included near the Parc Starling which will help reduce speeds for vehicles approaching the estate road. The site is currently a cul-de-sac road. The estate comprises more than 60 units. Issues relating to existing parking and visibility issues have been raised. The proposed units would provide their own parking and therefore should not add to any additional on street parking. The main access onto Old St Clears Road was not considered appropriate for the wider estate and 4 additional properties are not deemed to give rise to significant additional issues. The Head of Transport has recommended conditions with any approval based on the amended scheme.

The proposal is for 4 plots. The plots are clearly shown on the plans even though details of only 1 are part of this application. Further planning applications would need to be submitted to show details of the further plots and these would be assessed at that time. The application has been assessed on the basis of 4 units. Any increase of units would require a separate planning application and if such an application is submitted then it would be assessed on its own merits at that time and against the relevant policies at that time. At present there is no proposal for further units and therefore the application must be assessed on this basis. The layout shows a dead end, cul-de-sac road. The site is part of the wider Carmarthen West Development Brief Site however there is no link to the west or to the north of the site and therefore no apparent connection to the adjacent land for further development. Concern has been raised that the development would affect the character of the area as it is a cul-de-sac. The proposal is to extend the cul-de-sac. The development is not for a through road and there is no access proposed to the lane to the west.

Issues relating to disturbance from the additional properties were raised. It is acknowledged that there may be some additional disturbance from extra properties. However as stated above the estate currently comprises more than 60 units. Therefore whilst some disturbance may be experienced it is not considered this would be significant. The properties are located in the field behind the properties at a lower land level. The development is only for 4 units and therefore traffic generation would not be significant.

The application included an ecological report which found evidence of badgers at the site. The details relating to mitigation have been amended as the layout of the site was altered. Both the Authority’s Planning Ecologist and Natural Resources Wales have been consulted on the application. NRW have not requested any further details and have confirmed that a licence will be required for the works near the site. A method statement would be needed however this is not needed prior to determination of the application. The Planning Ecologist has requested the imposition of conditions relating to a badger management plan and in relation to reptile. Comments were also made in relation to hedgerows and nesting birds.

Issues relating to foul and surface water drainage have been raised. Reference to hydraulic modelling have been raised. There are wider issues regarding the Carmarthen West area in relation to larger schemes. Welsh Water was consulted on the application and has not raised any objection and has not requested any further information. The Authority’s Land Drainage Section has been consulted and requested further details. More information has been provided and they are currently examining them. NRW have also raised no objection to foul or surface water issues. The proposal indicates that surface water would be drained using a soak away. A condition could be added to the planning permission asking for full details of the drainage system to be provided prior to commencement of the development.

The site is located within a Conservation Area. The Carmarthen West Development Brief makes reference to the importance of the design in the parts of the brief area within Conservation Areas. The design and form of the proposed dwelling at plot 4 was amended during the application. Natural stone walls and a slate roof are now proposed. The fenestration and overall scale and form of the dwelling have been amended following concerns over the original design. The current design is considered to be appropriate and more in keeping with some of the traditional buildings in the area. UPVC windows and aluminium doors are proposed however it is considered that timber windows and doors are more appropriate to the Conservation Area and a condition will be added requiring this.

Issues have been raised regarding the setting of listed buildings, the impact on the conservation area and other concerns in terms of the historic environment. The proposal is within a Conservation Area as is further land part of the Carmarthen West Development Brief Site. The area has been proposed for residential development and the proposal meets many of the key elements outlined in the brief for this part of the overall site. The proposal is at a low density, retains much of the existing boundary landscape features as well as proposing compensatory planting and the design has been amended to take on more traditional features. Whilst there may be some impacts on the Conservation Area and listed buildings near the site it is not considered these would be significant.

There are several trees on the site and some of which are subject to Tree Preservation Orders. There are also other mature trees and hedgerows along the boundaries of the site. There have been changes to the layout of the site including the enlargement of plot 1 which is adjacent to protected trees. Additional and amended landscape details have been provided following concerns being raised with the original scheme and discussions with the Landscape Officer. The details now provided are considered to be sufficient and appropriate for the development.

As stated previously the site lies within the Carmarthen West Development Brief Site. The brief refers to contributions from developments within the area towards the various facilities proposed as part of the brief and also towards affordable housing. The proposal does not include any on site facilities and therefore a financial contribution has been requested. A figure of £16,000 per unit has been requested. As the proposal shows a layout of 4 units then a total of £64,000 has been requested. The recommendation is subject to a Section 106 Agreement to secure the £64,000 sum.

Concerns were raised over the publicity of the application. The application was advertised in line with legislation, with site notices erected near the site and a notice in the local press. The site notices were erected off Old St Clears Road and at the end of the cul-de-sac at Parc Starling. Following amendments to the scheme further notices were erected.

Objections referred to the impact on the community feel of the area. The proposal is for a small number of additional dwellings with only 1 dwelling currently being agreed in detail. It is not considered any impacts from the development would have a significant impact on the amenity or character of the area.

A previous application for an access from Parc Starling to the field without any dwellings was refused in 2009 (W/19584). This was refused by the Planning Committee against officer recommendation. The refusal reasons were related to the new private driveway which appeared to serve no useful purpose given the significant change in ground levels between the proposed driveway and land intended to be accessed. There were also concerns that the previous proposal, which also included repositioning of the dwelling within the plot would amount to over-development of the residential estate by necessitating a reduction in the available curtilage area of an as yet to be constructed dwelling, in order to facilitate the formation of an unqualified and unjustified new private driveway. Finally the refusal referred to considerable further engineering works outside of the application site, but within the conservation area, would need to be undertaken details of which are not provided in support of this application. To grant planning permission for that development was said to necessitate potentially detrimental works to the character and appearance of the conservation area. This application shows full details of the works within the Conservation Area and clearly shows that a new driveway is proposed to serve the proposed plots. As stated above each application must be assessed on its own merits. The previous refusal does not prevent further applications on the same site. This application is clear that the proposed access is to be utilised by residential development in the adjacent field.

Reference has been made to part of the land being outside the applicant’s ownership. The applicant has stated that the site is within their ownership and notice has not been served on any other owners. As members will be aware land ownership is not a planning consideration. Reference to there being additional dwellings off the road from those shown in this scheme has been a concern put forward. The proposal is for 4 units. Any future application would be assessed against the relevant polices and considerations at that time, if one were submitted.

Concern was raised over the location of bin storage. The Waste Services Manager has advised that the recycling / refuse bags should be stored in the property until the night prior to the collection, and on the night prior to the collection the bags should be left on kerbside (at the hammer head) ready for collection.

Impact on value of properties was raised however this is not a material planning consideration as with the issues that lack of dialogue between developer and residents. The timing of details being submitted was an issue however sufficient time has been provided following changes to the scheme for comment. There being no detail of lighting at the site was highlighted however the proposal is for 4 plots. The road and associated infrastructure therefore does not need to be up to adoptable standards. The same relates to the lack of pedestrian facilities. The visual appearance of the existing vacant was referred to as an eyesore and also having blended in to the street. Other than the access road this area of land has no works proposed. Pollution was referred to and noise. The proposal is for 4 units off an existing estate of more than 60 dwellings. It is not considered noise or pollution would be significant and warrant refusal of the application.

CONCLUSION

In light of the aforementioned facts and observations received, having regard to the relevant policies of the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan, this development is acceptable and the site lies within an area of land allocated for residential development as part of the Carmarthen West Development Brief Site.

The application is put forward with a recommendation of approval subject to a Section 106 Agreement to secure the payment of £64,000 towards community facilities.

RECOMMENDATION – APPROVAL

CONDITIONS

3 Further advice from the Authority’s Planning Ecologist:-

REASONS FOR GRANTING PLANNING PERMISSION

The decision to grant planning permission has been taken in accordance with Section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase act 2004, which requires that, in determining a planning application the determination must be in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

It is considered that the proposed development complies with Policy H1, H2, GDC2, GDC8, GDC9, GDC11, GDC12, GDC19, GDC29, BE8, BE9, E15, UT1 and UT8 of the adopted Unitary Development Plan in that the development is within the settlement limits and allocated to residential development as part of a Development Brief Site. The design and scale of the development is considered acceptable and there are not considered to be significant detrimental impacts in terms of highway, ecological, amenity or utility concerns. Landscape features are appropriately protected and detailed landscape proposals have been provided as part of the application.

Application No

W/29322

Application Type

Full Planning

Proposal &

Location

INSTALLATION OF SINGLE SMALL SCALE WIND TURBINE (50KW) TOGETHER WITH ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT CABINET AND ANCILLARY WORKS AT RHYDYGWIN, CYNWYL ELFED, CARMARTHEN, SA33 6SU

Applicant(s)

AEOLUS POWER (WIND ENERGY) LTD - P GRIFFITHS, FOXHOLE FARM, PILNING STREET, PILNING, SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE, BS35 4JJ

Agent

PLAN-A PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT LTD -ANDREW PYWELL, 1 BOWLING GREEN AVENUE, CIRENCESTER, GLOUCESTERSHIRE, GL7 2HB

Case Officer

Jonathan Locke

Ward

Cynwyl Elfed

Date of validation

12/12/2013

CONSULTATIONS

Head of Transport – No observations

Head of Public Protection – No objection subject to the inclusion of conditions

Cynwyl Elfed Community Council – No objection but request the inclusion of a Section 106 Agreement.

Local Member - County Councillor H Irfon Jones is not a member of the planning committee and has made no prior comment.

Ministry of Defence (MOD) – No objection but provide advice.

Civic Aviation Authority – No objection but provide standard advice and recommend consultation with the MOD.

NATS (National Air Traffic Services) – No objections raised

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) – No objection but provide advice

Crown Castle Uk – No observations received to date

BT Wholesale – No observations received to date

Orange – No observations received to date

O2 – No observations received to date

Vodafone UK – No objection

NTL Broadcast – No observations received to date

Joint Radio Company – No observations received to date

Cable & Wireless – No observations received to date

DYFED ARCHAEOLOGY – No objection but recommend the inclusion of an archaeological watching brief condition.

CADW – Agrees with the submitted report that impacts on the settings of SAMs will be minor, with exception to the nearest SAM CM106 which may experience moderate adverse impact. Construction of a single turbine here is unlikely to have major impact.

BBC Research and Development Department – No observations received to date.

Neighbours/Public - The application has been publicised by the posting of a site notice which has resulted in two objections raising the following concerns:

RELEVANT PLANNING HISTORY

No relevant planning history.

APPRAISAL

THE SITE

The application site consists of a piece of agricultural land which has dense woodland to the immediate north, which would largely screen the base of the turbine from close views from the north. The topography in the area is greatly undulating which higher ground to the north-west and the peak of the hillside upon which the proposal would be situated lying to the west at 326m AOD. The land to the south-east and east is of a similar height to the application site but generally dropping in height to the east towards Rhos which is at approximately 227m AOD. The highest summit within the local area is that of Moelfre which is at approximately 335m AOD to the north-west upon which are the three Blaen Bowi wind turbines forming the Blaen Bowi wind farm. Approximately 3.7km to the north-west is the North Boundary Special Landscape Area (SLA). Nearby recognised settlements include Drefelin 3.1km to the north, Hermon 2.8km to the south-west, and Capel Iwan 5.7km to the north-west.

This area has seen a major increase in wind turbine proposals over the past two years leading to the increase in the potential impact in cumulative terms. In terms of the assessment of this application it will need to focus on those submissions that have been received before this application together with those which have already gained planning permission. Within the area these would include those at Maudland (c.1090m to NW) which has gone to planning committee and is the subject of a recommendation to approve, Triol Bach (c.1090m to SW), and a number of others a little further afield but within 2.5km. Primary cumulative impacts include inter-visibility of wind turbines, characterisation of the landscape and noise impact on general amenities with regard to which the turbines of Maudland House and Triol Bach should be assessed.

There are a small number of residential properties within 500 metres from the turbine that would in terms of separation distance require assessment as to potential impact. The nearest dwellings are Pantypedyll at c.253m, Rhydygwin at c.277m, and Bryn Pedyll at c.291m. The applicant has claimed that Pantypedyll is a derelict former dwelling which cannot be brought back into use. Bryn Pedyll has a main rear view facing the proposed turbine location but has the benefit of a mature line of trees a short distance to the east that would serve well as a visual barrier, covering much of the base of the turbine from view. Pantypedyll if in use would have severely limited views of the turbine from within the property, whilst Rhydygwin would have a number of existing outbuildings screening the turbine. The other dwellings within the vicinity (up to 622 metres including Heather View) would have side on restricted, perpendicular or screened views and therefore would not be anticipated to experience an unacceptable visual impact.

The proposed site has been identified to be within the Rhos Blaen Esgair LANDMAP aspect area, evaluated as Moderate, with a number of other visual and sensory aspect areas within the surrounding area. The site is also located within a historic landscape (CRMRTHL42474) and cultural landscape (CRMRTCL061) both evaluated as high. The application site is located within 1.1km of the Drefach and Felindre RLOHI/RLSHI.

THE PROPOSAL

Full planning permission is being sought for one 50kW Wind turbine. This turbine would measure 36.6 metres in height to the centre point of the hub and with a blade diameter of 19.2 metres would each reach an overall tip height of 46.3 metres. The triple blade designed turbine would be placed on a base measuring 7 metres in width and length, and approximately 1.25 metre in depth. A control cabinet is also proposed 3m wide external, 1m in depth and 2.289m in height. The design would have two forward opening doors.

Further information submitted with the proposal includes the following:

Under the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations 1999 a screening opinion has been conducted prior to the submission of the application and also within the application process. The outcome on 7th August 2013 prior to the receipt of this planning application determined that a full EIA would not be required as there are no anticipated significant environmental impacts as a result of the proposals. Following the EIA Screening Opinion within this application process this stance is retained. Assessment of the potential impact has therefore been sufficiently assessed during the processing of this application.

PLANNING POLICIES

Proposals for wind turbines must comply with the criteria of Policy UT6 (Wind Energy). Favourable decisions will be given when proposals either individually or cumulatively would not cause demonstrable harm by virtue of having a significant adverse impact on the quality of the local environment, or to sites of nature conservation, historical or archaeological importance, agricultural value, areas designated for their landscape value, or to species of nature conservation and ecological value. Secondly, the siting, design, layout and materials used should be sympathetic to the characteristics of the landform, contours and existing features of the landscape. Third, proposals shall not give rise to problems of highway safety or place unacceptable demands on the provision of public services. Fourthly, ancillary works, buildings and structures are kept to a minimum and sited unobtrusively within the landscape. The fifth criteria states that proposals should not lead to a significant adverse increase in risk or nuisance to, and impacts on the amenities, of nearby residents or other members of the public arising from wind turbine operation, shadow flicker, safety risk, radio or telecommunications interference. Sixth, no turbine should cause harm to the amenity of any residents and finally new connections to the local electricity distribution network should accord to Policy UT2. This states that when electricity service lines are proposed they should have as little adverse effect as possible on the environment.

 

Policy UT5 relates to renewable energy proposals and the criteria for compliance are similar to that of UT6.

Policy GDC2 is general requiring that proposals are appropriate to the character of the area, would not cause unacceptable harm to the local environment or general amenities in the locality. Policy GDC3 which relates to development in the countryside states that development will not be permitted except in particular circumstances, and includes renewable energy schemes subject to other policies within this plan.

Policy GDC8 requires that developments have full regard to the physical character and topography of the site by avoiding conspicuous locations on prominent skylines or ridges, integrate into the contours of the site, avoiding locations that would have an adverse visual impact on prominent buildings, landscapes, open spaces and the general locality from the site. The proposal as a wind turbine requires prominent locations, however, the level of impact must still remain at acceptable levels. Renewables such as wind turbines are accepted to have a degree of negative impact on the landscape, however, this must be balanced against the renewable benefits and the general in principle support for renewable energy as provided by national policy. This report will assess the suitability of the landscape and topography to accommodate the proposed turbine.

Policy GDC19 requires that there would be no unacceptable harm on existing trees or hedgerows of high amenity value or detriment to other landscape features.

Policy EN5 relates to the protection and enhancement of flora and fauna. Development will not be permitted where it would cause demonstrable harm to species or their habitats protected by legislation and where appropriate positive mitigation measures cannot be provided. Policies EN8 and EN13 seek to protect protected species, their habitats and hedgerows for their landscape, historical or nature conservation value.

Renewable energy also features as one of the UDP 14 strategic policies. CUDP 14 states that it is the policy of the Council to support proposals for renewable energy schemes and developments which minimise energy and resource requirements, where appropriate.

At an international level the main driver for renewable energy developments is the EU Renewable Energy Directive (formally agreed April 2009). This has legally binding targets of 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

At a national level the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has published One Wales: One Planet (WAG, 2008) which sets out the sustainable development programme for Wales. This contains a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Wales, and sets out how Wales will deliver its share of UK targets contained in the UK Climate Change Act. The programme recognises that Wales will need to reduce its use of carbon based energy by 80-90%, resulting in a similar reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

These targets have been translated into national planning policy and Planning Policy Wales (WAG, 2014) sets out WAG’s aims and objectives for infrastructure and services which includes “the generation and use of energy from renewable and low carbon energy sources at all scale” (para 12.1.4) and securing “an appropriate mix of energy provision for Wales whilst minimising the environmental impact.”. This will be achieved in part by “strengthening renewable energy production” (para 12.8.2). It states that “local planning authorities should facilitate the development of all forms of renewable energy…which fit within a sustainable framework” but also ensure that “potential detrimental effects on local communities are minimised”.

Consideration is also given to Planning Policy Wales - Technical Advice Note (TAN) 8 - Planning for Renewable Energy. Para 2.12 states -The Assembly Government expects local planning authorities to encourage, via their development plan policies and when considering individual planning applications, smaller community based wind farm schemes (generally less than 5MW). This could be done through a set of local criteria that would determine the acceptability of such schemes and define in more detail what is meant by "smaller" and "community based". Local planning authorities should give careful consideration to these issues and provide criteria that are appropriate to local circumstances.

Whilst the impacts of the proposed development may challenge the stated objectives of CCC UDP policy UT6, the significance of impacts to visual amenity from any individual or combination of turbines to residential properties are assessed within the contents of this report; in terms of whether the impacts will be of a significance that the change in views are unacceptable or not.

CCC UDP policy UT6 Wind Energy criterion vi] identifies ‘demonstrable harm to the amenity of any residents’ as a policy consideration. In the context that a right to a view from an individual property is not a material planning consideration; it is considered that the fact that the proposed development would result in the introduction of wind turbine structures into an existing view cannot be construed as representing demonstrable harm in its own right.

Demonstrable harm’ can be defined, as a basis for assessing whether the proposed development is against the objectives of UDP policy UT6 referred to earlier in this section.

Paragraph 66 of the Appeal Decision for Appeal Ref: APP/X2220/A/08/2071880 Land west of Enifer Downs Farm and east of Archers Court Road and Little Pineham Farm, Langdon provides commentary which may be useful in determination of this issue. The application was for 5 wind turbines (maximum height 120m), together with access tracks, hard standing areas, electricity sub-station and temporary construction compound

Paragraph 66 states that ‘... In most cases, the outlook from a private property is a private interest, not a public one, and the public at large may attach very different value judgements to the visual and other qualities of wind turbines than those who face living close to them. Equally, people pass through a diverse variety of environments when going about their daily lives, whether by car or when using the local rights of way network, and I find nothing generally objectionable in turbines being part of that wider experience. However, when turbines are present in such number, size and proximity that they represent an unpleasantly overwhelming and unavoidable presence in main views from a house or garden, there is every likelihood that the property concerned would come to be widely regarded as an unattractive and thus unsatisfactory (but not necessarily uninhabitable) place in which to live. It is not in the public interest to create such living conditions where they did not exist before.

It is advised that the underlined section of paragraph 66 of the appeal decision above provides a useful context for determination of ‘demonstrable harm’.

This report has considered the significance of impacts to residential visual amenity in terms of the above, and has addressed whether any residential property will be subject to visual impacts from any individual or combination of turbines to such an extent that satisfactory living conditions could not be maintained if the proposed development were to be approved.

Whilst significant adverse visual impacts may be experienced within some views from residential properties and associated amenity space - through the introduction of wind turbine structures into the existing view - which could be considered as resulting in significant adverse impacts to residential amenity; however, it is not considered that the impacts could be defined as being of a significance to result in the properties becoming unattractive or unsatisfactory places in which to live.

THIRD PARTY REPRESENTATIONS

Two letters of objection have been received to date making mention of the following areas of concern:

In response to the first point it is accepted that wind turbines cause harm to visual amenity and landscape character but the assessment needs to assess to what degree. The objector would contend that this impact is to an unacceptable degree. These impacts can be divided into sub-categories which include physical landscape impacts, landscape character impacts, impacts to residential visual amenity and impacts to visual amenity from areas accessible to the public.

In terms of the character on the landscape, the Authority’s Landscape officer has responded, deeming the impacts to not challenge the contents of the relevant policies of the plan. Indeed the level of impacts are sufficiently minor to not be deemed unacceptable. In order that any impacts are mitigated sufficiently, the Landscape Officer has requested that a Landscape and Biodiversity Compensation Scheme be requested and as such this will be included as a condition.

Turning to the potential visual impacts on the area and amenity, the Landscape Officer for this Authority has stated that on the basis of the potential impact on one residential property in particular, Bryn Pedyll, the proposals would challenge the objectives of Policy UT6 of the UDP. Accordingly, it is required that those potential impacts are assessed. This dwelling would be located approximately 287 metres from the location of the proposed turbine on land elevated by approximately 15 metres and would have direct views to the rear. It is useful to note that a photomontage has been provided by the applicant, numbered viewpoint 01, which has been taken at approximately 300 metres from the application site. This demonstrates the clear view that the dwelling would have of the proposed turbine, but does also give an indication at the scale which would be experienced from that view. The assessment needs to account as to whether having the proposed wind turbine within that view would have an unacceptably overbearing impact on Bryn Pedyll or whether the level of impacts would be within an acceptable level. There is no doubt that there would be impact, however, it is considered that given the separation distance and the isolated nature of the proposed turbine within the resident’s view, that the level of impact on visual amenity would not be at an unacceptable level. The other properties within the immediate vicinity are not deemed to suffer significant visual impacts.

It is the case that the area has seen a sharp rise in the number of planning applications being submitted for wind turbine development, and indeed, later submitted proposals will need to take account for the combined impact including all those currently benefiting from planning permission. Along this road, the B4333, turbine developments are being proposed both sides of the road and the point of saturation where the locality is deemed to becoming characterised by wind turbine development is approaching with each new development. On balance it is considered that the proposed turbine would not unacceptably challenge planning policy, but would on balance be acceptable in terms of the impact on the surrounding landscape and on the amenities of those using that landscape. On this basis, whilst a degree of impact is evident, the benefits from the renewable energy provision are considered to outweigh the impacts from the development in line with current policy objectives.

Compliance with policies GDC2, GDC8, UT5 and UT6 are addressed elsewhere within this report, however, it is deemed that on balance the proposals would comply with the requirements of these policies.

CONCLUSION

On balance it is considered that the proposed wind turbine is being proposed within a topography that can accommodate a wind turbine of this scale without unacceptable impact on either landscape or visual amenities. Whilst there are other turbines in the wider landscape, it is further considered that there would be no unacceptable impact in terms of cumulative impacts on landscape or visual amenity issues. Therefore, in terms of the impact on the surrounding landscape and visual amenity the proposal is not deemed to conflict with policies GDC8, UT5 or UT6 of the plan.

There are a small number of residential properties within close proximity to the proposed turbines (but not including Pantypedyll which has lost its residential status), however, the location of the scheme, scale of the turbine model and its relation to the topography; and the proximity and orientation in relation to the properties is such that the proposal is not considered to be of a significance to challenge the relevant objectives of policy UT6 of the Unitary Development Plan (current). This is with exception to Bryn Pedyll to the West which does challenge planning policy, however, the degree of impact to the visual amenity of that dwelling, other than having clear views of the wind turbine, is not considered of such significance that a recommendation for refusal could be substantiated. In terms of landscape impact, landscape character impact and visual impacts, the response from the Authority’s Landscape Officer does not raise any areas of objection/concern (other than the aforementioned Bryn Pedyll) in relation to the potential challenge to current planning policy as a result proposed development, in landscape and visual amenity terms. There is therefore no unacceptable impact on general amenities in line with policy requirements, including that of Policy GDC2 of the plan.

Other areas which may affect amenity of nearby properties include shadow flicker and noise, both of which will be considered below.

Shadow flicker is not deemed to be a concern which would warrant refusal reasons as the proposed turbine would be more than the standard calculation distance of 10 x rotor diameter (>192m) from any nearby dwellings. In terms of noise impacts, the Head of Public Protection are satisfied, raising no objections, and state that the proposed turbine would be able to comply with the lower 35dB level recommended by ETSU-R-97 and as such the recommended conditions provided in their response will be applied, albeit with amendments to ensure they comply with the relevant tests. Given the above considerations, it is deemed that the proposal would not unacceptably impact residential amenities.

Turning to matters of ecology, historic environment importance (no objection raised from Dyfed Archaeology or Cadw), aviation, telecommunications or highway safety and accordingly the proposal is considered to accord with the relevant renewable policies of the plan, notably amongst which are Policies UT5 and UT6. This conclusion has been reinforced by the responses received to date.

Following the advice from the Landscape Officer, a condition will require the submission of a Landscape and Biodiversity Compensation Scheme, in addition to a second condition concerning the prevention of any logos, symbols or signs being placed on any external surface in the interest of protecting the character of the area. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have requested that in accordance with best practice, a Construction Method statement is submitted in order to ensure that no unacceptable pollution occurs within the local environment as a result of construction works. This will also be applied as a planning condition. Dyfed Archaeology have requested that a watching brief condition be applied and as such one such condition in line with the suggested wording will be included.

In conclusion, in light of the assessments within this report, it is considered that the proposal will have a positive contribution upon the national renewable energy targets and that these benefits are considered to outweigh the potential impacts. The proposed development is considered to be in compliance with the relevant current planning policies, and is therefore put before planning committee with a recommendation for approval.

RECOMMENDATION – APPROVAL

CONDITIONS

REASONS

6 In the interest of aviation safety

SUMMARY REASONS FOR APPROVAL

In accordance with Article 3 of the Town & Country Planning (General Development Procedure)(Wales)(Amendment) Order 2004, the council hereby certify that the proposal as hereby approved conforms with the relevant policies of the Development Plan (comprising the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan (UDP)2006) and material considerations do not indicate otherwise. The policies which refer are as follows:

Application No

W/30076

Application Type

Full Planning

Proposal &

Location

PROPOSED RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT COMPRISING 2 NO. 5 PERSON 3 BEDROOM HOUSES AND 2 NO. 6 PERSON 4 BEDROOM HOUSES TOGETHER ASSOCIATED EXTERNAL WORKS, ACCESS ONTO EXISTING HIGHWAY AND DRAINAGE CONNECTIONS AT LAND AT CAE BRYN DRAIN, CARMARTHEN, SA31 1SD

Applicant(s)

BRO MYRDDIN HOUSING ASSOCIATION - PAUL DAVIES, CILLEFWR INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, CARMARTHEN, SA31 3RB

Agent

LEWIS PARTNERSHIP LIMITED - PHILIP LEWIS, 13 PARK CRESCENT, LLANELLI, CARMARTHENSHIRE, SA15 3AE

Case Officer

Stuart Willis

Ward

Carmarthen North

Date of validation

02/05/2014

CONSULTATIONS

Head of Transport – Initially raised concerns with the layout and visibility at the site. Following the submission of amended plans has now recommended the imposition of conditions with any approval.

Carmarthen Town Council – Has objected to the proposal for the following reasons:-

Green space which the proposed houses would occupy:

 

Loss of the green space would:

 

Development would contravene the local planning presumption against over-intense development above a certain contour line of the hills which surround Carmarthen, as it is considered that the green character of these slopes is integral to the setting and character of the town as a whole.

 

Existing Cae Bryn Drain development was predicated on a balance between housing and green space, which would be entirely undermined by the proposed development.

Local Member - County Councillors G O Jones and P Hughes Griffiths provided a petition with 257 signatures which opposed the sale of the land for housing development. They have requested a site visit by the Planning Committee. The councillors have raised the following concerns:-

Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water – Has raised no concerns with the proposal and provides details of a pipe crossing the site.

Neighbours/Public - The application has been publicised by the posting of a site notice with two replies received as a result. These include one letter of objection and one letter of support. The following concerns were raised:-

The following matters were referred to in the letter of support:-

RELEVANT PLANNING HISTORY

The following previous applications have been received on the application site:-

D4/2938 Siting of residential development

Non-determination - finally disposed of 31 March 1996

D4/6745 Residential development

Approved with conditions 25 February 1980

D4/1734 Siting of residential housing development

Refusal 15 March 1976

APPRAISAL

This is an application in which Carmarthenshire County Council has an interest either as applicant/agent or in terms of land or property ownership.

THE SITE

The site is located off Cae Bryn Drain Road, which is an estate road in near the centre of Carmarthen. The site is situated to the south and east of a junction between the estate road and a cul-de-sac road. The site is currently grassed and is in the ownership of the Authority. The site is located within the development limits of Carmarthen as delineated in the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan (CUDP). The site is not allocated for residential, recreational or any other use and is “white land”. The land slopes from north east to south west with a fall of approximately 7m across the site. There are residential properties to the rear and south adjacent to the site and residential properties opposite to the north and west. The surrounding properties are a mixture of bungalows and two storey properties. The site formed part of the application site for residential development of the estate in 1980 under planning ref D4/6745. In the approved plans this area was indicated as “public open space”. There was no planning condition or legal agreement relating to the land subject to the current application requiring it to be retained for these purposes in perpetuity.

THE PROPOSAL

The application seeks full planning permission for four dwellings.

There would be two pairs of semi-detached units. All the units would be orientated to face the main spine road through the estate to the west. All units would be two storey. The northern pair of properties would be three bedroom units while the southern units would each have four units. The external materials would be facing brick walls to all side and tiled roofs with a 30 degree pitch. The only first floor flank windows would be for the landing areas.

Each property has an access off the spine estate road and parking to the front. Two spaces each are provided for the three bedroom units and three each for the four bedroom units. The plans show that the existing timber fence along the southern boundary would be removed to improve visibility at for the proposed properties and the existing one adjacent to the south of the site. A bin storage area is shown to the rear of each of the properties. Due to the change in levels at the site the ridge levels of the properties gradually step down and there are retaining structures proposed along the boundaries. With the provision of parking to the front of the site the properties are set back from the road. A new footway to the front of the site is also proposed to the northern and western boundaries of the site. The layout is also affected by the presence of a pipe under the site towards the southern end of it which requires an easement to be provided.

During the application issues relating to the access, visibility and parking provision were raised. The access arrangements were subsequently altered and the removal of the timber fence at the southern end of the site included as well as land to the south to connect the proposed and existing footways. Further details relating to the sustainability of the location of the site were also provided in relation to the level of parking provision required.

A Design and Access Statement has been submitted with the application along with details relating to the code for sustainable homes have also been submitted.

PLANNING POLICY

The site lies within the development limits designated by the adopted CUDP and therefore the appropriate policy is H2 of the CUDP which allows residential development within limits providing there are no conflict with other policies and that there are no concerns over amenity, services or highways.

Policies T3, GDC11 and GDC12 relate to highways issues and traffic generation of a development. These require the appropriate level of parking provision to be made along with access points having sufficient visibility and that the proposal would not generate levels of traffic which the existing highway network could not cope with and any proposal should not represent a danger to road users.

GDC2 is the general development policy and relates to a number of issues. Those relevant for this proposal include design considerations, particularly where the character of the existing area is maintained, landscaping issues and visual appearance of the site along with the use of appropriate materials. Inclusive design and less abled access considerations are also referred to. The impact on amenity is another consideration outlined in this policy. Less abled access is also referenced in Policy GDC18.

Due to the location of the site and the nature of the development policy GDC8 applies. This looks at the visual impact and physical topography of a site. It states that conspicuous locations should be avoided and that developments should integrate into the contours of a site while avoiding having a detrimental impact on prominent buildings and landscapes and finally should topography should be used to maximise energy efficiency.

GDC9 applies in relation to amenity space and requires developments to provide sufficient and appropriate amenity space proportionate to the scale, layout and location of the site.

Policy UT1 applies in relation to infrastructure in new development. This requires there to be adequate infrastructure to meet the needs of a development.

Policy REC7 relates to the protection of recreational open space. This policy states that proposals that would result in the loss of either formal or informal recreational open space will not be permitted, unless it can be demonstrated, to the councils satisfaction, that the needs or requirements of the area are no longer met by the facility, provision is made for an alternative facility within the vicinity of the proposal, it can be demonstrated, to the councils satisfaction, that the proposal will cause no harm to the local environment, character or amenity and the proposal will not result in a deficit of recreational open space.

THIRD PARTY REPRESENTATIONS

Turning to the adverse representations received to date.

A petition was submitted by the local members relating to the recommendation to sell the site which approved occurred prior to the submission of the planning application. During the application only two individual responses were received from members of the public, one for the development and one against as well as concerns raised by the local members the Town Council also objected to the proposed development.

A concern raised by those opposed to the application related to the principle of the loss of the application site as an area of recreation and play. The site is currently owned by the Council and in the original application for the site it was indicated to be public open space. There was no planning condition imposed or other agreement that stated the area must remain so in perpetuity. The site is not allocated as a recreational area in the UDP and is not proposed to be allocated for such use in the Local Development Plan (LDP). Nevertheless it could be considered informal land used for recreation. The land is currently in the ownership and control of the Council. However a decision to sell the land has been reached and if sold the new owner could prevent use of the site and access to it by members of the public and boundary treatments could also be erected to enclose the area without the need for planning permission. Policy REC7 requires for it to be demonstrated that the loss of recreation areas is justified under a number of criteria. In terms of the level of use of the land there have been conflicting responses received on this with some suggesting it is regularly used while others stating it is very rarely used. There are other pockets of informal recreation space along Brewery Road, Coronation Road and Russell Terrace near the site. There is also a play ground on Russell Terrace approximately 300m from the site. Therefore whilst this area would be lost it is considered that sufficient space remains. The proposal is also for the provision of housing by Bro Myrddin Housing Association and the need for affordable housing is also a consideration.

Concerns have been raised regarding traffic, parking and highway safety. A number of these issues referred to existing problems in the area. The proposed dwellings would all have designated off street parking. The level of parking is considered acceptable due to the town centre location of the site and proximity to facilities and public transport. The majority of properties in the estate do not have access directly off the spine estate road however some do, including the property immediately adjacent to the southern boundary of the site. Therefore the layout is considered appropriate.

The scale, design and materials of the proposed properties closely resembles the existing two storey units near the site and is considered to fit in with the character of the area. The units are set back from the road and therefore less imposing. Sufficient amenity space is provided with areas to the rear being private and larger than many other properties on the estate. The overall density is lower than the majority of the estate and therefore no concerns in terms of over development of the land. More than 22m separation is given between the rear elevation of the proposed units and those that back on to the site and due to this it is not considered there would be any significant impacts on amenity of existing properties. The site is located on sloping land and would be visible from wider public views as well as in close proximity to the site. However the site is viewed against the backdrop of the wider housing estate and therefore not out of keeping. The dwellings would replace an existing grassed area and this will clearly alter the appearance of the site. However a loss of view is not a material planning consideration. For the reasons given above it is not considered that the proposal would be detrimental to the character of the area to an extent that warrants refusal of the application.

Issues relating to drainage were raised. The site would connect to the public sewer system and surface water would drain to soakaways. Any development would need to meet the appropriate Building Regulations Standards. A condition could also be imposed if it was considered necessary for details of the surface water system to be submitted agreed. Reference was made to geology and natural springs on the site however no further details have been given. Ordnance survey maps do not indicate any watercourse or spring at the site.

Reference is made to other legislation however these would be separate to the planning considerations.

CONCLUSION

After careful consideration of the site and its history in the context of this application, it is considered that on balance the proposal is acceptable in terms of scale, design and massing. It therefore accords with set planning policy and would not have any adverse impact on highway safety or cause significant demonstrable harm to the amenity of adjacent residents.

As such this application is put forward with a favourable recommendation.

RECOMMENDATION – APPROVAL

CONDITIONS

2 Further comments from Head of Transport:-

REASONS FOR GRANTING PLANNING PERMISSION

The decision to grant planning permission has been taken in accordance with Section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase act 2004, which requires that, in determining a planning application the determination must be in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

It is considered that the proposed development complies with Policies REC7, GDC11, GDC12, T3, UT1, UT8, GDC8, GDC9, GDC2 and H2 of the adopted UDP in that the development is within the settlement limits, and there are no significant highways, drainage or amenity concerns. The dwellings are of appropriate design, materials and scale to their location. Appropriate informal recreation space remains in the area and the site does have significant impacts on the character and appearance of the area. Sufficient parking and amenity space is provided.

Application No

W/30134

Application Type

Outline

Proposal &

Location

CONSTRUCTION OF A DWELLING HOUSE AT GARDEN ADJOINING TYPICA, BRONWYDD, CARMARTHEN, SA33 6BE

Applicant(s)

MR COLIN LEWIS - EXECUTORS OF B H LEWIS DECEASED, 7 HEOL Y DELYN, CARMARTHEN, SA31 1EE

Case Officer

Stuart Willis

Ward

Cynwyl Elfed

Date of validation

12/05/2014

CONSULTATIONS

Head of Transport – Initially recommended refusal of the application due to lack of visibility. The applicant subsequently submitted traffic speed data showing actual speeds of vehicles near the site. This indicated that sufficient splays could be provided and the final response has recommended the imposition of conditions and removed the refusal recommendation.

Bronwydd Community Council – Has objected to the proposal on the following grounds:-

Local Member – County Councillor H I Jones has not commented to date.

Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water – Has raised no objection.

Neighbours/Public - The application has been publicised by notifying the 3 adjacent properties with 2 responses having been received as a result. The following issues have been raised:

RELEVANT PLANNING HISTORY

The following previous application was submitted on the application site:-

D4/2219 Siting of a bungalow

Outline planning permission 11 February 1976

APPRAISAL

THE SITE

The site currently forms part of the curtilage and garden area of a detached 2 storey property known as Typica. The site is located off the western flank of B4301 towards the northern end of Bronwydd. The site is located within the development limits of Bronwydd as delineated by the Carmarthenshire UDP. There is a pavement adjacent to the B road. The existing property is accessed off the B road with a garage to the northern end of the site. There is a metal sheet building attached to the main dwelling. The plot is 18m wide at the road and has a depth of between 20-31m. A small watercourse appears to run along part of the frontage and side of the site.

THE PROPOSAL

The application seeks outline planning permission for residential development with all matters reserved for future consideration. As such an assessment of whether the principle of residential development is appropriate is required at this stage.

Indicative details have been provided showing the location of a dwelling towards the northern part of the site, set between the building line of the existing dwelling on the road and the adjacent property further back. A new access is shown off the road to the northern part of the roadside boundary. Indicative dimensions of the dwelling are provided as follows:-

During the application further details relating to speed data taken near the site was submitted.

A design and access statement was submitted with the application. Information relating to the Code for Sustainable Homes was also submitted with the application.

PLANNING POLICY

The site lies within the development limits designated by the adopted CUDP and therefore the appropriate policy is H2 of the CUDP which allows residential development within limits providing there are no conflict with other policies and that there are no concerns over amenity, services or highways. Policy GDC2 applies in terms of design and amenity issues.

Policy GDC27 applies as the proposed would be development in the garden of an existing property. This policy states that proposals for new development in the gardens of existing dwellings, forming a separate planning unit and within defined development limits of settlements, will only be permitted where this would not represent overdevelopment of the site or cause loss of amenity and privacy to the dwellings in existence or proposed.

THIRD PARTY REPRESENTATIONS

There have been no adverse representations received to date.

The application site is within the development limits and therefore the principle of residential development at the site is acceptable providing there are no concern with other issues such as highways, utility, flooding and amenity and other material considerations. The indicate dimensions and siting of the dwelling may be feasible however consideration would be needed in terms of fenestration to prevent any overlooking. However all matters are reserved and details would be agreed as part of the reserved matters. Full details of design and fenestration would be provided at reserved matters stage and therefore issues relating to overlooking will be fully assessed at that time in terms of overlooking from the proposed dwelling.

Although reduced, sufficient amenity space remains for the existing dwelling and is comparable to other dwellings in the area, particularly those opposite. From the indicative layout the same can be said for the proposed dwelling.

Issues regarding surface water and flooding have been raised. No objections have been received from Welsh Water and the site is not within a flood zone. All matters are reserved and therefore the method of surface water drainage and areas of hard surfaces are not known at this time.

A number of issues raised related to highways issues such as the access and visibility. The Head of Transport has responded initially recommended refusal of the application due to lack of visibility. The applicant subsequently submitted traffic speed data showing actual speeds of vehicles near the site. This indicated that sufficient splays could be provided and the final response has recommended the imposition of conditions and removed the refusal recommendation. Lack of detail in terms of parking was raised. The application is outline and these details would be agreed in any reserved matters for the proposed dwelling. The existing dwelling currently has a garage and no other off street parking. The development of the plot would not alter this and it is not felt that additional parking is required as part of the application for the existing house.

Reference was made to a small stream runs through the plot influences access position and set back of dwelling. The position of the access, layout of the site and the dwelling is not agreed as part of this permission.

Overlooking and loss of privacy from 2 storey property was raised and the scale and character of the property. However again the application is in outline form. These details would be submitted and assessed in any reserved matters.

The National Planning Framework directing away from this type of development was referred to but this relates to England only. Precedent was raised however each application is assessed on its own merits again the relevant considerations. There are no other applications at present in the village for similar proposals. Loss of view and impact on property value was raised however these are not material planning considerations. Possible development involving existing buildings being demolished or altered was highlighted but again this is not part of any current application.

CONCLUSION

After careful consideration of the site and its surrounding environs in the context of this application, together with the representations received to date it is considered that on balance the proposal is acceptable and does comply with UDP policy.

A Pre-assessment for the Code for Sustainable Homes has been submitted and the appropriate conditions will be added however this is no longer a requirement for new dwellings and the conditions will therefore not be imposed.

As such this application is put forward with a favourable recommendation.

RECOMMENDATION – APPROVAL

CONDITIONS

REASONS FOR GRANTING PLANNING PERMISSION

The decision to grant planning permission has been taken in accordance with Section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase act 2004, which requires that, in determining a planning application the determination must be in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

It is considered that the proposed development complies with Policy H2, GDC2 and GDC27 of the adopted UDP in that the development is within the settlement limits and there are no highways, amenity, utility or flooding concerns. Sufficient amenity space is also retained for the existing dwelling and the proposal would not lead to overdevelopment of the site.

Application No

W/30204

Application Type

Full Planning

Proposal &

Location

INSTALLATION OF A SOLAR PARK WITH AN OUTPUT OF APPROXIMATELY 6MW ON LAND ADJACENT TO BRYN-CYRNAU-ISAF AT LAND SOUTH OF, BRYN CYRNAU ISAF, CWMFFRWD, CARMARTHEN, SA31 2LS

Applicant(s)

GREEN SWITCH DEVELOPMENTS LTD - MARKUS WIERENGA, 501 MERLIN PARK, RINGTAIL ROAD, BURSCOUGH, LANCASHIRE, L40 8JY

Agent

GREEN SWITCH SOLUTIONS LTD - GEMMA HEATON, 501 MERLIN PARK, RINGTAIL ROAD, BURSCOUGH, LANCASHIRE, L40 8JY

Case Officer

Gary Glenister

Ward

St Ishmael

Date of validation

23/05/2014

CONSULATATION

Head of Transport – Has no objection subject to the imposition of appropriate conditions.

Llandyfaelog Community Council – Has no objection, however has the following concerns:-

• Loss of productive agricultural land.

• Visual impact.

• Reduction in property values.

Local Member – County Councillor M Stephens has not commented to date.

Llangynnor [Adjacent] Community Council – States that although the Council support the principle of renewal energy we do have some concerns in respect of this application, these include:-

Adjacent Local Member – County Councillor D E Williams has not commented to date.

Dyfed Archaeological Trust – States that the presence of subterranean features identified by the geophysics survey in close proximity to a Roman Villa are such that a Grampian style condition is recommended requesting a program of archaeological work to be carried out prior to commencement.

Natural Resources Wales – Has no objection to the proposed scheme subject to the imposition of appropriate conditions.

Neighbours/Public - The application has been publicised by the posting of a Site and Press Notice. As a result, 5 no. letters of objection have been received along with a letter from the local MP raising the following matters:-

RELEVANT PLANNING HISTORY

There is no relevant planning history on the land subject to the application.

APPRAISAL

THE SITE

The application site is 13.9ha of Grade 4 improved grassland to the East of the village of Cwmffrwd. The site is roughly L shaped sitting in a low lying landform within rolling countryside so is not prominent from the village. The preliminary layout scheme shows the site wrapping around and therefore in close proximity to the property known as Abercyfor Isaf (closest arrays are shown approximately 30m from the dwelling) and the site is overlooked by Nant yr Haul at a distance of approximately 145m, however is more typically over 200m from the rear of properties in the village which front onto the A484.

Access to the site for construction traffic is via the A48 along a route which is poor in places in terms of width and alignment however the land owner has control of key locations or there is adequate highway verge so improvements are possible.

THE PROPOSAL

Planning permission is sought for an up to 6 Mega Watt (MW) Photo Voltaic (PV) solar farm consisting of approximately 23,000 Solar Panels which are proposed to be set in blocks (known as arrays). The arrays are proposed to be between 1.7m and 2.2m in height depending on the angle of the panels.

The arrays consist of a frame which is attached to the ground by an anchor which is piled into the ground. The arrays are connected via underground cabling in trenches to inverters which are in turn connected to a transformer and linked to the substation which links into the national grid.

In addition to the panels, the development will therefore require approximately 6 inverter buildings which measure 3.06m by 9.76m with a height of 3.64m.

It’s proposed to enclose the site within 2.4m post and wire mesh fencing and CCTV cameras are proposed.

A landscape assessment has been submitted in accordance with good practice contained in the “Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment" published by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and “Landscape Assessment Guidance” for England and Scotland published by the Countryside Commission and Scottish Natural Heritage 2002 Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. This concludes that the low lying nature and consistency of the arrays would ensure that the man made structures would not alter the landscape framework. The site is within a landscape which contains major highways, the settlements of Carmarthen and Cwmffrwd and Pylons and is therefore a ‘managed’ landscape so the impact would be moderate. Given the site specific topography and existing screening, there will be very little landscape impact from the proposed development. This assessment has been accompanied by a series of photomontages of the site from surrounding viewpoints. It is noted that in particular, the site would be seen intermittently from the A484 and surrounding network however the general view of the site would not be prominent. The assessment acknowledges that the site would have a detrimental short term impact on neighbouring properties, in particular Bryncyrne Uchaf (117m northeast), Abercyfor Isaf (Adjacent), Nant yr Haul (123m southeast) and Abercyfor Uchaf (190m southeast), and the track that passes through the site serving these properties, however opines that tree planting would reduce visibility in the longer term reducing it to a moderate impact – i.e. not significant.

The proposal includes analysis of glint and glare, stating that over 90% of the light received would be absorbed by the panels, i.e. less than 10% will be reflected, approximately the same as a body of water.

A flood risk assessment has been submitted which suggests that flooding is not likely to be an issue and suggests that surface water will infiltrate into the ground and eventually reach Nant Glasdwr and Nant Cwmffrwd. Reference is also made to a storage capacity within a drainage ditch network however no details of sustainable drainage have been submitted. The site is not at risk of flooding from fluvial or tidal waters.

An ecological appraisal has been submitted in support of the application which opines that there is unlikely to be any ecological implications provided that the recommendations are followed.

PLANNING POLICY

In the context of the current development control policy framework the site is located outside the defined development limits for Cwmffrwd as contained in the adopted Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan.

Policy GDC1 seeks to ensure that all new development is in compliance with principles of sustainability.

Policy GDC2 of the UDP requires that development proposals enhance the local environment in terms of mass, density plot ratio and scale, and should be of a suitable design appropriate to its location and utilise materials which are in keeping with the character of the surrounding area. Furthermore, the policy requires that proposals should avoid the loss of important features which contribute to the quality of the local environment and should have no unacceptable impact on the privacy and amenity of existing dwellings, buildings and other land uses and their respective occupiers.

Policy GDC8 states that the siting and design of proposed development should have full regard to the physical character and topography of the site by avoiding conspicuous locations on skylines or ridges, integrating the contours of the site, avoiding locations that would have an adverse visual impact on prominent buildings landscapes etc and the general locality of the site, height is acceptable and using topography to maximise energy efficiency where feasible.

Policy GDC11 seeks a satisfactory means of access and turning facilities. Adequate parking shall be provided not exceeding maximum standards. GDC12 states that proposals which generate an unacceptable level of traffic on the surrounding road network which would reduce highway safety on the network or reduce the amenity of residents along the route will be refused. This policy is reinforced by Policy T3 which seeks to ensure that the local road network is sufficient to serve the development and that all development proposals shall be served by appropriate access provision.

Policy UT5 provides general support for renewable energy proposals. The policy is quoted in full.

It is the policy of Carmarthenshire County Council that proposals which develop, generate or capture energy from naturally sustainable sources or which minimise energy requirements will be permitted provided that:-

National Policy is provided by Planning Policy Wales Edition 7 July 2014 as follows:-

Technical Advice Note 8 states in paragraph 3.15 “Other than in circumstances where visual impact is critically damaging to a listed building, ancient monument or a conservation area vista, proposals for appropriately designed solar thermal and PV systems should be supported.”

Paragraph 2.16 states “Experience has shown that there are opportunities to achieve community benefits through major wind farm development. Some benefits can be justified as mitigation of development impacts through the planning process. In addition, developers may offer benefits not directly related to the planning process. Annex B provides further information and examples about the types of community benefit which have been provided. Local planning authorities, where reasonably practical, should facilitate and encourage such proposals. The Welsh Development Agency, and others13 can support and advise on community involvement in developing renewable energy and benefiting from it. Local planning authorities should make clear in their development plans the scope of possible “planning contributions”. However, such contributions should not enable permission to be given to a proposal that otherwise would be unacceptable in planning terms.”

THIRD PARTY REPRESENTATIONS

There is concern from third parties that the proposal would have an unacceptable impact on residential amenity. In particular, there is concern that the proposal would adversely affect the view from private properties and the access roads thereto. It should be noted that there is no right to a view and this is not in itself a material consideration. However the impact on amenity from the proposal has to be carefully considered to judge whether the visual impact would have an unacceptable impact on the living conditions of third parties, such as from overbearance. In this case, the solar proposal is low lying within the landscape and is set back within established hedgerows, so whilst visible, the proposal is not considered likely to have an unacceptable impact.

Glint & Glare has been assessed and it is stated that less than 10% of the light is reflected from the PV panels, which is on a par with a body of water. Given landscaping and intervening features such as hedgerows, it is not considered likely that Glint and Glare would have an unacceptable impact on residential amenity.

Third parties state that the presence of solar panels would change the character of the landscape on the approach to residential properties and there would therefore be a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing from the presence of the panels. It is difficult to quantify the perception of harm that this change would cause, however the proposal is not likely to have a direct impact on the health & wellbeing of third parties.

Noise from solar installations has not been identified as a material consideration previously so a noise assessment has not been sought or received. Unlike other forms of electricity generation, solar has no moving parts and is not generally considered to be a noise source. Noise from rain on the panels could be audible, however this would be within the general background noise of the rain and wind, so is not considered likely to be at an unacceptable level as to be detrimental to residential amenity. Any apparatus on site would be within the inverter buildings, transformer buildings and the sub station so is not likely to be significant.

The scale of the proposal at 6MW is not excessive for a single site. The site is spread over several fields which are low lying within rolling countryside. The maximum height of the arrays is 2.2m with a fence around which has a maximum height of 2.4m which includes gates at necessary locations. The proposal is not likely to be overbearing or of a scale that dominates the landscape. As set out above, it will be visible and in the short term, would have an adverse impact on the immediate surrounding properties, however over time the mitigation would ensure that residential impact is moderate.

The Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment acknowledges the fact that there would be short term harm to the surrounding properties, however this is mitigated by planting and management of the surrounding boundaries. In terms of the landscape designations, the site is not in a special landscape area or registered historic landscape, moreover the applicants point out that the site is within a managed landscape which has a major trunk road, settlements and pylons therefore the assessment does not conclude there to be significant harm to the overall landscape. Given the low lying nature of the site and the natural screening of trees and hedgerows which are proposed to be reinforced, it is concluded overall that the proposal would not have an unacceptable detrimental impact on the landscape.

Highway safety has been considered by the Head of Transport and improvements are considered to be necessary along the route between the A48 and the site. These however are within the public highway, or the land owner has control of the land adjacent so passing places and road widening is possible within the applicant’s control. Use of the access road to Abercyfor Isaf (other than crossing the road to gain access to the southern parcel of land) and the Ford are not considered to be necessary.

Ecology has been considered and no objections have been received from either NRW or the County Ecologist.

In respect of Health & safety, it is noted from other sites that solar development is linked to the grid and in the event of fire would be automatically shut down.

There is concern over the loss of Grade 3 agricultural land, however the submission has been made stating that the site is actually poor quality Grade 4 land.

No community benefit has been put forward, however this is not a material consideration.

Appeal examples are noted, however each case is considered on its merits and the view of the Inspector in each of the cases cited was based on the proposal and circumstances of that case.

CONCLUSION

In accordance with the requirements of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999, the application has been screened to establish whether an Environmental Impact is required. Given the scale and nature of the proposal, the development is considered to be of no more than local importance and will not give rise to any significant adverse environmental impacts upon the surrounding area. Moreover, the site does not occupy an environmentally sensitive location and is considered to be of little historical importance. On this basis, the requirements of an Environmental Impact Assessment are not considered to be applicable to the application. In arriving at this decision the authority have taken into account the selection criteria as set out in Schedule 3 of the above Regs.

PV Solar farms are a relatively new concept in renewable energy in Britain, however commercial PV solar farms are however a common feature elsewhere in Europe.

The South West and Wales are identified as being suitable for PV Solar farms given the quantum of solar irradiation identified. Cornwall has been particularly targeted for such proposals given the highest solar irradiation levels in the Country.

PV solar development once installed is a quiet passive use of land in that there is little maintenance and no noise associated with the operation of the arrays. There is also very little traffic generation. The main issue is therefore visual impact on the landscape.

Whilst it is acknowledged that the site is visible from close quarters, the site is not likely to have an unacceptable detrimental impact on the wider landscape. The proposal covers a large area of 13.9ha. The nature of the arrays is that they are only 2.2m in height maximum depending on the pitch of the panels, with the fencing, inverters and substation slightly higher at 3.64m. The proposal is therefore relatively low lying and unobtrusive. The site would be visible within the general landscaping with fleeting glances from public vantage points but is generally hidden from the village of Cwmffrwd and town of Carmarthen by vegetation and topography and is not therefore prominent. The site has existing screening and hedgerow vegetation so given the relatively low lying nature of the site, long views would be largely screened and where visible would be largely a thin line of panels.

The site is a Greenfield site, however it is improved grassland of low value. It is not likely to have a long term unacceptable adverse impact on third party properties given the buffer zones between the arrays and site boundary (augmented by landscape mitigation – the details of which are recommended to be conditioned) or on the character and visual amenity of the open countryside given the relatively unobtrusive location within the rolling topography and the existing hedgerow screening. The proposal is therefore considered to be in accordance with local and national policy.

RECOMMENDATION – APPROVAL

CONDITIONS

NOTE(S)

SUMMARY REASONS FOR APPROVAL

In accordance with Article 24 of the Town & Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Wales) Order 2012, the council hereby certify that the proposal as hereby approved conforms with the relevant policies of the Development Plan (comprising the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan (UDP) Adopted July 2006) and material considerations do not indicate otherwise. The policies which refer are as follows:

Application No

W/30595

Application Type

Variation of Planning Condition(s)

Proposal &

Location

VARIATION OF CONDITION 2 ON PLANNING PERMISSION W/21657 (TO EXTEND BY 3 YEARS THE TIME ALLOWED TO SUBMIT THE RESERVED MATTERS) AT CAEGLAS, ST CLEARS, CARMARTHEN, SA33 4ET

Applicant(s)

ROSEMARY EVANS, BRYNHEULOG, HIGH STREET, ST. CLEARS, CARMARTHENSHIRE, SA33 4DY

Agent

ASBRI PLANNING LTD - RICHARD BOWEN, SUITE 4, J SHED, KINGS ROAD, SWANSEA, SA1 8PL

Case Officer

Stuart Willis

Ward

St Clears

Date of validation

05/08/2014

CONSULTATIONS

St Clears Town Council – Has not commented to date.

Local Member - County Councillor P M Hughes has stated that he supports the application as there are no issues that need attending to.

Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water – Has not commented to date.

Neighbours/Public - The application has been publicised by the posting of a Site Notice at the application site. Two representations have been received to date raising objections on the following grounds:-

RELEVANT PLANNING HISTORY

The following relevant planning applications have been previously submitted on the application site:-

W/21657 Five family dwellings

Outline planning refused 06 July 2011

Appeal upheld 10 February 2012

W/19792 Five family dwellings

Withdrawn 22 January 2009

W/17287 Proposed development of two parcels of land off High

Street to create 82 (2, 3 and 4 bedroom) residential

dwellings, on site car parking and amenity facilities

accessed by new gyratory system and access roads.

Demolition of existing dwelling (Dolgarth House) and

outbuildings

Withdrawn 22 May 2008

W/06646 1 bungalow

Full planning permission 05 July 2004

W/04392 Residential - 4 houses and 1 bungalow

Outline planning permission 01 November 2001

D4/4811 Certificate of appropriate alternative development

Granted 17 March 1978

APPRAISAL

THE SITE

The application site is the western portion of a field located to the east of a street of dwellings known as Cae Glas at St Clears. The site is located to the south of the A40 Trunk Road and has the remainder of the larger field to the east. To the south of the application site, beyond the boundary treatment is a strip of land that is apparently in third party ownership, beyond which is a highway known as Heol Goi. The site is currently under grass and is fairly level.

Access to the site is intended to be via Cae Glas and Heol Goi and to that end an area of highway verge was included within the previous application site, along the northern side of Heol Goi to provide a pedestrian footpath. A further area of land to the south of Heol Goi was included within the application site to allow for the provision of a passing place and is land that is also within the highway verge. The previous application was refused by the Authority due to issues relating to the public sewer, access and impact on the highways network (W/21657). The decision was appealed and the Inspector upheld the appeal and issued outline planning permission.

THE PROPOSAL

The original application sought outline planning permission for the siting of five dwellings with all matters reserved for future consideration. As such a decision relating to the principle of developing the site for residential use was sought at that stage.

The layout submitted with the previous application showed the access for each plot off Cae Glas road and indicatively identifies a location within each plot for the dwellings with parking and turning areas within each plot. The indicative layout also showed the provision of a footway along the whole length of the eastern boundary of Cae Glas road and indicated the provision of a turning area for the cul-de-sac.

The Design and Access Statement (DAS) indicated that the majority of the units for the site are intended to be two storey to match those on the existing portion of Cae Glas, apart from the plot at the northern end of the site which is intended to be single storey. There was an intention, according to the DAS for a single unit of affordable housing on one of the plots.

It is intended that foul water is to be disposed of via main sewer and surface water into a soakaway system.

This application seeks to vary condition 2 of the upheld appeal decision. This related to the time period for the submission of reserved matters. The application seeks to extend that time by a further 3 years.

PLANNING POLICY

The development plan for the purposes of Section 38 (6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act (2004) is the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan (UDP), adopted on the 19th July 2006 with regard to which, policies GDC2, GDC11, GDC12, GDC14, H2, BE2 and BE3 are particularly relevant. The site is located within the defined settlement limits for St Clears, as defined by Inset Plan S7 of the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan. The site also forms part of the allocation for residential development under site reference S7/h. The indicative allocated numbers of dwelling units for this allocation is 30. However, this is a small portion of the whole site and the number of units appears commensurate with the site area. Therefore, the principle of residential development has been accepted providing no other material considerations indicate otherwise. Those other material considerations are the following planning policies and other material issues that have been raised during the course of the processing of the application and are discussed in the ‘THIRD PARTY REPRESENTATION’ paragraphs below. The relevant development policies are outlined below:-

Policy GDC2 of the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan (CUDP) is general in nature and seeks to ensure that the size, scale and design of all developments are in-keeping with the character of surrounding environs whilst the development should not have an adverse effect on the amenities of adjoining land or properties.

Policy H2 of the CUDP permits proposals for residential development within the defined settlement limits where proposals conform to and do not conflict with the policies of the plan and where there are no highway, amenity or utility concerns.

Policy GDC11 of the CUDP seeks to ensure that all development as appropriate is served by an appropriate access and vehicle parking provision. Policies T3 and T4 of the CUDP also seek to ensure that a proposed development does not have an adverse impact upon the local network and is serviced by adequate access and car parking facilities.

Policy GDC12 of the CUDP provides that proposals which would generate levels of traffic on the surrounding road network, which would cause harm to highway safety on that network or to the amenity of residents living alongside that network, will be refused.

Policy GDC14 of the CUDP seeks to ensure that new development should not have a detrimental impact on the capacity of utility services, including sewers, sewage treatment works, electricity, water, gas and telecommunications.

Policy BE2 of the CUDP indicates that developments which would adversely affect sites of archaeological importance will not be permitted. Exceptions will only be made where, in considering the relative importance of the remains and the likely effect of and need for the proposal, is satisfied that:-

(i) The adverse impacts are minimised; and

(ii) The need for the proposal outweighs any likely harm.

Policy BE3 provides that where development is proposed on or near sites of archaeological interest an archaeological assessment will be required prior to the determination of the application.

THIRD PARTY REPRESENTATIONS

Turning to the adverse third party representations received to date.

Concerns have been raised regarding works outside of the application site. The proposal is to extend the time period for the submission of reserved matters. No other changes are proposed to the scheme. Therefore it is the same scheme that the Authority previously refused and that was allowed at appeal. Whilst the Authority has clearly had concerns over the development of the site previously appeal decisions are a material planning consideration. The decision to allow the appeal is therefore a key factor in the assessment of the application. This submission is to essentially renew the planning permission. The Authority would have to consider whether they would be considered unreasonable in refusing an application where an appeal had previously been allowed for the same development without there being any material change in relevant policy. An unreasonable refusal would leave the Authority open to possible costs at appeal.

Objectors have referred to there being material changes since the appeal decision. These relate to highways considerations. The development is outline with all matters reserved and therefore access details were not agreed as part of the previous outline submission or this variation of condition.

Ongoing litigation relating to route and rights retained by the applicant in relation to Cae Glas Estate Road was raised and objectors acknowledged that this was not a material planning consideration. They however felt that the Inspector had granted permission for a set period for time based on this being the appropriate level of time for the matter to be resolved. The time periods imposed were simply the standard ones for any outline planning permission.

The Inspector commented that:-

“I am aware of the ownership dispute regarding these two alternative routes, but for the reasons previously given, that dispute is not something about which I can comment. Whether it could be constructed is a matter that goes to land ownership, but on the basis of the information before me, I conclude that there is a reasonable expectation that a footway to the south of the proposed dwellings could be provided within the lifetime of any permission, following negotiations with any other land owners who may have a legal interest in the land concerned.”

Objectors refer to dispute being ongoing and it is therefore possible that the issue could still be resolved.

An apparent conflict of interest from local member was raised but is not a material consideration. The fact that the Authority had previously indicated disappointment with the appeal decision was raised however regardless of this the above outlines how the appeal decision is an important consideration of the application.

Certain comments from the Inspectors decision are considered worth noting. These include:-

“... any works that may be necessary and the funding of such works to the private road, including the provision of a turning head and footway connections, are matters that can be addressed under the Highways Act and through agreements with the various owners. Being an outline planning application, my concern is limited to whether the appeal site is of sufficient size to accommodate those elements. The indicative plan (09/357/22B) indicates that it is, details of which would be considered at the later Approval of Reserved Matters (ARM) stage. Therefore I need comment no further about this matter now.”

“As to car parking, the indicative plan shows that the development could accommodate parking within each plot in a similar manner to that provided in the existing development. Therefore at this outline stage, I find nothing to convince me that it would not be possible to provide adequate parking and that unacceptable highway congestion would result. Again, the precise layout and provision of car parking within the site would be considered at the ARM stage.”

“Heol Goi is a relatively narrow, no-through road that joins the High Street some way to the east. There are currently no footways alongside the carriageway which is flanked by banks, some trees and hedges, other than to the west of the appeal site adjacent to the recent development, Cae Glas. However, as such highway characteristics must have been evident and taken into account when the site and the adjoining land were allocated in the UDP for residential development, I need to consider whether any material considerations in respect of the highway implications are such as to justify rejecting the proposal now.”

“There is no compelling up-to-date highway evidence relating to the likely traffic generation arising from the proposed five dwellings and the effect upon the capacity of the local highway network. No recent traffic flow readings have been submitted, either in terms of vehicles or pedestrians: the only information from the appellant dates from 2001. However, although the existing development generates traffic, I must limit my consideration to the current proposal and establish whether this would create unacceptable highway conditions. In this regard, I find nothing to convince me that the volume of traffic generated by the five proposed dwellings would be likely to have a significant impact upon the overall use of Heol Goi. Even though the junction with the High Street is not ideal, I observed that the visibility is such that, with care, vehicles can join the High Street safely. Similarly, having regard to Manual for Streets 2, I find nothing to show that the visibility at the Cae Glas access would be dangerous.”

“...given the absence of any evidence relating to traffic flows and the resultant need for passing bays arising from the proposed development, although there is a pinch point, I similarly find no justification in highway safety terms for imposing a planning condition requiring that element to be provided as part of the current proposal.”

Welsh Water has yet to comment on the application however in relation to this matter the Inspector stated:-

“Turning to the issue of drainage, it is evident that Dŵr Cymru has been consulted regarding the up-grading of the St Clear catchment and associated waste water treatment works to resolve all capacity issues within the sewage network. A series of exchanges took place in September 2009, July 2010 and in April 2011, but it was not until 26 January 2012 that the matter was clarified. In that recent letter Dŵr Cymru confirmed that the foul sewage flows from the proposed development would not impact on the current flooding issues within the North of St Clears area, because those flows would drain into a different sub-catchment. Consequently, the objection to the proposed development on foul drainage grounds was withdrawn by the Council by letter dated 31 January 2012.”

In conclusion the Inspector stated:-

“... the proposal would not conflict with the Development Plan and that there are no material considerations of such weight as to justify rejecting the proposal, other than where I have indicated.”

CONCLUSION

The application site is located within the defined development limits for St Clears and has been allocated for residential development within the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan, therefore the principle of residential development is acceptable, unless other material considerations indicate otherwise. Material considerations include policies within the CUDP as well as other material issues that have been raised by consultees and other third parties and the previous appeal decision.

After careful consideration of the scheme as submitted and taking into account the representations received, it is considered that on balance the scheme is acceptable and does accord with policies of the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan,

Therefore, it is recommended that the application be approved subject to the same conditions of the Inspectors decision.

RECOMMENDATION – APPROVAL

CONDITIONS

REASONS FOR GRANTING PLANNING PERMISSION

The decision to grant planning permission has been taken in accordance with Section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase act 2004, which requires that, in determining a planning application the determination must be in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

It is considered that the proposed development complies with Policy H1, H4, GDC11 and T3 of the Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan, 2006 (UDP) in that the development located within an area of land allocated for residential development, is a renewal of a previous permission where there has been no material change to circumstances, there are no highways, amenity or utility objections.

APPLICATIONS RECOMMENDED FOR REFUSAL

Application No

W/30458

Application Type

Full Planning

Proposal &

Location

USE OF AGRICULTURAL FIELD FOR SEASON CAMPING (UP TO 8 NO PITCHES) (RESUBMISSION OF W/29925 REFUSED 27.05.14) AT LAND AT THE VALLEY, CWMFFRWD, CARMARTHEN, SA31 2LS

Applicant(s)

MR J GIBBS, THE VALLEY, NANTYGLASDWR ROAD, CWMFFRWD, CARMARTHEN, SA31 2LS

Agent

OWEN BANKS AND PLANNING DEVELOPMENT LTD, 43 POTTERY STREET, LLANELLI, CARMS, SA15 1SU

Case Officer

Stuart Willis

Ward

Llangunnor

Date of validation

10/07/2014

CONSULTATIONS

Head of Transport – Recommended the imposition of conditions with any approval on the previous application.

Llangunnor Community Council – Has raised no objection subject to usual neighbour consultation.

Local Member - County Cllr D E Williams has requested that the application be presented to the Planning Committee for determination. The reasons given for this request were:-

Neighbours/Public – A site notice was displayed near the site with no replies having been received as a result.

RELEVANT PLANNING HISTORY

The following previous applications have been received on the application site:-

W/29925 Proposed use of agricultural field for seasonal

camping pitches (8 in total)

Full planning refused 27 May 2014

APPRAISAL

THE SITE

The application site consists of a field at land associated with a property known as The Valley. The site is located off a long narrow track leading south east from the county road. The private track rises nearer the site. The application field then slopes from the track to the north and west. The site is located outside of development limits and more than 1km from the nearest settlement of Cwmffrwd. The site is located off a county lane running between Cwmffrwd and the A48 to the south of Carmarthen.

There is an existing access off the county road. From the site visit it was clear that the use to some degree is already in operation.

An application was refused earlier this year for the same development. The reasons for refusal related to the location of the site not being considered to comply with the relevant policies.

THE PROPOSAL

The proposal is for the proposed use of the agricultural field for seasonal camping pitches. A total of 8 pitches have been referred to.

Following the receipt of comments from the Head of Transport during the previous application the applicant provided plans illustrating the visibility improvements at the access with the public highway, together with details of the two proposed passing places along the track route to the site. The widened visibility splays required works to the existing vegetation along the roadside boundary, particularly to the west of the entrance. Some details were provided however these were not sufficiently detailed.

During the previous application the agent also confirmed that a proposed condition restricting touring caravans was acceptable and that the application seeks permission for a maximum of 8 camping pitches, not caravans.

The issues of sustainability were raised during the previous application due to the location of the site. In response to this matter the agent responded stating “in terms of relationships with settlements, this site is at the juxtaposition of three settlements - Cwmffrwd, Nantycaws and Carmarthen, and only one minute off the A48 trunk road. The site is NOT located miles from a village, along a minor road unrelated to the settlement, at a remote countryside setting. It is served by the facilities of those nearby settlements”. He has also commented that “in terms of the issue of the site being related to a settlement, we maintain that the site is accessible to Cwmffrwd and Parc Pensarn at Carmarthen, being only 5 minutes by car. Campers can call within the nearby public house at Cwmffrwd or shops and restaurants at Pensarn en-route or having departed the site on a day trip within the locality. Those visitors will be generating income for the local business trade, as part of the general tourist trade in Carmarthen.”

The vehicle parking area is shown to be opposite the entrance to the field. The location of this was queried and the agent responded stating “It is proposed to retain the area as distinctly separate from the camping field to allow that field to remain "car-free", allowing visitors to experience a stay at this discreet, tranquil location, without vehicles passing camping pitches, with potential for conflict with families enjoying its open, recreational attributes.

Families will arrive, and park up within the very modest parking area, and upload, walking to their designated pitch. Children are then encouraged to play within the field without vehicles driving through the enclosure, which also can have the effect of carving up the surface, which is proposed to be retained for agriculture in the winter months”.

Several structures were viewed on the site. In response to this the agent stated “The timber shelters alongside are only proposed during the camping season - April to October, and used as ancillary cooking and washing shelters, remaining open to the field. They are mobile, and stored within part of a nearby agricultural shed when not required for a booking, and at all times in the off-season / winter months.

The shower cubicle and compost toilet have also recently been "brought out" for the summer camping season, from their winter storage in the same agricultural shed.”

In relation to these structures it has been suggested that “a condition indicating that there shall be no outbuildings or ancillary camping shelters permanently stationed within the application site, with ALL apparatus removed off the enclosure between 1st November and 31st March.”

An indicative plan showing 8 pitches along the western side of the site with a shower and toilet block to the southern corner near the entrance to the site.

The design and access statement refers to the site being 400m from Maes Glasnant. No reference is made to the scheme being farm diversification.

PLANNING POLICY

GDC3 applies in relation to development in the countryside. This includes where a countryside location is essential in terms of the above uses and the site is suitable for the development concerned. In such cases the developer will be required to demonstrate the need to be located in such a location.

Policy TRS8 applies as it relates to extensions/improvements to existing static caravan and chalet sites. The policy states that such proposals outside development limits would only be permitted where:-

It is the policy of Carmarthenshire county council that proposals for small scale tourist facilities outside the development limits of recognised settlements will only be permitted where:-

Proposals for the conversion of buildings for tourism purposes either ancillary to, or housing the main tourism activity must:-

Applicants who obtain planning permission for small-scale tourism undertakings under this policy may be required to sign a section 106 agreement prohibiting the future conversion of the building to residential within a specific time period.

TRS9 - Touring Caravans and Tents

It is the policy of Carmarthenshire county council that proposals for the development of new touring caravan and tent sites and extensions to existing touring caravan and tent sites will be permitted, provided that:

GDC1 applies in relation to sustainability and looks to reduced private transport journeys.

Policy E6 relates to Farm Diversification as does TRS6. Whilst the applicant has not made reference this being a farm diversification scheme the matter has been raised by the local member.

Chapter 7 of Planning Policy Wales and TAN6 apply.

THIRD PARTY REPRESENTATIONS

There have been no adverse representations received to date.

CONCLUSION

After careful consideration of the scheme as submitted taking into account the representations received, it is considered that on balance the scheme is not acceptable and does not accord with UDP policy.

The application is a resubmission of an application refused earlier this year for the same development. The application is identical to that previously refused. The local member made no comment on the original application however on the resubmission has requested the application be presented to the Planning Committee.

The site appears to already be used for camping pitches with temporary structures on site at the time of the site visit. However there is no existing planning permission for the site.

In relation highways matters additional plans were previously provided and the Head of Transport recommended conditions with any approval. The additional details addressed some of these conditions. The site is largely screened form near views due to the relief of the land and the boundary vegetation. The site is also some distance from any settlements. The site can be viewed from a far across the valley but there are few if any near views of the site. The use is also only proposed to be seasonal rather than permanent. Therefore in terms of the visual impact of the proposal there are no concerns. The site is not located in a flood zone.

There are shower and toilet block proposed however these are said to be temporary structures that would be removed from the site outside of the periods proposed. It is considered that conditions could be imposed if the application were approved to deal with this matter.

The proposed highways works would affect the existing roadside vegetation. Limited details have been provided indicating translocation of the hedgerow however the details are not sufficient to ensure in terms of what the existing vegetation is and how the works would take place. A condition would be imposed if the application were recommended for approval to require a detailed landscape design scheme.

The use is of a nature that would be difficult to provide within a settlement. Therefore a countryside location is generally necessary. However this does not mean that any countryside location is appropriate. The relevant UDP policy refers to such sites being “related” to a settlement. The supporting information and comments from the local member feel the site is not isolated or distant from settlements. The nearest settlement to the site is Cwmffrwd. This is located some 1.7km from the actual field where the camping pitches are to be located. This distance is to the start of the settlement. Any services and facilities are located a greater distance from the site. The issues of sustainability of the site were raised during pre-application discussions and again during the previous application. It is considered relevant that the route from the site to the nearest settlement, services and facilities is along a narrow country lane. There are no pedestrian facilities and limited visibility for vehicles to see pedestrians along the route. This would be likely to further discourage people from walking or cycling from the site. The relief of the land would also serve to discourage more sustainable modes of transport during peoples stay at the site. The local member feels that people could shop prior to reaching the site. The site would not have any on site facilities or services and therefore there would be an increased need to leave the site for various reasons.

The comments of the agent are noted in that there are settlements in the area. However these are not sufficiently close to or easily accessible from the site. The comment that the site “only 5 minutes by car” to services and facilities emphasises that this is how journeys from the site are most likely to be taken. The agent referred to public houses and shops and facilities at Cwmffrwd and Pensarn while the local member refers to Carmarthen and Nantycaws. As stated above the distance to the edge of the settlement is approximately 1.7km and the distance to Pensarn in the region of 4-5km from the site. Carmarthen is further afield and Nantycaws has limited facilities on the opposite side of the A48. Therefore the chances of these being utilised by sustainable forms of transport are highly unlikely.

Reference is made to a previous appeal for a similar development in the Pembrey area. This site was located adjacent to an existing caravan site (S/15038). This site was approximately 1km from the settlement of Pembrey, closer than the current application site. Again there were no on site services or facilities. The Inspector considered that the site was not within easy walking distance at 1km to the settlement stating that “whilst people may be more willing to walk further distances on holiday I do not consider that journeys for basic essentials and in periods of inclement weather can reasonably be regarded as leisure walks. In such circumstances people staying at the site would use their cars for journeys to and from the village”. The Inspector also comments that although it was acknowledged that there would be economic benefits “the development would be poorly related” to the settlement and that they did not consider the proposal would amount to a sustainable form of development given its location and would be contrary to national planning policy”. As with the site referred to in the appeal there are not sufficient reasons to justify the proposal as an exception to the policies aimed at achieving sustainable forms of development. The inspector also referred to it being difficult to refuse other similar applications if that appeal had been allowed. Again here if this proposal were approved there would be likely to be similar future difficulties. Therefore the local member’s comments that the application is only for a small site are not considered to carry sufficient weight to overcome the concerns.

There have been changes to national policy since the previous appeal however that stance on sustainable forms of development has not been reduced. The appeal site was also previously developed land which would have added weight towards allowing the proposal. Here the site is a Greenfield location and therefore no such additional support is given. The UDP policy remains as it was at the time of the appeal. The distances here are greater than the appeal case and it is considered that the site remains distant from settlements, services and facilities.

Therefore the application is put forward with a recommendation of refusal.

RECOMMENDATION – REFUSAL

REASONS

GDC3 - DEVELOPMENT IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

In that:-

GDC1 - SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

In that:-

TRS9 - TOURING CARAVANS AND TENTS

In that:-