Agenda item

APPLICATION NO: 13/0042/STMAJW SITE: LAND ADJACENT TO FOLLY FARM, KINGSWOOD, WOTTON UNDER EDGE, GLOUCESTERSHIRE GL12 7QX

The Committee is asked to consider the proposal for the importation of soils and sub soils to create noise attenuation bunds associated with clay pigeon shooting and associated landscape works. 

Minutes:

A summary of the application was presented by Sarah Pearse, Principal Planning Officer, aided by a power point presentation.  (A copy of the presentation is attached to the signed Minute book).

 

This was a planning application by Bristol Clay Shooting, Manor Lane, Charfield, Wotton under Edge, Gloucestershire for the importation of soils and sub soils to create noise attenuation bunds associated with clay pigeon shooting and associated landscape works on land adjacent to Folly Farm, Kingswood, Wotton under Edge, Gloucestershire. GL12 7QX.  The Committee were reminded that some Members had previously visited the site in July 2015.

 

Mrs Pearse explained that this application was submitted in June 2013 and was previously brought before the Planning Committee on 30th July 2015, with a recommendation for approval.  Members approved the proposal subject to planning conditions and a planning permission was issued on the 7th August 2015.

 

After planning permission was issued an application for Judicial Review was made to the High Court to quash the permission, on the grounds that the Waste Planning Authority (WPA) had failed to take into account the changes in the use of the land for shooting when determining the application. After taking Counsel’s opinion the WPA did not resist the claim and the decision was subsequently quashed by the High Court on 22nd December 2015. Further detail about this was contained within the Committee report.

 

The Committee were informed that the site comprised of two fields currently lay to grass and was located approximately 1.6km south east of Kingswood and 2.25 km south of Wotton under Edge in Stroud District Council area. The site was bordered by Kingswood Road to the north.  Folly Farm lay approximately 100 metres to the west of the application site. Haroldsfield Farm and Lower Witheymore Farm lie approximately 770 metres and 340 metres respectively to the south west of the site, and there were several properties along Day House Lane, within 650 metres of the site boundary.

 

Mrs Pearse explained that the site was surrounded by open mixed farmland, and mature hedgerows with hedgerow trees along the field boundaries. A public right of way CKD/44/1 ran along the western field boundary in a north south direction. The footpath entered the field over a stile to the west of the site access from Kingswood Road and then crossed the field to a gap in the hedge to cross the next field. The Applicant had stated that the line of the footpath would not be affected by this proposal and none of the bunds would be built over the footpath.

 

It was noted that there was a pond located on the southern site boundary. Hams Gully Brook was a small water course that ran along the eastern and southern site boundary. The eastern part of the site fell within a minor groundwater protection area. The site was also within an area identified as nitrate vulnerable.

The site was not within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty although the boundary lay approximately 425 metres to the east of the site.

 

The Committee viewed pictures depicting site access views to the east and west and a stile leading from the Kingswood Road to the PRoW Footpath (CKD/44/1).

 

Mrs Pearse stated that following court proceedings between 2010 and 2012, Stroud District Council issued a Noise Abatement Notice which came into effect on 28th January 2012 whereby noise emitted from the site shall not exceed 62 dBA as measured at identified properties. 

 

Members were informed that the site lay out was described within the report and illustrated on plans 4C and 5D. It was proposed to build a series of bunds up to 4.5 metre high surrounding the 5 shooting ranges for Down the Line and Skeet disciplines. The bunds were designed to attenuate noise and contain shot and clays within the site. The plans 4C and 5D illustrated the layout of the ranges, positions of the trap houses, the flight lines for the clays and existing and proposed landscaping, around the site and adjacent to the footpath. In addition to the original proposal, the Applicant had suggested the club wish to add the use of small bore rifles to the application (7.23).

 

The Committee were advised that over an 18-24 month period and over 6 day working week.  This would equate to 6 vehicles ‘in’ movements and 6 vehicles ‘out’ movements per day (12 in total per day).  In addition, wheel spinner and bath with pressure washer was proposed and a water bowser would be used to minimise dust on haul roads.

 

Members noted that the Applicant had applied for 0800 to 1800 Monday to Friday  and 0800 to 1300 on Saturdays, this being 3 and 4 axle tipper trucks. However, the Applicant had also agreed to avoiding peak traffic times and the addendum suggested operating hours would be  Monday to Friday 09.00 to 14.00 and 15.00 to 17.00 and Saturdays being from 07.30 to 13.00. 

 

Member’s attention was drawn to a picture depicting the layout of Field B.  Mrs Pearse pointed out the landscaping features, the footpath and the pond.  In addition, it was noted that the containers located near to the site access, were used for storage on site.  Members were advised that the containers no longer had the benefit of planning permission.

 

The Committee were reminded of the main planning considerations which needed to be addressed.  These were explained as need, design and layout, highway concerns (including narrow approach roads, timing of the site operation at peak times, mud/dust on road etc.), the impact upon the PRoW, ability of the bunds to achieve an acceptable level of noise attenuation, drainage, environmental impact, topography together with the newly created bunds magnifying noise levels, potential for pollution, the adequacy of the noise assessment report and landscape impact. In addition, the grounds set out in the judicial review challenge needed to be considered.

 

Mrs Pearse informed the Committee that the Council accepted there was some merit in the challenge in respect of the intensification of shooting at the site which was not considered in the original report or by members when determining the application and as such it put the planning permission in a questionable position. It was explained that the permission was quashed on a single ground which was that the officer’s report did not disclose any adequate or intelligible reasons why the changes that would be facilitated by the proposed development in the use of the land for shooting were not a material consideration.  It was noted that these issues were dealt with in depth in the committee report.

 

In terms of representations, it was noted that the main concerns raised by the objectors were and continued to relate to unacceptable and intrusive noise levels arising from the shooting, which it was felt would not be resolved by the construction of the bunds.  Local roads were deemed to be unsuitable for HGV’s; safety at the site and on surrounding land, including public footpaths was questioned.  The lack of evidence of police safety certification; the pollution of surrounding land and water courses arising from the shooting.  The impact upon the PRoW, consultation regarding the proposal was inadequate; the proposed bunds were unnecessary as the 62 dBA noise abatement notice level could be achieved by other means.  In addition, the design and layout of the site was inappropriate and not in accordance with CPSA guidelines, and the site location was unsuitable. 

 

Other concerns raised by the proposal, related to the safety of running a clay pigeon shoot at this site whilst having regard to the proximity of the road and the footpath, the suitability of the site for a shooting school, and fears that this would lead to a more intensified use of the site.

 

In addition, it was noted that supporters for the proposal felt that this was a much needed, well run facility which would offer facilities for the less able bodied. It would encourage the younger generation to take part in outside sporting activities and would keep a traditional country sport alive.

 

Mrs Pearse explained there were no objections to the principle of the proposal for the importation of waste to create bunds from Statutory Consultees, with the exception of the surrounding Parish Councils.  Although the District Environmental Health Officer had supported the view of the WPA noise consultant that further investigation needed to be carried out, both in terms of the most appropriate maximum noise level to be set in accordance with the Noise Policy Statement for England 2010, Significant Observed Adverse Effect Level (SOAEL) and noise modelling to demonstrate that this could be achieved.

 

The Committee were advised that Kingswood Parish Council had expressed concerns that could be addressed through the imposition of planning conditions, whilst Hillesley & Tresham and Alderley objected to the proposal. There were considerable local concerns about the shooting range itself together with the construction of the bunds.

 

It was noted that the Applicant had demonstrated that there was a need for noise attenuation to reduce noise levels from shooting at the site to comply with the Noise Abatement Notice.  Officers explained if the Applicant intended to develop the site further and offer a more professional environment /shooting establishment for its club members/customers. This must be set against the long term impact of having a permanent facility on the site albeit it would be for 28 days a year (as the Applicant operates under permitted development regulations); and the visual and landscape impact, highway and general disturbance to local residents in the Parish during the construction period. 

 

Members were asked to consider whether there was a proven overall benefit gained through the construction of the bunds and whether it had been demonstrated that the bunds would in fact reduce noise levels to the required 62 dB, and further whether that limit was in itself an acceptable level.

 

This proposal was for the construction of earth noise attenuation bunds associated with a temporary use of land, which was in principle in accordance with the development plan. However, having regard to the noise and safety issues arising from the Clay Pigeon Shooting associated with proposed development, raising concerns that the bunds would not significantly reduce noise levels and taking into consideration the concerns of local residents. 

 

Mrs Pearse concluded that there was insufficient information submitted in support of the application to permit this proposal and that planning permission should therefore be REFUSED for the reasons set out in section 8.1 of the report, plus the following additional reason (Paragraph 7.83 on page 94 of the report ) “The Waste Planning Authority (WPA) considers that further investigation needs to be carried out, both in  terms of the most appropriate maximum noise level to be set in accordance with the Noise Policy Statement for England 2010, Significant Observed Adverse Effect Level (SOAEL) and noise modelling to demonstrate that this can be achieved” .

 

The Committee was reminded that the Waste Planning Authority (WPA) was not satisfied that there was sufficient information submitted with the application to determine the noise impact on the nearest noise sensitive properties as required by the NPPF, and was therefore contrary to the requirements of the Waste Local Plan (2004) Policy 37 and Stroud District Council Local Plan (2015) delivery policy ES3.  

 

In addition, it was evident that further noise modelling was required to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed bund relative to the noise source and identified noise receptors, an assessment of multiple scenarios taking into account different shooting orientations and the specific characteristics of the source could be performed in a more effective way in a noise model environment.  Therefore, an appropriate maximum noise level needed to be established in association with modelling. The Committee were referred to paragraph 7.83 page 94 of report and paragraph 7.92 page 96 of the report. 

 

Mrs Pearse notified the Committee that the Applicant had clearly failed to demonstrate that the proposed development could adequately secure the shooting operation safely within the site boundaries in accordance with the CPSA guidelines.

 

As a point of clarification, Mrs Pearse confirmed that the application was for land adjacent to Folly Farm.  Members were also referred to the additional information, which was circulated prior to the member site visit (copies are attached to the signed minute book). 

 

Mrs Pearse sought the Chairman’s permission to read a letter from Mary Leonard, Clerk to Kingswood Parish Council at this stage in the meeting. 

 

The letter read as follows: “Kingswood Parish Council is unable to be represented at the Committee Meeting but wish to put forward the following points. 

 

Kingswood Parish Council has an adopted Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP).  This application does not appear to have been assessed against the policies within the NDP.  The NDP has full statutory weight and the application should have been assessed as to whether it complies with its policies. 

 

The Bunds:

-           The proposed bunds are a permanent change to the landscape to be implemented to control noise levels for shooting on 28 days of the year

-           It is not yet been proved that the bunds can actually control the noise at the levels required. 

-           The bunds would lead to an intensification of the site for shooting.

-           The noise could be controlled by other means and by condition not resulting in a drastic and permanent change to the landscape. 

 

Haulage Route

-           The route is through the parish of Kingswood which has many narrow roads and is often congested at peak times.

-           The applicant states that the Parish Council was informed of the change of times submitted as part of the committee report but at no stage did the applicant come back to Kingswood Parish Council (KPC) to discuss times.  This is why the parish council has changed their stance in 2017 from just a “comment” to an “objection”.  KPC note the new proposed hours as included in the 2018 committee papers. 

-           KPC would like to see a condition applied to the wheel washing facility that makes the operation of such a facility less ambiguous.  The words “necessary” could be open to interpretation. 

-           There appears to be a condition to control dust on the road but none to control mud which may enter the highways as a result of falling from lorries.

-           KPC would like to see a condition that controls the access to the site and that no construction vehicles should be allowed to wait on the highways for access to the site. 

 

Flooding

-           A condition to be implemented as detailed in the report to include a ditch as recommended in paragraph 7.67 of the report. 

 

Sound Monitoring

-           Sound monitoring has been proposed to monitor the effectiveness of the bunds.  However, the bunds could deflect noise to other areas.  Monitoring of the noise from the shoot should be made outside of the bund areas to check if the noise issue has not just moved to a different location.” 

 

In response to the points raised by Kingswood Parish Council, Mrs Pearse explained that the Kingswood Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) was adopted on the 18th May 2017 and formed part of the Statutory Development Plan for Stroud.  It focused on built development, principally housing and maintaining the separate identities of individual settlements and maintaining openness between the settlements. 

 

Mrs Pearse informed the committee that she had reviewed the policies contained within the NDP and there were some policies, E2, LA1 and E5 which at first appeared relevant.    E2 related to minimising the impact of development (policy 37 of the Waste Local Plan WLP) Stroud Local Plan (SLP) core policy 14 and delivery policies ES3. 

 

It was explained that LA1 was a landscape policy which sought to protect important views which was reflected in the SLP delivery policy ES7, Landscape character.  Policy E5 related to PROW’s, footpaths and cycle ways and sought to preserve and enhance existing footpaths, etc.  It was noted that this generally referred to built developments in and around Kingswood.  Mrs Pearse summarised that the Kingswood NDP had been taken into consideration and although it was felt that there were directly relevant policies in the plan, which were significantly different to Stroud Local Plan. 

 

The Chairman invited the following to address the Committee:

 

Objecting: Mr Michael Williams:

 

“The Applicants letter to the Case Officer dated the 15th December 2017, states: Point 1, it has been proved and endorsed by a Senior CPSA Official that the ranges (presumably those shown in the layouts) would meet with CPSA Regulations.  This statement as with others made by the applicant, does not give any details of the identity of the Official, and has not been accompanied with a written report of any kind, and as such can only be viewed as hearsay.

 

CPSA Regulations in respect of Down the Line and Skeet showing the range layout requirements are contained in their Booklet No 7 Technical Rules. 

 

The “Footprint” of the DTL ranges (Number 1, 2, 4 and 5) comprises 2 circle segments that join at the front of the Trap House.  The “Shooter” segment has a radius of 15.55 metres which includes the 5 individual shooter pads and is a 44 degree arc, and the “Target” segment has a radius of 50.3 metres and is a 66 degree arc.  Thus the overall size of the footprint is 65.85 metres long by 52.5 metres wide at the tips of the “Target” segment. 

 

Range No 1.  With the shooter positions close to the inside wall of the North side bun, positioned in accordance with the modified shooting directions shown in the safety note on page 4.  The target drop zone requirement cannot be achieved because the target would hit the south side bund 19.9 metres short of the 65.85 metre requirement. 

 

Range No 2. The ground level space available measures 52.5 metres (length) and 45.5 metres (width).  The requirement is as range No 1 and thus the target drop zone cannot be achieved by a margin of 11.9 metres. 

 

Range No 3. Skeet. The range layout is incorrect, however the Target Drop Zone in both directions cannot be achieved because the target will hit the bund wall at 28.7 metres distance from the trap houses, this is short of the 52 metre requirement by 13.3. metres. 

 

Range No 4. Down The Line (DTL). This range would need its bund moved to the South a significant distance in order to accommodate the CPSA footprint, and it would also need to be changed in direction to avoid shooters position having to be up on the wall of the Skeet bund.  The pond would also be a significant obstacle. 

 

Range No 5. Down The Line.  I can see little point in defining this other than the fact that it cannot possibly be fitted into such a tiny area.  Shooting would have to be straddling the footpath, and the shooter positions would need to be on land not controlled by the Applicant. 

 

In conclusion, the bunding as shown on the Applicants Layouts do not have sufficient space by large margins, to permit shooting to the CPSA regulations for both DTL and Skeet. 

 

It should be noted that the depiction of DTL ranges (4 out of 5 ranges) as shown on the layout drawings are incomplete as the shooter segment is missing, and also the target segment is shown (and drawn) as 40 metres which is not the case, the actual requirement is 50.3 metres.  Thus the overall size is shown is 40 metres instead of the 65.85 metres shown in the CPSA regulations, a shortfall of 25.85 metres.  This is extremely misleading and should have been corrected sometime during the 5 years since the drawings were originally published. 

 

As the reason for the application is to build bunds that will permit shooting DTL and Skeet in a way that would control noise, the inability to actually shoot such disciplines would negate the reason for bunds completely, and thus the application should be refused”  In addition Mr Williams referred to

 

Objecting: Mr Williams proceeded to read a speech on behalf of Mr Tewkesbury:

 

“As an owner of one of the properties seriously affected by the noise from previous clay shooting held at this site, I am concerned that, as it stands, none of the models proposed guarantee that the noise levels can be reduced to a level of 62db, which is presently imposed.  May I point out to the Planning Committee that this figure exceeds the level by 7db above what is recommended as being acceptable by the CPSA.

 

As the planned bunding will be at maximum in relation to the size of the site, further importation to increase size would appear not to be feasible. 

 

Should planning permission be granted and the noise still unacceptable, will this tip site just be abandoned or will Bristol Clay Shooting be obliged to return this agricultural land to its original condition at their own expense, as not to do so constitutes a change of use?”

 

Objecting: Mr Tony Shepherd

 

“I am Tony Shepherd, Chairman of the Alderley group of companies, which includes Alderley Farms Ltd, in whose farmhouse we live.  I am a graduate mechanical engineer, with a good general knowledge of noise control.  Our business is frequently involved in noise control.  I am satisfied with the planning officer’s recommendation on this aspect of the case.  However, one of the most important points made by the objectors is that the sites location and its very limited size mean that this is not suitable for a shooting school.  There are many reasons, I would like to emphasise some of these. 

 

The Northern Boundary of the site is the Hillesley to Kingswood Road.  A substantial portion of this is within 300 yards of the potential gun positions.  The roadway is not subject to any noise constraints.  As demonstrated by Mr Williams, in his presentation, the bunds as designed, will not contain the shot because the vast majority of this will miss the target and clear the bund.  When it does some of it will fall on the road.  When it does, it creates a real hazard to motorists, pedestrians and horse riders from noise and from being hit by shot. 

 

The Western Boundary is adjacent to a footpath.  Whilst it has been agreed that most shooting will be in an easterly of southerly direction there is no limitation on noise.  With a potential for at least six guns to be firing at any one time, there could be serious hearing damage to walkers if the club is shooting anywhere near full capacity.  It would seem probable that the footpath would have to be closed whilst shooting was going on.  This has not been agreed. 

 

On the Eastern Boundary there is a stream.  This is well within 300 yard safety distance of the gun positions.  Under current shooting conditions I have seen lead shot landing in the stream.  This is, as I’m sure the committee knows, potentially very harmful to water birds and other water dwelling livestock and possibly contamination of the stream. 

 

Some of Alderley Farms land is also within 300yards of the gun positions with a high probability of shot landing on it.  I know this to be a problem, because I have been hit by shot from the school when walking along my boundary.  It is I believe, illegal to shoot over a neighbours land without permission.  This club does not have Alderley’s permission. 

 

There is a significant slope on the site with the eastern side being much lower than the western side.  This means that, with bunds of equal height, as specified, the eastern bund will be ineffective.  This can only be rectified by building up the eastern bund or digging out the western side.  Both of these solutions present formidable practical problems which may be insuperable in the restricted area of the site. 

 

The primary argument in this case is about noise and noise abatement.  The planning report makes a strong case for refusing consent because of the lack of information on this subject.  I fully support this view.  However, even if the noise annoyance problem can be solved, which in my view is unlikely.  I believe that the committee should realise that there are other important considerations, particularly those on safety, which are ample grounds for refusal”. 

 

Objecting: Mr Dunn (speech summarised):

 

Mr Dunn addressed the committee as a citizen and local resident and explained that knew the area intimately.  He wished to note, that much of the information in the application was undated and unstamped.  In addition, it was noted that this parcel of land has been absent of a landlord for a long period of time. 

 

He explained that under the policy CP15 living and working in the countryside, permission should not granted if there was a detrimental impact on highway safety.  Mr Dunn added that the applicant’s view of moving the footpath out of the way to diminish the impact of shooting near or across a PROW was disgraceful and misleading.  There was no mention of the loss of hearing to walkers as shooters wore ear muffs.  He wished to add that the area was heaving with PROW and felt that these had been ignored by the Applicant and the County Council.  Mr Dunn referred to the drawing submitted by the applicant which showed that the PROW would be separated by a new hedge, he clarified that this was quite misleading as it was the existing hedge. 

 

The report said that the highway representative did not consider that there would be an adverse impact on the highway network; Mr Dunn contested this point as PROW were also highways. 

 

In summary, Mr Dunn the CPSA and other bodies say that an exclusion zone of 275m should be in place, however this was not the case with this application as the applicant wished to put a trap (shooting position) with 2.75m of a PROW, this was frankly lethal and ridiculous.

 

Applicant: Mr Neil Padfield (speech summarised):

 

Mr Padfield informed the committee that he felt Mr Shepherd’s comments were unfair and disputed the ranges referred to by Mr Williams.  He proceeded to inform the committee that the application was the same as considered before them in 2015.  The only addition was for rifle shooting and the lorry movements would purely be for the importation of soil to construct the bunds. 

 

He added that as a result of going to the crown court, the bunds were forced up on them.  Mr Padfield referred to the noise abatement and explained that a desktop study was not conclusive, therefore the information supplied should be sufficient. 

 

Mr Padfield informed the Committee that he offered to work with Stroud District Council in order to achieve the required noise levels.  In addition, he explained that there was no noise associated with rifle shooting and the bunds were purely there for safety and it was not a licence for a lucrative tip!

 

Mr Padfield explained that the application was initially passed in 2015, however he was asked to quash the application so a noise abatement of 62db could be placed in order for shooting to take place.

 

Mr Padfield advised the committee that dates for shooting had been submitted since 2013.  Members were advised that the application was not for a change of use and asked the committee to use common sense and approve the application. 

 

Mr David Darlow, Chairman of Hillesley & Tresham Parish Council:

 

“I am speaking on behalf of the H&TPC and local residents. 

 

Previous objections submitted by the Parish Council and residents to this application cover a variety of matters, including parking and traffic concerns but I shall confine myself to the main issues.

 

The western boundary of Hillesley & Tresham parish lies just to the east of the application site. From there, the land rises such that many residences are exposed to the sound of gunfire from the clay pigeon shoot and this noise has long been a source of annoyance among local people. Whilst, in theory, the proposed bunds should help to alleviate the noise nuisance, residents are far from satisfied that they would do the job sufficiently. Moreover, as the NPPF Planning Practice Guidance on Noise states, there is not a simple relationship between noise levels and the impact on those affected. It is believed that, even if the noise level were kept to the 62dB required by the Noise Abatement Order, significant nuisance would continue to be suffered and that the aim should be a reduction to the 55dB recommended by SDC.

 

The second main issue is the safety of people using adjacent land and the Hillesley to Kingswood road. In recent years, two of my fellow councillors have not only picked up fragments of clay pigeon but also been struck by flying objects. This is particularly significant, as horses are kept in the field on the far side of Ham’s Gully Brook. The Parish Council is not confident that the proposed bunds would prevent recurrences.

 

There is also concern among local people that, should the application be granted, the temptation for the site operator to expand shooting activity may be hard to resist. Any such expansion could increase noise nuisance and danger, especially if a wider variety of shooting disciplines were to be introduced.

 

Finally, the Parish Council requests that, if the Committee decides to grant this application, conditions are imposed such that the lorries are required not to travel through Hillesley and that their wheels must be washed on site before entering the highway”.

 

The Chairman reminded the Committee that a letter of representation from Kingswood Parish Council had previously been read by Mrs Pearse. 

 

The Chairman invited further questions from Members following the presentations. 

 

Councillor Tracey asked numerous questions relating to the frequency of shoots.  She also wished to know in relation to the noise and clay pigeon shooting were there warning signs in place?  Also in terms of danger to wildlife and the pond, were the spent shells picked up? She also wished to know what the age group of those shooting was.  And how was the safety of the footpath controlled?

 

Mrs Pearse explained that in terms of times, the noise abatement order was for three hours per day, 28 days per year.  In terms of the footpath, it was explained that there was no law that prevented anyone from shooting across a footpath, and providing there were warning signs and marshalls with radio controls to manage the public during a shoot, it was deemed acceptable.  Mrs Pearse could not confirm if there were warning signs in place on the footpath.  In response to the question relating to the pond, it was explained that the ecologist had been consulted and did not raise any objection to the application.  Members were referred to slide 13 of the officer presentation which showed the spent shell casings on the ground.  Mrs Pearse was unable to confirm the age of the range of those involved with the shooting club but added that the application catered for a range of abilities. 

 

Councillor Bird asked regardless of the decision could the shooting club continue on the site, as the application was for the importation of soil to construct noise attenuation bunds.  Ms Denness confirmed that shooting could continue on the site under the 28 days permitted development regime, however this  would require the Applicant to comply with the noise abatement notice, therefore the Applicant would not be able to offer a more professional shooting establishment. The committee were being asked not only to consider the importation of the soil to construct the noise attenuation bunds but to take into account the impact of the intensification of the shooting that would arise from the provision of the noise attenuation bunds. Although this was a county matter this second aspect (which would normally fall to the District Council’s planning functions) needed to be considered by the County Council as part of determining this application to satisfy the grounds of the judicial review. 

 

Councillor Bird questioned the crossover of District and County Planning functions, he felt this was a grey area and asked what the legal position was.  Ms Denness advised the Committee that the application could have been considered by the District Council, however the application was made based on the importation of soil/waste material and accepted by the County Council on that basis. The County Council had a duty to consider all the planning implications that arose from this application when coming to a determination and as such reiterated the need to consider the impact of the greater use of the land for shooting by the construction of the bunds. Ms Denness urged the committee to consider the officer report in relation to the implication of soil importation and the noise issues arising in respect of the application. 

 

Councillor Bird added that he did not understand the district element within the application, in relation to shooting and noise.  Ms Denness reiterated that the Committee was being asked to consider the importation of waste and the noise impact from the intensification of shooting at the site.  Once again, Councillor Bird requested clarity on the fact that the application was for the importation of waste and the ongoing noise levels on the site.  Ms Denness confirmed that was the case. 

 

Councillor Windsor-Clive referred to case officer note on page 48 of the report, which referred to a site disposal permit from the Environment Agency.  He required clarification on the County aspect and requested to know if a permit was required from the Environment Agency? In addition, Councillor Windsor-Clive asked if the application were to be permitted, could it also be conditioned to include the removal of waste if the site were to cease operating. 

 

Mrs Pearse explained that the case note referred to waste disposal rather than waste recovery.  In terms of removing the bunds that would be a difficult condition to enforce, as there was no real objection to the construction of the bunds, therefore it was not deemed an appropriate condition.  Members were referred to page 63 of the report, paragraph 6.2, which referred to the Environment Agency (EA) opinion.  It was noted that the Environment Agency had no objection to planning permission being granted for the development but the activity would require the Applicant to obtain a waste recovery environmental permit from the EA. 

 

Councillor Robinson asked if there was any possibility of discussing with the applicant the possibility of developing the first field initially as a trial. Ms Denness advised the Committee that the Planning Application to be determined was for both fields and not just one and therefore they must base their decision on what was before Committee. Mrs Pearse informed the Committee that noise consultants had previously suggested constructing a straw bund in an effort to ascertain the noise levels but the applicant had decided not to proceed with this option.   

 

Councillor Hale questioned the surface water drainage on the site, and asked if a flood risk assessment had been carried out, as the displacement of water could present a risk.  Mrs Pearse clarified that no flood risk assessment had been undertaken, as there was no structure or building to impact upon and the site was not within the flood plain.  It was noted that no objection-had been raised by the Environment Agency.  Councillor Hale added that the site was deemed to be in flood zone 3. 

 

Councillor Cordwell reiterated that the officer’s recommendation was to refuse the application based on three conditions.  However, if the committee wanted more conditions then they would have to defer the application, subject to the revised conditions coming back to the committee.  Ms Denness confirmed that would be prudent in the given circumstances.

 

Councillor Parsons stated that on Page 70, paragraph 7.6 of the report there appeared to be some disagreement between the noise consultants, he felt that a noise model should be constructed to ascertain the noise levels. Councillor Parsons questioned Mr Pope from Atkins Acoustics (the Council’s noise consultants).  Mr Pope proceeded to explain that a computer noise model could be generated in order to ascertain the levels.  He explained that noise may be increased or reduced in various directions given the lay of the land.  It was explained that a suitable noise level could be achieved with the correct solution. 

 

Councillor Parsons sought further advice and asked if there was sufficient information to determine or defer the application.  Ms Denness informed the committee that the Applicant had been asked for additional information on numerous occasions, however the Applicant had not provided the requested information, therefore it was unlikely that any further information would be provided if the application was deferred. 

 

Councillor Cordwell remarked if the Applicant did provide the additional information, then it could help to overcome such objections. 

 

Councillor Morgan stated that noise atmospherics’ had the ability to affect noise levels too.  Mr Pope from Atkins Acoustics explained that such factors could be accounted for in the model. 

 

Councillor Hale explained that if the Applicant were not forthcoming with the additional information, then the application should be refused.  Once again, Ms Denness advised the Committee that the Applicant had been given ample opportunity to bring further information to the case officer’s attention, however they had chosen not too. 

 

Ms Denness advised the Committee that given the above it was unlikely that any deferral of the application would assist in obtaining further information to inform members in respect of their decision making, as such members should seek to consider the application on the facts before them.

The Committee entered into a lengthy and vigorous debate.

 

Councillor Hale reiterated his view that if the Applicant had declined to provide additional information then the application should be refused. 

 

Councillor Fisher raised a number of points which related to the costs of appeal.  He also felt there was a conflict of information on the noise element of the application and stated that it was not possible to compel an applicant to provide any information if they did not wish too.  Councillor Fisher stated that the true test would be to build a bund to establish noise levels.  Given that the shooting club was established, they would undoubtedly have experience of noise.  Councillor Fisher raised some concern, and reiterated that noise element of the application should be determined by the District. 

 

At this point, Ms Denness once again advised the Committee that they were looking at the importation of soils and the impact of noise attenuation on site.  She reiterated that there was an expert noise consultant present to answer any questions members may have in respect of the noise element of the application.  , Mr Pope, (noise consultant) , explained that further work was required to clarify the noise position as at present there was insufficient information to be able to advise that any noise arising from the shooting at the site could be mitigated.  Ms Denness advised that should the application be appealed, then the planning authority would seek to rely upon the advice given by the noise consultant.  

 

Councillor Fisher referred to the fact that the Applicant had consulted the CPSA and that their advice was that bunding could reduce noise levels.  Councillor Cordwell referred to his previous statement, as stated on page 45 of the report, paragraph 5.5.  It was reiterated that it was not a good idea to allow the importation of soil to establish bunds, if there was no clear proof that they would do the job, given the position of the fields next to the hillside, as noise would bounce. 

 

Councillor Windsor Clive expressed some concern with the crossover of a District and County application.  He added that noise and soil importation were separate entities and the problems associated with the importation of soil, especially if the operation were to cease then the soil bunds would not be removed.

 

Councillor Bird noted that shooting could still occur on the site without the construction of the bunds.  He stated that in 2015, it was an issue for the district council to manage.  However, the introduction of bunds would produce positive effects overall and therefore discharge the duty of noise to the district once again. 

 

At this point, the Chairman asked Mrs Pearse for a point of clarification as to the grounds for a judicial review.  She added that grounds for a review would be if the Authority did not take in to account the planning consequences of the construction of the bunds, the impact of the facilitating of greater/different use of the land for clay pigeon shooting by the construction of the bunds, as the application was seeking to change shooting noise to 62db.  Therefore, the recommendation was to refuse the application, as without providing the additional information the Applicant was not meeting the requirement. 

 

Councillor Bird felt that given the intensification of noise, there were variations in noise levels and he didn’t see how a computer generated model would provide a realistic assessment of the noise levels.  In essence, only reality would give a true and accurate noise level.  As such noise control issues should be dealt with by the appropriate authority.

 

The Chair affirmed at this point, there appeared to be some degree of supposition and members were reminded to be mindful of their position. 

 

Ms Denness explained that the previous decision was quashed via a judicial review.  She urged members to be mindful of the reasons for the quashing of the previous planning permission, and reminded them that the reasons for the judicial review needed to be addressed in order to mitigate the potential of further challenge. 

 

Once again, Councillor Parsons made reference to the additional information that was requested from the Applicant.  Mrs Pearse confirmed that the Authority’s request had been communicated in writing, she reiterated that the additional information had been circulated with the member site visit notes but that was all the applicant was prepared to supply.  The additional information was clarified as a response by Mr Padfield to the 2018 extra objections and a response to clarify the Kingswood Parish Council concerns arising from the MSV regarding operating hours.  (A copy of the additional information is attached to the signed minutes).  Councillor Parsons stated that he was mindful to go with the officer’s recommendation and reluctantly proposed to accept the recommendation. 

 

The Chairman reminded members that they were in the debate and the opportunity for questions had passed. 

 

Councillor Hale explained that on the site visit he stood in the basin of the site and he felt that bunds wouldn’t cure the noise.  However, he was still concerned for the standing water and questioned where it would go.

 

Councillor Fisher sought reassurance from the noise expert and asked was he convinced that the bunding would work. 

 

Once again during the course of the meeting, the Chairman reminded members that they were in debate and it was unacceptable to keep asking questions of officers. One member contested the point of debate, but was reassured by the lead officer and clerk that the committee had clearly moved into debate, as previously indicated by the Chairman. 

 

Councillor Vines stated that as things had progressed during the course of the meeting, he felt that there were merits to the application and suggested that a deferral should be considered as this would allow the applicant to resolve any outstanding issues.  It was noted that Councillor Vines didn’t feel that bunding would reduce the noise issues, as atmospheric conditions played a part in it too.  In general, he felt that the applicant acted in good faith and there were no guarantees in what appeared to be a no win situation. 

 

Having considered the application Councillor Parsons reluctantly proposed to accept the Officers Recommendation, subject to the additional conditions, the first one being the condition that was outlined by Mrs Pearse during her presentation, the second being a condition in respect of the requirement for a flood risk assessment at the site raised by Cllr Hale. 

 

Councillor Bird questioned why it was not possible to defer the application at this stage.  Ms Denness explained that deferral was an option, however reiterated that the additional information had been sought from the Applicant numerous times over the course of 18 months and had not been provided.  The Committee were informed that the Applicant had confirmed in writing to the planning officer that he would not provide further information, therefore a deferral was not a useful option at this stage given that the Applicant had indicated that no further information would be forthcoming to assist members in their deliberations.

 

At this stage Councillor Bird accepted that the Committee had duly considered the application from both perspectives, and he added if the Applicant were serious then he would evidently provide the requested information.  Consequently, it appeared that not all members were satisfied with the circumstances surrounding the application.   

 

Mrs Pearse informed the committee that the Applicant would have the opportunity to resubmit the application within 12 months if it were refused at this stage.  She added that as the Applicant was present at the meeting, he would have heard members deliberations and be aware of what was required in respect of progressing the application at this stage.    Ms Denness reaffirmed that the expert advice was that there was insufficient information, hence the recommendation for refusal. 

 

The proposal was reluctantly seconded by Councillor Cordwell and on being put to the vote the motion was passed (6 in favour, 4 against and 2 abstentions). 

 

The Planning Committee therefore:

 

Resolved

 

That planning permission be refused as for the reasons set out in Section 8 of the Officer’s report with the additional conditions proposed by Mrs Pearse in respect of noise and summarised in paragraphs 7.83, 7.89 – 7.93 and Cllr Hale in respect of the need for a flood risk assessment.

 

At this juncture, 12:02pm the committee adjourned for a short break.  The Committee reconvened at 12:15pm.  It was noted that Councillor Hale had left the meeting at this stage. 

 

 

Supporting documents: