Agenda item

ERLINGS WORK - 20/00865/MAF

The Assistant Director Transportation, Design and Planning will submit a report (Document “V”) which sets out afull planning application for building operations to reinstate animal by-products process plant and roof mounted solar PV equipment following fire damage, demolition of outrigger extension at rear and shelter roof structures on west side, structural alterations to create extensions to front and west side, replacement and resizing of industrial access doors, installation of concrete wall sections to replace blockwork walls, installation of new wall and roof cladding, re-siting of two silo tanks (retrospective).

Recommended –

 

That the application be approved, subject to the conditions set out in Appendix 1 to Document “V”.

(John Eyles - 01274 434380)

 

Minutes:

The Assistant Director Transportation, Design and Planning submitted a report (Document “V”) which set out afull planning application for building operations to reinstate animal by-products process plant and roof mounted solar PV equipment following fire damage, demolition of outrigger extension at rear and shelter roof structures on west side, structural alterations to create extensions to front and west side, replacement and resizing of industrial access doors, installation of concrete wall sections to replace blockwork walls, installation of new wall and roof cladding, re-siting of two silo tanks (retrospective).

A detailed presentation of the application was made to members, including plans and photographs of the site; photographs of the re-build undertaken in 2019; plans showing the changes to layout and elevation as a result of the re-build and a detailed description of the objections to the application which had been received both prior to and following the publication of the report. Objections centred around problems of odour; HGV vehicle movement through the residential locality and spillages from the HGV vehicles. A councillor representing a neighbouring ward had also reported his concerns regarding the lack of respect shown to the community by the applicant and that the bund constructed in 2010 still had no been planted up.

 

Members were advised that the application was partly retrospective as the applicant had continued to build on following the re-build after a fire in 2019 and that a new bund had been constructed which would be built up, seeded and planted.

 

The Assistant Director highlighted key issues for members, which were

·         The principle of this application as it was on green belt land

·         The fact that the application was not disproportionate in height or size

·         That the application did not reduce the openness of the surrounding green belt

·         The Council’s landscaping officer had assessed the application and was satisfied

·         The greatest concerns from residents were around the issue of odour, which were an environmental health matter rather than a planning matter, however members should take into account whether the new buildings would exacerbate matters.

·         The Environmental Health officer had assessed the application and was satisfied that the new fabrication would help to reduce odour.

·         Odour on the road was outside the remit of this application

·         The application would support the rural economy

 

In conclusion, it was stated that the matter for consideration at this meeting was the reinstatement of the fire damaged buildings only; that the application satisfied the exception test in respect of building on green belt and that the new buildings were not disproportionate. As a result, the application was recommended for approval.

 

The Chair of the Committee commenced questions by asking whether the new building would need a new fire certificate; would the new enclosed nature of the replacement building reduce noise impact and was the reason for the application being retrospective that the building was considered essential so re-building had been commenced immediately after the fire.

 

In response, he was advised that the plant was an important facility and that the applicant had cited that as a reason why building had been reinstated as soon as possible. There had also been some initial uncertainty about the need for planning permission. It was also stated that the build work on the new construction was far superior to the building it replaced with both pipe work and duct work being inside the new premises. It was suggested that the applicant would be best placed to advise on the fire certificate.

 

Another Councillor asked why spillages on the road were not a relevant issue and was advised that there was separate legislation covering this matter, which was dealt with by the Environmental Health Department.

 

A Member asked whether wet scrubber machinery would be installed in the new building and was advised that, although the application was simply for the reinstatement of two buildings, the Environmental Health Officer had commented to the effect that he was disappointed that this machinery was not being installed but did accept that the application was an overall improvement to the previous plant. In response to a second question, he was also advised that two silo tanks were to be re-sited but that this would have no adverse impact.

 

A Member queried the former use of the site and was advised that it had always been involved in similar work, being formerly a maggot farm, pet incineration facility and rendering plant before its current iteration dealing in category 1 animal by-products.

 

A Member queried the principle of dealing with retrospective applications and whether in particular it was expected that all works should cease while the application was dealt with.

 

It was explained that the situation varied depending on individual circumstances but that, while it was expected that works should cease until an application had been decided and applicant were advised that any unauthorised works were at their own risk, enforcement should not be undertaken unless there was risk of material harm. In this case, there had been confusion about the necessity for a planning application as it was essentially a re-build.

 

Members concurred with that advice, stating that the application would be considered simply on its merits as set out in the report, neither its retrospective nature nor any other environmental concerns could be described as material considerations.

 

The applicant’s agent had joined the remote meeting and spoke in support of the application, stressing how devastating the fire had been and explaining the specialist nature of the work undertaken at the plant. Erlings works was one of only four plants in the UK capable of dealing with category one animal by-products and while it had been out of commission it had placed the other three plants under considerable strain. As a result of the rebuild, the plant was now state of the art, with considerable focus on odour control and air management. In response to the Chair’s earlier question in respect of a fire certificate, he undertook to find that information and provide it to the officers concerned.

 

The chair concluded the discussion by noting that, although the plant had had numerous previous problems, he hoped that a benefit of the fire may be a much improved operation with benefits for the community as well as the company.

 

Resolved –

 

That the application be approved, subject to the conditions set out in Appendix 1 to Document “V”.

 

ACTION: Assistant Director Transportation Design and Planning

 

 

 

Supporting documents: