Agenda item

P22/V2219/FUL - Land between Upton footpath and Upton Byway off Hollow Way, Hollow Way, Upton, OX11 9HP

Erection of a new agriculture dwelling with landscaping and associated works (as amplified by LVIA, Landscaping scheme and supporting information received 3 February 2023, and by Agricultural Dwelling Needs Appraisal received 9 February 2023).


The committee considered planning application P22/V2219/FUL for erection of a new agriculture dwelling with landscaping and associated works (as amplified by LVIA, Landscaping scheme and supporting information received 3 February 2023, and by Agricultural Dwelling Needs Appraisal received 9 February 2023) at Land between Upton footpath and Upton Byway off Hollow Way, Hollow Way, Upton, OX11 9HP.

Consultations, representations, policy and guidance, and the site’s planning history were detailed in the officer’s report, which formed part of the agenda pack for the meeting.


The planning officer introduced the report, and highlighted that since publication of the report an additional condition was recommended to ensure that tree protection measures were installed to protect the trees and vegetation along the boundaries of the site which provided important screening. A correction was also required to section 6.29 of the report to state that the Community Infrastructure Levy was adopted in 2021 not 2017.


The planning officer highlighted that the application had been made in association with land farmed by the Napper family whose wider farm spread across a number of the nearby villages. The application site was located to the south of Upton village and accessed via London Road, A417. The planning officer informed the committee that a cattle farm had recently been approved under permitted development and the application before them was to facilitate the expansion of that cattle farm as well as for succession planning to ensure the business was able to continue for generations to come. The planning officer noted that the application site was located in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) with landscape constraints in the rural countryside and would not usually be a location where a new dwelling would be supported. The application would only be acceptable if the dwelling met all of the tests of being an agricultural dwelling. The planning officer advised that officers had considered the essential need for the dwelling, the availability of other more suitable sites, the economic viability of the rural enterprise, the size and scale of the proposed dwelling, and whether the design and location respected the landscape character of the area. The planning officer informed the committee that Alan Bloor from Reading Agricultural Consultants was available to answer any questions around the assessment process and policy requirements around agricultural dwellings.


The planning officer turned next to the landscape impact and noted that whilst there were long distance views from the site there was significant vegetation and screening. The planning officer highlighted that the ridge height of proposed dwelling was no higher than the existing barn. She noted that the existing barn was minimally visible from surrounding roads and that the proposed dwelling was set lower on the site due to the topography. The planning officer confirmed this had added weight to the officer’s assessment that the proposed dwelling would not harm the landscape setting or compromise the AONB. The planning officer recognised that concerns had been raised by the landscape officer but given the dwelling’s position, the change to the character of the AONB would be localised and could be addressed with an enhanced landscaping scheme and limitation to the domestic garden area.


The planning officer summarised by saying that the essential need for an agricultural dwelling in the location had been demonstrated with long reaching views being largely unchanged. She advised that balancing the localised level of impact to the AONB with the established need for the agricultural dwelling had informed her recommendation for approval of the application.


Councillor Neil Thorp spoke on behalf of Upton Parish Council, objecting to the application.


Mr A Napper, the applicant, spoke in support of the application.


Councillor Hayleigh Gascoigne, a local ward councillor, spoke objecting to the application.


The committee enquired as to how the need for an agricultural dwelling was established. Alan Bloor, Reading Agricultural Consultants confirmed that the National Planning Policy Framework and local plan stated that essential need must be established for an agricultural worker’s dwelling. He advised that the essential need tended to be dictated by livestock. Alan Bloor confirmed that it was essential for an agricultural worker to be on site during calving and it was critical that they were in close proximity in order to allow immediate assistance to cows. He informed the committee that close proximity was often referred to as within sight and sound as this allowed them not only to respond immediately but also to identify issues with livestock.


The committee reflected that they were concerned about protecting the AONB but that there did appear to be provision for the farming community to allow them to build in these areas. It was noted that there were a number of agricultural worker dwellings and rural enterprises along the Ridgeway.


The committee highlighted that the policy stated the size and scale must be commensurate with the need of the rural enterprise and went on to query why the proposed dwelling before them needed to be of the size, scale and ridge height that it was. Alan Bloor confirmed that analysis carried out be Reading Agricultural Consultants had found that where councils did not have a policy limiting the size of rural agricultural dwellings, they frequently ranged from 120sqm to 200sqm of living accommodation. He went on to state that most agricultural dwellings would include a farm office and a biosecurity room, which did not constitute living space. In addition to this, the farm’s profitability should be able to meet the build costs of the dwelling in order for it to be deemed commensurate to the need.


The committee went on to ask the planning officer how they felt the size of the dwelling met with design Part 4 of Development Policy 6 in the Local Plan part 2. The planning officer noted that it was rare for a single agricultural worker to come to a house alone, it would be anticipated for a worker to come with their family, the benefit of this being that the business would be able to grow. The planning officer also noted that the size of the dwelling was not dissimilar to other properties in the area and therefore it had not been felt necessary to seek a reduction in the size of the proposal. The committee then sought to establish if the proposal included a dedicated biosecurity room within the house. The planning officer confirmed that this was not within the dwelling itself but that a farm office did account for some of the floorspace of the dwelling.


The committee enquired as to how the planning officer felt the concerns of the landscape officer had been addressed. The planning officer advised that whilst the landscape officer looked at a specific element of the application, the planning officer had to balance this with planning considerations as a whole, particularly on the basis that the essential need for the dwelling in this location had been established. The planning officer was of the view that the conditions which required submission of a lighting strategy, an enhanced landscape strategy and the restriction on the use of the garden area, all mitigated the concerns of the landscape officer.


The committee discussed the addition of a condition in order to restrict the permitted development rights on the site and were advised that this would be reasonable. The planning officer confirmed that condition 13 (number changed to 14 due to inclusion of further pre-commencement tree protection condition) would restrict the ability for the dwelling to be used by anyone other than an agricultural worker and their family without first seeking planning permission. The committee also discussed how a lighting strategy could be used to reduce obtrusive light, particularly in relation to lighting within the garden.


A motion, moved and seconded, to approve the application with the inclusion of additional conditions to include specific tree protection measures and to restrict permitted development rights was carried on being put to the vote.


The committee felt on balance the need for the agricultural workers dwelling had been established. It reflected that there was a need for the restriction to permitted development rights due to the proposal being at the top of the range of permissible size for this type of proposal.


The committee wished for it to be noted that they requested the lighting strategy was in accordance with the recommendations for zone E1 as set out in the Institute of Lighting Professionals Guidance Note 1 for the reduction of obtrusive light.


RESOLVED: to approve planning application P22/S2193/FUL, subject to the following conditions:



1.    Work to commence within 3 years

2.    In accordance with approved plans



3.    Schedule of materials to be submitted

4.    Detailed landscape / planting mitigation strategy

5.    Details of hard landscaping, parking area and boundary treatments

6.    Levels plan

7.    Lighting strategy

8.    Land contamination – phased risk assessment / investigation

9.    Tree protection scheme



10.Surface water drainage scheme

11.Foul Water drainage scheme

12.Biodiversity enhancement strategy

13.Land contamination – remediation strategy and validation report



14.Agricultural Worker’s Tie – rural workers dwelling only

15.Land contamination – unsuspected contamination during Construction

16.Domestic usage limited to area marked as ‘garden’

17.Permitted development restriction for extensions, enlargements and outbuildings


Supporting documents:


Vale of White Horse District Council