Bethan Evans, Reporter
Saturday, April 28, 2012
PROPOSALS to turn a
COUNCIL members have debated over a proposal of converting a ‘cow shed’ into a house - despite the authority stating it can only be developed for commercial use.
Plans were put forward to North Somerset Council’s south area planning committee last week to reinstate the two-storey barn in Whitley Road, Banwell, into a home with parking and a workshop on the south side.
But the inspector’s report revealed the building has been refused conversion into a house four times since 1978 and lies within the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Councillor Tim Marter said: “However you dress it up, this particular proposal is to develop in the countryside.
“This is in an area of outstanding natural beauty and this cannot be given permission.
“This barn was sold at auction as a cow shed and our core strategy doesn’t convert redundant sites.
“The inspector has formally drawn a line in the sand and anything we do will set a precedent.”
Councillors were advised by the inspector’s report to follow the policies in the council’s local plan, which holds certain restrictions for building on farmland.
These restrictions state that development can be for commercial use to bring jobs, for example holiday homes.
Cllr John Crockford-Hawley said: “What I cannot understand is the logic that it’s perfectly feasible to use it for commercial use because that is not detrimental but someone living in it would be. I can’t quite marry up the thinking on that.”
Cllr Tony Lake said: “The policies do not take account of a situation like this. The difficulty is the planning system does not recognise it as a house, it’s deemed as a new development.
“I really do think we need to look at this as a one-off occasion. This clearly was a house in the past and it should be reinstated.”
This issue was voted for approval and as the Mercury went to press it was sent to the planning and regulations committee, subject to the officer adding suitable conditions.