Minutes 17 October 2017

Meeting of Abbots Morton Parish Council on Tuesday 17th October 2017 at 8PM in Abbots Morton Village Hall


Present: Nick Humphries (Chairman), Will Hill, Clive Holt
In attendance: David Hunter-Miller (Clerk), members of the public

1. Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Richard Whitlow.

2. Declarations of interest
Nil declared.

3. Dispensations
Nil received.

4. To consider and adopt the minutes of the Parish Council meeting on 28thSeptember 2017
The minutes were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chair.

5. Progress reports

1. Website
The Clerk provided an update on the new website and additional content was discussed.

6. Open Session:

1. Public participation
A member of the public asked for an update on the nuisance dog issue in the village; an update was expected at the next meeting.
The owner/developer of Manor Farm spoke in support of his application ref.17/01885/LB. A member of the public raised concerns relating to this development, in particular the additional noise that might be generated but did feel that the two proposed extensions to the building would provide extra privacy.

7. Planning

1. 17/01884/FUL associated ref: 17/01885/LB – Manor Farm, Abbots Morton Road, Abbots Morton, Worcester, WR7 4NA. Renovation of Grade II Listed Barn and conversion to 2no dwellings.
The Parish Council object to the application with the following comments:
Abbots Morton conservation area contains 24 separately listed buildings in a village of 37 dwellings. Both the main house at Manor Farm and the barn to which this application relates were separately listed in 1959, together with only 12 other buildings in the conservation area. It is clear that this application directly affects two listed buildings and, consequently, it is important that any alterations to this barn are as sympathetic to its original structure and appearance as possible.
The Parish Council objects to this planning application and would urge the District Council to refuse permission on the following grounds:
Access & Parking. The proposed access is described as existing. However it has been maintained as a grassed area and not used as an access during living memory. There is no proper dropped kerb. Although only a technicality, the Council feel the access should be described as new. The provision for parking is also inadequate for two 4 bedroom properties which could have 8 cars between them. It is unclear how the three bays in the proposed future garage would be divided between two properties. The Council are anxious to avoid a situation where vehicles are having to park in the street which is too narrow to permit tractors, buses and coaches to pass a parked vehicle.
Bats & Wildlife. The parish is home to many bats with buildings such as this barn providing an ideal habitat. The Council feel the roof space of this building should not be converted to residential use but should remain as a roof space with access provision for bats. No bat survey appears to have been carried out as part of this application but it is clearly necessary.
Rooflights. These represent a major visual change to the building and would negatively affect its character by losing the simple, agricultural appearance of the roof line. They would also overlook several neighbouring properties.
Rear Extension. This distracts from the simple plan form of the barn and its history as an agricultural building. To suggest that this is a simple case of exchanging one area of ‘floor space’ at the western end of the building for the extensions at the rear completely misses the point around the sensitivity required when converting a listed building of this nature. There is no distinction made between the old and the new.
Ground Floor Windows. It is proposed to remove several historic timbers in the South Elevation to insert larger ground floor windows. This is completely unnecessary. Smaller windows should be used which fit in with the existing timber frame structure.
Amenities. Abbots Morton is lacking in amenities – there is no shop, school or public house. Public transport is limited to the local school bus service. The residents of any new dwellings in the parish will rely heavily on the private motor car for all journeys and, consequently, the provision of new housing in the parish would fail to meet any sustainability criteria.
To summarise, The Council does not have an in principle objection to the conversion of this barn for residential purposes – be that use incidental to the main dwelling house or even the provision of an additional home. However, by squeezing two four bedroom homes into a 17th century listed barn, this proposal fails to adequately respect the historic nature of the buildings and should be refused.
2. 17/01465/HP – The Old Manor, Abbots Morton Road, Abbots Morton, Worcester, WR7 4NA. Amended elevation plan for revised chimney, proposed visibility splays, amended driveway and landscaping plans.
The Parish Council supported the revised proposals.

8. Parish Paths Warden
It was noted that a Paths Warden had been appointed by Worcestershire County Council and that training was being arranged.

9. Finance

1. AM Village Hall (hire) – £11.00
2. Eyelid Productions (website) – £645.00

The above payments were agreed and cheques duly signed.

10. Councillors’ reports and items for the next agenda
It was noted that the remaining Smartwater kits need distributing through the village and this would be coordinated shortly.

11. Date of the next meeting
The next Parish Council meeting is scheduled for 8:00PM Thursday 23rd November 2017.

The meeting closed at 20:43PM.