A COUNCILLOR’s retrospective planning application has been granted after stables were built nearly double the size approved.
The committee stressed, however, it was not a code of conduct hearing so it would be basing the decision solely on planning merits.
Cllr Clare Mosdell’s application for stables, along with a new all-weather menage, was called into the Isle of Wight Council’s planning committee, due to the fact it is an application by a councillor and a neighbour objected to the plans.
Permission for the stables was approved in June 2020 with a floorspace of 28m2 but the final building measures at 52m2, with another stable block built and entrance to the field.
Cllr Mosdell previously said they could not build what had been granted because of land levels, run-off water and flooding.
Acting as agent for Cllr Mosdell at today’s (Tuesday) planning committee, David Long, of BCM said: “When it was being constructed Cllr Mosdell contacted me immediately to say she wanted to regularise the building as soon as possible, as the right thing to do.”
Mr Long said the main bone of contention with the neighbour’s objection is drainage but argued the sand school will be permeable, with no standing water, as it is built to withstand all weathers. He questioned whether the neighbours have soakaways on their land to deal with the natural flooding.
He said: “The concern is water filtering onto their land. It is a natural issue due to the topography and drainage — water does not flow uphill, it flows downhill but to pinpoint the water issues on this application is disingenuous.”
Charlotte Silvester, speaking on behalf of her husband, the objector Jason O’Donnell, said the land is their pension and dealing with the matter had been heartbreaking.
She said: “There is no drainage planned and it is right on my border. Drainage, and a drainage plan, must be provided if you are to approve this.
“If you are to pass this, you will condemn us in perpetuity to her run-off, and flooding in heavy or prolonged rainfall.”
Ms Silvester said the ménage, which will be made with compacted chalk, could not provide natural drainage and would only further increase flooding.
Council planning officer Russell Chick said they would not expect the menage to cause any particular issue to the neighbouring property as it would not cause excess water run off and in previous planning applications on the property, going as far back as 2006, no drainage conditions had been applied.
The councillors’ report stated the development would be unlikely to increase surface water on the site or run-off to the neighbouring land and the proposed surfacing material for the ménage would enable suitable natural drainage.
However, councillors asked for the conditions to be toughened to include details of a drainage scheme submitted to and approved by the planning authority before the ménage is built.
When debating the application, Cllr Geoff Brodie said it was an unfortunate situation they were in but the application would not have come to the committee had it been ‘Joe Bloggs Island resident’ but he had ‘a reasonable understanding’ retrospective planning applications are not unusual on the Island.
He said the bottom line is they were the planning committee, not a standards committee or the monitoring officer, and they must not judge the situation on code of conduct.
Cllr Brodie ultimately recommended the application be approved, as per officers’ conditions and accepted the amendment to toughen the condition.
Cllr Claire Critchison proposed the tougher condition but also said: “I am sure none of us would like to be put in this position by one of our own. The applicant was aware of the rules and made a very bad judgement, considering her position.
“Councillors sign up to represent their community and should do their best to lead by example.
“There are costs incurred for the council not only financial but also damaging to the public image from this application regardless of the decision.”
The permission was approved with eight votes for, with one abstention, Cllr Martin Oliver, who did not agree with the tougher drainage condition.