Variation of a S52 (S106) agreement.
The Service Manager (Development Management) said that the description of the application should have the reference to Section 106 deleted as this was not relevant to Section 52 agreements under the 1971 act. He summarised the application for the discharge of a legal agreement that required the occupier of the dwelling, built in the 1980s, to be a worker at Petasfield Stables.
The Service Manager said that the application must be determined in the form of an approval or refusal by Members. The Section 52 agreement could not be amended or replaced with an alternative agreement.
Members were advised that the Section 52 agreement could be discharged by agreement with the Council or by application to the lands tribunal court if the Council did not agree to the discharge of the Section 52 agreement.
The Service Manager said that an application to the lands tribunal would be difficult for the Council to oppose and there would be costs involved. Officers would have to consider careful whether to take any action to enforce the agreement in terms of whether it would be expedient and in the public interest to take such action. The likelihood of success would have to be considered as would the position as regards costs.
The Service Manager explained that Officers had received 2 Member questions in advance of the meeting. The first related to whether occupation of the dwelling would be in breach of the Section 52 agreement if the stables had been demolished. He said that the answer was yes to that question. The second query was could the stables be demolished or converted without the Section 52 agreement.
The Service Manager said that removal of the Section 52 agreement would not prevent demolition or conversion of the stables and any conversion to another use would require planning permission. He said that the remote location of the site would make it unsustainable for residential development and any introduction of residential development would detract from the openness of the Green Belt.
The Service Manager referred to the matter of the increased market value of the dwelling arising from the discharge of the condition as being covered in paragraph 6.7 of the report submitted. He said that Officers had considered the historic nature of the Section 52 agreement when considering this application. Officers had also considered the tests of whether the Section 52 agreement was still reasonable in line with current policy regarding conditions and obligations.
The Service Manager explained that the degree of harm involved should be taken in account. Members should not have any regard to the value of the property when reaching their decision on this application as this was not a material consideration.
Councillor Page said that the matter of rural worker occupancy was redundant due to a change of occupancy arrangements. He said that it was clear from District Plan policy HOU5 that a rural worker occupancy condition could be removed if the need could no longer be demonstrated. He believed that the Officer report had indicated that the need could no longer be demonstrated.
Councillor Page said that there was guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that stipulated that the removal of agricultural worker conditions was not in conflict with Green Belt policy.
Councillor Crystall questioned whether the applicant could re-apply for agricultural workers dwelling under District Plan policy HOU5. Councillor Andrews said that, based on the current situation with this application, he was not uncomfortable with supporting the recommendation in the report.
The Service Manager agreed with the points made by Councillors Page and Andrews. He said that the applicant could apply for another rural workers dwelling but the scale of the operation would not justify an on-site rural workers dwelling based on current planning policy. Members were advised that the benefits would not weigh the Green Belt harm and this would therefore be contrary to policy.
Councillor Jones proposed and Councillor Huggins seconded, a motion that the variation of a Section 52 agreement under planning reference 3/0364/85 be approved as per the recommendation detailed in the report submitted. After being put to the meeting and a vote taken, this motion was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – that the planning obligation required by the legal agreement be discharged.