New St Mary’s Home Refused By Planners

Council Chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

Council Chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

An application to build a new 3-bedroomed house at Holy Vale on St Mary’s has been refused by planners because the applicants didn’t want to accept restrictions on its occupancy.

Nikki Banfield and John Jenkins had applied for permission to knock down an existing one-bedroom, single storey building at South Tinks, which is attached to the neighbouring property, and replace it with a larger home.

But planning officer Lisa Walton said that would create a substantial, new, open market property, which was against the islands’ current planning policy.

That says any new homes must meet local needs or house a key worker.

Lisa said she had discussed entering into a Section 106 agreement, but the applicants didn’t want that. They said it would constrain any future value of the development.

And they raised concerns about the Council’s consistency in applying Section 106 agreements, providing a list of seven examples on the islands.

But councilors appeared to be confused over whether the plans represented a new house or a replacement for an existing home and whether the occupancy restrictions were needed.

Cllr Avril Mumford said she was “very muddled about it.”

She felt they should remember that the property would be used by “a young couple and it would relieve our housing situation if they build their own house.”

Cllr Fraser Hicks supported the plans. He felt the restrictions wouldn’t be fair to the applicants, especially as it’s replacing an existing building with no rules on occupancy.

Council Vice Chairman Steve Sims said he felt it was unlikely that the property would go on the market “for a long time.”

“If we were doing this in Bodmin,” he said, “nobody would know the applicants and it would be a little bit easier.”

But he added that they shouldn’t be allowing new buildings without a Section 106 agreement in place.

Cllr Marian Bennett felt the plans were “good for the community” and “showed young people prepared to invest in the place and their future.”

She also pointed out that Section 106 agreements could affect mortgage applications, although Chief Planner Craig Dryden said recent changes to the way the contracts are written meant this was no longer the case.

A proposal was made to accept the application without a Section 106 agreement attached but councilors refused that by 6 votes to 5, with 1 abstention.

A second proposal was made to accept the application with the occupancy restrictions but after several minutes of confusion, it was pointed out that the applicants hadn’t actually asked for that, and the proposal was abandoned.



26 Responses to New St Mary’s Home Refused By Planners

  1. Jeff Eastick October 2, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Sorry for that name slip , Kay.
    Reference comments from ‘4 Lawn’ and ‘ a Local’, at least I am willing to include my proper name with my comments , which is more than I can say for many others who hide behind anonymity.

  2. Bear October 2, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    A little off thread here but the ‘us verses the outsiders’ comments real rattle my cage. Surely it shouldn’t matter who gets to buy a property, whether they are a ‘scillonian’ or ‘mainlander ‘. I’m pretty sure there’s no prejudice against a ‘scillonian’ buying whatever property they wish on the mainland and they wouldn’t be outcast as an ‘outsider’ because they weren’t from ‘the mainland ‘. Dread to think how the Scillonian folk would react in a refugee crisis- imagine if they had to give up space to someone who wasn’t born there!

  3. Adam Morton, St.Martins October 2, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Nice to see so many real names posting on this story. I hope you all filled in the local plan consultation document. This is what will set planning policy for the next 15-20 years.
    The trouble is that when people have their own property, businesses , holiday lets etc, they start seeing the islands as over developed and seeing the need to curb it!

  4. a local October 2, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Jeff Eastick
    September 30, 2015 at 11:31 am

    OK, I know people will say outsiders should keep their comments re local planning decisions to themselves.

    Agree with you there Mr Eastick, agree with you 100%

  5. bellaboo September 30, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    If the councillors were confused, wouldn’t it have made more sense for them to have adjourned making a decision, pending further legal clarification. Or is that stating the b****ing obvious!

  6. Jeff Eastick September 30, 2015 at 11:31 am

    As a visitor whose family has stayed in the Holy Vale Farmhouse during the past two summers , opposite the Tinks in question , it is difficult to understand why permission to extend this existing property for a local couple , whose family have lived in the area for generations ( we also stayed with ‘old’ Mr. Banfield when The Farmhouse was a Guest house in the 60’s and 70’s) would be refused , even without a 106. I cannot imagine Roger and Kay would condone a future sale outside of the Family , so close to their own residence.
    OK, I know people will say outsiders should keep their comments re local planning decisions to themselves (and we have the prospect of over 3000 houses being built on our doorstep) but refusing to allow replacement of one property with another , albeit larger so as to suit a local family,which would not intrude upon any neighbour’s privacy would seem perverse, especially when the application was refused only 6 to 5 , by councillors who admitted to being confused about the whole situation.

    • 4 Lawn September 30, 2015 at 11:54 pm

      Roger and Kay, now who is it that is confused exactly?
      Probably best go with the mug of cocoa and an early night.

      • kay banfield October 1, 2015 at 7:51 am

        Mr Eastick might have the brothers names mixed up but John and myself would like to thank him for his message of support. He’s been coming to Scilly since before some of those trying to control our lives were born,or even knew where Scilly was.

      • Charlie Newton October 2, 2015 at 12:56 pm

        At least he isn’t confused as to his own name ‘4 Lawn’???

  7. Adam Morton, St.Martins September 30, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I totally agree with the applicant’s concerns about the Council’s consistency in applying Section 106 agreements. 106 is here to protect the interests of future young islanders over short term profit from the value of building in an AONB. The islands have an aging population and desperately need to encourage young islanders to stay and work here. The value of industry is too low to support the rents and property prices driven by a retirement,second home, timeshare market. The islands then fill up with people who have no concept of the desperately needed changes to make the island economy & community sustainable.

  8. Ben Blackwell September 30, 2015 at 7:50 am

    It’s all very well building 106 affordable housing but this housing is still largely unobtainable. I bought my 106 property and was the first, I belive, to have the wording of the 106 changed to make it mortgagable, even so the lenders prepared to provide a mortgage on a 106 were very few, and a 106 self build mortgage was impossible to obtain despite the wording or content of the 106, a specialist self build mortgage broker also drew a blank.
    Anybody, local or not, could buy this property on the open market and develop it, a non local however would not be subject to a 106. Many locals have bought non 106 properties on the island and developed them without having a 106 imposed, why should this property be any different?
    The 106 is good in principle and although I’m not completely against it, it does seem to hinder more young locals than it helps.

  9. Charlie Newton September 29, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    I understand why the S106 legislation is there of course, but in this instance enforcing it risks Scilly losing a young local couple – which is total madness, and surely at odds with its purpose. This couple clearly intend to make their lives here & they should be encouraged & supported in doing so. The 106 results in far less viable terms in a mortgage – there is no getting away from it. I hope they are successful in appealing this decision.

  10. John Jenkins September 29, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    I would just like to clarify a few things, everyone of course has a right to their opinion but there have been a few things said which are slightly wide of the mark or are giving the wrong impression.
    The plans we have submitted are to make alterations to an existing dwelling – there is no policy in place which sanctions the imposition of a S106 on existing dwellings and that is regardless of whether the dwelling has to be re-built or not. I’d also like to make it clear that there are no objections by either the officers or members to the design of the proposed building ie the building itself and it’s size have received no objections.
    During the consultation phase with the officers we were asked if we would “consider” entering into an S106 agreement. (The fact we were asked to “consider” it shows exactly what sort of footing that request was on.) Since one of the considerations we took into account when coming up with this proposal was indeed that we would not be encumbered with an S106, after giving it more thought, we indicated this was not something we could agree to; The benefits of an unencumbered property and the ability to live in a house in a location where Nikki’s family have lived for generations were weighed against the various compromises we have had to make such as type of building, size, height and cost etc. We feel that this was a better option for us rather than building on a new plot of land, where we would not have to make design compromises but would be encumbered by an S106. It has been suggested that the “re-sale” value of the finished building is a concern of ours as if we are looking to build the property and immediately sell it for a profit. This couldn’t be further from the truth and anyone that knows us would not need to be told that. Despite the assertion that there is no longer any problem obtaining mortgages on S106 buildings this is not anywhere near as cut and dry as that. They are far more difficult to obtain and are at more punitive rates, to get a self build mortgage on an S106 is virtually impossible. Further to that, even if a mortgage was available they are of course based on the value of the property. With a restricted property we would not be able to raise the required amount needed to pay for the project. Therefore, quite apart from the fact that a S106 is not warranted in any way by the Local Plan, (the comment saying, “well done to the council for upholding the rules,” is especially misleading here) we cannot afford to accept it.
    I don’t wish to engage in a debate on this forum but I am happy to discuss this with anyone who wishes to know more. Feel free to stop me in the street and we can have a chat, failing that, my email address is picketdog@yahoo.co.uk

  11. kay banfield September 28, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I would just like to point out we already have a holiday let on the site in question with no restrictions which could be sold to a mainlander tomorrow at full market value who would probably then extend it without a 106. Isn’t it better for two Scillonian youngsters to build on this site rather than on fresh ground.

    • Gordon Bilsborough September 29, 2015 at 10:48 am

      The debate can be viewed on the Council’s Youtube webcast of the Planning Committee meeting on 21 September. I proposed that the application be approved without imposing a Section 106 condition because, in my opinion, it was simply a case of replacing an existing house for a larger family dwelling on the same site which is not subject to a Section 106.

      I was not convinced by the Senior Planning Officer’s arguments for imposing a Section 106. Before the vote was taken, I asked her if she would have recommended imposing a Section 106 if the applicant had applied for a one bedroom building to replace the existing one on the same site. She replied: “No.” This indicated that the reasons for recommending the imposition of a Section 106 were based largely on size which I believe would not be accepted by an Appeal Inspector because size is purely subjective.

      The closeness of the vote to refuse (6 – 5 with one abstention) and the obvious uncertainty displayed by some Councillors during the debate would justify a resubmission of this application.

      • HG September 29, 2015 at 8:02 pm

        “…size is purely subjective.”

        Err. No. If anything that aspect is entirely objective. Deary me.

  12. Local Realist September 27, 2015 at 1:30 am

    The Chief Planner has made it clear that the previous issue of getting a S106 mortgage has been successfully addressed after our Council tackled this problem by looking at what has been achieved in Cornwall. I can understand officers being very concerned by anyone who raises the issue of re-sale value when arguing against the imposition of a S106 if they want to build a new home. If you really want a home to live in and stay in and want special dispensation to build that home in an AONB, Conservation Area and SSCI, you should not even mention the sale-price value. Accept that it if you do sell, it will be to another S106 eligible local or key worker at a lower rate. That’s the deal because if you sell, the rate may be lower but other locals will then be able to afford the home. Maybe if older islanders had decided to hold onto properties that were in the family for years for future use by their kids instead of flogging them off or turning them into holiday lets then there wouldn’t be such a housing shortage? They forget the long-term impact of their short term greed. The Council has made the right decision in upholding the rules which are there to protect the landscape and prevent the island being built all over.They have made the right call.

    • Todd Stevens September 28, 2015 at 8:33 am

      Short term greed? These islands have no real industry. It is a fact that Scilly also has the lowest pay in the country. The islanders have to earn their money in the summer. The use of their own property becomes one of the only ways in which to earn a living-especially when they are old. Its not up to the local people to provide the council with council houses for others. If the council has to provide cheap housing then the council should free up land and allow building to happen on that land-THEN they can place 106’s as they wish. This proposed development is from locals to their own kin using their own land and money to build. The council should have no right to deny building in such a case just because the owners – rightfully -do not want a 106 on their own property.

  13. kay banfield September 26, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    There are a number of reasons why the 106 can cause problems. With a 106 on your house you are not supposed to run a business within that property, so if you have a mortgage on your house and need to earn extra money to pay it off you are not entitled to supplement your income within your own property . Our children have to leave Scilly to go to further education. We have no college or university within the islands so they have no choice but to live on the mainland. Two years at college and a further three at university, a couple of years work to gain experience and they have lost their local need status, bearing in mind these are children who have been born and bred in the islands whose families may go back hundreds of years, they no longer have the right to live in a house with a 106 on it. Is that fair? Would you want the local authority telling you who can live in your home. Many of our island children have left and cannot get back into the islands they love, the 106 is another problem they face.

  14. Todd Stevens September 25, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    I know this might ruffle a few feathers but its food for thought- This saga shows why the 106 “agreement” is all wrong. Here we have a young couple wanting to take their first step on the ladder; as is everyone’s right in life to do. The council come along and say- ” you have to sign this 106 ‘agreement’ in order to get our permission to build” The couple say “no- its our land and our money” -The council then refuse them permission to build. This is not an agreement- its a demand. Therefore anyone who signs a 106 “agreement” (demand) is doing so under duress. As far as I understand it- any document signed under duress is invalid in law. Dont sign or you wont build is duress-pure and simple.

    If a council owns the land or is paying to build the house they can rightfully demand people to sign their lives away. But people who own the land should be given the choice to sign. If they sign- its an agreement; If they dont sign- it should not stop them from building. Both these scenarios increase housing. For goodness sake- let them build their home!!!

    • Solomon September 26, 2015 at 8:39 am

      Todd,
      Following your interpretation of the laws of the land it would follow that if, for instance one was in the throws of an acrimonious divorce and the judgement you sign for your release from your vows gives your wife or husband half of your possessions which you accrued before you met them you are not legally bound by the document because obviously it was signed under duress? Using your interpretation of the law the divorce is invalid so you still own the property and remain married. Simples!

    • HG September 26, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      Total lack of understanding of law there, but hey-ho, this is the internet…

      • HG September 26, 2015 at 4:51 pm

        Just to point out that my reply was to Todd.

        Also I will add that the Section 106 would be to restrict residence of the new house to locals/key workers… so the locals building it would still be able to build and live there as their home. The restriction would be who the house could be lived in after they moved out/died. Therefore the reason you wouldn’t want to accept a S106 would be because you are thinking “it will affect my ability to sell it after I build it”. The S106 regime on Scilly is designed exactly to help keep our limited housing supply for locals/key workers and stop the loss to the second home/holiday let markets (ie the open market).

        • Todd Stevens September 28, 2015 at 8:21 am

          My main point is that the council would have a say if they provided the land or built the house but where people own the land and build a home with their own money on it, these 106’s should be a choice. I fail to see what two people coming to an agreement in a divorce has to do with a council forcing its way into peoples private property.

          • Solomon September 29, 2015 at 8:19 am

            I give up!

          • Chippendale September 29, 2015 at 9:31 am

            Perhaps a carpentry analagy would assist: take a piece of 8″ x 1″ par that is 72″ long, now cut it into two exactly equal lenghts, place one over the other with the two 8″ faces together. When you have done this measure the combined depth of the stack.