Controversial Planning Application Going Before Councillors Again

Council chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

Council chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

Councillors are being given a second chance to review a controversial planning application that was refused at their last meeting in September.

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 planners refused it because they said it would create a new, replacement dwelling that was “significantly larger” than the current building and without any means to restrict it to key workers or local needs.

The applicants said they didn’t want to sign a so-called section 106 agreement to limit who could live in the home.

But at the time, councillors seemed unsure which way to vote.

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

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

But the plans have now been resubmitted completely unchanged and will be decided at tomorrow’s Planning Meeting.

The Truro-based consultant acting for the applicants, Stephen Payne, says in his report that there’s no need to change the plans because councillors found everything acceptable last time, apart from the legal agreement to restrict occupancy.

He says the Council’s Local Plan, which was used to justify the refusal, doesn’t make a clear distinction between ‘new’ and ‘replacement’ buildings.

And he finds it “quite remarkable” that officers didn’t use the tests to determine whether the home should be restricted that are set out in National Planning Policy Framework – the government’s guidance on how planning should be applied.

But planning officers are sticking to their guns.

They’ve recommended that the plans are refused again, because it would create an unrestricted, open market dwelling.

They’ve rejected Mr Payne’s arguments, saying any replacement building is “new” and that that requesting a restriction is in line with the National Policy.

15 Responses to Controversial Planning Application Going Before Councillors Again

  1. kay banfield November 27, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Just one last comment. It’s been interesting to see all the various thoughts on this but I still think we were right. South Tinks is a property which has been lived in on Freehold ground for the last 30 years and I believe this should be classed as a rebuild not a new build. If we were looking to build on a greenfield site or convert a derelict barn we would not have contested the 106. Our son converted a derelict shed in Hugh town and we had no problem having a 106 put on it as it had never been used for accommodation. I think the 106 agreements need a serious review and if this case has gone someway towards that being brought about it can only be a good thing. I think 106’s are seriously biased against local youngsters. For example if a child of a local family grows up, is schooled here, goes to college and on to university then further work experience, they lose their right to local need. Five years away is all they’re allowed. They are being penalized for having to leave the islands through no fault of their own. Within the 106 agreement there are many other anomalies which cause problems for locals. I hope when it is reviewed the council ask for the islanders input as they are the ones who are being disadvantaged and need protection.

    • Ian November 27, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      I appreciate your comments Kay, but at the same time i think the right thing to do was to put a 106 on it and THEN undertake an immediate review of all 106 agreements in place on the islands.

  2. Margaret Davis November 25, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Common sense prevails at last ! I recollect that the adaptation / interpretation of the 106 was introduced in Scilly over twenty years ago when the self build schemes were popular in rural areas. Things have moved on and it now seems to be applied mainly to areas of large private development when planning permission is granted with a condition of a proportion of affordable housing in the schemes. Maybe the Council could clarify the rulings to help our young people as building costs have soared these last years and earnings have not done so.

    • Adam Morton, St.Martins November 25, 2015 at 5:46 pm

      That’s not very comforting to those who have had to accept the 106 terms already! It looks like the rule book is picked up or tossed away depending on who the applicant is. If rules are made then they should be stuck to. I believe a similar application was granted on Bryher a few years back which almost immediately went on the market for about £600.000. The average build cost for a house is now about £300.000 yet the open market value is more like 5- £600.000. I mean ,given the option who wouldn’t?

      • Geoff Seasick November 26, 2015 at 9:44 am

        Oh come on Adam, you can’t honestly expect the present council to act consistently that would go against all they stand for. Do try to keep it real.

        A group legal action by even a modest gathering of current 106’ers could take our council to the cleaners, especially when combined with the Pilots Retreat failure to sign fiasco!

  3. Jeff Eastick November 25, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Glad to see that common sense prevailed. Look forward to seeing how things progress when next visiting Holy Vale.

  4. Just me November 24, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Well aim glad common sense at last now get rid of the rest of the 106 and make Scilly a nice place to live on far to many restriction forced on people by the council no need of it we need more houses and people living on Scilly to make this place more viable for everyone .look forward to seeing Nicky pushing a pram !

  5. Zapata November 24, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    It was passed!
    I look forward to seeing Nikki and John’s children grow up happily in their new 106-less home.

    This is a great day for the young people of Scilly, Councillors will now consider any application from young people as long as they promise to not flog it in the future.

  6. Todd Stevens November 24, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Scrap the 106 altogether, including those already in place. Then everyone is happy. The only reason we have it is because those who have no land or “affordable” home petition the council for help, the council then knee jerked reacted by placing 106’s on people who have freehold land. This angers the few land owners instead of actually helping those doing the actual petitioning. The council should get developers to build rentable homes on land the council own to help those in need, and leave those whom own freehold land alone!!

    • Auguste Rodin November 26, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      as ever a cogent argument with clearly delineated reasoning.

  7. Paul Whittaker. November 23, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    As someone that has built a home on St.Mary`s in the last 20 years and have had to obtain a 106 to build our house why should there be a compromise for some one in the same position. I`m not against other young people building a home but we should all do it on a level playing field so to speak.

    • Dean November 23, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      I agree with what your saying Paul, however, yours was a new build, this planning application is to basically extend the current dwelling, but due to lack of insulation and damp course etc in the existing house the plan was to ‘re’ build not ‘new’ build.
      I also doubt whether John and Nikki would actually be able to live in their own house if they agreed to a 106 as John works away for more than 6 months of the year, and Nikki has only recently returned to the islands, plus they’re both adequately housed, so neither of them would qualify for a 106 and therefore would not be able to live in their own house, thus not solving the current housing issue.
      If the planning department understood their own policies then there would probably have been more clarity among the voting councillors rather than confusing them with political nonsense.

      • JackM November 24, 2015 at 8:21 am

        “this planning application is to basically extend the current dwelling”

        Err, no, it’s to largely demolish the existing little cottage and replace it with a much, much larger house.

  8. Jeff Eastick November 23, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Surely in a case like this common sense should take over from planning dogma, given the current site situation.

  9. Nimis Non Est Satis November 23, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Why not compromise – if they are young and want to live there and help the local economy why not make it a 106 property for say 5 or 10 years.