Tom Evans, Senior Planning Officer presented the report to the Committee confirming that existing training facilities for the Fire & Rescue Service are out of date and need to be brought update, high quality and fit for purpose.
The application includes amendments to access points on the site allowing for fire appliances to safely get to the proposed new training facility. There would also be an increase to the hard-standing parking area for the appliances.
It was confirmed to the Committee that the hose and ladder training would produce the most noise, but impact assessments had concluded that this would be of limited impact and only approximately ten hours a year. It was also confirmed that any smoke generated during training exercises would be fake; cold and will not produce any pollution.
The Committee was asked to consider that this application is in the Green Belt and that only certain conditions allow for development in the Green Belt. It was confirmed that the extension of an existing building within the green belt does not constitute inappropriate development. The creation of a further hard standing area can be categorised under engineering operations as per the NPPF guidelines and, also does not constitute inappropriate development in the green belt.
The erection of the proposed cold smoke house would constitute a new building in the green belt and would therefore be considered inappropriate development as defined by the NPPF unless there are very special circumstances. The report outlines the following points as being very special circumstances –
- The cold smoke house is a necessary part of the training requirements.
- The cold smoke house is a vital part of the proposed training facility.
- There is an overriding need to provide a highly trained fire service to the county.
The Committee noted that North Warwickshire Borough Council (NWBC) has raised an objection to the application on the grounds that the proposal constitutes inappropriate development in the Green Belt and significant visual and landscape impact. The Committee was asked to note that the Environmental Health officer from NWBC had not raised any objections to the application.
Tom Evans confirmed that members of the Committee would have to decide if the very special circumstances presented to them in the report are enough for them to grant permission.
Councillor Adrian Warwick stated that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) encourages the use of buildings already on a site and that he supports the very special circumstances outlined in the report. Councillor Warwick stated that he understands the concerns of NWBC but feels that this is a valid application.
Councillor Mark Cargill echoed the comments made by Councillor Warwick and stated that he fully supports Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service who need these facilities. Councillor Cargill confirmed that he believes the very special circumstances are valid.
Councillor David Reilly stated that there had been a recent Green Belt Review conducted by NWBC resulting in the decisions that there should be no development in the Green Belt. Councillor ... view the full minutes text for item 5