Report of the Assistant Director, Planning, attached.
The committee considered a report of the Assistant Director – Planning relating to planning application 23/00486/FUL.
The case Officer introduced the report and drew the Committee’s attention to one correction required to the report (Paragraph 10.9, page 18 of the public document pack), second line, through the inclusion of the word “not” between the words “do” and “benefit”. He also added that one further representation from a local business owner had been received, along with a letter of support for the proposal from Masham Parish Council.
The case Officer informed the Committee of comments received on the application from the Council’s Head of Economy, Business Support and Inward Investment which stressed the importance of digital connectivity to the community and businesses and that this also related to recreation and safety in this remote area. It was added that with increasing reliance on digital technology the proposal would support the Council’s digital strategy and services as they become reliant on mobile coverage. Additionally local businesses were increasingly reliant on digital connectivity and the need for mobile coverage, the lack of which could force them out of business. The viability of farming businesses were also becoming more reliant on mobile connectivity, many farming functions were reliant on connectivity, and a digital connectivity would be key element to them achieving carbon net zero. The Committee was further informed that the Council was working with partners within the county to help deliver this important agenda, however mobile connectivity was key to enabling this.
During consideration of the above application, the Committee discussed the following issues:
The applicant’s agent, Jennie Hann, spoke in support of the application.
At the request of the Chair and Committee, Paul Preston, Principal Democratic Services Officer, read out a statement in support of the application on behalf of the divisional ward representative, Councillor Felicity Cunliffe-Lister who was unable to attend but had provided her views ahead of the meeting.
Members commented further on the application and a number of views were put forward in support of improving digital connectivity in this rural area. It was moved and seconded that the application be approved, contrary to the Case Officer’s recommendation
That planning permission be APPROVED subject to the conditions to be delegated to the Assistant Director Planning, in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee.
The Committee approved the application, contrary to the Case Officer’s recommendation, because it was felt that on balance, the positive of providing connectivity to the residents of the rural area outweighed the negatives of this application.
For Approval 5, Abstention 1
(Councillor Andy Solloway arrived at 2.15pm whilst this item was under consideration. He took no part in the discussions or voting in respect of this application).