Retrospective application for Cheslyn Hay barns to be used for storage rejected

A bid to allow barns to become storage facilities after they were used for that purpose without planning permission has been thrown out by South Staffordshire Council.

Lodge Lane, Cheslyn Hay. Photo: Google Maps
Lodge Lane, Cheslyn Hay. Photo: Google Maps

A retrospective application was submitted to the authority for a change of use of the barns at Lodge Farm in Lodge Lane, Cheslyn Hay, after planning breaches were found at the site.

But concerns were raised by a resident and ward councillors about a potential “intensive” use of the barns for goods storage if permission was granted, leading to an increase in traffic and impacting on the openness of the green belt land the farm is located in.

Jon Imber, who spoke against the application at Tuesday’s planning committee meeting, said: “The site has a long history of enforcement investigations, including fencing.

“Members are being asked to support a scheme with far more impact on the green belt. The application should be refused on highway safety, impact on residential amenity and unwarranted loss of openness of the green belt.”

There were four submissions to the council in support of the application from nearby residents however, including two “from the same person and very similar in content, stating that ‘there have never been any issues’ in the 24 months since their property was occupied”, a report to the committee said.

Eleanor Lovett, who spoke on behalf of the applicant, said: “Agricultural use is currently permitted. From 2008-2014 half an area inside the barns was used by a local farmer for storage of grain and the other half was used by the client for storage of building materials.

“The client has been unable to attract people to rent the barns – the A460 is unsuitable for agricultural vehicles. They have been used to store building items and domestic items.

“Future use would be limited to limited to domestic storage, which would be reinforced by conditions. The restrictions are more restrictive than the current conditions on the agricultural barns.

“The barns have been used for 11 years without causing problems for residents. One neighbour has objected.”

Council planning officers had recommended the application be approved ahead of Tuesday’s meeting – but committee members went against the recommendation and voted to refuse permission.

Councillor Mike Lawrence said: “In the report I read the applicant appears to be complaining since the M6 Toll was built that plot of land has been isolated from other farmland.

"But the Toll opened in 2003 and we were told permission for these two buildings was granted in 2007 and 2014 – many years after the toll road was developed.”

Councillor Christopher Steel questioned how the conditions would be enforced if the application was approved. He added: “We haven’t got the people to sit outside to make sure the developer is adhering to the conditions."

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