Agenda item

21/P/02588 - Kings Court, Burrows Lane, Gomshall, Shere


Prior to consideration of the application, the following persons addressed the Committee in accordance with Public Speaking Procedure Rules 3(b):


·         Ms Jane Dent (to object);

·         Mr Luke Margetts (Applicant) and

·         Mr Andrew Bandosz (Consultant D&M Planning) (In Support)


The Committee considered the above-mentioned full application for variation of condition 5 re application 06/P/00548: The use hereby permitted shall not operate other than between the hours of 7:30am-8pm Mondays to Fridays (inclusive) and 8am-5pm Saturdays, and 9am – 5pm on Sundays and Bank or National Holidays.  Deliveries in association with the permitted office and live/work use shall not operate other than between the hours of 8am-5:30pm Mondays to Fridays and 8am-5pm Saturdays and 9am-5pm on Sundays and Bank or National Holidays.


The Committee received a presentation from the planning officer, Kieran Cuthbert.  The application was for a variation to condition 5 hours of use in relation to application 06/P/00548.  The current proposal sought extension to the approved working hours across the whole site, seven days a week, including bank holidays and national holidays.  The application site was located on the western side of Burrow’s Lane to the south of Gomshall.  The site was within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the surrounding area was predominantly rural in character.  Residential dwellings neighboured the site to all sides and the opposite side of Burrow’s Lane.  The site was originally granted planning permission for the redevelopment of the site for light industrial use.  In 2005, planning permission was varied in 2006 to allow the buildings to be used for B1 use.  King’s Court was now comprised of four separate buildings separated in self contained office light industrial units, Use Class E.  The site had a complex planning history with various applications for non-material amendments and variation of condition applications.  This application sought to vary the original hours of use as per condition 5, planning permission was then sought to relax the hours of use under application 19/P/0128 which was allowed at appeal. The application now seeks planning permission to vary condition 5 under the original application, to increase the hours of work Monday – Saturday and add Sunday and Bank Holiday hours.  The applicant had stated that the current restrictions on the hours of use limited the viability of the site with some units remaining vacant.  Officers were satisfied with the increase in hours proposed which only represented a one hour increase on a weekday and half an hour on Saturday’s but with no allowance on Sundays or Bank Holidays.


The Chairman permitted Councillor Diana Jones to speak in her capacity as ward councillor for three minutes.  The Committee noted concerns raised regarding the welfare of residents living as neighbours of King’s Yard.  The neighbours felt under constant pressure and could never relax because of the uncertainty caused to their domestic lives by the endless stream of planning applications.  This was perceived as an infringement of the right to the peaceful enjoyment of their property (Protocol One of Article One of the Human Rights Act).  The Committee noted that the site was only half-occupied by area; the submitted plans were inaccurate in showing Meadowside inside of the red line on page 33 which was inconsistent with the title deeds and omits Meadowside’s right of access on the Burrows Farm side and the fact that there is no evidence of any demand for another cycle shop in the area.  I doubt if extra competition would be welcome so there was no benefit locally from an increase in hours of operation at the site to cater for the cycle trade.  The ward councillor did not believe that the NPPF criteria, that such developments in the AONB should be justified by “exceptional” circumstances.  The Committee should refuse the application not only for the Sunday working hours but also the extended hours on other days.


The Interim Head of Place, Dan Ledger responded to comments made so far by public speakers and the ward councillor.  The committee should be mindful that it was dealing with the application before it and not with regard to future potential changes to hours.   The planning officer, Kieran Cuthbert also stated that with regard to comments made about the vacancy issues, the increase of hours should allow for those currently vacant units to be occupied.  The marketing plan that has been provided showed that the hours were not the key issue and other factors such as location and the hours would not amend this concern.


The Committee discussed the application and noted sympathy raised for the local residents and that the hours should stay as they were set by the original planning consent.  The Committee noted that there was a difficult and fine balance between amenity value and commercial expediency.  It was difficult to know how much traffic was caused by the activity onsite.  The Committee empathised with the needs of running a business and noted that the hours recommended on a Saturday of 8am – 5pm was quite early. 


The Committee received clarification regarding the hours recommended.  The change of hours to weekdays was deemed acceptable by planning officers however the hours proposed on Sundays and Bank Holidays were not supported. 


The Committee noted comments that at appeal the hours were originally set, and the reason given was to safeguard the residential amenities of neighbouring properties in accordance with Policy G1(3) of the Guildford Borough Local Plan.  A retail outlet for a bicycle shop was very different from an office retail unit which would create more bicycle traffic down a narrow lane on a Sunday.


The Interim Head of Place, Dan Ledger stressed that it was really important to know what the Inspector allowed in terms of the hours, what was being sought at that time and what was put forward by the appellant at that time.  What it did not do was go further and say anything else which was therefore by default unacceptable.  An important distinction to make was that the Inspector considered in the decision letter for that appeal that those hours were acceptable.  What the Committee had to consider was whether any particular changes to those hours caused harm, what that harm was and whether it was defendable.  The Committee simply could not say that they would prefer to stay with the Inspector’s hours as the Council had to be fair to all parties and the Committee had to demonstrate the harm that would come from it.















A motion was moved and seconded to approve the application which was carried.










Ramsey Nagaty





Jon Askew





Pauline Searle





Chris Barrass





Angela Goodwin





Angela Gunning





Ruth Brothwell





Maddy Redpath





Fiona White





David Bilbe





Bob McShee










In conclusion, having taken account of the representations received in relation to this application, the Committee


RESOLVED to approve application 21/P/02588 subject to the conditions and reasons as detailed in the report.     



Supporting documents: