Change of use of a commercial unit to a Pet Crematorium (sui generis use), with associated flue, warehousing and offices on land at 2E-2F Church View, Clay Cross. (Revised scheme of Application NED/22/00195/FL)
(Planning Manager – Development Management)
The report to Committee explained that an Application had been submitted for the change of use of a commercial unit at the Church View Business Park, Clay Cross, into a pet crematorium (sui generis use). The Application also included an associated flue, warehousing and offices. This was a revised scheme of application 22/00195/FL, for which planning permission had not been granted. It had been referred to Committee by Councillor R Shipman, who had raised issues about it.
Planning Committee was recommended to refuse the Application. The report to Committee explained the reasons for this.
Members were reminded that the site was located in the Church View Business Park, which formed part of the Coney Green ‘Principal Employment Area’. These areas had been designated across the District for general industry, storage and distribution, light industrial and research and development purposes. Through the Local Plan, the Council sought to prevent them being used for other activities. These other activities, it was explained, should only be allowed if they were ancillary to the main use of the site and if they would not prejudice its future functioning or the viability of employment use on the site or nearby employment sites.
Officers had concluded that the proposed pet crematorium would not fall into one of these industrial categories or be an ancillary activity. Consequently, locating the facility on the site would be an inappropriate use. In particular, they were concerned about the impact which the facility would have on the rest of the Business Park and whether it might discourage other suitable industrial users from locating or remaining there.
Before the Committee discussed the Application those registered to speak were asked to address the Committee. R Slack, the Applicant and C Stainton, the Agent for the Application, spoke in support of it. No one had registered to speak against the Application.
Planning Committee considered the Application. It took into account the relevant Planning Issues, including the Principle of Development and the location of the site within the defined settlement limit for Clay Cross. Committee considered the status of the Church View Business Park as part of the Coney Green Principal Employment Area. It took into account Local Plan Policy WC2, which sets out the Council’s approach to protecting Principal Employment Areas for use for ‘Class B’ development, such as general industrial use (Use Class B2), storage and distribution uses (Use Class B8), and office, light industrial and research and development uses (Use Class E(g), only. It also considered Local Plan Policy WC3, which covers other commercial uses.
Members discussed the report. They heard about the scope of the business, the likely volume of cremations it would undertake and the processes involved, including the emissions of heat and other by-products. Members considered existing industrial uses within the business park and whether these fell into the categories covered by ‘Class B’. They also discussed how they differed from uses on neighbouring, but separate, sites, which had not been designated as Principal Employment Areas.
Some Members queried whether in terms of the Council’s planning policies the proposed crematorium could be classed as an appropriate development for the Church View Business Park site. They questioned whether it should be located on another site, designated for non-Class B industrial uses, as defined under Local Plan Policy WC3. Members also heard about the difficulties which the Applicants had experienced in identifying suitable alternative accommodation for their business. Committee reflected on whether this would be a sufficient reason not to comply with Local Plan Policy WC2 and what the implications of using a Principal Employment Areas for other commercial activities might be.
At the conclusion of the discussion, Councillor R Hall and Councillor D Ruff moved and seconded a motion to approve officer recommendations and to reject the Application.
The motion was put to the vote and was approved.
That the Application be refused, in line with officer recommendations.
The application site is situated within the Coney Green Principal Employment Area.
Local Plan Policy WC2 sets out the Council’s approach to protecting the Principal Employment Areas within the District. The policy protects these areas for general industrial use (Use Class B2), storage and distribution uses (Use Class B8), and office, light industrial and research and development uses (Use Class E (g)) only. Other employment generating uses will only be permitted in these Principal Employment Areas where they would both be ancillary to the main use on the application site and would not prejudice the future functioning or viability of employment use on the site or nearby employment sites.
The sites identified in policy WC2 are so noted due to the important contribution the sites make to the local and strategic portfolio of B Class employment and it seeks to retain them for this purpose rather than for other peripheral commercial uses not directly falling within the normal commercial and employment uses. Importantly it provides areas where such uses can operate without the risk of causing undue noise and disturbance to neighbouring uses.
The proposal seeks a change of use to a Pet Crematorium (Sui Generis use). The use of the site for this purpose would be directly contrary to the provisions of the Development Plan, prejudice the Council’s ability to deliver commercial development on appropriate sites and reduce the Council’s employment land through its use for other non-mainstreamed commercial uses.
There are no other material considerations to outweigh the harm caused to the development plan and so the application is unacceptable and contrary to policy WC2 of the North East Derbyshire Local Plan.