Green light for luxury Soham home despite planning officer’s recommendation

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Councillors have given the green light for a luxury four bedroomed triple garaged house in open countryside near Soham despite a warning from a council planning officer that it contravened the authority’s own planning policies.

Farmer Simon Smith’s proposal, which also included a staff room and farm office, had been recommended for refusal by planners at East Cambridgeshire District Council.

But following the intervention of Mr Smith’s local councillor, Dan Schumann, the application was called before the planning committee on Wednesday where it met with approval by councillors.

Cllr Schumann insisted the house could be considered an “agricultural exception” and said it “would add an extra house to our housing deficit.”

Members of the planning and went against the refusal recommendation from the authority’s senior planning officer, Barbara Greengrass, claiming it was essential for Mr Smith to be able to live on the site next to Shamara, in Northfield Road, where he farms.

“Members do no not believe the house will be visually intrusive as there are other large properties in the area,” the committee concluded.

Ms Greengrass had outlined in detail how the application had broken planning policies. She said the applicant had failed to prove a need for an extra house for a rural worker,a bungalow with agricultural usage restriction was already on site, and the house was not essential for the running of the business.

She argued the house which she described as “an unwelcome and unjustified intrusion in this open rural setting”was contrary to the council’s core planning principles.