AN APPLICATION for a “rural enterprise dwelling” will come back to be decided at the next planning meeting in the new year after a cooling off period.

At the planning meeting on Thursday, December 5, the application to build on land at Maes y Cae, Disserth near Builth Wells, caused a councillor to storm out.

Another one gave the committee a ticking off over how they should decide applications on policy rather than how they feel.

A tied vote, 7 – 7 decided by planning committee chairman Cllr Karl Lewis (Conservative – Llandinam) was to approve the application, going against officer recommendation to refuse it.

However, no planning reasons could be found to back up the vote which led to the cooling off period.

After this was decided, Cllr Phil Pritchard, (Independent – Welshpool Castle) who voted to approve the application, said:  “I wish to withdraw, I do not agree with what’s gone on, we had a democratic vote and it has been substituted, sorry, not in my book.

“I’m not driving a 100 mile round trip to have a situation like that, I totally disagree with what’s happened here.”

And he stormed out.

Cllr Kathryn Silk (Liberal Democrat – Bwlch), said:  “This committee is a quasi-judicial one and we operate within a very strict legal framework, it is not a matter of how we personally feel about any application.

“We must have justification for our decisions, it’s not just a matter of putting your hand up and simply saying let’s go with it.”

Earlier, Cllr Gwilym Williams (Conservative – Disserth and Trecoed) and agent Alan Southby had spoken in favour of the application, made by Stuart Bridgewater.

The application was made so that there would be a 24 hour presence at the site, where Mr Bridgewater has a shed.

It was claimed that the shed  was used as part of his business which is making emergency repairs to agricultural buildings and other structures and farming systems at unsocial hours.

But planning officers questioned the need for someone to live at the site as the business is based elsewhere.

In their report they said: “Upon a site visit to the premises, it was apparent that the building is being used predominantly for agricultural purposes and is not currently being used to support the business.”

They recommended refusing the application.

Cllr David Selby (Liberal Democrat – Newtown Central) added that he felt a change of use application for the shed would be needed first before an application for a rural enterprise dwelling.

Cllr Selby was happy to move the officers recommendation to refuse the application.

Cllr Gareth Pugh (Conservative – Dolforwyn) said: “Looking at the nature of the business it’s a matter of opinion whether you need to be on site.

“You’d be very hard pushed to find an industrial estate which would want to accommodate that type of business. This is a perfect location, young family, therefore we should be 100 per-cent behind it.”

The first tied vote followed Cllr Pugh’s comments.

Committee solicitor, Colin Edwards, pointed out that as the decision was against the officers’ recommendations, councillors who voted against officers needed to come up with reasons based on planning policies.

As none was found,  Cllr David Price (Independent – Llanafanfawr) a former planning committee chairman, said : “I was going to suggest the cooling off policy. What we did previously was ask the members who went against officers recommendation to have sound planning reasons why.

“If they fail to do so, we vote again.”

His motion was backed and it is likely that the application will be back in front of the committee and their next scheduled meeting on January 16, 2020.