Plumber's plan for 'enormous' garage in his back garden rejected

The garage would have gone up behind this hedge on the western edge of Mattishall. 

The garage would have gone up behind this hedge on the western edge of Mattishall. - Credit: Google

Permission for a garage building on the edge of a village, which would have been the size of seven double decker buses, was denied by councillors at a meeting on Monday morning. 

Breckland District Council’s planning committee voted to defy the recommendation of their own planning officers in rejecting the application - citing the size and perceived industrial nature of the proposal, which would have gone up in Mattishall, near Dereham.

The application for the garage, storage facility and office space had been made by William Smith, who runs a heating and plumbing business.

He had hoped to see the steel-framed building constructed in his back garden, with a new access created for his vehicles.

The committee heard that Mr Smith has a 24-hour need to have access to his vehicles and equipment, currently stored on the site - but has experienced break-ins and hopes to secure them. 

Mattishall Parish Council chairman Graham Clarke said the application “seriously conflicts” with the village’s neighbourhood plan and Breckland’s local plan - particularly around preserving Mattishall’s rural character, materials used for the building and its scale, and adverse impacts on neighbouring residents. 

“I would like to draw the committee members’ attention to the sheer size of this enormous commercial structure,” said Mr Clarke. 

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“It measures 20 metres in length, seven metres in width and due to the applicant's own flood-risk assessment, 6.7 metres high.

“This is 2.2 metres higher than a double decker bus and has a volume of 945 cubic metres, equivalent to seven double decker buses.”

Mr Smith’s agent, present at the meeting, said it was wrong to describe it as a commercial development, and even if it was, it would comply with the local and neighbourhood plans. 

Paul Claussen, who is preparing to stand in his sixth election as a Conservative councillor, said it

Breckland District Council's deputy leader, Paul Claussen, is the local ward member, and he expressed his opposition to the plan. - Credit: Breckland council

But local district councillor Paul Claussen said the site’s location at the western entrance to the village made it unsuitable.

“This is the view that people coming from Dereham first get of Mattishall, and the parish council feel strongly that this industrial unit - which it clearly is - is not the view of a residential area,” said Mr Claussen. 

The committee voted seven to one against the officer’s recommendation to approve the plan. 

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