Sewell Development Approved Despite Local Opposition

  • An application for “Variation to Condition 12 of Planning Permission CB/19/03323/VOC Variation of Design to keep the ridge level as approved but lower the pitch of the roof to raise the eaves level of the dwellings to alleviate the need for dormers and create small gable on the two-storey front projection.” has been approved today by the Central Bedfordshire Council's Development Management Committee (DMC)




The Houghton Regis Town Council had objected to this application. Their statement read,
“This site has already been subject to a previous Variation of Condition (VOC) application (CB/19/03323/VOC) which, in the Town Councils opinion, included so many variations that it constituted a revised application and did not fall under the criteria for VOC. ”

“For example, the variation also increased the size of the footprint of the proposed developments, albeit by not much but by a figure in total of around 3 metres, removal of bay windows to be replaced with bi-fold doors and two additional windows in plots 2 and 4 on the gable end. 
The proposed design does not complement or harmonise with the local surroundings, in particular to the adjacent listed building. Nor does the design pay regard to its setting in a conservation area.
Insufficient parking provision. 
The original application (CB/17/05378/FULL) provided very little in design elements. The previous VOC application and this application, should it be approved, will leave a set of semi-detached dwellings of box-like design with absolutely no design elements and contrary to Central Bedfordshire Council's Design Guide and thereby incongruous in the hamlet of Sewell.
Members requested the ward councillor be asked to call in this application”

Objections from neighbours were listed in a report to the DMC:
  • Issues with the process of validating application
  • Request for full application to re-examine the application process.
  • Site is highly visible.
  • UPVC windows are incongruous.
  • Houses are more prominent than original.
  • Dwellings cause harm to the openness of theGreen Belt and Sewell Conservation area
  • Design, specifically the gables is inappropriate.
  • Impacts on the heritage assets conservation.
  • Impact on the Listed Building
  • There are no public benefits to the proposal.
  • Planning Permission should not have been grantedin the first instance.
  • Impact on light and privacy for neighbouring properties
  • Out of Character with the area
  • Inappropriate development
The report to DMC also included these comments from the planning officer, “The original application granted planning permission for the erection of 4 dwellings at this site under planning permission CB/17/05378/FULL. It was considered that the proposal would be on previously developed land and would result in the net loss of footprint of a very bulky and unsightly building... due to the minor scale of development, the amended design is not considered to cause any undue harm to the openness of the Green Belt.”

Decision Day

The application went to the DMC on Wednesday, 10 March 2021, to be decided as Ward councillor, Cllr Susan Goodchild had called the application in. Her grounds for calling it in were because:
  1. The application has already been subject to a previous  Variation  of  Condition  application  which includes so many  variations that  it  constitutes a revised application  and  does  not  fall  under  the criteria for a Variation Of Condition Application
  2. The proposed  design is contrary  to the character and appearance of  Sewell Manor, the listed building, and the Sewell Conservation Area
  3. There is insufficient parking provision.
  4. The proposed design will have no design elements which is contrary to the Central Bedfordshire Design Guide and incongruous in the hamlet of Sewell.
In the officer's report to the DMC is stated that,
“Planning permission is being sought to alter the approved planning permission CB/17/05378/FULL and is further to the approved Variation of Condition application CB/19/03323/VOC  for the demolition of a  large mechanical storage unit,  and abutting dwelling and erection of  4  No semi-detached cottages at  Stable  Cottage, Manor Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell. The proposal seeks to amend the design of the 4 semi-detached cottages by adding an apex roof extension at the front instead of individual dormer windows. It is considered that the proposed development does not have a  detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the conservation area. It has no detrimental impact on neighbouring amenity in terms of daylight, privacy or being overbearing. The proposal does not impact on the Openness of the Green Belt or the setting of the Listed Building.  As  such  the  development is  considered acceptable as it is in accordance with Section 12 and 13 of the National Planning Policy Framework, Policy BE6 and  BE8of  the  South  Bedfordshire Local Plan Review and the Central  Bedfordshire Design Guide.”

Cllr Martin Kennedy, representing Houghton Regis Town Council (HRTC), addressed the meeting saying that the archaeological requirements had not been met, but was told by officers that it had been discharged sufficiently. Cllr Kennedy ran through the Town Council objections as listed above. 

During the planning deliberation it transpired that the new application was retrospective because work was already proceeding on the buildings:-

Slides at the DMC showed that the building was already being constructed on the site, so the planning application was retrospective.


Editorial Comment

A number of planning applications for Sewell have recently come to the attention of HRTC. Observers of the HRTC Planning Committee will be aware that the town councillors are concerned about the potential for developments in Sewell which will increasingly impact on the Green Belt that may result in undesirable and practically uncontrolled planning developments without an overall vision.

Since 2009, Sewell has seen these planning applications:

Sewell Manor Planning Applications Boundaries affected
Find an explanation of these plots by clicking the green areas on this link

Planning applications in Sewell


CB/09/05211/FULL
Erection of two storey extension and roof extension to provide observation and training facility at first floor level. Erection of fire escapes and rooflights (Amended design to planning permission SB/TP/04/1044).
Whistlebrook Stud, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/10/03060/LB
Addition of one new window to gable end and replacement of various other windows
Springwell Cottage, Sewell Lane, Sewell 

CB/11/00724/VOC
Variation of Condition 4 of Planning Permission Ref. SB/TP/96/0586 to enable use of the site for riding school, private recreation,dog training and agricultural purposes.
Whistlebrook Stud, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/11/01842
Variation of Condition: Variation of condition 4 to enable the additional D2 use, of dog agility training.
Whistlebrook Stud, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/11/00116
Internal alterations to create a bat roost
Lane Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell 

CB/11/00189/LB
Alteration to create a bat roost in lean-too poll barn
Lane Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell 

CB/11/01085/FULL
Demolition of existing shed and erection of garden room
Honeysuckle Cottage, 1 Cowslip Crescent, Sewell Lane

CB/11/02551/LB
Alterations to first floor rooms and replacement windows and door to Lane Farm
Lane Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell 

CB/12/04396/LB
Removal of black paint from historic timber frame
Lane Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell 

CB/13/00866/LB
New roof timbers and strengthening of frame, replacement of 2 modern door posts with oak; replacement of chipboard panel with studwork & plaster & lath; replacement of plasterboard with lath & lime plaster; new boiler flue and removal of approx 2.5m length of decayed timber over W2 in Bedroom 1. (Part Retrospective)
Lane Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell 

CB/13/04066/FULL
Proposed change of use of ground floor 'The Barn' from FACTORY/PREMISES to OFFICES/PREMISES Together with removal of restriction to first floor that states use as architect studio only.
The Barns, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/15/01849
Erection of garage. 
Sewell Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/15/00905/LB
To incorporate the kitchen within the converted barn, replace timber flooring and stairs within barn, remove some infill pieces between beams in barn, add 4 conservation rooflights above barn, reconfigure staircase to first floor, and remove conservatory at gable end of house.
Whitehill Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell,

CB/17/01763/FULL
Erection of new agricultural building. 
Sewell Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/17/03566/FULL - Application Approved.
Conversion of redundant stable block to a dwelling.
Sewell Manor, Sewell Lane, Sewell 

CB/17/03582/FULL
Change of use of redundant surgery & timber barn to form fitness centre including 4 No hotel/motel accommodation rooms (C1)
Stable Cottage, Sewell Manor, Sewell Lane

CB/17/05378/FULL - Application Granted
Demolition of large mechanical storage unit, and abutting dwelling and erection of 4 No semi-detached cottages
Stable Cottage, Manor Farm, Sewell Lane

Original plan for the four homes at Sewell Manor site.



CB/17/05830/LDCE - Approved
Lawful Development Certificate for the Continued use of land and buildings as B1, B2 & SUI Generis use classes for a period of ten years or more.
Sewell Manor, Manor Farm, Sewell Lane

CB/18/02533/FULL
Demolition of existing garage and stores building. Build new garage/ancillary building.
Springwell Cottage, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/18/02534/LB
Listed Building - Demolition of existing garage and stores. Build new garage/ancillary building.
Springwell Cottage, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/18/04539/FULL - Application Refused
Erection of 3 bedroom dwelling.
Sewell Manor Lodge Sewell Lane

CB/19/00578/LDCE
Lawful Development Certificate Existing - Part of stables now used as 2 bedroom flat
Whistlebrook Stud, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/19/03323/VOC - Application Approved 
Variation of condition 13 of planning permission CB/17/05378/FULL - Demolition of large mechanical storage unit and abutting dwelling and erection of 4no. semi-detached cottages.
Manor Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell

The proposed new frontages as varied from the original permission



CB/19/02584/FULL - Application Refused
Erection of one 3 bedroom dwelling
Sewell Manor Lodge, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/20/02412/FULL - Application Refused
Demolition of existing workshop and storage buildings and erection of seven dwellings with associated vehicle & cycle parking and access roadway.
Sewell Manor, Manor Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/20/02413/LB - Application Refused.
Listed Building: Demolition of existing workshop and storage buildings and erection of seven dwellings with associated vehicle & cycle parking and access roadway.
Sewell Manor, Manor Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/20/02649/FULL
Demolition of the existing single dwelling and one and a half storey detached replacement dwelling with associated works
2 Cowslip Crescent, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/20/03539/FULL - Application Refused.
Retrospective application for the change of use of the former surgery building to a residential dwelling with outdoor garden space and vehicle parking area.
Sewell Manor, Manor Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/20/03060/NMA - Application Refused.
Non-material amendment to planning permission CB/19/03323/VOC (Variation of condition 13 of planning permission CB/17/05378/FULL - Demolition of large mechanical storage unit and abutting dwelling and erection of 4no. semi-detached cottages.) amendment sought: To keep the ridge level as approved but lower the pitch of the roof to raise the eaves level of the dwellings to alleviate the need for dormers and create small gable on the two storey front projection
Sewell Manor, Manor Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/20/03061/DOC
Discharge of Conditions 3, 6 and 7 from planning permission CB/19/03323/VOC (Variation of condition 13 of planning permission CB/17/05378/FULL - Demolition of large mechanical storage unit and abutting dwelling and erection of 4no. semi-detached cottages.)
Manor Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell

CB/20/03557/VOC (this article) - Approved today
Variation to Condition 12 of Planning Permission CB/19/03323/VOC Variation of Design to keep the ridge level as approved but lower the pitch of the roof to raise the eaves level of the dwellings to alleviate the need for dormers and create small gable on the two storey front projection.
Stable Cottage, Manor Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell
The latest proposals for the front and rear of the buildings currently being built.



CB/20/04760/DOC 
Discharge of Conditions 3, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 14 against planning permission CB/17/03566/FULL (Conversion of redundant stable block to a dwelling).
Sewell Manor, Manor Farm, Sewell Lane, Sewell 

On the Market

Sewell Manor is currently on the market, listed with Right Move at an asking price of £1,350,000 
Key features: Grade 11 Listed Manor House; Approx Two Acres Of Land; Ideal Project Outbuildings; Garages & Driveway; Countryside Location; Historical Building; Chain Free.

“Sitting in a dress circle position within approx 2 acres of mature grounds, is Sewell Manor - a partly restored Grade II stately private property of unique versatility, which could offer the potential for one or more dwellings. Respectful renovations and meticulous upkeep means this decade-old manor house has stood the test of time. Built as far back as the 13th/14th century, this historic manor house gives us a glimpse into a bygone era. From a grand reception hall, 6 ornate reception rooms, 5 bathrooms and restored period features, this manor house has it all. Its architecture ranges in style. Starting from Gothic architecture.. continued

Pictures credit: Right Move / Cassidy & Tate



  • The application, subject of this article, was approved by the members of CBC's DMC.




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