Planning Applications

This page logs representations made on recent planning applications and appeals (latest on top).  It does not necessarily include all representations made as some are handwritten.  Documents on more general planning matters are on the Other documents page.


Salcombe - land at Baptist Lane - demolition of garages and erection of two dwellings. (SHDC reference 0877/17)

Status - not yet decided      Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on  13 April 2017:

I wish to object to the above proposal for the following reasons:

This is overdevelopment on a small site in the heart of Salcombe. The development
proposed would be right on the pavement of Devon Rd and Baptist Lane, rearing up like a
cliff, overshadowing Courtney Park and presenting a forbidding and overbearing front onto
Devon Rd. This proposal is at complete odds with the surrounding area of Victorian villas
set well back from the road which give a charming welcome to the town.

The scale of the proposed development would block the public view to Snapes Point, and
make the entrance to Courtney Park unattractive. The junction of Devon Road and
Baptist Lane, on a bend, has poor visibility for cars exiting at the moment. It would be
really hazardous if this dwelling were built. Baptist Lane is single track and not ever going
to change,

This proposal is in the AONB and Conservation Area and for this reason can be refused
because it is unsuitable, unsympathetic, not in the public interest and the adverse impact
would outweigh any perceived advantage. The suggestion that either of these houses
could suit local people or be family homes or be in any way 'affordable' is frankly
ludicrous so they would become second homes. They would do nothing to ease the housing
shortage.

An application in 2008 (41/0387/08/F) was refused. The reasons remain. I urge refusal of
this application.

Yours sincerely

Vivien Napper,
Chair, South Hams Society


East Portlemouth - Gara Rock Hotel - redevelopment involving change of use from hotel (C1) to create 12 residential apartments (C3) with external alterations including fenestration (windows and doors) and access (steps). Erection of self-contained ancillary staff accommodation. (SHDC reference 3586/16)

Status: not yet decided            Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 11 February 2017

 

Sir,

Major planning application 3586/16/FUL - Redevelopment at Gara Rock Hotel, East Portlemouth

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty were designated for the recreation and enjoyment of everybody. Unnecessary damage to them hurts everybody and means that we leave a less attractive environment for the generations that follow us. It is irresponsible of us to go on chipping away at the landscape while telling ourselves that degradation such as is proposed in this application will not do any harm.

The NPPF makes it absolutely clear that landscape in AONBs is to be protected (to the same degree as that in national parks) and it is unfortunate that the applicants seem not to be aware of its provisions. There is no presumption of sustainable development in an AONB. The application doesn't even mention, let alone try to clear, the very stringent tests which, under NPPF 116, must be passed for a major development such as this to be allowed.

One of those tests is that the circumstances must be exceptional. In this instance they clearly aren't exceptional - it is a straightforward case of a developer wishing to increase his built estate for a greater profit.

This site has already been overdeveloped, at a cost to this section of the coastline, and it would be a great pity if its expansion were allowed to continue.

The council should refuse permission.

Sincerely,

Vivien Napper
Chair

 


Stokenham - rear of Green Park Way, Chillington - outline permission for 65 houses.

Status: not yet decided          Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 20 June 2016:

Dear Sir,

For the district in general and for the community of Chillington in particular the development proposed would bring significant long term disadvantages.

The new estate would be outside the village's development boundary, and it would add to the trend for the suburbanisation of the South Hams waterside. Though it would be outside the AONB, it would adversely affect it, by virtue both of its appearance and of the general loss of open countryside in long views.

The location of the housing would have been determined by the objectives of a landowner and of a developer rather than by the needs of the local community. (It should be remembered that, when the houses in nearby Helmer's Meadow were built, the developer advertised them in the national press.)

The occupants would have to use cars to access the schools, shops and services of Kingsbridge. Even if the objection of increased traffic on the very busy A379 is brushed aside for the present, the additional traffic would contribute to future pressure for the road to be upgraded, to the disadvantage of the environment, character and amenity not only of Chillington but also of the other villages between there and Kingsbridge.

Against these objections, so clearly made by the people of Chillington, the possible advantage is the provision of affordable housing. Yet the application has come forward with that element left almost entirely open. If the benefits and disbenefits of the proposal are to be sensibly considered by the public, the developer needs to specify the number of affordable houses he will provide, together with their size and type of tenure, and with a clear statement of how they would remain affordable when they come up for resale. It cannot be right that these matters would be left for subsequent negotiation by officers in a situation where outline approval had been granted and the project had thereby been given momentum. They need to be nailed down as part of any outline permission.

As it is currently made, the proposal is inadequate and the council is urged to refuse it.

John Graham
for the South Hams Society

 


Aveton Gifford - Wakeham New Barn, TQ7 4NE - prior notification for proposed change of use of agricultural building to 2no dwellinghouses (Class C3) (Class Q) (SHDC reference 02/1703/15/AGDPA)

Status: refused                  Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 31 Aug 2015:

This application is near an important listed building, Wakeham Farmhouse, and in an attractive rural location. It is important that the resulting dwellings should be sympathetic to the environment.

The Society suggests that the council should ensure that a registered architect should be used to prepare the submission for Part B of the change of use.

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers


Kingsbridge - Widegates, 56 Embankment Road, TQ7 1LA - readvertisement (revised development description and documentation) - erection of 2no new dwellings and associated landscape on site of previously demolished dwelling - main dwelling to include pool and garage (SHDC reference 28/1630/15/F)

Status: conditional approval               Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 31 Aug 2015:

The Society has pleasure in supporting this application which appears an attractive development for an equally attractive site.

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers


Ugborough - land at SX691583 Cutwellcombe, Avonwick - provision of stable block (SHDC reference 57/1628/15/F)

Status: conditional approval         Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 31 Aug 2015:

The Society supports the view expressed in the letter from Mr Reed of Devon CC that there should be an archaeological investigation of the site before building is begun.

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers


North Huish - land at SX719552, Higher Coarsewell, Ugborough - provision of new agricultural building and access (SHDC reference 38/1622/15/F)

Status: conditional approval             Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 27 Aug 2015:

This application makes no mention of the public footpath which runs along the west side of the site.

The Society considers that the applicant should clarify the proposals to show the location of the footpath in relation to the site boundary and the fencing on the boundary.

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers


Loddiswell - land at Blackdown Reservoir, Coldharbour Cross, Hazelwood TQ7 4EA - change of use of land to equestrian use and erection of stable block and tack room (SHDC reference 32/1612/15/F)

Status: withdrawn             Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 27 Aug 2015:

The location of this site next to the fort and castle at Blackdown Rings makes it imperative that Historic England should be consulted and an archaeological investigation should be carried out under their direction before the application is considered as required by Policy DP 6 of the Development Policies DPD and paragraph 128 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers


Kingsbridge - proposed development site at SX73924386, allocated site K4, Garden Mill - outline application with some matters reserved for residential development scheme for 32no dwellings at allocated site K4 (SHDC reference 28/1560/15/O)

Status: refused, pending appeal        Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 27 Aug 2015:

This application is for a very difficult site for the reasons below.

The access the site down Derby Road is insufficient to allow two cars to pass. As the highways consultation remarks there is no safe access to the site for pedestrians without constructing a route separate from that used by cars through the recreation ground.

The steep gradient of the site presents considerable problems for the site layout, both roads and housing. There is no swept path analysis to show that large lorries can pass on the site road. The information is insufficient to show the feasibility of the gradients on the road and access to the indicated housing layout.

It will be difficult to avoid the surface water resulting from development of the site causing a run-off which will compound the considerable problems of flooding in the area. No details for measures to prevent this are given.

As this is an outline application many details are missing and referred to reserved matters. In the Society's view because of the difficulties above this application should have been referred back to the applicant as is permitted under the Town and Country Planning Act Development Management Procedures. Unfortunately the date for this has been missed so the council has no option but to ask the applicant to withdraw it or failing that refuse it.

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers



North Huish - proposed development site at SX720560, land adjacent to Higher Norris Farm - outline application with all matters reserved for erection of three bedroom dwelling (SHDC reference 38/1698/15/O)

Status: refused, appeal refused          Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 25 Aug 2015:


This application is for development of a prominent hill top site in a rural area of the SD AONB. The site also overlooks the adjacent Higher Norris Farm.

Such a development is contrary to policies in the South Hams District Council's LDF namely:

Core Strategy CS 9, which protects the AONB against unnecessary development,

Development Policies DP2, which asks applicants to demonstrate conservation of the S Hams Landscape - no demonstration is provided,

Development Policies 3, which prohibits development that would result in a loss of privacy and overlooking - in this case Higher Norris Farm

Development Policies DP 15 which restricts development in a countryside location unless it supports the essential needs of agriculture - no evidence provided.

This application also is contrary to the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework Section 11, Conserving and enhancing the natural environment, and in particular para 115 which requires that great weight should be given to conserving the landscape in AONBs. The proposed development will be visible from many surrounding locations including the Avon Valley and local footpaths and will clearly damage the AONB landscape.

The South Hams Society urges the district council to refuse this application.

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers



Diptford - Springfield Farm, Moreleigh TQ9 7JR - prior approval for proposed change of use of agricultural building to dwellinghouse (class C3) (class Q) (SHDC reference 17/1471/15/AGDPA)

Status: refused           Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 13 Aug 2015:

The Society has two comments on this application.

1. First will approval of this application be followed by a further application for an agricultural buildings to house the machinery required for the smallholding and shown in the photographs? The regulations appear to prohibit further permitted development for an agricultural building after this?

2. From the limited evidence of the photographs the external timber cladding of the current building appears to be in poor shape and will need to be replaced. An unspecified number of windows and doors inserted into the cladding will be required.

Both these issues seem to require the council under Q.2 (f) to determination that prior approval is needed for the design and external appearance. The application does not make this clear and contradicts itself in the two paragraphs Design and External Appearance and Planning Policy

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers


Malborough - agricultural barn at SX726398, north of Salcombe road - prior approval for proposed change of use of agricultural building to general storage (B8) (SHDC reference 33/1469/15/AGFPA)

Status: approval given         Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 11 Aug 2015:

The Society wishes to object to the above application.

The original planning process contained mistakes and inconsistencies and was finally approved retrospectively despite strong remaining objections. A summary of the planning process is attached to this letter as an appendix. The landscaping conditions conditional to approval have never been carried out and enforcement action should be taken.

The barn is within the SD AONB and the Undeveloped Coast and damages the landscape of an otherwise undeveloped rural area between Malborough and Salcombe.

The original application was approved only because it was thought to be related to agriculture. Objections to the damage to the landscape remain and an application made now to build a barn for storage use, B8, would not have been approved when other sites within or adjacent to development are available.

There is no attempt at justifying the new usage required. The nature of the new usage is not adequately specified and may contain increased sources of noise. Certainly noise in this quiet valley will be increased if the traffic to the barn increases and the application provides no information about this.

The Society believes that the application should be refused.

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers

Appendix

This barn has a stormy history. The original planning application in 2010 was registered as permitted development. It was then built in a different location, the agricultural determination deemed incorrect and a retrospective planning application required.

The first retrospective application was withdrawn and a second one refused for reasons of damage to an undeveloped part of the AONB and the Coastal preservation area and the damaging impact on views from many locations including Batson Creek and the old road from Kingsbridge. Additional reasons for refusal were lack of agricultural justification, size and necessary earthworks. The Society objected strongly to the application.

A third application in 2011 made through another agent gave further information on the applicants land holdings and proposals to sell hay and haylage. The agricultural consultant then changed his mind.

There remained continued objections because the stated use was to provide feed for horses not agriculture and because of the considerable damage to the landscape which was agreed by the Council's Landscape Officer and the Manager of the SD AONB Unit. Despite this a single councillor used the delegated procedure to approve the application.

Landscaping conditions were imposed on the approval of the application but never carried out and no enforcement action taken.

The damage caused by this barn to the landscape continues to be significant is still the cause of dissatisfaction in the community.

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers


Newton & Noss - proposed solar PV array at SX 553 496, Newton Downs Farm, Newton Ferrers - temporary (30 years) change of use to agriculture and solar photovoltaic farm with associated static arrays of photovoltaic panels (proposed output 5mW, site area 11.9 hectares) together with associated structures (SHDC reference 37/1426/15/F)

Status: conditional approval          Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 28 July 2015:

The Society objects to this planning application which is within the South Devon AONB for four major reasons -

§ damage to the South Devon AONB and the Undeveloped Coast,

§ the loss of good agricultural land,

§ the absence any evidence justifying the choice of site,

§ the absence of an adequate community consultation.

Damage to the SD AONB and Undeveloped Coast

The LVIA states that 'It is evident that within 2 kilometres potentially visibility of the proposal would be generally be limited to areas to the west of the B3186 and some east facing slopes to the west of the River Yealm.' But despite what the LVIA says the ZTV shows large areas within 3 km both to the east and west where the site would be visible from the SW Coastal Path. The effect of sun glinting on the panels would be damaging.

Similar remarks apply to the sections of the Erme Plym Trail to the north-west from which the ZTV shows the site is visible.

In addition there are considerable areas within the SD AONB to the north, west and east of the site from which it is visible.

There is no evidence of the existing wildlife on the site and any effect the proposals would have on it. The comments from the Barn Owl Trust are general observations about solar arrays without any survey of the actual site. The supposed Owl and Bat Survey is simply a repeat of these.

The loss of agricultural land

The land on which the solar array is proposed is graded as 3A . The District Council's own document 'Interim Guidance on Solar Arrays in the South Hams' in para 3.6 states that 'the National Planning Policy Framework asks Local Authorities to take into account the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land (grades 1, 2 and 3a) when making decisions. In view of this, renewable energy development on the best and most versatile land should be avoided where possible.'

It goes against common sense to suggest that having taken a high proportion of the sunlight from pastures that the quality of grazing or wildlife habitat remains the same. The Design and Access statement states that the site has 'a high number of cattle grazing these fields and these will be replaced by sheep'. Sheep are less demanding in the quality of pasture required as well as being small enough to fit. The application makes no attempt to quantify the agricultural loss or even acknowledge it but it must be considerable.

Evidence of site selection

National Planning Practice Guidance for Renewable and Low Carbon Energy in para 13 states that applicants should 'provide justification of site selection as part of their development proposal. None can be found in this application. Recent letters from the Minister of Planning have reinforced the need to avoid using agricultural land and use the roofs of buildings instead.

Community Consultation

The community consultation is presented as the results of a questionnaire provided at an exhibition. The number of people attending the exhibition is not provided but only 13 persons completed the questionnaire. The application mentions the subject of community benefits but there are no concrete proposals to set them up and apparently no one had any suggestion on what a community fund should be used for.

Finally there is no report from the SD AONB Unit on this proposal although Natural England have suggested one.

The Society suggests that all these factors combine to make the application unacceptable and strongly urges the District Council to refuse it

Yours sincerely

John Chalmers


East Portlemouth - Clay Park Cottage, TQ8 8PA - householder application for proposed boat house and slipway improvement works ancillary to cottage (SHDC reference 20/1361/15/F)

Status: conditional approval           Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 26 July 2015:

The Society supports the desire to improve the existing slipway and its surrounding banks.

However we object to this application for extending the slipway on the grounds of loss of foreshore in an SSSI. The proposals appear to extend the slipway about 4 meters into the SSSI causing a significant loss of habitat.

The boathouse is large enough to make a damaging impact on the estuary which is hidden in the photographs submitted because they are taken from an angle which largely conceals it.

The two storey boathouse is also large enough to be used as ancillary accommodation which again would have an impact on the SDAONB, the undeveloped coast and the SSSI.

The Society urges the council to refuse this application and suggest a more modest proposal without an extension of the slipway

Yours sincerely

John Chalmers


Ivybridge - development site at Stowford Mills, Harford Road PL21 0AA - mixed use application for regeneration of Stowford Mill including erection of 36 new dwellings and 32no. 1 and 2 bedroom later living apartments; the conversion of existing buildings to create 6772m2 amount of commercial floorspace for A1, A2, A3, A4, C1 and B1 uses, conversion of existing farm to create 2no. dwelling, 27no. 1 and 2 bedroom apartments; 169m2 area for community use, associated public square, car parking and landscaping

Status: not yet decided          Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 26 July 2015:


The Society agrees with the Victorian Society's comments on this proposal. We support the regeneration of this site but object strongly to the form of extra storey added to the listed mill building. It is almost comic in its effect and entirely inappropriate to the strong industrial character of the mill itself. The Society would support a hipped and slated roof as shown in the photographs and suggested by the Victorian Society.

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers


Staverton - proposed development site at SX781656, Memory Cross- erection of 2no. self build houses with parking spaces (SHDC reference 50/1317/15/F)

Status: withdrawn                 Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 21 July 2015:

The Society objects to this application for the following reasons.

This is a rural exception site and the council's policy AH 5 stated in the adopted Affordable Housing DPD, Sept 2008, is that permission will be granted where the development will consist wholly of affordable housing. There is no indication in this application that the houses will be affordable when first built or in the future.

There are also concerns about the loss of part of a working orchard and the impact of the development on wild life including bats. There is no information in the application about these issues. The Design and Access statement states that the development is on a 'vacant plot' whereas in fact it involves felling trees in the orchard.

The Society urges the council to reject this application as without a commitment to make the houses affordable it contravenes policy AH5. The application also needs to address the loss of the orchard and impact on wildlife

Yours sincerely

John Chalmers

 

Salcombe - Development site at SX738392, former gas works, Gould Road - demolition of existing stone boundary wall and redevelopment of site to form 300sqm of A1, A2 and A3 ground floor commercial space and 5no. residential units above, new vehicular access and parking (SHDC reference 07/1196/15/F)

Status: conditional approval          Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 20 July 2015:

The South Hams Society objects to this application which, as with the earlier application for this site (41/2364/13/F) in an effort to justify the proposals distorts the character of Salcombe's economic activities and the nature of the conservation area.

The earlier application for the same site by the same applicants and agents was rejected by the council and the subsequent appeal was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate on two principal grounds:

§ the site is allocated for employment land and there is no evidence for a change of use to residential, but a continuing need for accommodation for the marine industry,

§ the prominent 3 storey development with a strong gabled roof was out of keeping with the conservation area's modest 2 storey terraced cottages.

This application does very little to change these objections, The ground floor is designated retail when the need established by the inspectors report is for workshops for Salcombe's marine industry, i.e. light industrial space.

The general massing of the building, the elevations and the roof configuration remain much the same and again as established by the inspectors report, conflict with the terraces of small cottages that comprise most of the conservation area.

A third issue, the overlooking of Jilmar and it's garden, was not considered grounds contributing to the dismissal of the appeal. But in this application second floor balconies have been added to the north-west elevation which would increase the extent of overlooking.

This proposal is therefore open to the same objections as the earlier application.

In more detail the Society objects to this application on four principal grounds:

§ the use of the ground floor as retail space rather than light industrial,

§ the over-development of the site,

§ a design which is out of keeping with the conservation area.

§ the overlooking of Jilmar and its garden

The use of the Ground floor as retail space

The first of these grounds is supported by the Inspector's report on the appeal (APP/K1128/A/14/2221616) against the earlier application. The report states among its Statements of Common Ground that 'Developer-built office and retail development is not viable on the site'. There has been no material change to modify this view. Yet the same applicants now put forward an application is for retail space on the ground floor and the Design & Access Statement supports it by distorting the nature of Salcombe

For example, the statement that 'Today the economy of Salcombe depends upon a variety of sectors, primarily fishing, tourism and construction albeit some marine industries remain' minimises the importance of the harbour to the town.

The appeal report (2221616) for the earlier application (2364/13) made it clear that the harbour and it's boating activities are the main economic driver for Salcombe. Essential to the harbour are workshops and the associated marine industry as well as the outlets for marine goods. And the main location for these is the Island Street area.

The same sort of distortion colours assertions in other parts of the Statement. For example, the Design & Access Statement on page 5 states that the dominant land use in Island Street is retail. But in fact workshops dominate land use in the street. The map of uses on page 6 is incorrect for many sites. If the usage is corrected as in the appendix to this letter then there are 17 workshop sites which classify as light industrial, 6 retail sites and a few offices, bars and cafes.

As employment uses in the marine industry have been established as appropriate for this site by the above appeal report the ground floor of these buildings should be workshops not retail space.

Overdevelopment, insufficient parking and an inadequate delivery bay

There is no parking for staff employed in the ground floor and only one space for each of the dwellings. The parking arrangements are contorted and would present difficulties in operation when an incoming car meets an outgoing car. The desire to maximise income by building 5 dwellings has led to an inadequate parking area

The delivery bay, which would also have to be used by visitors of the ground floor, is insufficiently wide to accommodate delivery lorries without narrowing Gould Road to an unacceptable extent.

In short by squeezing in too much accommodation this proposal becomes unworkable.


Out of Character with Conservation area

The D&A Statement just manages to mention that to mention that the site lies within the Salcombe conservation area. But many of the examples of built form it quotes to support it's design are not in the conservation area. For example, all the examples of gables and dormers illustrated in 4.4 to support their design are in areas of the town with a quite different character to the conservation area containing the site - areas such as Devon Road which contains large houses which when built were intended for a different stratum of society.

To support the proposal to build a full three storeys the D&A Statement claims incorrectly that the houses along Shadycombe road have 4 storeys at the back - in fact they have a semi-basement at the Gould Road end and have rooms in the roof lit by dormers at the rear. At the Croft Road end the Shadycombe terrace is simply 2 storey again with rooms in the roof lit by dormers at the rear.

Shadycombe Court which contains garages below modest 2 storey dwellings is mentioned in support of the proposal but is not in the conservation are.

The buildings proposed do not as claimed follow the contours of the slopes nor is the ridge line consistent with the adjacent dwellings. The gables rise 1.5 meters above the adjacent building in Gould Road. And the five gables dominate the ridge line so that the resulting character is far removed from that of the conservation area where there are no gables on the front elevations and the ridges are lower.

The application's full three storey design is not in character with the conservation area which is dominated by two storey dwellings with a room in the roof lit by dormers often at the rear.

Overlooking of Jilmar and it's garden

The applicant seeks to emphasise the sense of enclosure and overlooking of the existing building in order to justify the out of scale nature of the proposals. In fact 1 Gould Road is to the side of Jilmar and 7 Croft Road is an old cottage with very low storey heights. Neither has a significant effect on Jilmar comparable to that which the proposals would have especially as the balconies to the rear directly overlook Jilmar's garden.

The Society urges the council to refuse this application. It does very little to address the concerns which lead to refusal of the application made earlier and adds objections to overdevelopment and overlooking.

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers


Appendix, Land Use in Island Street

The land use map on page 6 of the Design and Access Statement is incorrect in many place. The actual uses along Island Street are given below starting from Gould Road:

§ the corner site (Yeoman's) is a mixture of boat sales, offices and workshops.

§ the front of the light blue site labeled Building Contractor is a workshop for making shellfish pots and the shed behind houses the well known wooden boat builder - Michael Atfield.

§ the site next to it is not A1 Retail and A3 Cafe but a solicitor's office in front and further boat workshops behind.

§ the green site next to the big building with mixed classes is a mixture of workshop and boat sales.

§ the big site contains a wood working workshop, offices, two bars/resturants, a dentist but no retail.

§ after the big site the next site is retail - a hardware store

§ then the Harbour workshop on the ground floor and a print works upstairs,

§ behind the laundrette is the Harbour workshop again.

§ finally Brewery Quay contains no restaurant or cafe but an offices for boat hire and house maintenance and a picture gallery

On the other side of Island Street

§ the two first buildings near Gould Road are an ice cream works with a retail outlet,

§ The last group of premises beyond the residential site are a workshop and offices for a boat electrician and a painter's studio and gallery.



Brixton - development site at SX 551 523, adjacent to Venn Farm - residential development comprising 17 dwellings with associated access, car parking, landscaping, open space and associated works (Phase 2a) (SHDC reference 07/1196/15/F)

Status: conditional approval         Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 16 July 2015:


This application has attracted some important comments from objectors which have not been answered by the applicants. They include:

assertions that the sewage capacity is deficient and liable to pollute the Yealm shellfisheries,

assertions that there is a significant flood risk - although there appears to be a drainage report from your own engineer among the documents access to the attachment containing it is not available.

Both these issues have been addressed by the Devon & Cornwall Area Environment Agency who suggest that a response from South West Water is required for the first issue and that Devon CC as the Lead Local Flood Authority should be asked to comment on the second.

Although the Environment Agency was asked to comment, their reply has now disappeared from the documents on the application. We would be pleased to know the reason for this.

The South Hams Society urges that satisfactory answers on both these issues should be sought before deciding the application

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers


Bigbury - Mount Folly Farm, Bigbury on Sea TQ7 4AR - lawful development certificate for the existing use of land for all year round camping, motorhomes and caravan site (SHDC reference 05/1157/15/CLE)

Status: not yet decided        Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 14 July 2015:

The Society objects to this application. The site is very prominent within the South Devon AONB and the Undeveloped Coast. the use of it for year long camping. Use of it for all the year would inevitably damage the landscape further.

The evidence that the site has been in use for 10 years seems unclear, lacking specific detail and in some cases offered by interested parties, while the evidence that has not is a good deal more convincing.

The Society urges the council to refuse this application.

Yours sincerely

John Chalmers


Cornwood - Fitzworthy Equestrian Centre PL21 9PH - erection of building for indoor riding arena (SHDC reference 12/1078/15/F)

Status: conditional approval         Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 12 July 2015:

This application is for a very large building, nearly 1000 sq.meters in area and 6.7m high. It will dominate the immediate surroundings and can be seen from parts of the Dartmoor National Park such as Hanger Down. It's construction would involve loss of part of a wood adjacent to the Slade Viaduct.

The Society suggests that consideration should be given to siting it in another location within the equestrian centre where new and existing tree cover can conceal it from these views

Yours
John Chalmers


Modbury - proposed agricultural building at SX 640 511 - provision of lean-to agricultural building to house cattle (SHDC reference 35/1037/15/F)

Status: conditional approval            Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 13 July 2015:

The existing storage barn is in an isolated position high on the skyline and is very prominent in views from the A379. It causes considerable visual damage to the AONB landscape in an otherwise undeveloped area. This lean-to extension will add to the damage.

It seems highly probable that as the addition is to be used for stock there will have to be someone on the site at all time during the winter to look after the cattle. If this application is approved another application for a dwelling on the same site or nearby could follow.

The Society urges the council to refuse this application.

Yours Faithfully
John Chalmers

 
Wembury - The Eddystone Inn, Heybrook Bay PL9 0BN - redevelopment of site to provide replacement public house and restaurant and 10no. holiday units with owners apartment and construction of 6no. 2 bed apartments on associated land (SHDC reference 50/1317/15/F)

Status: conditional approval            Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 9 July 2015:

The relatively large development in the South Devon AONB and possibly in the Undeveloped Coast as well deserves the most careful consideration and is a prime example of a planning application with should be passed to the AONB Unit for their observations.

Yours Faithfully

John Chalmers


Modbury - SX688527, Three Tors Farm, California Cross, Brownston PL21 0SG - proposed agricultural storage building. (SHDC reference 35/1036/15/F)

Status: conditional approval           Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 9 July 2015:

There are no documents showing the proposed barns nor the site. So either the website is incomplete or this application should not have been registered. In either case it is not possible to comment. Please let me know the true position

The parish council report makes it clear that that the barn proposed is out of scale with the land holding and in this case it must be refused - if it can be considered an application at all.

 Yours Faithfully
John Chalmers


 Salcombe - The Grange, Cliff Road - appeal against enforcement action.

 The Society wrote to the Planning Inspectorate as follows on 21 June 2015:

ref. Appeal Nos. APP/K1128/W/15/3017974, APP/K1128/Y/15/3017903

I wish to emphasise the South Hams Society's objections to the proposed shed and terrace adjacent to The Grange, Cliff Road, Salcombe.

The Grange is one of only three Grade 2* listed buildings in Salcombe and occupies a prominent position on the Salcombe Estuary.

Although the shed which is the subject of this appeal is presented as a replacement of the previous shed it is in fact considerably more than that. Reversing the pitch of the roof and the increase in size makes the front elevation nearly twice as high - 1.700 meters higher - than the previous shed. The large window and door are painted white. The bushes on sloping ground in front of the previous shed have been cleared and replaced by a flat terrace with a wall at the level of the floor of the shed. The terrace has seating to provide views over the estuary.

All these make the 'replacement' shed much more like ancillary accommodation which is considerably more conspicuous than the earlier shed and competes with the regency facade of the The Grange itself. The fact that the shed has windows and the terrace seating to view the estuary in turn makes them much more prominent in views of the setting of The Grange from the estuary and the eastern shore.

The Society believes that the rebuilt shed and terrace significantly detract from the setting of what is the most distinguished building fronting on the estuary and urges the Inspector to dismiss the appeal.

Yours Sincerely

John Chalmers


Dartmouth - field at SX 845 517, West Norton Farm, Norton TQ6 0NF - installation and operation of two 50kW wind turbines both with hub height of 24.6m and overall tip height of 34.2m (SHDC reference 15/1011/15/F)

Status: withdrawn               Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 5 June 2015:

The South Hams Society objects to these two turbines which are large structures located on a prominent site, 160m above sea level. They are larger than required for local use.

As the zone of visibility indicates they would be clearly visible from many parts of the South Devon AONB and Undeveloped Coast including those from the Kingswear side of the estuary.

The proposed turbines would contravene policies CS9 of the Core Strategy and DP2 of the Development Policies DPD

The Society urges the District Council to refuse the application.

Yours Faithfully
John Chalmers



Diptford - Wheeldon Farm, Halwell TQ9 7JY - erection of two agricultural livestock buildings (SHDC references 17/0862 & 0963/15/F)

Status: conditional approval             Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 29 May 2015:

 

These two livestock buildings are within the AONB, on a skyline site and are isolated developments in an undeveloped rural area. The cut and fill required to provide a level site amounts to over 5m which cannot be disguised as suggested by Devon banks or hedges 2-3 meters high. These two large industrial buildings together with the levelling of the site will be visible from large areas of the SDAONB and will disfigure it considerably. There are no details of how the slurry produced is to be prevented from draining into the Avon.

There is an opportunity to site the buildings adjacent to the the agricultural storage building which was the subject of permitted development notification 2539/14. This site, lower down the hill and about 250m away would cause considerably less damage to the AONB.

This development could grow as did Hendham View Farm lower down the Avon. There a number of livestock buildings and associated agricultural buildings for rearing beef calves were erected as 22 separate applications in the period 2008-2011. This incremental approach meant that all the planning applications were granted approval by delegated powers and never came before committee.

The result was a very large group of industrial buildings on a skyline site above the banks of the Avon in the AONB. It is still not clear whether all the conditions including the landscaping have been completed. The Society called the District Council's attention to this development and Natural England wrote to the Council concerning the damage to the SDAONB.

The Society strongly urges the Council to enter discussions with the applicant to re-site the buildings adjacent to the approved storage building and suggests that the Council should seek information on the applicant's future plans before considering these applications.

Yours Faithfully
John Chalmers


Slapton - SX80884535, Lower Coltscombe - development of retreat for people with physical disabilities with 6no. guest pods, guest common area, owners accommodation and guest hydrotherapy and fitness centre (resubmission of 44/0979/14/F)

Status: not yet decided              Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 26 May 2015:

This proposal is in the South Devon AONB and the undeveloped coast. The site, a steeply wooded combe with streams running through it, seems unsuitable for the disabled. Considerable work is required to provide buildings and paths which can be used by the disabled. And this work seems inconsistent with enhancing, let alone conserving, the natural environment which the application claims to be able to do.

The application makes a strong appeal to our sympathy for the disabled and for better facilities for them. But one of the Society's members with experience in this area using Devon Disabled Holiday Directory was rapidly able to identify a number of sites offering different levels of disabled facilities from full residential care to basic wheel in shower, self catering with own carer, hotels, all with accessible accommodation, many in lovely places.

Without the claim to providing facilities not available elsewhere this application in a remote rural combe would be refused on the basis of damage to the AONB and undeveloped coast and unsustainability.

The Society strongly urges the District Council to carefully examine the local facilities for disabled persons to assess the validity of the claims made in this application. If the claims are not met then this application should be refused.

Yours faithfully
John Chalmers

 


Salcombe - Salcombe Harbour Hotel, Cliff Road, Salcombe TQ8 8JH - Installation of Pontoon (revised scheme to planning permission 41/1816/13/F) (SHDC reference 41/0648/15/F)

Status: conditional approval               Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 26 May 2015:

This application is in the South Devon AONB and the Kingsbridge/Salcombe SSSI. It must be considered within these planning constraints.

Also the Harbour Board operates a policy which requires all access facilities to the estuary on the foreshore to be open to the public.

The site of the pontoon is adjacent to seagrass beds which support a number of protected species including fan mussels and sea horses. The Society believes that it is beyond the capacity of the hotel to ensure that this environment is not damaged or disturbed by usage from hotel guests and members of the public no matter how careful a management plan is drawn up.

The loss of this environment and the species which inhabit it would be a severe loss to the SSSI. The Society urges the District Council to refuse this application.

Yours faithfully
John Chalmers


Bigbury - proposed development site at SX 663 471, St Anns Chapel - outline application (with some matters reserved) for residential development of circa 8 dwellings with point of access, open space and associated infrastructure (SHDC reference 05/0570/15/O)

Status: refused                     Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 26 May 2015:

This application is outside the existing development areas and the sites designated in the DPD. It is in the SDAONB and the Undeveloped Coast. The presumption must be therefore that to gain approval a strong local need for the development must be demonstrated.

However no such need is apparent and an alternative Village Housing Initiative site is being sought. The Society suggests that this application should be refused.

Yours Faithfully
John Chalmers


Rattery - SX 7314 6017, Hatchlands Farm, Harberton, Totnes TQ9 7LR - Erection and operation of 1no. wind turbine (31.9m hub height, 45.4m tip height) (SHDC reference 39/0514/15/F)

Status: not yet decided               Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 26 May 2015:

The Society wishes to object this application for a turbine which is visible from the Dartmoor National Park and many other areas around it. Additionally the site for this turbine is less than 0.5 km from two farmsteads, Edeswell and Lisburne.

The Marley Thatch turbine which is less than 0.5 km away will have a strong cumulative effect with this turbine on the National Park, the farmsteads nearby and the relatively undeveloped rural surroundings. There is no adequate analysis of the visual impact of the turbine on the landscape

There also seems to be some doubt about the suitability to the site of the turbine specified.

The proposed turbine would be contrary to LDF Policies CS9 and DP2, DP3 and DP6. Recent letters by the Secretary of State of Communities and Local Government and the Minister for Housing and Planning have emphasised the need to protect landscape character.

Yours Faithfully
John Chalmers


Kingsbridge - allocated Site K5, SX 7299 4407 and land directly west of allocated site, West Alvington Hill - outline application (with all matters reserved accept access) for erection of up to 60no. dwellings, 0.5 hectares of employment land, 2no. vehicular accesses, open space, play provision and drainage  (SHDC reference 28/0508/15/O)

Status: conditional approval        Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 20 May 2015:

 

Dear Sir,

This application shows the access road to the development on the K5 site as passing through a large part of the field to the west of Norden Lane. It also shows a total of some 8 houses and their garages beyond the site boundary shown in the adopted Site Allocations DPD for Kingsbridge. Graham Swiss in his supporting information for the above application states that "Where the boundary of a proposed site does not follow a clear feature on the ground or where more detailed investigations demonstrate the case the Council will be prepared to be flexible…"

The corollary of this statement is that a case has to be made in the application for extension of the boundary shown in the DPD. The Inspector in his report found that "substantial harm to the character and appearance of the AONB" by development of the western area. A road and a significant number of houses in this western area would of course cause harm to the AONB, less than the full development proposed originally, but still substantial.

The application attempts to justify the access road based on contours and the traffic junction required. Mr Swiss's supporting information does not include any discussion of the case made by the applicant for use of the land west of the boundary. It barely mentions the access road and does not even mention the effect of the housing. The National Planning Policy Framework in para. 116 states that for major developments in the AONB the Local Planning Authority should include an assessment of 'any detrimental effect on the environment, the landscape and recreational opportunities, and the extent to which that could be moderated'.

Mr Swiss does not include any assessment of the extent to which it could be moderated by alternative designs which may reduce the damage to the AONB which the Inspector rightly concludes may result from development of the western part of the field. Yet the area shown in the DPD is more than adequate for alternative designs that would eliminate the damage to the AONB entirely and there are a number of alternative access points for the site.

The obvious access points are opposite either Norden Lane or Ashleigh Road but Highways have said that they do not wish a cross road junction on West Alvington Hill. However at Norden Lane the Hill is wider than the access shown on the application, a splay is shown on the applicant's layout and to the left of the tree with a preservation order there would be room for a mini-roundabout. There would be no road trespassing on the field to the west of the boundary shown in the DPD and road access to the housing would be easier and shorter. The Society suggests that these advantages are significant and Highways should be asked to reconsider their view.

If this cannot be done there is a third alternative which was agreed at the masterplanning stage. For both residential and employment access the site would be entered using a junction at the lower eastern end of the site where the employment access is shown now. Access to the housing would involve a junction with Norden Lane and this has been agreed with the owner of Norden House. This alternative has the significant advantage of making only one junction on West Alvington Hill

In the same plan the layout shows considerable space between the housing. A tighter layout could be easily designed which would avoid trespassing beyond the boundary shown in the DPD while still preserving resident's amenity.

As the 'supporting information' provided by Mr Swiss does not consider any of these issues it is wholly inadequate to justify his conclusion that 'the planning policy recommendation is that the application should be approved'. The District Council should refuse the application and ask the applicant to provide a scheme which is wholly contained within the boundary shown on the adopted Site Allocations DPD

Finally the 'supporting information' from the Affordable Housing Team is a bare statement that the Team supports the application with 30% affordable housing. Despite the District Council's requirement for 50% there is no attempt to justify this lower figure when the requirement for affordable housing remains high and the Council's stated priority is to provide as much as possible. Has the applicant submitted a viability statement and if so where is it?

This is an important development for Kingsbridge and the AONB and deserves careful consideration to get the best solution from the developer. The Council should not be deterred from asking the applicant to provide a third design. The South Hams Society urges the District Council to refuse this application which causes unnecessary damage to the AONB and does not provide sufficient affordable housing to fulfil the Council's stated objectives.

Yours Faithfully


John Chalmers
South Hams Society

 

 


 

Salcombe - site to rear of The Hollies, Devon Road, TQ8 8HQ - proposed demolition of existing structure and erection of new dwellng and raised parking area. (SHDC reference 41/0703/15/F)

Status: not yet decided.      Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 29 April 2015:

The South Hams Society wishes to object to this application which will damage the essential character of the Devon Road housing within the central conservation area. The conservation area was intended to protect the decorative Victorian houses in Devon Road with their large plots and gardens which are an important part of Salcombe's architectural heritage.

This application will destroy a mature garden with it's fruit trees and substitute an undistinguished house and a car park. Access to the house on a narrow unmade up road is unsatisfactory and inadequate to sustain the traffic using the car park.

The Society urges the District Council to refuse this application which will damage the existing conservation area and contravene policies in SHDC's Development Policies DPD including DP1, High Quality Design, DP3, Residential Amenity, DP6 Historic Environment as well as the sections 7. 'Requiring good design' and 12  'Conserving and enhancing the historic environment' in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Yours sincerely

John Chalmers


Churchstow - land at SX 707456, Bantham Cross - erection of four agricultural buildings for potato processing and storage, associated dwelling, new access road and site office.  (SHDC references 11/0042 to 0045/14/F)

Status: conditional approval.        Details here.

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 23 Feb 2015:

The South Hams Society reinforces its strong objections these applications for major development in the South Devon AONB. The Society does not deny the need to remove the existing business to a more sustainable location but raises the strongest objections to locating it at Bantham Cross.

The National Planning Policy Framework states in para 116 that no major development should be allowed in an AONB except in exceptional circumstances and where there are demonstrable public benefits. The Council agrees that this is a major project but public benefits have not been demonstrated, assessed or quantified.

The same para goes on to state that consideration of such applications should include an assessment of:

- the need and the impact of permitting it or refusing it upon the local economy,

- the cost and scope for developing elsewhere outside the designated area,

- any detrimental effect on the environment, the landscape and recreational opportunities, and the extent to which that could be moderated.

 

The application provides no evidence to enable any of these issues to be assessed. Your legal opinion suggests that because the wording of para 116 uses the term 'should' rather than 'must', then to carry out any of these assessments is optional for the Council. This might be conceivable for one issue but for the Council to neglect to ask for weighty evidence concerning all three can be considered a dereliction of its duty to the AONB.

The Society is still of the view that these applications cannot be seen as separate and together they require an EIA. The opinion of the Secretary of State was that the case was marginal. The Society believes that In view of the statements in the NPPF and the lack of evidence presented in the application an EIA should be required by the Council.

The contingency between these applications and the application for housing on the site used for the existing business has not been resolved. In the Society's opinion if the finance for the potato factory is indeed contingent on the existing site being developed for housing, then the pre-application advice should have been that the application for the existing site should be brought forward first.

Lastly the Society protests at the haste with which the Council is acting in these reapplications.

This major and very controversial project has been given the minimum period for public consultation despite the fact that new evidence will be brought forward from English Heritage and the Environment Agency as well as the two legal opinions. This will prejudice proper consideration of the issues involved by the Council as well as the public.

The Society strongly urges that all of the applications should be refused.

Yours Sincerely

John Chalmers
Chairman



 

East Allington - Cross Fields, field at SX 7772 4748 - provision of an agricultural livestock building (cattle building) (SHDC reference 19/3202/14/F)


Status: conditional approval       Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 9 Jan 2015:

The applicant clearly needs the livestock building proposed. But it must be regretted that the site chosen for this building is in an isolated position in an essentially rural area away from other development.

The South Hams Society suggests that the application should be withdrawn and an alternative site on the land they own next to Cross should be chosen.

Yours sincerely

John Chalmers
Chairman


Dean Prior - Field at SX737 633, Well Park Farm - Erection of wind turbine (225kw) with 31.9 metre hub height, 45.4 metre tip height and associated infrastructure (SHDC reference 16/2926/14/F)

Status: not yet decided     Details here

The Society write to SHDC as follows on 19 Jan 2015

 I apologise for the late submission of this objection, but I hope that you will still be able to register it on your website and take it into account in your report.

The Society's reasons for objecting are as follows:

1 The proposed turbine will damage views from within the Dartmoor National Park.

2 The turbine will have an adverse effect on the setting of the listed St George's Church, Dean Prior as well as on The Old Parsonage.

3 The close proximity of the turbine to the Pennywell Farm Visitor Attraction. The turbine will be detrimental to the business, and discourage visitors from returning; this will have a
knock-on effect on local employment. It is also contravenes para 28 of the NPPF.

4 The turbine has the potential to adversely effect the internationally-important population of greater horseshoe bats in the South Hams SAC.

5 The proposal is contrary to SHDC planning policies DP1, DP2, CS7 and CS9.

The Society strongly urges that this application should be refused.

Yours Sincerely
John Chalmers
Chairman


Salcombe - Hangar Farm Bungalow, Beadon Road, TQ8 8JS - Certificate of existing use of dwelling (SHDC reference 41/3102/14/CLE)

 

 Status: refusal             Details here

The Society wrote as follows to SHDC on 2 January 2015:

First despite the claim that the applicants have lived in the bungalow since 2003 it seems very unlikely that this is correct. Members of the Society have walked past the site frequently for the past 10 years and have never seen signs of occupation. On the the other hand members of the Society have confirmed that there is every sign that the property the applicants possess on Main Road, Salcombe is their permanent residence and has been for many years.

The evidence for permanent occupation of this building and the schedule of works carried out in 2003 are not available on the website. The Society suggests that the Council should examine the evidence very carefully together with the evidence that the property on Main Road has been permanently occupied.

The site in North Sands valley is within the South Devon AONB and the built up area is neatly defined as uphill of the track which goes down to Hanger Mill. To allow development on the downhill side of the track would open the undesirable prospect of further  evelopment in the valley making inroads into the AONB.

The South Hams Society urges the district Council to refuse this application both because of the undesirability of further inroads into the AONB valley and because the claims of the applicant appear to be incorrect.

Yours Sincerely

John Chalmers
Chairman


Salcombe - The Grange, Cliff Road - Listed building application for overall roof replacement (SHDC reference 41/2759/11/LB)

Status - conditional approval.    Details here

The Society wrote as follows to SHDC on 2 Dec 2014:

The roof of The Grange has been re-slated under planning application 2759/11. The result is both comical and disastrous. The listing statement suggests that the roof was originally thatched which would have suited the steep conical roof well. The dormers were added later and at that time the roof was slated with Delabole slates in diminishing courses.

However the new roof uses Spanish slates of uniform dark grey, not at all similar to Delabole slates with their considerable variation in colour between slates. But if new slates are required surely a better choice of slate could have been made.

The specification which is written on drawing No. 11.13-P 01 requires diminishing courses to be cut from larger slates so that the conical roof over the bays can be accommodated. Despite this the slates have been laid in not in diminishing courses but in uniform horizontal courses from the eaves to the ridge. The slater appears to have made curious diagonal cuts in the slates to accommodate the conical roof. As a result the slates stick up at odd angles which break up what should be a continuous smooth slated surface. It looks rather like a bad haircut.

The Grange is one of only three Grade 2* listed buildings in Salcombe and occupies a very prominent position close to the estuary. For all who come to Salcombe from the sea and those who sail in the estuary it makes an important and attractive contribution to the built scene - possibly the most important and attractive of the considerable number of distinguished buildings lining the shores of the estuary. Its listed status confirms this. The Grange therefore deserves the highest level of protection and any design and construction work carried out on it must be carried out to highest standards.

The Society strongly objects to this replacement of the roof which does considerable damage to a building of great importance to Salcombe. We suggest that the Council should at least require the roof to be re-slated in diminishing courses as specified in the drawings approved for application 2759/11 and preferably a better alternative to the slates.

Yours sincerely

John Chalmers
Chairman


Salcombe - The Grange, Cliff Road - Retrospective listed building consent for restoration of ground-floor colonnade with new columns and balustrade (SHDC reference 4/2616/14/LB)

Status - withdrawn.       Details here

 

The Society wrote as follows to SHDC on 30 Nov 2014:

The South Hams Society objects as strongly as possible to the entirely inappropriate work that has been and is being carried out on The Grange, Cliff Road Salcombe.

The Grange is one of only three Grade 2* listed buildings in Salcombe and occupies a very prominent position close to the estuary. For all who come to Salcombe from the sea and those who sail in the estuary it makes an important and attractive contribution to the built scene - possibly the most important and attractive of the considerable number of distinguished buildings lining the shores of the estuary. Its listed status confirms this.

The Grange therefore deserves the highest level of protection and any design and construction work carried out on it must be carried out to highest standards. Regretfully the work relating to this application has caused significant damage to the character of the building. In addition the application is retrospective. It is astonishing that any firm of architects could have believed that they could carry out such work on a building with Grade 2* listing without applying for planning permission in advance.

The original colonnade which is well recorded in photographs such as those in Ms Salem's letter of representation, consisted of slender columns painted white with a light metal railing of intersecting semi-circles which pleasingly reflected the bays of the house itself. Slender metal strips formed arches between the columns and the architrave of the veranda.

The railings and soffit of the original veranda were painted a light blue which was visible from Cliff Road. There was a set of curved steps from the garden up to the southern side of the terrace, again reflecting the curves in the bays. Despite rather clumsy down pipes for the rainwater from the veranda roof the whole effect was pleasingly light and informal, appropriate to the character of the house and its position.

This delightful assembly has been replaced by a heavy-handed design of dark oak columns and banal upright balusters with heavy oak hand rails. The light guttering to the veranda has been replaced with a heavy square section. With misplaced ingenuity the designer has incorporated the rain water down pipes into the oak columns with obtrusive and ugly angular goose-necks from the gutter into the column. The veranda has been transformed from being a light-hearted addition to the house which enhanced its character into a boring irrelevance.

The pleasantly curved steps have been replaced with a boring straight stairway bearing no relation to the house or garden. The damp in the cellar behind them used as the excuse for the change could have been readily cured with a waterproof membrane.

The effect of the whole is clumsy, ugly and boring and has no relation to the vivacious character of the house. In view of the importance to Salcombe of The Grange, The Society strongly urges that this application should be refused, the existing work taken down and the original veranda should be reinstated with any repairs necessary.

Yours sincerely

John Chalmers
Chairman

 


Salcombe - The Grange, Cliff Road - retrospective householder application for replacement garden shed (SHDC reference 41/2636/14/F)

Status - refused.     Details here

 

The Society wrote as follows to SHDC on 30 Nov 2014:

The South Hams Society objects strongly to the entirely inappropriate work that has been and is being carried out on The Grange, Cliff Road Salcombe.

The Grange is one of only three Grade 2* listed buildings in Salcombe and occupies a very prominent position close to the estuary. For all who come to Salcombe from the sea and those who sail in the estuary it makes an important and attractive contribution to the built scene - possibly the most important and attractive of the considerable number of distinguished buildings lining the shores of the estuary. Its listed status confirms this.

The application is retrospective. It is astonishing that any firm of architects could have believed that they could carry out work on a Grade 2* building without applying for planning permission in advance. It might be considered that the normal planning procedures were being deliberately flouted.

The application is for replacing the shed in the garden. The old shed was hidden by vegetation and therefore did not register in views of the building. The new shed is very prominent and has windows and a terrace facing the estuary. It will therefore never be hidden as the old shed was. The windows and the the terrace make it seem likely that the 'shed' may be used for ancillary accommodation although the application contains no reference to this. This application should be refused because it affects the setting of a listed building of great importance to Salcombe and because it can be considered ancillary accommodation.

The Society strongly urges the District Council to refuse this application and require the shed to be taken down.

Yours sincerely

John Chalmers
Chairman

 


Salcombe - The Grange, Cliff Road - householder application for re-construction of garage and garden level roof terrace, new ancillary accommodation private studio at mid level, repairs to stone garden walls and landscaping (SHDC references 41/2671 & 3/14/F)

Status - conditional approval.     Details here

The Society wrote as follows to SHDC on 30 Nov 2014:

The South Hams Society objects strongly to the entirely inappropriate work that has been and is being carried out on The Grange, Cliff Road Salcombe.

The Grange is one of only three Grade 2* listed buildings in Salcombe and occupies a very prominent position close to the estuary. For all who come to Salcombe from the sea and those who sail in the estuary it makes an important and attractive contribution to the built scene - possibly the most important and attractive of the considerable number of distinguished buildings lining the shores of the estuary. Its listed status confirms this.

This application should be refused because it adversely affects the setting of a conservation area and listed building of great importance to Salcombe. The sunken windows and door are completely out of character to the setting of the Grange which relies on the succession of massive retaining walls for its effect. In addition to the effect on The Grange the new studio and terrace significantly reduce the lush planting which characterised the site and added to the attraction of the conservation area.

The Society strongly urges the District Council to refuse this application. A subsequent application for the garage alone could be considered.

Yours sincerely

John Chalmers
Chairman

 


Salcombe - Tides Reach Hotel, Cliff Road, TQ8 8LJ - redevelopment of hotel to comprise of 51no. bedrooms, bar and restaurant, residents lounge, spa, swimming pool, ancillary service space and parking (SHDC ref 41/2576/14/F)

Status: conditional approval.       Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 27 November 2014:

This is an objection by the South Hams Society to the redevelopment of the Tides Reach Hotel, South Sands, Salcombe, Application No. 2576/14.

The basis of the objection is the size of the hotel which dominates the surroundings. We accept the need for redevelopment and would welcome a smaller proposal which would respect the surroundings and permit the upper part of the valley beyond the caravan park to be seen from the estuary.

The site is in the South Devon AONB and undeveloped coast. Policies DP1 and DP2 of the Development Policies DPD are relevant and the scale of this proposals in contravention of them.

The Society urges the District Council to refuse this application and suggests a smaller proposal would be welcome.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society

Malborough - The Cottage Hotel, Hope Cove - development and extension of hotel to provide 56 bedrooms, 3 staff and 1 owners accommodation, new parking facilities plus new restaurant, bar, lounge and function room (SHDC reference 46/2401/14/F)

Status: not yet decided             Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 27 November 2014:

This is an objection from the South Hams Society to the planning application for the redevelopment of the Cottage Hotel, Hope Cove (No. 2401/14) as it is now proposed. The Society accepts the need to redevelop the hotel to provide modern facilities and minimise running and maintenance costs. The proposal increases the size of the hotel by three quarters. This increase in the size and the way the design deals with it is the reason for our objection. The seaward elevation of the proposed building shows the massive monolithic nature of the proposal. It dominates the cottages around it. The name of the hotel could hardly be less appropriate. The existing building is large by comparison with it's surroundings and it might have been expected that the opportunity provided by redevelopment would have been used to recognise this problem and produce a design which reduces the hotel's dominance.The site is in the South Devon AONB and the Undeveloped Coast which increase the importance of good design. One way of providing the accommodation required while reducing it's perceived mass would be to design the hotel as a series of smaller pavilions linked by walk ways. The site plan shows that there is plenty of room on the site for this approach which would also have other benefits - it would suit the phased implementation required and would ease the problem of providing sea views for the buildings behind the hotel. Our objection is therefore based on Policies DP1 and DP2 in the Development Policies DPD which requires development that respects the character of the S Hams coastal landscape and historic settlements within it. The Society urges the District Council to refuse this proposal and require a better design. There is a need for architects to be more resourceful and innovative when designing such an important building on such a prominent site. John Chalmers South Hams Society  

Harberton - land at SX769596, Lower Blakemore Farm - Installation of ground-mounted solar arrays (total site area 94,000m2), estimated output 5 megawatts and associated infrastructure, cable route and Distribution Network Operator substation (SHDC reference 23/2373/14/F)

Status: refusal    Details here

 

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 23 October 2014:


The South Hams Society wishes to register a strong objection to this planning application on the grounds below:

The solar array would be visible from many points especially to the south and west of the site as the map of the zone of theoretical visibility shows. The same map shows six other solar arrays within the 5 kilometre radius of this site totalling 340 acres of industrial development in largely undeveloped rural landscape of woods, hedges, copses and small fields.

The website www.cahsie.org.uk contains an aerial view of the site and the neighbouring solar arrays at Marley Head, Blue Post and Hazard which clearly shows the cumulative damage to the rural landscape of these massive developments. For a district in which tourism is of major importance, these developments will have a progressive and serious impact on its income.

Section 4 of the applicant's Landscape and Visual Assessment describes the character of this attractive area with 'medieval field patterns west and south of the site' and 'pastoral land use with many winding hedgerows, copses and trees following water courses'. And yet despite this lyrical description the analysis concludes that the damage to the countryside would be minimal. Perhaps visibility of the site from their carefully chosen viewpoints will be limited by trees hedges and banks but as walkers move around in the
area they will be confronted with one dazzling array after another.

There are a large number of objections to this application from local residents and recent guidance issued by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local government says that the views of local residents should be taken into account when deciding on renewable energy planning applications. The same guidance states that local environmental issues should not be overridden in the interests of renewable energy. A Minister in the Department of Energy has also stated its preference for avoiding greenfield sites and placing solar installations on the roofs of buildings.

The guidelines on solar arrays published by the South Hams District Council states that land in Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) Sub grade 3a or above should not be used for solar arrays as it should be retained for agriculture.

The report on Agricultural Land Classification for this site states in the last paragraph on page 3 that the ALC for the site is sub grade 3a. Later in the same paragraph the report states that in the south of the site the gradients in excess of 7 degrees place this part of the site in sub grade 3b.

The map on page 11 shows that the boreholes used to determine the ALC grade are largely to the south of the site. The implication is that the remainder of the site is sub grade 3a. It is clear that there is at the least some doubt on the ALC of the site.

The ALC report is written at the behest of the applicant and therefore would seek to minimise the site's agricultural value. The Society suggests that an independent survey of the ALC should be undertaken to establish the value of the agricultural asset that would be lost by implementing this proposal.

For these reasons the South Hams Society strongly urges the District Council to refuse permission for this application.

Yours Sincerely

John Chalmers
Chairman


Frogmore - land at SX776419, Winslade Farm - erection of  wind turbine (estimated output of 0.05megawatts) with 24.6 metres hub height, 34.2 metres tip height and associated infrastructure for agricultural use (following judicial review and the court order dated 18.08.14 quashing the decision dated 21.05.14) (SHDC reference 43/2567/13/F)

 

Status: not yet decided.  Details here.

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 17 September 2014:

The South Hams Society objects to this application on the grounds of visual damage to the South Devon AONB.

The turbine is sited on prominent ground, near to the ridge line, within the AONB and close to Frogmore Creek. It's presence would be clearly visible from Frogmore and Chillington and the A379 road. This turbine is significantly taller than most of the turbines installed nearby quoted in the Design and Access Statement.


The zone of theoretical visibility shown in the map dated 10th September, 2014 reveals how widely the turbine will be seen. The hub will be visible from most of the area within a 3km radius of the site. Even the base will be visible from much of this area as well as large areas surrounding thswe Kingsbridge/Salcombe estuary. The visual effect of the turbine can not be mitigated by landscaping or planting.

Apparently this site was chosen as a result of reapplication discussions between the applicant and officers in council's Development Management. Despite this the council's Landscape Officer in his report regards the visual impact of the turbine to be 'intrusive, uncharacteristic and .. out of scale'. His report goes on to say that the turbine would diminish 'the sense of natural and high scenic quality in . the designated landscape' and 'the resulting impact of these adverse effects would be contrary to planning policy'. The AONB Unit objects to the application for similar reasons.

It is particularly regrettable that the pre-application discussions should not have included the landscape officer's views and as a result led to this application so very inappropriate to the AONB. The South Hams Society urges the District Council to reject this application.

Yours Faithfully

John Chalmers
Chairman


Halwell & Moreleigh - installation of two ground mounted solar arrays: one at SX79505334, Collaton Down, Blackawton, total site area 1.99Ha, estimated output 0.886Mw with associated infrastructure; one at SX797531, Colleen Farm, Blackawton, total site area 4.8Ha, estimated output 2.2Mw with associated infrastructure (SHDC references 22/1609 & 1610/14/F)

Status: conditional approval.   Details here.

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 30 July 2014:

The South Hams Society wishes to object strongly to these applications for a very large solar array on the following grounds:

The loss of agricultural land

These proposals for, in total a 3MW solar farm, take a considerable area of land, 7.13 ha, out of  agricultural production. The Design and Access Statement asserts that the land in its existing state is Grade 3 but does not specify if the land is 3a or 3b. If it is 3a the proposal would contravene the SHDC guidance on the development of solar farms the land being considered too valuable to be taken from food production.

If it is 3b then the land is still capable of supporting moderate yields of cereals and high yields of grass. Additionally with investment suitable Grade 3b land may be raised to 3a when it would be capable of producing high yields of a range of crops - an improvement made more possible by its favourable orientation.

The application suggests that 'small livestock' could be grazed under the panels. The panels are separated by a distance such all the land between is in shade at noon on the shortest day. So the land will receive sunlight but it is unlikely it is that adequate grazing for any significant number of livestock will be found under the panels.

The production of food in the UK is just as critical as the requirement for energy. The loss of agricultural land on this scale is unacceptable.

Visual damage to the landscape

the map of the zone of theoretical visibility shows that the proposal will be visible from the parts of the South Devon AONB to the south of Totnes and the south of Blackawton. The proposal would therefore have some effect on a sensitive area. The site is crossed by one public right of way, adjoins another and is visible from two others. The photographs supplied with the application are of no value in judging its impact on the landscape.

The Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) asserts that the sensitivity of the surrounding landscape is low to medium but, then proceeds to justify this by reference to the proposals. But the sensitivity of the landscape is an issue independent of the proposals so the the conclusions drawn are invalid. Instead we have to conclude that the sensitivity of the landscape to change is high as it is relatively undeveloped rural area.

Similarly the magnitude of the change is high because a large area is involved. The statement that the field pattern will remain unchanged is also incorrect as the proposal covers four fields separated by hedges as the photographs of the site show.

As usual the LVIA commissioned by the applicant minimises the effects of the proposal. A solar farm of this size would have an unacceptably large impact on the landscape in the locality. The District Council should conduct its own independent LVIA.

Government and LPA policies

The Minister for Energy and Climate change has indicated in a letter to LPAs that rooftop and brownfield sites should be chosen for solar arrays and the use of greenfield sites avoided. This issue is carefully avoided in the Design and Access Statement.

Policy CS13 from the District Council's Core Strategy is quoted in an attempt to show that the proposal does not cause unacceptable harm to the surrounding landscape, uses existing buildings and does not prejudice agricultural operations. However it does have a considerable impact on the landscape, does not use existing buildings or brownfield sites and prejudices existing agricultural operations.

Loss of and damage to habitats and protected species

There will be a significant loss of habitat for many species of birds including the skylark. A more detailed examination of this is required as the RSPB letter suggests.

Community benefits

There is no evidence that the applicant has made any attempt to consult the community. Even Halwell and Morleigh PC do not appear to have been consulted.

There are no benefits to the community from this proposal. No additional jobs will be generated and there is no contribution to a community fund. The proposal is more likely to have negative effects on the tourist trade which will outweigh any benefit in energy supply.

Environmental impact assessment regulations

This proposal is an industrial installation of 7.13ha for the production of electricity. The Energy Industry table in Appendix 3 of the EIA Regulations provide a threshold figure of 0.5 ha above which an EIA screening is required and this screening opinion should be publicly available. There appears to be no screening opinion for this application at present.

Conclusions

The South Hams Society urges the District Council to refuse permission for this application on the grounds above.


John Chalmers
Chairman


Staverton - land at SX765687, east of Parkfield Farm, Ashburton - installation of ground mounted solar array (site area 13.56Ha) , approximate output 7MW, and associated works (SHDC reference 50/1623/14/F)

Status: conditional approval   Details here.

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 30 July 2014:

The South Hams Society wishes to object strongly to this application for a very large solar array on the following grounds:

The loss of agricultural land

The proposal takes a considerable area of land, 13.56 ha, out of agricultural production. The Agricultural land Classification Report concludes that the land in its existing state is Grade 3b - moderate quality land capable of supporting moderate yields of cereals and high yields of grass.

The report does however also say that with improvement it could be raised to Grade 3a when it would be capable of producing high yields of a range of crops - an improvement made more possible by its  favourable orientation.

The application suggests that 'small livestock' could be grazed under the panels. The panels are separated by a distance such all the land between is in shade at noon on the shortest day. So the land will receive sunlight but it is unlikely that adequate grazing for any livestock will be found under the panels.

The production of food in the UK is just as critical as the requirement for energy. The loss of agricultural land on this scale is unacceptable.

Visual damage to the landscape

The photomontages provided on the website are so murky that it is impossible to make a judgement of the effect on the landscape. Further the view points have been highly selective to minimise the impact of the farm on the landscape. However the photographs provided by the objectors show that the site is clearly visible from the bridleway.

The surrounding landscape is relatively undeveloped and a solar farm of this size would have an unacceptably large impact on the landscape in the locality.

The site is less than a kilometre from the boundary of the Dartmoor National Park which does not appear to have been consulted on its reaction to the proposals. The 2m deer fencing around the site, the poles and cctv cameras and the panels themselves will all be visible from areas within the Dartmoor National Park as the Map of the Zone of Theoretical Visibility shows.

Government and LPA policies

The Minister for Energy and Climate change has indicated in a letter to LPAs that rooftop and brownfield sites should be chosen for solar arrays and the use of greenfield sites avoided. This issue is carefully avoided in the Design and Access Statement.

Policy CS13 from the District Council's Core Strategy is quoted in an attempt to show that the proposal does not cause unacceptable harm to the surrounding landscape, uses existing buildings and does not prejudice agricultural operations. However it does have a considerable impact on the landscape, does not use existing buildings or brownfield sites and prejudices existing agricultural operations.

Loss of and damage to habitats and protected species

The letter from Natural England states the need for further information on the effect of the proposal on a SAC site - the Buckfastleigh greater horseshoe bat roost as the site falls within the sustenance zone for the roost. There is no mention of the proposals effect on other protected species. A Habitat Regulations Assessment is required.

Community benefits

The conclusions from the limited community consultation appear to be very selective. It is clear from the letters of representation already on the web site that large sections of the community object to the proposal.

In particular the two residential properties assessed, Hawkes and Higher Lake House both have their views of the site obstructed by topology and vegetation. Other residences such as Well Farm, Dipwell, Tor Farm and Parkfield are not mentioned.

There are no benefits to the community from this proposal. No additional jobs will be generated and there is no contribution to a community fund.

Conclusions

The South Hams Society urges the District Council to refuse permission for this application on the grounds above. and especially considering the cumulative impact of these developments along the grid power lines in this area.

In this connection it can be noted that this proposal is an industrial installation of 24.4 ha for the production of electricity. The Energy Industry table in Appendix 3 of the EIA Regulations state a threshold figure of 0.5 ha above which an EIA screening is required.

In view of the scale of this application, 26 times the threshold, the Society suggests that it should request the applicant to provide a full Environmental Impact Assessment which should address amongst other concerns the issues raised in the letter from Natural England.

John Chalmers
Chairman


Ugborough - field at SX 6936 5558, Stone Farm PL21 0HW - installation and operation of two 50kW wind turbines both having a hub height of 36.4m and an overall tip height of 46m (SHDC reference 57/1698/14/F)

Status: refused.       Details here.

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 28 July 2014:

The Society wishes to object to planning application 57/1698/14/F for two 0.5 Mw wind turbines at Stone Farm.

Order 2013, No. 2932 made under the Town and Country Planning Acts now requires that a full public consultation should be carried out prior to registering an application for on shore turbines where the hub height exceeds 15m. The consultation carried out was confined to adjacent parish councils and 5 unidentified nearby residents all except one supporting the application. This is clearly inadequate as a number of the letters objecting the application come from neighbouring residents. The application should therefore be withdrawn or if the applicant demurs, the application should be refused.

The order above also requires that a community benefit of £5,000 per Mw installed per year should be set up. There is no indication of this in the application."

The screening opinion states that the application will have no effect upon a sensitive area, in this case the South Devon AONB. It is difficult to believe the statement in the Supporting Planning Statement that the site is over 1 km from the AONB. However the map of the Zone of Visual Influence clearly shows that it will have a visual impact on large parts of the AONB and also the Dartmoor National Park. The proposal would also damage the setting of Ugborough Church, a grade1listed building.

For the above reasons the Society urges that this application should be withdrawn or the
District Council should refuse approval.

Yours Sincerely

John Chalmers
Chairman


Wembury -  Land at SX5287 4925 - application for approval of reserved matters (appearance, landscaping, layout and scale) following outline approval 58/0176/13/O for residential development comprising 40 dwellings, highway access and other incidental development (SHDC reference 58/1267/14/RM)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 6 July 2014:

Dear Dave Kenyon

I'm addressing this to you as the signatory of the EIA screening opinion.

I realise that the time for comments is passed but will make this informal observation. The concentration of 2 storey housing on this perimeter sight in front of single storey dwellings is uncomfortable and oppressive to those living behind them. The Parish council and residents have some cause for complaint.

Yours
John Chalmers 

 


 Batson - Sunnycombe - householder application for restoration and modifications to cottage, to include works to thatched roof, replacement garage and hardstanding and extension (resubmission of 41/0252/14/F) (SHDC reference 41/1353/14/F)

Status: not yet decided.  Details here.

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 6 July 2014:

The South Hams Society has examined the new proposals for extensions to Sunnycombe, Lower
Batson, Salcombe, These no longer include removal of the rear thatch and reduce the extent of the
the garage proposed.

The new proposals for the garage place the rear, north-west corner 1.41m from the front south wall
of the neighbouring property, The Nook. The drawing 'Proposed garage section' shows that the
west surface of the 4.5m deep retaining wall forming the western wall of the garage is almost in line
with the eastern wall of The Nook.

The Nook is built of rendered cobb and probably has no significant foundations. The
nature of the ground below the 1m deep trial hole is unknown. However carefully the
excavation and construction of the retaining wall is carried out there must be some risk of
subsidence in the ground underneath The Nook's eastern wall.

Subsidence would crack the rendering on this wall and probably the cobb underneath. Any
cracking in the rendering would result in the rapid deterioration of the cobb wall itself. This
could result in a major loss to a Grade 2 building in a conservation area.

The extent of the risk will depend upon the competence of the contractor employed and
the engineering of the retaining wall. Comprehensive ground investigations and surveys of
both properties will be required before works start. But the application contains no
information on the excavation and engineering construction methods to be used nor even
an acknowledgement of the issues.

The proposals include a terrace on the garage roof which is very near The Nook's front
wall. Those using the terrace will be able to overlook the garden of the The Nook and look
into it's interior resulting in a substantial loss of privacy.

Conclusions

This garage extension proposed in this application presents a significant structural risk to
the neighbouring house and the terrace on its roof will result in an unacceptable loss of
privacy.

The South Hams Society urges the Council to refuse this application and suggest to the
applicant that proposals which avoid these issues should be made.

John Chalmers
Chairman


Modbury - Land at SX6840 5372, west of Calancombe - agricultural notification for erection of agricultural storage building (SHDC reference 35/1558/14)

Status: agricultural determination.   Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 6 July 2014:

 The South Hams Society has examined the drawings for this notification but not visited the site.

This building is in an isolated position in an undeveloped rural area where it could cause damage to the landscape. Is there any scope for siting the building as part of the existing complex to the east?

If this building is to be used to house stock then as it is adjacent to the Shilstone Brook is there any risk of flooding and/or pollution of the brook?

Yours
John Chalmers
Chairman


Kingsbridge & West Alvington - SHDC's refusal of application 28_59/1232/13/O) - allocated site K5 - outline permission for 84 houses - has been appealed. The Planning Inspectorate's reference is APP/K1128/A13/2210602.

Ken Carter, Chairman of The Salcombe and Kingsbridge Estuary Conservation Forum (SKECF) wrote to the Planning Inspectorate on 26/02/14:

The Salcombe and Kingsbridge Estuary Conservation Forum (SKECF) is a body that represents many users and organizations that have an interest in the Estuary and the catchment surrounding it. l currently Chair its meetings which generally consider the delivery of the Estuary Environmental Management Plan which links with the statutory AONB Management Plan. During these meetings apprehension has been expressed about the effects of further development around the estuary on water quality. In particular, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was requested to be carried out before any decisions are made on the proposed building of houses and industrial units on the K5 site adjacent to Kingsbridge. Requests for an EIA were made through District Councillor Simon Wright who is a member of SKECF and is our representative on the Salcombe Harbour Board.

In March 2013, the need for an EIA for the site was discarded on a technicality (letter from Mr. D.R. Kenyon, Ref. 28/2907/12/SCROP dated March 12th.) Within this letter Mr. Kenyon states that "the authority is of the opinion that the proposed development is not EIA development………………….will not require an environmental statement." In view of the fact that estuary water quality has such a great importance to the ecology, enjoyment and economy, of both the immediate and extended area, forum members have questioned this view. Many disagree with this decision as under the NERC (Natural Environment and Rural Communities) Act, SHDC and the other relevant authorities have a responsibility to give due regard to protect designated sites from the impact of developments either directly or indirectly, as in this instance. Natural England have also determined that the upper reaches of the estuary SSSI are already in 'unfavourable' condition. With the added protection of the new Special Area of Conservation at the mouth of the estuary, and the estuary's Shellfish Growing Waters & Bathing Waters designations, water quality is of very high importance and sensitive in nature. The Preliminary Ecological Assessment for the K5 proposals considered that there would be little significant effect on the estuary SSSI however, the validity of this claim and how it was concluded must be questioned, particularly in the light of recent run off and flooding which has shown that significant impacts can arise and that additional development will add further to these incidents which are becoming increasingly regular occurrences. I understand that meetings have taken place the relevant Authorities including SHDC, AONB, Environment Agency and Natural England to understand better how development will impact upon Water Quality. The outcome is unclear and yet to be determined with a need for further research and understanding of the local conditions created by this Ria ecosystem.

These special environmental conditions mean that the 'estuary' or ria is not fully understood but is already suffering from pollution in the form of increased nitrates and phosphates from agricultural, industrial and domestic sources. Agriculture is reducing its input steadily with the application of Catchment Sensitive Farming, while the use of phosphates in detergents used domestically and industrially has decreased recently. However dishwasher detergents still typically contain in excess of 30% phosphates, and none of the sewage treatment works discharging into the estuary are equipped to strip phosphates from their effluent meaning that any development around the estuary will further increase the input of phosphates from industrial and domestic sources. Continued excessive pollution of this kind will further reduce water quality and reverse the considerable improvements that have been made since the production of the Estuary Management Plan and appointment of the AONB Estuary Officer by SHDC. The health of the estuarine ecosystem will be affected and the waters may become unsafe for shellfish production, to swim in or sail on, giving rise to a loss of jobs and income in mariculture and the tourism sectors.

I would ask that the Planning Inspectorate consider the above views in determining the Appeal on the K5 application, particularly as there is uncertainty about how development will impact on the SSSI and lack of research based knowledge on the pollution threat. This needs to be addressed before approval in order that the required mitigation is established and put in place at no cost to local taxpayers.


Ken Carter ; Chairman of SKECF.


and Martina Edmonds has also written:

The applicant's plans to extend the site have changed little since their application went before the planning inspector in 2010 at the adoption of the DPD. They have failed to take into account many of the public's views wishes and concerns expressed during the Master planning Process. This appeal by the applicant should be refused on the following points;

Bullet 3 in the Grounds of Appeal it states that "there was no logical reason for the western boundary of the site to be drawn as it was in the allocation".

In fact the logical reason for this line was determined at a meeting held in Kingsbridge to consult the public on the inclusion of K5 in to the DPD. There was extreme disquiet expressed by those attending this public consultation to the inclusion of Green field sites being identified for development. It was proposed that if green fields in the AONB had to be included that a "Green Buffer" should be retained between West Alvington and Kingsbridge town allowing the village of to maintain its autonomy. It was also wished to preserve most of the beautiful views of town and countryside enjoyed by those using the public footpath that adjoins the site and views from many locations across the town especially those having a westerly view - see attached photograph. This was logically accommodated by taking a line across the upper field that followed the natural lay of the land. This was then included in to the DPD, a natural line that may be seen on page 8 of the 'Design and Access Statement'.

This application will extend the urban appearance into the AONB; this would be in contravention of the District Council's Strategy Policy CS9 Statement, especially Strategic Objectives 18, 19, 21, and 22 relating to the impact of development upon the countryside. In paragraph 109 of the NPPF it states that "The planning system should contribute to and enhance valued landscapes". This proposed extension will fail to meet any of the above.

The applicant from the beginning of the design process has tried to not only extend the area of the K5 site but has upped the number of dwellings from the 75 for K5 stated in the DPD to 82. These additional dwellings have been moved from the K1 site (Outline Planning ref. no. 28/1244/13/0) in an attempt to maximize the value of both sites which are owned by the same landowner.

The applicant states in Bullet 5 of the Grounds of Appeal that 'full justification has been provided to demonstrate that the development of the whole planning unit will allow for the more suitable distribution and layout of the development'. The attempt at justification is related in part to the points the appellant makes in Bullet 7 where it is claimed that 'due to the physical constraints of the site ,it would not be possible to provide the level of development required by the allocation within the original allocated boundary without proposing high density, high rise development'.

Both of these claims as argued are factually incorrect, as the following points will show. The extension to the K5 development boundary will lead to a decrease in housing density from the agreed 19 per an hectare to a miserly 11 which increases the size and value of the properties, placing them beyond the reach of those earning local incomes.

Paragraph 54 of the NPPF states that "In rural areas, LPA should be responsive to local circumstances and plan housing developments to reflect local needs. This objective is also stated in SHDC's Core Strategy. A draft conceptual layout drawn upwithin the original boundary line provided by John Stevenson demonstrates how the K5 site can be developed to meet the criteria as stipulated in the Core Strategy.

This higher density, lower cost layout would assist in meeting emerging needs such as those identified in a report from Demos by Claudia Wood, 'The Top of the Ladder', September 2013. This report states that 'A chronic undersupply of appropriate housing for older people is the UK's next housing crisis'. The Strategic Housing Market Needs Assessment recently conducted for a group of LPAs in the south west including the South Hams confirms that smaller dwellings for older people as well as low cost starter houses are required in the South Hams. A survey conducted with information collected from local estate agents in 2012 clearly identified a shortage of 2 bedroom properties in the South Hams. The appellant's proposals will not address local housing issues.

The proposal to extend the site brings into question the safety of the access to the narrow road from Kingsbridge to West Alvington road. There has been an under estimation of the numbers that will be using the pedestrian crossing in the future. The Community College's new sports field will generate increased numbers of pupils crossing from the campus to the sports field on the other side. The site access in John Stevenson's concept has measurably fewer safety issues.

There is the issue of flooding. This past winter's record rainfall for the second consecutive year has increased the incidents of flooding in the lower part of the town and no one can say this will not become the norm. Any proposed development on hill sides where run off may lead to further flooding needs scrutiny of the highest order. The appellants proposal's lack this scrutiny

I ask that the Inspector dismiss the appeal on the grounds above.

Yours sincerely

Martina Edmonds



Diptford - fields at SX753 557 East of Coombeshead Farm, fields at SX749 550 South of Coombeshead farm and connecting access tracks - installation of up to 45,000 ground mounted solar pv panels (max output 8.88MW), erection of ancillary buildings and structures, and access tracks (SHDC reference 17/0265/14/F)

Status: conditional approval.C Development Management Committee, but called in by Secretary of State.    Details here.

 The Society wrote to SHDC on 27/02/14:

The South Hams Society wishes to object strongly to this application for a very large solar array on the following grounds.

The loss of agricultural land.

The proposal takes a considerable area of land 23.4 ha out of agricultural production. The Agricultural Land Classification map of the area shows the majority of the proposed site to be Grade 3 land. Paragraph 4.7 of the Farm Management Statement assumes the land isgrade 3A. There is no further  statement of the grade of land but if it is 3A this proposal is in contravention of the District Councils own guidance for the siting of solar farms.

The application suggests that sheep could be grazed under the panels. The supporting information states that the panels are separated by a distance such all the land between is in shade at noon on the shortest day and then states that the land between the rows will receive sunlight all year round.

So it will but for much of the year only for a few minutes every day. The photograph in para. 8.9.13 of the Supporting Information Statement shows how unlikely it is that adequate grazing for any livestock will be found under the panels.

Visual damage to the landscape

One of the fields proposed to be used is immediately adjacent to the boundary of the South Devon AONB, the other less than a kilometer from it. The 2.1m fencing around the site, the poles and cctv cameras and the panels themselves will all be visible from areas within the SD AONB and Dartmoor National Park as the Map of the Zone of Theoretical Visibility shows.

The eastern part of the SD AONB along the Dart is not shown on the map but the site is also visible from parts of it.

The photomontages do not show the fencing or the cctv poles and cameras.

The site will also be visible from the footpath within the SD AONB leading to Chapplelands
to the road south-west of the site.

There are a number of solar farms already in the vicinity of this application. the cumulative
impact of them is now a considerable intrusion on the landscape.

Government and LPA policies

The Minister for Energy and Climate change has recently indicated in a letter to LPAs that rooftop and brownfield sites should be chosen for solar arrays and the use of greenfield sites avoided. The appeal inquiries cited by the applicant in the Supporting Information Statement antedate this guidance and therefore do not take it into account.

The Farm Management Statement quotes policy CS13 from the District Council's Core Strategy in an attempt to show that the proposal does not cause unacceptable harm to the surrounding landscape, uses existing buildings and does not prejudice agricultural operations. However it does have a considerable impact on the landscape, does not use existing buildings or brownfield sites and prejudices existing agricultural operations.

Loss of and damage to habitats and protected species

The letter from Natural England states the need for further information on the effect on the
High Marks Barn SSSI, other habitat losses concerned, the changes to flora and the effect
on protected species.

Community benefits

There are no benefits to the community from this proposal. No additional jobs will be
generated and there is no contribution to a community fund. It is clear from the letters of
representation already on the web site that large sections of the community object to the
proposal.

Conclusions

The South Hams Society urges the District Council to refuse permission for this application on the grounds above and especially considering the cumulative impact of these developments along the grid power lines in this area.

If the District Council is minded to consider the application further the Society suggests that it should request the applicant to provide a full Environmental Impact Assessment which should address amongst other concerns the issues raised in the letter from Natural England.

In this connection it can be noted that this proposal is admitted by the applicant to be an industrial installation of 24.4 ha for the production of electricity. The Energy Industry table in Appendix 3 of the EIA Regulations state a threshold figure of 0.5 ha above which an EIA screening is required.

John Chalmers
Chairman 


Salcombe - Sunnycombe, Lower Batson - restoration and modification of cottage. Replace parts of thatch roof with natural slate. Replacement of garage and hardstanding, and new extension. (SHDC reference 41/0252/14/F) 

Status - withdrawn.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 23/02/14:

 The South Hams Society has examined the proposals for restoration and modification of the Grade 2 listed property Sunnycombe, Lower Batson, Salcombe, has visited the site and wishes to object to them.

Replacement of the rear thatched roof with slates

Sunnycombe is part of a listed group of 5 thatched houses running from Ilbertstowe Cottage up the hill to The Nook. Three of these have been slated on the rear roof. Sunnycombe and Ilbertstowe Cottage, which have very similar rear roofs with a valley, remain as the two with a complete thatch.

The rear roof thatch has been renewed and maintained on Sunnycombe for three and a half centuries. The valley may be more vulnerable but thatch fronting onto the road is also in poor shape so the whole roof needs re-thatching. Despite the orientation the rear roof of Sunnycombe is in sun in a number of the photographs including the aerial view.

The Nook is set further back so the north west facing roof of Sunnycombe is visible from the road above. The rear roofs of the other three slated houses are not visible.

Because the NW roof is visible from the road and the thatch to Sunycombe needs renewing, the Society suggests that the proposal to slate the roof should be re-considered. If the burden of maintaining the valley between the two rear roofs is considered too high then there are alternative ways of making the valley more durable while the remainder of the roof is thatched - for example a metal flashing down the valley.

Extension of the garage

The proposed extension of the garage is required in order to form two parking spaces in place of the existing one - a relatively minor gain when parking is available around Batson Green and in the lay-by on the other side of the green.

The extension of the garage requires excavation of about 3 meters below ground floor level of The Nook and within 0.5 meters of it's south east wall. The Nook is built of cobb and probably has no significant foundations. There must be some risk of subsidence however carefully the process is carried out and this could result in major loss in a conservation area.

It is proposed to use the roof of the extended garage as a terrace. The terrace would overlook the gardens of neighbouring properties and permit views of the interior of The Nook resulting in a substantial loss of privacy.

Conclusion

These proposals will cause some loss to a listed building in the Batson conservation area. The extension to the garage presents a risk to the neighbouring structure and the terrace above will result in unacceptable loss of privacy.

The South Hams Society urges the Council to refuse this application and suggest to the applicant that proposals which avoid these issues should be made.

John Chalmers
Chairman


Stoke Fleming - land at SX83955104, Paddlelake Farm, Bugford, Dartmouth, TQ6 0NA - erection of wind turbine (estimated output 0.1megawatts) with 36.8metre hub height, 48.5metre tip height and associated infrastructure (SHDC reference 51/2971/13/F)

Status: refused.     Details here .

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 28/01/14:

Location: Puddlelake Farm, Bugford, Dartmouth, TQ6 0NA. The turbine is located in an agricultural field approximately 0.5km to the east of Bugford and 2.0km to the west of Dartmouth.

Overview: The overall quality of the application is poor. In terms of assessing the impact of the wind turbine, the applicant has made a number of claims within their Design & Access Statement, without providing any supporting evidence. There has been no survey work on noise, ecology and transport and the applicant relies on some very basic desktop analysis and assumptions. The applicant has not demonstrated that the turbine will not cause significant harm and this is borne out in the responses from the statutory consultees. Unfortunately, the applicant's VIA is not on South Hams website, so I have not been able to comment on this.

Landscape: The site is close to the AONB which is approximately 0.5km to the south and 1.0km to the east. The turbine is located at a datum of approximately 100m, which sets the tip height at a datum of approximately 150m. This makes the turbine highly visible within the surrounding landscape. The turbine will cause significant harm to the area's high quality, sensitive landscape. In particular, the turbine will have a high impact on the views into and out of the protected landscape of the AONB.

Heritage: The site is adjacent to Woodbury Camp, Scheduled Ancient Monument. There are also a number of listed residential properties within 1.0km. The significance of heritage assets derives not only from their physical presence, but also from their settings. Clearly, the development will cause a huge amount of harm to the setting of Woodbury Camp. The applicant has also not demonstrated that the turbine will not cause harm to the special character of the other heritage assets.

Ecology: There has been no ecological survey of the site to establish if there are any protected species. Bats and birds are legally protected and are particularly susceptible to the impacts of wind turbines. Guidance from Natural England is that bat and bird surveys should be carried out, so that the impact of the wind turbine can be fully understood. The applicant has not fully considered the ecological impact of the development and is unable to show that the development will not cause a detrimental impact upon ecology, habitat and biodiversity.

Residential Amenity: The nearest residential properties are 300m north and 400m to the northeast and there are many others within 1km of the site. At present the residents enjoy a high degree of residential amenity. The turbine will introduce a large industrial structure that will impact on the visual amenity of local residents. Additionally, no noise survey or proper noise assessment has been carried out. The application says that the noise impact on residential properties will be up to 40dB. This exceeds the 35dB threshold recommended in ETSU 97. Clearly the applicant has not demonstrated that the wind turbine will not cause a noise problem. South Hams EHO has objected on noise impact.

Public Consultation & Community Benefits: There has been no public consultation and there are no community benefits. There is no public support for the proposed development.

Communications: There has been no consultation with OfCom or JRC. The applicant is unable to demonstrate that the turbine will not be detrimental to radio, television and communications signals.

Aircraft Safety: There is has been no consultation with the CAA or DIO to confirm proposals will not impact on radar and aircraft safety. The DIO has objected due to the turbine interfering with the military radar at Portland.

Highways: The delivery of the turbine will involve the delivery of 11.2m long blades to the site. No transport assessment / vehicle tracking analysis has been carried out to show that this abnormal load can be accommodated on the existing highway network without causing damage to the highway and/or neighbouring land. The Highways Authority has objected.

Farm Diversification: The applicant claims that the development is needed for farm diversification. The proposed development does not relate directly to the operations of the farm and does not have a small scale impact. Therefore, the wind turbine extends beyond what is considered suitable farm diversification. A single wind turbine of this size will bring a limited amount of money to the farm and yet it will have an unacceptable impact upon the rural nature of the area.

National Planning Policy: The NPPF provides a presumption in favour of sustainable development and provides a positive framework for renewable energy developments. However, it also recognises the need to safeguard the natural and historic built environment from inappropriate forms of development. DCLG guidance issued in July 2013 emphasises that the need for renewable energy does not override environmental protection and the concerns of local communities. More recently, the Government's National Infrastructure Plan has also confirmed a focus away from onshore wind farms to offshore policy.

Local Planning Policy: Whilst South Hams Local Planning Policy recognises the need for renewable energy, it also places a strong emphasis on protecting the district's distinctive, high quality natural and historic environment. The renewable energy benefits of developments need to be balanced against the potential harm that the development can cause and should only be promoted in appropriate locations.

Conclusion: The proposed wind turbine will produce only a limited amount of electricity, namely 0.1MW. When considered collectively, there are both policy and material considerations which outweigh the benefits of the small amount of renewable energy that would be generated from the proposal. Therefore, the Society urges that the application should be refused.

John Chalmers
Chairman
 
Bigbury - land at Mount Folly Farm,  TQ7 4AR - erection of 3 wind turbines (total estimated output 0.015 megawatts) with 15 metres hub height, 17.75 metre tip height and associated infrastructure (SHDC reference 05/2991/13/F)

Status: conditional approval      Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 28/01/14:

The South Hams Society has examined this application. The site for this application is in a very sensitive area of the South Devon AONB. The visual impact analysis included in the documents is inadequate. There has been no public consultation but it has attracted many objections from local residents. There is no public benefit from the installation. The South Hams Society strongly suggests that the District Council should carefully consider the potential visual damage this proposal would do to the AONB.

The application is for 3 turbines which have hub heights of 15 meters. In these circumstances DETR Circular 02/99 requires the LPA to provide a screening opinion for an Environmental Impact Assessment. We cannot find one within the existing documents.
John Chalmers 
Chairman

Churchstow - land at SX 707456, Bantham Cross, - erection of buildings for potato processing and storage, dwelling, site road and office (SHDC references 11/0042-0045/14/F)

Status - conditionally approved by SHDC Development Control Committee, but subject to application for judicial review.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC on 26/01/14:

The South Hams Society objects to the four planning applications Nos. 0042/14, 0043/14, 0044/14 and 0045/14 Erection of Agricultural Buildings and associated dwelling at Bantham Cross, Churchstow.

Firstly it is clear that although these are presented as four separate applications they are in fact for a single development within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is clear that planning decisions on them cannot be made independently - it would make no sense to refuse one while approving the others. This is clear from the documents presented with the applications - the Design and Access statement and many others, for example, are identical in each application and cover the buildings in the other applications.

The applications describe the development as agricultural buildings and an associated dwelling. The buildings are described as to be used for washing, cold storing and grading potatoes. However it is clear that in addition one of the operations to be carried out is the packing of potatoes in sacks or packages of various sorts for distribution. Taken together these are not agricultural uses but operations of the food industry.

This development therefore comes under item 7(b), 'Packing and canning of animal and vegetable products', of the Table for Schedule 3 cited in Circular 02/99, Environmental Impact Assessment' issued by the Department of Communities and Local Government.  Circular 02/99 also makes it clear that these four applications should be treated as a single development as below:

'For the purposes of determining whether EIA is required, a particular planning application should not be considered in isolation if, in reality, it is properly to be regarded as an integral part of an inevitably more substantial development (see endnote12). In such cases, the need for EIA (including the applicability of any indicative thresholds) must be considered in respect of the total development.'

The decision on these applications must be made on the basis that they are a food industry development of 3,890 sq.M. within a sensitive area, that is the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The 'indicative threshold' of developments covered by item 7(b) in Schedule 3 of Circular 02/99 is 1000 sq. M. The effects noise from the plant and of heavy lorry movements generated by the development should be an important consideration in forming the screening opinion.

As this development is nearly 4 times the size of the threshold an EIA screening opinion is required. We have found no such screening opinion or reference to it within the documents accompanying the applications.

Taken together these applications are for a large isolated industrial development within the SD AONB on a green field site. Exactly the type of development that AONB designation was designed to prevent. The development nearest to it is residential. The single benefit of this site is that it is adjacent to the B3197 road.

This scale of industrial development in an isolated greenfield site causes considerable permanent damage to the AONB landscape. This development if permitted should be sited outside the AONB and adjacent to a major road with similar development, for example, along the A38 or in Torr Quarry.

The attempts at landscaping are inadequate to conceal the buildings. The banks proposed are 2-3 meters high whereas the buildings are 9 meters to ridge level. The site is exposed and hedge and tree planting will be subject to failure and slow growing. The existing boundary hedges are only 4 meters high and the proposed planting of 0.6-0.9 meter hedging and 1.8-2.0 trees will take 20 years to grow to the height required to conceal the buildings if indeed they ever do so.

In the meantime the buildings will be visible from many other parts of the SD AONB, for example, along the Avon Valley,Venn, Hatch and Aveton Gifford. There appears to be no rationale for the choice of site apart from the statement that the applicant owns the site. The Society believes that this is not an adequate reason. The opinion of the SD AONB Unit should be sought.

For these reasons the South Hams Society strongly urges that these applications should be refused.

The Society agrees that it is desirable for the business to move from its present site in Galmpton and suggests that the District Council should enter into discussions with the applicant to find a more suitable site which does not damage the SD AONB and has improved transport access.

John Chalmers
Chairman

On 28 March 2014 John Graham wrote to Alan Robinson, Executive Director, South Hams District Council about these applications:

Planning - Pre-application Discussions
A little over three years ago, when complaints were made to you over the council's handling of applications for buildings at Hendham View Farm, Woodleigh, you agreed that it was good practice for notes of pre-application discussions to be taken (a copy of your e-mail of 11 January 2011 is attached). The South Hams Society subsequently raised the point with you on several occasions, and when I asked for a record relating to another case in 2012 the council's solicitor told me that though no notes had been kept in that particular instance 'It is now the practice of planning officers to keep notes and records of any pre-application advice that they give to members of the public and their agents.' A copy of her letter is also attached.

When I recently used the council's FoI procedures (under reference SH/92/14) to ask for records of pre-application discussions relating to planning applications 0042- 0045/14 (potato stores and house at Churchstow) I was told that the only pre-application discussion that had taken place had been in respect of a predecessor set of applications (1544-1547/13), submitted in July 2013 but withdrawn that September. In advance of those the agent had submitted a formal enquiry, on which the council opened a file with the reference 11/2739/12/PRE.

The council has given me the papers from that file. Apart from the agent's submissions, they mainly deal with ancillary matters such as the setting up of meetings, landscaping, and highways. I can see no discussion, for instance, of whether the development should be so close to Churchstow or in the AONB, both of which questions have now very predictably proved controversial. A letter dated 5 March 2013 on another related application promises that the council's response on the Churchstow development would be sent to the agent shortly thereafter, but I am told that no such document is in the file. So the council has no record of what advice its planning officers gave.

Apart from the apparent administrative failure, this does matter because pre-application advice plays such a big part in shaping the development. In this case the agent clearly picked up at some stage that officers supported the proposals. Indeed he says so in the design and access statement accompanying the subsequent planning applications. When this happens the applicant spends a lot of money and effort in preparing and submitting plans, the development becomes quite set, it has its own momentum and it is difficult for councillors to change. It may also be difficult for them to resist subsequent incremental applications - you are well aware of the very similar story of Hendham View Farm, where the damage remains as great as ever. And these are by no means the only cases.

Could I ask that SHDC give fresh consideration to the way in which pre-application advice is given and recorded?

Yours sincerely,
John Graham

Mr Robinson replied on 16 April:

Dear Mr Graham

Planning - Pre-Application Advice

I write further to your letter of 28 March 2014 and apologise for the delay in replying.

The Council is in full agreement that pre-application engagement is very important in the shaping of future development proposals. You will be aware that we actively encourage this process and l am pleased to say that the service is well used.

I would also agree that the need for good record keeping is essential. It is important that our discussions are open and transparent and in this respect a good record of meetings and direction of travel is essential. It is important that, as a service, we know what advice has been given. Equally that advice should be available on conclusion of the pre-application enquiry. You will however appreciate that some information will not be provided where commercial confidentiality is at risk.

Please be assured that all officers have been asked to keep a good record of the advice given. I do accept that this has not been consistent in the past but the importance of this is now continually stressed. As such l expect a clear improvement to be seen on all current and future applications.

Yours sincerely
Alan Robinson
Executive Director (Communities) & Head of Paid Service

 

SalcombeLand at SX273846, 39275, Former Gas Works, Gould Road, Salcombe, TQ8 8DU - redevelopment of former gas works site to comprise erection of five dwellings (SHDC reference 41/2364/13/F)

Status - refused.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 11 November 2013:

This is an objection to the application No. 2364/13 - Development of former gas works site, Salcombe

This site is the major part of the only area left that is suitable for the marine industry in Salcombe. The Planning Statement by Hunter Page tries to minimise the importance of the marine industry to Salcombe but the harbour is the back bone of Salcombe's attraction to visitors and residents alike and without the marine industry to support it the town would be crippled.

The Planning Statement attempts to make the case for housing based on the fact that the District Council does not have the 5 year supply of housing land required by the Government. The appeal decision on the Totnes Riverside site and the Wembury planning application are used as support for this. But both of these sites had considerable numbers of housing, 100 plus other employment accommodation in Riverside and 48 in Wembury. We are asked to give up this key employment site for a mere 5 houses and a £130,000 contribution to affordable housing.

The marketing and viability study that the Planning Statement says has been made is not on the website as the applicant has claimed that it is confidential. So there is no way of us checking whether the site has been bought at a price which would make employment use possible or whether the price paid for the site makes only residential use viable. There has been no attempt by the applicant to investigate employment use. They simply assert that it is not viable without offering any evidence and in fact withholding information on which others could make a judgement.

This application conflicts with policy DP14 in the Council's Development Policies document  because;

employment use of the site would be viable if it was available at the right price,
there is little other employment in Salcombe,
no alternative site is available in the same locality.

To illustrate these points 2 firms have recently sought premises in the area, one, a boat builder has found a less adequate site in the area for self build, the other has left Salcombe to find other premises. Another firm in the immediate locality whose current premises are less than ideal would take premises on this site if they were available.

We strongly urge South Hams District Council to refuse this application which removes a site so essential for the well being of Salcombe.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society


Halwell & Moreleigh - land at SX786 529, south of Halwell Airfield - Installation and operation of solar farm and associated infrastructure, including pv panels, mounting frames, inverter, transformer, pole mounted CCTV cameras and fence (site area 10.5 Ha, output 5.7MW) (SHDC reference 22/2050/13/F)

Status - refused.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 2 October 2013:

The South Hams Society objects to this application on the grounds below:

Damage to the landscape.
The site is visible from a number of view points including the road from Kingsbridge to Totnes. The scale of the installation would cause considerable damage to the landscape There would be a considerable cumulative damage from the sheds it adjoins.

Loss of tourist income.
Every development in a rural landscape such as this damages tourism, the major source of income in the South Hams. In this case the blight on the landscape is considerable comparable to continuous built development over the 10 hectare site.

The loss of 10 hectares of agricultural land.
The Design and Access Statement does not say whether the land to be used is Grade 3A or 3B. If it is 3A then the District Council policy for Solar Farms states that it should not be permitted. The suggestion that sheep could be grazed under the panels conceals the fact that the pasture under the panels would be of very poor quality as it is deprived of the sunlight necessary for good growth. The environment for the animals is also very poor.

Destruction of wildlife habitat.
The contention in the Design and Access Statement that improvement of the hedge boundary will increase the biodiversity and wildlife habitat compared with the loss of 10 Hectares of agricultural land must be considered absurd.

No community benefits.
This is a commercial development, the benefits go directly to the applicant and no benefits are offered to the community who suffer from the loss of amenity including views and glare.

The District Council would not permit a 10 hectare industrial development on this site. But that is what is being proposed. The South Hams Society strongly urges that this application should be refused.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society


Stoke Fleming - Ash Tree Farm, Ash, Dartmouth - prior notification for proposed
agricultural building for storage of hay and straw (SHDC ref 51/1868/13/AG)

Status - withdrawn. Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 24 August 2013:

The Society suggests that SHDC planners should discuss with the applicant why this building should be sited in isolation away from the other farm buildings on a prominent high site thus making the maximum impact on the countryside. A site adjacent to the existing farm buildings would do less damage.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society

Salcombe - Salcombe Harbour Hotel - full planning application for the construction of pontoon affixed to
sea wall (SHDC reference 41/1816/13/F)

Status - conditional approval. Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 15 August 2013:
The Harbour Board only supports this application provided the landing is for public access and quotes Harbour policy in Section 6.0.1. The South Hams Society agrees with this policy. However the application states in the document on pontoon management that the only persons who will be permitted to use the pontoon will be hotel guests by prior appointment and residents of Estura and Marine Quay. There seems to be a conflict in these two statements so are we to assume that the Harbour Board does not support this application?

John Chalmers
South Hams Society


Ivybridge - Land at SX6170 5363 Luson Farm, Near Westlake - wind energy development comprising the erection, up to 25 years operation and subsequent decommissioning of 1 no. turbine with an overall tip height (to vertical blade tip) of 86.5m above existing ground level, together with access tracks, temporary works, hardstanding areas, electricity substation and cabling and alterations to the existing vehicular access off the junction at Ley Green (SHDC reference 21/1640/13/F)

Status - refused.  Details here.

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 28 July 2013:

The South Hams Society objects to this application on the grounds below.

1. The Zone of Theoretical Visibility shows that because of its scale the wind turbine proposed will be visible over large areas of the South Hams, including much of the South Devon AONB, the Undeveloped Coast, and the Dartmoor National Park.

2. The site is within 1.7 kM of the SD AONB boundary. The District Council's Interim Planning Guidance for Onshore Wind Turbines in the South Hams draws attention to the SD AONB position statement on renewable energy which states 'that particular care should be taken in maintaing the setting and skylines of the AONB and the views into and out of the AONB including proposals located outside the AONB boundary but which impact on the AONB itself'. No comments from the SD AONB Unit are currently on the website but this turbine certainly affects the skylines and the views into and out of the AONB.

3. Similar comments apply to the Dartmoor National Park. Again no comment from the NP Authority is currently on the website.

4. The turbine is sited in an area which is largely undeveloped and has been designated as an Area of Great Landscape Value. The Planning Guidance mentioned above also refers to Advice Note 2 of the Devon Landscape Policy Officer Group which shows the landscape in which the turbine is sited as of 'higher sensitivity' which should therefore be protected against such developments.

5. In the view of the Society the factors above should have been sufficient to require a full Environmental Impact Assessment despite the site not being in a designated area. Your screening opinion required a comprehensive Landscape & Visual Impact Assessment but this is inadequate for a number of reasons.

• there are no view points to the west of the site, for example, from the River Yealm valley,
• there is no view point from Ermington, the nearest settlement of any size, showing the
relationship with the Grade 1 church or from the Erme Plym Trail,
• there is no viewpoint from Westlake.

6. The damage to the verges, banks and hedgerows caused by delivery of the turbine components to the lane from Hollowcombe Cross to the site at Ley Green is considerable and in many cases will be permanent as the changes are required for the whole operational life of the project - 25 years. No mitigation is proposed.

7. The impact of the construction traffic on Westlake residents will be considerable and no construction plan limiting the hours of work or other mitigation is proposed.

8. This is a commercial development with no local benefits. There will be no jobs gained locally as the costs will be paid to external contractors. The profits will also be gained outside the district. The sole benefit to the local community appears to be a single payment of £20,000 - negligible when compared with the income expected over the operational lifetime.

9. Lastly the statement of Community Engagement is inadequate as it gives no indication of the numbers attending the meetings nor of their reaction.

The National Planning Policy Framework states that 'applications for renewable energy development should be approved (unless there are over-riding material considerations) if the impacts can be made acceptable'. The Society believes that the impacts above are not acceptable.

The Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government has confirmed that the Department is working on guidance to qualify the NPPF in the area of renewable energy developments to give more weight to the views of residents and the Local Planning Authority. This guidance will be a material consideration for the Planning Inspectorate when considering appeals. Judging by the number of letters of representation objecting the local community does not support the proposal and a decision to refuse the application should be upheld in the event of an appeal.

The Society strongly suggests that this application should be refused.

Yours Sincerely
John Chalmers



Kingsbridge - Allocated Site K5, SX 7299 4407 and land directly west of allocated site, West Alvington Hill -  Outline application (with all Matters Reserved except Access) for erection of up to 82 dwellings, 0.7 hectares of employment land (Use Class B1/B2), 2no. vehicular accesses, open space, play provision and drainage (SHDC application 28_59/1232/13/O)

Status -  refused.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 22 June 2013:

The applicants have maintained since the publication of the Site Allocations draft DPD that the site is too small to contain the number houses specified for it. During the Steering Group meetings on the site the applicants have indicated that they would need about a 50% increase in area. It now seems that they have chosen to propose a much larger increase of site area to accommodate low density housing a segregated employment area with separate access and a generous amount of public open space and play space. 

Most of these changes seek to enhance the attractiveness of the houses to the open market, the price for which they could eventually be sold and hence the value of the site with this planning permission to a subsequent developer. Unfortunately the same factors would also make the affordable housing provided more expensive.

At no time has there been any consideration of a high density development containing terraced housing with narrow frontages and low rise flats despite the facts that a smaller site would be required, a market for such lower cost accommodation could exist in Kingsbridge and that there would the benefit of lower cost affordable housing. The South Hams Society considers that these alternatives should have been explored in the planning process.

This application therefore extends the site described in the Site Allocations DPD by approaching 100% but provides only 7 (10%) more houses and 0.2 hectares (20%) more employment space than specified in that document. It requires 2 new vehicular junctions with West Alvington Hill with a corresponding increase in traffic problems.

It must be considered whether an application containing changes of such a scale lie with the tolerance boundaries of the original Site Allocations DPD and whether the resulting development would fulfil the responsibilities and objectives of the District Council. The South Hams Society considers that it does not.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road, Salcombe TQ8 8DZ

Martina Edmonds, of the Westville Residents' Association, has sent to the Society the following information on the K5 site:

Have received some very helpful  new information that helps to make clearer  procedures  regarding the K5/K1 application ,some of you may already be aware that Pegasus/Mr Manisty  are currently applying for outline planning permission.

Personally I was unaware of the difference between an outline and detailed application and how to make any objections to SHDC relevant.  

The recent email  you received with the list of material/not material reasons for objecting to a planning application are on the whole  more appropriate when  a detailed planning application is made.

It is looking at the councils own documents ,DPD, SHDC's Core Strategy document along with the NPPF  and comparing these documents with statements made by Pegasus in the K5 application.

Fortunately  a lot of hard graft has been done for us.

Affordable Housing Statement made by Pegasus  can be questioned.

,It states in the SHDC  Core Strategy doc that one of its priorities is to provide  'A supply of housing for local people at affordable levels.

The current need is for houses that are around the £100K-£150K  not only for persons working and earning the local average wage of £25K ( latest national census figures) but for those wishing to down size.

The original boundary and housing density as  set out   in the DPD would  mean homes  of a size and price that would  meet this local need.

The extension  means  that Pegasus  are looking to decrease density,making houses larger with superior views thus increasing the values to the  £200k+  Making them unaffordable to the majority of local persons.

Other substantial detrimental effects from  extension to the boundary

The new sports grounds for the college will mean lots more footfall crossing the Westville Hill road and as the survey was carried out in February  It could be argued that Pegasus's Transport Assessment is unsatisfactory in supporting this application

Flooding  has been  identified as an issue in the DPD the extension to the site will  increase the surface water run-off ,increasing  flooding episodes lower down the town .

The added effect of further destruction to wild life and  habitats

The loss of the fantastic views  of the town and countryside currently enjoyed by all walking  the footpath will all but vanish if this site is allowed to increase in development size.

In the NPPF (section 15)it states that great weight should be given to conserving the landscapes and scenic beauty in certain parts of the country  Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty  having the highest status of protection in relation to scenic beauty.

By remaining within the original boundary lines building to a greater density will conserve the majority of the ANOB landscape.

Section 6 of Pegasus's  Planning Statement makes an attempt to justify their attempt to alter the boundary line

 In Sections 6.16 and 6.17  they make their case by saying' there are no physical features that suggest the allocation should dissect the field' as set out in the DPD.

This can be seen to be disproved by the Ariel photo in their Design and Access Statement on page 8.In this agreed development area

It  can be seen to be forming a natural infill.

The Planning Statement  states in section 6.18  that a plan is include in the Design and Access Statement to show  how the constraints of the K5 site prevent them from providing the required development , there is no such plan  (BIG mistake).

Pegasus fail to  mention of the outcomes of the community involvement  Steering Group statements concludes that 'The level of engagement with the community for this site had been far from satisfactory,nor was the process as collaborative or as two way as required' they also commented that 'there was no evidence that the consultants original preferred concept had been changed noticeably by community feed back and the concerns raised. 

 If you want to email in to SHDC with your objections and wish to copy in the Town Council the way to do this is to email straight to  planning@southhams.gov.uk  quote planning number1232/13 with your objections ( see the above)  you then will be able to copy in the town council  on reception@kingsbridge.gov.uk 


 BuckfastleighWhitecleave Quarry (Planning appeal reference APP/J1155/A/12/2185633)

 The Society wrote to the Planning Inspectorate as follows on 28 May 2013:

I am writing on behalf of the South Hams Society in support of the objections made by The Buckfastleigh Community Forum to the above appeal.

Whitecleave Quarry does not lie within the South Hams but any contaminated effluent from
it would drain to the River Dart which is of major importance to the economy and
environment of the South Hams and the South Devon AONB.

It seems clear that the documents put forward for the appeal contain significant changes to
the original application by acknowledging that:

• bottom ash is not inert and that water transported within the ash and rainfall passing
through it will leach out some of its constituents which may include toxins,

• there will be continuous or frequent run-off from the Incinerator Bottom Ash stored in the
Quarry,

• a settlement lagoon and settlement tanks are required for this run-off,

• there will be continuous or frequent discharge from the settlement tanks into Dean Burn
and hence to the River Dart.

 In view of the substantial nature of these changes, we suggest that this appeal on the
original application is not allowable. The applicant should make a fresh planning
application containing these changes, the consultations with Natural England and others
be carried out anew and a new Environmental Impact Assessment prepared including its
effect on the River Dart.

Yours sincerely
John Chalmers

 


Buckland Tout Saints- Higher Torr Farm - resubmission of planning application 08/1968/12/F for erection of 1 wind turbine (0.90MW) up to 78 metres tip height and associated infrastructure for a period of 25 years (SHDC application 08/0600/13/F)

Status: refused.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 1/4/13:

The South Hams Society strongly objects to this application and makes no apology for a late response as several important documents have been mounted on the website on or after the latest date for comments stated in the Status/Date window in the Application Details.

Natural England's revised response dated 5th April- the latest date for comments - makes it clear that further work should be done on avian and bat surveys.

The original EIA screening opinion referred to the earlier application for two turbines and was only withdrawn and replaced after this was pointed out to the Council 15 days before the latest date for comments. The opinion consists of a wholly inadequate single line statement that an EIA is not required without any explanation or supporting evidence.

The revised EIA screening opinion is unsigned and appeared on the 11th April - 6 days after the latest date for comments. The content of the screening opinion is confined to blank statements without any supporting evidence.

Several of the documents in the application refer to work done for the earlier application for two turbines, for example the Supporting Information on Community Involvement and are therefore now meaningless.

The installation is clearly visible from large areas of the SD AONB and the Dartmoor National Park as shown in the Zone of Theoretical Visibility yet there is no comment from the AONB unit.

In view of the letter from Natural England, the lack of an up-to-date Statement of Community Involvement and the extensive visibility a full Environmental Impact Assessment is required.

This application must therefore be refused.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society



Stoke Gabriel - Ramslade Caravan Club Site, Paignton Road - Full application to increase storage compound area, regrade of existing ground levels, increase in storage pitches, replacement of security fence, installation of entry barrier, blocker, CCTV and lighting, installation of wardens kitchen/bathroom pod and associated planting scheme (SHDC application 52/2235/12/F)

 Status: conditional approval.   Details here

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 28/03/13:

 The South Hams Society wishes to support the views of the Stoke Gabriel Parish Council regarding the details of this application and suggests that suitable conditions should be placed on any approval proposed. Apologies for the late representation but I see that no decision has yet been made.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society 


Strete - Lower Fuge Farm - new farm buildings, farmyard, silage clamp, slurry store, access improvement and landscaping  (SHDC applications 54/0263, 0265, 0267, 0270 & 0271/13/F)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here.

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 13/03/13:

 This development would clearly harm the AONB - it could not be claimed that it would conserve and/or enhance the landscape, and the site overlooks the relatively unspoiled Gara Valley. The LVIA accompanying the application shows the dwellings, public roads and footpaths from which there would be a direct line of sight, and the design and access statement acknowledges that landscaping, even if perfectly done, would never conceal the farmyard from all of them. Even if it did, the landscape would have been changed. And it must be remembered that the purpose of designation is indefinite preservation for the benefit of everybody, so the policies don't limit protection to what can be seen from currently public viewpoints. Nor do they make much allowance for personal opinion of likely visual impact.

Paragraphs 115 and 116 of the NPPF read:

115. Great weight should be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty. The conservation of wildlife and cultural heritage are important considerations in all these areas, and should be given great weight in National Parks and the Broads.


116. Planning permission should be refused for major developments in these designated areas except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated they are in the public interest.  Consideration of such applications should include an assessment of:

- the need for the development, including in terms of any national considerations, and the impact of permitting it, or refusing it, upon the local economy;

- the cost of, and scope for, developing elsewhere outside the designated area, or meeting the need for it in some other way; and

- any detrimental effect on the environment, the landscape and recreational opportunities, and the extent to which that could be moderated.

With a floor space of 2675 sq m for the cattle buildings alone, the development would exceed by a factor of almost three the definition of a major development set out in Paragraph 2(1) of the The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010), so there is a presumption under the NPPF that permission should be refused.

The circumstances cannot be described as exceptional and the policies do demand genuine consideration of need and of public interest. From both the design and access statement and the agricultural consultant's report it is clear that Mr Wall wishes to farm more intensively, doubling his stock levels. That is very understandable, but it doesn't amount to need, either for the applicant or the public. The impact on the local economy of the application being refused or approved is not spelled out in the way that the NPPF requires. There is, for instance, no indication of more or better jobs for local people. It cannot be sufficient to assume that what is good for agriculture must be good for the AONB - that is clearly not true in this case. It would be helpful if the application were to show what work has been or will be done on the farm in support of the objectives of the AONB.

The argument on the possible extension of the NVZ is understood, but it is based on some supposition. To date the Environment Agency does not appear to have been very supportive. Its position, including an assessment of the impact of the applications being refused, should be ascertained.

There are many questions arising from these applications, notably on landscaping, the finish of the buildings and the views of the Environment Agency, but the purpose of this representation is to ask the council to set aside precedent and to assess the proposal strictly against current policies, and particularly against the NPPF. The evidence required by Paragraph 116 should be placed on the council's website.

Yours faithfully,
John Graham
Secretary

 

Bantham - First floor flat, The Whiddons - householder application to install weathered, painted horizontal timber boarding to part of first floor level (SHDC application 55/0139/13/F)

Status: withdrawn.   Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 11/2/13:

The South Hams Society has examined the drawings for this application and visited the site.  Whiddons dominates the view from the road leading from the beach to the village of Bantham - a view seen by a very large number of visitors every summer. The house seen from this view has an attractive arts and crafts appearance deriving from the steep gables with barge boards, the tile hanging at first floor level and its oriel window with tiled roof and the white rendered ground floor with the low arched window and mullions. The whole house, while not being outstanding, makes a congenial contribution to the local scene. 

Replacement of the tile hanging with boarding would damage this coherent design with its arts and crafts references. The retention of the tiled roof to the oriel window surrounded by boarding is particularly awkward. A further problem is the choice of colour for the painted boarding which is not specified in the application. The application suggests that there are surrounding precedents but if white is chosen on this basis the articulation of the design would be lost along with much of its character.

The Society suggests that this application should be refused on the grounds of DP1: High Quality Design - defined in the Development policies DPD as required to 'respect and respond to the South Hams unique coastal and undulating upland character in terms of its historic settlements and landscape'. The village of Bantham is of particular importance to the South Hams coastal landscape and this building in a very sensitive position within the village.

In more detail the application would not fulfil the requirement in paragraph a. - 'design should enhance local character' - and paragraph e. which requires designs to 'protect of local and strategic landmarks and buildings and enhance views and skylines'.

The Society urges the District Council to refuse this application.

Yours

 John Chalmers
 South Hams Society

 


Salcombe - Pine Cottage, Froude Road - Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of new dwelling and integral garage  (SHDC application 41/0794/12/F)

Status - refused, appeal dismissed Details here.

This appeal decision is interesting and encouraging because it is based squarely on the protection provided to the AONB by the new National Planning Policy Framework.  The decision notice is here.

 


Churchstow Holditch Farm - field at SX 709 451 - Excavation of oversite, erection of new cattle buildings and improvements to access onto the A381 (SHDC applications 11/2778 & 2779/12/F)

Status: conditinal approval.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 7/1/13:

This and the subsequent application No. 2779 are for large, 500 sqm, livestock buildings on an isolated field in the SD AONB. In the Society's view the siting of this building should be examined to consider if it could be better related to existing buildings and therefore do less damage to the AONB.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society


Harberton - Proposed Wind Farm site, East of A381, South of Langridge Cross, Harberton, Totnes - Installation of 2no. wind turbines (hub height 64m, tip height 99.5m) to generate 2.3MW per turbine (SHDC application 23/1990/12/F)

Status: refused. Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 28/11/12:

The South Hams Society has examined this application, the site concerned and in particular the documents which arrive at a screening opinion that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is not necessary. The Society believes that an EIA is necessary to arrive at a satisfactory decision on this very contentious application and that without one the District Council's planners would be open to the criticism that they did not consider the environmental effects adequately.

DETR Circular 02/99 sets out the rules for determining whether an EIA is necessary. It is clear that this project is not a Schedule 1 project for which an EIA is required. It is a Schedule 2 project for which the need for an EIA has to be determined.

The table for Appendix 3 of DETR Circular 02/99 states that the applicable threshold for consideration whether an EIA is required for a wind farm is a hub height of 15 meters. The hub height of the TRESOC proposal is 64 meters. In the flow chart published by the Department of Communities and Local Government for determining whether an EIA is necessary, the fact that the hub height exceeds 15 m is sufficient to move to the question 'is this Schedule 2 development likely to have significant effects on the environment?'.

The circular provides an indicative threshold and criteria that an EIA is required if the wind farm exceeds 5 turbines or an output of 5MW or if it is in a sensitive area such as an AONB. We only have 2 turbines but it could be argued that this planning application requires one because it exceeds the threshold hub height by a considerable amount and it is both near the 5MW threshold and only 1.75 km from the SD AONB. Further the 'Zones of Theoretical Visibility' provided with the application show that the turbines would be visible from large areas of the SD AONB above Dartmouth and the Avon valley and from the south east areas of the Dartmoor National Park.

In the Planning Inspector's appeal report on the Goveton Wind Farm which was also outside the AONB boundary it was stated that the benefits of the carbon free energy obtained were outweighed by the damage to the AONB - an approach which does indicate that the final decision would be made by balancing one against the other.

The Society urges the District Council to require a full EIA for this application in order to obtain the best evidence for a decision and to reassure its residents that it has done everything necessary to arrive at the correct decision on this contentious project.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society


Newton & Noss - Caulston Farm, Noss Mayo. Erection of 2 no. wind turbines (estimated output of 0.01mw) with 15metres hub height, 18.5 metres tip height (SHDC application 37/2106/12/F)

Status: withdrawn.   Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 14/11/12:

 Dear Sir,

Apologies for the late submission of these comments.

The South Hams Society has examined this application. The site for this application is in a sensitive area, in the South Devon AONB and contains a turbine which has a hub height greater than 15 meters. In these circumstances DETR Circular 02/99 requires an Environmental Impact Assessment to be carried out.

The South Hams Society strongly suggests that the District Council should enforce this requirement to avoid another judicial review.

John Chalmers
The South Hams Society

 

Dartington - land at Southdown Farm. Installation of ground mounted solar array (total site area 17.5 hectares), estimated output of 5 megawatts, and associated infrastructure including up to 11 buildings to house electrical equipment  (SHDC application 14/2182/12/F)

Status: withdrawn.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 14/11/12.

 

  

The South Hams Society has considered the above planning application for the installation of a solar farm and while having no general objection to such proposals the society does have reservations on two particular aspects.
 
1 VISUAL IMPACT.  In order to lessen the visual impact it will be necessary to ensure that the Devon Banks and Hedgerows are repaired and replanted where reqired and allowed to maintain sufficient height to create an effective visual screen similarly the proposed  security fence  must be carefully sited to adequately screen  the solar panels and their frame which we understand to be some 3.5 metres high.
 
LOSS OF AGRICULTURAL LAND The non technical summary of the Environmental report states that the form of the solar panel installation would allow sufficient space below the bottom edge of the panels to allow sheep and other small animals to graze beneath the panels and between the rows . The proposed construction details will have to be carefully monitored to ensure the protection of the land surface in view of the proposal to use both steel piled foundations and concrete where appropriate this will also effect the rehabilitation of the land at the end of the useful life of the solar panels ( 25 years )
 
No mention has been made of the effect of the shadow effect from the panels on the quality of the grazing.
 
We would ask that conditions be attached to any planning consent to protect these concerns
 
Yours sincerely
 
Peter Bromwich  for South Hams Society The Treehouse \shadycombe Road Salcombe TQ8 8NS


Bantham - Land at Chuka Cheese Farm, Bantham - Installation of two 5kw small wind turbines (Evance R9000). One on an 18m tower and one on a 15 m tower due to slope of site (SHDC application 55/1957/12/F)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 13/11/12:

 Dear Sirs,

The South Hams Society has examined this application. The site for this application is in a sensitive area, in the South Devon AONB and contains a turbine which has a hub height greater than 15 meters. In these circumstances DETR Circular 02/99 requires an Environmental Impact Assessment to be carried out. The South Hams Society strongly suggests that the District Council should enforce this requirement to avoid another judicial review.

John Chalmers
The South Hams Society


Buckland Tout Saints - Torr Quarry Community Wind Farm, East Allington - erection of 2 wind turbines (0.90MW) up to 78 metres tip height and associated infrastructure (SHDC application 08/1968/12/F)

Status: withdrawn.  Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 5/10/12:

 Dear Sirs,

The South Hams Society has examined the documents and visited the site.

The current application for two wind turbines at Torr Quarry is similar in many respects to a previous application, No: 2525/07 dated 16 November 2007 for three turbines on masts of 60m, a blade radius of 40m,with a nominal capacity of 4MWh. The site was North of Goveton, at Sandy Lane End. This application was refused by the District Council in February 2008 largely on the grounds of the unacceptable impact it would have on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the local landscape but also on the harm it would cause to the living conditions of the occupants of Pasture Combe, about 500m away.

The current application is at its nearest point about 500m further north, consists of two turbines on masts of 50m, a blade radius of 28m, with a total nominal capacity of 1.8MWh. A similar load factor of 25% can be applied to both schemes to allow for variations in wind strength and maintenance so the current proposal would generate in practice about 450KWh. If the applicant adheres to his stated intention to constrain nominal capacity to 1.5MWh, output would be still lower at 375KWh.

The applicant subsequently appealed (APP/K1128/A/08/207215) and an inquiry was held in December 2008. In his decision letter the inspector supported the District Council's view that the installation would cause 'substantial and long term harm to the local landscape' and have an impact on the AONB. On balance the harm caused would outweigh the 'material contribution,albeit small in terms of the regional target, towards the provision of renewable energy'. The appeal was dismissed.

We can therefore examine this application by comparing it with the earlier application near Goveton. If there are no significant factors to mitigate its effect on the environment we can assume that the District Council should refuse it and that any appeal would be dismissed.

Both sites are outside the AONB but close to its south-eastern boundary. The AONB wraps around the northern and western boundaries of the site. The site for the current application is between 500m and 1000m nearer the AONB boundary and so we can expect that the impact on the AONB would be greater.

The current application claims to be a 'Community Wind Co-operative' scheme. However there seems to be more wind than substance in the scheme. The arrangements for providing community benefits seem to be hazy in the extreme. First a share applications from those closest to the site will be given priority but if these applications are not forthcoming then of course they will go to anyone. Judging from the attendance of 3 at a meeting in Kingsbridge to discuss the scheme local interest is not high.

This project is said to be part of a larger Devon Community Wind Co-operative containing two other wind farms - location unstated. The co-operative which will set up local community trust(s) - it is unclear whether this will be at Devon level or for each wind farm - will fund them to carry out local projects. The extent of the funding is unclear. It is suggested that the total - for the Co-operative presumably - will be around £40,000 but no commitment is made to any specific sum funded by the co-operative.

Despite what is said in the application these undefined proposals lacking commitment do not constitute a 'community lead initiative' as required by the National Planning Policy Framework. Compare them to the TRESOC project where a considerable financial stake in the project has already been taken by the local community who receive all the revenues less the costs. We must assume that the current application is very largely for the benefit of the developer, Clearwinds.

The application states in its Planning Support Statement that the various Environmental Reports and Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments supplied with the application do not constitute an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). On 16th August 2010 the applicant asked the District Council for a screening opinion on whether an EIA was necessary for a slightly larger application. On the same day the Council replied that in its view it did not. The Society believes this to be incorrect because the height of the installation requires it and the site is adjacent to a 'sensitive area', both defined in the Town and Country (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011. The outcome of the recent Judicial Review of the planning approval of the turbine at Chivelstone suggests that the Council should take a precautionary view and require an EIA in any event.

The Society urges the District Council to refuse this application on the above grounds


John Chalmers

Chivelstone - Chivelstone Barton, Kingsbridge, TQ7 2LY - Following judicial review retrospective application for installation of 15kw wind turbine on 20m mast with 5.5m blades.Chivelstone (SHDC application 10/2824/11/F)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here

 The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 3/10/12:

Dear Sirs,

I am sending again below our letter on the original application as the new application appears not to differ substantially from the original and our previous letter covers all the points the Society wishes to make. 
We wish to reiterate that the documents supplied with the application do not in our view amount to an Environmental Impact Assessment as there is no independent assessment of the visual and acoustic impact on the environment and the economic benefits of the turbine are grossly over estimated.

Yours

John Chalmers

 

The South Hams Society has considered this application carefully and is familiar with the site. The Society has weighed the benefits and costs both public and private, to the farming community  and the public at large. It is very aware that over the ages it is farming that has created the South Hams landscape and that in addition to the subsidies provided, farming must continue to be a viable activity. Farming methods change and this must also be taken into account. However the Society has come to conclusion that in this case the costs to the environment outweigh the benefits.

In arriving at this conclusion the Society has determined that there are significant defects in the documents presented with the application. In particular the benefits of the turbine are grossly over estimated and the damage to the environment and the setting of the Church of St Sylvester greatly under estimated. The details of these distortions are given below.

The application claims unrealistic load factors for the turbine - 64% of the nominal capacity. In general wind turbine load factors are between 20% and 30% and in this setting with wind speeds of only 7 metres a second the likelehood is that the load factor will be in the low 20s. The benefits to the applicant and the saving of carbon emissions are therefore about one third of that claimed.

The Design and Access statement contains a rudimentary Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment carried out by the turbine contractor with 6 photomontages of the turbine at various points around it. These display considerable inconsistencies. Photomontage No. 6 from Chivelstone near the Church of St. Sylvester shows the mast as being smaller and less dominant than that from Wilton, position 4, which is 2.5 times further away, and from position 5,  Chivelstone Cross, which is 1.5 times further away. The actual effect at Chivelstone must be nearer to photomontage 1 taken beside the access lane to the barn which is only slightly nearer. The application therefore minimise the impact on St Sylvester's church. An accurate visual assessment must be a requirement for such a prominent development in the AONB.

These defects are sufficiently marked for the Society to consider that this application should be rejected on these grounds alone.

If however the application is to be considered the Society  objects on the following grounds.

1. A number of smaller 5 kWh turbines have been approved in the South Devon AONB. Because of their small size they are often hidden by mature trees. This turbine is considerably larger tall - 26 metres to the tip of the blades - and sited on a prominent plateau bare of trees above the 100 metre contour. It is in the AONB and Undeveloped Coast and can be seen from many viewpoints both at short and long distances. It could not be more visible and have a more damaging impact on the protected landscape.

The application therefore contravenes to very significant extent policies designed to protect the landscape including Devon Structure Plan Policies CO3 and CO5 protecting the AONB and coastal development and South Hams District Council Policy CS9 in the Core Strategy and Policy DP2 in the Development Policies DPD.

2. The application contravenes Policy CS 9 also by damaging the setting of St Sylvester's a Grade 2* building.

3. The turbine is sited in a sensitive area for birds as shown in the RSPB report 'Mapped and written guidance in relation to birds and onshore wind energy development in England', 2009s.

4. There is considerable local opposition - 54 letters objecting as against 16 supporting it.

There are other issues which while not strictly being material planning issues have been considered by the Society.

5. If approved, this application would set an example which would be used as an argument for many further applications which the District Council would find hard to resist. The whole of the South Hams could rapidly become covered in turbines thus effectively comprehensively damaging the whole countryside including the AONB, the Undeveloped Coast and Areas of Great Landscape Value.

5. There is no evidence that the applicant has considered other methods of generating renewable energy which have less impact on the landscape some of which are highly suitable for use on farms such as Biomass and Anaerobic Digestion.

6. There is no comment on this application by the AONB Unit despite it being of great significance to the future of the area because of the example it creates for further development.

The Society urges the District Council to reject this planning application

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe  TQ8 8DZ

 

Malborough - Port Light Hotel, Bolberry - Approval of reserved matters following outline planning approval 33/1061/11/O (SHDC application 33/1644/12/RM)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 16/8/12:

 

The proposed development of the Port Light Hotel / Restaurant has our support in principle.   The perimeter fence should in our view be replaced by a Devon Hedge which will fit in with the surrounding countryside and provide a better visual barrier.  
Charles Rowse

 


 

Salcombe - The Bluff, Bolthead - Variation of condition 2 (replace approved drawing 1037-200 to show amended fence with drawing 1037-200a) of 41/0148/12/F for erection of fence around parking bay (SHDC application 41/1649/12/F)

Status: refused.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 16/8/12:

Apologies for our late submission but it is holiday time.   The Salcombe / Kingsbridge Estuary is one of the most spectacular views in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and to deprive visitors and residents alike from enjoying the view is unacceptable.

 

We therefore object to the screen which has already been placed and would further object to any increase in height of the screen.  
 
Charles Rowse



 

Woodleigh - Hendham View Farm - part retrospective application for the erection of general
purpose livestock building at SX740 510 (SHDC application 61/1801/12/F)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here.

The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 14/8/12:

Although it is not made clear in the application, the site is within the South Devon Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Society objects, on the grounds of damage to landscape in
the AONB.

We have visited the site. The already-erected frame makes it easy to assess how visible the building would be. While it cannot be argued that there are long views into the site from public rights of way, it is in an attractive valley, beside a stream. It is highly visible from Topsham Bridge Lane, which remains a very pleasant and quiet country road. Topsham Bridge and this whole area of the Avon Valley are of course extensively used by walkers and recreational cyclists and it is important that the environment should not be spoiled for them.

Structure Plan Policy CO3 in fact makes no distinction between what can and what cannot be seen from public viewpoints. This is understandable: we can have no idea what land in the Avon Valley will be open to the public in even twenty years' time, let alone for the infinite period for which the AONB is intended. If the protection is to be meaningful, the natural beauty of the whole of the designated area has to be preserved.

While wishing to support agriculture in the AONB, we do not believe that provision has necessarily to be made for any farm to have as many large new buildings as it wants. If the AONB designation is to mean anything it must inevitably bring with it some constraints, and those constraints have been fully understood by people living in the area since the AONB was created in 1960.

Recent experience has only too clearly shown that when one building is allowed in a new greenfield location, others follow. We see no assurance in the application that it will not happen in this case, as it has so disastrously happened in the new 'farmstead' elsewhere on Hendham View Farm . That series of developments has attained the size of Churchstow Industrial Estate, but will never be as well concealed. It represents a serious blemish on the AONB that must not be repeated.

The arguments for the need for the building contained in the design and access statement appear very broad brush - surely detailed numbers, and the precise requirements of any regulations cited, are required if the case for such an intrusion into the AONB is to be made. We have written to Luscombe Maye, the agents to request this information and the email sent is appended below.

Large parts of Hendham View Farm are outside the AONB, and there is no explanation of why the building has to be within it. And there is no claim for the community benefit which is required under CO3.

As new buildings elsewhere on the farm show, the proposed finish of concrete block walls, Yorkshire boarding and fibre cement roof would give an industrial rather than agricultural appearance. No attempt has been made to follow the guidance given in DCC's design guide "New Farm Buildings in Devon".

There must be concerns over slurry disposal so close to a stream which flows directly into the River Avon. We note that the environment Agency has written to the case officer about contamination of the water course and this must be of particular concern as the Agency has recently embarked on a programme to improve the water quality of the Avon. We have drawn the attention of the Aune Conservation Association to this concern.

The proposal appears to conflict with many policies in the National Planning Policy Framework
(NPPF), Devon County Structure Plan (DCSP) and the council's LDF:

a. the site is undeveloped land in open countryside in a designated AONB: NPPF
Chapter 11 (notably para 115); DCSP ST1(2), CO1 and CO3; LDF CS9, DP2.

b. the site is not well related to an existing farmstead - LDF DP15.

c. insufficient evidence has been produced that the new barn is essential to the farm, as
opposed to desirable - LDF DP15.

d. there is no evidence of benefit to the community, as opposed to the applicant alone
- NPPF Chapter 11 (notably para 116); DCSP CO3.

e. the building would not reflect good design - NPPF Chapter 7; LDF Policy DP1.

If the council does approve the application, the Society asks that a thorough study of the finish, colours and landscaping of the barn be carried out beforehand, and that the measures arrived at be fully explained in the officer report.

Yours faithfully,

John Chalmers
Chairman

Text of email sent to Luscombe Maye on 10/8/12:

Because of its impact on the AONB, a high level of need for the development proposed in this application would obviously have to be shown to the public and the council.  I feel that the design and access statement, as currently written, is too imprecise to show how strong the need actually is, and I am writing to ask that more exact information be provided as early in the consultation process as possible.

Instructions, third paragraph - what are the animal welfare rules  referred to, and how would the proposed building help with compliance?

Background, second paragraph - what are/were the measurements of the  existing building?

Background, third paragraph - you say that Hendham View Farm is now an approved beef finishing unit.  By whom is it approved, and how does it follow that bull calves cannot be sold off the farm prior to  finishing?

Background, seventh paragraph - you speak of a vast number of  bulls.  How many would that be, and how does that number translate into a quantity that might need isolation and thence into a building  of the size proposed?

A large part of the farm lies outside the AONB.  Nowhere can I see an explanation of why the building has to be in the designated area.

Could I also ask about two points in the application form?

Paragraph 5 has not been completed.   Was pre-application advice  sought from the district council?

Paragraph 11 - you have written N/A against foul sewage, and I can see no reference to slurry in the design and access statement. How  will slurry be disposed of?

I believe it would be most helpful if a supplementary submission giving answers to these questions could be placed on SHDC's website as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,

John Graham



Kingsbridge - Kingsbridge Community College, Balkwill Road - New floodlights to sports pitch (SHDC application 28/0910/12/F)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 12/7/12:

While understanding the desire to increase usage of the sports pitches the South Hams Society is concerned about the increase in light pollution inevitably accompanying their floodlighting. The National Planning Policy Framework as well as the District Council's LDF require that lighting spillage should be minimised. There is little evidence in this application that this has been addressed, in particular there is no quantitive assessment of spillage and the hours of use are not specified.  The Society wishes to support the holding objection expressed by the AONB Unit until these issues are clarified. 

John Chalmers
South Hams Society

and again on 15/7/12:

Further to my earlier letter I see that the lights are to be operated from 09.00 to 21.00 in week days and 09.00 to 18.00 at weekends and bank holidays. The requirement for operation so early in the day is surprising and the application should clarify this.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society


Chivelstone - Field at SX 7838 8760, South Allington - Construction of new barn for storage of grain and farm machinery (SHDC application 10/1383/12/F)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here.

 The Society wrote to SHDC as follows on 12/7/12:

(The correct grid reference is SX789387, and as of 6 July the notice of the planning application was placed one gate too far to the west.)

The Society objects to the application, principally on the grounds of damage to landscape in the South Devon AONB.

The view as one drives or walks down the lane eastwards from Chivelstone Cross is particularly attractive, not least because of the backdrop provided by the Start/Down Farm/Hollowcombe ridge. The barn would spoil that view. It would also be seen when looking westward from that ridge.

The nearby cottages called Lower New Houses do not spoil the view - they are much smaller, aligned along the road, built in the vernacular, and suited to the agricultural environment. In contrast, the barn proposed would present a face 15m x 7m from the east or west, 36m x 7m from the north, in mid to dark grey steel cladding, with a fibre cement roof. It would appear industrial rather than agricultural. No attempt has been made to follow the guidance given in DCC's design guide "New Farm Buildings in Devon".

The development would involve the creation of a large turning area for HGVs. The plans show that some 100m of stone field boundary wall would be destroyed. This is probably an understatement as large splays would also be required in order to get a 44-ton lorry off the lane.

Apart from the general visual damage in the AONB, there would be a loss of amenity for the people living in Upper and Lower New Houses, for whom the view from their homes and gardens is clearly a significant asset.

While wishing to support agriculture in the AONB, we do not believe that provision has necessarily to be made for any farm that wants them to have large new buildings and access for very large lorries. If the AONB designation is to mean anything it must inevitably bring with it some constraints, and those constraints have been fully understood by people living in the area since the AONB was created in 1960.

The application documentation does not make clear exactly what other buildings the farm has, or why the proposed building cannot be sited with them. We understand that council officers actually indicated a preference for the site now proposed over one in the hamlet of South Allington which would have been very much better concealed and would have made it unnecessary to spoil open countryside.

Recent experience has only too clearly shown that when one building is allowed in a new greenfield location, others follow. This site has ample space for that to happen, and we see no assurance in the application that it will not.

The proposal appears to conflict with many policies in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Devon County Structure Plan (DCSP) and the council's LDF:

a. the site is undeveloped land in open countryside in a designated AONB: NPPF Chapter 11 (notably para 115); DCSP ST1(2), CO1 and CO3; LDF CS9, DP2.

b. the site is not well related to an existing farmstead - LDF DP15.

c. insufficient evidence has been produced that the new barn is essential to the farm, as opposed to desirable - LDF DP15.

d. there is no evidence of benefit to the community, as opposed to the applicant alone - NPPF Chapter 11 (notably para 116); DCSP CO3.

e. upwards of 100m of historic field wall would be destroyed - NPPF Chapter 12; DCSP CO7; LDF CS7, DP6.

f. the use of 44-ton lorries on unsuitable lanes is implicit in the proposal - DCSP TR1 (6).

g. the building would not reflect good design - NPPF Chapter 7; LDF Policy DP1.

h. the proposal would impact on the residential amenity of the occupants of Lower New Houses - LDF policy DP3.

If the council does approve the application, the Society asks that a thorough study of the finish, colours and landscaping of the barn be carried out beforehand, and that the measures arrived at be explained in the officer report.

John Graham
Secretary



Malborough - East Soar Farm - Retrospective change of use of land and barns for camping purposes and use of barn as walkers hut (SHDC application 33/1298/12/F)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here.

 The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 5/7/12:

The South Hams Society are pleased to support this application.   They provide a service which supports the work of the National Trust and is an asset in an AONB.   Many visitors, walkers, bird watchers and photographers are grateful for the hospitality shown at East Soar Farm.
 
Charles Rowse
South Hams Society

 


Harberton - Field at SX767 568, Foales Leigh Farm, Harberton TQ9 7SS - Erection of one 50kW (36.4m to hub, 46m to tip) wind turbine, associated access works and equipment cabin. (SHDC application 23/1142/12/F)

Status: refused.   Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 5/7/12:

The South Hams Society objects to this application for a 50 kW Turbine for the following reasons many of which are documented in the the over 50 letters of representation the District Council has received.

It is a commercial installation which is not for the benefit of local farms or industry. The design and access statement indicates that  all the electricity it produces will be exported to the national grid.

The turbine will damage the visual amenity not only of the residents of Harbertonford and Harberton and their immediate rural surroundings, but also of the views south from Dartmoor. The series of views provided by the applicant do not reflect the impact the turbine will have on the landscape. In para. 109 and later the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires that valued rural landscapes should be protected.

The turbine noise will have an adverse impact on a number of dwellings near Rolster Bridge which are within a few hundred meters of the installation. The NPPF in para. 123 requires that areas of tranquility should be protected.

The installation will seriously affect the flyways and foraging grounds of several species of bats including the heavily protected Horseshoe Bat as shown in the maps of the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre. There is good scientific evidence that bats suffer badly from turbines in their vicinity. The NPPF in para. 118 requires that biodiversity should be conserved and enhanced.

    The turbine installation would damage the environment of four listed buildings in its near vicinity. The NPPF requires in Section 12, para.128 that the setting of the historic environment should be protected.

Despite the often quoted principle that planning decisions are made on individual merit and there is no element of precedent, there is a strong need for consistency. Approval of one turbine of this size will lead to others scattered throughout the plateaux and coast of the South Hams

For every quotation provided by the applicant from the NPPF about the desirability of development in rural areas a rejoinder can be quoted from Section 11, Conservation and enhancing the natural environment,  about protecting valued landscapes and tranquility  and minimising impacts on biodiversity and Section 12, Conserving and enhancing the historic environment

All these factors have an important effect on the tourist industry which makes the most important contribution to the economics of the South Hams. Growing numbers of turbines will erode the landscapes and wildlife which make the rural areas of the District so attractive to tourists and the consequences will damage all our lives and far offset the small contribution turbines make to our energy budget.

For these reasons the Society urges the District Council to refuse this application.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society


Modbury -  Higher Farm, Little Modbury PL21 0TH - Proposed siting of 50kw x 24.6m high (hub) wind turbine and widening of existing access (SHDC application 35/0919/12/F)

Status: refused.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 28/6/12:

The South Hams Society supports the case made by the AONB Manager objecting to this application to site a large wind turbine in a very sensitive area of the South Devon AONB.

The application is particularly damaging because of its large size which makes it an installation for commercial purposes entirely unsuitable for the location.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society

Frogmore & Sherford - Homefield House, Sherford, Kingsbridge TQ7 2AT - Householder application, part retrospective for erection of single storey side extension incorporating garage and boat store and alterations to fences/walls to north and west boundaries and proposed first floor balcony on south elevation (SHDC application 43/0937/12/F)

Status: split decision.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 28/6/12:


The South Hams Society considers that this application is inadequately described. The history of development on this site shows that  an accurate description it is necessary to ensure that the works can be adequately considered for approval and monitored for compliance.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society


Salcombe - Cob Cottage, 14 Buckley Street, Salcombe TQ8 8DD Householder application for alteration and extension to existing dwelling (SHDC application 41/1026/12/F)

 Status: refused.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 28/6/12:

 While this application has little effect on its immediate neighbours it does provide the applicant with effectively two dwellings which with minimal internal alterations could be let independently. This is not acknowledged in the application but must be a material consideration for planning approval especially in a crowded conservation area.


John Chalmers
South Hams Society

East Portlemouth - Wayfield Nurseries, East Portlemouth  TQ8 8PN - Construction of roundhouse and siting of five yurts to be used in association with nature holiday enterprise. Provision of additional facilities for educational, recreational and business activities together with associated carparking landscaping works. (SHDC application 20/0785/12/F)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 21/5/12:

 
The South Hams Society supports this proposal for the reasons below.

There is a great and increasing need in our urbanised society for young people to have opportunities to learn and practise rural crafts and study natural history. The High Nature Centre is to provide such opportunities.

It is particularly important to successful operation that these opportunities should be provided in a form and style which young people find attractive. Again the form of the Centre provides an environment appreciated by the young for its ambience and low cost.

It seems altogether appropriate that natural history studies should be based in the South Hams with its diverse and rich natural environment and its strong community of natural scientists, natural history institutions such as the Slapton Field Centre and natural history societies.

It also seems entirely appropriate that rural crafts should be taught and practised in the South Devon AONB where the landscape has been formed by earlier generations of farmers and land owners using these crafts as an alternative to more recent industrialised farming methods which have made inroads into the traditional landscape.

Although there must be an increase in traffic the transport plan and the ethos of the staff and visitors carried out will reduce its volume compared with other activities in this area such as the Gara Rock development. The  applicants who will be running the Centre will need to be aware of potential noise problems and it may be appropriate to control this by suitable conditions on the approval.

Policy CS 13 in the adopted South Hams Core Strategy supports rural development where it is compatible with its location and causes no harm to to the surrounding landscape. This development is sustainable and the Kingsbridge Information Centre provides evidence of the demand for the facilities it provides. It diversifies the rural economy and with careful landscaping - again controlled by conditions on the approval - can respect the character of the setting.

The Society urges the District Council to increase the opportunities to use the rural landscape creatively by approving this application.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe  TQ8 8DZ

 

Stokenham - Golden Meadow. Widewell - resubmission of householder application 53/3245/11/F for alteration and extension to dwelling (SHDC application 53/0651/12/F)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 29/3/12:

The drawings submitted in the Design and Access Statement with this application show a substantial increase in the area of the house and equally substantial changes in the elevations with large areas of glazing. The drawings supplied are too small in scale to read easily and when magnified the text on them is illegible.

This application is within the AONB and in a prominent position with the rear elevation facing north over undeveloped countryside towards Slapton Ley. The increase in this elevation and the large area of glazing suggests that light pollution could be significant.

Because of the inadequate drawings it is not possible to examine this application with the attention it deserves.

The Society urges the District Council to ask the AONB Unit for their comments and to require the Agent to produce adequate documentation at an appropriate scale.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society

Stokenham -  Pool Farm, Frogmore, Kingsbridge TQ7 2NU - construction of new slipway and associated works (SHDC application 43/0461/12/F)

Status: withdrawn.  Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 21/3/12:

The South Hams Society supports this application as a necessary development for the Frogmore Boatyard, a local business.
 
Charles Rowse

Loddiswell - Land at SX711 467, Higher Hatch Farm, Loddiswell - erection of three agricultural buildings and associated landscaping works (SHDC applications 32/0291. 0292 & 0293/12/F)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here

The Society wrote as follows to SHDC on 30/3/12:

The South Hams Society has considered these applications carefully, has visited the site, and has looked at it from many different points in the lower Avon valley. It objects to the applications on the grounds of the very great harm that would be caused to the landscape of the South Devon AONB, in contravention of adopted policies.

County Structure Policy CO3 reads: In designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the conservation and enhancement of their natural beauty will be given priority over other considerations. Within these areas, development will only be provided for where it would support their conservation or enhancement or would foster their social and economic well-being provided that such development is compatible with their conservation. Particular care will also be taken to ensure that any development proposed adjacent to such areas does not damage their natural beauty.

These developments would not support the conservation or enhancement of the AONB. Although the case is not made in the documents accompanying the applications, they might foster its economic well-being, but not in a way that is compatible with the conservation of the AONB. In considering the need for the new buildings it should also be borne in mind that, according to the Design and Access Statement, two modern agricultural buildings in the farmstead were given up for residential development.

It is accepted that the Landscape Visual Impact Assessment submitted with the applications is not attributed to any qualified person, is not intended to be to a professional standard and is merely an initial attempt by the agent to examine the landscape implications of the developments. However it does acknowledge that the buildings would lie in an elevated position above the Avon valley and that they would be visible from a number of vantage points. But it then goes on to say "However these are distant views." Long views of unspoiled landscape are the essential benefit for which AONBs are protected. The well-known view to the west from the B3196 in the area of Rakelane Cross (SX724471) extends for a full two miles.

The site is highly visible not only from Rakelane Cross but also from many points on the public road which runs along the valley north of the Avon, and from the various lanes and paths down from the high ground on the Loddiswell feature:

Hoppy Green Lane 703481 to 705475

Green lane Weeke (708478) to Knap Mill (708473)

Public road Loddiswell Village Cross (717484) to Knap Mill (708473)

Green lane Greenland Head Cross (713478) to Hatch Bridge (714473)

Public footpath Loddiswell (717482) to Hatch Bridge (714473)

The building which is on the site now demonstrates only too clearly the prominence of any large building in that place. The new buildings would be sited further up the slope to the south; they would inevitably be even more prominent.

It appears that, because of the steepness of the slope, very considerable earthmoving would have to be done to create level bases. For this reason, and also because so many of the viewpoints look down into the site, or at least into the hillside, we do not think any landscaping scheme could successfully mitigate the damage, even if it were fully implemented and carried through over a long period. It is essential that, before the applications are considered, a visual impact assessment to professional standards be obtained.

County Structure Policy CO1 opposes proposals which are not sympathetic to Devon's landscape character and quality. SHDC LDF Core Strategy Policy CS9 echoes CO3 and development policy DP2 opposes unsympathetic intrusion into the wider landscape.

We have concerns about the way in which these applications and the one leading up to it have been handled. Permission to convert the farm's existing barns to residential use was sought and granted under application 0215/11. It was obvious that this was going to lead to a request for new farm buildings in a very sensitive place within the AONB. In responding to application 0215/11 the AONB Unit quite properly asked where the applicant hoped to put these new buildings. This question was not answered but from the Design and Access Statements for the current applications we learn that the applicant believes that the planning officer indicated that the positions now proposed would be acceptable. Unfortunately, the council kept no record of that discussion.

Under the planning protocol the AONB Unit clearly should have been involved in the current applications from the outset, but was not.

It appears that the council will now have difficulty in refusing inappropriate development which could have been avoided if there had been better consultation and guidance. The Society again asks SHDC to observe the AONB planning protocol, to insist on professional landscape assessment and to ensure that planning officers keep records of pre-application discussions.

John Graham
Secretary


Stokenham - Field at SX783424, south east of Mill Farm, Frogmore - retrospective application for mobile field shelter, hardstanding and new hedging (SHDC application 53/0038/12/F)

Status: refusal.  Details here

The Society wrote as follows to SHDC on 31/1/12:

The South Hams Society has considered this application carefully and has visited the site. It objects to the field shelter and to the hardstanding on the grounds of the harm that would be caused to the landscape of the South Devon AONB, in contravention of adopted policies.

It is not clear from the application whether approval has already been given to change of use of the field from agricultural to equestrian. If not it presumably must be sought, and the Society would object to that on the same grounds.

County Structure Policy CO3 reads: In designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the conservation and enhancement of their natural beauty will be given priority over other considerations. Within these areas, development will only be provided for where it would support their conservation or enhancement or would foster their social and economic well-being provided that such development is compatible with their conservation. Particular care will also be taken to ensure that any development proposed adjacent to such areas does not damage their natural beauty.

This development would not support the conservation or enhancement of the AONB. Nor would it foster its social or economic well-being. No such claim is even made.

Having read the design and access statement, we suspect that the policies which oppose this sort of development may not have been explained to the applicant. The problem is much less to do with the close views of the site (from the lane for instance) than with the long views of the landscape into and within the AONB. From the houses in the west end of Chillington and at Oddicombe, from gateways in the lane running south from Sherford Cross and from various points on the A379 the land at and adjoining the application site clearly looks unnatural, at odds with the rural landscape, and unattractive. The attached photograph, which shows both the application site and the adjoining one, and was taken from the A379, shows this. This is not a problem that could possibly be overcome with landscaping conditions.

Furthermore, CO3 makes no distinction between what can and what cannot be seen from public viewpoints. This is understandable: we can have no idea what land north of the A379 will be open to the public in even twenty years' time, let alone for the infinite period for which the AONB is intended. If the protection is to be meaningful it has to apply to the totality.

It is not the applicant's fault that, here and at other places south of Chillington, so much of the landscape has already been damaged by change to equestrian use that each new instance attracts particular attention. That, however, is no reason for allowing such change to continue.

Adopted LDF Core Strategy Policy CS9 echoes CO3. Other policies which appear to apply are County Structure Policy CO1 - the proposals are not sympathetic to Devon's landscape character and quality; and Local Plan Policy SHDC3 - the proposals do not fall into any of the categories for development permitted in the countryside.

DP2 opposes unsympathetic intrusion into the wider landscape.

DP15 and DP18 would appear to oppose the proposed change out of agriculture and the erection of the buildings. These proposals would not support the essential needs of agriculture (rather the reverse) or of the local community. They would not make use of existing buildings, be well related to an existing farmstead or group of buildings , or be complementary to any agricultural operations.

Adopted policies are overwhelmingly against this application. The Society asks the council to refuse it and to require the reinstatement of the land to agricultural use.

Yours faithfully,

John Graham
Secretary




MalboroughField at SX726398, north of A381 Malborough to Salcombe road (SHDC application 33/3087/11/F)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here

The Society wrote as follows to SHDC on 15/1/12:

We are sorry that we have once again to point out that this development, already refused under application 33/1313/11 and the subject of two applications before that, is entirely unsuitable for its location. In doing so, we make no apology for reminding the council of matters that have come up in the predecessor applications.

Policies

In refusing application 1313/11 the council gave as Reason 1 that the building, due to its prominent location, size, roof materials and associated earthworks, was considered to have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the AONB, the Coastal Preservation Area and countryside as a whole. It was therefore contrary to county structure plan policies C01, C03 and C05 and to SHDC policies CS9, DP1, DP2 and DP15.

Luscombe Maye's agricultural appraisal addresses Policies CS9, DP2 and DP15. It also harks back to the original agricultural determination under 0246/10. It quotes some of the provisions of CS9 and DP2 but provides no arguments or evidence that the proposal conforms with either. In fact, the building is there for all to see and it is very clear to any onlooker that it is in serious conflict with both policies.

The appraisal claims that DP15 "allows for development in the countryside that supports agricultural interests". The actual wording is "meets the essential needs of agriculture". Even if it is accepted that the use of the field is the growing of hay, it is clear that the hay is for equine consumption (Mr Roberts' submission of 22 June 2011) and we question whether that comes under any of the categories defined as agriculture in Section 336 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. And even if it were accepted that it does, the appraisal offers no evidence that there is an essential need for a building in that field - this is apparently only one of the fields that the applicant uses and the hay and the machinery could be stored anywhere, including an industrial estate. The argument for a need that is so essential that the AONB should be violated is very weak indeed.

If the agricultural determination of 2010 is a factor in the council's decision we ask that it give a full account of 0246/10.

County structure plan policies C01, C03 and C05 and SHDC policy DP1 are not mentioned in the appraisal. We believe that they are just as opposed to this application as they were to 1313/11.

Appearance

At the time of writing the council's website shows no submissions from the AONB Unit or the council's landscape officer in respect of the current application - no doubt they will be published before any decision is made. Their comments on the predecessor applications are however on record:

a. The AONB unit objected to 1313/11 - "The barn occupies a prominent open site where it is conspicuous from the roadside layby above and from the minor roads opposite. Because of its isolated position away from any existing farmstead or feature it appears incongruous in the wider landscape....The size of the structure and the associated earthworks make a prominent scar on the the hillside." There is also adverse comment on the new stone track which was not covered in that application or the current one.

b. The council's landscape officer objected to application 0323/11 - "The building bears no relationship to any existing farmstead, road pattern or building pattern in the area and sits intrusively on the middle to upper slopes. It draws the eye from a number of directions from the Estuary and the roads north and paths within the vicinity and is in an inappropriate and visually intrusive location".

We see nothing in the new application that makes the appearance of the building any more acceptable than the one refused under 1313/11. The plans are the same. Tree planting is mentioned but it is not clear how it would make the building more acceptable. Even if the planting were to be completely successful it would not conceal the fibre cement roof, the land form would have been changed and the site would not look like cultivated land. The actual appearance of the building from the surrounding lanes is very much worse than the photograph submitted with the application suggests.

The use of the land

In their agricultural appraisal Luscombe Maye say that the applicants purchased the land in 2009 "with the intention of establishing a hay/haylage business". Two years later, in June 2011, Mr Derek Roberts, who we understand is employed by SHDC as a consultant on agricultural operations, visited the site and spoke to the applicants in relation to application 1313/11. He reported that "The land is used for the keeping of four horses which Mr Favis and Ms Freeman own. These are two riding horses, one retired horse and one youngster which is being brought on for riding. The horses are kept only for pleasure purposes and Ms Freeman competes in showjumping." He goes on to say that hay and haylage from this and other pieces of land are cut and sold, but he makes it clear that the primary use of the land is for keeping horses. He expressed the view that the size of the building was not justified by operations that were genuinely agricultural.

In October 2011, following a site meeting at which Luscombe Maye stated that the applicants' intention was to produce hay rather than keep horses, he reported again. Writing with reference to application 1313/11, though that had long since been decided, he largely withdrew the views he had expressed only four months earlier, though he still had doubts about the size of the building. One is bound to ask how Mr Roberts, as a professional consultant, had so misunderstood the operation that he was retained by the council to assess. If the council wishes to approve the current application we believe it should first conduct its own inquiries into the nature and viability of the applicants' hay-making business. They should include an examination of the applicants' accounts and business plan.

Earlier in 2011 the council's landscape officer, reporting for application 0323/11, wrote that "it is very clear on site that this is not being used for agricultural purposes and is being used solely for horse related uses".

On 10 January this year there were still horse jumps in the field.

Conclusion

While the Society has every sympathy with the applicants, who have undoubtedly been misled on the planning laws, it strongly objects to this application. It is taking the case seriously because it is becoming very concerned about piecemeal overbuilding of the AONB. These repeated attempts to get round the rules, including a change to a different agent, risk making a mockery of the adopted planning policies.

We ask that the application be refused and that the notice issued with the decision on 1313/11 be enforced.

Yours faithfully,

John Graham
Secretary
The Church House
Woodleigh TQ7 4DG


Brixham - Hillhead Farm, Hillhead - Installation of 11kw wind turbine on 15m mast (20m tall to tip of blade) (SHDC application 10/3232/11/F)

Status:  withdrawn.  Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 5/1/12:

The documentation on the web site for this application in the AONB is inadequate.

The Visual Impact Statement was not supplied with the original application and added by request of the planning officer. It now contains photographs which were taken under  lighting conditions such that the impact of the turbine cannot be adequately judged. This should be remedied before any decision is made.

There is a lack of information about other issues on the web site as well:

the 'summary of acoustic measurements' title page appears to originate from another report of an installation in Galway, Ireland,
the report jumps to page 6 after the title page,
the acoustic report mentioned in page 6 of the document is not present,
the wind speed data is acoustic data, etc.

It is difficult to judge whether the documents supplied with the application are inadequate or if  the loading of the application documents to the website has not been done correctly.

Perhaps the Christmas spirit has intervened with the website operation.

This application should not have been registered without an adequate Visual Impact Statement and the Society believes it should be refused in its present state.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
SalcombeTQ8 8DZ

 



Salcombe - Puffins, Fortescue Road - Resubmission of householder application 41/2216/11/F for alterations and extension to dwelling (SHDC application 41/3233/11/F)

Status: conditional approval.  Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 5/1/12:

There are no drawings for this application apart from the Site Allocation Plan although they are referred to in the Design and Access Statement.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
SalcombeTQ8 8DZ



Stokenham - Golden Meadow, Widewell - Householder application for alterations and extension to dwelling (SHDC application 53/3245/11/F)

Status: withdrawn.  Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 5/1/12:

There are no adequate drawings for this application which involves substantial extensions and alterations for a house within the AONB and Undeveloped Coast. Those at the end of the Design and Access Statement are too small to be useful and do not show the changes over the existing house.

The Society believes that although these proposals are derived from an earlier application to rebuild there still is a requirement for comprehensive drawings for the current application which should not have been registered without them.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
SalcombeTQ8 8DZ



Malborough - Seaways, Malborough, Kingsbridge, TQ7 3DN - Householder application for alterations to external elements and minor alterations to internal layout (SHDC application 33/3258/11/F)

Status: withdrawn.  Details here

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 5/1/12:

This application 'seeks to change the external appearance of the property'  and to make 'alterations to the fenestration' but provides no drawings to show what is intended.

The Society believes that these are required before registration and a decision can be made.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe TQ8 8DZ



North Huish - Newpark Stables - retrospective application for the change of use of land to equestrian use and the erection of stable,quad bike and storagebuildings (SHDC application 38/2989/11/CU)

Status: decided - conditional approval.  Details here

The Society wrote as follows to SHDC on 4/1/12:

The South Hams Society has considered this application carefully and has visited the site. (The application gives a grid reference of 271404 56737.  We would place it near 271800 56200.)   It objects to the existing buildings, the proposed buildings and the change of use, on the grounds of the harm that would be caused to the landscape of the South Devon AONB, in contravention of adopted policies.

County Structure Policy CO3 reads:  In designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the conservation and enhancement of their natural beauty will be given priority over other considerations.  Within these areas, development will only be provided for where it would support their conservation or enhancement or would foster their social and economic well-being provided that such development is compatible with their conservation.  Particular care will also be taken to ensure that any development proposed adjacent to such areas does not damage their natural beauty.

These developments would not support the conservation or enhancement of the AONB.  Nor would they foster its social or economic well-being. In fact no such claim is even made.

It is implied in the last paragraph of the Design and Access Statement that the development would be relatively out of sight.   CO3 makes no distinction between what can and what cannot be seen from public viewpoints.  This is understandable: we can have no idea what land will be open to the public in even twenty years' time, let alone for the infinite period for which the AONB is intended.  If the protection is to be meaningful it has to apply to the totality and we should as far as possible avoid making exceptions, not least because they inevitably create precedents.

In fact the site is high on a forward slope and is very widely visible, particularly from Diptford and the hills behind it.  The land in this part of the AONB is very attractive and remains relatively unspoiled, with open fields and very few buildings.   The stables, railings and hard-standing already on the site are at odds with the hedges and pasture fields which fill most long views into the AONB.  This is not a problem that could be overcome with landscaping conditions.

Adopted LDF Core Strategy Policy CS9 echoes CO3.  Other policies which appear to apply are County Structure Policy CO1 - the proposals are not sympathetic to Devon's landscape character and quality; and Local Plan Policy SHDC3 - the proposals do not fall into any of the categories for development permitted in the countryside

DP2 opposes unsympathetic intrusion into the wider landscape.

DP15 and DP18 would appear to oppose the proposed change out of agriculture and the erection of the buildings.  These proposals would not support the essential needs of agriculture (rather the reverse) or of the local community. They would not make use of existing buildings, be well related to an existing farmstead or group of buildings , or be complementary to any agricultural operations.  It appears that the management scheme required by DP18 has not been submitted.

The parish council's concern that the stables might be used for commercial purposes seems very reasonable.

Adopted policies are overwhelmingly against this application.  The Society asks the council to refuse it and to require the reinstatement of the land to agricultural use.

Yours faithfully,

John Graham
Secretary
The Church House
Woodleigh TQ7 4DG



Chivelstone - Chivelstone Barton, Chivelstone, Kingsbridge, TQ7 2LY Installation of 15kw wind turbine on 20m mast with 6m blades (SHDC application 10/2824/11/F)
 
Status: decided - conditional approval.  Details here

The Society e-mailed the following representation on 7/12/11:

The South Hams Society has considered this application carefully and is familiar with the site. The Society has weighed the benefits and costs both public and private, to the farming community  and the public at large. It is very aware that over the ages it is farming that has created the South Hams landscape and that in addition to the subsidies provided, farming must continue to be a viable activity. Farming methods change and this must also be taken into account. However the Society has come to conclusion that in this case the costs to the environment outweigh the benefits.

In arriving at this conclusion the Society has determined that there are significant defects in the documents presented with the application. In particular the benefits of the turbine are grossly over estimated and the damage to the environment and the setting of the Church of St Sylvester greatly under estimated. The details of these distortions are given below.

The application claims unrealistic load factors for the turbine - 64% of the nominal capacity. In general wind turbine load factors are between 20% and 30% and in this setting with wind speeds of only 7 metres a second the likelehood is that the load factor will be in the low 20s. The benefits to the applicant and the saving of carbon emissions are therefore about one third of that claimed.

The Design and Access statement contains a rudimentary Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment carried out by the turbine contractor with 6 photomontages of the turbine at various points around it. These display considerable inconsistencies. Photomontage No. 6 from Chivelstone near the Church of St. Sylvester shows the mast as being smaller and less dominant than that from Wilton, position 4, which is 2.5 times further away, and from position 5,  Chivelstone Cross, which is 1.5 times further away. The actual effect at Chivelstone must be nearer to photomontage 1 taken beside the access lane to the barn which is only slightly nearer. The application therefore minimise the impact on St Sylvester's church. An accurate visual assessment must be a requirement for such a prominent development in the AONB.

These defects are sufficiently marked for the Society to consider that this application should be rejected on these grounds alone.

If however the application is to be considered the Society  objects on the following grounds.

1. A number of smaller 5 kWh turbines have been approved in the South Devon AONB. Because of their small size they are often hidden by mature trees. This turbine is considerably larger tall - 26 metres to the tip of the blades - and sited on a prominent plateau bare of trees above the 100 metre contour. It is in the AONB and Undeveloped Coast and can be seen from many viewpoints both at short and long distances. It could not be more visible and have a more damaging impact on the protected landscape.

The application therefore contravenes to very significant extent policies designed to protect the landscape including Devon Structure Plan Policies CO3 and CO5 protecting the AONB and coastal development and South Hams District Council Policy CS9 in the Core Strategy and Policy DP2 in the Development Policies DPD.

2. The application contravenes Policy CS 9 also by damaging the setting of St Sylvester's a Grade 2* building.

3. The turbine is sited in a sensitive area for birds as shown in the RSPB report 'Mapped and written guidance in relation to birds and onshore wind energy development in England', 2009s.

4. There is considerable local opposition - 54 letters objecting as against 16 supporting it.

There are other issues which while not strictly being material planning issues have been considered by the Society.

5. If approved, this application would set an example which would be used as an argument for many further applications which the District Council would find hard to resist. The whole of the South Hams could rapidly become covered in turbines thus effectively comprehensively damaging the whole countryside including the AONB, the Undeveloped Coast and Areas of Great Landscape Value.

5. There is no evidence that the applicant has considered other methods of generating renewable energy which have less impact on the landscape some of which are highly suitable for use on farms such as Biomass and Anaerobic Digestion.

6. There is no comment on this application by the AONB Unit despite it being of great significance to the future of the area because of the example it creates for further development.

The Society urges the District Council to reject this planning application

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe  TQ8 8DZ

 


Galmpton- Field at SX 693 399, Burton Farm, Galmpton, Kingsbridge, TQ7 3EY -  Erection of 2no. 11 kw wind turbines on free standing 18m masts (SHDC application 46/2662/11/F)

Status: appeal lodged.  Details here

The Society e-mailed the following representation on 17/11/11:

 

The South Hams Society has considered this application carefully and is familiar with the site. The Society has weighed the benefits and costs both public and private, to the farming community  and the public at large. It is very aware that over the ages it is farming that has created the South Hams landscape and farming must be a viable activity in addition to the subsidies provided. Farming methods change and this must be taken into account. However the Society has come to conclusion that in this case the costs to the environment outweigh the benefits.

The Society therefore objects to this application on the following grounds.

1. The turbines are sited on a very prominent position above the 100 metre contour in the AONB and Undeveloped Coast and can be seen from many viewpoints both at short and long distances. As they are positioned to take full advantage of the wind they could not be more visible and have a more damaging impact on the protected landscape. In addition one footpath runs over the site, another footpath and a public access route run adjacent to the site and it would be impossible to use any of these these without being aware of the considerable and damaging visual impact and the noise of the turbines.

The application therefore contravenes to very significant extent policies designed to protect the landscape including Devon Structure Plan Policies CO3 and CO5 protecting the AONB and coastal development and South Hams District Council Policy CS9 in the Core Strategy and Policy DP2 in the Development Policies DPD.

2. Despite the considerations above the application's Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment comes to the extraordinary conclusion that there is no significant landscape or visual effect even on the footpath crossing the site. The Assessment has been carried out by the turbine contractor and cannot be considered as impartial. This application needs an Environmental Impact Statement carried out as required by the Department of Communities and Local Government.

3. The load factors claimed for the turbines are very high - 44%. In general wind turbine load factors are between 20% and 30% and there is no reasoning put forward in the application to support the higher figure. The benefits to the applicant and climate change are there grossly overstated.

There are other issues which while not strictly being material planning issues have been considered by the Society.

4. If approved, this application would set an example which would be used as an argument for many further applications which the District Council would find hard to resist. The whole of the South Hams could rapidly become covered in turbines thus effectively comprehensively damaging the whole countryside including the AONB, the Undeveloped Coast and Areas of Great Landscape Value.

5. There is no evidence that the applicant has considered other methods of generating renewable energy which have less impact on the landscape some of which are highly suitable for use on farms such as Biomass and Anaerobic Digestion.


The Society urges the District Council to reject this planning application

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe  TQ8 8DZ

 


e-mail from the Society to SHDC on 8 October 2011: Planning application 33_46/1890/11/F - Land adjacent to Alston Nursery, Alston Gate, Malborough, TQ7 3BT Resubmission of planning application 46/2144/10/F for mixed tenure residential development comprising 10 open market and 7 affordable dwellings, associated landscaping, access and other works.

Case Officer: Mr Malcolm Elliott

Affordable houses in the right location are a priority of the community and Malborough is a good location with opportunities to travel to employment in Salcombe and Kingsbridge.

But this application departs from the local plan in two ways - it is outside the Malborough development boundary and does not provide the numbers of affordable housing required in the Core Strategy policy CS6.

The development proposed offers no more to the local community than if it had conformed to the local plan. Approval of the application would be dangerous precedent which could be repeated widely.

The Society suggests that the development should offer more to the community. The District Council should inform the developer that approval will only be given if the number of affordable houses is raised to the number required by Policy CS6 in the Core Strategy.


John Chalmers
South Hams Society



e-mail from the Society to SHDC on 19 September 2011: Planning application 19/2035/11/F - Erection of a general purpose agricultural building on land at SX 756482, Firs Cross, East Allington

Case Officer: Mr Chris Mitchell

This application is for an isolated agricultural building on a site within half a mile of the boundary of the AONB.

The building is not integrated into any existing buildings.

It appears that the building will be visible from points in the AONB to the south west of the site. This would be contrary to Policy C03 of the Devon Structure Plan and Policy CS9 of the District Council's Core Strategy both of which require that great care be taken that development on sites adjacent to the AONB do not damage its natural beauty.

The Society suggests that the District Council should ask for a report from the Landscape Officer and comments from the AONB Unit.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society  



e-mail from the Society to SHDC on 4 September 2011:  Planning application 08/1853/11/F - SX 7447 4791 HigherTorr, East Allington - temporary erection of 50m anemometer mast

Case Officer: Debbie Crowther

The proposed mast would be visible from many parts of the AONB, including the Avon Valley and its roads and footpaths. The mast therefore contravenes Policy CO3 of the Devon Structure Plan which requires that great care should be taken that development on sites adjacent to an AONB do not damage its natural beauty. The proposal also contravenes Policy CS 9 of the District Council's Core Strategy which states that on sites outside an AONB development will not be permitted which would damage their natural beauty and character.

The mast is also very near to a long established nesting site of peregrine falcons who hunt their prey in the air at great speed. The cables of the extensive guying system used to support the mast would be a hazard to the birds when hunting. The deflectors proposed would do little to reduce this danger to the birds.

The applicants have made it clear in public that they intend to apply for two wind turbines near to the site of the mast whose hub will be at the same height as this proposed mast. This application is clearly a preliminary to the later application for the turbines and is designed to produce evidence of their efficiency and to soften their impact.

The application for 3 wind turbines at near-bye Beeches Farm was refused by the District Council and on appeal by the applicant this decision was upheld only 2 years ago on the grounds that it had an adverse impact on the AONB. This mast on the site of the proposed turbines is less than 800 meters away from the Beeches Farm proposal and is even nearer the AONB boundary - about 100 meters away. There is no reason to suppose that the decision by the District Council or the Planning Inspectors would be different.

The proposed mast would therefore serve no purpose which would justify its adverse impact on the AONB. We therefore urge the District Council to refuse this application on the grounds that it does not comply with its own and the County's policies.

John Watling
South Hams Society
The Drey
Beadon Road
Salcombe TQ8 8JT


 


e-mail from the Society to SHDC on 5 July 2011: Planning application 33/1061/11/O: The Port Light, Bolberry, Malborough, Kingsbridge, TQ7 3DY - Outline application with all matters reserved for the redevelopment for bar/restaurant, 11 holiday apartments, swimming pool, owners dwelling, store/workshop/staff bed-sit

Case Officer: Debbie Crowther

The Society agrees that the hotel needs redevelopment but feels that the current design can be improved by making it more compact.

The principle of siting the buildings around a courtyard seems appropriate and attractive but in our view the courtyard should be reduced in size by bringing the surrounding buildings closer together. This would have several advantages:

it would make the design more coherent,

it would provide better shelter from winds in a very exposed site,

it would have less impact on the surrounding landscape.


We think that the owner's house might be better related to the main courtyard.

We support the Parish Council's conditions particularly that all necessary accommodation required should be within the the major blocks so that small later additions can be avoided.

We suggest that the car park can be be better concealed with planting.


John Chalmers
South Hams Society


Letter from the Society to SHDC on 4 July 2011: Planning application 53/1494/11/F - Field at SX 7939 4198, Marber Cross to Ridge Cross, Chillington - change of use of land for horses and provision of 3no stables, tack and feed room and haystore in enclosed yard with landscaping

Dear Sir,

The Society objects both to the proposed buildings and to the change of use, on the grounds of the harm that would be caused to the landscape of the South Devon AONB, in contravention of adopted policies.

County Structure Policy CO3 reads: In designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the conservation and enhancement of their natural beauty will be given priority over other considerations. Within these areas, development will only be provided for where it would support their conservation or enhancement or would foster their social and economic well-being provided that such development is compatible with their conservation. Particular care will also be taken to ensure that any development proposed adjacent to such areas does not damage their natural beauty.

These developments would not support the conservation or enhancement of the AONB. Nor would they foster its social or economic well-being.

Lest it be claimed that the site is out of sight, this policy makes no distinction between what can and what cannot be seen from public viewpoints. This is understandable: we can have no idea what land will be open to the public in even twenty years' time, let alone for the infinite period for which the AONB is intended. If the protection is to be meaningful it has to apply to the totality and we should as far as possible avoid making exceptions which will inevitably create precedents.

In fact the site is quite widely visible, even at this time of the year when the hedges have not been cut. It can be seen from the public footpaths to the N and NE, and it is very visible from many of the houses which look into the AONB from the high ground on the northern slopes of Chillington and even as far back as Coleridge House.

Adopted LDF Core Strategy Policy CS9 echoes CO3. Other policies which appear to apply are County Structure Policy CO1 - the proposals are not sympathetic to Devon's landscape character and quality; and Local Plan Policy SHDC3 - the proposals do not fall into any of the categories for development permitted in the countryside

DP2 opposes unsympathetic intrusion into the wider landscape. Even if the landscaping of the buildings were to be so successful as to avoid detracting from the natural beauty of the area, the riding track, the associated white tape and other accoutrements would certainly damage it, as can already be seen.

DP15 and DP18 would appear to oppose the proposed change out of agriculture and the erection of the new buildings. These proposals would not support the essential needs of agriculture (rather the reverse) or of the local community. They would not make use of existing buildings, be well related to an existing farmstead or group of buildings , or be complementary to any agricultural operations. No management scheme has been submitted.

In his e-mail of 24 June Mr Roberts expresses the opinion that the development being requested is reasonably required for the keeping of three ponies. This only raises the question of whether the site is a good place to keep three ponies. As is acknowledged in the design and access statement, the land has actually been used for horses rather than agriculture for some time. Together with the parcel adjoining it to the east, it presents a sorry picture - weed-infested, unkempt and cluttered with items unrelated to farming. It would surely be much better if it were brought back into cultivation.

In connection with another current application (43/1013/11/F) the South Devon AONB Manager and the council's landscape officer have both raised concerns about the cumulative impact on the landscape south of Chillington of fields moving from agriculture to horse related activities. The Society echoes those concerns and asks that, through the application of the many policies protecting the natural landscape, the trend be curtailed.

Yours faithfully,

John Graham
Secretary



e-mail from the Society to SHDC on 26 June 2011: Planning application 33/1313/11/F: Field to north of Marlborough to Salcombe Road - A381 Resubmission of retrospective application 33/0323/11/F for erection of general purpose agricultural building


Case Officer: Mr Dean Kinsella

We have examined the drawings and documents of this application and all the sites mentioned in it. We have also examined two earlier applications for the same building, Application for Prior Notification of Agricultural Development 0246/10 and Application for Planning Permission 0323/11, now withdrawn. 


The existing building was constructed under Permitted Development Rights for agricultural holdings of more than 5 ha determined under Application 0246/10. This application was incorrectly determined as the building and the site were being used for horse related uses not agriculture. 


We understand that a District Council enforcement officer visited the site which lead to retrospective application 0323/11. The building is within an undeveloped area of the AONB and an extremely unfavourable Landscape Impact report on this application concluded that the application be refused. 


There were also several other issues outstanding from application 0246/10.


The building as constructed has walls of timber boarding and a fibre cement roof while the application states that the walls and roof will be dark grey steel sheeting.

The Landscape Impact report on application 0323/11 states that loose boxes for horses are within the building and this contravenes condition A.2.(1) of Part 6 of the permitted development which forbids livestock to be kept in the building if it is within 400 metres of a protected building, in this case Horsecombe.


The entrance to the site is by a gateway on a layby to the A381. Frequent use of this entrance may be a highway hazard. Access to the building from this gateway is via a track of rolled stone. These access arrangements are not mentioned in the applications. 


Application 0323/11 and the resubmitted application are identical apart from the inclusion of the maps showing further land held by the applicant. There was no obvious reason for withdrawing 0323/11 except for the fact that the highly critical the Landscape Impact report would make it difficult not to refuse permission and the possibility of an enforcement order to reinstate the site. 


It is clear that the applicant saw the planning officer for this resubmission so there is a presumption that planning approve it. To facilitate this the damaging Landscape Impact report is omitted from the current application and as yet there is no report from the AONB Unit. 


However all the reasons for refusal of the earlier applications remain.


The current planning application 1313/11 repeats the incorrect assertion that the building and its site are used for agricultural purposes. Our site inspections confirm that all the other land holdings mentioned in the application are also used for horse related activities. The current application makes no effort to include the other issues mentioned above - materials of construction, the housing of livestock and access to the site and building -all material issues of planning.


The building is located within the AONB and the Undeveloped Coast area in a very prominent position free from other development. The "Devon banks" shown surrounding it do not conceal the barn when viewed from the east and north. It is visible from many parts of the estuary such as Batson creek and the northern stretches of Widegates, often on the skyline. It is visible from a number of points on the old Kingsbridge to Salcombe road including long stretches from Rowden Cross to Blanksmill and Woolston and from Ilton Cross to Horsecombe. It is also visible from the road from Higher Batson  to Horsecombe. The building  forms a prominent scar in the landscape when viewed from the elevated locations such as the cross roads above Horsecombe and Ilton Cross. The Landscape Impact report of 0323/11 confirms this view. It is notable that no comment from the AONB Unit has been obtained or apparently sought by the planning officer despite the new protocol.


This application is directly contrary to County Structure Policy CO3 on the AONB, District Council policy CS9, Landscape and Historic Environment, of the Core Strategy and to DP 15, Development in the Countryside and DP 18, Horse Related Uses and Structures, of the Development Policies DPD. 


The District Council and the public have been deceived by repeated assertions of agricultural use for the building and information on other planning matters has not been supplied. By encouraging a further application without the Landscape Impact report the District Council has given the impression that it is prepared to overlook these matters and the damage to the AONB to cover up its initial mistake in granting permitted development.


The Landscape Impact report for the earlier application 0323/11 considered the application should be refused - a conclusion also urged by the Society. There is no material difference between that and the current application and the Society strongly urges that this resubmitted retrospective application which does considerable damage to the AONB should be refused and the applicant required to reinstate the site. 

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe
TQ8 8DZ

(A more general letter to SHDC, dated 16 June 2011, on protection of the AONB is at Other Documents.)


e-mail from the Society to SHDC on 21 June 2011: Planning application 43/1013/11/F: Proposed stables adjacent to sewage works, Frogmore and Sherford

 
Case Officer: Lucy Hall

The South Hams Society agrees with the points made by the AONB Unit in objecting to this application and recommends that it be refused as not conforming to DP 15, Development in the Countryside and DP18 Horse Related Uses and Structures.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road

Salcombe TQ8 8DZ



e-mail from the Society to SHDC on 2 June 2011:  Planning application 33/1061/11/O:  Outline application with all matters reserved for the redevelopment for bar/restaurant, 11 holiday apartments, swimming pool, owners dwelling, store/workshop/staff bed-sit - The Port Light, Bolberry, Malborough, Kingsbridge, TQ7 3DY

Case Officer: Mr David Kenyon
 
This is an important application seeking to extend a substantial building in a rural setting within the AONB yet at present there is no comment from the AONB Unit.

The Visual Impact Assessment is inconclusive.

Highways have indicated they wish to comment but the results are yet to be available on the website.

It has not been possible for me to obtain the Water Borehole report from the website.  Its importance is stressed by an objection from neighbouring residents.

For these reasons the Society suggests that the period of consultation should be extended beyond 27th May so that these omissions can be rectified.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe TQ8 8DZ



e-mail from the Society to SHDC on 19 May 2011:  Planning application 41/1031/11/F.   Resubmission of householder application 41/2791/10/F for alterations and extension to dwelling -  6 Bonfire Hill, Salcombe, TQ8 8EE

Case Officer: Mrs Gaille West
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The existing building contains one dwelling. However the proposal in the application is certainly for two dwellings although there is an internal staircase connecting them. There is no acknowledgement of this in the application. Would permission to split  the dwelling and additional parking be required?

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road

Salcombe  TQ8 8DZ


e-mail from the Society to SHDC on 9 May 2011:  Planning application 41/0652/11/F.   Resubmission of 41/2426/10/F for demolition of existing dwelling and erection of 3 no. three storey houses and 1 no. two storey house - Loughrigg, Coronation Road, Salcombe, TQ8 8EA

Case Officer: Mr Dean Kinsella
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I oppose this application because the three houses with three stories make this application overdevelopment and out of character with the neigbourhood. As a result of this and the clumsy massing of the blocks these houses are an unattractive termination to Coronation Road.

I also oppose this application because I note that this application includes new vehicular access points to the site which will result in a loss of resident's parking. The application does not make clear the exact extent of the loss.

Parking at the lower end of Coronation Road is already over subscribed because it has to cope with the requirements of the residents of Shadycombe Road and Croft Road in addition to Coronation Road and those persons who work in the town and manage to get permits. The loss of more spaces is therefore of serious concern to residents.

John Chalmers
9 Croft Road
Salcombe TQ8 8DZ

 


e-mail from the Society to SHDC on 9 May 2011:  Planning application 46/0922/11/F.  Redevelopment of hotel to provide new 20-bedroom hotel, 9 holiday apartments, new access and car parking facilities plus restaurant, bar, lounge and terrace - Sun Bay Hotel, Hope Cove, Kingsbridge, TQ7 3HH


Case Officer: Mr Malcolm Elliott

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The Society believes that the redevelopment of the Sunbay Hotel would be of benefit to Hope Cove. The existing building is of no merit and the proposed design is ingenious and by wrapping the building around the contours appropriate to the site.

However the proposal leaves significant problems unsolved.  The most obvious is that location of the hotel means that some staff and most visitors will have to travel by car. Of the 38 parking spaces provided 29 will be needed for the occupants of the hotel rooms and apartments. The remaining 9 will not be adequate for day to day use by the 30-40 staff proposed and the restaurant capable of providing over 80 covers. While it is probably not practical to expect on-site parking for all the cars generated by larger functions such as weddings which the new facilities in the hotel will be capable of accommodating, there must be better provision than this and arrangements for the overspill.

The application does not propose any solution to the problem of the extra load on the sewage system which appears to be near or beyond its full capacity.

The development is uncomfortably close to the dwellings on the land above. Although the design does its best to accommodate their outlooks there will be other problems such as the noise of ventilating equipment and the  smells from food preparation.

Finally there will be a considerable traffic problem in Hope Cove during the construction and no arrangements have been made to manage it.

The Society suggests that the applicant should be asked to reconsider the scale of the proposal by reducing the number of apartments so that more car parking can be accommodated on-site and the situation with respect to the neighbours above can be improved. A reduced design along the same lines as the original would provide an attractive addition to Hope Cove and of economic benefit to the area.

A condition of any approval should be that a traffic management system be devised and applied during construction.

The sewage problem will remain but it appears that the system must be upgraded in the near future anyway and this proposal may make a contribution to it.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe TQ8 8DZ



e-mail from the Society to SHDC on 9 May 2011:  Planning application 53/0836/11/F.  Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of new 5 bedroom house - Ashley, Holmleigh Road, Torcross, Kingsbridge TQ7 2TJ


Case Officer: Mr Edward Brown

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I apologise for this response being late but I would like to express the Society's support for the various letters of objection sent in by local residents.

This proposal does not accord with the requirement for replacement dwellings specified in G5.31 of your local plan review.

If this oversize house is built it will create a demand for similar increased density of development on adjoining sites which will be difficult to refuse, creating an urban density inappropriate for this location in the South Devon AONB and Coastal Preservation Area.

I would therefore urge you to take into account the point raised in the letters of representation and implement the requirements defined in the Local Plan and its Review.

Yours sincerely

AJ Watling
South Hams Society
The Drey, Beadon Road
Salcombe TQ8 8JT

 


e-mail from the Society to SHDC: Planning application 33/0765/11/F.  Five suites and staff accommodation at Soar Mill Cove Hotel, Malborough, Kingsbridge, TQ7 3DS


Case Officer: Mr Malcolm Elliott

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The first pages of the Design and Access statement appear to be missing from the webpages.

We consider that under the AONB Protocol this design should be referred to the AONB Unit.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe TQ8 8DZ 

 


The Haybarn, South Allington - appeal statement - APP/K1128/C/10/2143590

 


e-mail from the Society to SHDC Development Control, dated  4 March 2011:  Planning application 52/0008/11/F: erection of 43 houses at  Rowes Farm, Aish Road, Stoke Gabriel, Totnes, TQ9 6PX


Case Officer: Mr David Kenyon

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This site is in the South Devon AONB and Undeveloped Coast area and development must be of sufficient benefit to offset the requirements of policies CS 9 and DP2 of the Council's LDF as well as central Government PPS.

There are numerous reasons why this site does not provide sufficient benefits.

Insufficient affordable houses are provided to meet the Council's target of 50% in policy CS 6 - likely to be 35% in the absence of a grant.

The provision of 65% open market housing is unnecessary - Stoke Gabriel has 90 second homes already.

This is a green field site and therefore does not meet the Council's target in policy CS 5 that 50% of new housing should be on previously developed land.

The site is a habitat of 3 protected species - barn owls, cirl buntings and bats - and adjacent to Hoyle Copse Wildlife site and thus contravenes policy CS 10.

The development will be visible from many sites including across the Dart valley where light pollution may be experienced.

The density of the development at 20 dwellings per hectare is below the requirement 30-40/ha of policy CS 2.

The urban fabric created by the proposal is odd - 2.5 storey houses on a site outside an area of single storey housing of v low density.

There is no employment in Stoke Gabriel and the bus service to Torbay or Totnes is not adequate for work journeys. So all travel will be by car. This is contrary to policy CS 11 and the objectives of sustainable development in PPS 1 and PPS 7.

Vehicular access to site is inadequate - Aish Rd is single track at north of site.

So this application contravenes 7 Core Strategy and Development policies of the Council's LDF as well as numerous central Government PPS.

Lastly there is strong local opposition - over 130 letters of representation objecting to this application.  97% of the population of Stoke Gabriel opposed large developments such as this on the perimeter of the village in the survey for the Parish Plan 2008. There is a Community Housing Scheme proposed for 19 self build houses which would be adequate to supply the affordable houses required

The LDF process itself and new planning provisions expected emphasise importance of taking local views into account.

For all these reasons the South Hams Society urges the Council to refuse permission for this application


John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe
TQ8 8DZ

 


e-mail from the Society to SHDC Development Control, dated  28 February 2011: Retrospective application for retention of general purpose agricultural building - Field North of Malborough to Salcombe Road, A381, SX726 398, Malborough, Devon

Case Officer: Mr Dean Kinsella


This barn is located within the AONB and the Undeveloped Coast area in a very prominent position. The "Devon banks" shown surrounding it do not conceal the barn when viewed from the high roads to the east and north. The barn is particularly damaging to the AONB when viewed from the cross roads above Horsecombe and forms a prominent scar in the landscape. The planning application does not offer any explanation of the barn's purpose and it is isolated from any other agricultural buildings. Its location appears quite arbitrary. It appears to be directly contrary to policy CS9 of the Core Strategy and to DP 15 of the Development Policies DPD

It is hard to resist the conclusion that because of these factors the barn has been constructed before a planning application was made in the belief that the council will find it harder to refuse a retrospective permission.

The Society believes that permission should be refused and the site reinstated.

If the applicant provides an adequate explanation of the need for a barn and its location a condition should be attached to the permission requiring extensive landscaping including the planting of a substantial area of native trees around the barn that in due course will conceal it from view.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe
TQ8 8DZ


 e-mail from the Society to SHDC Development Control, dated  18 February 2011: Planning applications 2782 and 2783/10 - Borough Farm, East Prawle

Thank you for sending the revised landscaping plan and design and access statement for these applications. (The latter still quotes the wrong grid reference)

The building that has now been erected under permission 10/2208/10 is of a very bulky and industrial appearance that is out of place in this completely rural site, and two more similar buildings can only make the blight worse.

It is acknowledged that a number of similar buildings have already been allowed in the general area, mostly without the benefit of any landscaping.

It is also acknowledged that if the proposed buildings are coloured dark green (as opposed to black), if the roadside hedge is allowed to grow up, and if the council can ensure that the planting scheme is adhered to until the broadleaved trees are above them (perhaps twenty years?) this site will look like a wood. But the landscape in this part of the AONB is coastal plateau, characterised by open fields with tight hedges but almost no woods.

So in terms of policy CO3 it cannot be argued that the proposals would enhance or conserve the natural beauty of the AONB - they would inevitably degrade it. Nor does the revised design and access statement make any clearer how they would foster the social or economic well-being of the AONB. The Society's objection stands.

John Graham

Secretary



Site Address: Dormers, Ilbert Road, Thurlestone, Kingsbridge, TQ7 3NY: Objection to SHDC planning application 55/2921/10/F, submitted 3/2/11:


Case Officer: Mr Dean Kinsella

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This application is within the AONB and adjacent to the Undeveloped Coast and South West Coastal Path. The increased bulk of the proposed house will be seen from many view points around the area. This contravenes Policy DP2 Landscape Character of the Development Policies DPD.

The development also lies within Policy Area 2 of Thurlestone where development which would alter the character of the area is not permitted. DP1, High Quality Design, of the Development Policies DPD also requires development to respect local character.

On these grounds the South Hams Society objects to this application and suggests that planning permission should be refused. The AONB Unit should be asked to comment on this application.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe

TQ8 8DZ

 


Letter from the Society to SHDC Development Control, dated  18 January 2011 and copied to South Devon AONB Manager:  Planning applications 2782 and 2783/10 - Borough Farm, East Prawle

The South Hams Society objects to these applications on the grounds that the development would damage the AONB. (It is incidentally at grid reference SX78143796, not SX78372890 as stated.)

Nowhere in any of the papers relating to the building for which permission 2208/10 was granted only two months ago can we see any indication of an intention to apply for further development. In his submission on the current applications Mr Roberts says that if they are approved all of the buildings on the site would house only about half of the applicant's cattle. The site is right on a substantial public road but is a long way from any residential property, so both security and animal welfare might well be advanced as reasons for needing a house. So there appear to be good reasons to believe that in the future there may be more applications which would turn the site into an even bigger development than is now being applied for.

Even at this stage the development proposed is a very large and prominent one for an AONB, and we think it should be rigorously tested against the provisions of county structure policy CO3. The applications make no mention, for instance, of any benefit to the social and economic well-being of the designated area.

Because of the weather we have not been able to check visibility but the site is high and from the map we would expect it to be prominent from several viewpoints, including a number on the footpaths and bridleways close to the coast. It appears that no landscape assessment was carried out for application 2208/10.

If the council has any thought of approving these applications, we believe that it should first ascertain the applicant's full intentions for the site. It should then seek professional input from the South Devon AONB Unit or use its own staff (if qualified) to produce and publish a landscape assessment following the Guidelines on Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, 2002 (see Natural England's letter of 24 November 2010 to Mr Munday of SHDC. A copy is attached). There should also be a careful study of what colour and finish on the buildings might best help their concealment.

 

Letter of 24 November 2010 from Natural England to SHDC

 


D Incoll
CEO
South Hams District Council

Dear Sir

Planning Applications 61/1630/10 - 1637/10

I am writing with concern for the way the AONB requirements as set out in your Development Control Core Policies DC19 and DC20 are seemingly repeatedly ignored in resolving planning applications.

We have asked for a long time now for the AONB team to be actively included in the statutory authorities (as the Highway authority, etc.) when reviewing planning applications within the AONB. At least such applications in or adjacent to the AONB should be considered by the full Development Control Committee, not just only by a planning officer.

An effective management system will include procedures to implement requirements defined in the DC Core Policies such as those outlined above. The applications above highlight the short comings in your procedures.

In 2007 the new owner of this farm applied for planning permission for a large (893 sq M) agricultural building in quite a prominent green field just inside the AONB. The building was approved under delegated powers.

In the summer of 2008 applications for initially two, later three, more buildings with a total floor space of 1384 sq M on the same site prompted a visit by the Council's Landscape Officer. The first building had by then been erected. His report made it clear that he was horrified at its impact on a sensitive area and was inclined to recommend refusal of any further buildings. The three buildings were approved, again under delegated powers.

In the autumn of 2009 applications for a further two buildings (987 sq M) were submitted with almost no reference to the landscape or AONB. These were again approved under delegated powers despite several letters of objection that they should go to the full Development Control Committee. This took the total floor area to 3266 sq M. So now the blot on the AONB landscape is pretty gross. It is particularly visible across the Avon valley from say Blackdown Rings.

Applications for a further seven buildings (2494 sqM) have now been submitted. If approved they will take the floor area of this "farmstead" to 5760 sq M all in the AONB and the Development Control Committee seemingly never involved.

I would be grateful to have a positive response from you regarding a change in your procedures to actively be seen to be implementing your own defined requirements as set out in your LDF Core Policies.

Yours faithfully

A J Watling
South Hams Society
The Drey
Beadon Road
Salcombe
TQ8 8JT

 


e-mail of 11/06/10 to Development Control, SHDC:

Planning application 32/0822/10/F Retention of building at Riverside Farm, Loddiswell

The society has on several occasions complained about the continuing damage to the visual environment and the risk to river water quality caused by activity at Riverside Farm. It asks that this application be refused.

The site is in a very prominent place within the South Devon AONB and the proposal would clearly not comply with the adopted policies for the protection of the landscape. Furthermore, the application does not appear to be supported by any independent commercial, technical or environmental appraisal of the project for which the building is now said to be needed.

The enforcement notice requiring demolition of the building was upheld at appeal some two and a half years ago. The society hopes that it will be pursued without further delay.

John Graham
Secretary, The South Hams Society,
The Church House,
Woodleigh,
Kingsbridge
TQ7 4DG

 


Site Address: Broadley Farm, Diptford, Totnes TQ9 7NJ


Case Officer: Mr George Allpress

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The Society acknowledges the limited contribution that wind turbines can make to reducing carbon emissions although it considers that the case for them is often overstated. They can be considerable intrusions in the landscape and proposals for them within the AONB in general should be unacceptable. This proposal fails on several grounds.

This proposed wind turbine is in a sensitive part of the AONB running up the River Avon. We accept that some views of the turbine from the river are restricted due to the topography and screening by the woods in the valley. But other views especially from locations to the north- east will show the turbine clearly. The photomontages seek to minimise these and are not an adequate representation of the issue.

Depending upon what source is used wind speeds are below or near the minimum for efficient performance and this makes the case less attractive.

Despite the often repeated mantra that there is "no precedent in planning legislation and each case is determined on it's own merits" there is a powerful need for consistency in determining applications. In this case approval of the application would be likely to generate further applications for turbines in the AONB which would be difficult to refuse. The result would be a significant loss of the landscape attraction which brings so many visitors to the South Hams forming a mainstay of the economy.

SHDC needs a general policy to issue public guidance and cover their approach to planning decisions on domestic wind turbines particularly where they are proposed to be sited within the AONB. This should be formulated in collaboration with the AONB. The Society believe that this policy should state that in general wind turbines are not acceptable within the AONB and thus uphold Policy CS9 of the adopted LDF Core Strategy.

John Chalmers
Chairman
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe TQ8 8DZ



John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe TQ8 8DZSite Address:

Land adjacent to Charnwood,
Malborough,
Kingsbridge,
TQ7 3RR


Case Officer: Mr Malcolm Elliott

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The South Hams Society supports this application which provides affordable housing without the burden of unnecessary open market housing to subsidise it, albeit at the cost of commuting to centres of employment.

However there are some concerns about traffic and the lack of pedestrian access to the site. These might be addressed by local widening of the road (including the stretch alongside the allotments) and a crossing to provide pedestrian access to and from the town through the churchyard. The housing layout appears to be able to accommodate this.

The Society suggests that the application be approved subject to conditions in these areas.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe TQ8 8DZ

 


Site Address:
Land adjacent to Charnwood,
Malborough,
Kingsbridge,
TQ7 3RR


Case Officer: Mr Malcolm Elliott

Type your comments here, please include your name and postal address...

The South Hams Society supports this application which provides affordable housing without the burden of unnecessary open market housing to subsidise it, albeit at the cost of commuting to centres of employment.

However there are some concerns about traffic and the lack of pedestrian access to the site. These might be addressed by local widening of the road (including the stretch alongside the allotments) and a crossing to provide pedestrian access to and from the town through the churchyard. The housing layout appears to be able to accommodate this.

The Society suggests that the application be approved subject to conditions in these areas.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe TQ8 8DZ

 


Site Address:

Land adjacent to Charnwood,
Malborough,
Kingsbridge,
TQ7 3RR


Case Officer: Mr Malcolm Elliott

Type your comments here, please include your name and postal address...

The South Hams Society supports this application which provides affordable housing without the burden of unnecessary open market housing to subsidise it, albeit at the cost of commuting to centres of employment.

However there are some concerns about traffic and the lack of pedestrian access to the site. These might be addressed by local widening of the road (including the stretch alongside the allotments) and a crossing to provide pedestrian access to and from the town through the churchyard. The housing layout appears to be able to accommodate this.

The Society suggests that the application be approved subject to conditions in these areas.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road

Salcombe TQ8 8DZ

 


From: John Peters

To: development.control@southhams.gov.uk
Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2009 6:13 PM
Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 43/1946/09/F

Site Address: St Martins Church, Sherford Down Road to Sherford Cross, Sherford, Devon,

Case Officer: David Kenyon

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As a member of the South Hams Society Committee and a community representative on the AONB Committee, I wish to point out that the letter by Mr.Chalmers was sent on the understanding that the proposal lies within the AONB boundary which is clearly not the case and I did not see the letter before it was sent.

Bearing in mind the importance of continuing use of our rural churches and the burden of repair that falls on a small part of the community viz the congregation, I would point out that every consideration should be given to maintaining easy use if such buildings are not to fall into disuse. I am sure that English Heritage would not wish to have the additional burden of deciding on the outcome of redundant churches such as this might become. If we are to maintain our landscape and these important buildings in it, more consideration needs to be given to how rural churches may be used. This involves greater ease of access to bring in outside funds. This car park is being supplied free of charge to the local community. The blending of the car park at Modbury Church is a good example. Concerts and other community use is now easier to organise. I do hope that such community values will be considered.

John C Peters
Higher Stadbury
Aveton Gifford
Kingsbridge,
Devon.

TQ7 4PD.


From: John Chalmers john@croftroad.eclipse.co.uk
Date: 12 December 2009 13:37:06 GMT
To: development.control@southhams.gov.uk
Cc: John Peters higherstadbury@googlemail.com
Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 43/1946/09/F

Site Address: St Martins Church, Sherford Down Road to Sherford Cross, Sherford, Devon,

Case Officer: David Kenyon

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And now I must make a second correction to my previous letters on this application. It has been pointed out to me that the site is not within the AONB. However the Site Map shows that it is within the Area of Great Landscape Value, the car park must damage the rural setting of the village and a judgement must be made as to whether the benefits exceed the damage.

I would be glad to have some guidance on the current status of Areas of Great Landscape Value.

My apologies to the applicant.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe TQ8 8DZ


From: John Chalmers john@croftroad.eclipse.co.uk
Date: 8 December 2009 11:54:52 GMT
To: development.control@southhams.gov.uk
Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 43/1946/09/F

Site Address: St Martins Church, Sherford Down Road to Sherford Cross, Sherford, Devon,


Case Officer: David Kenyon

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I must correct my letter of 2nd December was wrong in saying that no consideration had been given to use of the alternatives. The Design and Access Statement makes it clear that use of the village hall car park has been considered.

However I must maintain the Society's opposition to this application. Development in the AONB outside Development Boundaries should only be permitted when there are overriding social benefits. The village hall car park is just across the road from the church's rear entrance so the distance from it to the church is no more than would be covered by those parking in the proposed car park. The Design and Access Statement implies that it is normal usage to drop off those who cannot manage the steps to the rear entrance, at the front of the church.

The congregation is estimated at between 10 and 30 with as many cars as people. In these carbon-conscious times this seems excessive and the congregation must share cars at present.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road

Salcombe TQ8 8DZ

 



Site Address: Old Cotmore Farm, Cotmore, Chillington, Kingsbridge, TQ7 2LR

Case Officer: David Kenyon

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In addition to the reasons for refusal of this application put forward by John Watling the Society would like to add that it would result in the loss of a traditional tourism facility that has the great advantage of having no adverse impact on the AONB during the winter months when the site is most visible.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe TQ8 8DZ

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A6076CH Comment on application 53/1976/09/F

Site Address: Old Cotmore Farm, Cotmore, Chillington, Kingsbridge, TQ7

2LR Case Officer: David Kenyon

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This site is within the South Devon AONB and the conversion of a caravan and camping site for limited seasonal use into a development of permanent two storey holiday lodges contravenes the requirements of Policy C4 of the Devon Structure Plan which states that that "development will only be permitted where it would support the conservation or enhancement of the area" and Policy CS9 of the Adopted LDF Core Strategy which states that "conservation and enhancement will be given great weight" within the AONB.

The development is outside development boundaries and therefore is not consistent with Policy CS12 Tourism of the adopted LDF Core Strategy which seeks to centre tourist facilities within town centres and development boundaries.

These policies are not compatible with the development proposed which, if approved, would encourage similar proposals in the undeveloped AONB. We urge SHDC to implement its own requirements as above and refuse this application.

John Watling
South Hams Society
The Drey
Beadon Road
Salcombe

 


Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 43/1917/09/F

From: john@croftroad.eclipse.co.uk
Date: 2 December 2009 16:24:29 GMT

To: development.control@southhams.gov.ukSite Address: Site off Mill Lane, Frogmore, Devon, TQ7 2NZ

Case Officer: Jenny Draper

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The purposes of the building in this application are ill-defined. It is not an agricultural building in the normal sense as it is not attached to a farm. It appears to be an 8 horse livery stable but could be equally used for many other commercial purposes which may have undesirable effects on traffic and neigbours.

We suggest that a better case must be made for building on pasture land in the AONB outside the development boundary and this application should be refused.



Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 43/1917/09/F

From: john@croftroad.eclipse.co.uk
Date: 2 December 2009 16:24:29 GMT

To: development.control@southhams.gov.uk

Site Address: Site off Mill Lane, Frogmore, Devon, TQ7 2NZ

Case Officer: Jenny Draper

Type your comments here, please include your name and postal address...

The purposes of the building in this application are ill-defined. It is not an agricultural building in the normal sense as it is not attached to a farm. It appears to be an 8 horse livery stable but could be equally used for many other commercial purposes which may have undesirable effects on traffic and neigbours.

We suggest that a better case must be made for building on pasture land in the AONB outside the development boundary and this application should be refused.



Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 37/1944/09/F
From: john@croftroad.eclipse.co.uk
Date: 2 December 2009 17:35:04 GMT
To: development.control@southhams.gov.uk

Site Address: Land opposite 60 Noss Mayo, Pillory Hill, Devon, PL8 1ED

Case Officer: Kati Owen

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The proposed 3 storey house would dominate this section of the foreshore and obliterate the cottages behind it. It's position on a restricted plot right on the creek foreshore of Noss Mayo deserves particularly careful consideration. The application provides very little information on it's context and the effect on neigbours and is inadequate to provide a good basis for a decision.

We suggest that the applicant should be asked to resubmit the application and to include in the documentation photomontages of views from across the creek and of both sides from Pillory Hill as well as drawings showing the positions of neigbouring houses, the heights of roof ridges and eaves, car parking and access to the site. We suggest that a site inspection should be made by members of the Development Control Committee.

If planning approval is given it should be subject to conditions which will protect the natural environment of the creek during construction.



From: John Chalmers
Date: 20 July 2009 17:04:25 BST
To: development.control@southhams.gov.uk
Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 41/1099/09/F

Site Address: The Bothy, Church Street, Salcombe, TQ8 8DH

Case Officer: George Allpress

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The Society objects to the loss of employment accommodation in this application especially as the employment concerned is part of Salcombe's boat building tradition.



From: John Chalmers
Date: 28 July 2009 09:54:21 BST
To: development.control@southhams.gov.uk
Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 41/1102/09/F

Site Address: Long Park, Higher Batson, Salcombe, TQ8 8NG

Case Officer: Kate Phillips

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The Society recommends that the conditions placed on the original permission, 41/0865/04/F should also be applied to any new permission.


From: John Chalmers
Date: 3 September 2009 12:15:43 BST
To: development.control@southhams.gov.uk
Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 37/1449/09/F

Site Address: Charnwood, Stoke Road, Noss Mayo, Devon, PL8 1DY

Case Officer: Lucy Hall

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The Society objects to this application on the grounds of increased light pollution caused by the considerably increased area of glazing on the elevation facing the estuary.


From: John Chalmers
Date: 3 September 2009 12:20:52 BST
To: development.control@southhams.gov.uk
Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 53/1434/09/RM

Site Address: New Development site rear of Penn Cottage, Shindle Park, Chillington, Devon,

Case Officer: David Kenyon

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Because of the major changes from 13 terraced houses to 7 detached houses the Society considers that this should be treated as a new application not a reserved matters application.



From: John Chalmers
Date: 3 September 2009 13:47:53 BST
To: development.control@southhams.gov.uk
Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 29/1242/09/F

Site Address: The Paddock, Kingston, Kingsbridge, TQ7 4PU

Case Officer: Kate Phillips

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This application for a garage is outside the development boundary of the village and the Society believes on these grounds it ought to be refused.


From: John Chalmers
Date: 3 September 2009 14:26:34 BST
To: development.control@southhams.gov.uk
Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 41/1308/09/AD

Site Address: South Sands Hotel, Bolthead, Salcombe, TQ8 8LL

Case Officer: Debbie Crowther

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The Society objects to the illuminated signage on the rear entrance on the grounds of increased light pollution of the estuary.



From: John Chalmers

Date: 8 September 2009 19:59:15 BST
To: development.control@southhams.gov.uk
Subject: A6076CH Comment on application 41/1405/09/F

Site Address: Batson Hall Cottage, Shadycombe Road, Salcombe, Devon, TQ8 8NE

Case Officer: George Allpress

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This application proposes use of the Cyder Pound as a boat store on the ground floor and as an office on the first floor. Its use as a boat store must be questionable as the doors on the front wall open directly onto a steep hill near two blind corners some distance from the head of the creek. Moving boats in and out of the store will be difficult and hazardous as the narrow lane will make it necessary to stop all traffic while the operation is carried out. In addition the space for storage of boats is very limited by the position of the large cog wheel in the middle of the space.

The use of the first floor as offices can also be questioned. The natural lighting will be inadequate and neither the Design and Access Statement or the drawings indicate provision of electrical services. There also appears to be a glazed panel in the middle of the floor above the cog wheel.

The absence of credible utility of the building as proposed makes it hard to avoid the conclusion that there is some hidden agenda for other uses such as ancillary accommodation later. Planning permission could not be refused on these grounds but if it is granted the Society suggests that permitted development rights should be withdrawn specifically to prevent the Cyder Pound being used as ancillary accommodation to conform with the view expressed in Mr Elliott's letter dated October 1997.

However there are other significant reasons why this application should be refused on the grounds of internal inconsistencies. Specifically:

the Design and Access Statement refers to a toilet on the ground floor and none is shown on the drawings, the Design and Access Statement refers to a slate roof while drawings show a corrugated metal roof, the Design and Access Statement says that all the cider making machinery will be kept but the drawings show only the press and large cog wheel retained while there are a number of smaller wheels, axles and beams in the existing building which are not accommodated in the drawn proposals and two tanks are shown as removed.

These inconsistencies must be resolved before the application can be considered.

Finally the Local Plan 1989 to 2001 which has been saved until the LDF is completed and approved states that "In view of its extremely sensitive nature development at Batson could only be permitted in very exceptional circumstances". This application cannot be considered to qualify as presenting exceptional circumstances. The approved LDF Core Strategy also emphasises the need to conserve and enhance historic architecture in Objective SO 20 and Policy CS 9(4).

For all these reasons the Society strongly recommends that this application should be refused.