PLANNING REF: 1139/19/FUL FISHERMANS BEACH, EAST PORTLEMOUTH
Construction of boat store, sea defence works to protect public bridleway, along with associated bridleway restoration works.

The beach location of the proposed boathouse sits within the AONB, Heritage Coast/ Undeveloped Coast, and on the edge of the SSSI designated Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary. This unique estuarine location is particularly sensitive both environmentally and aesthetically, and the iconic amenity is appreciated by locals residents and visitors alike.  NPPF (2018) para. 172 requires that ‘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’. It is a matter of national planning policy and, therefore, law that the impact of development on an AONB is elevated above the status of an ordinary material consideration. This site lies within a nationally prized landscape and the county’s major economic asset.

The full text of SHS’s letter of representation to South Hams District Council Development Management:

LETTER OF OBJECTION – FROM THE SOUTH HAMS SOCIETY

The South Hams Society interest
1. For over 50 years, the South Hams Society has been stimulating public interest and care for the beauty, history and character of the South Hams. We encourage high standards of planning and architecture that respect the character of the area. We aim to secure the protection and improvement of the landscape, features of historic interest and public amenity and to promote the conservation of the South Hams as a living, working environment. We take the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty very seriously and work hard to increase people’s knowledge and appreciation of our precious environment. We support the right development – in the right places – and strenuously oppose inappropriate development, as we believe to be the case with this application.

The proposed site
2. The beach location of the proposed boathouse sits within the AONB, Heritage Coast/ Undeveloped Coast, and on the edge of the SSSI designated Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary. This unique estuarine location is particularly sensitive both environmentally and aesthetically, and the iconic amenity is appreciated by generations of locals and visitors alike.

National Planning Policy Framework
3. NPPF (2018) para. 172 requires that ‘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’. It is a matter of national planning policy and, therefore, law that the impact of development on an AONB is elevated above the status of an ordinary material consideration. This site lies within a nationally prized landscape and the county’s major economic asset.

Maintenance of the public bridleway
4. The SHS are of the opinion that upkeep and maintenance of the public bridleway is an entirely separate matter which should not be considered alongside this proposal to build a boathouse. It should therefore have no bearing or influence when the Local Authority examines the credentials of the boathouse proposal against planning policy.

Conserving what is special and distinctive
5. Policy DP2 states that development proposals will need to demonstrate how they conserve and/or enhance the South Hams landscape character (including coastal areas, estuaries, river valleys, undulating uplands and other landscapes) by:

a. reflecting the needs and issues set out in identified landscape character areas.
b. ensuring its location, siting, layout, scale and design conserves and/or enhances what is special and locally distinctive about the landscape character. c. retaining, integrating and enhancing distinctive features such as trees, ancient woodlands,
field boundaries, walls, hedgerows, watercourses and river valleys. d. avoiding unsympathetic intrusion in the wider landscape, such as the detrimental impact on the character of skylines or views from public vantage points and light pollution, and
e. respecting the unspoilt nature and tranquillity of the area.

This proposal fails to meet the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (d). Above all, it does not conserve the site’s distinctive natural character. On the contrary, it threatens the integrity of the beach and its natural undeveloped background and presents a detrimental intrusion in this cherished waterfront landscape especially as viewed from Salcombe.

Devon’s Undeveloped Coast
6. Within its Devon Undeveloped Coast (DUC) guidance, the Devon Landscape Policy Group makes it clear that the DUC ‘should be regarded as a finite resource for the enjoyment of everyone now and in the future ..’, with a presumption against development within or affecting the DUC unless strict criteria (not met here, see 5. Above) can be met. Further, AONB Planning Guidance, under Section 8.1, Coastal and Estuarine Development, paragraph 172 states that: ‘South Devon’s fine undeveloped coastline and open seascapes are defining features of the AONB. The qualities of wildness, natural scenery, tranquillity, and iconic wide unspoilt and expansive panoramic views are fundamental to the character of the area’.
Visual intrusion

7. South Devon AONB Planning guidance on Coastal and Estuarine Development sets out protection from developments that intrude on views from estuary waters and this is highly applicable to this proposal. In addition, the emerging Salcombe Neighbourhood Plan sets out to protect locally important views (policy SALC ENV 6) and echoes guidance in the AONB Management Plan in seeking to protect long uninterrupted views of the open undeveloped seascape (LAN/P6). These views will be undoubtedly be compromised by the appearance of a new boathouse, which may be beneficial for the applicant’s boating pursuits but clearly fails to benefit the interests of the wider community.

We therefore object to this planning application.

Mike Richards

For and on behalf of the South Hams Society – 31st May 2019

Replies to: Ms Didi Alayli, Chair, The South Hams Society, Olde Stones, West Alvington, Kingsbridge, South Devon TQ7 3PN

E-mail: Southhamssociety@gmail.com

 

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