The Blanksmill Creek Proposed Development – Update March 2020

Blanksmill Creek

Blanksmill Creek


There is almost unanimous community opposition to the proposal to build a barn at the head of the iconic and unspoiled Blanksmill Creek (SHDC Planning file:

The Planning Officer will soon publish her report and the Planners and the Development Management Committee Members will consider the Application. So it is time to take action again and remind the decisions makers about your material planning objections to this proposed development.  If you wish to lobby the Ward Councillors, they are:

The full list of Development Management Committee Chair, Members and their contact addresses are available here:

An impression of the proposed building high on the bankside at the head of Blanksmill Creek


A Highly Protected area

Surprisingly, it seems the Applicant was not fully aware of how development is either prohibited or highly restricted in the nationally protected landscape areas surrounding the proposed site.

South Devon AONB harmed

The South Hams Society (and almost all consultees and interested parties) believe the development represents an unwelcome intrusion into an undeveloped open field countryside location within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and undeveloped coast. It would introduce a built form within a highly protected, sensitive rural and estuary location, which would cause harm to the protected land and waterscape of the unspoiled and tranquil creek.

Would not ‘Protect and Enhance’

The development would fail to conserve and enhance the natural beauty and special qualities of the South Devon AONB and conflicts with the aims and objectives of policies DEV23 (Landscape character), DEV24 (Undeveloped coast and Heritage Coast) and DEV25 (Nationally protected landscapes) of the adopted JLP and is contrary to the guidance contained within the National Planning Policy Framework including, but not limited to, paragraphs 170 and 172. The proposed site is adjacent to the Salcombe and Kingsbridge Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest.


The independent Agricultural Need Assessment undertaken for the SHDC supports the need for storage for the holding. But it also noted that there is a ‘slight contradiction’ in what the Applicant claims the land is to be used for.

The Assessor also states that he would prefer an ‘open-sided’ building, but leaves all the “other consultees” to comment on the visual impact of the building on the landscape!

Hiding the Harm

Belatedly, following substantive planning objections from the SHS, the AONB Unit, the Parish Council and many in the local community, the Applicant has recognised the restrictions to development at this sensitive and protected water side location. The proposals for additional screening measures show the lengths required to hide or mitigate the visual harms the proposed development would undoubtedly cause. The applicant had already acknowledged that “built forms seldom have positive effects” on the existing open landscape.

Hiding the harm causes harm!

There comes a point where the measures proposed to hide the harms to the protected land and waterscape caused by the development itself becomes so intrusive that it completely changes the nature of the area and therefore undermines the very landscape designations that led to their protected status in the first place.

Planting schemes can change the Designated Landscape

During the Lyte Lane Appeal, the landowner had argued that the visual harm that would have been caused to the AONB by a proposed development, to the farmland and highly protected countryside, could be reduced by sympathetic design, and that planting schemes would ‘improve’ the landscape. The South Hams Society and District Council disputed those claims, the Planning Inspector supported their views and the Appeal was refused. AP1128/W/18/3208541P/K– Land to East of Lyte Lane, West Charleton, Kingsbridge, TQ7 2BP


If you would like to see Blanksmill protected please take action now and write to your ward councillor and members of the SHDC development management committee.



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