It’s just a barn, isn’t it?

From a Correspondent:

Why would the Otterton Parish Council and the local amenity society, the Otter Valley Association, bother to comment and object to  planning application -20/1363/AGR – for an agricultural barn in Otterton?

Surely this is a very minor issue.

Yes, it is contrary to the Otterton Draft Neighbourhood Plan which is ready for a referendum when coronavirus permits. But there are other, hidden, issues.

The proposed location is in an extremely sensitive site on rising ground in an area designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and adjacent to the Coastal Preservation Area. It is just on the outskirts of the village and only 2 fields from Ladram Bay Holiday Park. It can be seen from the coastal path.

There was a previous application 19/1853/AGR submitted in August last year, refused by officers under delegated authority, as recently as 17 Oct 2019.  Why the hurry for a barn? If there is a pressing need surely the sensible route would be to note the reasons for refusal and try to overcome them. Perhaps move it to a different location? But this is not the case. The current application differs very little from the 2019 application, apart from a different consultant submitting it.

Here is another mystery – on EDDC’s website the location of the site is: “Land West Of Piscombe Lane Otterton” and on the application form and other documents: “Land Adjacent to Faraway”. You would be forgiven in thinking that this was a parcel of land separate from any farm. It is only in EDDC’s  reasons for refusal of 19/1853/AGR that there is a hint of a farm – “a more suitable location could be found for the proposed building close to the existing group of buildings associated with Sea View Farm.”

Now Seaview Farm happens to be the mailing address of FWSC (LADRAM) LIMITED- the company which controls Ladram Bay Holiday Park, profit after tax £1,134,352 in 2018.

A couple of more minor matters. The 465 square metres permitted limit is exceeded in the submitted plans. The application claims that cattle are currently grazing in the field but, according to comments made on the application by a neighbour, no cattle have been seen for several years. Also according to the neighbour, hard standing has already been laid at the entrance gate and work started on the barn groundwork.

As a postscript it is interesting that Appendix A has 9 photos taken from all points of the compass of the site but not one from the coastal path.