One of the most interesting and environmentally significant planning applications for decades appeared in the applications posted by Owl yesterday:
Proposed breach of the River Otter embankment, Little Bank and Big Bank to restore the historic floodplain creating intertidal saltmarsh, mudflats and freshwater habitat at Big Marsh, and new freshwater habitat at Little Marsh. Associated works including development of a new footbridge, realignment of South Farm Road, and creation of a new car park. (The Lower Otter Restoration Project) 151 Hectares Of Land Within The Parishes Of East Budleigh, Budleigh Salterton And Otterton From Lime Kiln Car Park (SY072819) To South Of Frogmore House (SY074850) (The Lower Otter Valley)Ref. No: 20/2089/MFUL | Validated: Mon 28 Sep 2020 | Status: Awaiting decision
The application comprises 128 documents, though “The Design and Access Statement” is the document to read to give the overall picture. The extract below gives a good summary of what is proposed. Other documents are likely to provide interesting supporting ecological and historical studies.
Before that, Owl copies a paragraph from the Planning Statement which discusses the motivation driving the project. This talks about the need to provide compensating habitat for losses in the Exe Estuary. Owl suggests these habitat losses haven’t occurred because of climate change, that’s for the future, but because of overdevelopment and increasing use of the estuary for leisure activities.
“The original motivation for the LORP arose from a desire by the landowner, Clinton Devon Estates (the Estate), to manage the lower Otter valley as sustainably as possible in the face of a rapidly changing climate. The Environment Agency’s involvement in the project arose from a statutory need to provide compensatory habitat for habitat losses in the Exe Estuary. The desire of these project partners is to improve the natural functioning, ecological health and environmental status of the river, demonstrate climate change adaptation and reduce risk to wildlife and public infrastructure under future climate change.”
Planning application 20/2089 MFUL Design and Access Statement
Submitted by the Environment Agency
The Lower Otter Restoration Project (LORP) will restore the historic floodplain of the River Otter to a condition similar to that found prior to the construction of the 19th century embankments alongside the river and within the floodplain. It will retain most of the embankments and create breaches in Little Bank, Big Bank and the River Otter embankment to allow water from the River Otter and Otter Estuary to inundate the site, creating intertidal saltmarsh and mudflats. South Farm Road will be raised, and the existing Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club moved off site to another location. Development of the new Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club has been approved by successful determination of a separate planning application (reference 19/1521/MFUL) due to a need to progress the cricket pitch sooner than the rest of the LORP. The Scheme includes the elements shown in Figure 1.1