A38 landfill plan has been withdrawn

Landfill site in AONB withdrawn just before planners make decision, Owl hopes that it would have been refused. Although planning policies always allow the subjective assessment of “economic benefit” to outweigh the “harm”.

Anita Merritt www.devonlive.com

A controversial planning application to turn farmland owned by the makers of Exeter’s renowned Orange Elephant Ice Cream Parlour into a landfill site has been withdrawn. Just over a week before a decision was due to be made on the proposals by planners at East Devon District Council [? Teignbridge – Owl], the applicant – BT Jenkins – has withdrawn the application. The reason for doing so has not been confirmed.

Lower Brenton Farm in Kennford had been identified as being a replacement for Trood Lane landfill site at Matford in Exeter, which is nearing completion having exhausted its permitted capacity.

The new 33 hectares site had hoped to start accepting fill material as the Trood Lane facility closes within the next 18 months or so. The land is designated as an area of outstanding landscape value and a vast number of objections – said to total more than 700 – were received following a consultation held at the beginning of the year.

News that the application has been withdrawn has been described as a ‘huge collective sigh of relief’ from local residents according to local Devon County councillor Alan Connett.

The location of the proposed landfill areas at Lower Brenton Farm in Kennford

The location of the proposed landfill areas at Lower Brenton Farm in Kennford (Image: Friends of Shillingford Wood)

He said: “When I put on social media that the application had been withdrawn yesterday it had lots of comments from people across the wider community who were delighted to receive the news.

“There is the concern whether there will be a new application at some point, but at the moment they are relieved to know it has been withdrawn.” He added: “The application received about 700 comments which is one of the highest I can think of for any planning application.”

Among the objectors was the Friends of Shillingford Wood, a registered charity set up by local residents to raise the funds needed to secure the purchase the 12-acre woods, who put together a campaign video. In the video it states: “For centuries this landscape and ancient woodland in the hills south of Exeter has provided food and shelter for its people and its wildlife.

“A hidden gem, known locally as The Bluebell Wood, sit at the top of the hill in this beautiful Devon landscape that belongs to us all, but for how much longer?

“Devon County Council is now currently considering a planning application to create a large waste recycling facility on farmland. between the villages of Kennford and Shillingford St George. This would also include over 80 acres of landfill with 1.2m cubic meters of inert waste material – an area roughly the same size as 40 football pitches. “The site would run up the hills behind the well-known Orange Elephant on the A38.”

It continued: “Local residents, environmentalists, wildlife experts and walkers have all been shocked by the extent and the location of the site., and the lack of any kind of public consultation with Devon County Council.”

The Taverner family have been farming at Lower Brenton for five generations. The farm itself is more than 800 years old. Current owners Helen and Rob Taverner keep a dairy herd of 300 cows that graze outside most of the year.

Their milk is sold to a farmer-owned co-operative that makes cream, butter, cheese, milk as well as being made into ice cream on the farm. The additional of the landfill site would have formed part of its Dadmore Dairy project, named after an old, half-forgotten field name, to help renew the way they grow food and secure the farm’s future.

It would have allowed parts of five of its steepest fields to be filled with inert material from nearby excavation, demolition and construction schemes, before being returned to productive pasture as soon as the valleys are filled and the slopes reduced.

A drawing of the proposed landfill site at Lower Brenton Farm in Kennford

A drawing of the proposed landfill site at Lower Brenton Farm in Kennford

BT Jenkins, which operates the Trood Lane recycling and landfill site, was seeking permisison for the provision of temporary construction, demolition and excavation waste recycling facility.

The land is currently used for agricultural grazing as part of the Lower Brenton farm holding. The village of Kennford lies approximately 400m to the southeast of the site, separated by the A38. Devon Live has contacted BT Jenkins for a comment but has been informed the owner is currently not available this week.