Greendale Business Centre: FWS Carter and Sons application fails at the High Court

PRESS RELEASE:

“After 3 years challenging the planning system, Greendale Business Park owners are required to return an area back to Agricultural use.

It may have taken 3 years but finally the Planning Department at East Devon District Council (EDDC) has succeeded in winning a long running planning and legal challenge.

It was the 8th Feb 2015 when earth moving and general building works were first reported to EDDC Enforcement Officers by neighbours of Greendale Business Park. This was on a 3.5Ha site, east of the existing permitted development area at the Business Park near the village of Woodbury Salterton.

Following investigation, the Local Planning Authority (EDDC) served an Enforcement Notice to the owners FWS Carter and Sons, but they chose to ignore the notice and carried on developing the site at “their own risk”.

A planning application was submitted nine months later (06/11/2015 15/2592/MOUT) but the development was considered to lie outside the agreed development area for Greendale Business Park and it was refused by EDDC. A second attempt was made with a similar proposal split into 2 separate planning applications the following December but this was also refused (06/12/2016 16/2597/FUL and 16/2598/MFUL).

The Local Planning Authority then issued the owners with an Enforcement Notice, requesting the removal of the industrial concrete hardstanding, fences, buildings and the return of the land to agricultural use. The company then appealed to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate in March 2017 for the decision to be revoked.

on Dec 7th, 2017 the Inspector found in favour of the Local Authority and upheld their enforcement decision, but within days the Company lodged an appeal with the High Court. Last week 08/02/2018 the Judge ruled that there was no case to answer and therefore the decision by the Local Authority was upheld and costs of £3998 was set against the applicants, FWS Carter and Sons.

The Company now has 6 months to remove all industrial activity and return the land to agricultural use. This work will be monitored very closely

Another section of the Business Park (an area approximately 1Ha) south of the Greendale Business Park and just off Hogsbrook Lane, has also been developed without planning consent. The owners FWS Carter and Sons claimed in Oct 2017 that this land has been in “unlawful” industrial use for more than 10 years and they applied for a little-known planning regulation loophole known as a “Certificate of Lawfulness ” (17/2441/CPE) to enable the area to continue to be used without requiring further planning approval.

However, the Local Planning Authority followed Legal Advice and concluded that the land had not been used “unlawfully” for 10 years because there was lawful permitted development with a gas pipeline contractor occupying the site for 3 years. Because of this, the Certificate of Lawfulness was refused and it is expected that an Enforcement Notice will be served on the Company for this breach of planning shortly.

Councillor Geoff Jung, EDDC Ward Councillor for Raleigh Ward which includes Greendale Business Park says, “It is a great shame that the Company started to develop this area prior to any planning permission being in place. The efforts and costs incurred by the company in developing the site, including the cost of architects, planning consultants, barristers, solicitors, court costs, contractors’ costs and everyone’s time has all been wasted.”

“Add to that the considerable costs to the local authorities` planning, enforcement and legal teams in endeavouring to provide a sound and fair case.”

“It’s quite clear the Planning System has moved on enormously in the last 15 years, with much more openness and clarity, mainly down to modern technology. Planning applications and official documents are now open to scrutiny at the touch of a button and can be viewed without leaving your house.”

“Previously documents were available only at District and Town Halls, for interested parties to view but now the internet and Local Authority Planning Portals provide everyone with a better understanding of the planning regulations and legal issues involved.”

“I look forward to the day when all developers will follow the normal planning procedures and not proceed in such a cavalier way. This may have been the way it was done in the past but its proving much more difficult now.”

“I would like to thank the many local people who have frequently written to the Planning Authority to comment whenever it was required, as well as the Planning and Legal Team at East Devon District Council who ensured that the Planning Regulations were correctly upheld”

Tonight’s Countryfile: how to rewild a disused quarry – one for Clibton Devon Estates to watch?

“Ellie and Matt are in Cambridgeshire where Matt is looking at a huge project to turn a quarry into the UK’s biggest reed bed. Thousands of tons of sand and gravel are being shifted at Ouse Fen to create the perfect habitat for wildlife.”

BBC1 18.30 hrs

Clinton Devon Estates PR team working overtime on Blackhill Quarry!

Sent to Friends of Pebblebed Heaths

“Dear Friends,

Many of you will have seen the recent coverage in local newspapers and on social media concerning a planning application lodged by Clinton Devon Estates for the former quarry plant area adjacent to Blackhill Quarry, enabling a nearby engineering firm to expand.

Unfortunately lots of inaccurate rumours were also circulating.

As you know the primary aim of the Pebblebed Heath Conversation Trust is to ensure threatened heathland ecosystems are protected, to ensure all wildlife associated with this habitat flourishes, to protect public access and encourage responsible public enjoyment of the heaths.

The most important conservation partner of the Trust is the public and we strive to keep our Friends of the Commons well-informed, so the Trust continues to develop with public support.

Our staff live in nearby villages and understand the issues local people have. Our neighbours are concerned about development, volume and types of traffic, change of use in rural areas and we recognise these topics can bring about many questions as well as strong feelings and differences of opinion.

We hope by providing the facts of this complex issue, especially given the amount of misinformation and speculation there has already been, you will have more of the information needed to make up your own mind.

Please take time to view the maps, statements and explanations we have included here, plus links to the EDDC planning application, where you can read and see what others think.

Blackhill Quarry has no statutory conservation designations, although it is registered as a County Wildlife Site. Attempting to restore heathland on industrial sites can be extremely problematic due to the raised nutrient enrichment of the land due to lime. Similar issues are already the case on East Budleigh common, where the remains of buildings from Dalditch Camp, make management of this site, extremely difficult. To mitigate the loss of 1.09 ha heathland (from total area of 63 ha for the quarry) not restored from hard-standing, we would be looking to create significantly more heathland and of a better quality. This is likely to be through the conversion of existing coniferous plantations to heathland. Our goal is certainly for there to be a biodiversity uplift above and beyond that proposed under the existing restoration scheme.

Later in the year we will organise a visit to Blackhill so you can see the restoration work in progress and ask any questions. In the meantime please contact any one of the team if you have any further queries.

The Pebblebeds Team”

The communication continues with some extraordinary reasons why CEE thinks the engineering works are a special case including:

* Specialising in steel fabrication and design, Blackhill Engineering has recently been involved in many prestigious projects including the design of flood defence gates for New York City Hospital, work for the European Space Agency and the pier at Hinkley Point for which Blackhill has been recognised with two awards from EDF Energy.
[aahhhh!!! now Owl understands!]

* The site proposed is currently covered in concrete and any restoration to high quality habitat will be problematic …”

Who knew that concrete couldn’t be so difficult to remove! If it’s THAT difficult perhaps we shouldn’t allow any development at all at this site since more and more concrete will be needed to expand it!

Clinton Devon Estates: a very chequered development history

Comment added as post:

““Responsible stewardship and sustainable development are at the heart of everything we do.” So says Clinton Devon Estates web site. If only!

John F. Travis in his book “The Rise of the Devon Seaside Resorts” writes:

“The case of Exmouth serves to show that genteel landowners did not always ensure that resort development was of a superior quality. At Exmouth almost all the land was concentrated in the hands of the Rolle family,… but they tended to grant leases without exercising proper control over the subsequent development. In 1850 the Board of Health inspector castigated the Rolle family for not having concerned themselves with the “class or disposition of the houses erected” on their estate, with the result that properties were “chiefly of the second and third class . . . built without much attention to regularity and uniformity of design”….. In 1895 the Exmouth Urban District Council found it was powerless to prevent the spread of houses across Wythycombe Marsh, despite the fact that this low-lying area was frequently flooded and was contaminated by sewage.

Exmouth is an example of a resort where the landed proprietor failed to exercise proper control over development. Small developers were allowed to pursue their own interests without regard to the overall quality of the resort they were creating. The quality of development was generally inferior to that at Torquay, partly because there was less upper-class demand for housing at Exmouth, but chiefly because Exmouth lacked the large landowner’s personal involvement in the planning process which so characterized the development of Torquay. By 1907 one travel writer was grieving over Exmouth’s sprawling mass of mediocre housing, which he felt had clothed the resort “with a sad shabbiness”.”

Profit before responsible stewardship, is history repeating itself?”

Clinton Devon Estates desperately tries to justify quarry industrial units

Owl says:

Surely, with EDDC having industrial areas aplenty at the East Devon Growth Point (where businesses enjoy a business rate holiday as a perk) there is no excuse for encouraging a heavy industry engineering company to remain at Blackhill Quarry to interfere with previously agreed remediation (already put back once) and a return to a wildlife habitat?

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/quarry-expansion-plans-provide-space-1166356

Blackhill Quarry: Who’s listening to the Community?

At the time this article was prepared, more than 145 individuals and resident associations had lodged formal objections against Clinton Devon Estate’s (CDE) planning application 17/3022 to create new industrial units on the Blackhill Quarry site. The condition on granting the original quarry licence was that when extraction ceased, the site should be returned to its natural state.

This number of objections is rising hourly, in spite of a determined PR campaign by CDE in the Exmouth Journal and local Parish Magazines to spin a favourable case (It’s only a small bit of land… the site proposed is currently covered in concrete and any restoration to high quality habitat will be problematic…. mitigation proposals that might secure significantly more wildlife benefits for the surrounding heathland are being discussed. Etc.) The consultation period has been extended.

Owl recalls last May CDE launched an on line “tell us what you think” survey with the introduction:

“We look to listen carefully to our staff, customers and those in our community. How we engage with you and what you think about our approach to sustainability is important to us and we want to get it right. Your feedback to this survey will play an important part in helping us develop our future communications.”

The survey asked questions such as:

To what extent do you agree with the following?

1. Clinton Devon Estates puts responsible stewardship and sustainable development at the heart of everything they do?

2. Clinton Devon Estates understands and conserves the wildlife it manages. And

3. How credible do you think “We pledge to do today what is right for tomorrow” is as a statement from Clinton Devon Estates?

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/05/30/time-running-out-to-tell-clinton-devon-estates-what-you-think-about-them/

anyone want to rethink their rezponses in light of the above?

How different the approach to redundant quarries can be – with East Devon the loser

North Devon:
https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/devon-quarry-set-transformed-multi-1137602

East Devon:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/01/26/woodbury-business-park-expansion-would-be-morally-and-ecologically-wrong/