East Devon National Park? Not in EDDC’s (many thousands of) back yards!

Gove wants more national parks. Dorset wanted a Jurassic National Park for Dorset and East Devon. Then EDDC Leader Paul Diviani said NO, NO, NO – we would lose control of planning (housing growth is heavily restricted in national parks).

And Clinton Devon Estates is most definitely against it too:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/11/09/dorset-positive-about-national-park-we-cant-join-up-as-diviani-doesnt-want-to-lose-control-of-assets/

And we wouldn’t want that, would we ….. well, naturally, of course, Owl would! And Owl suspects many others would welcome it.

A test of new Leader Ian Thomas’s green credentials?

“New wave of national parks could be created under Michael Gove’s plans for a ‘Green Brexit’

A new generation of National Parks could be created under Michael Gove’s plans for a “Green revolution”, The Telegraph can disclose.
The Environment Secretary is announcing on Sunday a sweeping review of the country’s protected landscapes, 70 years after the designation of the first National Parks.

The review, to be conducted by a panel led by Julian Glover, a former Downing Street adviser, “will look at both extending existing sites or creating new ones”, Mr Gove’s department said.

It is likely to consider calls for landscapes such as the Chilterns and South Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to join the list of 10 National Parks, which include the Lake District, Snowdonia and New Forest, and are protected by dedicated planning authorities and given special status in law.

Earlier this month, Dame Cheryl Gillan, the former Conservative cabinet minister, warned the Chilterns AONB was “threatened by development on all sides” and said National Park status “would provide safeguards at the highest level”.

Writing for the Telegraph, Mr Gove describes how National Parks are made particularly precious by the fact they are legally required to “promote opportunities for enjoyment” for visitors and to “provide homes for the farmers who keep our countryside both productive and beautiful”.

He adds: “In order to ensure our protected landscapes are in the best possible shape to meet future challenges I have asked the acclaimed writer Julian Glover, a passionate advocate for the countryside and a resident of one of our National Parks, to lead a review into how we can guarantee our most precious landscapes are in an even healthier condition for the next generation. The goal of Julian’s review is not to diminish their protection in any way, but to strengthen it in the face of present-day challenges.
“Are we properly supporting all those who live in, work in, or want to visit these magnificent places? Should we indeed be extending our areas of designated land? Could we do more to enhance our wildlife and support the recovery of natural habitats?”

The review, a key plank of the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan for a “Green Brexit”, will seek to “enhance natural habitats and protect plants and wildlife” as well as consider “expanding [the] network of National Parks and AONBs, supporting people who live and work there,” the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said. It will also look at ways to improve public access, in line with a separate pledge by Mr Gove to replace EU farming subsidies with a new system which pays farmers to improve access to their land.

The last time a new National Park was created was in 2009. Dame Cheryl has said designating the Chilterns as a National Park would help to “enhance the environment”.

Campaigners have also called for the Dorset AONB to be upgraded to National Park status, while others have advocated designating the Forest of Dean and Herefordshire Black Mountains as AONBs. While both statuses afford special protections, National Parks have a second formal purpose, under the 1995 Environment Act, to “promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities” of the areas by the public.

The Government pledged to conduct a review of protected landscapes as part of its 25-year Environment Plan. In its foreword, Mr Gove stated: “The plan looks forward to delivering a Green Brexit – seizing this once-in-a-lifetime chance to reform our agriculture and fisheries management, how we restore nature, and how we care for our land, our rivers and our seas.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/05/26/new-wave-national-parks-could-created-michael-goves-plans-green/

“Griff Rhys Jones supports new report and says we must not lose our precious countryside by building low density sprawling estates”

Press Release:

“Civic Voice president Griff Rhys Jones has today added his voice to campaigns by six community groups fighting “garden communities” being imposed on them by the Government.

He has penned a powerful Foreword to a Smart Growth UK report mostly written by community groups around the country who are opposing garden towns and villages. Griff warns that, far from being utopias, these are disordered schemes that ignore local communities and would be located in unsustainable locations.

“We encounter proposals that are not going to answer local needs for housing at all, but will waste precious countryside by building low density sprawling estates and creating expensive houses. Brownfield land in England can accommodate one million houses, So get on with it and use that.” he says.

Griff warns that terms like “housing crisis” and “emergency” are being used to force through development of the countryside which fails to provide the affordable homes we need as a nation.

The report sets out detailed objections by six groups opposing Government-sponsored garden communities and four opposing large greenfield developments marketed as “garden villages” by their promoters.

““Planning” by definition means looking to the future. That must mean the long-term future as well as the next few years. We need to recognize that people who urge care, caution and attention are not dwelling in the past. They are not NIMBYS, says Griff. “They are protecting the future.”

He says the protests, assessments and legitimate concerns in the report make sober reading.”

Report:

http://www.smartgrowthuk.org/resources/downloads/Garden%20Communities%20Report.pdf

A cautionary tale for EDDC and Greendale

“Bath & North East Somerset Council has taken direct action under s.178 of the Town and Country Planning Act to demolish a large building that was built nearly ten years ago without planning permission in the Green Belt.
Cllr Bob Goodman, cabinet member for Development and Neighbourhoods at the council, said the local authority, so far as he was aware, had never taken enforcement action this far.

The two-storey building at Folly Lane, Stowey, was built in 2008 without planning permission sparking numerous complaints, the council said.

Following an investigation by Bathnes, in 2008 the land owner and the company responsible (AJP Growers) were served an enforcement notice requiring the demolition of the building and the restoration of the land.
The notice was appealed but the appeal was dismissed in 2009 giving the landowner until 2010 to comply with the enforcement notice.

However the owner repeatedly failed to comply with the notice despite what the council said was numerous attempts to regularise the development. The local authority launched prosecution proceedings over non-compliance with the notice.

A successful prosecution in July 2016 saw the owner of the land and AJP Growers convicted of an offence under S.179 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1990.

Councillors then agreed direct action to have the building demolished in order to ensure compliance with the notice. Works were due to commence in 2017 however bats were found in the building, so the council had to have an ecologist survey the site and obtain a licence from Natural England to allow its lawful demolition.

Demolition works pursuant to S.178 and in line with council’s resolution were due to start on site on Monday (19 February). All costs associated with the demolition will be recoverable against the land, the council said.

Cllr Goodman said: “I am disappointed that the owners have let it get to this point. However we have pursued this case and at long last this illegal building, which is a real eyesore, will be demolished and the land put back as it should have been done almost ten years ago.

“Nationally there are only a handful of these interventions each year mainly because people comply with Enforcement Notices before it gets to this stage, however the public must have confidence in Bath & North East Somerset Council as a planning authority that we have the teeth to follow through with the most extreme form of enforcement available to us when necessary.”

http://localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=34265%3Acouncil-takes-direct-action-under-tcpa-to-demolish-large-building-in-green-built&catid=63&Itemid=31

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!