Clinton Devon Estates: an early Lord Rolle’s interesting history in Budleigh

From Facebook’s ‘East Devon Past’:

“I found this report relating to the old harbour at Budleigh, I knew that boats used to navigate up the Otter estuary to the mills at Newton Poppleford. Anyway it seems that Lord Rolle was a bit of a rogue and dammed up the harbour to increase his expanse of land but put an end to the use of larger boats on the Otter. So not only did he remove the Sidmouth stones but he took away the harbour for his own gain.”😵
Western Times 1858:

Blackill Engineering Extension – is this an excuse to drive a new industrial site into the heart of the Pebblebed Heaths?

These days most large developers pay for pre-application advice before submitting a planning application. A recent Freedom of Information request has uncovered the advice that was offered to someone (name redacted) seeking such advice on proposed business units at Blackhill Quarry, Woodbury in early October 2017.

Specifically this proposal was for the erection of AN ADDITIONAL industrial building to support the existing business, Blackhill Engineering, being operated form the site together with the erection of FIVE ADDITIONAL industrial buildings for use by other businesses.

In summary the advice given was that this would not comply with the protective policies that cover this sensitive site. A much stronger employment benefit case regarding the expansion of the existing business to justify a departure from these policies would be needed. The five speculative industrial buildings would not justify a policy departure.

On 20 December 2017, within three months of this advice, planning application 17/3022/MOUT was submitted for outline application seeking approval of access for construction of up to 3251 sqm (35,000 sq ft) of B2 (general industrial) floor space with access, parking and associated infrastructure.

The accompanying justification reads:

“There is considerable and clearly identified need for the existing business at Blackhill Engineering to expand as a result of that business having grown considerably over recent years and with its existing premises now at full capacity. The provision of additional facilities on the application site would allow the company to continue its expansion and so deliver additional economic and employment benefits to the local area…. With the winding down of the existing quarry use of the site, there is a short and fortuitous window of opportunity in which to address BESL’s growth requirements with the reuse of an area of former minerals processing site….It is a crucial part of both local and national employment strategy to protect existing businesses and to encourage their expansion. If approved, the scheme would allow the existing business not to only remain at the site but also to expand. The resulting investment will enable a substantial increase in the provision of highly skilled jobs in the area, increased training opportunities for apprentices and added value to the local economy. Furthermore, the expansion of the Blackhill Engineering will help reinforce the vitality of its parent organisation…”

So, is this application all about the needs of Blackhill Engineering to expand, having already designed flood defence gates for New York City Hospital, worked for the European Space Agency and the pier at Hinkley Point, which in October seemed to require only one building; or more about Clinton Devon Estates trying to generate rent from a new industrial park? Restoration provides no income.

For those interested here is the detailed pre-application advice, given on an informal basis and without prejudice, in about half the words:

The extant planning permission on the site requires a restoration and aftercare scheme to be implemented following cessation of the quarrying operations. As part of this condition, alternative schemes (subject to planning permission) can be considered but two policies are of particular relevance:

East Devon Local Plan- Strategy 7 – Development in the Countryside.

This strategy states that development in the countryside “will only be permitted where it is in accordance with a specific Local or Neighbourhood Plan policy that explicitly permits such development”. In this instance, there is no local or neighbourhood plan which would permit the proposal and, therefore, it is considered that it would not comply with Strategy 7.

East Devon Local Plan- Policy E5 – Small scale Economic Development in Rural Areas.

This policy states that the expansion of existing businesses designed to provide jobs for local people will be permitted where

1. it involves the conversion of existing buildings. Or

2. if new buildings are involved, it is on previously developed land. Or

3. if on a greenfield site, shall be well related in scale and form and in sustainability terms to the village and surrounding areas.

In this instance, the Local Planning Authority recognise the previously developed nature of the site, however, in the ‘Glossary of Terms’ section of the Local Plan (which echoes those contained in the National Planning Policy Framework) previously developed land specifically excludes land that has been developed for minerals extraction or waste disposal by landfill purposes where provision for restoration has been made through development control procedures.

Accordingly, the land would be considered as greenfield.
In terms of Policy E5, as the site would not be well related in sustainability terms to Woodbury or surrounding areas, the proposal would be contrary to policy.

However, if sufficient justification can be made in terms of the needs of the existing business being operated from the site to expand into an additional building, then the economic benefits may outweigh the environmental harm, of the unsustainable location as a departure from the Local Plan.

For this purpose, an economic benefits statement would need to be submitted as part of an application.

The five speculative units being located in an unsustainable location would not be acceptable.”

[Clinton Devon Estates] “Fence in Budleigh Salterton is branded ‘an abomination’ “


Picture: Sidmouth Herald

 

Owl says: check every word and letter of that do ument that promises ‘greater security’ for your what is left of your garden League of Friends – not to mention that of your building should the Hub not be successful …!

“A ‘substantial’ fence – around 6ft high and 100ft long – is causing uproar in Budleigh Salterton.

Residents are angry that it has gone up and a town councillor has described it as ‘an abomination’.

The fence has been erected by Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) on land that it owns and leases to the Budleigh Salterton Hospital League of Friends on an annual basis.

Running across the former Hospital Gardens opposite the new Community Health Hub in Boucher Road, it marks the boundary of the new hub garden and land that CDE has earmarked for development.

Last September, CDE had its outline application – for means of access, proposing two houses to be built on half of the land east of East Budleigh Road – rejected at appeal by East Devon District Council (EDDC).

Now, it appears, it may make a fresh application.

“We are in discussion with the league of friends to agree a more secure long-term lease to provide the hub with a generous, tranquil garden with mature trees on approximately half of the site,” said a CDE spokesperson.

“This will provide easy access for all ages using the hub, as well as an attractive outlook from the building itself.

“We have recently put up fencing to mark the boundary of the new hub garden and any proposals we may have in the future for the remainder of our land at Boucher Road will go through all the required processes and approvals.”

David Evans, chairman of Budleigh Salterton Hospital League of Friends, said: “There is no doubt that our local community will be very disappointed at the erection of a substantial dividing fence down the middle of the greatly-valued hospital garden.”

However, he said the new lease would give ‘greater security’ than before.

“Whilst the league of friends would ideally have preferred to have been able to make use of the whole garden, it has been able to secure long-term access to a valuable and useful green area for the benefit of many,” said Mr Evans.

Councillor Courtney Richards – speaking at a town council planning meeting on Monday – said his phone had been ‘buzzing’ with complaints about the fence.

“I don’t know if Clinton Devon are having a fit of pique, but they are really emphasising that ‘this is ours’,” he said. “There’s very little as a council we can do about it, which is a shame because it borders straight onto a piece of land that’s designated in the Neighbood Plan as an open green space.

“Frankly, I think it’s an abomination, but that’s Clinton Devon’s latest attempt to improve Budleigh Salterton – he said, with his tongue firmly in his cheek.”

http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/fence-in-budleigh-salterton-is-branded-an-abomination-1-5398384%5B

Has Clinton Devon Estates completely lost its moral compass (if it ever had one)?

Background: Background: in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee the philanthropist and benefactor Hon. Mark Rolle “leased” the Budleigh Salterton hospital site and garden to the people of the Town. After his death in 1907, the Rolle Estate passed to the 21st. Baron Clinton and was absorbed into the Clinton Devon Estates. 131 years later CDE have fenced off two-thirds of the garden from use by the newly formed Hospital Wellbeing Hub just as the children attending a nursery there were beginning to use it for recreational purposes and Spring arrives.

Article in Journal:

“A ‘substantial’ fence – around 6ft high and 100ft long – is causing uproar in Budleigh Salterton.

Residents are angry that it has gone up and a town councillor has described it as ‘an abomination’.

The fence has been erected by Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) on land that it owns and leases to the Budleigh Salterton Hospital League of Friends on an annual basis.

Running across the former Hospital Gardens opposite the new Community Health Hub in Boucher Road, it marks the boundary of the new hub garden and land that CDE has earmarked for development.

Last September, CDE had its outline application – for means of access, proposing two houses to be built on half of the land east of East Budleigh Road rejected at appeal by East Devon District Council (EDDC).

Now, it appears, it may make a fresh application.

“We are in discussion with the league of friends to agree a more secure long-term lease to provide the hub with a generous, tranquil garden with mature trees on approximately half of the site,” said a CDE spokesperson.
“This will provide easy access for all ages using the hub, as well as an attractive outlook from the building itself.

“We have recently put up fencing to mark the boundary of the new hub garden and any proposals we may have in the future for the remainder of our land at Boucher Road will go through all the required processes and approvals.”

David Evans, chairman of Budleigh Salterton Hospital League of Friends, said: “There is no doubt that our local community will be very disappointed at the erection of a substantial dividing fence down the middle of the greatly-valued hospital garden.”

However, he said the new lease would give ‘greater security’ than before.
“Whilst the league of friends would ideally have preferred to have been able to make use of the whole garden, it has been able to secure long-term access to a valuable and useful green area for the benefit of many,” said Mr Evans.
Councillor Courtney Richards – speaking at a town council planning meeting on Monday said his phone had been `buzzing’ with complaints about the fence.

“I don’t know if Clinton Devon are having a fit of pique, but they are really emphasising that `this is ours’,” he said. “There’s very little as a council we can do about it, which is a shame because it borders straight onto a piece of land that’s designated in the Neighbood Plan as an open green space.

“Frankly, I think it’s an abomination, but that’s Cl in ion Devon’s latest attempt to improve -Budleigh Salterton in, said, with his tongue firmly in his cheek.”

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?”