CLINTON DEVON SERVE EVICTION NOTICE ON 11 SPECIES OF BAT

A new nature protection group has been formed in East Budleigh to try to save eleven species of bat from having their habitat destroyed. Six of these species are amongst the rarest found in Britain. The story has broken today simultaneously on BBC Radio Devon and BBC Spotlight, presented by Adrian Campbell, and in the Exmouth Journal.

Owl will comment after using the following Journal story to set the scene:

“Landowners have defended their plan to redevelop an area of land in East Budleigh amid concerns for wildlife living on the site.

Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) has applied for permission to demolish a barn at The Pound, in Lower Budeigh, and replace it with a new dwelling.

Residents have raised concerns about the bats that have traditionally called the barn their home.

There are also concerns about access to the site; it is argued to be through the centre of The Pound, which is claimed to be in the village’s built-up area boundary.

CDE say the new building will provide ‘conditions more suitable’ for bats, including a dedicated loft area and ground floor with free flight access for the animals.

Writing in objection to the application, Mr and Mrs Moyle said: “We should be proud that we have so many rare bats, including gray long-eared bats, which are very rare.

“Building this so-called bat house means we have no proof that the bats will use it.

“It is being built a long way from the barn, so we are likely to lose out rare bats.”

Another letter, from a Mrs Maynard, said: “This is an absolutely ridiculous and totally unnecessary attempt to develop what is at present is an extremely pretty corner of a very lovely village.”

A spokesman for Clinton Devon Estates said: “The new building, whilst smaller than the existing barn, has been designed to provide conditions more suitable for breeding bats in the summer; for example, it will have a slate roof to provide a warm loft, as opposed to a draughty metal shed. “It will also have a cool ground floor to provide fairly stable winter temperature and high humidity, with the aim of providing a potential winter roost.

“For horseshoe and long-eared bat species, a dedicated loft area and ground floor with free flight access will be provided.

“For crevice-dwelling bat species, roosting provision will be provided in various places within the bat barn, including bat slates, a raised ridge tile, timber cladding, a Schwegler bat tube and internal crevices.”

CDE providing a brand new Des. Res. for free? There must be a catch.

Owl fears for these bats.

Are they going to be sent away for a holiday by the sea whilst their ancient barn (oldest still standing in East Budleigh) is bulldozed away and their new bat loft constructed?

Temporary social housing is a non-starter. As mentioned in one of the Spotlight interviews, what are they going to do for food. They feed on moths but the overgrown habitat of the moths is also going to be bulldozed?

And how are they going to navigate when the trees they use for echo location have also been razed to the ground as well?

Owl has many, many bat friends who join it in its nocturnal foreys and is VERY protective of them.

However, for the status of Clinton Devon Estates environmental credentials see just a few recent Owl stories here (there are many more):

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/02/09/clinton-devon-estates-pr-team-working-overtime-on-blackhill-quarry/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/09/07/clinton-devon-estates-and-budleigh-hospital-garden-a-pr-nightmare-for-today-and-tomorrow/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/03/14/eddc-local-plan-not-fit-for-purpose-as-developer-and-clinton-devon-estates-challenge-succeeds-at-newton-poppleford/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/11/15/clinton-devon-estates-wants-to-make-it-easier-to-build-in-aonb/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/05/09/beer-officers-recommend-refusal-of-clinton-devon-estates-development-in-aonb/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/08/04/east-budleigh-clinton-devon-5-houses-with-fourteen-parking-spaces-in-aonb-on-grade-1-agricultural-land/

Neighbouhood plans, conservation areas – who cares? Not EDDC

A correspondent writes:

Many of us in East Devon have spent, or are spending many volunteer hours in setting up a Neighbourhood Plan for our area.

Is it worth the effort?

Perhaps those in East Budleigh would say no. An application -18/0954-to build 2 bunkers in the conservation area, in the setting of many thatched, cob, listed buildings and within a stone’s throw of the Grade 1 listed church has been approved by planning officers. The application totally contrary to the Neighbourhood Plan and objected to by the Parish Council. Not a whisper from the Budleigh Boys, hence the application was not debated by the Development Management Committee.

The subjective decision by the officers can be summed up as “The benefits outweigh the harm” (see below). The residents may struggle to see the public benefits of 2 more potential second homes to add to those already in the historic centre of one of Devon’s historic villages. The private benefit is all too clear.

They may also struggle with the weight put on the Neighbourhood Plan Policy D2 to contribute to the need for 1, 2 and 3 bedroom houses and the absence of any weight put on Policy B3 which supports development only on previously developed land and dwellings that reflect the character of the surrounding area.

Here is the planning officers reasoning:

“CONCLUSION

The location of the site within the built-up area and the characteristics of its past use suggest that appropriate forms of development would be acceptable in principle. The submitted scheme does have some shortcomings, particularly in terms of layout and changes to ground levels. These would result in some loss of significance to the conservation area because the historic layout and levels would be permanently lost. The only evidence that would remain would be documentary evidence in the form of maps and photographs. These impacts, however, would occur at a site level and would not affect the significance of the wider conservation area. For this reason the harm is regarded as less than substantial.

According to the NPPF, where a development proposal would lead to less than substantial harm to the significance of a designated heritage asset, this harm should be weighed against the public benefits of the proposal, including securing its optimum viable use.

In this case the proposal would contribute to the supply of housing in a sustainable location, bring additional people into the village to support local services and contribute to the need for 1, 2 and 3 bedroom houses identified in the NP (Policy D2).

While it would not support the provision of a community orchard as desired in the NP, the land was not allocated for such purposes and there is no evidence that it could be delivered. The benefits identified would be in the wider public interest whereas the harm would have limited public impact and would not harm the more public parts of the conservation which make the most contribution to its significance.

With regard to securing the optimum viable use of all land in the conservation area, it is considered that the site is effectively redundant for garden use and does not have any value as a public open space (it being in private ownership). Its development can therefore help to secure a viable use for the land while conserving the areas of main significance elsewhere in the conservation area.

Having regard to all other matter raised, it is considered that the public benefits outweigh the limited harm in this case and therefore the proposal is recommended for approval.”

People power leads to shake up (down?) at East Budleigh with Bicton Parish Council

Owl says: what IS going on? First the sudden exodus of Tory grandees Moulding and Godbeer at the same time at Axminster Town Council and now the Chair of East Budleigh and Bicton departs extremely swiftly! All change? Hhhmmm … maybe …

“An overwhelming vote of no confidence in East Budleigh with Bicton Parish Council was made at a Parish meeting in the village on Sunday evening (March 25th)

The meeting had been called by a number of residents including the Friends of East Budleigh Recreation Ground after exhausting every other means of engaging with the Council. Over 100 residents were in attendance. Several East Devon District councillors and a Devon county councillor were also present.

Leading up to the vote of no-confidence, many issues and allegations were brought up by the residents as reasoning for their vote against the Council, principally a failure to observe their own codes of conduct.

Two days later at the Parish Council meeting it was announced that the chair of the Parish council had resigned. Amongst other items on the agenda the long running and emotive issue of restrictive use of dogs on the recreation ground was finally resolved through a vote by the councillors to shelve plans for any restrictions in favour of a voluntary community strategy to monitor and maintain the area.

A spokesman from the ‘Friends group’ said “The parish community has come together as a whole and made it very, very clear we’re unhappy with what’s currently going on.”

He also added ” I have to say, in all fairness, the remaining council members have responded swiftly and correctly. There was a much more inclusive atmosphere at the last Parish Council meeting. We feel that they now have a genuine will to see a positive way forwards and work with the village community.”