A tale of two anaerobic digesters …

Before tonight’s Inside Out programme on BBC1 about anaerobic digesters in Clyst St Mary, it maybe worth pointing out there are TWO of them – one at Enfield Farm at Clyst St Mary off Oil Mill Lane, owned by the people that own Crealy (the Down family) plus one at Hogsbrook near Greendale owned by the Carters.

To make matters more complicated, both were developed by a company called Greener for Life – until they went into administration and were then run by separate companies but with similar directors as Greener for Life. (Keep up there at the back, keep up!).

It’s the Enfield Farm one that is in the news – basically as it was built with double the capacity as specified at the Planning Application stage. (Note to planners: why was this allowed? Where was the Enforcement Officer?).

To restrict additional tractor movements and travelling far distances to obtain feed it’s not allowed to run at 100per cent (again, note to planners, why was this allowed?).

They are appealing against the planning condition at the moment.

Which begs the question: if I got planning permission to build a 2-bed house but built a 4-bed house instead, would planners have agreed – as long as no-one used the two extra bedrooms and we used only two of our cars on the site rather than the 4 we had there?

Allegations about Clyst St Mary anaerobic digester on Inside Out tonight

“Jemma Woodman investigates the green credentials of farm-based power production …”

Tonight BBC1 7.30 pm

Apparently, breaking agreements and not-so-green …

Surprise, surprise … yet again the Carters of Greendale involved! Yet another headache for Environment Portfolio holder Geoff Jung and Leader Ben Ingham.

Just one of many posts by East Devon Watch on this subject:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/07/13/investigation-launched-at-greendale-business-park-by-the-environment-agency/

A couple of interesting Development Management Committee decisions

Greendale – two applications:

Applicant:
Mr Terence Adams.
Location:
Greendale Farm, Greendale Lane, Clyst St Mary, EX5 1AW.

Development Management Committee 6 August 2019

Proposal:
Demolition of existing farmhouse and replacement with 3 cottages and associated car parking, landscaping, bin store and ancillary works.
RESOLVED:
Approved as per officer recommendation.

WOODBURY AND LYMPSTONE Applicant:
FWS Carter and Sons Ltd.
Location:
10 Hogsbrook Units, Woodbury Salterton, EX5 1PY.
Proposal:
Retention of extension to industrial unit (including change of use from agricultural to Class B8 (storage)).
RESOLVED:
Approved as per officer recommendation.

And this one, where the applicant appears to be a senior member of Stags Estate Agency (Head of Residential Lettings and Property Management)
https://www.stags.co.uk/staff/andrew-luxton-mrics-farla
and the application was approved contrary to officer recommendation:

DUNKESWELL AND OTTERHEAD Applicant:
Mr A Luxton.
Location:
Emmetts Farm, Beacon, Yarcombe, Honiton, EX14 9LU.
Proposal:
General purpose agricultural building.
RESOLVED:
Approved contrary to officer recommendation with delegated authority to officers to impose appropriate conditions.
Members considered that the proposal was of an appropriate scale and materials such that it would conserve and enhance the AONB. In addition, it was considered that the proposed building was a sufficient distance from the nearby listed building to not cause any harm to its setting.

https://democracy.eastdevon.gov.uk/documents/g273/Printed%20minutes%2006th-Aug-2019%2010.00%20Development%20Management%20Committee.pdf?T=1

https://www.stags.co.uk/staff/andrew-luxton-mrics-farla

“Power plant plans for [Carter family?] land on outskirts of Exmouth”

A planning application has been submitted to provide 20 self-contained generators on land south of Woodbury Business Park.

Enquiries seem to point to Woodbury Business Park being the instigators. Woodbury Business Park is owned by Zoe House and her husband. Zoe is the sister to Robin and Rowan Carter and therefore an an aunt to William Carter, who is a Conservative candidate for Woodbury and Lympstone at the coming district council election on 2 May 2019.

“A new power plant could be built on the outskirts of Exmouth, new plans have revealed.

A planning application has been submitted on behalf of Plutus Energy Group for 20 self-contained natural gas engine-driven electricity generators on land South of Woodbury Business Park.

The application has already drawn two objections with one saying it contravenes both the National Planning Policy Framework and the other calling it ‘totally inappropriate’ for this part of East Devon.

However, East Devon District Council’s environmental health department has said the power plant would have a ‘low impact’ on the nearest residential properties.

Woodbury Parish Council is set to be consulted and the deadline for consultation is Friday, May 10.

East Devon District Council will make the final decision.

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/power-plant-plans-for-woodbury-1-6004231

20 days to local elections: today’s picture

This image below shows current planning issues at Greendale Business Park – many of which have been allowed, or allowed to drag on, by EDDC Tory councillors who form the majority decision-makers in “planning” and planning “enforcement” (those inverted commas are there deliberately!). Many of Greendale’s planning applications have been approved retrospectively.

Independent Councillor Geoff Jung works tirelessly (in the face of great difficulty) to try to ensure that Greendale stays within its proper boundaries – but it is a never-ending task:

How many Retrospective Applications can one company do at once? Answer 9! Where? Greendale Business Park!

In 2017 FWS Carter and Sons, the owners of Greendale Business Park, appealed against an “Enforcement Notice” against the removal of various industrial compounds and buildings at their Business Park, which they had built prior to obtaining planning permission.

They lost their appeal with the Planning Inspector, who stated in his report that FWS Carter and Sons had misinterpreted the East Devon Local Plan and that their interpretation was “patently wrong”.

But undaunted the company challenged the Inspectors decision in the High Court. Early last year the company lost the appeal in the High Court. The Judge’s decision also restricted the owners any further opportunity to appeal and them to pay all costs arising from the case.

The Company was required to return the area back to agricultural use, but it transpires that they imported soil and laid this over the concrete yards and simply reseeded it.

It remains to be seen if the covering the concrete is enough to satisfy the Planning Inspectors requirement that the land must return to agricultural use.

Lessons learnt?

So once bitten, twice shy you would have thought with substantial losses, large court fees and professional fees involved!!

Unfortunately, it would seem not, for this family run business. Now there are 9 applications which are known to have been or are in the process of building work before the Planning Applications were submitted.

18/2866/FUL. A retrospective planning application for a rear roller shutter door and concrete pad on the rear of an industrial building onto agricultural land at Unit 11 Hogsbrook Farm. This application is before East Devon’s Planning Committee on Tuesday 4 March.

19/0034/COU. A Retrospective Application at Hogsbrook East 6. A retrospective change of use from agricultural use to industrial. An interesting history to this one! Originally built for a gas pipeline contractors’ compound that had to be returned to agricultural use when the pipeline was completed. However, FWS Carter and Sons applied for planning permission to retain the secure compound for fruit farming. Instead of fruit-growing, Woodbury Carbreakers as tenants stored scrapped vehicles there instead! After 3 years and a court case they were eventually evicted by the Environment Agency, but the owners then used it for commercial storage. Their application for industrial use failed 3 years ago, but just before an Enforcement Notice was served in late 2018 they submitted a further application. But they withdraw it and submitted this latest application.

19/0035/COU. A Retrospective Application next to Hogsbrook East 6. Very similar to the previous application which was used for the gas pipeline company. FWS Carter and Sons submitted, what is called a “Certificate of Lawfulness” which in planning terms means that after 10 years of illegal use they would not require planning permission, to allow to continue operations. However, their own documents clearly stated that gas pipeline contractors had been tenants until July 2009. As this was classified at permitted lawful use the submission was refused. Just as the previous application prior to an “Enforcement Notice” was served as the previous site in late 2018 they submitted a further planning application. They again withdraw it, a submitted this further application.

19/0332/CPE. This was a submission of a “Certificate of Lawfulness” at Greendale unit 33A. Following the publication of the East Devon Villages Plan it was realised that this unit was outside the permitted “Employment Zone” for Greendale Business Park. This was because in its 15 years of operations, planning permission had never been applied for! Therefore, the Local Authority asked the company to summit the paperwork to legalise the operation.

19/043/FUL. A Retrospective Application for 3 Freezer storage pods at Compound 31. The compound is used by DHL Logistics for parcel distribution, but early last year after winning a distribution contract with Kentucky Fried Chicken they started frozen food distribution as well. Several residents living close by the noisy freezer units and hearing the loading and unloading during the night reported the problem to Environmental Health at East Devon. They suggested to the Planning Department that a retrospective application should be submitted.

19/0288/FUL. A Retrospective Application for an extension to Unit 10 at Hogsbrook Farm to extend an Industrial Building which sits on the Employment Boundary of Greendale Business Park. This would mean that the extended building would straddle the boundary between Industrial/Agricultural use.

18/2867/FUL. A Retrospective Application to extend Compound 62 beyond the Employment Boundary into agricultural and landscaping area. The area has been built up over recent years with inert waste material under an Environment Agency permit but it would seem the Company has gone beyond the permitted landfill area.

There are 2 further Retrospective Planning Applications due for extensions to Agricultural units that have been reported to the Enforcement Officer at East Devon District Council.

That’s nine Retrospective Applications in a row. Is that a record!!

And the Government still insist that Planning Authorities treat Retrospective Applications the same as any other Application!

Greendale owner 30th most influential Devonian

Our old friend Karime Hassan (CEO Exeter City Council) is in 19th place, Steve Hindley (Chair,Local Enterprise Partnership) is 18th, Alison Hernandez (Police and Crime Commissioner) in 12th place, John Varley (CEO, Clinton Devon Estates) in 9th place, with Devon County Council’s CEO Phil Norey in 2nd place and DCC Leader John Hart in first place.

“30. Rowan Carter, Director Greendale Group

The company behind the Greendale Farm Shop and Waterdance fishing fleet, incorporates a diverse range of businesses. From its beginning as a farming enterprise set up by the Carter family more than 150 years ago, the group includes the farm shop, Waterdance Fishing, Greendale Living, Greendale Business Park, Greendale Haulage, Exmouth Marina and Greendale Leisure. Last year, the Carter family unveiled major expansion plans for the Greendale Farm Shop to create 30 jobs and provide ‘significant benefits’ to East Devon.

The family has also made a £5million commission of two new fishing boats, including the largest beam trawler to be launched under the British flag in over 20 years. The company also wants to build more agricultural buildings and intends to acquire more farmland in order to expand its farming business.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/business/50-most-powerful-people-devon-2450702