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

Yet Another Planning Saga at Greendale!

Clearly FWS Carter and Sons, the owners of Greendale Business Park are not taking “no” for an answer!

They have submitted two further retrospective planning applications 18/2661/COU and 18/2660/COU for two compounds on Hogsbrook Lane between Greendale Business Park and their farm at Hogsbrook.

There is a very long history going back 12 years for these two Industrial Compounds known as Compound East 6 at Greendale Business Park.

The area was an agricultural field up to 2007 when a Gas Pipeline Contractor building a new Gas Main through Devon used a “permitted development rights” application to construct a service yard for contractor’s equipment and storage, but with an agreed condition that it had to be returned to agricultural use following the completion of the project.

However, FWS Carter and Sons submitted a planning application APP 09/0099/FUL for the retention of hard standing and security fence for growing fruit! The retention was claimed by the applicant to be justified as fruit growing was an agricultural use and the project needed security fencing and a hard standing.

However, immediately after the approval, the site was used for the storage of scrapped vehicles by Woodbury Carbreakers. As the site did not have the appropriate planning nor Environment Agency permit a court case followed against the tenant and the site was eventually cleared after 3 years.

The Site Owners then used it for commercial and industrial purposes and finally submitted a retrospective planning application App 16/0568/FUL for Storage of HGVs in the Fruit Farm Enclosure. However, this application was refused. East Devon District Council were informed that the applicant would appeal. The applicant had 6 months up to 23/11/2016 to lodge an appeal, but no appeal was submitted, but the industrial use continued.

During this time EDDC Local Plan was approved in 2016 which included Policy E7 which allows extensions to Employment sites (except Greendale and Hill Barton that were considered too large for their rural locations). The East Devon Villages Plans approved in Feb 2018 also included a section on the “Greendale Employment Area” which excludes these specific locations off Hogsbrook Lane.

FWS Carter and sons in 2017 then applied for a Planning Variation order 17/2350/VAR to remove a planning condition to the original 2009 application which required the security fence and hardstanding to be removed if the fruit farm business failed. This application was held up for approximately 12 months due to legal matters. The Application was finally agreed in Oct 2018 but with a condition stating that the use must remain agricultural.
East of Compound 6 and further from the Hogsbrook Lane is an area that over the years has become a storage area for Industrial and agricultural products and equipment. It was originally used for the Gas Pipe line contractors and following their departure in 2009 it has been used by the landowners and their tenants.

In 2017 the owners submitted a Certificate of Lawfulness 17/2441/CPE. These Certificates are used by landowners who have used a specific area for more than 10 years without the correct planning permission and therefore are able to claim that the current use is now “lawful” after 10 years illegal use.

However, it was highlighted to the Planning Authority by the local “Woodbury Salterton Residents Association” that some of the use was agricultural and anyway the Gas Pipe Line Compound was “permitted development”, so the application failed the 10-year time requirement. Therefore, the submission failed.

It is normal practice that a planning Authority would inform landowners that an “Enforcement Notice” would eventually be served in cases like this where there has been breaches in planning regulations.

To presumably delay the Enforcement Notice, FWS Carter and sons have now submitted two further retrospective applications for a change of use application 18/2661/COU at compound East 6 and a further application 18/2660/COU for the compound relating to the failed “Certificate of Lawfulness”

Therefore, the Enforcement Notices will not be served whilst these applications are considered, with the decision to serve the Enforcement Notices being subject to the decision on these latest two applications.

The Saga of Hogsbrook Lane therefore continues!

Greendale industrial unit dog care business taken to court by EDDC

This took place in August 2018. The accompanying photograph is very upsetting. This is what can happen in an industrial unit. Perhaps the Greendale owners should audit their tenants:

“A dog day care business in Devon has been unsuccessful in appealing against an order and new rules after concerns were raised about the welfare of animals in its care.

A Dog’s Day Out, which is run from an industrial unit at Greendale Business Park in Woodbury Salterton, was found to have insufficient staffing levels for the number of dogs, a lack of beds which meant dogs were sleeping on concrete floors, and dogs and staff were being put at risk because they were being kept in large packs.

Reports received from former staff members, some dog owners and staff at East Devon District Council, said at times there were fewer than four staff looking after 65 dogs. …

It was deemed operators were not taking sufficient responsibility under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for the health, safety and well-being of the dogs.

To address the concerns, officers decided it was reasonable to require that the dogs were kept in groups of no more than 10 dogs, and staffing levels should be sufficient to ensure continual care throughout the day.

The conditions were included in the council’s 2018 licence for the business but the operator of A Dog’s Day Out appealed against them.

He said that the new conditions requiring the grouping of dogs was not reasonable and the animals should be allowed to run freely all day in what had become a very large pack of dogs.

The operator said that staff could be given the responsibility to separate out any dogs causing problems or needing quiet space, even when the licensee was not on site.

… An appeal hearing was recently held in Exeter. The witnesses were all of the view that the risk to dogs and staff was low if the dogs were allowed to function as one large group.

The magistrates decided that the council had been reasonable in imposing the conditions, which are similar to those included on other dog day care licences in East Devon, and dismissed the appeal.

Costs of almost £6,500 were awarded to the council.

… The owner and manager of A Dog’s Day Out is Dean Wilkinson describes itself as the south west’s premier day care centre for dogs. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/inside-dog-day-care-centre-1884523

Companies House shows that 4 other directors have resigned between 2015 and 2018 and that Mr Wilkinson gives a business address in Ottery St Mary.

Owners of Greendale object to planning conditions!

FWS Carter and Sons, the owners of Greendale Business Park, have asked East Devon District Council to reconsider two planning applications which were approved in Oct by the Development Management Committee. 17/2430/MFUL and 18/0920/FUL both being applications for Agricultural Buildings.

They are asking the Council to remove the suggested legal agreements to secure a non-alienation clause preventing their sale or letting to another party and requiring the buildings to remain in agricultural use.

The legal agreement was suggested by the District Councils Legal representative as an alternative way of ensuring that the buildings are used only for the agricultural and not converted to employment or industrial units in the future.

Councillors were concerned due to the previous history of unauthorised conversions of agricultural buildings to employment units at Hogsbrook Farm by the owners.

Since the application was agreed the owners have held meetings with the Legal Dept at EDDC claiming the legal agreements are “unnecessary and unreasonable”.

FWS Carter and Sons also consider the imposing the legal clause jeopardises the farm’s financing arrangements, restrict succession planning, prevent certain corporate organisations and unduly restricts the business in an uncertain economic climate.

The applicant is reported to have discussed the legal agreement with their bank lender to ascertain their position. The report claims the bank manager who has been a specialist agricultural lender since 1995 cannot recall a Legal 106 Agreement ever having been applied to a farm building before. The lender further noted that a S106 agreement could restrict the bank’s flexibility to enforce against its security and could reduce the value of the security. This would impact the bank’s lending on both the proposed buildings and the land.

There is a long history in relation to Agricultural units at both Greendale Business Park and now at nearby Hogsbrook Farm. There have been over 10 previous applications over a 30-year period by the applicant that due to the agricultural units not being commercially viable and therefore redundant or not being suitable they have applied for a change of use to industrial use. This has resulted in the continual growth from a farm holding to a large Business Park which is in the open countryside.

Previous attempts to curb this practice have failed following a Government Inspector overturning a previous planning refusal even when the agricultural unit had a planning condition attached to the planning approval only 10 years previously that if the agricultural use was no longer needed the unit was required to be removed.

The Planning Report states:

“The planning system has enough protection in terms of the use of the building to ensure that any new use would be assessed against planning policy, regardless of whether a section 106 was in place and it is considered that a non-alienation clause secured through a legal agreement is not now required.”

The report recommends to the Committee to support the applications without the need for a section 106 agreement.

Local Residents are concerned that the recent expansion at Hogsbrook Farm will eventually become a further Industrial Area just like Greendale Business Park did.

Save Clyst St Mary update

NB:
East Devon Watch readers will recall the earlier history of this plant:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/07/13/investigation-launched-at-greendale-business-park-by-the-environment-agency/

“It’s been a while since any new large scale planning applications have been submitted in Clyst St Mary and I’m aware that there are a number of residents interested in our Campaign who are new to the village. We have recently been inundated regarding the new planning applications for the expansion and variation of the Anaerobic Digester. This is situated in Oil Mill Lane and has historically been the cause of some extremely offensive smells in the village.

Such increases do not comply with the original 2014 concept for a small, sustainable on-farm digester and planning conditions limiting site size, infrastructure, tonnage, transportation and output were specifically included to protect the amenities of local residents and control over-development. We support sustainable, environmentally friendly energy production – but approving a small on-farm Anaerobic Digester in Clyst St Mary is entirely inconsistent with approving a huge industrial-sized one!
Since 2014 the Applicants have systematically pursued enormous expansion and, as a village, we have suffered hugely from odours, noise and congestion from the multiple farm vehicles visiting the site.

One of our members has written some detailed sample letters objecting to the variation of conditions and extension to the anaerobic digester. If you want to object, please use one of the sample letters for the variation and a second one for the expansion. Add your details and send your emails to planningwest@eastdevon.gov.uk or you can print a copy off and post through our letter box (11 Clyst Valley Road) before 21st November 2018. I will ensure they get to East Devon District Council.

As you’re probably aware we are still expecting an amendment to the Winslade Park development (a very large scale housing development) and therefore The Save Clyst St Mary group is always very grateful for more hands-on support from residents, so if you would like to get more actively involved, please do let me know.”

Saveclyststmary.org.uk

UK fish quotas and the Carters of Greendale … anyone remember this

Wonder what the situation is now?

“In a small marina in Exmouth sits the Nina May. The 4.8m fibreglass boat is not much to look at, with just a small outboard motor it pales against the luxurious sailing boats that crowd the harbour.

The boat is something of a legend amongst fishermen in the south west. Many have heard about this mysterious, tiny vessel but few have ever seen it sail.

That is because the Nina May has a secret. The tiny boat holds a massive amount of FQA, the unit used to dole out the right to fish in the UK.

In fact the boat holds nearly a fifth of all fishing rights for the South West of England, and has much more quota than all but one of the much larger fishing boats in the area.

But those figures seem to defy logic. According to government records, that amount of FQA equates to around 1,500 tonnes of fish a year. That means the tiny boat would need to fish an average of four tonnes of fish a day!

Greenpeace spoke to Robin Carter, who runs F W S Carter Limited, the fishing company that owns the boat along with 12 other, much larger vessels.

Carter explained that he transferred the FQA licenses onto the tiny boat and then sends out his bigger boats to write off their catches against that allowance.

By doing that Carter’s fishermen can essentially fish without risking being penalised on quota should they be caught breaking the rules.

“Why it’s on the Nina May is that if you get an offence, a log book offence, or some silly little offence, the ministry would freeze your licence. You wouldn’t be allowed to sell your licence or sell your quota on it.

“We took the precaution – because we got caught once – of taking the fish off all the boats and just putting it one the one boat.

“It’s on there for no other reason than that licence will never get frozen because it just goes in and out of the river and hopefully never commits an offence.”

Local news reports from 2011 state that a Robin Carter was charged £4,040 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to setting an illegal net off the coast near Sidmouth.

The chairman of the magistrates court which ruled on the case said that Robin Carter was an ‘experienced fisherman’ and described his actions as ‘deliberate and reckless.’

The company made an operating profit of £2,628,000 last year.

“We fish about 90% of the quota we have and lease the rest. We use the Marine Management Organisations set rates or the landing price to guide us, but markets prices move. It’s all about supply and demand. Quota is a currency you can swap,” Carter added.

The Marine Management Organisation, the government body that oversees fishing allocation, told Unearthed there are no regulatory restrictions on the number of FQA units that can be held on a single licence.

It said it has significantly improved the transparency of FQAs making data available through the FQA register which also enables FQA holders to transfer their FQA units electronically subject to Quota Management Rules.

Griffin Carpenter from the New Economics Foundation researches the economics of European quota systems. He says this type of hoarding goes against the spirit of the system.

“FQAs were intended to correspond to the actual fishing activity of vessels, but the case of the Nina May highlights just how far we’ve moved from matching quota with fishing activity. This practice may not be illegal, but it’s also not fulfilling any objective of the quota system, especially as many vessels are desperately trying to get access more quota and the government is trying to ensure that all existing quota is used,” said Carpenter.

Carter does not think there is anything wrong with holding so much fishing rights on a tiny dinghy.

“It’s an asset we’ve invested in for the last 20 years,” he explains. “Others sold themselves out of the industry- some people sold it off to foreign nationals- or sold it to us. We saw this system coming and that’s why we invested in quota.”

https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2016/05/15/investigation-why-this-tiny-boat-has-more-fishing-rights-than-many-trawlers/

Greendale exploits planning loopholes yet again

PRESS RELEASE:

“FWS Carter and Sons were successful in obtaining planning permission for 2 further agricultural buildings at Hogsbrook Farm, next to their Business Park at Woodbury Salterton.

The 2 planning applications were debated at East Devon’s Planning meeting on Tuesday 2nd Oct at the Knowle Sidmouth. The 2 planning applications were17/2430/MFUL and 18/0920/FUL for large agricultural sheds at Hogsbrook Farm. They were both recommended for approval by the planning department.

Although the Planning Committee were reluctant to grant planning permission for these 2 buildings only 18 months after a planning inspector overturned the committee’s decision to refuse 2 similar units being changed from agricultural use to industrial, because it was claimed they were redundant for agricultural and their remaining cattle sheds a facilities were more than adequate for their farming needs for the foreseeable future.

Yet within a short space of time after the previous units were converted to Industrial use the company applied for these 2 further agricultural buildings due to the alleged expansion to their farm business.

It was pointed out that there have now been many similar applications at Greendale and Hogsbrook Farm where agricultural building have changed to industrial or business use due to the company claiming that they were no longer needed for their agriculture needs.

Committee members were concerned that although it seemed obvious that FWS Carter and Sons are “cynically abusing” the planning system and conditions attached to previous applications which had tried to control these changes, that have by default allowed the Business Park to expand considerably and in an uncontrolled manner.

The planning officer stated that the Government and East Devon planning regulations could unfortunately not prevent these applications being approved, as the applicant had submitted an agricultural justification statement, and the applications complied with all the legal requirements, but he agreed to recommend a legal clause that should prevent the applicant from converting these further 2 units to industrial or business use in the future.

District Councillor Geoff Jung a planning committee member and the local Councillor for Raleigh Ward which includes Woodbury Salterton said after the meeting.

“There are now more than a dozen massive Industrial units at Greendale and Hogsbrook Farm which were all retrospectively changed in use and later granted permission for industrial use.”

“I totally support encouraging businesses to expand and I totally support farmers to expand and diversify and I am all for the welfare of the animals.”

“But we are also the custodians of our countryside which needs protection from uncontrolled development.”

“It very disappointing to the local community that a local developer and landowner, FWS Carter and Sons, have been successful in working the planning system.”

“I do hope the legal draft to be added the planning permission will now prevent further applications of this nature”