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”

Fire close to Greendale Business Park

“Firefighters are tackling a huge blaze involving “300 to 400” hay bales near Exeter.

Fire crews were called to a field near Greendale Business Park in Woodbury Salterton at about 04:45.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said “approximately 300 to 400 large straw bales” were on fire.

They remain at the scene and are trying to stop the blaze from spreading.

Appliances in the lanes surrounding so may be tricky driving around Woodbury/Woodbury Salterton.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-45085272

Investigation launched at Greendale Business Park by the Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has announced they will be investigating a serious incident that happened at the Anaerobic Digestion Plant next to Greendale Business Park on Tuesday morning 03.07.2018.

The AD Plant at Hogsbrook Farm is owned by FWS Carter and Sons who also run Greendale Business Park but lease the plant to “Ixora Energy Ltd.” The plant uses farm crops harvested locally and livestock manure to produce biogas and bio fertiliser. The Gas is then used to produce Electricity that is fed into the National Grid and is used by Greendale Business Park.

The Grindle Brook has been impacted by the incident of a substantial leakage of “digestate” from the AD Plant. However, the impact was minimised by the direct action of bunding the watercourse and removing the effluent by vacuum tanker, actions which were taken almost immediately by the AD plant (and staff at Greendale Business Park).

The Environment Agency are confident that this action captured most of the discharge itself. However, it did result in a small stretch of deprived reach. Impact to this reach was minimised by tankering fresh water below the bund and frequent monitoring of the watercourse for any wildlife in distress by both the site and EA officers over the 3 or 4 days that this incident took place.

There was concern from members of the public, who saw operators discharging what appeared to be effluent into the stream at Greendale, however this was not the case. They were putting freshwater in at the point at which the discharge entered the stream, which helps provide oxygen to the stream and move any residual polluted water down towards the vacuum tankers to facilitate removal.

Water for this operation was taken from a lake between Honey Lane and the Greendale Farm Shop.

The AD Plants at Hogsbrook and at Clyst St Mary were both run by a company called “Greener for Life”, until the company went into receivership last year after 3 years of trading. However, several the directors secured further funding for a new company “Ixora Energy Ltd” to buy the assets and contracts of Greener for Life Energy Ltd.

There has been a number of incidents relating to Greener for Life Energy Ltd, which was a Devon-based company producing energy from agricultural waste.

In 2015 the company and the site owner of a farm near Tiverton Nomansland Biogas Ltd, were fined over £10,000 and made to pay £7,019 in costs for negligently polluting a watercourse and contravening the requirements of an environmental permit.

The two companies were handed the fine at Exeter Magistrates’ Court in June 2015 after being found guilty of polluting two and a half kilometers of the River Dalch where the effects of the pollution were substantial, with the Environment Officer finding 100 per cent sewage fungus coverage for one kilometer from the discharge point and significant sewage fungus growth impacting a total of two and a half kilometers of the River Dalch.

An Environment Officer said at the time: “The effluent has a severely polluting effect – it is 100 times more polluting than raw sewage. Starving the river of oxygen has led to a significant adverse effect on water quality, animal health and flora.

The Environment Agency have said that the incident at Hogsbrook may result in regulatory or enforcement action with regards to how and why it happened and how it should be prevented from happening again.

They also say that it was fortunate that no wider impact was identified and therefore the pollution was contained within the bunded area – which is probably a best-case scenario given the nature of the incident.

Greendale Business Park Tree Order – East Devon Alliance Councillor Geoff Jung instrumental in getting it passed

Well done, East Devon Alliance Councillor Jung! Others with business parks earmarked for their areas should take note! The tree order for the area around Greendale Business Park has been out for consultation and is now agreed and signed off. Let’s hope the owners of Greendale have the map – and understand it.

“Within the proposal for the 2009 extension to the business park back in 2009 there was an “agreed” landscaping proposal. However, agreements to maintain the landscaping proposals in a planning agreement do not generally extend beyond the agreed time of 5 years to maintain or replace the landscaping trees and shrubs in their first few years of growth.

Following many unauthorised tree and landscaping removals by the owners of Greendale Business Park, it was considered appropriate to instigate a review of all the trees existing surrounding the park and to include all the agreed landscaping.

The Local Authority (EDDC) following this review considered that the most appropriate way to stop further encroachment on the agreed landscape proposals would be to cover the whole area with a Tree Preservation Order.

Tree Preservation Order Proposal

The Tree Preservation Order (TPO) has been made to protect the significant individual trees and areas of newly created woodland. The TPO protects a total of 47 ‘Individual’ trees, 19 ‘Groups’ of trees, 3 ‘Areas’ of land and 17 ‘Woodland’ areas. The TPO collectively protects thousands of trees growing on and around the Greendale Business Park.

Extent of Tree Preservation Order 18/0002/TPO marked in green.

Most the trees within the TPO are contained within the landscape planting areas that were approved under the historic planning consent for the expansion of the business park (09/1195/MOUT). The extent of the business park is defined further within the adopted East Devon adopted Local plan 2013 – 2031.

Collectively the trees add to the rural character of the surrounding landscape. With the individual mature trees, their amenity is already significant. The landscape planting areas, will significantly increase in their amenity value, as the tree increase in size and develop into areas of woodland.

The protected trees and woodland areas are important in reducing the visual impact of the business park on the surrounding area and help maintain the rural character of the wider area.

Tree Preservation Order consultations

Three letters have been received requesting modifications to the provisional TPO, these modifications can be summarised as follows:

• Woodland, W2 – Request the removal of an area of land on the north-eastern corner of the woodland, as it does not contain any trees (Figure 2).

• Woodland, W8 – Request the removal the most southern end of the woodland as it is sandwiched between industrial units, is in places in contact with the buildings causing maintenance problems and it is of limited public amenity.

Area of Woodland (W2) showing absence of trees

What will this Tree Order mean?

No one can cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or destroy a tree or cause or permit the cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage or wilful destruction of any tree except with the written consent of the Local Authority.

This order does not restrict the management of these trees and woodland areas but if any work was to be carried out the landowner is now required to seek permission from the Local Authority.

Comment from the District Councillor

Councillor Geoff Jung (EDA Independent Councillor for Raleigh Ward which includes Greendale Business Park)

I really appreciate the work that the officers have done on this Tree Order that will in effect protect the trees and woodland in whole area surrounding the Business Park and the Rural Village of Woodbury Salterton.

I know that the Woodbury Salterton Residents Association and Woodbury Parish Council have been must concerned with industrial encroachment into the countryside within the area and important landscaping being removed prior to any planning approvals.

This TPO (Tree Preservation Order) and the shortly to be approved EDDC village development plan with its designated employment line around the business park will provide better certainty and protection to the rural landscape of Woodbury Salterton.”