“Plans to expand a holiday park near Ashford have been refused by North Devon councillors.
Park Holidays UK’s plan to accommodate as many as 116 caravans and build a clubhouse complete with a swimming pool, amusement arcade, shop and entertainment room at Tarka Holiday Park was discussed by North Devon Council’s planning committee on Wednesday.
Councillors unanimously refused the application, which would have included a new roundabout to serve the entrance at Braunton Road, and the decision was met by a round of applause from a group of around 30 Ashford residents who attended the meeting at Barnstaple Rugby Club.
They cited an adverse impact on the landscape and countryside, the scale of development and the impact on the village of Ashford and other amenities as reasons for refusal.
Councillor Joe Tucker said: “I’ve had quite big concerns about this site in many ways, and we have got grave concerns as a planning committee with the site.
“We are driven so much by national planning policy guidelines made by people sitting in London, it’s a different kettle of fish for people in North Devon.
There are so many fundamental issues with this site. I think it’s dangerous for us as a planning committee to pass through an application with so many issues.”
The committee heard from six village residents, who expressed concerns about the level of noise, the generation of traffic and the impact on a nearby supported living accommodation.
Parish Councillor John Bleech said it was ‘hard to overstate’ the level opposition to the application, noting 138 letters of objection sent to the council.
Ashford resident Dale Hall said: “Ashford strongly objects to the application and all residents fear for their life in the village. The development is too large, too commercial and too close.
“The change from a quiet caravan site into a large entertainment complex should bring noise.
“Tarka say this is a tranquil site but they threaten that tranquility with that application. Ashford will feel betrayed by the local authority if the application is approved.”
The Gazette has approached Park Holidays UK for a response.
A statement from Park Holidays UK said: “Park Holidays UK will be studying the reasons for the council’s decision with a view to determining the best course of action which will enable us to take the matter forward.”
Could we lose World Heritage Site status in the East Devon section of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site through EDDC lack of concern over retrospective planning application at Ladram Bay?
Retrospective planning application EDDC 18/1517
UK National Commission for UNESCO already alerted by members of the general public
“Jurassic Coast Trust (Objects)
Comment submitted date: Tue 04 Sep 2018
Firstly, we would like to point out that the Jurassic Coast Trust, as the organisation responsible for the protection of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, should have been formally consulted on this application.
You should also be aware that this application has been raised by the general public with the UK National Commission for UNESCO, with whom we are now liaising.
The core issue for us is the extension of the viewing deck or ‘ice cream deck’ into the World Heritage Site (WHS). The boundary for the WHS is described for this part of the coast in appendix 2 of the Site management plan. Both the full plan and its appendices are available to download freely from http://www.jurassiccoast.org. At Ladram Bay the WHS sits between the break in slope at the top of the cliff and the mean low water mark. The extension of the decking therefore has a direct impact within the Site’s boundaries.
These potential impacts should be considered under the following policies from the WHS management plan:
1.1 Protect the OUV (Outstanding Universal Value) of the site through prevention of developments that might impede natural processes, or obscure the exposed geology, as set out in the GCR / SSSI details, now and in the future.
1.2 Where developments affecting the Site or setting do take place, avoid or at least mitigate negative impact on the natural processes and exposed geology.
1.3 Oppose developments in the Site’s setting that may warrant a future need for coastal defences, particularly in light of potential sea-level rise and extreme weather events.
1.4 Protect the landscape character, natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Site and setting from inappropriate development.
Retrospective planning permission is wholly inadequate to deliver these policies for three key reasons:
1 There is not enough information provided about the nature of the structure and how it is anchored and supported. A proper assessment of its impacts on the WHS is impossible based on this application.
2 Retrospective permission does not allow for the mitigation of impacts within the design process.
3 There is no evidence that alternative approaches that provide similar benefits to the holiday park’s users whilst protecting the natural environment have been considered.
National Planning Policy provides World Heritage Sites with the highest level of protection (see NPPF paragraphs 184 and 194). The long operation and high rating of the holiday park does not excuse the applicant from following proper planning procedures.
If the applicant had followed normal planning procedure, we would have had the chance to comment early on the design, suggest alternatives if necessary or, if deemed to be appropriate development, recommended suitable consent conditions.
Protection of the World Heritage Site relies on the planning system to deliver these opportunities.
We strongly recommend that East Devon District Council refuse this application.”