Minutes of Parish Council Meeting held at Whitestone Parish Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday 13th May 2021.
Attendance: Councillors Belt, Bryant, Dyer, Evans, Galton, Lee, Llewelyn, Miles, Smith.
District Councillor A Swain
Mrs P Vaughan – Clerk to the Council
Mr T Bedford, Mr S Gibbons.
Apologies: County Councillor A Connett.
Councillor Linda Fairley – apologies on medical grounds.
No public participation.
Cllr T Miles retiring Chair, declared the meeting open and called for nominations for Chair for the coming year.
33.1 Election of Chair
Councillor T Miles was proposed by Cllr Bryant and seconded by Cllr Lee. All in favour.
Councillor Miles was thereby elected and signed her declaration of office as Chair and called for nominations for the following:-
33.2 Election of Vice Chair
Councillor Fairley was proposed by Cllr Belt and seconded by Cllr Llewelyn. All in favour.
Election of officers for 2021/22 took place as follows:-
33.3 Asset Group
Councillor Belt was proposed by Cllr Miles and seconded by Cllr Evans
Councillor Dyer was proposed by Cllr Smith and seconded by Cllr Miles
Councillor Galton was proposed by Cllr Evans and seconded by Cllr Dyer
Councillor Miles was proposed by Cllr Llewelyn and seconded by Cllr Lee
33.4 Footpath Warden
Councillor Bryant was proposed by Cllr Belt and seconded by Cllr Galton. All in favour.
33.5 Church House Foundation Member
Councillor Llewelyn was proposed by Cllr Belt and seconded by Cllr Miles. All in favour
33.6 Crossway Park Officer
Councillor Fairley was proposed by Cllr Miles and seconded by Cllr Lee. All in favour.
33.7 Parish Hall Liaison Member
Councillor Belt was proposed by Cllr Miles and seconded by Cllr Llewelyn. All in favour.
33.8 Parish Hall Committee
Proposed by Cllr Smith and seconded by Cllr Galton that Councillors Lee, Belt, Bryant and Miles be elected en bloc. All in favour.
33.9 Liaison with Lengthsman
Councillor Belt was proposed by Cllr Miles and seconded by Cllr Dyer. All in favour
33.10 Responsible Financial Officer
Mrs P Vaughan proposed by Cllr Miles and seconded by Cllr Belt. All in favour.
33.11 Internal Independent Auditor
Mr R Cox. All in favour
District Councillor Swain reported said that Devon County will be appointing new committees over the next months and reported apologies from Councillor Connett. He personally had been helping with measures to decarbonise Forde House. With regard to Crossway parking he is still awaiting replies. Cllr Belt asked if he had any news regarding the Rural Aid and he said that he thought it unlikely that this would be reinstated.
36.1 21/00694/FUL Use of land for glamping comprising six cabins, two utility buildings and pitching area for tents with associated access and parking at Chants Cottage, Heath Cross.
Response:- This application has been reviewed carefully by Whitestone Parish Council, and the views in this response are unanimous. The Parish Council of Tedburn St Mary has made additional comments about the planning application 21/00694/FUL as although the application is about land in Whitestone Parish, the land is on the edge of the parish, the access road forms the boundary with Tedburn St Mary Parish on the other side of the road, and to the west the road runs through Tedburn St Mary Village.
Both Parish Councils wish to point out the applicant has apparently tried to bypass planning permission, and has already commenced significant landscape changes without permission. Several concerned residents have made contact asking what was going on after being alarmed and noting there was no planning publicity notice visible at the site (although this was eventually rectified). Both Whitestone and Tedburn Parish Councils are also concerned that the proper procedure for public consultation has not been adhered to, and the initial lack of site notices means that it is not clear when public consultation actually legally started.
The Site is located within the setting of Chants Cottage, a grade II listed building and is within an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV), specifically within the Exeter Culm Slopes Character Area. In principle, the application tries to claim that it is sustainable development and sustainable transport but then clearly admits and contradicts itself in its own planning statement in 4.5.12where it clearly states that the site location is car dependent; it is located in a rural location with a poor quality highway network with a minimal number of buses per day through the village and the latest arriving back to Whitestone late afternoon, no public transport on Sundays.
There are no facilities locally and the nearest shops are definitely not walkable or even cyclable, (unless a keen seasoned rider). Pathfinder Village Stores are 1.1/2 miles down Heath Lane which is extremely steep with blind bends and in a very bad condition, NOT WALKABLE. The trip to Tedburn Stores the other way would be 2 miles along a road with hills and bends, no pavements or street lighting at all, NOT WALKABLE.
It cannot claim to be sustainable and policy compliant using these reasons, as it is not. In the Table 5.1 Principle of new tourism use – The requirements of Policy S12 has been answered completely falsely as per stated above, the correct answers should be:
b)The Site is NOT within reasonable walking or cycling distance of Tedburn St Mary and is not directly connected to the strategic road network of the A30 but travelling down through rural roads can reach the A30.
c 6 Glamping Pods, Utility Block and Kitchen Block and an unquantified number of tent camping pitches with parking is considered intensive for this small site and the number of additional journeys constantly in and out of the site, it certainly is NOT within a reasonable walking or cycling distance of Tedburn St Mary as claimed.
d) The Site is within the setting of a Grade II Listed Building and is in an Area of Great Landscape Value. A camp site here would NOT be sympathetic to the rural character and historic setting of The Site and surrounding locality, it will create added noise and air pollution and increased traffic.
Whitestone Parish Council Objection
e) The proposal will NOT contribute to the maintenance of the associated Grade II listed building as mature hedgerow has already been removed and pathways now scarred into the landscape. A biodiversity loss has already occurred.
Policy S9 states that the impact of new development should be designed to promote cycling and walking as transport modes of choice, minimising dependence on cars. This site is car dependent. In section 5.1.3 of the Planning Statement it states; “The scheme complies with national policy, the Local Plan and emerging development plan as it would; provide safe and suitable access and promote carbon friendly, healthy transport modes”. This statement is completely false.
Tedburn Parish Council also wishes to state that they are very concerned that although there is a quoted number of cabins, there is no quota for the number of tents/camping pitches. The Parish Council is concerned about increased traffic through the village and has very serious concerns about parking spilling on to the road. The Council points out that the road is narrow, and while two cars can pass on most of the road, cars cannot easily pass if they meet a lorry or bus, and parking on the road would be dangerous.
Whitestone Parish Council wishes to point out that In section 4.3.7 of the Planning Statement it states - All glamping and camping (including associated parking and access) would be positioned reasonably tightly against existing field boundaries, which includes mature hedgerows and sections of tree coverage which help to screen the development from public views (see Landscape Impact in the Heritage Statement). This contradicts the Ecology Statement which recommends that; - To avoid impacts, southern and western hedgerows will be buffered by 15m from the glamping cabins and sensitive lighting will be implemented across the Site. Hedgerows will be buffered by 5m from utility cabins and no windows or doors will be present on eastern elevations (which face hedgerows) to avoid light spill being directed towards hedgerows. This will have a definite squeezing effect on the spacing and not provide the individual privacy as claimed.
The property itself is a heritage thatched cottage and highly vulnerable to fire risk, this proposal threatens the property with 6 log burners in close vicinity and no doubt open barbecues in both the camping and glamping sections. Amongst other attributes the historic listing states; “The roof construction of Chants Cottage is particularly interesting historically,” therefore must be protected. In the Planning Statement section 4.4.2 Quality development and design it states; “Provide holiday accommodation suitable to all demographics”. This is untrue, the design in drawing 2017-PL.1.8 clearly shows a cabin with one sleeping area on the mezzanine floor accessed only via a 6 rung ladder, this would not be suitable for older guests, disabled guests or families, therefore not inclusive.
In the Heritage & Landscape statement Section 5.6 – It claims that; “The development will not be seen from public views”, and illustrates a photo from Heath Lane, this is untrue as it is completely visible from Heath Lane and clearly highlights the removal of the established hedgerow in the application photo and is dominated by the new striking pathways already scarred into the landscape and the tent pitching area already defined.
In the planning statement section 4.3.8 it states; “In this regard it is clear the proposal has respected and drawn inspiration from the local historic environment and been sympathetic to landscape character in accordance with Policies EN2A and EN5”. It is evidenced here that neither heritage nor landscape have been respected, or will be conserved or enhanced.It states in the application form that drainage is by way of a sustainable drainage system (SuDs), the National Planning Policy Framework (2012) states that developments should give priority to the use of SuDs in order to ensure that surface water flood risk is not increased. All planning applications must be accompanied by a surface water drainage management plan which addresses water volume, water quality, visual amenity and biodiversity issues. The proposal mentions green roofs for the utility blocks but not how the surface water will be managed, no details of rainwater harvesting systems or reuse on site. There are no eco credentials associated with this plan, solar panels or heat pump systems. Water usage in the toilets, shower block and kitchen areas and the adequate disposal of waste water and sewage are also not mentioned at all. There are also risks of run-off impacting neighbouring properties. Tedburn Parish Council is additionally concerned that there is no real detail of sewage disposal and foul run off especially as the number of tents /camping pitches is unspecified.
The Ecology report has not taken into the account that mature hedgerow has already been ripped out and removed to open up the site which undoubtedly would have housed an abundance of wildlife and been a natural wildlife corridor cross the site so there is already a biodiversity loss.
The suggestion that it is more acceptable to pollute Whitestone locally with the carbon output than holidaying abroad is completely unacceptable as Whitestone has declared a Climate Emergency and is actively encouraging local residents to reduce their carbon footprint. Even though Tourism is encouraged to improve the local economy, and in the main would be mostly supported however in this case it cannot be at the expense of increased localised; air pollution, noise pollution, traffic, harm to the landscape and heritage setting and natural wildlife. The proposal is claiming to be policy compliant which evidently it is not and there is significant weighting against this proposal.
We strongly request a landscape officer report and a heritage officer report.
This application is not supported and should be refused.
36.2 21/00728/VAR Removal of condition f on planning permission 5/5/2655/471 relating to agricultural occupancy at Furze Park, Tedburn St Mary.
Response: The application 21/00728/VAR at Furze Park, Tedburn St. Mary, Devon EX6 6AZ has been discussed and considered by Whitestone Parish Council. The majority of councillors object with some reservations.
This application is for the removal of condition f on planning permission 5/5/2655/47/1 relating to agricultural occupancy. Permission was granted for the bungalow to be built for an agricultural worker in 1979 but the present occupiers feel this agricultural occupancy condition has outlived its usefulness and should be removed.
Agricultural Tied Occupancy Conditions are planning conditions that have been applied to properties since they were built and restrict the occupation of the dwelling. They are normally imposed on properties that would not otherwise have been granted planning permission and are often situated in picturesque settings with large plot sizes where at the time it was proven that there was an essential need for an agricultural or forestry worker to live on the site. There would be no permitted development rights with a tied property as they would be removed thus preventing any extensions or alterations to the property.
As the condition restricts who can live in the dwelling the Tie will have a significant impact on the value, often reducing the market value price for the specific purpose being for it to be offered to qualifying individuals in an area where affordable housing is required.
A consistent approach needs to be maintained by the Parish regarding applications to lift an agricultural tie otherwise it provides the applicant with huge benefit outside of the intention:
MARKET VALUE – Occupancy conditions can reduce the value of a property by as much as 40%, so removal of the Tie will unlock a significant amount of value.
LENDING – There are far fewer lenders around willing to advance a mortgage on a tied property so by removing the tie you have more lenders to choose from and better rates.
OCCUPATION – by removing the Tie anyone can live in the property regardless of their occupation and in removing rather than regularising the Tie there is no risk of it being reactivated if a qualifying occupier such as a farm worker were to move in.
SALE – the market for the property will be opened up significantly. Without the Tie anyone can live there, regardless of what they do for a living therefore providing more potential buyers.
EXTENSIONS – extending an agriculturally tied dwelling is not easy as the permitted development rights will have been removed and any proposed extension will need to be justified by an increase in the profitability of the holding. If the Tie is removed extending the property would be far easier and the Council would consider it to be a conventional residential property.
REPLACEMENT DWELLING – Dwellings with an Agricultural Tie are often situated in picturesque settings with large plot sizes. Once the Tie is removed it is possible to apply for a replacement dwelling with all usual permitted development rights therefore it is often possible to obtain a significantly larger dwelling, contrary to the original intention.
The present occupiers were fully aware of the Agricultural Tie when they moved into Furze Park and have been in breach of the occupancy condition for ten years as mentioned in the Agents letter written on behalf of the applicant and in The Planning Statement (5.3 and 5.4). The land at this site was originally larger but is still suitable for “80 breeding ewes plus lambs or 14 sucker cows plus calf” for example. It could be argued that this property with its Agricultural Tie would be an affordable dwelling to someone wishing to run a small scale farming enterprise or small holding. Removing the Agricultural Tie would prevent such a person being able to afford to purchase such a property once on the open property market.
Whitestone Parish Council have sought comments from Tedburn St. Mary Parish Council as Furze Park is a property that has a Tedburn St. Mary postal address. The Tedburn St. Mary Parish Council discussed this application at their last council meeting on 6th April 2021 and felt that Agricultural Ties are put in place to allow those involved in agricultural work access to affordable housing. The original Tie was put in place for the occupants and their descendants and if this still applies then the Tie should continue. The presence of a two tier market was also discussed whereby dwellings with an Agricultural Tie are cheaper to purchase for those who work in agriculture however if the Tie is removed the market price increases when the property is sold on the open market. Concern was expressed that if the Tie was lifted it sets a precedent. The Tedburn St. Mary Parish Council in conclusion oppose the lifting of the Tie but acknowledge that Teignbridge District Council would look into the legalities fully and base their decision on that.
In conclusion Whitestone Parish Council on balance also object to the lifting of the Agricultural Tie on the property known as Furze Park.
36.3 21/00736/NPA Application for a Prior Approval under Part 3 Class Q (a) and (b) and paragraph W of the GDPO change of use of agricultural building to a dwelling at The Hen House, West Town Farm.
Response:- Whitestone Parish Council do not support this application as it is not felt that it is compliant with Class Q criteria and in addition there are considerable changes since 2018 that are highlighted below.
The current application states that it is a repeat of a prior approval, 18/01627/NPA, which was approved in October 2018 for conversion under Class Q (a and b). The applicant has reported that the project has not commenced and will not be complete before the expiry of the 3 year term and permission will lapse.
The Parish Council note the following concerns:
1) In the letter from Stags, the applicant confirms that there have been no material changes in circumstances since the time of the last application in 2018 however that is not true as the first major change is in fact the ownership of the West Town Farmhouse (Grade II Listed Building) which has changed hands and the Block Plan / Site Location Plan submitted under this application is demonstrably wrong and is no longer valid. The applicant for this application does in fact remain the same as she did retain this particular parcel of land with the extant Class Q permission which has been offered for sale on the open market ever since, however to meet the criteria of Class Q the building must be in sole agricultural use and be part of a registered agricultural holding, as far as we can ascertain West Town Farm has not been a working farm for several decades including under the previous ownership and it is not a registered agricultural holding therefore it fails to meet the criteria. In legal terms, it is also questioned whether the building is classed as an agricultural building once sold off to a developer and therefore whether Class Q permission is applicable.
We have also been advised that the current owners of West Town Farm were not notified of this planning application at all when there is a planning obligation under public consultation to do so and this clearly indicates that there was a deliberate intention by the applicant not to draw attention to this important fact that the ownership had changed. It is also confirmed by the owners that this existing poultry shed is fully visible from the Grade II listed farmhouse and it is claimed that an additional dwelling on this site will significantly adversely affect the; visual amenity with light pollution, privacy and tranquillity of the area.
2) Furthermore another important material change has occurred in respect to the planning approval of a landfill at Lower Hare Farm which is located to the north of this site and will also make the Stephen Heathcote surveying document submitted in 2018 invalid as the potential at Lower Hare Farm when operational will create significant; noise, air and dust pollution. There are also (unconfirmed) reports of suspected contaminated land at Lower Hare Farm which has yet to be tested for the production of an ‘Operators Licence’ and is locally suspected to be historically contaminated beneath the proposed landfill area and could have the potential to have leached / or to leach when disturbed through the ground to this site.
3) Stags have also claimed that there were no changes to regulations affecting Class Q since 2018 and that; "neither the legislative framework, or case law, has evolved in any material way since the previous decision", which is in fact technically incorrect as there has been an amendment to the Permitted Regulations in 2020 affecting Class Q applications. This specifically relates to Regulation 12 and Regulation 18 respectively. Also the latest change which relates to Minimum Floor Area Requirements which came into effect on the 6th April 2021, although Stags advice to Class Q applicants is to apply before the date of this change, hence the submission of this application on the 26th March 2021. This fact is evidenced by an online publication by (Stags - Changes to the current planning system explained...Alister Smith December 2020).
4) Air Quality. The most important change however is the planning permission given to the landfill at Lower Hare Farm which is directly to the north of this site and it is highly likely that it would affect the amenity of any proposed new habitable dwelling on this site and could affect the air quality of any intended occupiers by significant new industrial operations with the release of PM10 and PM2.5 particulates.
5) Noise assessment The previous assessment will no longer be valid due to the potential landfill operations.
6) Highways Impact In line with the previous WPC response, concerns are raised specifically in respect to the landfill due to the significant number of additional fast travelling HGV vehicles using the C50 (60MPH road) travelling past the entrance to and from the landfill site, therefore accessing and exiting Hare Lane, which is in fact a designated Bridlepath No.14 will be considerably more hazardous. Although Hare Lane is already used to access the existing dwellings, additional vehicle usage to a new dwelling should not have been supported. The grass access track to this site also provides a retained right of way with or without vehicles at all times and for all purposes for the owners of the West Town Farmhouse to reach their paddock area which is located directly behind the poultry shed, and there does not appear to be any such designation as the “Old Green Lane”. The tarmac area at the entrance to this track is a vital “keep clear” turning area for visiting and delivery vehicles to the existing properties.
7) Habitat Due to the length of time that has elapsed since the approval of the initial application we strongly request the undertaking of a full ecological and wildlife survey, in particular for the presence of bats in the barn, prior to any further decision and/or commencement of works.
8) Design and Lighting Refusal of a Class Q development can be made on the grounds of it being ‘impractical or undesirable’ due to its location and/or siting and most importantly to show the impact on the landscape and ecology. The new Class Q regulations states that the prior approval procedure for development relates to natural light being available to all habitable rooms and that the local planning authority must refuse prior approval if adequate natural light is not provided in all habitable rooms in the proposed development.
The design proposed with the application is shown and the current internal view photo clearly illustrates that currently there are no windows or openings or roof lights on the north elevation and for good reason because it borders the veteran hedgerow behind in very close proximity and it is not recommended by ecologists to have any light spill from a dwelling onto a hedgerow let alone this amount which introduces 5 additional new windows on the rear of the dwelling plus one additional rooflight on the rear roof elevation. There are also 2 additional window openings in the east elevation and 2 additional windows in the west elevation. All of these openings will cause massive light spill which will disturb the natural wildlife habitats, nesting places, unsettle the wildlife corridor or potential bat foraging hedgerow or even disrupt a bat flight path. To successfully provide natural light to all habitable rooms it would have been essential to create all of these additional openings and it can easily be demonstrated that in doing so it will allow all of these windows, doors and rooflights to light up the whole area like Blackpool illuminations and the West Town Farmhouse will be looking directly down onto this site and it would inevitably severely affect their visual amenity with light pollution and cause intolerable nuisance. How has this been accounted for, it clearly falls under the category of “undesirable” for many reasons as explained. Considering there are no existing services connected to the barn or land, the introduction of light pollution on this scale is wholly unacceptable.
9) Construction and Curtilage Conversion under Class Q only allows for minimal changes and must not significantly change the structure or character of the building from its existing form and does not allow any new structural changes such as new foundations or load bearing floor slabs. Furthermore it does not allow for any external fittings such as flue pipes etc through the roof either as any external fittings must be flush. Any changes must not lead to an increase in the external size of the building and all improvements such as insulation and structure must be internal and it is noted that there is no historic first floor in this structure. It is only acceptable to install or replace windows, doors, the roof fabric, exterior walls, water, drainage, and utility services to the extent that they are ‘reasonably necessary’ and so long as the structural integrity is strong enough to take the load of the conversion for the building to be used as a home.
The permitted residential curtilage under Class Q is small and cannot be any larger than the footprint of the building and it must also include any planned sewage treatment plant within this area. The permitted curtilage is not clear on this parcel of land as it does not appear to have been clearly defined in this application. This application under Class Q does not allow for any further development of the land as there would be no permitted rights.
The report that states that there is an effluent discharge permit is also incorrect as that belongs to West Town Farmhouse and has nothing to do with this site.
It is also noted that the barn roof is constructed of Asbestos Cement Sheeting therefore the hazards, risks and legal obligations identified with the removal of asbestos enforced by the Health and Safety Executive need to be identified and reviewed and if minded to approve would require a condition to dispose of responsibly with an authorised licensed contractor.
10) Flooding Circumstances have changed since the original application again due to the approved Landfill site directly north of this proposed development. This property sits below the new Lower Hare Farm landfill site and could be at risk from flooding or landslide from the 3 additional ponds that are proposed to be built on the landfill site, a survey was commissioned by the current owners of West Town Farm which was undertaken by Horizon Consulting Engineers (copy attached) which suggests a potential risk of flood should a breach of one of these proposed ponds occur. This was not available in 2018 when the original application was considered and now supersedes the Groundsure Enviro Insight report. In addition to that we have been advised that the concrete pipe culvert that throttles flows along the section of the Alphinbrook past this parcel of land is inadequate and following any bouts of heavy rainfall the water level rises rapidly and overflows into the hen house field.
In conclusion Whitestone Parish Council repeat our concerns that further development would significantly increase the risk accessing and exiting the busy C50. It is also suggested that a full structural survey is completed to check that the building would be suitable for a habitable conversion and that it is considered whether the existing internal spaces are enough to contain the living spaces as suggested. It is strongly felt that the proposed newly introduced light pollution is not in harmony with the countryside at this location and would cause an unacceptable level of disturbance to the nocturnal habits of bats and all creatures living in the established hedgerows. This would also cause considerable nuisance to the neighbouring properties and is therefore deemed an undesirable development and prior approval should be refused.
There have been major material changes in circumstances which also includes the legislative framework which would need due consideration and most importantly the adverse effects of the planning approval at Lower Hare Farm landfill which is quite significant and requires that this application is considered differently in regards to these potential effects on this development site and prospective occupiers.
It is also suggested that even though the applicant obtained prior approval previously under Class Q, West Town Farm was not an agricultural holding at the time and furthermore when the land and barn are sold to a potential purchaser for development, there will be no prior approval under Class Q because the building no longer qualifies as an agricultural building and is not part of an agricultural holding, therefore the criteria for Class Q fails to be met.
36.3 21/00554/FUL Construction of two hardstanding areas with excavation and drainage works, upgrade to existing access track with fencing at Oakhay, Tedburn Road.
Response:- The application is for the construction of two hardstanding areas with excavation and drainage works and an upgrade to existing access track with fencing.
Whitestone Parish Council has considered this application and is happy to support it.
It is important that the land and unusable access path which are currently unsuitable for horses be improved for the well-being of the horses. We note that there is no alteration to residential units, rights of way or parking. Although no biodiversity or geological issues have been raised it is noted that there are trees or hedges on the proposed area so we would request a wildlife survey be done and that no work should be carried out in nesting season.
36.4 20/02274/LBC Replace LPG with valiant AroTherm plus 7Kw Air to water heat pump at West Town Farm, The Barn, Tedburn Road. No documents provided.
36.5 20/02318/FUL Office building with residential dwelling at lower ground floor level at Cross Park Farm, Heath Cross
Response:- Whitestone Parish Council reviewed this application and unanimously object due to the following reasons:
This application proposes the change of use of the previously consented office building within the site of D&F Supercranes, Whitestone to a mixed use of residential and office space in a location classified as a civil engineering business use. This site is a Civil Engineering Business and its primary function is the storage and maintenance of civil engineering plant and equipment and agricultural machinery. The site is located outside of any settlement boundary and in designated countryside and in an area of great landscape value (AGLV) where residential development is strictly controlled. The planning permission granted under 19/01872/FUL was granted for business use only.
This site has quite a chequered planning history of applications, enforcement notices and appeals and it is often reported by residents with questions on what is happening on the site.
For example Planning Application 07/01897/FUL resulted in agreeing the re-siting of the roadside entrance and the existing original site entrance had to be permanently closed off and hedging and planting along the front. There is a clear breach of planning as now there appears to be two wide concrete entrances on the roadside, which opened up last summer, which do not have planning permission and look extremely unsightly for a rural location as all mature trees and planting seem to have completely disappeared.
The appearance of the site is incongruous with the rural character of the area and is completely industrial in appearance and is clearly visible from several viewpoints across the valley even more so since the hedgebank south of the site, imposed under planning 11/03797 has been demolished.
The planning statement claims that it is necessary for the applicant to consolidate both the business and his living arrangements in order to remain financially viable. To this end, it is proposed to change the use of the lower ground floor of the office block and training building to residential use for the applicant and his family to reside in. The ground floor will remain in office use.
A photograph taken from a highly visible viewpoint on Heath Lane on the 14th April 2021 showed what appeared to be only the construction of a steel portal frame, and it has also been suggested that some subterranean works may have been carried out which would be particularly worrisome considering the southern edge of the site is built-up ground.
Bearing in mind the fact that this application was lodged on the 10th December 2020 and has only now been presented for consultee comment, the build could have been halted at any time before or after that date or in fact an amended planning application submitted to reduce the size of the build as clearly it is no longer required for the business and especially if the applicant was under financial pressures.
The planning statement indicated that the build was nearing completion last December but clearly it was not and should not be completed other than for the pre-determined business use. Otherwise it is considered that it should either be dismantled or an amended smaller proposal be submitted if additional office space is actually required and the tree and hedging screening to the site front and back be reinstated.
The mixed class use of a Civil Engineering Heavy Plant & Machinery Business and residential family accommodation would not be acceptable with movement of vehicles, heavy plant and machinery on site and there would be health & safety implications to consider. A new build dwelling (which effectively this would be) would not be permitted under Policy S22. There are no local facilities within a short distance either in Whitestone or Tedburn St Mary as claimed and therefore the site is totally car dependent and would not represent fewer vehicle trips per day but would generate more, therefore not a sustainable location for a new residential dwelling.
Previously the site was secured at night with large gates and a CCTV system in operation but clearly now the applicant has ripped out all boundary fencing and hedging both north and south of the site leaving it wide open and at risk of break-in due to his own actions. This new breach of previous planning does not give any reason to warrant a full time resident night watchman where other robust security measures could be put in place, in contrast, however allowing permanent residents to live on site would cause intensified light pollution across the valley affecting the nocturnal habits of wildlife and bats and inevitable increase noise from an otherwise silent yard at night.
In conclusion the proposal is not supported for the reasons mentioned and Whitestone Parish Council object to the application for a mixed class (residential) use on this site as being contrary to both local plan policy and the Whitestone Parish Plan.
We request that the Planning Officer and Landscape Officer visit the site at your earliest convenience.
Even though we strongly oppose the application as unsuitable and refusal is preferred, in the event that TDC were minded to approve, it would be reasonable to impose strict conditions and if allowed additionally suggest that any permission is withdrawn in the event of any planning breach.
On that basis it is suggested to include the following condition which can never be removed or changed
36.6 21/00905/FUL Dwelling to replace existing agricultural building at Styles Barton Meadow, Whitestone.
Response:- The application 21/00905/FUL at Styles Barton Meadow, Whitestone EX4 2JJ has been discussed and considered by Whitestone Parish Council.
This application is for one dwelling to replace an existing agricultural building. Class Q approval was granted last year (20/00074/NPA) for the change of use of the agricultural building into two dwellings. The new application 21/00905/FUL seeks permission for the demolition of the existing agricultural building and to build one totally new building within its footprint.
There still is a strong opinion held by the Parish Council that this site is in danger of becoming over developed especially when considered alongside the current application submitted from the applicant’s neighbours at Styles Barton Farm for similar development 21/00735/NPA. Any additional development in this area of the parish will generate extra traffic accessing the highway at a potentially dangerous spot close to where the speed limit changes from 60mph to 30mph.
The new build should be far superior than could be achieved through conversion of the existing agricultural building in terms of design and high quality materials used. However the new build still needs to retain some agricultural characteristics so as to blend seamlessly in its AGLV and agricultural setting. The building of such a dwelling does of course result in a more valuable home in a rural area than a barn conversion would be on the open market. Despite these reservations the Parish Council prefer that there is one dwelling rather than two being proposed.
We are pleased that many of the concerns we raised within the applicant's previous planning application 20/01803/FUL have been incorporated and considered in this new application that relate to low carbon and energy efficient features as well as a detailed planting scheme.
If Teignbridge District Council are minded to approve we would recommend that conditions are specified relating to biodiversity and that they are adhered to and that the existing corrugated fibre cement roofing, if asbestos, to be removed by specialists. We would also recommend that there are conditions made relating to the proposed planting scheme and that it is followed as specified
36.7 21/00735/NPA Styles Barton Farm, Whitestone, Devon, EX4 2JJ
Application for a Prior Approval under Part 3 Class Q (a) and (b) and paragraph W of the GDPO
change of use of agricultural building to a dwelling
Response:- Whitestone Parish Council have reviewed and considered this Class Q application for the conversion of an agricultural building at Styles Barton Farm into a residential dwelling. This application seeks to renew the Class Q approval previously approved in May 2018 under reference 18/00644/NPA. The barn is known as Cider Barn and is positioned adjacent to Bull Pen Barn which also benefits from extant Full planning permission for the demolition of this existing building and the erection of two architecturally designed dwellings under reference 20/02107/FUL.
This Class Q conversion is offering a very small dwelling and as such a very small curtilage which includes a parking space. There are no measurements noted on the drawings so we do not know whether it will meet the minimum size standards for the rooms. The structural report indicates that the structural integrity should be sufficient to accommodate the conversion and suggests that it would need lightweight windows and doors and the roof loading to be minimal, however it does appear to be substantially built of brickwork. It is also not clear how the residential amenity and privacy will be affected to the Cider Barn as a dwelling with the re-orientation of the other new build under (20/02107/FUL) as there is a significant increase in the number of windows overlooking the northern aspect of the adjacent plot from both new houses which would result in a major increase in window area and overlooking especially in respect to the close proximity of buildings. The possible light spill onto this plot could affect the privacy of any prospective residents and this should be considered as a change to the original application.
It is noted that development in this rural location would otherwise be strictly controlled under Policy S22 as designated countryside within an AGLV. As our previous responses have mentioned we are concerned regarding the over development of this area with multiple barn conversions being undertaken between this property and the neighbouring property Styles Barton Meadow and how this will affect the residential amenity of other neighbouring properties or the area as it is stated that these are working farms and presumably this will continue. It is an assumption that operations have been scaled down to create a number of redundant barns and it would not be expected that these barns would be replaced elsewhere.
36.8 21/00472/FUL Fodder, Bedding and machinery store at Glebe Farm.
Response:- Whitestone Parish Council have considered the application and all the documents provided and support this proposal but would like to raise the following points if TDC are minded to approve:
1. The close proximity of the proposed lean-to and hard standing to the existing hedge/bank on the south side could have an adverse effect on the hedge growth and root systems. An ecological/biodiversity report would clarify any issues and how to avoid any damage to the hedgerow.
2. Light pollution should be avoided. It is a good point that no external lighting or spot lights have been proposed in the application and this should be adhered to. Ideally, we propose that a condition is included in the planning decision to reflect this if minded to approve.
3. The adjacent hedgerow and grass verges around the entrance and on the opposite side of the road are rich wildflower and wildlife biodiverse environments. These should be protected from any vehicular damage during the construction process and from future damage due to delivery vehicles and horse transport, as well as any run off from the yard.
4. To help maintain the locally rich biodiverse environment and counter any disturbance caused by the new building we would encourage incorporating bat boxes and bird/nest boxes in the lean-to.
5. It is considered that the visual and landscape impact of the proposed development would be an enhancement on the current situation and would provide a far better harmonious relationship with the existing building than the unsightly blue container and stacked pallets.
In conclusion, we support the application to help the equestrian centre store food and bedding in a clean, dry and healthy environment for the stock but would encourage reviewing any biodiversity/ecological impact
36.9 21/00811/LBC Remove cemented and lime render to external walls and repair areas with lime putty and install new lime render with a lime paint and remove concrete slab and install French drains at Chants Cottage, Heath Cross.
Response:- Parish Council have considered this proposal for renovation of a Listed Property to remove old render and apply new lime rendering, and to install French drains around the perimeter of the property in order to divert underground water away from beneath the building. This renovation of the heritage property is fully supported as it’s aim is to conserve and protect the Grade II listed building.
Please note however that our objection to the Glamping/Camping site in the grounds remain
36.10 21/00967/NPA Application for a Prior Approval under Part 3 Class Q (a) and (b) and paragraph W of the GDPO change of use of agricultural building to a dwelling at Poole Farm, Tedburn St Mary.
Response:- This application has been reviewed by Whitestone Parish Council and appears to meet most of the criteria required to satisfy Class Q planning to convert the barn into a 2-bedroom dwelling. It is an agricultural holding and the proposal is to create an additional dwelling close to other dwellings. It would not be in an isolated location. Utility services would be close to hand and it can be easily accessed from the highway. The size of the curtilage is however not mentioned, although must be no larger than the building itself.
This conversion, albeit in close proximity to existing properties, would not hugely adversely affect their amenity so would not be considered highly undesirable in this location, although there are some concerns about overdevelopment in this area.
The report also states that a structural appraisal has confirmed that the structure is sufficiently loadbearing to convert to a dwelling. It also notes that the barn roof is constructed of fibre cement sheeting but does not clarify whether this is in fact asbestos sheeting. If so, its safe removal should be a condition of approval.
Transport links are acceptable including some limited access to public transport. Some travel on foot is feasible (although the local footpath is not continuous, thus presenting some degree of hazard). Both during construction and after adding another dwelling, there would be increased traffic on local roads and highways, although the splay is acceptable. There appear to be few risks regarding contamination or flooding on the site.
The application is however incomplete in that additional information is now required under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order (GPDO) 2015 SCHEDULE 2 PART 3 Class Q amendments, which came into force in 2020 and the latest change on the 6th April 2021. The plans submitted are not compliant as they do not include any details to illustrate room sizes, so it is not possible to assess if they meet minimum space standards. Nor does it include window openings to show compliance with the natural light requirement.
The Council would also like to point to the absence of any ecological report, despite the likelihood that the construction of a dwelling from an agricultural building would have an adverse impact on biodiversity. Lighting impacts on wildlife need to be assessed and mitigation put in place. A report and proposed mitigation plan should be provided prior to permission being granted.
The application is therefore supported in principle, but the additional information must be provided to be assessed under the current Class Q requirements before permission is granted.
36.11 Variation of Condition following grant of Conditional Planning Permission
21/00546/VAR Variation of condition 2 on planning permission 20/01443/Ful (Two storey side extension) to amend the approved design at Royal Oak, Nadderwater.
36.12 Grant of Conditional Planning Permission
21/00061/FUL Solar PV array to be sited on the barn roof and a polytunnel on land adjacent to Old Chapel.
36.13 Application withdraw
21/00440/OUT Outline dwelling (all matters reserved for future consideration) at Higher Rowhorne, Rowhorne Road.
36.14 Refusal of Request for Prior Approval
21/00422/NPA Application for Prior Approval under Part 3 Class Q (a) and (b) paragraph W of the GDPO for change of use of two agricultural buildings into two residential dwellings at Hackworthy Farm, Hackworthy Lane.
37.1 Review of DCC Lower Hare Farm – Judicial Review – payment of invoice to Richard Buxton Solicitors. Cllr Miles proposed the sending of a letter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority raising issues in regards to the Devon County Council’s Solicitor’s response as we were unhappy with the responses received and lack of thorough internal investigation. There would be no financial implications to the Parish Council. All agreed.
Cllr Evans reported that together with Cllr Galton they had investigated proposed sites and these had been reported to Devon County Council and we are waiting confirmation that they are acceptable.
This is still being investigated.
This small group was formed in early 2021 when Whitestone Parish Council voted to declare a Climate Emergency and to collaborate with Action on Climate Teignbridge (ACT) Councillors Llewelyn, Fairley and Galton have met via Zoom on several occasions to discuss future actions and were joined on one occasion by Fuad Al-Tawil from ACT. Given the pandemic it was decided to wait until the Parish Hall was open before implementing some of our initiatives, but in the meantime we have recruited some volunteers from the Parish to join the group, and we have a piece prepared for the Parish Newsletter and social media. There is scope for numerous activities (for example we are producing local information designed to assist residents in making choices to reduce food miles and waste). And we are seeking support for these actions from local resident, which will also help to focus our future actions.
Cllr Miles reported that she had attended training on Chairing Council Meetings and she and Cllr Evans would be attending some training on responding to planning applications.
39.1 Parish Council accounts for year ended 31st March 2021
The Clerk reported completion of the accounts/balance sheet for the year ended 31st March 2021. The closing balance at Nat West Bank at the year end is:-
Business Reserve A/c 1
Business Reserve A/c 2
39.2 Annual Audit for 2020/2021
The Annual Audit Governance statement for 2020/21 having been circulated to Councillors was presented to the meeting for authorisation and agreed for presentation and was duly signed by Cllr Miles as Chair and the Clerk in her role as Responsible Financial Officer.
39.3 The Annual Audit Accounting Statements were presented to the meeting for authorisation and it was resolved by the Council that this was approved and signed by Cllr Miles as Chair and the Clerk in her role as Responsible Financial Officer. All necessary documents and paperwork will now be examined for an internal audit which will be completed by Mr R Cox.
Authorisation for continuation of Grants to:-
39.4 Parochial Church Council (for inclusion of minutes in the Church Magazine). Following discussion it was proposed and seconded that this should be increased to £175.00 (cheque no 567)
39.5 Whitestone Gardening Club for tending the Community Garden adjoining Crossway Park. Following discussion it was proposed and seconded that this should be £100. (cheque no 568)
39.6 1 School Houses rent/insurance to 30th May 2021 £750.00 - £102.00 (includes £17.00 VAT) = £648.00.
39.7 2 School Houses rent/insurance to 1st June 2021 £825.00 - £109.20 (includes £18.20 VAT) = £715.80
39.8 Teignbridge District Council (Half year Precept) £3,050.00
39.9 Mr L Blades £387.15 (cheque no 569)
39.10 Krystal Hosting Ltd £9.59 (includes £1.60 VAT) – Domain renewal for Whitestone Website (cheque no 570)
39.11 Came and Company – Annual Insurance renewal for 2021 to 2022 £1,550.77 (cheque no 571
39.12 Richard Buxton £1,800 (includes £300.00 VAT) (cheque no 572)
39.13 Devon Association of Local Councils £54.00 (includes £9.00 VAT) (cheque no 573)
39.14 Mr G Dicker £239.16 (cheque no 574)
39.15 Cllr L Dyer (wildlife camera) £81.85 (cheque no 575) (Funded by Teignbridge)
39.16 S Andrews Electrical £550.00 (Works at 1 School Houses paid through Carter Geering)
39.17 S Andrews Electrical £20.00 (Works at 2 School Houses paid through Carter Geering)
40.1 Cllr Fairley sent a report that the Playground continues to be very popular. A number of families come out from Exeter to use it, there have been a few families from much further afield visiting people in the village and one that comes regularly from Moretonhampstead! (Dad works in Tedburn). The mud problem had receded but with the current rainy spell it may not last, several patches have opened up under the small springers. The areas that Laurence has dealt with using the mats are doing well. Some prices and comments were supplied;- grass mats prices were investigated and 5 have been reserved from Mole Avon at Crediton. Baby swing replacements have also been investigated and prices obtained.
40.2 Cllr Smith reported on carrying out some “tidying up” in the brook area at Nadderwater and also reporting some damaged railings to Devon County Council as they were in need of replacement.
40.3 Cllr Belt said that there had been some concerns regarding children playing on the adult equipment at Crossway Park and Councillors felt that in view of the notices displayed within the Park it was the responsibility of parents to supervise their children as the equipment was not suitable for children.
Cllr Belt felt that the Whitestone sign should be painted and also noted that she will be asking Mr Blades to tidy around the plough area.
40.4 Cllr Dyer reported that she had now ordered and received the wildlife camera which had been obtained through the auspices of a grant and would be taking this action forward.
40.5 Cllr Belt wished to thank Cllr Dyer for her help during the time when the Council meetings were held on Zoom.