Minutes of Parish Council Meeting held at Whitestone Parish Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday 14th October 2021
Attendance:- Chair – Councillor T Miles.Councillors M Belt, V Bryant, A Evans, L Fairley, C Galton, P Lee – arrived at 7.45pm, S Llewelyn, M Smith.
Ms Baird requested an explanation regarding the new tenancy of No.1 School Houses as she felt that there was opposition within the parish that the tenancy had not been advertised throughout the parish in order to give a local person the opportunity to apply. Cllr Miles explained that the matter had been in the hands of Carter Geering, who are the appointed management agency as they have the responsibility for the tenancy and maintenance agreements. Ms Baird’s complaint was centred around her understanding that the tenant had been introduced to Carter Geering by Mr Nick Thom and she considered in her opinion this to be underhand. For clarity, Cllr Miles outlined Mr Thom’s involvement in the project and explained that he had been approached and asked if he would be in a position to assist with the refurbishment because he was on hand in respect of the necessary works required before the property could be re-let and had also directly liaised with Carter Geering in that role, he had willingly and voluntarily assisted with no payment for services. Furthermore, all applications for the tenancy had been directed to and dealt with by Carter Geering and two other Councillors confirmed that when they had been approached by local persons regarding the tenancy they had also referred the applicants directly to Carter Geering. It was further clarified that the School Houses are a Commercial enterprise that provides an income for the community which directly provides monies to be re-invested back into the community for projects and to keep the precept down. Carter Geering have acknowledged that everything has been done properly and legally and this potential tenant was still vetted in strict accordance with the tenancy regulations and an official tenancy agreement has been entered into and they confirmed that the Parish Council have not acted at all inappropriately. Due to the project handling being controlled by us the Parish has indeed benefitted from not only a timely completion but also a huge cost saving.
For clarity for any future rental, it was agreed that a process would be written up and submitted for use between the Parish Council and Carter Geering and this was accepted by everyone.
Cllr Miles confirmed that Cllr Belt had been instrumental in arranging most of the works which needed to be done as she is a key holder for the property and appreciation was expressed to her for her efforts in this regard.
9th September 2021 having been circulated were taken as read and signed as a true copy by
District Councillor Swain said that Holcombe Burnell parish had contacted him regarding interest in having speed signs within their parish and Cllr Evans confirmed that he had given some information regarding this when contacted by Holcombe Burnell.
64.1 21/01972/HOU Single and two storey extension with glazed link at Hackworthy Farm, Hackworthy Lane
Response:- The application 21/01972/ HOU at Hackworthy Farm, Hackworthy Lane, Nadderwater, Devon EX4 2LE has been discussed and considered by Whitestone Parish Council. This application is for a single and two storey extension with glazed link. The application on this occasion concerns Hackworthy Farmhouse itself and not the two existing large barns also situated on this site known collectively as Hackworthy Farm. Hackworthy Farm sits in an Area of Great Landscape Value which is also considered to be a rurally sensitive area.
The Farmhouse as it stands does need some updating and is not particularly suitable for modern family living. The Planning Statement claims that this “updating” will be done in an energy efficient and low carbon way. Whitestone Parish Council welcome this but would like to see more specific details as to what these options might be if planning permission was to be granted. This application if granted permission provides an opportunity to introduce an eco-friendly refurbishment with attention to improving the energy efficiency and thermal properties of this Farmhouse. Providing the additional build materials assimilate with the countryside surroundings the proposed extension shouldn't look out of place. The proposed plans are suggestive of a luxurious improvement to an otherwise dated and neglected farmhouse and would therefore be compliant with Policy S2. There should be no risk from flooding due to its elevated position and no hedges or trees are to be removed. All ecological improvements are welcomed including bird and bat boxes as well as an extensive planting scheme to improve the quality and quantity of tree provision on site.
Whitestone Parish Council however, are concerned about the large windows and “glazed link” shown on the plans in terms of light pollution. This is an area of the parish that traditionally enjoys dark skies. The front elevation with its large windows would potentially shine out down the valley towards Friar Ball Farm and onwards towards Exwick whilst other elevations would be seen from Churchtown and Rowhorne areas of the parish.
Hackworthy Lane is a private track leading off from the narrow highway to the Farmhouse and then on towards the two large barns. Access for the delivery of any potential building materials will be extremely difficult without causing damage to the surrounding trees, hedges and banks in the lane before turning into Hackworthy Lane. The highway from the Nadderwater direction is a narrow rural lane, particularly at the Linhay at Nadder Farm, with low over hanging trees growing out of high banks and few passing places (none of which are big enough if a car meets a lorry). The lane is used by horse riders (there are three stables in close proximity to Hackworthy Farm), cyclists and walkers. From the Waddlesdown direction the lane again is narrow particularly coming down towards the Church and near Hackworthy Farm itself. Turning in from the highway from the Waddlesdown direction is difficult due to the angle and incline of the entrance.
The cumulative builds on the site must be considered as a whole development as they could potentially become a cluster of dwellings in open countryside. The impact on the AGLV landscape for that area of open countryside where the buildings are in close proximity to each other and the likelihood of overlooking and privacy are all factors that need to be assessed. The driveway would become shared and consequently there is potential for considerable movement of vehicles and no passing places entering and exiting a sharp turn off from a narrow rural road. Safety must be noted and any access issues mitigated with a focus on preventing damage to hedges and trees.
If Teignbridge are minded to approve this planning we would recommend the following conditions to be applied:
“No external lighting shall be installed on, or in association with, the new building, except for low intensity, PIR motion – activated lights on a short timer (maximum 1 min), sensitive to large objects only (to avoid triggering by bats or other wildlife).”
“All internal lighting shall be designed to have low illuminance output”
“All glazing shall be treated to have low light transmission properties”
64.2 21/02059/FUL Two dwellings to replace agricultural buildings at Hackworthy Farm, Hackworthy Lane.
Whitestone Parish Council Report on application 21/02059/FUL – Summary points
There is quite a lengthy recent planning history relating to this site and specifically these two barns with 20/02379/NPA – Approved - (One Building only which relates to Plot B on latest Application) to convert a barn into a single “385m2 large” dwelling.
Planning permission is now being sought for the demolition and removal of the two agricultural barns within the open countryside and it is proposed these are replaced with two new two storey 4 bedroomed dwellings with balconies and associated parking providing 3 parking spaces for each (total 6) and gardens.
There is concurrently an application for a single and two-storey extension to Hackworthy Farmhouse (21/01972/HOU) on the same land, and while this is a separate application, it is felt that certain material considerations, such as impact on local roads and damage to narrow lanes, suggest it would be important to consider these applications together.
Whilst replacement buildings might be a more attractive proposition, many concerns raised by WPC in relation to the previous applications still exist. In particular the current application has been carefully studied to assess its compliance with the Teignbridge Local Plan.
Compliance with local planning policy
Policy S22 supports development and investment within the open countryside, where it will be managed to provide “attractive, accessible and biodiverse landscapes”.
However, Policy S22 further details that in assessing development proposals, particular account will be taken of “the distinctive characteristics and qualities of the Landscape Character Area”.
In addition, the site is located in an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) and must be considered under Policy EN2A.
Policy EN2A - adverse effect on the landscape character of the area and the proposal would erode, rather than enhance and conserve the character and distinctiveness of the locality. As such, it is deemed that the proposed development would be contrary to Policy EN2A.
Policy S1 (Sustainable Development) requires proposals to consider the impact on residential amenity, particularly privacy, security, outlook and natural light. The impact of the proposed development on the residential amenity of nearby properties, in particular Hackworthy Farmhouse, there is concern that the buildings would be visible from distant viewpoints and highly likely cause considerable light pollution from such an extensive use of glazing.
Policy S2 (Quality Development) - The location of this rural site in open countryside is not within walking or cycling distance of any local amenities and there is no public transport near to the site, therefore it would be totally car dependent and consequently does not qualify as sustainable development.
In the interests of visual amenity and to ensure the development would harmonise visually with the character and appearance of the site and its surroundings the design should be attractive and reflect local character and be constructed in materials and colours that complement the surrounding landscaping and surfaces and reflect local patterns of development.
The design and layout
This application lacks a planning statement or a Design and Access statement to indicate the detail of the planning development proposed and has only provided architects drawings with some notes.
The proposed detached dwellings, having regard for their scale, design, materials and extensive use of glazing would introduce an incongruous form of development in an exposed and isolated rural location, detrimental to the character and appearance of the area. Both plots would cause light pollution and possible reduction in privacy to the existing Hackworthy Farmhouse, the cumulative environmental effects should be considered against all buildings on the site.
This is an area of dark skies and it is felt that any new development must avoid light spill onto the surrounding countryside, and consideration of potential light spill from the dwellings (internal sources) and from lighting from the outside space (external sources), must be demonstrated to avoid intrusive light pollution.
There is also potential for light spill in several directions towards neighbouring but distant properties, including Church Town.
Policy EN3 (Carbon Reduction Plans) of the Local Plan details that development proposals should seek to minimise their carbon footprint during both construction and in use, to achieve the carbon emissions target in Policy S7. Furthermore, as no specific design features are indicated it is unknown whether the proposed buildings would in fact feature any energy efficient measures and sustainable and renewable materials. Due to our declared Climate Emergency, as a minimum it would be essential to secure the installation and use of renewable energy provision to include a ground source heat pump and solar photovoltaic roof panels for example, high quality levels of insulation, and water saving measures.
It is however considered that the conversion of a building is likely to entail a lower carbon impact than the demolition and erection of a new structure.
The proposal is accompanied with a Preliminary Ecological Assessment which was submitted for the previous application and relates to an inspection undertaken dated 27th January 2021. The proposal has included provision for both bat and bird boxes to be installed on both buildings. If this is conditioned and complied with it is considered that the development is compliant with Policies EN8 and EN11 of the Local Plan.
The design and use of space should be influenced by the layout of existing trees and vegetation where they could make a positive contribution to the function or appearance of the land and any landscape proposals should be designed in a coordinated manner being both attractive and easily maintained allowing for the necessary inclusion of wildlife buffer zones and connections which would be required to be maintained in perpetuity.
The planning application states that there are trees or hedges on land adjacent to the proposed development site that could influence the development or might be important as part of the local landscape character. Therefore a tree survey would be welcomed and further information about affected vegetation and proposals for replacements.
Access and impact on local roads
There is a high degree of concern regarding the additional number of vehicles and trips per day in and out of the site from this narrow entrance with a sharp turn and limited visibility and possibly resultant damage to the hedgerows. The proposal is suggesting a change in use of this access from agricultural to residential and as such highway safety must be appropriately considered as this rural route would be regularly used by horse riders, cyclists and walkers. A safe and visually acceptable means of vehicular access must be demonstrated that it can be provided.
A response from Devon County Council Highways recommend that the Standing Advice issued to Teignbridge District Council is used to assess the highway impacts. This would be welcomed as there are several considerations here.
The entrance from the highway is awkward especially when travelling to or from Church Town. The narrow lanes are not designed for large heavy "traffic” as demonstrated in the resultant damage to the road surface, banks, hedges and trees – it is established that this damage is not as a result of car use, but heavy machinery and lorries etc. It is suggested that the applicant agree to mitigate the impact of construction traffic by controlled delivery times, days, vehicle sizes, volumes and routes. Lorries with lifting devices fitted are too high potentially ripping trees and are unsuitable to travel up the lane and there are only minimal small passing places along the route.
This application has been reviewed in detail and does not meet many areas of Teignbridge Local Plan Policy. It is also contrary to the Whitestone Parish Plan in which respondents opposed developments which would increase traffic, noise or light pollution, change the rural character, alter the balance of housing stock or the balance of existing parish development. Therefore Whitestone Parish Council does not support this application.
Mr Hiscox made the journey to Whitestone to attend our Parish Council meeting on Thursday 14th October and wanted to discuss the application and design and to be able to clarify any of our issues. As we had stated that without a Design & Access Statement or a planning statement it had been quite difficult as we had to either fill in the gaps ourselves or respond with considerable questions/concerns. The Parish Council were quite surprised when Mr Hiscox explained that his application was accompanied by a Design & Access statement and for some reason Teignbridge had failed to load it onto the portal and we request that it is included with the application on the portal for our consideration. He did explain that it was the intention to rely on the fallback position for the development and was very keen to maintain the conservation of the area. He took onboard our request to maintain the agricultural reference in the design and concern over the potential glazing luminance and he further advised that the additional information on energy efficiency and sustainable materials had been included. If permission is granted, he agreed to minimise delivery vehicles to the site and mitigate the impact to the road network.
He has since advised that our full report will be discussed in its entirety with the architects.
Should the case officer be minded to approve the proposal, it is suggested that it would be reasonable for the following conditions to be applied:
No external lighting shall be installed on, or in association with, the new buildings, except for low-intensity, PIR motion-activated lights on a short timer (maximum 1 minute), and sensitive to large objects only (to avoid triggering by bats or other wildlife). Any lights should be mounted at a height no greater than 1.9m from ground level, directed/cowled downwards and away from the site hedges and trees. The lights should produce only narrow spectrum, low-intensity light output, UV-free, with a warm colour-temperature (3,000K or less) and a wavelength of 550nm or more. All internal lighting shall be designed to have low illuminance output, no UV component, maximum colour temperature of 3000 Kelvin and minimum light wavelength of 550 nanometres. Lighting units shall be flush-mounted or recessed in the ceilings and directed/cowled away from windows, glazed doors and skylights. All glazing shall be treated to have low light transmission properties, i.e. with Visible Light Transmission of 40% or less. Only lighting that has been approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority shall be installed. REASON: To safeguard foraging paths for legally-protected bats and protect the dark skies from unnecessary illuminance.
Cllr Miles closed the meeting to allow Mr Hiscock to address the meeting regarding his applications for Hackworthy Farm and he gave explanations regarding these and expressed his frustration with Teignbridge District Council as they had not included his design and access statement which had been submitted with the application and Cllr Miles responded and confirmed that his points had been noted and would be added to our response. Mr Hiscock left the meeting at 8.35pm.
64.3 21/01964/CLDE Certificate if Lawfulness for non compliance with agricultural occupancy condition Type: Certification of Lawful Use existing Furze Park, Tedburn St Mary, Devon, EX6 6AZ
Response:- Whitestone Parish Council have reviewed this application and confirm our previous response against application 21/007289/VAR is still valid. We do not dispute that the occupants have been in residence for 10 years.
It is our understanding that the agricultural tie is a planning condition on Furze Park which was applied in order that the property can only be occupied by someone who is wholly or mainly occupied in agriculture or forestry. This condition would also apply to family without exception.
A breach of the condition, as indicated in this application, states that persons who are not employed in agriculture or forestry have occupied the property for more than ten years. The breach of condition is stated as continuous, with no significant gaps in occupation and occurring at the time the application is made.
If Teignbridge District Council are minded to grant a certificate, which in this case appears to be seemingly straightforward then the Agricultural Tie will be Regularised. If the application can prove that the Agricultural Tie has been breached for a continuous period in excess of 10 years it is then possible to grant a Certification of Lawful existing use or CLEUD. The certificate, if granted, would confirm that the occupation of the dwelling in breach of the condition is then immune from enforcement action.
As the Planning Officer advised on the previous refusal this was the first step to take and the most effective way of dealing with the Agricultural Tie and means that the property could thereafter be legally occupied by Mr and Mrs Pook or sold to anyone regardless of their occupation. However, it should be noted that this method does not remove the Agricultural Tie, it only regularises it and just prevents the Council from taking any enforcement action against unlawful occupation by the current occupiers. If however the property is subsequently occupied by a qualifying person after the Certiticate is granted we understand that the Tie will be reactivated.
64.5 Appeal allowed and planning permission granted for conversion of business unit to a residential dwelling at Unit 2, Rebecca Springs, Nadderwater. It was clarified that this did not apply to another outstanding appeal for the enforcement eviction due to the siting of a mobile home on the land with no planning permission but just to the planning application.
Grants of Conditional Planning Permission
64.6 21/01263/HOU Removal of existing single storey rear extension and replace with two storey extension at Hill Farm, Hill Lane.
64.7 21/01741/FUL Replace two outbuildings with new double garage at Connetts. Halsfordwood Lane.
64.8 21/01899/FUL External staircase at The Travellers Rest, Tedburn Road.
Refusal of Planning Permission
64.9 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
65.1 Appointment of Parish Councillor
Owing to the resignation of Mrs L Dyer at the September meeting the vacancy has now been formally advertised. It was noted that following a post on Facebook some defamatory remarks had been made by an individual who had been invited to the meeting to explain himself but failed to attend. It was agreed that this act was unacceptable and a social media policy would be introduced similar to other parishes.
65.2 Refurbishment of No.1 School House
It was reported that this has now been successfully completed and the Carter Geering are in the process of completing the assured shorthold tenancy agreement for the property and the tenant should be moving in next weekend..
65.3 Toiilet facilities for Crossway Park
Following a letter from the Whitestone Parish Hall Management Committee regarding the proposed arrangements for the cleaning of the outside toilets which they had analysed and established at a reasonable cost of £950.95 per annum chargeable to the Parish Council for remuneration towards a cleaner. This was discussed and agreed that Cllr Belt should go back to the Hall Management Committee with proposals which would obviate the Parish Council having to separately provide the necessary supplies and cleaning materials which may prove to be problematic.
65.4 Review of DCC Lower Hare Farm –summary of final legal costs
A final account has been received from Richard Buxton Solicitors amounting to £5,850.00 which includes £975.00 VAT which can be reclaimed and this is presented to the meeting for payment and agreed. The STAWL group had previously organised a collection of monies to fight the landfill and will be donating £495.00 as a gift specifically earmarked towards this invoice.
65.5 Progress on parking at Crossway
Cllr Miles has ascertained from Devon County Council Highways that the land at Crossway belongs to Teignbridge Housing and is not owned by Devon County Council as previously thought. In view of the fact that some of the grassed areas has already been given over to parking it is suggested that more space be allocated and further correspondence will be sent to Teign Housing to progress this matter.
65.6 Vehicle Activated Speed Signs
Cllr Evans in conjunction with Cllr Galton was in consultation with Devon County Council regarding the relocation positions for the siting for the speed signs. It was noted that the data gathered from the speed signs would be downloaded and stored on a new laptop which Cllr Miles will purchase for the Council business..
65.7 Action on Climate Change
It was noted that a talk by the Exeter Community ECO Group will take place at the Parish Hall at 7pm on Wednesday 24th November and this will be publicised on the Whitestone website and in the Parish Magazine for interested parties.
66.1 Cllr Miles complimented the Councillors for their work on behalf of the Parish.
66.2 Cllr Miles has received numerous complaints from residents in both Whitestone and Tedburn St Mary about work being carried out at Crosspark Farm regarding block walls being erected fronting the roadside and she confirmed that Teignbridge District Council Enforcement Officer is dealing with this who had confirmed that they had approached the owner and detailed the breach of planning permission and outlined the options available. This matter is on-going and further complaints should be directed to Teignbridge District Council.
67.1 2 School Houses rent/insurance to 1st November 2021 £825.00 - £109.20 (includes £18.20 VAT) = £715.80.
67.2 Teignbridge District Council Half Year Precept £3050.00
The following expenditure was proposed and seconded for payment. All in favour and the cheques were signed by Councillors Miles and Belt and Mrs Vaughan as Clerk to the Council/Responsible Financial Officer.
67.3 Mr I Lugg (painting/repairs at 1 School House) £4,576.00 (cheque 600)
67.4 SW J Electrical services (Storage heaters 1 School House) £3,547.00 (cheque 601)
67.5 Fry & Son £77.22 – erection of speed signs (includes £12.87 VAT) (cheque 602)
67.6 S J Electrical Services (1 School House) £370.00 (cheque 603)
67.7 Mitchell Tree Surgery £230.00 (cheque 604)
67.8 Whitestone Parish Hall £114.00 (cheque 605)
67.9 Mr L Blades £283.04 (cheque 606)
67.10 Richard Buxton Solicitors £5,850.00 (includes £975.00 VAT) (cheque 607)
Notification received from Devon Highways regarding temporary prohibition of through traffic and pedestrians on Wednesday 17th November on road from Way Farm to Nadderwater Cross, Little Springs to Rebecca Springs.
69.1 Cllr Fairley reported that the ash tree in Crossway Park which overhangs the climbing frame appeared to be dying and the ownership of the tree needed to be clarified in respects of authorising any remedial work should it be required. . There will be a display of decorated pebbles organised for an informal get together on Remembrance Sunday similar to last year.
69.2 Cllr Smith reported that there were some reports from the Rowhorne Road about the possibility of illegal drugs being used and Ms Baird confirmed that the police had been informed. District Councillor Swain also suggested contacting the Community Safety Partnership.
69.3 Cllr Belt reported that the tree works had been completed and the ash tree at Crossway Park previously mentioned had been inspected at the same time and not considered dangerous.
Mr Mingo congratulated the Council on moving the VAS signage to Nadderwater and discussion took place regarding further improvements including introducing double yellow lines which might make the village safer especially at the bus stop and this will be investigated further..
The next Parish Council meeting will take place in the Parish Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday
11th November 2021.
The meeting closed at 9.55pm.