Whitestone Road sign

Whitestone Parish Council

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting held at Whitestone Parish Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday 12th May 2022.

Attendance: Chairman – Councillor T Miles
Councillors; Belt, Bryant, Evans, Fairley, Galton, Lee, Moody.
District Councillor A Swain (arrived at 8.05pm)
Mrs P Vaughan – Clerk to the Council
Mr and Mrs A Brown, Mr Gibbons
Apologies: Councillor S Llewelyn, County Councillor Connett

No public participation.

  1. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL

Cllr T Miles retiring Chair, declared the meeting open and called for nominations for Chair for the coming year.

30.1 Election of Chair

Councillor T Miles was proposed by Cllr Galton 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:-

30.2 Election of Vice Chair

Councillor Fairley was proposed by Cllr Miles and seconded by Cllr Belt. All in favour and she duly signed her declaration of office as Vice Chair.

Election of officers for 2021/22 took place as follows:-

30.3 Asset Group

Cllr Belt, Cllr Galton, Cllr Miles, Cllr Moody were proposed by Cllr Fairley and seconded by Cllr Bryant. All in favour.

30.4 Footpath Warden

Councillor Bryant was proposed by Cllr Belt and seconded by Cllr Lee. All in favour.

30.5 Church House Foundation Member

Councillor Llewelyn was proposed by Cllr Miles and seconded by Cllr Fairley. All in favour

30.6 Crossway Park Officer

Councillor Fairley was proposed by Cllr Miles and seconded by Cllr Galton. All in favour.

30.7 Parish Hall Liaison Member

Councillor Belt was proposed by Cllr Miles and seconded by Cllr Bryant. All in favour.

30.8 Parish Hall Committee

Proposed by Cllr Galton and seconded by Cllr Evans that Councillors; Lee, Belt, Bryant and Miles be elected en bloc. All in favour.

30.9 Liaison with Parish Lengthsman

Councillor Belt was proposed by Cllr Miles and seconded by Cllr Galton. All in favour

30.10 Responsible Financial Officer

Mrs P Vaughan proposed by Cllr Miles and seconded by Cllr Belt. All in favour.

30.11 Internal Independent Auditor

Mr R Cox proposed by Cllr Belt seconded by Cllr Miles. All in favour

  1. Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 14th April 2022 and the Annual Parish Meeting held on 28th April 2022 having been circulated were taken as read and signed as a true copy by the Chair.
  1. PLANNING – TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL

These applications can be viewed on line by going into the public access system at Teignbridge Planning following the directions giving the application reference. The following applications having been received from Teignbridge District Council with a request for comments were examined and responses were sent which can be viewed on Teignbridge District Council Planning site.

A summary report is included here with the full responses viewable on the TDC Planning Portal:

32.1  22/00294/FUL Construction of a sand/fibre equestrian arena (for private use) with fencing and associated works at Oakhay, Tedburn Road. Cllr Fairley declared an interest in this application and signed the register.

Cllr Miles opened the meeting and explained to Mr and Mrs Brown who were in attendance that the comments regarding their planning application for Oakhay had been already sent to Teignbridge District Council in view of the time allowed for a response and the expiry date. We were advised that the plans had been modified and the lighting had been removed from the application. Cllr Miles then read the report which had been sent as follows:-

Whitestone Parish Council have considered this application for construction of a sand/fibre equestrian arena (for private use) with fencing, lighting and associated works at Oakhay Farm, Whitestone. Permission for hard standing and stables was granted in 2021, and these facilities have now been built. Equestrian activity is generally welcome in the area, the property is well established for equestrian use, and the reasoning given for the provision of the sand/fibre arena is sound (to provide on-site exercise facilities all year round negating the need to transport the horses elsewhere for exercise). The scale of the development is moderate and would not result in any significant landscape harm. The Council is pleased to see that the current application for an arena refers to private use only for this facility, and is keen to see that the new yard is not used for commercial purposes at any point.

The Council is broadly in support of the application but would also like to express concern about some aspects of the proposal.

First, the location for this further development is within an Area of Great Landscape Value and the Council has concern about the potential environmental impact on flora and wildlife. Care must be taken not to disturb roots of existing trees, especially when levelling the ground. Inevitably there will be some loss of both agricultural land and habitat for local ecology, and this should be assessed before permission is granted. The Council was disappointed not to see a full ecology report appended to the application.

Second, as there will be some additional lighting associated with the development as mentioned in the application, there is cause for concern over the potential effect on the surroundings. This is an area where dark skies have traditionally been the norm, and there is a significant risk that any lighting could cause a nuisance both to nearby houses, and to local wildlife (as also noted by the Biodiversity Officer). It is argued by the applicants that the development will not be visible from outside the property, but the installation of any external lighting would impact this and could mean the development being visible from a large area around the proposed yard (potentially from the C50 up to the centre of Whitestone). Likewise there is some risk of noise nuisance, so setting limits on hours of use might be helpful.

Third, some increase of equestrian-related traffic associated with the arena is to be expected. It is not clear whether the access track will continue to be adequate or not, as well as being suitable for horses.

Fourth, access is particularly constrained and shared, and therefore access conditions must be attached to protect the neighbouring amenity. In addition lorry and construction traffic would access the site via Ford Lane (an unadopted lane shared with other local properties), and there is a risk of damage to these small roads if large vehicles are used to import heavy material such as stone. Weight limits on construction vehicles should therefore be set.

If TDC is minded to support the application, Whitestone Parish Council would like to suggest some conditions:

32.2  22/0069/NPA Application for Prior Approval under Part 3 Class MA and paragraph W of the GDPO for change of use of office building to a dwelling at Cross Park Farm, Heath Cross.

Summary of full response sent to TDC:

Whitestone Parish Council have considered this application for Prior Approval under Part 3 Class MA and paragraph W of the GDPO for change of use of office building to a dwelling and object due to our findings listed below.

It was considered incongruous to see this application for conversion of Class E (B1(a) in open countryside albeit applicable if it does meet the qualifying criteria.

It is noted from the complex planning history and most importantly the planning appeals that this applicant and indeed the previous owner have aggressively fought and accepted conditions to ensure the change of use and operation of a civil engineering and crane hire business. In the Appeal Decision APPIPI 133/N04/1 161363 - Planning Permission was granted for an Agricultural Engineering Business & Contractor's Premises & Yard at Cross Park Farm and was subject to conditions.

Extracts from previous Planning conditions imposed and accepted on Applications:

Condition: - “the use of the premises and site here granted shall be only that of an agricultural engineering business and for no other purpose or use.

Condition: The storage of materials shall not take place on any part of the site except within the buildings.

Condition:. All hard and soft landscape works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details. The works shall be carried out prior to the occupation of the replacement building.

Condition: Prior to the occupation of the replacement building hereby permitted provision shall be made, in accordance with plans to be submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority, both for the parking of vehicles and so as to enable goods vehicles to be turned, loaded and unloaded within the curtilage of the site to which this permission relates, and these areas shall be permanently retained for these purposes.

Condition: No machinery shall be operated, no process shall be carried out, no deliveries taken at or despatched from the site, and no other work shall take place on site other than between the hours of 08.00 hours and 18.00 hours on Monday to Friday and 08.00 and 13.00 hours on Saturday, with none of these activities taking place outside these hours or on Sundays or Bank Holidays.

Condition 3. The building hereby approved shall be used for office use (Use Class B1(a)) only.

Condition 4. Prior to the first use of the building hereby approved, all of the stone boulders on the highway verge (to the north of the site) shall be removed. The highway verge shall thereafter be permanently retained in that condition.

Condition 6. All proposed planting as detailed within approved Drawing Numbers 672/01, 672/02 and 672/03 (received on 2 March 2020) shall be planted in the next planting season following the commencement of the development and completed in full prior to the first occupation of the development. The planting shall be maintained in accordance with the approved plans thereafter.

The Conditions above namely 4 and 6 have not been complied with and therefore unless condition 6 has been completed and formally discharged by the council, occupation of the new building cannot have taken place and it was also noted in point 26 of the Planning Appeal APP/P1133/W21/3280127 by the planning inspector that the use of the building as an office had not yet commenced, therefore the official office building still in use is in fact the subject of this application. It is also understood that periods of closure as a result of Government Covid-19 restrictions will not count towards the vacancy period where the building continues to be occupied by the owner or tenant.

It is considered under that reasoning that this building does not comply with the vacancy rule.

There are a number of trucks and cranes owned by the D&F Supercranes business that require storage and maintenance and adequate space to safely manoeuvre on site as per the existing condition imposed.

The planning inspector cited the following points denoted below in italics on Planning Appeal Ref: APP/P1133/W/21/3280127:

Living Conditions – This extract refers specifically to the new office block location not the building referred to in this application and therefore the siting is deemed unsuitable.

  1. The part of the building occupied as a dwelling would be set down well below the level of the existing concrete service yard. The use of this area for manoeuvring large, heavy machinery could result in excessive noise, fumes and vibration to the occupiers of the dwelling and I accept that this could lead to unacceptable living conditions.
  2. However, it is clear from the submissions that it would be the appellant’s intention to occupy the dwelling in connection with the running of the business. This could be controlled by condition, as could the measures put forward in the appellant’s statement of case to install triple glazed windows, acoustic fencing and internal soundproofing. The appellant would also, as operator of the business, be able to control the on-site operations in order to limit the impact on his living conditions. The plans indicate a generous sized enclosed garden area and access would be provided from the car parking area used in connection with the office use. As such it is well segregated from the area used by heavy machinery and would offer a safe environment for the occupiers of the dwelling.
  3. Taken together, I conclude that occupation of the dwelling in connection with the operation of the current business on site by way of a condition, would not lead to harm to the living conditions of those occupiers of the dwelling.

It appears that Avalon have taken the above point 22 out of context in this application and have only quoted point 22 and failed to note that it refers to a different building in a different location on the site or that it needs to be referenced to point 21. The existing office building, the subject of this application, is of block construction under an asbestos roof which must be already registered on the owner’s Asbestos Register, as a legal requirement, which would have to remain intact as external works are not permitted and it would be questionable whether an old asbestos roof would be acceptable for conversion to a dwelling. The building is positioned at the front of the site, visible from the highway, located next to the barn and workshop where all the heavy plant and machinery; enter and exit, access the workshop and are stored and maintained. Hence the proposal to convert this building into a dwelling in the busiest traffic area which is not segregated or located away from excessive noise, fumes or vibration is deemed to be unsuitable and any residents would be at risk on the site and susceptible to impacts of noise and nuisance from the commercial activities on the premises for which they would have no control over. The land covered by, or within the curtilage of, the building is part of an active commercial business involving the movement of large and heavy vehicles, plant and machinery.

Also the owner has bright floodlights in use on the site which would be intrusive and cause light pollution and nuisance to any residents.

For clarification, it is also not specified in the application that it would be the applicant’s intention to occupy the one bedroom dwelling in connection with the running of the business.

Also, it is not clear how occupants could freely enter and exit the yard outside of the restricted working hours and maintain the security of the yard which has been previously cited as a big issue.

Interestingly, Avalon have also added this statement following their extract of point 22; “The same rationale and opportunity for conditions is considered to apply to this prior approval application. This could be controlled by condition, as could the measures put forward in the appellant’s statement of case to install triple glazed windows, acoustic fencing and internal soundproofing”.

This is clearly not possible here as no building works are permitted under Class MA, only internal works and any external alterations to the building, including new doors and windows, and any other external details are not permitted, therefore the suggestion of triple glazed windows or acoustic fencing is totally irrelevant.

The surrounding area to the building is hardstanding only and although suitable for car parking offers; no privacy, amenity area; garden area or facilities for open air washing line etc. for residential purposes.

There are also two open entrances, the second entrance beside this office building breached the hedging and fencing during the lockdown of 2020 and opened up to the highway, it is not clear what is happening in respect of the two entrances.

In conclusion, having considered this proposal very carefully, Whitestone Parish Council object to this application on the basis that the development does not accord with Class MA by virtue of the fact that land covered by, or within the curtilage of, the building forms part of a safety hazard area and noise, fumes and vibration from the adjacent commercial premises would adversely affect the amenity of the intended occupiers.

Furthermore there are restrictive conditions in place regarding the permitted use which must be taken into consideration and also the extant operating conditions most specifically regarding the movement and parking of vehicles and enabling goods vehicles to be turned, loaded and unloaded within the curtilage of the site for which those areas shall be permanently retained for those purposes.

Additionally, the planning inspector has previously confirmed that the use of this concrete service yard for manoeuvring large, heavy machinery could result in excessive noise, fumes and vibration to the occupiers of a dwelling and that this could lead to unacceptable living conditions.

We respectfully request that this application is refused as the site location for a dwelling is undesirable and in an unsafe environment. If TDC is minded to support the application, Whitestone Parish Council have suggested some conditions.

32.3 Grant of conditional planning permission

18/01169/FUL Change of use and conversion of agricultural building to a live/work unit (sui generis use) at Springdale Farm

It was also noted that we have received notice from an interested party that a small number of Gypsy caravans had appeared at the site and he had already notified enforcement – no action required.

32.4 Grant of request for prior approval

22/00286/NPA Application for Prior Approval under Part 3 Class Q (a) and (b) and paragraph W of the GDPO for a change of use of agricultural building to a dwelling at Higher Hare.

  1. MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION

33.1 Lower Hare Farm Landfill – Prospective Section 73 Planning application non-compliance or removal of conditions. County Councillor Connett had responded regarding this application advising that he had been made aware of it and that all objectors should be receiving a letter. Cllr Miles closed the meeting to allow comments from Mr Gibbons who was in attendance and also from Mr and Mrs Brown, neighbours to the site, who would be affected by this application. Considerable discussion ensued with councillors asking a variety of questions regarding the new planning application and how the changes might affect the flooding issue. It was resolved that a public meeting would be requested and in order that all interested persons could participate in the discussions as members of the community had commented that they were confused and were unsure of how to proceed.

33.2 Crossway Park

Cllr Fairley reported that the Wicksteed representative had visited the site last Thursday and has sent a quotation for the work to replace the baby swings and repairing the surfaces under the children’s swings. The final amount for both jobs was quoted as £8,206.12 and they have been authorised to go ahead, the funding had already been agreed and they were the most competitive supplier for all the works. So far they have not given a proposed date for the start of the works, originally it was said it would probably be 20 weeks as all the components have to be manufactured offsite. Unfortunately it will not be installed by the Jubilee weekend but hopefully will be done by the school summer holidays and she will let everyone know as soon as the date for the work is given. The playground will have to be completely closed for three days for the work to be completed and the grass under the baby swings will have to be watered every day for a week or so. Cllr Fairley was thanked for the work she had done in organising this.

33.3 Planting of tree at Crossway Park to mark Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration

It was confirmed by Dr Jane Richards that the Parish Hall Management Committee will be planting a cherry tree on the verge between the car park and the fence around the Play Park just east of the barbeque (so that it does not obscure the view from the kitchen window) to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee of the Queen

33.4 Update on VAS or speeding issues

Cllr Evans reported that he was in negotiations regarding moving the speed sign to a fresh area.

33.5 Climate Emergency Awareness

Cllr Galton said that the Group were hoping to have a walk in June and she gave a short report. It was noted that the Wildlife Camera which had been purchased for the Parish had been located and will shortly be returned.

Annual Audit for 2021/2022

33.6 The Annual Audit Governance statement for 2021/22 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.

33.7 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.

  1. MATTERS RAISED BY THE CHAIR

34.1 There had been a complaint regarding planning at Chants Cottage as what appears to be a toilet block seems to have already been built, (despite a refusal by TDC and an active appeal undecided). The Enforcement Officer will be notified of the development.

  1. FINANCE

Income

35.1 1 School Houses rental to 14th May £775.00 - £93.00 (includes £15.50 VAT) = £682.00

35.2 2 School Houses rental to 1st June £825.00 - £109.20 (includes £18.20 VAT) = £715.80

35.3 Teignbridge District Council 1st Half Year Precept payment £3,050.00

Expenditure

The following expenditure was proposed and seconded for payment. All in favour and the cheques were signed by Councillors Miles and Belt.

35.4 Mr L Blades £525.32 (Lengthsman works £275.32 + Grass cutting £250.00) (Cheque 633)

Authorisation of Grants to:-

35.5 Mrs L Hickman for planting out the Whitestone sign planter £27.80 (Cheque 634)

35.6 Parochial Church Council (for inclusion of minutes in the Church Magazine) £200.00. (Cheque 636)

35.7 Mrs G Oakey for the Village Voices Choir £150.00 (Cheque 637)

  1. . CORRESPONDENCE

A letter had been received asking if the Council wished to sell the telephone kiosk situated near the Royal Oak Nadderwater. Discussion followed as both phone boxes had been adopted by the Parish for community projects and it was confirmed that the phone boxes are not for sale and are to remain part of the Parish. It was agreed that it needed a coat of paint and be used for Parish information and notices. It was noted that the other kiosk near the village green would be used as a library facility.

  1. . REPORTS

37.1 Cllr Bryant reported that she had heard from the Devon County Council Public Rights of Way that Whitestone had been awarded a Parish Paths grant of £170.00 to cover work and projects highlighted in the latest P3 return.

37.2 Cllr Belt reported on the Jubilee weekend which will commence at 12.30pm with a family picnic and there will be entertainment organised including a fancy dress competition.

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The meeting closed at 9.45pm.

The next Parish Council meeting will take place in the Parish Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday 9th June 2022