COUNCIL MINUTES - October 2022
Minutes of Parish Council Meeting held at Whitestone Parish Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday, 13th October 2022 to be ratified on 10th November 2022.
Chair – Councillor T Miles.
Councillors Cllrs T Baird, M Belt, V Bryant, L Fairley, C Galton, P Lee, S Llewelyn, B Moody.
Mrs P Vaughan – Clerk to the Council
Mr Luke Joyce, Mr Phil Mingo.
Apologies: Councillors A Evans, District Councillor A Swain,
Mr Joyce stated that he was in attendance to make a complaint regarding information which had been included in the previous Council minutes regarding Enforcement on his property which he stated was incorrect and advised he was working with the Forestry Commission regarding Ash Dieback. He mentioned other historical planning issues with Teignbridge and in his opinion felt that he hadn’t been justly treated. Cllr Miles responded to his complaint and it was explained that any decisions regarding planning or other actions were under the jurisdiction of Teignbridge District Council and that the Parish Council were only asked for comments which were provided unbiased and impersonal against local knowledge; local policy and the Parish Plan. After further discussion Mr Joyce left the meeting at 7.50pm.
District Councillor Swain had sent a report to the meeting as follows:- This year's District councillor’s community fund ends in March next year, and could be cut off sooner depending on elections. My colleagues and I still have some funding available. If you know of any community ventures that would benefit from funding, please ask them to contact us. The draft local plan is expected to be brought to the Full council meeting on 15th December. This draft will include the final list of sites chosen for allocation in the plan to meet the government-imposed housing numbers, these will be taken from the list of sites that have been consulted on, but not all sites will be included. The agenda will be published round about the 7th December on the TDC Web site and that is when the list of allocated sites becomes public.
Cllr Miles confirmed that we would be waiting with interest to see whether Atwells Farm has still been included after Whitestone’s response to the draft plan.
62.1 22/01451/FUL Partial demolition of barn to create new dwelling at Higher Hare, Whitestone.
Response:- This application refers to the agricultural barn situated on land at Higher Hare Farm extending to approximately 24.3 acres, which was recently sold off as a separate lot offering an opportunity for a ring-fenced block of agricultural and amenity land with a barn. The land is both level and sloping in places being used for both grazing and cutting and includes an area of woodland. The building to the South West adjacent to the access off Folly Lane is the subject of this proposal, previously agreed to a Class Q conversion which the Parish Council did not support although subsequently approved by TDC. Here we are considering demolition of a considerable amount of the barn and the construction of a new dwelling which is not only situated in an AGLV but is also nestled in between Lower Hare Farm which is a Grade II Listed building and setting and to the north the old long established Higher Hare Farmhouse all accessed off Folly Lane. The primary objective of any development within an AGLV is conservation and enhancement of the landscape quality and individual character. This application proposes the demolition and rebuild within this traditional farmstead area with an extremely contemporary modern dwelling. WPC considers this to be completely out of character and represents a particularly suburban design which would appear out of place and likely seriously detract from the traditional farmstead landscape character. The new design lacks any agricultural reference and is not in keeping with the surrounding rural landscape especially with the east elevation fenestration consisting of almost entirely large glass panelled windows and additionally raised to a first-floor level incorporating a significant number of roof windows. It is considered that this design does not preserve the agricultural requirement over the Class Q approved conversion. This conversion, we note, was previously argued by the applicant to be structurally sound and capable of conversion without the need for substantial extension, alteration or reconstruction. Therefore, the demolition and replacement with a new dwelling is not required and not considered betterment. The proposal is therefore considered to be contrary to Policy EN2A. The proposed development would effectively provide a new dwelling in designated open countryside, outside of any defined settlement limit, with no overriding agricultural or forestry justification, and does not provide an affordable housing unit to meet an identified local need. The proposal is therefore contrary to Policy S22 (Countryside). The plans show that a larger dwelling is now proposed with the addition of a second storey. It is considered that the proposed dwelling, having regard for the increased size and scale, design, materials and extensive use of glazing would introduce an incongruous form of development in an exposed and isolated rural location being detrimental to the character and appearance within the landscape setting. The proposed second storey would be visible from the Higher Hare Farmhouse to the north and would overlook Lower Hare Farm and the approved Landfill site which is in close proximity to the south east. The potential for light spill is considerable in this completely dark spot in a rural dark skies location. Furthermore, highway safety is of paramount concern and the exit off Folly Lane to Six Mile Hill is considered particularly dangerous as it is a 60mph road from a blind corner. Our evidence provided previously in the WPC Class Q response included a Highways Officer report after visiting the site in 2014 which concluded that the access was highly dangerous and we request that a Highways representative visits the site to determine the matter. Our County Councillor Alan Connett suggested that this disparity should be investigated.
The original Class Q application, although not perfect, sympathetically retains the agricultural reference and is much more aligned to the local landscape and is of the same size and scale of the original barn. Additionally, the Class Q permission would restrict the size of curtilage and garden area, in this application this has been significantly enlarged and includes 2 parking spaces and a much larger garden, it is considered that this would lead to a proliferation of domestic paraphernalia to be generated on the site. The planning officer is asked to consider if the proposed replacement dwelling is similar in design and size to the permitted Class Q and if its physical impact will be no greater than Class Q. In addition, it should be considered whether the proposal is appropriately scaled and designed to provide a coherent overall appearance for this particular traditional landscape setting that doesn’t detract from the rural area and landscape character if it is in line with Local Plan Policies S1 & S2. The Planning Statement has mentioned incorporating some low carbon initiatives but has failed to provide a clear proposal of how any energy efficiency measures would be included. Considering both Teignbridge District Council and Whitestone Parish Council have declared a climate emergency we would like to see these defined with more detail and commitment rather than a list of possible ideas. Landscaping to enhance biodiversity is minimal. The proposed new design incorporates a lot of glass throughout and in particular on the east elevation. It is felt that the increase in artificial light provides real potential for light spill from both internal and external sources which would act like a beacon in the hillside. In general, any development in the open countryside would recommend the installation of low-level lights with no PIR fittings to protect nocturnal habitat and illuminance should not pose a threat to the dark skies landscape of this rural area or affect the surrounding neighbouring properties. Overall, it is suggested that this new proposal is not betterment of the original Class Q application 22/00286/NPA and if planning permission were to be granted, it would set a precedent for development of larger unaffordable dwellings in exclusive developments in the countryside.
Whitestone Parish Council strongly objects to this planning application. If Teignbridge District Council is minded to approve this we would request:
62.2 22/01616/AGR Agricultural building on Farm Road
Between Waddlesdown Cross St Catherine’s Parish Church, Whitestone
Response:- Whitestone Parish Council have considered and discussed this application 22/01616/AGR for a new agricultural barn along the lane between Waddlesdown and St. Catherine's Church, Whitestone. In recent years we have seen many applications for the erection of new agricultural barns as our traditional farms around the parish are gradually sold off and divided leaving each new owner of a field without a barn for storage etc. This particular site now named “Toast Farm” was bought about two years ago and has since had cattle grazing on it. As this land was part of Hackworthy Farm previously, we are uncertain if it is actually entitled to Permitted Development even though it is now registered under a new holding title. The main access from the highway sited nearer Waddlesdown has been enlarged by the new owner to allow much larger farm vehicles to enter and leave the field easier and in June this year the second access nearer the church was opened up and widened having been overgrown and unused for more than 30 years. Whitestone Parish Council do support agricultural activity when the ethos is to protect and enhance our rural countryside whilst producing local produce. We do support this application in principle however there are a few concerns regarding this application mainly related to the proposed siting of this agricultural barn. This is the last significant stretch of lane from Waddlesdown to the church without any agricultural buildings or dwellings along it. This narrow lane is single track with high Devon hedges rich with animal habitats and wild flowers and fruits. It is used regularly by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders (there are three equestrian establishments in this area) as well as local traffic. The newly opened entrance to the field closest to the church is not easy to use as it is steep and is situated at a particularly narrow part of the lane where visibility is poor. The siting of the proposed new barn in an AGLV would be along the ridge and will be clearly seen from many other parts of the parish down the valley. Glebe House, St. Catherine's Church and Old Farm Barton are all listed buildings in close proximity. From Waddlesdown there are outstanding views of the estuary, Beldevere Tower,
Dartmoor and beyond that are enjoyed by many who venture up the steep hill and the siting of the new agricultural barn is of great concern if these panoramic views are obscured. We do appreciate however that the barn would probably need to be relatively close to the highway and that transportation with large agricultural vehicles should be reduced if the bales of fodder grown on the site are also stored on site. It Teignbridge District Council are minded to approve this application we would like the following conditions to be considered:-
Whitestone Parish Council support this application in principle.
62.3 22/01670/FUL Installation of ground array solar panels at Pigie Bac Farm, road from Higher Hare
to Barton Cottages
Response:- Whitestone Parish Council has considered this application which proposes the installation of ground array solar panels within the environs of Pigie Bac Farm, Whitestone. Having declared a climate emergency, the Council welcomes initiatives designed to reduce carbon usage. Although it is not clearly stated in the application how the power generated is to be used, it is assumed that the power is intended for domestic purposes. The Council therefore supports this plan which aims to produce sustainable renewable energy to reduce the carbon footprint of the property. It is not clear how many panels are wanted, in that one of the diagrams shows a drawing of two rows of six rectangles and the other has seven, and this is not clarified in the written documentation. The Council is pleased to note that the proposed array is to be sited in a location which is not visible from the road, and is unlikely to impact any neighbouring amenity. The Parish Council would nevertheless like to point out that the site is located within an Area of Great Landscape Value, and the installation must therefore satisfy the criteria for the AGLV. The Council also requests that great care is taken to ensure that this development does not harm local wildlife, and suggests that an ecological report should be carried out.
Should Teignbridge District Council be minded to approve the application, any suggested measures to enhance diversity and reduce any light pollution should be followed.
62.4 22/01568/FUL Replacement dwelling with garage
at Waldenfields Road From Pound Corner to
Pound Down Corner
Response:- Planning consent is sought for the demolition of the existing dwelling house on the site known as Waldenfields along with the shed and garage for its replacement with a new dwelling which has an integrated garage on the design of the new dwelling and associated parking as previous. The site is located within designated open countryside where Policy S22 (Countryside) of the TDC local plan 2013-2033 strictly manages the types of development that will be acceptable. It does however make an allowance under criterion (a) for replacement dwellings in the Countryside. As the proposal replaces an existing dwelling on the site it would in principle be acceptable under Policy S22 subject to the proposals being consistent with the provisions and policies of the Local Plan.
The property, Waldenfields, currently has no architectural merit being a bungalow with bits added and has no fluidity, being described as somewhat of a hotchpotch. It does stand in an AGLV and although in an elevated position is not very visible from the lane and the current layout of the garden affords little privacy.
The proposed footprint will be smaller overall although it is proposed to raise the height to two storey. Whilst the introduction of a two storey dwelling on this site will clearly be a visual change from the bungalow currently occupying the site it not considered that the scale and massing of the proposed dwelling would be overbearing or dominant in the wider landscape as it appears that the proposed design will nestle into and assimilate with its rural surroundings even better due to the traditional agricultural reference being included into the new design which utilizes the existing, sloping nature of the site. The bedrooms have been positioned on the ground floor and the living spaces on the first floor which allows these habitable spaces to be rewarded with increased natural daylighting and benefit from the extensive panoramic views, importantly, it also offers a more practical and private garden space to the rear of the property for the family.
It is considered to be acceptable on visual amenity grounds and therefore the impact on the Character and Appearance of the Area would be minimal and would not harm the Area of Great Landscape Value, therefore accords with Policy EN2A.
The proposed new build boasts a number of eco initiatives and provision for bats and birds and this sits well as both Whitestone and TDC have declared a climate emergency. The sympathetic design and energy saving measures included would accord with Policies 51 and 52 of the local plan.
The only concern would be the potential for an increase in light spill as the windows are larger and the inclusion of a second storey making the property marginally higher so it it important to mitigate this to prevent light intrusion to the surrounding natural habitats or being more visible from a distance. This applies to impacts from both exterior and interior lighting and therefore illuminance of lighting needs to be considered in line with dark skies strategy.
In conclusion Whitestone Parish Council consider this proposal for a replacement dwelling on this site as a betterment of the current property and fully support the application. We would request that any trees and hedges are preserved and protected during demolition and construction and care and consideration is afforded to neighbouring properties in respect of deliveries to site and removal of any waste from the site due to the rural setting and narrow local roads.
63.1 DCC4293/2022 – Lower Hare Farm Landfill
There are no updates as the landfill appears to be at a standstill at the present time.
63.2 Enforcement matters
There are no updates or reported incidents as the enforcement team appear to be under pressure at the present time.
Crossway Play Area
63.3 Cllr Fairley reported that there is still no date for the start of the work but she is pursuing this matter further having met with Ben Shears when attending the DALC AGM last week.
63.4 Cllr Baird reported on obtaining two quotes for work to the outside toilet in order to bring it up to a suitable standard to provide easy clean surfaces and after discussion it was resolved that the quotation of £440.00 should be accepted.
CCTV for carpark and play area
In view of recent activities it was agreed that CCTV should be installed and Cllr Baird reported obtaining an initial price of £1,525 for the installation of four cameras around the Parish Hall and after discussion it was agreed that the Parish Hall Committee will be approached to agree and request that they share the cost in order to make the area more secure.
Cllr Moody reported that he is still investigating and it was reported that Mr Blades is installing shelving at the box by the bus stop. Some discussion took place regarding the possibility of placing foodstuffs in the box for parishioners to use and/or swap. It was suggested that the box at Nadderwater should be used for information and notices for the Parish.
64.1 Conclusion of Annual Audit
Notices regarding the satisfactory conclusion of the Annual Audit by External Auditors PKF Littlejohn together with comments raised will be displayed on Parish notice boards and on the Whitestone Website and can be viewed on application to the Parish Clerk.
64.2 2 School Houses rental to 1st November
£825.00 - £79.20 (includes £13.20 VAT) = £745.80
64.3 Teignbridge District Council
2nd Half Year Precept £3,050.00
The following expenditure was proposed and seconded for payment. All in favour and the cheques were signed by Councillor Miles and Councillor Belt and the Clerk to the Council.
64.4 Teignbridge District Council (Council Tax for 1 School House) - Cheque 656 £178.27
64.5 Mr L Blades (Lengthsman works £255.55/Grass cutting £80.00) – Cheque 657 £335.55
64.6 PKF Littlejohn LLP (includes £40 VAT) - Cheque 658 £240.00
64.7 Whitestone Parish Hall (Hire of meeting room £36.00/Park facilities £233.61) – Cheque 659 £269.61
66.1 Cllr Bryant had attended a Footpaths Conference and reported that DCC were to review a legacy report on works undertaken or still required and it seemed that Whitestone Parish Council were more active compared to some other areas.
66.2 Cllr Moody suggested that the bus stop needed a repaint and the noticeboard to be replaced with a new frame and cork boarding. Cllr Belt to investigate.
66.3 Cllr Belt asked for the Tree Surgeon to be contacted to trim the Walnut Tree in No 1 School House as trimming is recommended in the autumn period. She also noted that tractors sped through the Parish and others agreed that some tractors and other large vehicles did not drive sensitively.
66.4 Cllr Baird confirmed that the Speed Check programme was still being pursued and had received an initial response.
66.5 It was noted that some development had taken place at Nadderbottom, with an old open sided shelter being completely enclosed along with windows installed which was causing some light spill after dark, this may be permitted development as no planning application has been made. To be investigated.
66.6 Cllr Fairley reported that the Parish Hall cleaner had made contact last week to say that the basin in the outside toilet was covered in tar probably from contractors who had been working on the Hall roof. Cllr Fairley reported that she was able to successfully clean the area and also was able to confirm with Dr Jane that there is an agreement in place, included in our payment, for supplies of toilet paper and cleaning products to be obtained from Parish Hall supplies.
66.7 Cllr Fairley had attended the DALC Conference in company with Cllr Lee on the 13th October and gave a full report to the meeting.
66.8 The Clerk reported that Mr Blades has completed a Grit Bin survey for the Parish and this will be sent to the Devon County Neighbourhood Highways Office.
Mr Mingo spoke supporting the idea of CCTV around the Hall and Crossway Park as recent events would have benefitted from CCTV footage and also of the Speed Watch initiative which was being put in place. He requested a copy of the VAS data to be able to offer assistance in identifying optimum times for Police Speed Checks. Speed is still considered an area for concern and on the whole it was suggested that local parishioners as well as passing traffic are abusing the speed limits and the only real deterrent is speeding fines.
The meeting closed at 9.45pm
The next Parish Council meeting will take place on Thursday 10th November 2022