Council Meeting held at Whitestone Parish Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday 12th January 2023.
Attendance:- Chair – Councillor T Miles.
Councillors Cllrs T Baird, M Belt, V Bryant, L Fairley, P Lee, S Llewelyn.
County Councillor A Connett
Mrs P Vaughan – Clerk to the Council
Apologies:- Cllrs C Galton, A Evans, B Moody. District Councillor Swain
2.1 District Counclllor Swain having sent apologies for the meeting had sent a written report which had been distributed to Councillors.
2.2 County Councillor Connett gave a report concerning the Teignbridge District Council Local Plan Review 2020-2040 which has been approved for consultation and spoke on the housing situation. The current housing target for Teignbridge is 741 houses per year and with the Government set to review their algorithm, this number may go down but it cannot be increased whilst the Local Plan is under review. The plan has included the controversial Attwells Farm site for development. With regards to the Council Tax, Teignbridge are proposing an increase of the equivalent to £5.54 on a Band D property but also to give a rebate of £5.54 per every household. Bands above ‘D’ will pay more than the £5.54 but will receive the rebate. An increase in Fees and charges will see a rise by 5% to provide continued investment for Council services. He also spoke about Devon County Council funding and how funding had been safeguarded for
children’s services. He left the meeting at 7.50pm.
3.1 22/02247/LBC Conversion of attached store to artists studio and increase of chimney height at Merrymeet.
Whitestone Parish Council have considered this application for modifications to be made to a Grade 2 listed building located towards the centre of the parish. These proposed modifications would involve the conversion of an existing store to a more habitable space to be used as an artist’s studio. In addition, the application is to increase the height of the chimney to meet building regulations, in conjunction with the installation of a new wood burning stove. The application states that existing roof lights are to be replaced with conservation rooflights, to be installed between the rafters to maintain the existing profile of the roofline. A new window is also to be added which is to be double glazed. Internally, the proposed works include providing improved insulation. Whitestone Parish Council broadly support this application which respects the original design of the building and provides an improvement to the useability of the existing property. There is no flood risk locally, and there will be no impact on traffic, highways or ecology. Following construction, there should be minimal impact on neighbouring properties, in that the proposed increase in height of the chimney does not appear excessive. However, it is also considered extremely important that all Heritage requirements for this traditional building are fully implemented. Having declared a climate emergency, the Parish Council is pleased to see the emphasis placed on the reduction of energy usage. The installation of a new window in the North Elevation will inevitably increase light spill in the area, so care should be taken to minimise this risk; nevertheless it appears to be of a reasonable size and of a sympathetic design. It must be noted that there seem to be two minor mistakes in the design statement: i) There is no Fig 06 as suggested in the text, which should possibly be Fig 05; ii) Photo 9 label is incorrect, in that there is no window visible: possibly it has already been removed .
3.2 22/02253/AGR Agricultural storage building on land east of Bondhouse Lane.
Whitestone Parish Council have discussed and considered this application 22/02253/AGR for an Agricultural Storage building on Land East of Bondhouse Lane, Whitestone EX4 2HF. The applicant seeks permission for a steel framed general purpose agricultural building to be used for storage, mainly hay and machinery. Whitestone Parish Council do like to support agricultural applications for barns when there is a clearly defined and genuine need. Although the applicant refers to this site as being agricultural there are actually quite a few non- agricultural activities going on in this area. The covering letter in this case is very vague and omits to mention previous problems with contamination on this site, that a previous application was taken to the Planning Inspectorate and was still unsuccessful and that this site is part of Devon County Council's Nature Recovery Network. To get to the proposed site would involve driving over protected grassland that is sited within the Nature Recovery Network and is marked on the DCC NRN map as an important Grassland habitat. Building on this particular piece of land will have an ecological impact and we would request that an ecological survey is carried out before it can be considered for development of any kind, therefore not supported. If Teignbridge District Council are minded to approve this application we would like the following conditions to be applied:
3.3 22/01844/HOU Demolition of existing out buildings, single storey side extension and garden room extension at Woodlands, Halsfordwood Lane
Whitestone Parish Council have considered this application which is seeking the demolition of existing outbuildings linked to a domestic dwelling, the addition of a single storey side extension and the construction of an unheated garden room extension. The property is located within an AGLV, being accessed by a private track at some distance from a single track lane, and is surrounded by woodland. It is very secluded, not being visible from any other properties. There would be no overlooking and the risk of disturbance from increased noise or car movements would be minimal. The existing property is in need of some development and improvements, particularly in the efficiency of energy provision. The proposed changes would improve the cohesion of the buildings and would also make the property more suitable for disabled people. The new floor plan makes good use of the space and provides an additional one bedroom to the property which would not be an overdevelopment of the site. The design and scale of the proposed development is therefore considered to be appropriate and will not cause a significant impact on the appearance or character of the immediate or wider area. The proposed development is therefore considered to be in accordance with Policies S2 and WE8. Additionally it will meet the criteria of Policy EN2A of the Local Plan.
Whitestone Parish Council, which has declared a climate emergency, is pleased to note that the proposed building materials, such as hemp blocks, are designed to maximize energy efficiency and to have a low impact on ecological/biodiversity issues. The new heating/insulation systems are a considerable improvement on those currently present. The Council welcomes the inclusion of sustainable ecological improvements such as use of rainwater systems, as well as the intention of the owners to become self-sufficient in energy. The plan for landscaping and tree planting is also welcome. There would however be some potential for some additional light pollution given increased fenestration, so care will need to be taken with the installation of lighting, to ensure that light spill is minimised to protect wildlife, and to preserve the dark skies of the area. Whitestone Parish Council is pleased to support this application, with some recommendations;
1. The Council notes that the annex was granted retrospective planning permission (17/02452/FUL) with a condition that it should only be used for purposes ancillary to the residential use of the host dwelling. This condition should continue to apply to the annex, which we understand the current owners plan to use as a store and workshop.
2. Access to the property is via Halsfordwood Lane which is very narrow, with awkward splays, so the transportation of building materials needs careful consideration, in order not to damage the high Devon banks.
3.4 22/02218//FUL Office building (retrospective) at Cross Park Farm, Heath Cross.
Planning Application 22/02218/FUL appears to be a full planning application almost identical to the previous Section 73 Variation application 22/01473/VAR which was a variation of condition 2 on planning permission 19/01872/FUL (office building and associated works) to amend a previously approved office building. This application has been reviewed and discussed and the planning statement included is a
repeat of the previous and still says section 73 (Office) and has not been updated at all. It fails to mention the inclusion of the Managing Director’s swimming pool and gym and as such it is not considered that this would be an acceptable amendment to the design on the previously conditionally approved application 19/01872/FUL. It actually states at 3.1.4 that the use and functions remain as approved, which is clearly not true. Class B1(a) is for a basic office building only with no other activity permitted particularly of a
light industrial use/recreational use or residential use at all so it is unclear how a swimming pool would be allowed here at all with a separate stand-alone plant room. Any residential use has also been strictly ruled out previously by the planning inspectorate. In conclusion, Whitestone Parish Council strongly object to the inclusion of a personal Managing Director’s swimming pool and gym or any other domestic habitation on the site as it is questioned how this can replace a working ‘Training Room’ for employees in a
commercial business. There are a number of discrepancies and unexplained differences in the application and most importantly that the original conditions have been significantly breached with respect to the access and layout of the site and most specifically contrary to the landscaping agreement which appears to be fundamentally different to that which was approved. It has been suggested that a site visit to the building is necessary to view the underground layout as indicated to include an underground swimming pool and need for separate plant room.
3.5 22/02219/FUL Alterations to access and layout (retrospective) at Cross Park Farm, Heath Cross.
This planning application is requesting consideration for Retrospective Alterations to the access and site layout of the commercial site known as J & F Supercranes at Cross Park Farm which is contrary to the approved planning permission on application 19/01872/FUL.
This application is almost identical to application 22/01686/FUL which was submitted in September 2022 and then withdrawn. The planning statement appears to provide the same information. The original application 19/01872/FUL and subsequent approval was subject to a considerable amount of scrutiny by the Landscape Officer and there was originally a Landscape objection. Changes were made and agreed to the satisfaction of the officer and a subsequent proposed design was approved on the basis that it would introduce positive landscape characteristics and overall the scheme would have a much less adverse impact on the landscape. He was also concerned about the remaining large boulders placed on the grass verge and it was agreed for them to be removed and conditioned on the decision notice leaving the grass verge remaining very much part of the approved plan. It is firmly considered that the roadside detail is critical to the permission that was given in the first place and it also meant that on that particular application the Parish Council were satisfied that there would be minimal impact to the landscape as specifically agreed with the landscape officer. Since that planning approval was given, very little of the existing landscape scheme has been adopted and instead a concrete jungle has arisen, the grass verges have disappeared, two massive entrances have materialised and the approved planting scheme has been
ignored. In conclusion, Whitestone Parish Council strongly object to this application and also application 22/02218/FUL as we do not consider that this scheme is suitable or acceptable. The unapproved works need to be removed and reinstated as per the approved scheme on 19/01872/FUL. It is not accepted that increase in costs is an excuse or a factor to have effected such a contrasting design which is not in keeping with the rural landscape characteristics of the area as specifically mentioned as important by the planning inspectorate in application 20/02318/FUL with a dismissed appeal.
Grant of Request for Prior Approval
3.6 22/02111/NPA Application for Prior Approval under Part 3 Class Q (a) and (b) paragraph W of the GDPO change of use of an agricultural building to 2 dwelling houses (1 smaller and 1 larger) at Styles Barton Meadow.
Refusal of Planning Application
3.7 22/02242/AGR New access and track at Farm Barton, road past St Catherines Church
4.1 DCC4293/2022 – Lower Hare Farm Landfill
It was reported that there is nothing new at the present time and there is still no sign of an environmental application or rights to operate on the site. The BT Jenkins Landfill application at Orange Elephant is well underway now and if it does get approved, it is considered that there will be no need for Lower Hare Farm as a landfill. Also we have been advised that there is a Land Registry dispute on a section of the LHF land and it is understood that there will be a Land Registry Survey.
4.2 Enforcement matters
Cllr Miles spoke on some areas which had been reported including the Three Corners site and the site opposite Welwyn Farm. Additionally some flooding of the highway near 2 Centre Cottages had been reported which will be reported to both Highways and the Environment Agency.
4.3 CCTV for carpark and play area
This was discussed and it was agreed that the siting of five cameras in the area surrounding the Parish Hall should be investigated (costings in the region of £2,000) and to be discussed with the Parish Hall Committee with a view to them making a contribution towards installation.
4.4 Crossway Playpark
The work on the play area now having been completed by Wicksteed the account for £9,847.34 is now presented for payment with £1,641.22 of that reclaimable VAT.
4.5 Telephone Boxes
It was reported that the Phone Box was being filled with “goodies” and it was hoped that persons using this facility would replace with other goods. The swapping of tinned goods being a favourable option. The fate of the phone box at Nadderwater still remains undetermined.
4.6 Vehicle Activated Speed Signs
Any reports to be sent to Cllr Evans. Details to be provided to Exminster Parish Council who were interested in our system.
4.7 Climate Action – Awareness + Activities
No action at the present time.
Cllr Miles reported having received an invitation to attend a meeting at Doddiscombleigh on 26th January to discuss planning issues.
6.1 Budget for 2023/24
The proposed budget figures which had been provided by Cllr Evans were discussed and the figure of £58,285 was adopted for expenditure for 2023/24.
6.2 1 School Houses rental to 2nd February 2023 £925.00 - £88.80 (includes £14.80 VAT) = £836.20
The following expenditure was proposed and seconded for payment. All in favour and the cheques were signed by Councillor Miles and Councillor Belt
6.3 Mr L Blades Lengthsman works £298.35
6.4 Wicksteed £9,847.34 (includes £1,641.22 VAT)
6.5 The Clerk reported receiving information that a cheque sent to David Murray Property Maintenance for £463.00 in payment for works completed upon the toilet area to the rear of the Parish Hall seems to have gone astray and Mr Murray was requesting payment of his account. It was resolved by the meeting that a second cheque for this amount be raised to cover this expenditure and that the original be cancelled at the bank.
A letter of thanks has been received from Royal British Legion in respect of a cheque for £50 which had been sent as a donation to the Poppy Appeal.
8.1 Cllr Bryant reported that the road sign at Heath Cross has fallen down and required a repair.
8.2 Cllr Belt reported that it had been agreed that repair works to the Parish Hall door is to be undertaken and new flooring will be laid in the lobby area, probably nearer the summertime.
8.3 Cllr Baird mentioned some ideas for the Kings Coronation which needs to be given some thought.
8.4 Cllr Llewelyn complimented all concerned on the success of the Parish Pals initiative which is proving so successful in bringing parishioners together.
8.5 Cllr Miles mentioned that in May several Councillors will have reached the completion of their four year term and will be stepping down and therefore new candidates need to be encouraged to come forward from May. Further details will be given. Additional signatories need to be put in place to ensure seemless banking continuity. The Clerk to action this.
The meeting closed at 9.30pm.
The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Thursday 9th February 2023.