Whitestone Road sign

Whitestone Parish Council

Council Meeting held at Whitestone Parish Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday 14th December 2023 to be ratified on Thursday 11th January 2024.

Attendance:-
Chair – Councillor L Fairley
Councillors Cllrs T Baird, M Belt, V Bryant, A Evans, C Galton, C Lang, B Moody
District Councillor K Lake
District Councillor J Parrott
Mrs P Vaughan – Clerk to the Council
Apologies:- Cllr M Frankum, County Councillor A Connett

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

  1. Cllr Fairley opened the meeting and the minutes of the Council meeting held on 9th November 2023 having been circulated were taken as read and signed by the Chair. 

  1. REPORTS FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR / DISTRICT COUNCILLOR

Both District Councillors Parrott and Lake gave reports to the meeting concerning planning and traffic issues within the Parish which they will be following up on.

  1. PLANNING

87.1 23/01928/FUL Agricultural barn at Hare Farm

Whitestone Parish Council have discussed and considered planning application 3/01928/FUL for an agricultural barn at Hare Farm, Whitestone EX4 2HW. Hare Farm is situated in a AGLV and open countryside and was originally part of Higher Hare Farm which was sold approximately three years ago and divided into several lots. Hare Farm was one of these lots sold, which comprised of 25 acres of land with a barn. The applicant was granted permission for Prior Class Q approval {22/00286/NPA} to convert the existing barn into a dwelling and then was granted permission to utilize the “fall back position” {22/01451/FUL} to replace this barn with a new dwelling. One of the criteria for Class Q conversion is that the barn in question is no longer required for agriculture and is therefore surplus to requirement. By using the “fall back position” the applicant was able to be successful in gaining a dwelling in an area that otherwise would not have been allowed for development. The recent application 23/01928/FUL for a new barn comes just a year later after the existing barn was deemed as being redundant for the use of agriculture. We feel that this application does not comply with Policy S22 of the Teignbridge Plan. We understand that no trees or hedges will be removed if this application is granted permission nor will the access on to the highway be altered. The proposed barn will be built of timber, blockwork and will have a corrugated roof. We usually see barns for agricultural use being constructed of steel and we do question whether the choice of materials makes a barn more suitable for conversion further down the line. The plans submitted do not show where the storage of feed, animals or machinery is going to be kept within the proposed barn and very little information within the Planning Statement is given regarding how this barn is to be utilized in agricultural terms and justification for actually needing one. The documents submitted do not show how rain water is to be collected from the building as excess rainwater will have an impact on the ground below and around the proposed barn. The drawings show that the North elevation is to be left open which could result in considerable internal light spillage and pollution in an area of dark skies. We assume external lighting will also be required. When planning application 22/01451/FUL was granted permission the Planning Officer stipulated strict conditions regarding lighting and we would like to see these conditions applied to this new application as well. The open ended barn will look out towards many properties particularly those situated on the Whitestone Road as well as Lower Hare Farm and Hare Bungalow so light spillage needs to be as minimal as possible.

The Planning Statement refers to natural existing screening in one direction only, namely Alderbed Copse {the exact area where Devon County Council have given permission for the contentious landfill at Lower Hare Farm} and the future of these trees is unknown. There is no evidence that Policy EN2A {Landscape protection and Enhancement} of the Teignbridge Local Plan is being addressed so Whitestone Parish Council would therefore like to see a Devon bank built around the barn with the planting of indigenous trees so that screening is not just on one side of the barn. This would help to reduce both internal and external light pollution and would support the biodiversity of the area. We would like to see bird and bat boxes incorporated into the build if permission is granted. In the Planning Statement it is stated that the dwelling at Hare Farm is an established one yet it is then stated a few words later that the dwelling is currently in development. As outlined in our first paragraph, Hare Farm is a relatively new acquisition in its current form and not an established farmstead. Historically the site did have a dwelling in the vicinity where the applicant wishes to construct the new barn. The document submitted by the Historic Environment Team states that “groundworks for the construction of the proposed development, have potential to expose and destroy archaeological and artefactual deposits associated with the known earlier settlement here”. To be compliant with Policy EN5 of the Teignbridge Local Plan the applicant should follow the strict conditions and recommendations stated in this document. Whitestone Parish Council firmly believe that Folley Lane being so narrow with high Devon banks on both sides is not suitable for large agricultural vehicles and lorries carrying construction materials and access onto the Whitestone Road at the Folley Lane junction is steep with very poor visibility in both directions. Whitestone Parish Council object to the application. If Teignbridge are minded to grant permission the parish council would like the following conditions applied:

  1. The barn is a temporary structure and removed when no longer required for agricultural purposes.
  2. To adopt and implement the strict conditions and recommendations outlined in the Historic Environment Team’s report.
  3. Bird and bat boxes incorporated into the barn construction.
  4. Landscaping around the barn with a Devon bank and indigenous tree planting to help reduce the impact of both internal and external lighting on the surrounding area.
  5. The conditions outlined by the Planning Officer in application 22/01451/FUL regarding lighting to be fully implemented and applied to this application 23/01928/FUL as well.

87.2 23/02114/MAJ Variation of condition 4 on planning permission 17/01786/MAJ (agricultural building) for retrospective consent to landscaping works already undertaken and amended hedge position at Upper Kingswell Farm, Longdown.

Whitestone Parish Council has considered this application for retrospective consent. The original application 17/01786/MAJ required further information from the applicant to satisfy condition 4. The requirements for this are to protect the appearance of the AGLV. Condition 4 states that ‘All works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved scheme and the approved implementation and management plan.’ The planning officer accepted the information supplied from the applicant.

However, it transpired that the applicant did not follow the landscaping scheme approved and accepted by TDC when planning application 17/01786/MAJ was granted, and is now seeking retrospective ratification of works already done. In addition, the applicant is seeking approval for a final hedge to be planted in Spring 2024. It would seem that this application has only come about from a visit by the Enforcement Officer who noted that the original plans had not been correctly followed.

WPC does not look favourably on retrospective planning applications; in addition, findings documented in our Parish Plan show that nor do the majority of residents in our Parish.

The agricultural building in question sits on the ridge above where most residences are sited in Whitestone and is very visible. In order to protect the appearance of an AGLV, WPC would support a planting scheme that incorporates indigenous planting that will screen both the agricultural building and the slurry at Upper Kingswell Farm.

TWe would like to see that any newly approved planting scheme is carried out correctly and follows all recommendations made by TDC planning officer.

87.3 Refusal of Planning Permission

Change of use of the building to a dwelling and an extension at The Hen House, West Town Farm.

87.4 Refusal of Certificate of Lawful Use or Development

23/01299/CLDE Certificate of Lawfulness for existing use of two static caravans as two independent dwellings (Use Class C3) at Chapel Cottage.

  1. MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION

88.1 Christmas Party at Parish Hall

Cllr Baird reported that arrangements for this event were well in hand with a good attendance hoped for.

88.2 Plough/milk stand

A quotation of £185 had been obtained for the painting of the plough/milk stand and Cllr Belt agreed to contact Mr Pike (the owner) regarding the colour.

88.3 Bus Shelter

To be discussed at the January meeting.

88,4 CCTV for carpark and play area

As no response has as yet been received from the Parish Hall Committee with regard to taking this matter further Cllr Fairley will write to them officially requesting their feelings in regard to this issue being pursued as it is felt to be necessary.

88.5 STAWL updates

Report submitted by Mr Guy Fielding, Chair of STAWL.

Proposed Landfill at Lower Hare Farm, Whitestone, EX4 2HW

In late summer and early autumn 2023 activity was seen on Yonder Hare Down, the site of the proposed landfill at Lower Hare Farm. This appeared to involve the removal of topsoil and the beginnings of the construction of haul routes through the site. As planning consent for the Section 73 application (DCC/4293/2022) has not yet been given, and the pre-commencement conditions have not yet been met, this was concerning.

In November 2023 a number of complaints about this were made to Sue Penaluna, Principal Planning Officer at the Devon County Council. As a result she investigated these complaints by visiting the site and talking to the landowner. In her subsequent letter to us she states:

“I understand that from the distant view this does look like a track, however, having visited the site and inspected and photographed the works from close proximity, I am satisfied that this is a narrow drainage trench conveying surface water to the existing pond on the western boundary.”

In her reply she also provides us with further useful information about the progress, or otherwise, of the proposed landfill. 

“Application DCC/4293/2022 has .. not yet been issued due to the delays with the legal agreement. The applicant has made it known to the County Council that in these circumstances they intend to go ahead and implement the original permission DCC/4101/2018.”

That is, the massive re-working of the original application that GRS proposed, and was conditionally approved by DCC’s Development Management Committee in July 2022 appears to have been abandoned.

A key consequence of this is that the original approval only gave permission for the dumping of inert sub-soils (that is, sub-soil from greenfield development sites). The prospect of all sorts of construction waste being dumped at LHF seems to have been abandoned.

This sounds encouraging but…. It is also worth noting that in her reply Sue Penaluna states that “The applicant has made it known to the County Council that .. they intend to go ahead and implement the original permission”

However, she does not say when the applicant (GRS) made this known to DCC… it is our recollection that this was a statement/threat made before the application was considered and before approval of the revised scheme was given. That is, we don’t know what the current intentions of GRS are, and as we have noted, in a number of respects they are facing a rather different set of circumstances now than they were in early 2022. (We should also note that who the “applicant” is, is also ambiguous. In the case of the Section 73 application it was GRS, in the case of the original application it was Stewart and Philip Gibbons, the landowners. When investigating the complaint she says that she talked with the landowner, she does not appear to have talked with GRS.)

Sue Penaluna also notes that the original permission cannot yet be implemented because the pre-commencement conditions have not been met, and she has confirmed that this has not yet happened. 

As we have noted previously, in order to actually bring waste onto the site, GRS would also need to have obtained the necessary Environmental Permits, and as far as we are aware, these permits

have not yet been applied for.

Note that there is a highly significant issue raised by the apparent abandonment of the Section 73 application and the possible reversion to the original application/approval. A fundamental part of GRS’s argument in seeking the massive revision of the original application (which we argued went way beyond the kinds of minor revisions that were appropriate for Section 73 applications) was that these revisions were necessary because the original scheme simply could not be implemented. It must therefore follow that the Development Management Committee, by approving the S73 application, has effectively agreed and endorsed that argument: a landfill as specified in the original application cannot (and should not) be implemented and operated on Yonder Hare Down.

This is an issue that the Parish Council, and our other representatives at District and County level should perhaps investigate and pursue further?

88.6 Vehicle Activated Speed Signs

Cllr Evans reported some damage to the sign near Whitestone House/Kent |Hill which he will be attending to.

  1. 89. MATTERS RAISED BY THE CHAIRMAN

Discussion took place regarding the usage of the phone boxes and it was decided that the issue should be placed on the agenda for the January meeting.

  1. FINANCE

90.1 Precept for 2024/25

Proposed budget figures which had been provided by Cllr Evans were discussed and an updated version will be brought to the January meeting in order finalise agreed expenditure and for the Precept to be resolved.

90.2 Bank balances at Nat West Bank as at 20th November 2023

Current Account

£200.00

Business Reserve Account 1

£33.056.64

Business Reserve Account 2

£3,449.64

£36,706.28

Income

90.3 1 School Houses rental to 02/01/24 £950.00 - £114.00 (includes £19.00 VAT) = £836.00

90.4 2 School Houses rental to 01/11/23 £950.00 - £174.00 (includes £19.00 VAT) = £776.00

Expenditure 

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

90.5 Mrs G E Frost £100.00 (Reimbursed to Cllr Baird) – Cheque 715

90.6 Supersonic Sounds Exeter £250.00 (Reimbursed to Cllr Baird) – Cheque 715

90.7 Mrs T Baird - Christmas Party Decorations £103.77 (Reimbursed to Cllr Baird) – Cheque 715

90.8 SLCC Membership £73.00 – Cheque 716

90.9 Clerks quarterly salary and expenses £431.44 – Cheque 717

90.10 HM Revenue & Customs £90.00 (Clerk’s income tax on salary – Cheque 718

90.11 Mr L Blades - £311.80 (Lengthsman) – Cheque 719

90.12 Whitestone Parish Hall - £356.61 – Cheque 720

09.13 A & E Chimney Sweep at 1 School Houses £55.00 (paid through Winkworth)

91 CORRESPONDENCE

91.1 A letter of complaint from Mrs Nield regarding deterioration of land at Nadderbottom was read to the meeting and District Councillor Lake volunteered to take this matter further and make contact. 

91.2 A letter of thanks from British Red Cross for the donation sent for their funds.

92 REPORTS

92.1 Mr Herb Piper has complained regarding verges between Pound Lane and Centre Cottages and District Councillor Lake will look into the matter.

92.2 Cllr Bryant reported contacting Devon County regarding footpaths and bridleways requesting information.

92.3 Cllr Baird raised a request for a plaque giving names of the fallen parishioners in the wars be placed on the green in the area of the bus stop.

92.4 Cllr Belt felt that the fir tree by the telephone box is in need of trimming and she was requested to contact a contractor regarding this.

The next Council meeting will take place on Thursday 11th January 2024

The meeting closed at 9.30pm.