SAVE OUR ST.OSYTH – (S.O.S)
|…because our village matters|
17th July 2018
Chief Planning Officer
Tendring District Council
Essex CO16 9AJ
Dear Mrs Bicknell,
Planning Applications 18/00958/OUT and 18/00959/FUL – Warren Farm, St Osyth.
We wish to register objections to both these planning applications and make the following comments which we ask you to take into consideration when determining the applications.
- The proposal for both houses and car park lie outside the settlement development boundaries (village envelope) as shown in the ‘Tendring District Local Plan 2013-2033 and Beyond’. The claim in Paragraph 8.1 of the D&A statement to the contrary is therefore factually incorrect.
- The Local Plan does not identify this site for housing development and there is no overriding reason why it should be made an exception. TDC can prove a housing land supply in excess of 5 years as of April 2018 as stated by the inspector in his recent decision following the public inquiry into City & Country’s appeal into TDC’s refusal of planning permission for housing in Great Bentley. The statement in paragraph 8.2 of the D&A statement to the contrary is also factually incorrect. This negates any claim that normal planning policies can be set aside in favour of ‘sustainable development’.
- No evidence has been provided of the need for a public car park. There is no major shopping centre in the village. There are spaces near to the village shops in Clacton Road and Spring Road which are mostly used for ‘pop in shopping’. The public houses have their own parking facilities and there are parking spaces in Church Square. Currently there are approximately 20 courtesy parking spaces at the side of the vicarage. Monitoring of this space shows that it is rarely, if ever, used to capacity. Parking is permitted on The Bury and we are not aware that the Priory owners have ever denied parking for occasional large scale events such as weddings or funerals. Despite the current courtesy parking at the side of the Vicarage and on The Bury, there is an ongoing problem with illegal and potentially dangerous parking on the double yellow lines opposite the Premier Store/Post Office but it is very unlikely to be affected by having a car park behind the Vicarage. The major attraction bringing in long stay visitors to the village will be St Osyth Priory when it is completed and it will have its own adequate parking facilities.
- The siting of the car park tucked away behind the Vicarage would likely lead to or encourage illegal activities and therefore does not appear to comply with the principles of ‘Secured by Design’ although we presume the Police will offer advice on this matter. No details concerning the operation, maintenance or control are provided in the application that suggests this problem has been identified or addressed by the applicants.
- The public car park and houses would take up currently productive farmland. Both elements would also introduce a significant amount of hard surfaces which would affect the surface drainage on the remaining farm land. No drainage plan for the car park is provided.
- The junction of the private road with The Bury requires realignment of the current farm track and the destruction of part of the greensward which is designated as a Village Green and identified as Safeguarded Local Green Space according to the Tendring District Local Plan 2013 – 2033. A previous proposal put forward in 2003 to realign the farm track bought to light legislation dealing with vehicular access across common land which we presume is still relevant – see extracts from the local Gazette attached as Appendix A. We also refer to the outcome of the planning appeal held on 12 July 2006 (Ref: APP/P1560/A/05/1182416) against the refusal of application 04/02332/FULL to utilise a redundant grain and machinery store as a car repair garage. Since we can find no copy of the inspector’s decision on the TDC planning website, we attach a copy as Appendix B for reference. This should be read in full as its content is entirely appropriate to this application. We draw particular attention to the inspector’s consideration of the additional vehicle movements that would likely occur. This was estimated as being between 16 and 20 per day. In paragraph 5 of her report the inspector concluded that this “would be excessive and have an adverse effect on the countryside”. This is far fewer than would be generated by 12 houses and a 49 place car park. She also considered (paragraph 6) that associated parking together with the surfacing of the track “would all be urbanising influences on the countryside”. The inspector also stated that the enjoyment of the countryside by pedestrians using footpath 7 “would be impaired by the presence of additional vehicles using the track”. The appeal was dismissed. This planning appeal decision was also quoted in the reasons for TDC rejecting planning application 07/00359/FUL for change of use from flower shop to a health and fitness club.
- The proposed housing development constitutes ‘backland development’. As such it undermines the established character of the area and is likely to act as a harmful precedent for similar forms of development adjacent to that proposed as well as elsewhere in the village. At the public inquiry into the Priory applications the ribbon housing development along Mill Street was cited as reflecting the typical historic village development. Should this scheme be allowed, and without any covenant to the contrary, it would likely lead to larger scale proposals in the future which it would be difficult to deny.
- St Osyth is classified as a Rural Service Centre and as such is expected to accommodate smaller scale growth. This is already more than adequately covered by the 275 plus houses approved on Priory Land. Policy LP 6 of the Tendring Local Plan defines the policy relating to Rural Exception Sites where development could be allowed on sites adjoining the Settlement Development Boundaries under certain circumstances. This housing proposal does not meet the criteria. There is no claim that the proposed houses are either affordable or needed for persons with strong local connections within the Parish which cannot otherwise be provided.
- The development would detract from the siting of the two Grade I listed buildings in St Osyth – the Priory and the Parish Church – as well as the listed Old Warren Farmhouse further down the farm track. Part of the building development is described as ‘almshouse like’. They are NOT almshouses and the attempt to justify their existence in proximity to the church by designating them as ‘almshouse like’ is entirely spurious.
- During the public inquiry into the proposals to build on Priory land, much discussion took place concerning views into and out from the Priory. It was agreed by all parties that the view of the Priory from the south (in particular from footpath 7 which runs along the farm track to Wigboro Wick Farm) was highly significant and this is acknowledged in Paragraph 5.8 of the D&A statement. The claim made in Paragraph 9.27 that “it is unlikely that the development will be visible from the footpath other than perhaps any chimneys” is entirely misleading as the footpath referred to there is that along the north edge of the boating lake at the bottom of the slope. This misses the point entirely that in the significant view from footpath 7 which encompasses the view across the lake, the new housing will be a prominent and obtrusive feature.
- Also at the public inquiry, the fact that some part of the proposed Priory housing development in West Field would be visible from some Priory buildings was the subject of much discussion and it was acknowledged that this would have an adverse effect on the setting of the Priory. The proposed Warren Farm site is very much closer to the main Priory buildings and would be clearly visible and therefore would have a detrimental effect on the setting of the Priory.
- Considering a number of the houses are specifically targeted at older people, we consider this would further overload the local primary health care provision.
- Finally, we draw attention to some other incorrect assertions in the D&A statement. Paragraph 9.2 claims that the site is “a very short walk from the primary school”. This is questionable. This paragraph also states that the site is a “very short walk from the railway station” which is patently untrue. It would appear that an amount of cutting and pasting has been used to construct this document without tailoring it to this specific location! The D&A statement refers to the old District Plan (2007). We are unqualified to offer any view on the appropriateness of this and leave it to TDC as to whether this is still relevant considering the progress with implementing the new Local Plan.
In conclusion, we consider that the details above provide overwhelming and convincing evidence for the rejection of these applications and we request that TDC acts accordingly.
Chair of Save Our St Osyth