Tag Archives: planning appeal

Spring Barn Park Farm Centre – Appeal Allowed

Spring Barn Locations

 

 

 

Dear Residents,

Sadly, I have to report that the appeal has been granted regarding the development at Spring Barn Farm (click here to see my report of June 2015). Most of the objections regarding the planning application were relating to the very large barn to be built out in the valley. All of the objections have been largely ignored by the inspector. Click here to Extracts from the inspector’s decision on Spring Barn Farm. You can see the full copy of the inspector’s report and decision by clicking the appeal reference as below:

Appeal Ref: APP/Y9507/W/15/3024061   [Location: Spring Barn Farm Park, Kingston Road, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 3ND. Decision by: David Cliff BA Hons, MSc (Urban Planning) MRTPI dated: 17 December 2015. Site visit made on 27 October 2015]

I had concerns about the original application and I have concerns about how the inspector came to his conclusions and allowed the appeal. This application was originally made in 2012 and most people thought that the application had been abandoned or withdrawn. It was quietly resurrected in 2014 and the application then proceeded. I went across to Midhurst and addressed the National Park    Planning Committee meeting on 9 April 2015 and despite the officer report being in favour of allowing the application the members duly noted the objections made by nearby residents in Kingston and also my objections and refused the application. However it was an uphill struggle because prior to the meeting I had asked the officers of the National Park to delay the application and properly consult the parish of Kingston. Unfortunately they refused to do this saying that legally they only had to consult Lewes Town Council as Spring Barn Farm buildings were within the town boundary. I pleaded and said although this might be the case, based upon the Doomsday book parish boundaries drawn up 1000 years ago, the site of Spring Barn Farm clearly affects Kingston residents and the Cockshut valley leading up to Kingston. I got no joy.

The site before the 2 agricultural barns were built . Now there will also be a very large building added to the valley.
The site before the 2 agricultural barns were built . Now there will also be a very large building added to the valley.

An appeal was made against the decision and the Planning Inspectorate decided on a written appeal which was held in July of this year. After many months of delay by the Planning Inspector, during which time significant headway was made in local planning policy in the National Park and Lewes District plans reaffirming the importance of sustainability, landscape, noise and visual aspects of new development, the inspector made his decision largely putting aside these factors. It’s interesting to note that the inspector puts at the head of his document his qualification which includes an MSc in ‘urban planning.’ It is somewhat ironic to appoint a person specialising in urban planning to deal with a National Park  landscape matter! Despite the fact that the inspector had all summer to go and see the site when it was at its busiest he didn’t actually visit until 27 October 2015. Obviously at that time of year it would be quiet.

The inspector, whilst recognising in one paragraph that the building is large and substantial he negates any concern by saying it will be screened by existing buildings! He also does not accept that this very large building would be in an isolated position. His main reason for this is that an existing agricultural barn can provide the necessary screening. What he doesn’t say is that the planning authority had no control over the building of the agricultural barn as it is outside planning control. The logic which this inspector applies to things seems to be that one more unsightly building won’t matter because it’s next to an existing one.

Sadly the inspector has ignored completely the concerns of residents about the noise that a much larger retail building will have on adding to the noise levels in this once quiet valley. He ignores the concerns that this new building could be used at night adding to the existing noise in the summertime from the campers on the nearby site. He does not set down any controls over the use of the building at night time and makes no suggestion about the current confused planning status of the car parking in the various areas around the site. He makes no comment about the importance of sustainability which is a cornerstone of the Government’s National Policy Planning Framework. Apart from a small concession where he mentions provision for cycles, it seems that he is quite happy that the much increased intensive use of this site will be fed by people visiting the site by car.

There are some surprises in the planning inspector’s report. He takes very little cognisance of the, almost completed, Lewes Local Plan (Joint Core Strategy). He also makes no reference to the published draft National Park Local Plan despite an appeal to ask him to take it into consideration.

I am in support of outdoor activities for children of all ages and when Spring Barn Farm started I thought that the idea was great. However over the last 10 or 12 years the associated building development has encroached into the rural landscape and urbanised the area. This further development will significantly add to that urbanisation. The decision goes against the grain of the main purposes of the National Park.

Sadly, the Lewes Town Council supported this application. None of the three district councillors representing the ward (Priory) of Lewes covering the area objected nor did any of the town councillors object to the development. Also the Case Officer who made recommendation to approve the original application had very little knowledge of the local area and chose to ignore the objections raised by the Friends of Lewes and South Downs Society and did not think it was important that the people of Kingston be consulted.

Lessons learnt?

Local people must be ever vigilant and must campaign for greater transparency and wider consultation on planning applications irrespective of which parish they actually fall in. It is clear that local people must work very hard to put forward their views and provide detailed, well researched information and evidence. If that is not done the final decision lies with an inspector who has no knowledge of the local area and so the future landscape will be defined without proper consideration. It seems the inspector will only look at the evidence before him so if you don’t provide it he or she won’t take it into consideration. It’s very important to catch things early and try to make sure the officers in the planning department are fully aware of both concerns and material evidence if you are opposing the development. Once reports are written they are treated almost as evidence.

For my part I will do all I can to make sure we get the best possible planning decisions for our area.

Regards

District Councillor Vic Ient

PS These words echo my concerns about ill thought out planning & building design:

“Is then no nook of English ground secure from rash assault?” – William Wordsworth

 

Report Back – 31st August 2015

A busy August! Here is my report. Subjects covered include:

Also covered in this report:  Highways and road problemsReport a planning threat – Check bus times – On street parking in Lewes.

PlanningInspectorate.svgIt has been a busy summer and there’s still more to come. Not only has there been the usual high level of planning applications in the area but we have had three planning appeals to contend with. Two are over and we have one yet to come. This is about the game bird breeding activity at Iford farm. This appeal will be heard on Wednesday, 23 September in Lewes. Click for full report.

Here is the rest of my report:

Continue reading Report Back – 31st August 2015

Planning appeals -update

It has been a busy summer and there’s still more to come. Not only has there been the usual high level of planning applications in the area but we have had three planning appeals to contend with. Two are over and we have one yet to come. One yet to be heard is about the game bird breeding activity at Iford farm. This appeal will be heard on Wednesday, 23 September in Lewes. Click here for more information. Click any of the titles below for more information:

Continue reading Planning appeals -update

Iford: Game Rearing Planning Appeal

Update: The appeal for this application was allowed. 

Update:  This case is being appealed. Information from the Planning Inspectorate as of Mon 13th July 2015:

“The appeal for this case will be The Hearing is at 10.00hrs on Wednesday September 23rd. The venue is The Council Chambers, Town Hall, High Street, Lewes. The venue will now be: The Stanley Turner Ground Kingston Road Lewes East Sussex BN7 3NB. You should be at the venue a few minutes prior to the Inspector opening the Hearing. The Inspector will probably ask if anyone other than the main parties wishes to address the Hearing, and that is when you should make yourself known. If you wish to read from any document, or submit any documents then you should take at least three identical copies with you, plus a copy for yourself.”

For background information see the original applications on the SDNPA web site.
This hearing will consider two appeals:

  • APP/P1425/C/14/3001421 (relates to application No: SDNP/14/04465/FUL)
  • APP/P1425/W/15/3028967 (relates to enforcement action following the withdrawal of application No: SDNP/14/02853/FUL )   Now withdrawn.

In 2014 a ‘retrospective’ planning application was submitted for:

“change of use of land from agricultural to mixed use of agriculture and game rearing and change of use of redundant agricultural buildings to ancillary storage for the game rearing business, associated landscape planting and retention of an existing brooder house”

Continue reading Iford: Game Rearing Planning Appeal